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Hello loves!

Welcome to September! It’s a bit bonkers that it’s here already, but I won’t pretend not to be excited at the onset of Autumn – personally it’s my favourite season, and also from a LAD point of view, it’s when things start to get really exciting and busy in the studio. We’re already seeing lots of (shhh) Christmas products being ordered, and we are loving the organisation from you all. 

This week, with the prospect of the cooler months, log fires, crisp Autumn mornings, and more chunky knits being needed, we’re giving you a preview of our new yarn that we’re launching this weekend (plus a sneaky peek at our new kit coming next week!)

New - 100% British Wool

Earlier on this year, we were approached by a television company which produces the series ‘Joe Lycett’s Got your Back’ who were informing us of a campaign Joe was exploring as part of the upcoming series. This is what they told us:

“We’re investigating the issue of British wool that’s going to waste. Due to the lack of trade, some farmers have had to resort to compost ing their fleeces and some even burned them.  

As a natural,  biodegradable, renewable, hardwearing fibre that can be easily recycled, not utilising this miracle textile is a huge waste as well as a lost opportunity for the fashion industry. What’s more, wool is a by-product of animal welfare processes required to keep sheep healthy and requires less water than cotton and less energy than polyester to produce.

Joe will be fighting to make British wool cool again and will be teaming up with popular brands to champion the product.”

As you know, we have been expanding our yarn range over the last 12 months and have been keen to add more products to our collection. It seemed like the perfect time to introduce some British Wool – as highlighted above, farmers need the support, the wool itself is beautiful and it’s produced on our doorstep. We don’t want to contribute to the destruction of valuable fleeces by ignoring it.

So we pledged as part of Joe’s campaign to support British Farmers and we set out to find some British Wool that would fit with our current yarn range, as well as our patterns. So, welcome to our Super Chunky 100% British Wool… 😍😍

We are starting our collection with four colours, from two different breeds; Shetland and Blue Faced Leicester.

Shetland Sheep

Our three darker shades come from beautiful Shetland sheep. We have Grey (beautifully natural and flecked), Moorit (which is a kind of reddish brown – it’s so stunning) and Dark Brown (which is like a dark chocolate shade.) There are eleven main whole colours in total of Shetland sheep, with many shades in-between. We’ve chosen the three that we think you’d love the most!

Because the yarn isn’t dyed, as you can see from the picture below the colours are just as they are on the sheep, there will be differences in the shade lots. However because the yarn colour is so natural and flecked, and they come from that specific breed (ie Moorit) the differences will be very small.

shetland sheep
photo credit: https://www.davegifford.co.uk/photo/shetland-wool-colours/

The Shetland wool is really squishy and bouncy – just like the sheep, and it has an incredible smell to it. It feels wholesome and comforting, and kind of takes me back to my childhood. It’s such an evocative smell which I absolutely adore. I love knitting with it and I love wearing it. It doesn’t feel itchy like you imagine it might – and I know it’s going to be a favourite of mine.

Blue Faced Leicester

We’ve only got one shade of Blue Faced Leicester (or BFL for short) and although we could have chosen a white Shetland, we thought we’d offer a different sheep wool because this one has such a beautifully soft feel and sheen to it. It is smoother than the Shetland, and also will be possible to supply dyed too, if we decide to go down that route.

It doesn’t have as strong a smell to it, which may be preferable to you – although I do prefer the Shetland feel! The BFL sheep are a lot smoother and silkier than the Shetland which is why they give a softer wool. The BFL wool is extremely popular with hand spinners because it is so hardwearing.

Sheep Welfare

The wool we are stocking is sourced via the British Wool marketing board which is responsible for all the UK farmers. There isn’t one specific supplier that the wool comes from, it could be a smallholder with a few sheep or a larger farm that keep sheep for grazing.

Shetland sheep especially are very popular with smallholders, they are very rarely used for meat purposes as they are quite petite and therefore not commercial in that way. Most Shetland owners have them purely for company or grazing!

BFL are bred by farmers and smallholders for both meat and wool, and are one of the most popular breeds of sheep. And like the Shetland crew, they make wonderful companions.

Because of the way the sheep owners are managed, we don’t have any concerns to the welfare of the sheep, and have been very conscious about reputable sourcing of the wool.

We’ve also got a great relationship with our supplier who is incredibly passionate and knowledgeable about the sheep – even being a sheep owner themselves! So they have been able to answer all our questions and concerns.

The Wool

All four yarns are Super Chunky – which means they can be used for all of our Super Chunky patterns. The hanks are 200g and 130m, exactly the same as our Merino yarn, so if you use that regularly, you’ll be able to adapt to this no problem at all.

Like our merino yarn, this wool is hand wash only. After knitting with it and wearing the finished knits, we’ve noticed it doesn’t pill as much as the merino – which means it’s not necessary for the finished items to be blocked (although it’s still a good idea if you have time.) The hanks can also be wound into balls if you choose to select this when you buy. And you will also be able to buy bundles too!

It’s pretty much the same blueprint as our merino, but it is undyed, totally natural and has a gorgeous smell to it.

When is it available?

Saturday! Those of you who are signed up to the mailing list will get an email in your inbox Saturday morning – and it will be live on the site from then. Available in single hanks, and bundles of 4, 8 & 12.

Any specific patterns coming?

YEAH!! We’ve got a pattern launching next Wednesday (we’re a little behind because we needed to totally perfect it before sending to print) and some of you beady eyed LAD’s spotted me wearing it when we did our Country Living Christmas photo shoot a couple of months ago. It’s a cable sleeved cardigan that I just know you’re going to love! It’s already my new favourite Autumn knit and it’s not even Autumn yet…. We wanted to create a pattern that honoured the British wool, that hinted at old aran knits but with a modern twist. 

We’ll be designing more, but in the meantime we can’t wait to see you knit up some of our current patterns in the British wool as we know they’re going to look incredible – we’ve already made the sweater vest in the Shetland Dark Brown and it’s a beauty.

I can’t wait to hear what you think – and I can’t wait for you to create some of your favourites in it. I really hope you love it as much as we do. And by buying British wool it means that those beautiful fleeces don’t go to waste and our British farmers are supported. It’s a win win!

See you next time LAD’s – hugs as always,

Helen xx

Further information

Shetland Sheep and their wool: https://www.shetland-sheep.org.uk/shetland-sheep-breed/colours-markings

History of Shetland Sheep: https://www.shetland-sheep.org.uk/shetland-sheep-breed/history

History of Blue Faced Leicester Sheep: https://bflsheep.com/history-of-bfl-sheep/

Blue Faced Leicester Association: https://blueleicester.co.uk

British Wool Marketing Board: https://www.britishwool.org.uk

Joe Lycett’s Got Your Back Campaign: https://www.channel4.com/programmes/joe-lycetts-got-your-back/on-demand/72193-003

What a LAD

Chunky knitter, tea drinker, word writer. I'm Lauren Aston: bringing you 90% waffle and 10% useful information.

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