As early as the mid-sixteenth century the apparently aimless wanderings of those collecting the shed fleece of sheep caught on bushes had gained the attested metaphorical meaning of  “indulging in wandering fancies and purposeless thinking”.

This is a fragment of fleece on Shovel Down, Dartmoor. The Bronze Age double stone row is thought to represent a system of field division. Four thousand years ago and the land here probably already looked much as it does now, sparse tree cover in mainly open pasture grazed by sheep. Our forebears were already spinning and weaving the fleece, although somewhat late to the party compared to people in other parts of the world.

Having finished the slip-case and a pair of slippers (still with 2.5 balls of the salmon pink Kalahari Karakul to spare – does anyone want something small but hard-wearing in this, cough, unique yarn?) I’ve now embarked upon the first of two hats from Yorkshire wool, grown, processed, spun and sold in Yorkshire and now being knitted in London before returning home. It’s the teal, for L, on the needles at the moment. And employing a twisted rib pattern.

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