Image taken on a walk at Rothiemurchas, near the Green Lochan
Ooft! Where has the time gone?
I confess that it has been quite some time since I started writing the notes for this episode and I haven’t finished them, so it might get a bit route-less halfway through.
To be honest the feeling just came upon me to record today and as such – on this whim – my set up is incredibly poor! [Post recording note: its a bit echoey for the first eight mins or so!]
This episode feels like an attempt to get back to a regular show…bear with me!
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I’ve been doing a lot of different kinds of drafts recently. I don’t know if it’s a change in the seasons, or just something of the COVID times, but I seem to be writing a lot, putting lines through things, taking more notes, scribbling, note-taking on notes. It’s not just one kind of draft but lots of different things. Some become not quite waste paper fodder – I like to think that they will come around again with more coherence another time! Some are waiting for more inspiration and some are taking precedence over others. Some of these fruitful and less fruitful drafts have included:
Drafts of wool exploration notes and wool exploration posts! – No! We don’t have any wool exploration this episode, but its merely a timing factor this episode. We will have Zwartbles Wool Exploration next time. I am also creating drafts of wool exploration posts for instagram, and more about that when its had time to season.
Drafts of posts for blogs – and of these drafts ONE has made it to fruition- hurrah for that one! I posted on my last cast off. If you are on the website you will see a new menu option at the top of the screen ‘ My Makes’. This is where I will file posts related to anything I finish knitting or sewing. I don’t want to waste too much breath about *whispers* R*velry, but I think I mentioned last time that I intended to use the website to place my FOs and all the important information about the make. You can see that post – about the Gryer shawl below.
Friends, I am still thinking about what I can do as alternative to the community space we shared on that website. I am hopeful when we get the website changes done before the end of the year that I will have some answer on that. I have been thankful for the suggestions of Mighty Networks but I do need to try out a few more of these before I commit. It feels helluva facebookish to me and that is something I’m not interested in, but there is the possibility that my new website could have a forum function, I just need to look into that a bit more.
Other drafts this month have included an outline for a possible talk, so keep your peepers peeled for that!
I find I use my notes facility in my phone a lot more these days – do you? sometimes I write loads and other times I go back and think- what did that mean and when did I even write that?
I used to get upset at my odd bits of notes and unfinished posts, or notes on my phone, or drafts of emails (though to be fair I blame the changes to outlook which seem to make it very easy for me to accidentally open a new email on my work pc when I don’t mean to! I deleted 78 blank emails from my draft folder yesterday!) I seem to be getting more zen about shedding notes here and there. I often pick them up again and they form part of another idea or story or plan.
On Draughts, or Wool for the Home!
The Autumn equinox has passed and we have moved over into that special time of year; the engoldening, I like to call it. Autumn is a brief season, particularly in Scotland, so enjoy the bounty it has to offer. One thing that I have noticed though is that edge (or threat!) of winter in the air and I have started to think about not only wool for my body, but wool for the home. Do you have a woolly home? I know some of us have enough stash to insulate our own homes!
I have been thinking about wool (understatement, I am always thinking about wool!) and about the dreadful wool prices this year in the UK, due to COVID.
The Wool Items in the Home You Can’t Live Without!
I asked on social media the other week what were the things at home which were wool based that you couldn’t live without – wool stash and handmade items not included! – I was really overjoyed to see so many answers with wool bedding (from bed to pillows and every layer in between) and blankets being high up there and wool rugs and carpets too. I have never used any wool bedding so I thought I would give us a little run down of companies in the UK who are selling such delights!
Of course we know the benefits of wool, don’t we?
It’s hypoallergenic and antibacterial properties and also its resistant to dust mites, mould, and mildew;
It is a great temperature regulator – warm and cool – and great for wicking moisture too
it’s long lasting, hardworking and flame resistant!
I could go on, but I think you get the point, or points, which are – why wouldn’t wool be best utilised in the home in addition to on our needles?!
The businesses that my chums on Instagram wanted to yell about are as follows – and this is listed by popularity in that instagram story post
Baavet (pronounced Baa-vey) is run by Roger and Lesley Payne struck on the idea to create wool duvets back in 2009, when it was a really a novel idea indeed. The wool is all sourced in Britain, fully traceable, with most of it coming from Wales and its scoured and milled in Yorkshire. Their website is a real treat of info and FAQs about wool. I heartily recommend you take a read. I was really impressed.
