Thursday, August 6, 2009
The Wool Story
So what does it mean to suggest providing an All-Australian harvested & hand-produced spun wool; in natural colours, without any chemical processing and harmful substances. Well, exactly this: A supply chain that benefits the grower, the designer, the customer, and therefore - the community. In the same fashion as the slow food movement, herein lies an opportunity to bring back a focus to yet another quality product, and a quality lifestyle, by creating a direct relationship between that which comes from the land - our farmers; and the raw material they supply to our producers and designers - our innovators; and the products we make for our customers - our community. As consumers WE make the choice, the choice based on sustaining our lifestyle and our consumption based on our needs: our need for clothes, our need for self-expression & creativity and our need to be part of the community.
So herein lies a balance. This balance has taken me years to establish, in a trade dominated by big industry and monopolised supply chains. Producing a small bespoke wool production seemed impossible; how so, in a country that boasts to be the largest wool producing nation in the world. Growers were mistrustful, mill spinners sceptical and costs for small manufacturing blown out of the market. I did reach a turning point eventually and was met with some enthusiasm and fair prices from few. A small window of opportunity presented itself, and I grasped it. I found growers looking to share a fair go, a spinning mill yearning to be creative, and customers wanting to be part of that story.
So here is the story: This wool is designed to not look mass produced; it is a bespoke product. It comes directly from small farming communities after the sheep are sheared in Spring. The wool is then washed, scoured, carded (so all the fibres run in one direction), drawn (stretched to go through the spinner), and hand controlled spun so the thread is nice and chunky, slubby and bumpy, leaving it natural, light, fluffy and handmade. All this takes many months.
My first Bespoke Wool is available to buy on my new WEB SHOP. It knits up quickly, with big needles and is the inspiration to my first knitting pattern; Construction No 1. A manual on how-to-knit basic shapes, and make many garments creatively by joining the shapes. It is a playful yarn to work with, as the pattern is designed to engage you in the creative process by building, forming, inventing and interpreting. This knitting construction pattern is the first in a series of many more patterns to come; I will keep you posted.