KAL, Podcast, Wool Exploration, Wool Work, WoolWork
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Episode 122- Festive, with air quotes

There is some kind of festive holiday afoot – not sure what that is, but if you would like a break away settle in a while with me –  Wool Phasers are set to the ‘comfy n cozy’ setting.


Also available on Spotify, iTunes and wherever you find your podcasts!

n.b. I’ve split wool exploration across the episode as it is a lot to get through in one sitting. For the ease of writing shownotes, I’ve just included a short summary section. Please note that the shownotes does not reflect the running order of the podcast. (Though I’m not sure it always does, anyway!)

Also, last episode I mentioned that I would have Zoe Fletcher’s talk from the day at Fine Fettle Fibres, but Wool Exploration has taken up all the bandwidth for this ep, so that will appear in January. Sorry about that.

| Importance of self-keeping

We can take a mental and physical battering at any time of year, but this time of year particularly. Add to that, that here in the UK we’ve just had a catastrophic (IMHO) election result. Feelings of anxiety, grief and terror are abounding. The UK has been under conservative rule for 9 years and – like the last time they had a strong hold – there has been (i use it again) catastrophic effects to people and to services.  Austerity is crippling people.  Did you know over 2000 foodbanks have been established since the Tories came to power? How many more people will be pushed to poverty as they continue to be in power? Racism, Islamophobia, xenophobia, Homophobia and Transphobia are clearly at home in the corridors or power and are leaching further out and higher into society. I could go on about the damage done to our National Health Service, or the damage they’ve caused since the EU Referendum and continued blunders through the Brexit omnishambles.  I feel, like many people do, despondent and despairing. (If that poor excuse of a US president and the poor excuse for a UK Prime Minister get left alone in a room together I fear EVEN more. )  – please know if you feel like this too I am sending a massive hug of solidarity.

Boy! when I talk about the politics it doesn’t make the whole festive holiday feel quite so bad! But that’s not the case for all of us. Again, through this “Festive” time (sarcastic Ho, Ho, Ho) know that there are those of us who get it. Who know its not all fun. Who know it can be painful, or lonely. It can be hard to fight our way through the mental murk, but self-care was made for this. I hope you can carve out time that is just for you, that is dedicated to some small act that makes you feel good; or calm or spoiled. One of mine is to pick a festive audio book and take myself away for a couple of hours listen to it entirely. I mention the Matt Haig Christmas books (which are not just for kids!) and you can find those on audible.

But it could be anything! (Selfcare Cinema is another favourite of mine)   

Listening back to what I recorded, I should have also mentioned how you can donate to Foodbanks in your area. The Trussell Trust supports over 1200 foodbank centres and provide a minimum of three days of nutritionally balanced food to people and families in crisis. They also provide support too. If you have a few pounds, they could really do with a donation – www.trusselltrust.org/make-a-donation/


I always have a link to the Mind website in my instagram profile, which links to various helplines and resources, if you are finding things tough and need to speak to someone. This link will also take you to that page. 

| Tin Can Knits-along

Amazing that there are already a couple of finished items in this KAL, which kicked off on the 1st!

I had decided to make a Snowflake sweater, but ended up having to rip out the almost-finished yoke part as I made a silly mistake! Ah well, onwards!

There is still plenty of time to participate! We will be knitting til 14th February. Are you planning to join in?

| Small Gestures 

By the time this goes out, I will have sent out (or will be about to!) the pairings for the Small Gestures Swap. Thank you so much for participating! You make this really special

| Wool Exploration with Welsh Mountain Group

Whooo-wee! Taking on a whole breed group is always interesting! This time around we looked at the Welsh Mountain Group, which comprises of Black Welsh Mountain, South Welsh Mountain. Welsh Mountain, Balwen and the Badger Faces Torddu (pronounced Torthee) and Torwen.

For image credits please roll over the images. All images shared via Creative Commons

Our wool explorers were Drygardening; WoollyElly; Me; ACraftyScientist; WFCornwell; Dreynold1; BellaRah19; MadameMaigret;ThinkandKnitGreen; PracticalCat; RamsayBaggins;

We used yarn from Black Bat Rare Breeds; Blacker Yarns; Armscote Manor; Elise Langley; Black Hill Sheep.

We used fibre from Wychwood Spinner; Winghams; Adelaide Walker

Written Resources for Welsh Mountain Group used were: The Fleece and Fibre Source Book by Deb Robson and Carol Ekarius and A Breed Apart by Adam Henson


| Thank you, pals!

Thank you for everything this year, my wool pals! Thank you for supporting WoolWork (Nee KnitBritish); thank you for participating with Fieldwork KAL; with Good Intentions Club; with the Tin Can Knits Along and the Small Gestures Swap. Thank you for everyone who participates with Wool Exploration from chatting to exploring and adding your valuable experience. Thank you to everyone who has been on the podcast this year. Thanks to everyone I met at events this year. Thank you for all your online contact too.  Thank you to everyone who bought me kofi/coffee this year. Just thank you! I could’t do this podcast without you. I say it all the time, but your enthusiasm for your own wool work just makes this for me!

A very special thanks to those of you who don’t chat in the group, who don’t follow on social media, but who listen and who participate along with us. I see you. I know you are there.

