Tag Archives: Bluefaced Leicester

March Rolag Club: Carling Sunday

March Rolag Club: Carling Sunday

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Welcome to Forgotten Festivals Rolag Club!

This month we are Celebrating Carling Sunday on the 13th March

“Tid, Mid, Miseray, Carlin, Palm, Pace-Egg Day”

So goes the Northern saying, which helps people remember the various Lenten Sundays. Tid comes from the Te Deum hymn, sung on the 2nd Sunday. Mid and Miseray are from the Mi Deus and the Miserere Mei, sung on the 3rd and 4th Sundays. Palm Sunday is the 6th Sunday in Lent and Pace Egg refers to Easter Day, Pace being a corruption of Pasch, from the Latin and Greek root of ‘Easter’. And that leaves us with Carlin.

Many people will know the 5th Sunday of Lent as Passion Sunday, but in certain areas, most particularly the North East of England, it became known as Carling, or Carlin, Sunday after the peas which were traditionally eaten on that day.

No one seems to know why this food became associated with this festival. Carlins probably originated in monastic gardens, and pulses formed a large part of the monks’ diet. Pea dishes were often eaten throughout lent as a good (and ‘approved’) source of protein. There are lots of myths and stories about the carlin pea and how they became associated with the northern regions. Here is a typical example:

Carlins are said to have rescued the people of Newcastle-upon-Tyne during the civil war. Newcastle, a royalist city, had been under siege by parliamentarian allies for four months and food supplies were becoming exhausted. Legend tells of a cargo ship from europe which managed to evade the blockade, and whose cargo of carlins saved the people from starvation.

To celebrate Carling Sunday, your rolags are inspired by purple, the traditional colour of passion,  and the rich greens of the pea plant. Your handspun mini skein was inspired by the colours of pea flowers. I have included a recipe for carlings, and though I tried to source some pea seeds, it seems you can’t, so I have included information on how to adopt this variety. Your tea reflects the themes of Passion Sunday, and the unfortunate after-effects of eating large quantities of pulses … Finally we have two guest makers this month. Jennifer from Forest Valley Designs has made the unique stitch markers, and Becca from Get Hooked Crafts has made the stunning WIP bags.

I hope you enjoy it all.

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“Passion” and “Greens” rolags, inspired by Carling Sunday.

In this box you should find:

  • 20g rolags in “Passion” – 77% Bluefaced Leicester, 11.5% Bamboo, 11.5% Faux Cashmere and a hint of angelina.
  • 10g rolags in “Greens, shoots and peas” – 84% Merino, 16% Ramie and some wool neps.
  • The story of Carling Sunday
  • A handspun mini skein in “Pea flowers”
  • Tea in ‘Love’ and ‘Stomach Ease’ blends.
  • Stitch markers from Forest Valley Designs.
  • WIP bags from Get Hooked Crafts.
  • A recipe for carlings
  • Adopt the carlin pea
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“Pea Flowers” handspun mini skein.

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Stitch markers by Forest Valley Designs

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WIP bag from Get Hooked Crafts


There are several recipes recorded for the carlin pea. I have also discovered that the day after Carling Sunday was known as Farting Monday, so don’t say I didn’t warn you! Though I did include some Stomach Ease tea.



225g dried green peas

50g fresh breadcrumbs

1 onion, finely chopped

½ teaspoon mixed herbs

Salt and pepper

25g butter

Soak the peas overnight in cold water. The next day, drain and put into a large saucepan. Add 750 ml water and bring to the boil. Boil steadily for 2 hours until the peas are tender. Leave to cool. Mix with the breadcrumbs, onion, herbs and seasoning to make a stiff mixture. Shape into cakes and fry in the butter until brown.

Reference: Cattern Cakes and Lace by Julia Jones and Barbara Deer, Dorling Kindersley 1987


The carlin pea in flower.





I love spinning gradient yarns, and had another chance to indulge this hobby for a skill swap with a very talented knitter. As the yarn was created the colours spoke to me first of metal and then rust, merging into the colours of dusky rose petals. The gradient fibre set, from the very talented Hilltop Cloud, was called “Padlock”, so I named the yarn “Unlocked”.

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Leave the shelter of the homestead – hearth and warmth and family – and step over the threshold. Survey the garden wilderness, full of hidden nooks waiting to be found.

Follow the path as it slowly becomes more and more overgrown. As what was open and passable becomes a natural obstacle course of leaves, twigs and fallen branches.

A dead end? But, not quite hidden, a door, and hanging from it a rusty padlock hinting of past treasures once hidden from uninvited guests. Unused and ineffective now, you push the crumbling timbers of the door. Hinges squeak, grumbling at the call to action, and finally the sight, hidden for so long, comes into view: twisted, overgrown and thorny, but in bloom!

