One of our readers kindly suggested that Wovember should give exposure to independent wool growers & their wares. This is something on which we have definitely focused on previous years, but in all the information residing here, perhaps the relevant articles are not terrible easy to find! We have added a SEARCH form to the top right hand of the website which should hopefully make it easier for you to look for specific articles, and today we thought we might provide a handy refresher on some of the small-producers previously featured on WOVEMBER! We shall be adding links to these amazing comrades under the Small Producers heading to the right, and if you want to join in with the Knit British Breed Swatch KAL but don’t know where to begin, maybe a ball of yarn from one of these folks is the place to start!
Jane, whom many of you will remember from the amazing Woolsack project and subsequent website (also a fantastic resource if you are looking for information on producers of woollen goods) wrote for WOVEMBER about the North Ronaldsay Spinning Mill from which you can buy wool from North Ronaldsay sheep, spun on North Ronaldsay itself.
WOVEMBER has featured Pete Glanville speaking about Shetland Organics; this is a co-operative of crofters in Shetland committed to growing Shetland wool organically. Ronnie Eunson whose rams are pictured above is another member of this collective and you can buy Shetland Organics wool here.
If you want to take things a step further and buy farm-fresh fleece from a trusted source, you could re-read Louise’s fantastic profile on Kate Graham of Shankend Farm and an additional piece about Kate’s experiences of sheep farming. Kate’s sponsorship programme enables you to buy wool fresh from the farm and you can find out all about it by joining the Shankend Ravelry group.
WOVEMBER has also previously featured Julia Desch and her Wensleydale Long Wool sheep from Sussex and you can buy her wool here.
Another small producer whom we have previously featured is Pam Hall, Herdwick shepherd and wool worker. You can buy yarns from Pam’s Herdwick sheep flock via her website or from The Wool Clip in Cumbria.
In 2013, Kate allowed WOVEMBER to republish her wondrous Q&A with Magnus Holburn, a shepherd growing beautiful wool on the isle of Foula. You can buy Foula wool here.
Another small producer whom we featured here on WOVEMBER is Louise Fairburn, a Lincoln Longwool Shepherd who was famously married in a beautiful wool dress created from her very own flock. You can buy Louise Fairburn’s Lincoln Longwool here.
In 2012 WOVEMBER also profiled Laura Rosenzweig who collects and sorts wool from local shepherds. Here are some of the woollen products developed by Laura from this wool.
This list wouldn’t be complete without including Sue Blacker who is the managing director at The Natural Fibre Company and Blacker Yarns. She has previously contributed to WOVEMBER describing the work that goes into designing yarns and growing her own wool, amongst many other things and is a wealth of woolly knowledge. Here are links to customers and partners on the Natural Fibre Company website – small producers of woollen goods with whom the Natural Fibre Company has worked – and to the Blacker Yarns website, where you can buy many 100% wool yarns that ultimately began life on smallholdings and sheep farms all over the UK.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of small producers of 100% WOOL goods in the UK, but we hope that it’s useful for you to see these Wovember features all together in one place; many of the folks mentioned above have featured in more than one post, so it’s worth searching for the names of shepherds and makers whose woolly stories particularly speak to you! Our small-producers list will continue to grow throughout the month, and we hope that the series will bring you close to some of the amazing people who are working hard to put traceable wool into our hands.