Wearing Wool

The close of WOVEMBER is almost upon us, and so we are endeavouring to maximise the WOOLCONTENT while we may!!! A few points on Wearing Wool… firstly, we wanted to share with you an amazing design company whose work is really inspiring us here at WOVEMBER: Leafcutter Designs.

Wool/Sheep Craft Tag, created by and © Leafcutter Designs as part of their Changing Clothes project series

The label reads:

This garment holds a story. It hides in the seams and whispers from the folds. Look close: a sheep is grazing in a spring green pasture, a craftsperson is spinning yarn by a woodstove, the clicking of needles makes a song. Trace each stitch back to hands like yours. Someone made this just for you.

Raise happy sheep and fiber animals

Care for the pasture

Craft with love

Trade fair

Mend when torn

We love the sentiment of these labels and how they highlight the value of our woollen clothes and where they come from. Leafcutter Designs also do some amazing other projects, such as bringing spinning wheels into the shopping mall and setting them up outside High Street shops!

Subversive Spinning, photo © Leafcutter Designs and held here on their amazing website

This is amazing. Leafcutter Designs also have a brilliant gallery of mends! Which reminds me of the wonderful work that comrade and fellow WOVEMBERIST Tom van Deijnen AKA tomofholland undertakes in his superb Visible Mending Programme. Once we see the sheer quantity of labour that goes into producing wool garments, the need to repair them – and to celebrate the skill of mending – becomes more evident. I wanted therefore to share these lovely photos of Tom’s Darning Masterclass in Jamieson & Smith during Shetland Wool Week 2013. I love the care and attention with which people appear to be investigating the work of mending! Mending photos © Felicity Ford.









I have been so inspired around mending and repairing my woollen clothes through following the Visible Mending Programme and watching Tom at work with his darning needles! What I love most is how he makes the work of mending into an act of personalising and celebrating clothes, and the imaginative ideas he has put into his darning practice take all the drudgery out of the work. (I still have a massive pile of darning to do, though!)

In this wrap up of ‘Wearing Wool’ I really want to celebrate some of the projects going on in the world which repurpose existing woollen textiles and give them new life, as this is a wonderful way of honouring the work that has originally gone into growing and producing these garments, and keeping them in circulation and in FASHION! We must give a shout out here to SWANTS which give new life to old wool sweaters which might otherwise gather dust and moth-holes in thrift stores and charity shops!

The Famous Kate Davies Designs Sweeks!

It is also worth mentioning here I think the wonderful work that Sartoria is doing, repurposing old cashmere and merino sweaters and turning them into luxurious underwear… another project which extends the life and usefulness of woollen textiles.


Photos © Sartoria

Finally, the contributions YOU have sent in this year have been amazing in terms of giving new ideas about how we can ‘Wear Wool’… special mention must surely be given to the beautiful ‘Spinner’s Journey’ jacket by Caroline which comes with a beautiful note:

”Spinner’s Journey’ Modelled with muddy wellies that I use when looking after my sheep. This wool is very rustic, the fabric has almost zero drape & there is no colour. Many of these skeins date back years, to my very early attempts at spinning and most of the spinning is appalling. Some are over-twisted, like gnarled old rope, while others have almost no twist at all. They’re all different thickness and they’re very lumpy-bumpy. The great thing is that I remember spinning all of these wools and they’re all part of my early spinning journey. The resultant garment may not hang well at the back, but it has a reassuring feel to it, like a faithful old blanket. I’ll not see the back anyway, when I’m wearing it’ – Caroline



This is fashion as process! Fashion as learning! What a beautiful sweater, representative of discovery and appropriate for the farming tasks which ultimately made its production possible.

We have also featured some lovely stories this WOVEMBER, in which shepherds who are also knitters have made garments representative of individual sheep… ways of wearing wool which celebrate animals consciously and deliberately. Jake and Sunshine, I am thinking of you.


Shawl made from Jake’s wool, by Caroline AKA An Snag Breac


Sunshine hat, knitted from Sunshine’s wool by Sara Dunham

…all such inspiring ways to Wear Wool! Thank you to everyone for making this such a rich WOVEMBER; if you have been WAL-ing, please don’t forget to email your photos to wovember@gmail.com by approx 9am tomorrow (GMT) for them to be featured in the SHOWCASE of WAL projects! Please email the photos and if it’s at all possible, please save them at 1024px wide with your name as the filename… it makes work in the WOVEMBER office flow so smoothly when you do 🙂


Can’t wait to see all the WAL projects, and we hope you have been having a most wonderfully woolly, warm WOVEMBER. x