Staple: “wool grows on the sheep in definite locks as distinct from the way in which hair grows, for example, in a cat. These locks are the staple, a word which, during our long history, has symbolised the power and dignity of the wool trade. We may be sure that, in whatever setting we may… Continue Reading WOVEMBER WORDS #18


Napping: the process of raising the fibres on the surface of the cloth to give blankets a soft, fluffy appearance. This was done by combing the surface of the blanket with a teaseler, made from inserting teasel heads (a type of thistle) into a wooden bat. The ‘gig mill’ was a development from the hand… Continue Reading WOVEMBER WORDS #17


If you usually think of breed-specific wool as that gorgeous skein of Merino in your favourite colour at your local yarn shop, then think again. Lincoln Longwool Sheep, picture submitted to Wovember2011 Gallery by Helena Callum “The usual classification of our [British breed] sheep into MOUNTAIN, LONGWOOLS and DOWNS, is that which emphasises the character… Continue Reading WOVEMBER WORDS #2


To people who follow Felicity Ford’s blog, it will come as no surprise that this year’s “Closing the Gap” theme for Wovember will feature a SONIK dimension! To introduce this SONIK element, we shall commence with a fun sheep sound factoid! Did you know that the sounds of sheep being herded are some of the… Continue Reading Announcing SONIK WOVEMBER

Wool Is . . . a guest post from Ooey Ollie

Today we feel incredibly honoured to feature Oliver Henry on the Wovember blog. Known to Shetland friends and locals as “Ooey Ollie” (ooey = woolly), Oliver has been sorting and grading wool at Jamieson and Smith for almost 45 years. In so many respects, Oliver really is the Shetland Woolbrokers, and what he doesn’t know… Continue Reading Wool Is . . . a guest post from Ooey Ollie

A smuggling story featuring sacks, cloves and fells.

One of the themes running through these WOVEMBER posts concerns how the word ‘WOOL’ conjures certain imaginative associations. Our imaginative associations are gold dust to advertisers and brand experts, and Kate has written about – amongst other things – the specific lure of the word ‘wool’ and its evocation of ‘cosiness’ when it is addressed… Continue Reading A smuggling story featuring sacks, cloves and fells.

some sheep and wool numbers

Herdwick Sheep at the Royal Berkshire County Show, photographed by Felicity Ford As some of you have requested further information on the situation of WOOL today, I decided to consult Alan Butler’s SHEEP book* and round up some of the facts he cites concerning the global situation re: sheep & WOOL. I have interspersed these… Continue Reading some sheep and wool numbers

drinking lambs-wool

Did you know that LAMBS-WOOL is the name of a traditional English beverage? This tasty brew is made by mixing hot ale with sugar, spices and roasted apples – either whole crab-apples, or pulped cooking apples – and its woolly name derives from the ‘fleecy’ appearance of the apples floating on the surface of the… Continue Reading drinking lambs-wool