I’m Louise, Hello!
One day I wrote this blog post on a local yarn and I was a bit ashamed to discover that almost all of my stash was imported wool.
Quickly I cobbled together the idea to try and knit with as much UK produced yarn as possible, wool grown, spun or dyed in this country and as many British breeds as possible…and not just sheep! There is a wealth of other British grown and dyed fibre such as alpaca, mohair, cashmere, angora, llama…(actually yet to find British llama, do you know any?)
The aim was to knit, review and blog on the subject all year and most importantly promote as many UK producers as possible. There is such a huge local resource out there – a wealth of wool.
After the first year I was off and running and the following year I started the KnitBritish Podcast.
In 2019 the name of the podcast and site changed to something which reflects the value I feel that we must celebrate in every stage of the process from growing wool, to spinning, dyeing, designing and creating with it – it is all important and valuable WoolWork. I still encourage everyone to support their local and I still talk about my local, but WoolWork has come to mean a lot and it speaks to something we all know of. More info in this post here : Episode 119: What’s in a name?
How to Listen?
The WoolWork Podcast is on indefinite pause, but you can listen to episodes right here on the website. Click ‘Podcast’ on the top menu an you will find all episode posts, with detailed notes, starting with the most recent episode.
You can also listen wherever you find audio podcasts. Need some suggestions?
I have never before chosen to affiliate with a company to assist with supporting the podcast, however from November 2020 there is a widget on the sidebar of the website for WoolWork Recommends, an affiliate page on www.uk.bookshop.org –
This is an online book store which supports independent booksellers across the UK (there is also an US version). If you purchase a book from my recommendation list then as well as supporting indie businesses, I can also earn 10% commission. Whenever I link to books on posts I will always try to link to items which are not on Am@zon and if it is an affiliate link to bookshop.org I will state this in the post.
I’m very show at responding! But please email me woolworkpodcast [at] gmail [dot] net. I am also on instagram as @_woolworkThere is a WoolWork group on Ravelry, but due to the recent changes, the severe issues with accessibility and the behaviour of the founder, I cannot use this space.
I’m delighted to hear that you will be using UK fibres.
I am a hand spinner,knitter,fibre artist and fibre crafts tutor and I use as much local fleece and fibre as possible – some of the fleece was raised a mere 2 miles from my home in Midlothian. a nearby farmer is raising an interesting crossbreed – merino/blackface – which spins beautifully, is great for lace weight shawls and I think will dye beautifully too,(when the weather improves,I’ll be dyeing a batch)
Do pop by my website to see a selection of my yarns (which can be purchased from me through the website or my Etsy shop,or Folksy shop,
I think a lot of knitters would find the same as you did, Louise. These days, it is difficult to be aware of the origins of everything we come into contact with because there is so much availability and so much movement of products around the world. I love wool as a material in all it’s forms and I am also very fond of sheep as an animal type – I used to keep Ryelands. I am keen to promote British products and particularly anything local to where I live at the moment, in North Wiltshire. In recent years, I have begun to hand spin and this has opened up a new door to knitting – that of producing my own yarn. Nowadays, I only buy commercial yarn to knit for my little granddaughter as it produces items that are more sympathetic and realistic for her Mum to look after, otherwise I buy some British spun yarn of known provenance and enjoy doing so and increasingly, spin my own. In time, I might spread my spinning into other fibres, since, as you say, Alpaca, etc. is widely available in the UK. I will keep in touch with your Blog and applaud your what you are aiming for! 🙂
I am loving this! Have been a knitwear designer for some time but just started spinning my own wool. At the moment, since I am in Wales am also spinning rare Welsh breeds. It is great working the whole process from sheep to garment!
Looking forward to reading all about your British yarn adventures, and discovering some new ones to try. My latest British discovery is Low Sutton Yarn from Yorkshire. Natural sheep yarn, beautiful shades! I made a hat in a grey blend and it’s so toasty and warm! x
Not heard of Low Sutton, so thanks I will add it to my wishlist! And thank you xx
*2014 British yarn adventures !!
I love this idea. I also wrote about local yarn last year and need to really get on with sourcing and using more local yarn. I am looking forward to listening to your podcast and having a good look around you blog. Thank you!
this is super! I’m studying textiles at Shetland College and plan to use only yarn produced within the UK, possibly even just Scotland. Still at the researching stage so I hope your site will help! x
Give me a shout any time, I have plenty suggestions!
thanks, will do. probably at the end of the year when my dissertation is done!
I’ve been following your blog and podcast for some time – and I will try and see whether the same is possible in France.
Not sure how I missed your comment ConnieK, but am very interested to know what your KnitLocal scene is like in France. Drop me a line!
[…] sollte man es so machen wie Louise von Knit British und konsequent nur Garne zu verstricken, die komplett im eigenen Land unter nachhaltigen […]
For 2,000 years, Britain was acknowledged to have the best wool in the world. During my last trip to Britain, I was certain of this, and I bought a lot of yarn, and since than I have mail ordered a good bit of yarn from GB.
More recently, I have become a better hand spinner, and discovered that over here (it does not matter where), we have wool that is just as good.
The truth is; that 6 continents and a few islands, produce really wonderful wool that is better than can be fully displayed and utilized by most craft persons.
I find the the limiting factor is how much crafts people are willing to pay to turn wool into exceptional yarn; and, how much skill and effort goes into the knitting. I think the real resource of GB is the wool board (grading and sorting) and good yarn mills. The GB yarn industry is in turmoil, and some of the best old time yarn mills are wearing out, and the spinning technology is being replaced by new equipment – some of which is designed to produce yarns with a lower price point. These new yarns produce different fabrics than the traditional British Masterpieces. Whether they are better or worse than the traditional British knitting depends on the skill and creativity of the knitters.
I like some of the traditional British yarns, but find they are no longer commercially available, so I have to hand spin my yarns to get the traditional British fabrics that I love. Thus, I spin traditional British style yarns from local fiber.
Can I ask a naive question? I got cross that Rowan wool wasn’t British…. But if I like one of their patterns using Brushed Fleece… How can I ensure that I get a substitute British yarn which is the right thickness etc?
you need to determine the weight that that pattern calls for. is Brushed fleece a DK or 4ply? also all patterns have a gauge of stitches and rows so you would choose a yarn of a similar weight and gauge.