In addition to Wool duvets (from £91) They make pillows (from £36) ; mattress protectors (from £91); throws and most recently a wool layered mattress. They also make pet beds, which IslaP1K1’s dog Fizz heartily recommended on insta!
What I love the most about the pillows, and a few people recommended this, is that you can choose different levels of plumpness and your pillows can be adjusted by adding more wool neps or taking some out! I have a neurological issue which means that I can need different height pillows depending on pain and pressure. The idea that I could whip out or add wool would be a game changer. Also wool won’t flatten like synthetic fibre, so I reckon that eventual pillow-flop won’t happen with wool.
You can hear a lovely BBC interview with Roger and Lesley on Youtube – https://youtu.be/G8RFesWtBIU and their own website with shop is; https://www.baavet.co.uk/
Adam Curtis Online / Real Shetland Wool
You will have heard me mention The Real Shetland Wool Company and Adam Curtis Online before, and along with Jamieson and Smith, they are all under the parent company Curtis Wool Direct. A few years ago I visited CWD with Felix Ford and we got a great tour from Martin Curtis. The emphasis – of course – is on Shetland wool from Shetland
Shetland Wool bedding is available from Adam Curtis Online. Their duvets and pillows are made in the UK from 100% Shetland wool. The duvets from single to King-size, come in different weights from light to heavy and the pillows come in soft or firm, with a standard size and a king size. At the time of recording there are some really cracking discounts available on the bedding – Double duvets currently start at £145 (usually $205) and pillows start at £36.
As blankets were also a top recommend from the insta-story I would ask you to have a look at the Shetland blankets available from ACO – I mean, I am totally biased, that is my home breed There are British wool throws too and purchasing certain styles will see a donation to Martins House, a charity which provides hospice care for children and young people.
In addition to bedding and blankets I do encourage you to have a good look at Adam Curtis Online, – there are sheepskins, rugs, yarn, tops and patterns too!
The Wool Room
Another website with a lot of great choice in homewools is The Wool Room. There are a lot of great items for sale on their website and all of their claims about how great wool is as an aid to sleep, comfort, temperature etc is backed up with really good data – including sleep guides, detailed product information and FAQs.
This could really be y0ur one stop shop for every wool product your home needs from the bedroom – including the beds and mattresses – to the kids rooms, for your living room and homewares.
The Wool Room’s range of bedding comes in a classic, luxury and deluxe range; the latter two ranges contain wool which is entirely traceable through their association with an organisation called Woolkeepers (which FD I haven’t looked into yet but appear to be associated with Red Tractor and looks at standards and marketing). Each range has within it a range of warmth from light to medium and warm. Pillows start at £35 (classic) to £120 (luxury) and duvets start from around £45 (classic) towards £300 + for the luxury end. There are also machine washable pillows and duvets in the range, these are in the deluxe and luxury lines. They are made machine washable by going through the process we knitters might know as superwash, which is a chemical process. Like I say wool room are good with the facts, so they have information on their website which claims that no chemicals are left on the duvets themselves. And if that adjustable pillow thing also sounded good to you when I mentioned it before, The Wool Room have adjustable pillows in their deluxe and luxury ranges too!
Oh! and they also don’t like to use plastic in packaging, so yay for that!
Devon Duvets is a family-run business, owned by husband and wife team Dick and Pauline Beijen in Devon, if the name didn’t already give it away! Devon Duvets use 100 % certified British wool and they draw from the expertise of their skilled seamstresses to create truly bespoke wool bedding. With that expertise they say they have created a special needling technique which enables a consistent thickness and does not become patchy or clump together with use! There are some great videos on their website of their products and processes.
Devon Duvets create pillows, duvets and mattress protectors too and I find their pillows really fascinating. Firstly, there is their wool pillow (£55) which has this great adjustable nature where you can add or subtract wool for comfort. Devon Duvets also sell (two fold (£59); three fold (£69) and four fold pillows (£79) – each offers a difference of light to firm support, but the folding parts are just genius- They fold up into a regular pillow shape, but with the three and four fold versions, you can adjust neck support by rolling one of the folds. I really encourage you to watch their short video demonstration on this: https://www.devonduvets.com/wool-pillows.
