Posted in Art and Craft, Events, Fleece, Yarn Suppliers, tagged cornish wool, cornish wools, dartmoor, Devon, devon wool, dyers, fleece, give fleece a chance, handspinning, knitted sheep, knitting patterns, local wool, sheep, South West wool, spinners, the Journal, weavers, wool, Wool Directory, wool initiative, WSD, yarn on September 3, 2012 |
1 Comment »
The following article appeared in The Journal for Weavers, Spinners and Dyers (Autumn 2012, The Wool Issue 243, page 34). The Journal is produced by the Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers. You can find out more about the Guild at www.wsd.org.uk and about the Journal at www.thejournalforwsd.org.uk.
I wrote in Journal 238 (Summer 2011) about the background and aims of my collaborative knitting project Give Fleece A Chance. A flock of small knitted sheep has been made from handspun and commercial yarns that use wool sourced in South West England, particularly Devon and Cornwall. I found many farm-branded commercially spun yarns and generous sheep farmers who donated fleeces, often with the challenging words ‘See what you can do with that!’ Greyface Dartmoor, handspun into something resembling coir string, also proved to be a challenge to knit! But it is these ‘low-value’ coarse wools that have made the most charming individual sheep; the commercial yarns pale against them. I have exhibited the flock at country shows and textile fairs and encouraged people into looking again at British wool and appreciating the diversity of texture, handle and colour.
An online Wool Directory (www.wooldirectory.org.uk) has emerged out of this project, a resource giving easier access to local fleeces and yarns, encouraging people to buy from the farm gate and to use wool creatively and commercially. It has already been used by textile and fashion students researching sustainable fibres and so is proving to be of value to those of us that love using the diverse sheep breeds.
In the 18 months since the project began, 250 sheep have been made, representing 70 different fleeces, 118 yarns and 40 breeds (not including crosses). I was helped by 76 knitters, many of whom handspun the yarn too. The project is continuing, so if you have any SW produced wool in a breed I haven’t got, I’d be really grateful for some fleece, even more if it’s ready spun and if it’s ready knitted! The sheep pattern is free for everyone to use for whatever purpose, but if you do make some sheep, please send one for my flock.
Read Full Post »
Posted in Yarn Suppliers, tagged Coldharbour Mill, devon wool, fleece, give fleece a chance, knitted sheep, local wool, sheep, South West wool, spinning, washing fleece, wool on January 31, 2011 |
Leave a Comment »
I recently got some yarn that was spun from sheep at Morwellham Quay, Devon. You may have seen Morwellham on BBC tv recently as it was used for The Edwardian Farm programme. One episode featured White Faced Dartmoor sheep, showing the whole story from shearing to spinning and weaving. The industrial spinning process was filmed at Coldharbour Mill, Devon; it’s a working museum and is a fascinating place to visit.
Read Full Post »
Posted in Yarn Suppliers, tagged BBC, Charolais, Coldharbour Mill, Cotswold, Cotswold Sheep Society, ebay, fleece, Fowlescombe Farm, Hebridean, Heltor Rare Breeds, Huxtable Farm, industrial spinning, knitted sheep, lleyn, Lydford, manx loaghtan, Morwellham Quay, North Ronaldsay, Oxford Down, Poll Dorset, spinning wool, The Edwardian Farm, washing fleece, White Faced Dartmoor, Wonnacott Farm on January 31, 2011 |
2 Comments »
Since Christmas and New Year quite a few things have happened in the GFAC world. Through this blog I was contacted by a farmer in Lydford (Devon) who told me that he had some Cotswold sheep and did I want some of the fleece? I went along and bought two fleeces; both not very clean but beautifully soft once I got pass all the nasties on the outside. If you want to see photos of the sheep, click here and go along to the Lydford website. The Cotswold Sheep Society have a really interesting website, describing the role that this breed played in the wealth of the Cotswolds.
I’ve also got North Ronaldsay fleece from Heltor Rare Breeds (Dartmoor), Oxford Down fleece and lambswool from Callington (Cornwall), and Poll Dorset/Charolais cross from Helston (Cornwall). All of these I found on eBay; I got the idea of looking here from Jackie at Huxtable Farm, who sells her fleece this way.
Also found on eBay; yarn spun from sheep at Morwellham Quay (Devon). A skein each of Lleyn Aran, Lleyn DK and Hebridean DK. If you want the details of any of the sellers on eBay, get in touch and I’ll pass them on to you.
Morwellham Quay wool
From Fowlescombe Farm, I’ve got Organic Hebridean and Manx Loaghtan yarn, and I couldn’t resist buying a cone of Hebridean weaving wool. I’m planning to use this either for machine knitting or trying some weaving. Fowlescombe Farm have flocks of pedigree Hebridean and Manx Loaghtan sheep; have a look at their website as it’s filled with interesting details about the farm, how they are supporting rare breeds, and their diversification into educational farm visits.
Fowlescombe Farm Hebridean and Manx Loaghtan
Finally, I found Wonnacott Farm, Okehampton (Devon) who have skeins of organic DK yarn.
Wonnacott Farm organic wool
Read Full Post »