Important Information

Music used this episode – Bortex with Happy Holidays; David Mumford with Singin’ in the Rain (demo) and Snowy O McSnowerson and The O So Snowly Snowers with Felliz Navida and all those are available from FreeMusicArchive and shared via CreativeCommons. Images are copyright to those attributed on the images, or in the additional information


  1. No Name says

    I decided not to listen to the rest of your podcast after you commented on the poor excuse of the US president. I wonder how you formulate your opinion when you live in another country. Our unemployment for minorities is the lowest in recorded history. Wages are up, the stock market is strong, etc. I feel your opinion is framed by our main stream press which is very biased and very liberal. At any rate I will enjoy my knitting without your political commentary.

    • louise says

      Dear No name,
      My opinion really isn’t based on simply the media. As for my political commentary and knitting, you must be new to the podcast – I never shy away from sharing my opinion on my show. You can keep on pretending that knitting isn’t political, but from the items you choose to make and the very material you choose to buy and where you buy it from… it’s ALL political.
      Many many good wishes for 2020.

  2. Sarah S says

    Sending love and gratitude. My wish is that goodness prevails, both in the US and in the UK.

  3. Rhian says

    Louise, thank you for your forthrightedness (is there such a word) I too am in despair over the political situation. I live in a county in Wales where a carpetbagging Tory candidate was parachuted in about two months before the election and won the county. The majority of Wales is now blue which breaks my heart- I am a nationalist and like Scotland do not trust the self serving Tories in Westminster to do anything for us here inWales. My solace at the moment is knitting ( although I can’t do fair isle or colour work which is my ambition) I crochet and sew and love your podcast. My hope is that our indieWales movement gathers the same strength as the Scottish movement. And totally agree – knitting IS POLITICAL !!

    • louise says

      It’s utterly deplorable! crossing my fingers and ✊ here for you in solidarity (and wool
      and knitting etc)

  4. ECRob says

    I feel your pain because it’s my pain too. Thank goodness for wool and knitting!

  5. Freyalyn Close-Hainsworth says

    It is a very dark time – we just have to hold on and share the light with each other as best we can.

    I had such woolly plans for my time off work but now I have a stinking cold, hence the 1.30am lemsip as aches/sniffs/blocked nose has got me out of bed.

    I did the Snowflake sweater a few years ago, and had to restart too.

  6. Mandy says

    I am very sad to read this article. I subscribe to wool related sites , for just that . And not a political rant read…. I shall be unsubscribing

    • louise says

      I suspect this is the first time you’ve been here, given your turn of phrase, Mandy.
      Take good care

  7. Helouise says

    Agree with what you say – it is Catastrophic. Can’t believe it – are people blind or stupid- they obviously hate more than they love. I’m from England.

  8. This is the first time I found your podcast. I am an American from California who has been in despair for three years and counting, and I am deeply saddened that Great Britain now seems to have fallen into the same mess we’ve been stuck in.

    I agree that knitting, with the choices it offers has political overtones, as do more elements of life than we like to recognize. Thank you for speaking out.

    My husband is a Scot born and bred in Greenock. I am a secular Jew originally from New York City. Christmas is a time when we feel excluded. It was a breath of fresh air to hear you say that not everybody is endlessly enchanted by it.

    I loved the discussion of the sheep breeds of Wales. You make it sound so romantic. You have a new subscriber in me because I so enjoyed listening to you.

  9. Amanda Ferry says

    It’s Christmas Eve here and indeed, its hard to feel festive given the political state of the world. Nonetheless, I potter around my kitchen, baking pies and cookies, listening to your soothing discussion of welsh wool. Thank you. You’ve improved my festive day.

  10. I love your podcast, Louise! It is always informative, thought provoking and fun – it has lead to more than one rabbit hole. I look forward to it with great anticipation. Thank you, also for posting links to shops for rarer breeds of British wool fibre – they can be difficult to source in Canada. Amazingly enough, it is less expensive to have fibre shipped from the UK than the US (and sometimes in Canada as well – depending on what part of the country things are shipped from/to).

    I share your feelings with regard to the insanity that is politics today and wonder if it “was always thus” or if we hear more about it now because of the internet, social media, etc., and, as we know – bad/controversial news “sells papers” I’m taking a news break over the rest of the holidays – Christmas Morning’s newscast on CBC at 7:00 AM had absolutely nothing other than upsetting news – it was a good thing the weather report was favourable!!

    Think I’ll pour another coffee and spin some of Hilltop Cloud’s delightful Colours of Cambria: Mine fibre!! Maybe later I’ll continue reading Esther Rutter’s “This Golden Fleece”. I’m also excited about your upcoming Wool Exploration 🙂

    Wishing you and this community all the very best in the New Year.

    • louise says

      Thanks so much, Rose!
      Yes, time away from the rolling news is actually good!
      I wish you a fabulous new year yourself and glad to have you explore wool with us!

  11. Catching up with my listening in January 2020. Really enjoyed the woolly content and chat as always. Personally I don’t agree with all your political opinions but it’s your blog and your thoughts so I will definitely continue to listen and learn. It’s important to listen to all sides and consider what is being said and why and to think about our own views and opinions and challenge ourselves otherwise we would all be stuck in straight ruts. Please continue to speak your mind, ruffle feathers and make some of us feel uncomfortable – it’s all part of growing up (says she who is nearly 70).

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