It's Wool Week! Here's Why That's so Exciting.
It’s the most wonderful week of the year! Well, technically two weeks, but who’s counting? Wool week hit the UK last Saturday and various events will be taking place across the country until the 21st of October. I’ve stolen the calendar and included it below for anyone who might be interested in joining in.
Up until around this time six years ago, I didn’t know a great deal about wool. I was right at the start of my ‘knitting journey’ and hadn’t really had reason to pause and think truly in depth about the qualities that materials offer to clothing. I had been let loose on the yarn shelves at the University of Brighton and for the first time I was fascinated with drape, texture, weight and structure.
Thankfully I was very much in my ‘yes woman’ phase (did I ever come out of it? That’s for another time…) Anyway thanks to my keenness to not miss out on anything I made my way to Wool Week that year. I spent the whole day listening to lectures, live interviews and watching demonstrations and felt like I’d stumbled upon a whole secret society that I’d just been invited to join.
Initially my interest was piqued simply because of the physical attributes that wool has. Wool is a fascinating fibre, it lends itself to so many applications. The first wool week, for me, focused largely on merino and it’s true it really is incredible. I could go into it here, but there’s been at least one other blog post where I’ve talked about it in some depth.
Anyway, my discoveries lead to plenty of wool making its way into my knitting and of course, I continued to visit wool week yearly. The next big development was to come when researching for my dissertation (I promise I won’t bore you all with that, but anyone that want’s to learn about the sustainability debate surrounding wool, in quite a lot more detail, give me a shout!) I learnt about regreening - great TED talk here - and how keeping animals on land that isn’t suitable for arable farming can actually promote biodiversity. I became fascinated with our British breeds.
Much to my beloved housemates’ despair, I started a file, or several, to collate all the information and (really smelly) raw fleece samples I could from every British breed I could find. I based all of the work for my entire final year around celebrating the beauty of British wool. It became quite the obsession, but I’m delighted it did. During this year I found most of the wool suppliers that I still use now and developed my love for Shetland wool.
Nowadays I realise the beauty of wool lies in it’s variety. There’s a place for merino, as there is for Shetland and with that frame of mind, I set up shop. If you feel like you’re interested, but you don’t fully get what all the fuss is about, then I’d really recommend Wool Week. Your eyes will be opened and if you don’t develop an obsession, the chances are you’ll still acquire quite the collection of new jumpers.