A Q&A With Wovember’s New Team Member: tomofholland

Team Wovember has a new team member: tomofholland. Tom is a self-taught knitter and mender, and you can find out more about his work on his blog. To introduce Tom to all you WOOL lovers, here’s a Q&A baring all:

How did you hear about Wovember?

I found out about Wovember last year either from Kate’s or Felicity’s blog, I can’t remember where I read it first. However, the ideas behind Wovember and their reasons for starting Wovember really resonated with me, as I’ve always loved wearing wool, and it’s always an ugly surprise when you find out that something purportedly woolly turns out to be a wool mix at best, or totally man-made at worst. So I jumped at the chance to contribute to Wovember 2011 and now I get to get involved even closer with something I feel strongly about.

A two-year old Tom is stylish in a knitted cardigan

What is your own interest in wool?

I’m not really sure how exactly I came to love wool as much as I do. It must have started really early, as I can remember always liking woollen jumpers. My grandfather used to farm sheep, although by the time I was born, he just had a ‘small’ flock as a hobby. I think he had between 20 and 30 sheep then. I always enjoyed visiting them during the lambing season most, as it was such an exciting time: would a ewe give birth just as I was there? And of course being allowed to bottle-feed the little lambkins that were rejected by their mother was a highlight. Also, my mother is a very good knitter, although she doesn’t knit much anymore, due to RSI. She could famously knit a jumper, watch the telly and solve a crossword puzzle all at the same time. I was very lucky in that I was always allowed to pick the wool and patterns for my jumpers – nothing was too complicated for her. Funnily enough, I didn’t really knit as a child (although I remember crocheting a fair number of doilies for my grannies), and I didn’t get the knitting bug until well after I moved to the UK, so I find it quite difficult to talk about knitting with my mum, as I don’t know any of the Dutch knitting terms beyond knit (‘rechts’) and purl (‘averechts’)!

Do you have a favourite 100% wool yarn?

One word: Shetland.

Tom’s favourite blanket: 100% Shetland wool made in Shetland, by Crofter Knitters

Do you have a favourite, high-wool-content outfit?

I used to be able to boast having 100% woollen outfits (bar my underwear and shoes), but unfortunately I no longer have woollen trousers that fit me. I love wearing woollies though, so in winter I can go all-out in woollen socks AND woollen jumper AND woollen jacket AND woollen coat AND woollen scarf AND woollen gloves – needless to say, all knitted with my own fair hands. So when I went to the MendRS conference at the beginning of July this year in the Lake District I was elated, as I got to wear lots of wool in the middle of summer, as it was that cold!

a selection of tomofholland handknits

So, to make up for my lack of woollen trousers, I have made the following WOVEMBER resolution: during WOVEMBER, I will sew my own pair of woollen trousers. I already have the fabric (I’m somewhat ashamed to say that I purchased it two years ago, for the very purpose of making trousers and even got as far as making two toiles), and I will blog micro-posts for the duration of WOVEMBER over on my own blog, to keep you all up-to-date and get some much needed cheering on from the WOVEMBER crowd. Then, at the end of Wovember, I will post a picture of me, wearing a high-wool-content outfit.

one sewing machine and yards and yards and yards of woollen fabric