Pebble Island in the south Atlantic is the source of a special yarn that’s now available from Rowan
Islands is a remote archipelago of 740 islands in the South Atlantic. Sheep farming is a vital part of the islands’ economy, and Falklands wool is much prized for its fineness and quality. Now Rowan is bringing this beautiful wool to a wider audience, through the launch of its new Pebble Island yarn.
Fully traceable from farm to skein, it’s named for the island on which the wool is produced. Pebble Island is home to colonies of four species of penguin, as well as a wide range of wildfowl and wading birds. Also calling Pebble Island home are Alex and Dot Gould, along with sheep dog Betty and her offspring, who together run the sheep farm which supplies wool to Rowan. Pebble Island has been a sheep farm since 1846, and is said to produce some of the finest wool in the world. The six thousand sheep and other livestock have access to the beaches, including Elephant Bay - the longest sand beach in the Falklands - where they can graze on kelp.
Alex and Dot’s sheep are all bladeshorn by hand – an artisanal process, requiring dedication, patience and precision. Slower and quieter than mechanical shearing, this highly skilled technique is kind to the sheep, and also produces better wool yields.
Inspired by nature
Once sheared, the wool is taken to Britain, where it is spun in Yorkshire to a worsted weight. Rowan has worked with renowned knitwear designer Erika Knight to develop a palette of ten shades, inspired by the natural agate stones and indigenous flora and fauna of Pebble Island.
Erika has also created a range of textural garments and accessories for the pattern book Pebble Island. The collection features big shapes with soft structures, patched and layered for protection from the elements and with embroidered details.
While working on the collection, Erika was able to talk to the farmers who produce the wool, and join them for a Zoom call live from the shearing shed. “Learning about life on Pebble Island from Alex and Dot Gould inspired me to create a collection that felt authentic and in celebration of the provenance of this exceptional yarn,” she tells us. “The textures in my patterns are inspired by the rugged coastline and gently undulating heathland which characterise the island, and the colours, though jewel-toned, are all slightly muted or worn, as if exposed to the natural elements of wind and water.”
Erika’s ‘Atlantic’ poncho, meanwhile, is exclusively available in The Knitter.
“This design, with its patchwork-style collection of some of my favourite Aran and cable stitches, is a very simple ‘poncho’ shape, designed to be easy and comfortable to wear; perfect for layering up, getting outside, and taking on the elements,” Erika explains. “It’s a bit of what I like to think of as ‘woolly sudoku’, with lots of patterns and stitch repeats to keep the brain engaged. It is finished with fringing for a handcrafted look.”
Explore all the patterns from the
Pebble Island book, and find stockist details, on the Rowan website.