How you can take #Wovember forward

You may think that because we are no longer creating new content on the blog, that Wovember can’t go forward. That is just not true. As we wrote yesterday…

We are all responsible for changing the woolly world!!!

The hands of Oliver Henry – “the wool man” at Shetland Wool Brokers. Image: Jeni Reid

Nobody told us to start Wovember – we just did it. And there are ways for you to Just Do It too, if you want to continue celebrating wool every Wovember. We all have voices and wool messages to spread and for anyone unsure about how to celebrate Wovember in your own way, we’d love to offer the following suggestions.

November will always mean Wovember for so many of us. There is no reason that it cannot continue each year in any or all of the following ways.

Social Media

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – many of us have accounts. Over the last few years we have seen increased engagement of all things #Wovember during November. Please take the hashtag Wovember and use it during November to share your woolly content.

DAUGHTER OF A SHEPHERD WOVEMBER PROMPT

We were delighted when Rachel Atkinson asked if Daughter of a Shepherd could host a Wovember-inspired Photo-a-Day prompt during November. We were really cheered that Team DoaS wanted to keep the Wovember flame alive this year across their social media in their own flavour and we know that Rachel and Isla will bring something really sheepy and wondrous to the party!

Follow Daughter of a Shepherd on Instagram and Facebook to keep your eye out for all the details. And prime your woolly photo skills! With Rachel and Isla – incredible ambassadors for wool – at the helm, we know that there are going to be 30 brilliant daily, woolly prompts and that you will rise to the challenge in responding to them!

We were also thrilled to learn that YITC plan to include #Wovember in connection to their Yarnporium social media content. They hosted a beautiful instagram celebration of wool last year, and they always encourage high wool content to their own online audience during November.

You could join in with #Wovember wherever you can! The whole point of changing Wovember as we know it is to decentralise and share what has been learnt here throughout the woolly community. The more torchbearers there are, the wider the woolly word will spread.

Photos

HUFFING THE WOOL FUMES! Felix posted on social media about her adventures in wool insulation for her van.

Of course, you can always share any woolly pictures during Wovember, using #Wovember. Do you have a local flock? Snap them for your social media. Do you have a local weaver, or knitting guild, or wool practitioner in your community? Why not do a post about them on social media and link to their online places, so that others can find them too.

Wovember was founded on frustration about the use of the word “wool” as a descriptor of fibre contents in garments that actually – when you look closely – contain little or no actual wool content. Wovember has always been about reclaiming the word WOOL for its original purpose: i.e. to describe the fibres grown in the fleeces of sheep and there are a number of practices associated with that, which you can continue to do in your own lives. Check the actual fibre contents of your clothes; commit to wearing 100% WOOL wherever possible; write and complain to companies who use the word “WOOL” in misleading ways. Champion this fibre and the people who grow it by wearing and sharing it wherever you can.

Paula Wolton wearing 100% wool sweater and brandishing stylish #knittedknickers made by Heathy Firby

Blog, Podcast, Vlog

Passionate wool photographer Jeni Reid © Felix Ford

If you have a blog, podcast or vlog then you are very well placed to share some woolly content throughout November, each year. #BeTheChange that you want to see in the woolly world and use your own platform to share, support and educate people about wool. Still not sure how? Take your lead from the archive here.

You could create your own Wovember Words posts – Woolly word definitions, wool prose or poems, short fleecey-focused posts… These don’t need to be word-heavy. We used to do a Wovember Words post every day and we looked upon it as the “elevenses” of our Wovember day. A small post to enjoy over a cup of tea! What is to stop you sharing your favourite woolly words on your blog, with your Facebook friends, or in a small newsletter?

You could start a focus on Vi-ewe-ing Pleasures. One of our favourite Wovember traditions involved posting about wool films on a Friday and taking time to watch them while knitting. There are some cracking wee films on YouTube, like Pathe film (Wool fashions of a byegone age_) and wool advertising films of the 50s and 60s… We also shared films by great people who are working hard to champion local wool, agriculture and yarn – like Paula Wolton, with her amazing One Hut Full project.

Find great woolly clips to share. If you are a vlogger then you are even better placed to create some woolly vi-ewe-ing! Why not mix some of your favourite wool films into your vlogcast as part of your Wovember celebrations?

