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At Cross & Woods we are very proud of being able to work with smaller, family-run yarn suppliers including the UK based John Arbon Textiles (JAT)
John and his wife Juliet run their mill from Devon in England and have done for the last 19 years - John Arbon Textiles is based on a very simple concept: a return to old-style textile manufacture by sustainably sourcing raw fibre locally, wherever possible, and converting it in the UK into high quality tops and yarns. Keeping things local!
John has collected and restored all the machines that work in the mill, often collecting them from around the UK. Each machine has a name and is part of the family! From the 1950s Tathum carder -Chapman to the three gill boxes -Cuthbert, Ralph and A2D2, to Clint (the comb) and finally to spinning machines: Butler, an old and steadfast sample spinner, and Kevin, a newer and bigger model.
The Mill is situated in the heart of North Devon. The surrounding Exmoor landscape is an ever-changing vista of rolling moors, mossy wooded valleys and dramatic cliffs – all populated with a rich variety of local sheep breeds. They try to use only fibre which is reared and sheared on this land. John has a few few firm favourites, including Exmoor Blueface, a crossbreed of the Exmoor Horn and Blueface Leicester. This wonderfully bouncy fibre, with a hint of drape and lustre, is the staple ingredient in the Devonia yarn and Exmoor 4ply sock yarn
Each shade of Devonia is inspired by the work of renowned 19th century French tapestry artist Jean Lurçat.
Devonia is a beautiful blend of 3 local breeds – Exmoor Blueface, Devon Bluefaced Leicester and Devon Wensleydale. The Exmoor Blueface is JAT's local sheep and brings its wonderful springy nature, the Bluefaced Leicester lends its outstandingly soft handle and lustre to the yarn, whilst the Wensleydale adds its qualities of a beautiful golden sheen and fineness of fibre. It is lovingly worsted spun at the Mill
Each shade of Devonia is inspired by the work of renowned 19th century French tapestry artist Jean Lurçat. There are 14 colours in total and each is made up of up to 5 blended pre-dyed fibre tops to create a rich melange of colour in the spun yarn, with amazing depth to each colour.
The Exmoor Sock yarn showcases the durable character and bounce of the fibre from JATś local Exmoor Blueface sheep – a cross breed of the Exmoor Horn (full bodied and hard-wearing) and the Bluefaced Leicester (renowned for its softness and lustre). Naturally dark browny-black Devon Zwartbles has been added giving extra bounce and a subtle fleck of colour, plus Falklands Corriedale to enhance softness and stitch definition and a hint of Nylon for durability.
This yarn is designed to be perfect for socks, whilst still having the versatility to suit garments and accessories that relish a hard wearing, machine washable yarn.
Inspiration for the colours came from the changing seasons of the local Exmoor landscape. This national park is not only where home for John and Juliet but home to many rare wild flowers, insects and animals, in amongst the grazing Exmoor Blueface sheep. You can always catch a flash of deep saturated colour when exploring the greens of the hillside and blues of the bay. So, when selecting the names for the 13 shades, it seemed only fitting to turn to the traditional local dialect of days gone by. Some of our ( Cross & Woods ) favourites are Oddmedod (snail), Dimity (dusk), Drumble ( Bumble bee) and Bibble Bug (woodlouse) and Blooth ( Blossom)
The Exmoor sock yarn is perfect not only for socks but also for the Grounded (Denise Bayron) on Laine 10 (link) or any other fingering weight pattern