While the folding pillows don’t seem to be adjustable in terms of the adding or subtracting filling the folding is amazing and you can unfold them and air them, which is really a super idea.
Thanks for telling me about your woolly bedding and homewares!
Ladies and gents, The note-less portion of the show!
I had a migraine this week so I am less than linear today, but I talk a little bit about needing to get out to nature, my recent trip to the Highlands and from there (less than seamlessly) I talk about poems and even read one, which is Heron, Norman Maccaig. I also mention two new poetry book purchases, which are Bantam by Jackie Kay and How to Fly, In Ten Thousand Easy Lessions by Barbara Kingsolver
Small Gestures Swap
Sadly, our festive swap will be changing because I can no longer host this in our R+velry group. I have been thinking though about a different kind of small gesture. Since lockdown I have been sending postcards. It was incredibly brilliant that the world moved to communicating online, but I felt I needed a different kind of connection and it was a lovely to start a different kind of correspondence. I need to let this percolate a little, but I will set something up soon as the final international posting day for Christmas will be next month for some countries. I also know that there are delays in some countries and issues with the postal service, so sooner is better.
I’m for those who will miss the element on the group and the pattern giving, however 2020 seems to embody change this year! And it will mean that people who don’t use that particular website can participate too. Keep your eyes on the blog / Instagram and I will try and post something soon.
| Important Information
Music this episode is Doctor Turtle Doctor Talos Opens the Door and David Mumford Singin’ in the Rain (demo) both of which are available from FreeMusicArchive.
Information on wool bedding is taken from the websites of the companies listed and prices were correct at the time of recording.
All Images are mine, unless copyright is otherwise stated. Please do not use images without permission.
Great hearing from you..change takes time and both verbal and mental deliberation..you have such a sense of creativity and a lovely wool obsession , which I share ..fun to look at all the wool duvets and other products
Suddenly turned cooler here in Mississauga ontario, single digits, and all thoughts turn to wool..there is sure nothing like wool to keep you warm from socks , shawls, and when my aging hips ache, I wrap myself in a large wool shawl there too…look forward to following your thoughts on what new things to might do…always in wool..pat jarvis
The Engoldening 💚
I have pillows from The Wool Room and I really love them. Thanks for this blog and I can’t wait to make some time to listen to the podcast.
I’ve grabbed a WIP (a Halloween bat that I’m knitting in Herdwick rug wool), I’ve grabbed a drink (but how did that mug of coffee get cold ?) And it is so so lovely to hear from you again on the podcast at this, the engoldening of the year.
Although I do use some social media (but not Instagram) I too would prefer a future community space to have a forum-style format so that I can follow individual discussions, rather than a Facebook-type interface where everything seems to me to be lumped into a single amorphous feed.
Thank you for sharing some word exploration with us this time as well as the wool. I was reminded of an Angela Carter story, The Erl-King, that I read recently. Her description seems to capture some of the mood of this particular year-ending.
“A cold day of late October, when the withered blackberries dangled like their own dour spooks on the discoloured brambles. There were crisp husks of beechmast and cast acorn cups underfoot in the russet slime of dead bracken where the rains of the equinox had so soaked the earth that the cold oozed up through the soles of the shoes, lancinating cold of the approach of winter that grips hold of your belly and squeezes it tight. Now the stark elders have an anorexic look; there is not much in the autumn wood to make you smile but it is not yet, not quite yet, the saddest time of the year. Only, there is a haunting sense of the imminent cessation of being; the year, in turning, turns in on itself. Introspective weather, a sickroom hush.”
But dormancy is not death. Retracting and lying fallow is only a state that enables new possibilities in the future. And here’s to those.
That is beautiful, Mazzy! Thank you for sharing that.
I may be jumping the gun here but I do have a suggestion for a forum. I volunteer for a charity called Knit-a-square and our forum is run by Ning: http://www.forum.knit-a-square.com
It does cost but perhaps you could run it with donations from your members? I know I would be willing to contribute to a community like this.
Louise, you have inspired me from the moment I first listened to your podcast last year. Thank you for your passion, laughter (you have a laugh doppelgänger in Ontario, Canada) and your love of wool. Keep ‘drafting’!
Lovely to hear your voice again. I have missed you but then I have missed many things. Postcards, hmm, I need to get busy and make some.