These are just a few suggestions for how Wovember might continue in a more dispersed and spread out way, if you choose to take it forward in your communities. We really hope that there is enough inspiration, content and guidance here that Wovember will not completely die just because there is no longer a centralised blog.

If you’re still unsure about how to stage your own #Wovember celebrations, take a look at the Wovember “About us” page, and take a moment to familiarise yourself with what Wovember’s about. Wovember has always been a campaign which has sought to educate about and support wool and wool work from every step of the process.

WOVEMBER is about…

* recognising that WOOL is a premium textile which comes from an actual sheep, and the terms WOOL, WOOLLY and WOOLLEN should only be applied to real WOOL and not, for instance, to polyester or viscose.

* celebrating the important heritage and contemporary value of WOOL through our 100% WOOL stories, blog posts, pictures, textiles, and garments.

* educating and informing the wider public of the wondrous qualities of WOOL.

* creatively pushing the idea that the word WOOL should refer to sheep’s WOOL only.

* reconnecting the idea of WOOL to the animals and people involved in its creation and manufacture.

* campaigning for a clarification of trading standards to prevent further misuse of the term WOOL.

Writing blogs, researching articles, suggesting other blogs, writers, businesses and people for your readers to follow – these are great ways to take part. They sky is the limit.

LYS, INDIE YARN SELLERS AND WOOL PURVEYORS OF ALL KINDS

It’s all very well growing amazing wool, harvesting it, processing it, making things with it and wearing it… but without buyers and a vibrant market, wool’s future starts to look gloomy. Buying and selling wool ensures that it remains part of our living economy and the working agricultural landscape. If you are a buyer and or seller of high wool-content produce, take Wovember as an opportunity to celebrate the people and processes behind your produce. Celebrate the sheep breeds, the shepherds, the shearers and the mills that stand behind the things you make, and use Wovember to shout loudly about the sheepy credentials of your work. If you’re a Local Yarn Store, why not host a breed-specific KAL? If you sell woolly jumpers (made from actual wool, mind!) why not use the occasion of Wovember to tell us about them?

MAKE WITH, WEAR WOOL AND TALK ABOUT IT

That’s easy, right? You are all experts at that. We know that you all take #Wovember as an opportunity to show off your knits and cast on (crochet, weave, sew, felt, etc, etc) with wool in November. The #WovemberWAL will no longer entail prizes and a monthly showcase, but we have a vibrant Ravelry community and there is no reason why we can’t all enjoy knitting with wool every Wovember – although, for us, and for many of you, that might not be different from other months of the year!

Dyer and knitwear designer Julia Billings
Image: Jeni Reid

It shouldn’t go without saying, that although we have had the pleasure of bringing you this blog, Wovember has been in your hands all along. The momentum has been built and carried along by you.  While there will be no new posts, or social media from Team Wovember, every year we have been so inspired and amazed at how you wave the woolly flag.

We look forward to seeing how you do that this year, too, and finding ways to take what we’ve done here forward in our own lives.

Afterword
It’s sad and difficult to let go of something that has been such a huge and all-consuming project for seven years. Wovember was founded by two people on nothing more than a shared enthusiasm for, and total love of, WOOL. A changing cast of contributors, a shoestring budget, donations, tons of free labour and gallons of coffee have kept it going for several years since. At its heart Wovember has always been an authentic project founded on deep respect for the long history and difficult work of shepherding, and a strong feeling that large and unscrupulous industry giants shouldn’t be allowed to trade on wool’s good name to sell garments made from petrol. The archive we have built is eclectic, extensive, rich and various, featuring many voices and many opinions – not always in total unison. Hosting and maintaining this content is no small feat. It costs time and money to have so many pictures and words held on serverspace, and to remember to come in periodically and update broken links. But we’ve invested heavily over the years.

We confess it is hard to *entirely* set Wovember free; it’s like something we raised and grew that’s now ready to go out into the big wide world by itself. We look forward to seeing where it goes… but, if we’re 100% honest, we hope its roots will not be forgotten and that, in your future uses of our work, you will reference its origins here, where Wovember began, deep in our wool-loving hearts.

FOREVER YOURS IN WOOL,
Felix & Louise

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