Most of us know wool comes from sheep, and perhaps we think it is always white and all the same: this series of articles may make you think again!
The machine replaces our "old" Fearnaught which was the last remaining machine to have made the journey from Lampeter to Cornwall ...
As many of our avid readers will know, we have been working on a new Blacker yarn range, being launched this month! This is a permanent addition to our ranges, designed to complement the others, providing a further range of textures and fabrics, a luxurious feel and adding to our colour palettes. The colour cards are available right away and the full launch is on 23rd March, 2017.
We've recently been working with our customers on some case studies; these showcase different breeds and items which have been produced using pure wool (or alpaca) fibre. Follow the links below to read individual studies or go to our case studies page to view them all.
It is well known that the Boreray is at the top of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust watch list and that the Soay is still at risk (though thankfully its numbers haven’t dropped in the past year). Due to the small size, propensity to shed and rarity of these breeds they are not usually spun into a yarn as the commercial viability for small quantities is so limited.
Image courtesy of Back Forest Flocks
Farming is both a very traditional and a very experimental and innovative activity. On the one hand, we are inevitably tied to the land and its attributes, whether they are constraints or benefits. On the other we have experience, science and happenstance to provide new ways of doing things – as usual necessity is often the mother of invention and, of course, most farms are almost entirely held together by baler twine!
The innovations started when moving from nomadic to pastoral and then to tillage systems and the first important innovations were the plough, followed considerably later by the mould-board to turn the furrows more effectively, and of course the rotation of crops to eradicate diseases and feed the soil. Originally we were all “organic” and it was only following the discovery that some intensive farming practices might be destroying the soil that the Soil Association and the current organic systems appeared during the twentieth century. This recent period has also seen accelerating innovation in terms of the controversial genetic engineering or modification and cloning.
The Southdown sheep has been established in the UK for over two hundred years, but has been in its current ‘improved’ state since the 1800’s with the breed society being established in 1893. The fibre can be as fine as 29 microns (comparable to Shetland in some cases) and has been used for knitwear for many years.
It seems that this watery story is timely, though sadly not everyone is in a position to appreciate the sheer amount of water around the UK at present. Our thoughts are with those who have suffered flooding and those trying to keep their sheep from growing webbed feet.
Tin has been mined in Cornwall for thousands of years and it is said that Phoenician traders came to the area to buy tin well before the Romans were around.