January 2010 “snowcase” revisited

You are amazing. Thank you for your interest in Wovember, for your thoughtful comments on product descriptions and fibre content, and for publishing your own thoughts on the Wovember issues elsewhere on the Internet.

It is really encouraging to see the response to Wovember and a real pleasure to upload your photos whenever we can to the Gallery. Clearly our sentiments re: product description and the use of the word WOOL resonate with many of you. If you’ve been following Kate on Twitter @wazzag, you will have seen that our collective online petitioning (and Kate’s focussed establishment of The Hall of Shame) has already resulted in change:

River Island have now responded re: the 0%wool shorts displayed in hall of shame & have made ASOS change the product description #wovember
8 Nov

To quote Kate’s following Tweet, Well Done River Island. Here’s hoping there’ll be more removal of the word “WOOL” from product descriptions for 100% viscose garments in coming weeks.

Some especially lovely blogs which mentioned Wovember this week include this one which features gorgeous textile photos throughout and is in Estonian; we now know that Wovember in that language is Villavember. Colleen wrote some great posts this week on the theme of tweed jackets and trees, and a talk with the knit designer, Debbie Bliss. (That second post features a beautiful painting called The Wool Shop.) The Twisted Rib blog is also full of WOOL content this month, including an actual ballad for the lover of pure wool. Huzzah!

We were also delighted that our campaign got an honorary mention in Brenda Dayne’s latest episode of Cast-On. Thank you one and all for spreading the woolly word.

In terms of WOOL-wearing this month – which is another way of showing your appreciation for that material – Twitter and Ravelry and the wovember[at]gmail inbox are full of descriptions of warming outfits featuring large percentages of WOOL.

In case some of you are lost for ideas re: extremely WOOLLY ensembles, I thought I would dig out some photos from the vaults…

…When I was particularly cold in January 2010 – the heating wasn’t working well and it had snowed – I instigated a competition which unintentially involved my donning an almost 100% WOOL outfit:

1. Cairn tea-cosy (100% WOOL – handspun Romney and Poll Dorset)
2. Feather and fan scarf (100% WOOL – Bluefaced Leicester, purchased from texere yarns and dyed by me using plants)
3. Guinness Shrug (not 100% WOOL – contains quite a lot of Alpaca yarn)
4. Fyberspates fingerless gloves (not 100% WOOL – contains Bluefaced Leicester DK yarn dyed by Fyberspates held together with some very finely spun Mohair from the Angora goat)
5. Layter (100% WOOL from different UK Sheep breeds)

That blue thing underneath is a semi-felted 90% lambswool and polyester tunic which I bought from PRIMARK of all places, but the slacks and the skirt contain NO WOOL WHATSOEVER. I don’t know about the socks…

Following the launch of the January Snowcase contest (in which the idea was to show off as much of your handknitting as possible) there were 2 entries from my knitting compadres Ellen and Liz, which also contain very high percentages of WOOL.

Ellen very conscientiously pointed out today on Twitter that this largely handknitted selection of clothes is not 100% WOOL, and offered the following breakdown on fibre content:

Flicca is 70%acrylic /30%wool
the blue vest is 30%wool / 30%cotton /35%acrylic;
everything else is close to 100%;

In the interests of full-fibre-content-disclosure (which is what Wovember is all about) I reckon that string bag is made of 100% cotton too.

Liz was at WOOLFEST in 2009 where a small, jolly group of us were inspired by seeing sheep, farmers and WOOL together. Compared to the genteel cleanliness of urban yarn-shops, WOOLFEST was a blast of agricultural vim, and it was enormously exciting to see the relationships – so tangibly – between people, animals, and textiles. We left filled with new passion for our indigenous Sheep and the people who work with them. We also were all impressed by the skill that is required to shear a sheep. As Liz writes in her lovely account of that time;

I have big plans, not only for the Garthenor yarn that I bought, but for future purchases. I really want to encourage the farmers of British sheep breeds in the only ways that I can, through buying their wool and (hopefully) designing patterns their feature their yarn. There’s nothing wrong per se with alpaca and merino but I would hate for their success in the handknitting market to be at the expense of our indigenous sheep breeds.

Aside from talking to the sheep breeders my favourite part of Woolfest was the sheep clipping demonstration given by Cathy Wainwright. It was amazing to see the dexterity with which she clipped and turned the Kendal Rough Fell sheep which were about the same size as she was. The sheep were so docile under her hands but their strength and weight were apparent as soon as she let go of them and it took two men to shepherd them out of the ring.

Given Liz’s sentiments, it’s no surprise to discover that her Snowcase outfit featured a lot of WOOL!

One other WOOLLY outfit which deserves a mention here belongs to My Pops, who donned a lot of WOOL last weekend and even blagged a badge off me to show his appreciation of WOOL.

If you have been doing something WOVEMBERY and would like us to know about it, send a link to wovember[at]gmail[dot]com with a subject heading “WOOLLY ROUNDUP”. We love your stories and would love to share your WOOLLY OUTFITS here if you have photos of them!

Have a lovely weekend, xF