Story of the healing shawl

Hello friends, how have you been? Well I hope and taking care of yourself 🙂

Today I want to share a very special story with you, a story about friendship in good as well as bad times. A friendship that started only just over two years ago but has really firm foundations and is getting stronger all the time. A friendship nurtured by a passion for sustainability in yarn and the trust in plants, not only for the beautiful colours they give when used in the dyepot, but also for their healing properties. The special friendship between Kirsty of Isle of Skye Natural Dye Company (Shilasdair Yarns) and myself.

This is the story of the Healing Shawl..

Last year both Kirsty and I were given life changing diagnosis that came a bit out of the blue. After the initial shock, then treatment and subsequent recovery (fingers crossed), the healing shawl/wrap was born.

Both of us were craving for a soothing and relaxing knit, something that wouldn’t need an enormous amount of concentration, but hold enough interest to make it an exciting knit and would provide a cosy warm hug.

Enter Shilasdair Coara! 100% British Fibre, cosy and warm, with a lovely bounce and hand-dyed with native healing plants by Kirsty on the Isle of Skye. After dyeing the yarn, it is washed in Loch Sheanta, a spring that is said to be the most celebrated healing well on the island.

It can be found between Staffin and Flodigary and it is known to have been visited by the sick in times gone by. The story tells of circling the spring three times in a clockwise direction after drinking the water and offerings made of clothing, coloured thread, pins, and coins as people sought healing for their ailments.

In the photo above you see the yarn used for the shawl, specially dyed by Kirsty and then every hank is washed in Loch Sheanta by Simon (Kirsty’s husband).

Simon washing Healing Shawl Yarn in Loch Sheanta

The colours are from left to right:

Bog Myrtle – a great antiseptic plant and long been a medicinal herb to treat wounds.

Ling Heather – supports and nourishes the nervous system, also anti inflammatory.

Alder – known to have anti viral and anti inflammatory properties.

Birch – leaves enriched with vitamin C and the bark used to treat aching joints & eczema.

Meadowsweet – known to alleviate joint pain and heartburn.

Undyed Natural.

In between bouts of feeling unwell we set about design, yarn dyeing and construction of the healing shawl and for us the shawl signifies soothing calmness in the repetition of pulling yarn through loops on our needles, every stitch bringing us closer to healing with a beautiful accessory as the result.

Wearable in many ways: Wrap, shawl, scarf, or even small blanket on your lap, we wonder how you will wear yours.

The shawl is a true labour of love and our friendship, going through rough times but coming out strong the other side and we hope that this shawl will give many of you joy and comfort, first knitting and then wearing it.

Kits including all the yarn and the pattern are available directly from Kirsty’s website HERE or if you prefer just the pattern you can purchase from my shop via the link on the right hand side of this page.

Wishing you many hours of soothing healing joy,

Heike and Kirsty xx


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