Friday, 21 September 2007

Woolly Stuff

With the arrival of the darker cooler evenings I will doing more spinning and knitting. Its not that I stop in the summer its just that there always seems to be something I should be doing in the garden instead.

In a comment on my last post Tash at Vintage Pretty asked where I get my wool from, so I thought I would get together a short list of some of my favourite woolly places.

I have bought fleece from Garthenor Organic based in Wales. I have only bought bags of washed fleece but they have an impressive range of organic yarns. The website is also has a list of rare breed sheep with great photos. The third jumper down in the photo was made from a yarn blended from three colours of shetland fleece.

Another favourite, for other organic goodies as well, is Greenfibres. I been buying here for years. Its not always the cheapest organic option but the quality is good and I've bought bedlinen, T-shirts, underwear and thick winter tights, towelling bathrobes as well as wool. The wool I bought from here was chunky weight "Castlemilk Moorit". This breed of sheep is very rare and almost disappeared altogether some years ago which is a pity as it has a rich chocolate coloured fleece. Its the bottom cardigan in my picture but the colour is actually a lot richer than that.

I always like to support local sustainable business and came across John Arbon Textiles, "The Alpaca shop" when we spent a weekend at a Youth Hostel in Lynton, Exmoor. Here I bought some double knitting Alpaca. Its the second jumper down in the photo, naturally coloured alpaca. Alpaca knits up very softly though I have found it matts slightly after a while, even with very careful hand washing.

Most of my knitting is with natural uncoloured wool but when I do want some colour my first stop is one of the two Shetland wool firms Jamiesons of Shetland or Smith and Jamieson. I have received excellent mail order service from both companies. Shetland is one of my all time favourite places. We have spent three brilliant holidays exploring the islands from Fair Isle in the south to Unst in the North and I am sure this has influenced my liking for this wool. The wool from Jamiesons is actually spun on the island and I looked around the factory at Sandness on one of our holidays.

I think that covers most of the sources of my wool and fleece over the last few years. It has taken me ages to write this post because I keep getting sidetracked and start remembering the places we went on holiday and also looking at all the yarns and fibres available.

I must keep repeating ....

I will not buy any wool until I've used up some of my stash.... I will not buy any wool..... I will not buy.....


Alison said...

If you are able to resist buying wool then you are a far better person than me:-)
Thanks for the list of links. I will check them out.

tash said...

That's a formidable list and one that I'll definitely enjoy perusing! Thanks for posting it.

Jane said...

About 20 years ago a local mill closed down - it did it slowly so over about 18 months I bought up rows and rows of cones of shetland wool - I was 18 and it was the year after Kaffe Fasset published his Glorious knitting book which is pre Rowan Yarns and uses doubled up cone wool for lots of the patterns.
I knitted a couple of coats and lots of cardis but still have the majority of the stash stored at my parents! I definately must not buy any more wool . . ...