Tag Archives: Linen

August Rolag Club: August Wakes

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August Rolag Club: August Wakes

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Welcome to Forgotten Festivals Rolag Club!

This month we are celebrating August Wakes.

Wakes celebrations began as feast days in honour of the patron saint of the parish church, and gained their name from the medieval tradition of staying awake in the church all night in order to hear the dawn mass on the saint’s day. Initially these festivals were quite sombre, involving penance and fasting. Following the reformation, however, the emphasis shifted to revelry, eventually becoming rowdy enough that the celebrations were shifted away from the saint’s day.

In northern towns, wakes became a secular, industrial holiday. Each town chose its own wakes week, and the workers were given unpaid holiday whilst the mills were closed for maintenance. Although wakes could occur at any time of year, summer was most often chosen for wakes weeks, and many occurred during August. In fact, wakes became synonymous with the town’s annual holiday, which often meant a mass exodus to the seaside!

The observance of wakes weeks has become almost obsolete due to the decline of local industries and the standardisation of school holidays, but as a child growing up in the Lancashire mill town of Oldham, I still remember the annual Oldham wakes holidays.

This month’s club represents the two sides to August wakes: the original religious observance, represented by ‘Vigil’ rolags, green tea and a meditation stone, and the later summer-holiday feel, represented by ‘Coast’ rolags and some seaside treats.

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Rolags in “Vigil” and “Coast” colourways. The flax component in the Vigil rolags should give an interesting texture, whilst the tencel adds a translucent sheen.

I hope you’ve enjoyed your summer, however you chose to spend it!

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A coastal scene.

In this box you should find:

  • The story of August Wakes
  • 20g of rolags in “Vigil” – 67% Merino, 16.5% Flax/Linen, 16.5% Tencel.
  • 10g of rolags in “Coast” – 67% Merino, 33% Llama
  • A handspun mini skein in “Deckchair”
  • Tea in Serene Jasmine and Moroccan Mint green blends
  • Stitch markers
  • A meditation stone from Buttons Be Good
  • A recipe for Feasten Cakes
  • A stick of seaside rock.
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A mini skein in “Deckchair” inspired by the seaside classic.

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A fistful of minis.

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Tactile meditation stones from Buttons Be Good.

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Kirsty used the rolag colours to inspire her design.

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Seaside treats!

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Stitch markers: A bucket and spade, and a scallop shell. Made by Imogen.

Recipe: Feasten Cakes

A tradition from the Cornish celebration of wakes, these saffron-coloured cakes are delicious served with a little cream.

Ingredients:

  • 450g plain flour
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 100g unsalted butter, softened
  • 20g/2 tsp dried yeast
  • 50g sugar
  • Large pinch of saffron, infused for ~20 mins in 150ml hot milk
  • 175ml clotted cream
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 100g currants,
  • Milk to glaze
  • Clotted cream, to serve.

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas mark 5.
  2. Sift the flour and cinnamon into a bowl. Rub in the butter.
  3. Cream the yeast with 2 teaspoons of the sugar. Strain the saffron milk and beat in the cream, then mix with the yeast. Leave in a warm place for 20 minutes until bubbles form on the surface.
  4. Pour the yeast mixture into the flour with the beaten eggs. Add the currants and the remaining sugar and knead well. Cover and leave in a cool place for the dough to rise slowly until double in size. Knead again briefly then knock back and shape into 8 small buns or cakes and flatten slightly. Cover with a damp cloth and leave to prove so that the dough springs back when pressed, 20-30 minutes.
  5. Arrange on a lightly greased baking sheet. Brush the tops of the buns lightly with milk and sprinkle with a little sugar.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes.
  7. Take out and cool on a wire rack.

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

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Sunset over the flax field

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Sunset over the flax field

Background:

I made this rolag set as a sunset-inspired gradient, and decided to spin it as a single gradient yarn. Here you can see the process of selecting each colour to spin in turn:

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I love the addition of the linen in this yarn. Its bright white seems to intensify the beautiful, rich colours, and it adds an interesting bit of texture to the yarn.

Story:

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You may not recognise the golden flax from the field of blue flowers.

It’s hidden inside the stems, needing work from the hands and sweat from the brow to free the fine fibres.

The colours change as the sun descends:

Bright white at first, so the sights of the field are vibrant and clear.

Honey yellow matures to deeper shades.

Tangerine sky becomes cherry red,

As darkness creeps up to put flax to bed.

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Information:

Title: Sunset over the flax field

Composition: Merino/linen/angelina

Weight: 100g / 13 WPI / DK

Length: 195m / 214yd approx.

Care: Hand wash only. Dry flat.

Details:

Date: July 2015

Skein code: 0059

Fibre: 21 micron merino, linen, angelina

Source: Rolags by Story Skeins

Status: Sold