As you know, there were 2 parts to the competition; a blog-post contest and a photo-contest. We have awarded prizes accordingly in both categories.
First prize goes to Kate Woolwinding for her rich accounts of living in Wales, exploring the relationships between her local sheep and her spinning/knitting activities.
We particularly loved Kate’s observations on sheep:
People who don’t know sheep – like some of my friends, for example – often fall into the trap of thinking lambs are soft and pretty and cutesy and fluffy-wuffy, It’s something of a shock when they encounter the real thing. This pet lamb, for instance, was as strong as a small ox.
Kate Davies’s amazing book, ‘Colours of Shetland’, does a superb job of exploring the relationships between the sheep, knitting, history and landscape in Shetland and we thought it would therefore be an apposite prize for Kate Woolwinding’s celebration of these same connections in the very different landscape of the Welsh mountains.
Second prize in the blog-post category goes to Joanne Elizabeth for her post on working with wool.
Wool means so much to me, I imagine the sheep when I am knitting, I gasp at the feeling of the strands turning into a garment, into texture. I inhale the smell of real wool, go crazy about patterns and styles. Knitting and wool; they relax me and bring me home.
We thought that a beautiful felted sheep kit from Ansnag Breac would serve as a beautiful ongoing reminder of that sheep/wool connection valued by Joanne in her words.
Skeins of Brenda Dayne’s handspun 100% WOOL yarns and a selection of WOVEMBER brooches will shortly be on their way to Sara Dunham and Monique Boonstra
Sara’s knowledge of her sheep and the thoughtful way that she works with their wool really spoke to us.
I quickly sat the basket of her wool down and knew she’d sniff it.
…As did Monique’s knitterly account of a trip to Shetland.
I glanced at the colour card and noticed a lovely orange. The same shade of the wrap that the lady on the bus from Voe had been wearing the day before. The road from Voe to Lerwick was long enough for me to study the pattern.
Congratulations to all our winners in the blog post category of the WOVEMBER competition!
As with last year’s photo competition, your photos are amazing! However in thinking about the ‘Closing the Gap’ themes of this year’s WOVEMBER, some of the entries were especially apposite.
First prize goes to Kate Greatorex, who handspun and hand-dyed the yarn for this Gansey.
The pictures show me wearing my Gansey for Derbyshire, a culmination of 4.5 miles of spinning, designing, dyeing and knitting up the wonderful Derbyshire Gritstone fleece. Photographed by my daughter on the moor where they run.
The very act of collecting and processing this local fleece is a wonderful act of ‘Closing the Gap’ in and of itself. One copy of Layter is on its way to you, Kate, and Blacker Yarns will send you the yarn once you know how many balls of yarn you need to knit it. Congratulations!
In publishing the words and thoughts of Finisterre and Lesley Prior throughout WOVEMBER, we have been struck by the passion with which this company and this shepherd are linking commerce, wool, culture and industry together in their work. Lesley’s inspiring blog connects her wool-growing activities to the bigger picture concerning the global wool market, while Finisterre are developing products which celebrate traceability and quality. One of the photos which we felt reflected the centrality of wool to culture, industry, commerce and history is this one taken by Anja Vos;
Growing wool is important for mankind since ancient times. This is an example from the middle ages. Picture was taken in Rouen, in France. It’s a sculpture under an arch in the middle of the town.
Wool has a very real relationship to International trade, and the underside of Rouen’s ornate clock (where Anja’s photo was taken) is said to be decorated with sheep in reference to the fact that Rouen – like many other towns the world over – was built with wool money. This elaborate clock is testimony to a time when the global wool market thrived. If any wool market is to thrive again globally now and in the future, we need to look to trail-blazers like Finisterre and Lesley Prior who are joining up the dots and adapting their products, processes, marketing and business approach to fit the modern market.
We thought that for all the links between commerce and wool, Anja’s photo should win her one Bowmont Scarf from Finisterre!
For the third prize – which is £20 to spend in the Shearer Girl Yarns shop, we thought that Michelle Mohr McMillen’s photo of the textures of her shetland ewe against the bark of a tree was appropriately sheepy and lovely! Lydia’s work shearing sheep has a raw, elemental physicality about it which we felt was exactly matched in the textural celebration of bark and fleece in McMillen’s photo.
I call this photo I took of my fawn gulmoget Shetland ewe Boulderneigh Bramble “Textures.”
Finally, we loved these photos of sheep being sheared by Laura from The Unique Sheep, and a package of yarny goodness and brooches will soon be wending its way to you!
Shearing Shetland sheep, February 2012, Outside of Lexington, KY at Square Peg Farm
There is one last prize to announce, but I am waiting for enough daylight to take a nice photo of it, as it’s too nice to post without showing all you wool enthusiasts what it looks like first.
Congratulations to all our winners, and thank you to everyone who participated in the competition. It’s been lovely to see your photos on the themes of Growing, Harvesting, Processing, Working with, and Wearing, wool.