Today’s Woolness & Me post was written by Pauline MacPherson from Midlothian, who has been so inspired by the good that wool can do, that she’s recently started her own wool business.
As it slides through our fingers, as it warms our bodies, as it soothes our minds, we know the ways in which wool creates wellness. But have we perhaps forgotten the most important contribution that wool can make – to the wellness of our land, to the health of the very soil upon which we rely for our food?
Our forebears knew this contribution well. From sheep, to skein, to needles, on to our backs, passed through the generations and thence back to the soil itself, wool created wellness, rightness, warmth – then loam. And the cycle began again.
Now our preference is for synthetic fibre. We walk through our landscapes with plastic on our backs: polyethylene terephthalate. We may cloak it in romantic names; in brands laying claim to a heritage that they will, in time, destroy. But the evidence grows.* Each time we wash these garments, up to 2000 microfibres are shed into our watercourse. To the treatment plant they flow, to settle in the bio-solids which are then spread on our fields as fertiliser. We coat our soil in a layer of plastic dust.
It need not be so. It was not so only two generations ago. We must rediscover the fleece which Nature designed for warmth. Upland fleeces – like those of the Scottish Blackface – evolved to protect from wind, rain, snow and ice. They are Nature’s gift to us. That’s why our company was born: Life Long Yarns: good for the knitter, the shepherd and the earth.
As Wendell Berry said, ‘”We have been wrong. We must change our lives, so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption that what is good for the world will be good for us.”
Wool’s gift is that it clothes us then, when discarded, it feeds the Earth. There is no conflict between our needs and those of our planet. True wellness, true rightness – woolness.
Important Information: images used are © our woolness contributor, unless otherwise specified.
*CountryFile BBC1 21/5/2017