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Since Wovember began in 2011 we have brought you almost 300 posts of carefully curated woolly content.

Content from the Wovember archives
Content from the Wovember archives

In the last two years our turbo enthusiasm for wool plus generous contributions of words and pictures brought you a dazzling daily line-up that included a daily wool photograph; a Wovember Words post; and a main woolly post in the evening. There were sometimes also random long form posts inserted into the schedule of an afternoon, in an effort to cram maximum wool content into the month. We love wool so much that the content list kept growing, year by year… to put this in context, in 2011, Wovember published 23 posts but, by last year, that post count had crept up to 97. Some of you expressed that so much information can be a bit overwhelming to read and we confess that it is also quite overwhelming to produce it, too, so this year we’ve been re-thinking things. The motto for 2016 at Wovember HQ is that less is definitely more and we do not intend to dilute our theme – The Politics of Wool – by posting too often or too much. As well as the content we have been carefully curating behind the scenes, this year’s Wovember is about taking time and space to enjoy working with wool and contemplating its place in our lives.

A Shetland ram representing the animals behind glorious Shetland wool
A Shetland ram representing the animals behind glorious Shetland wool

We made the 2016 theme The Politics of Wool for several reasons; Wovember began life as an activist site with a strong campaigning element. This year we want to speak to that by taking our petition forward in different ways; openly approaching other organisations with woolly aims; and thinking about connections between Wovember and related projects such as #SlowFashionOctober and slow wardrobes.

Wovember first set out to challenge the ways in which wool is used incorrectly by an unscrupulous fashion industry to describe textiles – some of which contain little or no wool at all. The posts we have shared here have always been curated to inform about the supply chain behind wool and to show why it’s not accurate or true to describe cotton, acrylic or polyester garments as being made from wool.

0% wool, 100% cotton dress currently on sale and described as wool
0% wool, 100% cotton dress currently on sale and described as wool
a 15% wool, 85% acrylic jumper currently on sale and described as wool
15% wool, 85% acrylic jumper currently on sale and described as wool
0% wool, 100% acrylic poncho currently on sale and described as wool
0% wool, 100% acrylic poncho currently on sale and described as wool

In our eyes an informed textiles consumer is an empowered one, and every choice we make about what we buy and wear is political. Over the years, our discussions here have inevitably spilled over into a broader discourse about environmental and social responsibility in the garment industry; about the complexity of the supply chain behind textiles; and about the many ways in which we can better understand, work with and embrace the wool that is grown on our doorstep – wherever we live in the world.

Wovember is everywhere!

Wovember is not just about what happens at wovember.com.

Jeni Reid – who has produced beautiful daily photographs for Wovember in years past – will be occasionally inserting her thoughtful photos into our Instagram feed (@wovemberwool); we have started a thread for the Wovember WAL through Ravelry as we all know that a lot of the Wovember magic happens in the lovely work you do with wool; and Allison and Rachel are using their forthcoming YarnPorium event as an opportunity to embrace and celebrate the Wovember concept in the context of a carefully curated yarn market.

If you have an idea to post on your own blog about Wovember, to Instagram your own woolly doings this month, or to arrange some kind of amazing wool-focused activity, then we say BE THE CHANGE AND DO IT. Wovember can only grow bigger in the world with your help; we are just two people but with your voice on instagram, on your blog, as an event organiser, the Wovember message can grow louder.

Felix & Louise - TEAM WOVEMBER 2016!
Felix & Louise – TEAM WOVEMBER 2016!

About this year’s content

Wovember Words is all about common ground this year. We’re exploring sheep, wool, events and wool workers from throughout the 28 EU member states, in a virtual European sheep and shepherding tour. This series of short posts celebrates the rich interconnectedness of wool cultures throughout Europe.

Main Posts this year are all built loosely around our theme, The Politics of Wool, and we’ve divided the month’s content under five headings – Grassroots Activism; Labels; Think Global, Act Local; Be the Change and Woolpowerment! Keen-eyed spotters may have noticed that the site looks really different and that the archives are not currently all hosted here. We’re working on that, but it takes time. Thanks for bearing with us while we handle the transition; during Wovember, one of our main posts each week will feature content from the archives refreshed for our new theme.

The Photo Competition is happening on Instagram. The internet has changed a lot since 2011 when Wovember began and we feel that in 2016, Instagram is the best place to share images and begin discussions. If you’re not already following us there, we are @wovemberwool and if you want to enter our photo competition, the official #hashtag you need is #wovember2016. Please hashtag your wool images with #wovember2016 to be considered for a prize, and use this year’s political impetus as an inspiration for your entries! We’ll feature the stand-out images here every Sunday, a task in which we have the help of Wovember supporter and lifetime wool lover Joanne Spittler; Joanne will tell us about her favourite Instagram images each week and we’ll publish her picks on the blog.

The Wovember WAL will, as in previous years, give you opportunities to celebrate 100% wool this Wovember by working with it. There will be prizes for projects, and if you want to share them online on Ravelry, Instagram or Twitter, the hashtag you need is #WovemberWAL2016.

An update on our letter to the Campaign for Wool…

The final positive piece of news for the opening of Wovember 2016 is that the letter we wrote to the Campaign for Wool really got their attention, and one thing we are doing this Wovember is meeting with representatives to discuss the contents of that letter, and reporting back on here. We are excited about this, and about finding more ways to take forward the huge archive of ideas, political energy, wool love and creativity gathered here; we hope you’ll join us this year for a different kind of Wovember and for those of you who may be wondering – yes, of course there will still be sheep. It’s Wovember, for fleece’s sake.

Sheep! photograph © Jeni Reid and used here with kind permission
Sheep! photograph © Jeni Reid and used here with kind permission

Looking forward to spending this month with you and to exploring the rich politics of wool together,
YOURS IN WOOL,
FELIX & LOUISE

13 thoughts on “Introducing Wovember 2016

  1. This will be my first experience of November so I’m looking forward to it. I’ve followed your Instagram page, thank you for the link that made it easy 🙂

  2. Completely in tune with all this. Good to meet up with like-minded woollies. Now, to plan an event and, maybe, even revive my Instagram account.

  3. A call to arms. Yes, I will still be at home reading the posts and spinning some Border Leicester as I intended, but now I realise I should also be an activist and contribute some small thing out in the local and virtual world. Hmmm. Must think on this sharpish.

  4. Can you help me? I want to take kpart at the Wovember WAL 2016 and put in 2 photos on Instagram with #wovemberWAL2016 but if I look into the WAL I only see mine but not all the others. What am I doing wrong? It would be very nice if you could help me.

    1. You are using the exactly right hashtag for the #wovemberWAL2016, however I think you are ahead of everyone else! I’ve just checked the hashtag and there is nothing else up yet; I wonder if lots of people are waiting for their pattern swap partners before casting on? I am sure in coming days you will be surrounded by knitting folks working in 100% WOOL and tagging their projects properly… in the meantime I’ll put up a pic of what I’m working on so that we can be WAL-ing together 😀

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