The rose garden is rediscovered. 🌹

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Title: Unlocked

Composition: 50% Merino, 37.5% BFL, 12.5% Silk

Weight: 140g / 18 WPI / Sockweight

Length: 600+m / 650+yd

Care: Hand wash only. Dry flat.


Date: March 2016

Skein code: 0090

Fibre: Merino, Bluefaced Leicester, Mulberry Silk.

Source: Hilltop Cloud gradient set: “Padlock”

Status: Swapped

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Michaelmas Mist

Michaelmas Mist


I’ve always loved autumn, and long associated the season with fresh starts, new beginnings and exciting adventures ahead. It’s the beginning of the academic year, so dominated my life for almost three decades. I still have fond memories of making my way to school at the tender ages of 4, 5 and 6, with the grey weather dominating and the september foliage defining the paths along the journey. The combination of these two fibres seemed to capture that memory perfectly.

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Walk out into the swirling mists of a Northumbrian autumn morning. Grey precipitation dances around you, jumping like jack frost to avoid the sun’s clarifying rays.

Catch glimpses as the grey voile shimmers: a blackberry here, a rosehip there. Leaves! Some bold and ever green, some autumnal, curling and crunching underfoot.

Breathe in the crisp air and feast your senses upon the delights of the season. As summer is put to bed, so the foundation is laid for new life. New beginnings. Autumn: the season of hope, of awakening. The time to embrace all the delights that nature offers, then return refreshed to the cosy fireside.

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Title: Michaelmas Mist

Composition: 50% Bluefaced Leicester 50% Merino

Weight: 114g / 20 WPI / sock weight or “4 ply”

Length: 455m / 498yd approx.

Care: Hand wash only. Dry flat.


Date: August 2015

Skein code: 0006

Fibre: Grey Bluefaced Leicester, 21 micron merino (in “Giggleswick”).

Source: Wingham Wool Work

Status: Sold




Beautiful BFL from Defarge Yarns, complemented perfectly with flower sequins and tiny stars.


Like the kiss of dew on the moorland heather, misty morning softens the landscape like a voile curtain. It is cold before the sun rises up to chase the dewdrops away. So many views from one landscape over the course of just one day. And then night will fall, and the flowers will be hidden, and the midnight sentinels will mark paths in the sky.

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Title: Starflower

Composition: BFL, polyamide thread, sequins

Weight: 100g / 13 WPI / DK

Length: 201m / 220yd approx.

Care: Hand wash only. Dry flat. Hand wind.


Date: July 2015

Skein code: 0052

Fibre: Bluefaced leicester

Source: Defarge Yarns

Status: Sold

Crystallised violets

Crystallised violets


This is the first yarn I spun from my own rolags.


There’s no scent on earth like the sweet smell of violets. They seem to remain from a bygone era:

The aroma of the fifties, or of your grandmother’s home.

Petals preserved in their unfurled lilac tones. Sugar crystals glinting like magic dust, sprinkled on to cast a spell; preserving a moment in time like a sweet snapshot.

Crystallised Violets


Title: Crystallised Violets

Composition: Bluefaced Leicester, Bamboo, Angelina

Weight: 71g / 13 WPI / DK

Length: 190m / 208yd approx.

Care: Hand wash only. Dry flat.


Date: June 2015

Skein code: 0042

Fibre: BFL, Bamboo, Angelina

Source: BFL dyed by Truly Hooked. Bamboo and Angelina from Wingham Wool Work

Status: Gifted/Won




A spinning commission of banana silk and wool dyed by a talented indie dyer in the colours of ‘Elsa’.


You know those mornings when you wake and you instantly know?

You know before you draw the curtains, before you even really open your eyes.

There’s a strange light quality.

A light that means no other possibility, but snow.

Some spatterings, some deep drifts, all altering the familiar contours.

The snow-covered landscape is new, is strange, is constantly changing

And we rush to explore it with childlike glee.



Title: Elsa

Composition: 67% Banana 34% Bluefaced Leicester

Weight: 100g /14 WPI /DK

Length: 166m / 182yd approx.

Care: Hand wash only. Dry flat.


Date: May 2015

Skein code: 0017

Fibre: Banana silk & Handdyed BFL

Source: Wingham Wool Work & Truly Hooked, respectively

Status: Sold




A first foray into art yarn, with deliberately chunky spinning and beads spun into the yarn. Based on the Totoro character, with natural coloured fibres and forest-green glass beads.


Unseen observers. Guarding the forest

With you in need, yet not part of your world

Childlike belief (wisest of all?)

Such wonders we miss

When we forget to see.



Title: Totoro

Composition: 53% Bluefaced Leicester, 22% Superwash Wensleydale, 20% Bamboo, <5% Nylon, <5% Glass beads

Weight: 134g / 6WPI / Bulky

Length: 125m / 137yd approx.

Care: Hand wash only. Dry flat.


Date: April 2015

Skein code: 0011

Fibre: BFL, SW Wensleydale, Bamboo

Source: Wingham Wool Work

Status: Gifted