We are so excited to celebrate wool during America’s first official ‘Wool Week’, September 24-30, 2012! You may be thinking that I have officially lost my mind; asking yourself, ‘Wool Week, what the heck is that?’
The Campaign for Wool was initiated by HRH The Prince of Wales, once made aware of the hardships being faced by British sheep farmers. In an industry that was once thriving came concerns of extinction. Wool prices plummeted and farmers were faced with the costs of maintaining their sheep far outweighing their actual profit. The Prince of Wales recognized a global initiative was needed to reinvigorate the wool industry by reconnecting manufacturers to the durability of wool, the consumers to the beauty and versatility of wool, and to educate the world of the natural benefits and value of wool. The Prince of Wales appointed John Thorley to chair the Campaign for Wool, which officially launched January 2010.
‘Go Green, Wear Wool’
As most of you know I have only been working for my mom for the last 18 months or so. During that time I have been asked by numerous quilt shops where they can purchase our wools, or where they can purchase the quality of our wools- cheaply. By customers I have heard and been told many times that there is ‘nothing out there that compares to the quality of our wools’. Generally I smile and nod and say that I totally agree- but honestly, I was just not 100% sure. Don’t get me wrong, I have seen other hand-dyed wools, and to say the least, I’m not that impressed (can I say that?). Usually, what I have found is a product that has a weak color- or as I say- ‘has barely hit the (dye) pot’- is somewhat flimsy, sticks to your hands, is unravelling, and if you dare to hold it up to the light- you can see right through it! Is that really what is out there???
So, for the past week I have been trying to think of how I could passionately preach about something that I was really not that familiar with- how on earth could I talk about our wools without ever working with an ‘inferior’ product… and then it hit me… of course I know about ‘wools’… I know a lot about ‘wool’… why you might ask… because I love to knit!
OK- ok- let me be honest and rephrase that- I love to buy- no hoard- hand-dyed, natural fibers- skein upon skein of yummy yarns. The first time my fingers touched the lush natural fibers and my eyes soaked up the vibrant, unmistakable look of the hand-dyed colors- there was no turning back. Goodbye local craft store- hello spare yarn room that I secretly slip into to look at and pet my stash- occasionally…
Oops, I got a little off track there- but once I had this realization I think I finally ‘got it’- finally understood the love people have for our hand-dyed wools.
But to be sure, I headed to the experts, my mom who religiously creates everything with our wools (but is on the road and unavailable), and my auntWendy, the creator.
When I asked Wendy what made our wools so special, this is what she had to say:
‘When I set out to create a line of hand dyed wool there were three criteria which I felt were very important. The first was to create a saturated color palette with more vibrant colors than were available at the time, using high quality dyes. The second was to use the best quality of wool I could find and the third was to support local as much as possible.
It took a while to find the sources and establish the right balance but I now can say I have what I think is the best possible hand dyed woolen product available for hand quilters and stitchers.
The wool yardage is milled in the US by a longstanding mill and a good proportion of the raw fleece that makes up this fabric is now sourced from the US as well.
The fabric gets pre washed, goes through at least one hot dye bath, gets washed again and then tumbled in a dryer. It’s a lot to ask of a piece of wool to endure this much, but it comes through the process evenly fulled, retaining a lovely soft hand.
All this means that our production costs are much higher as a result of needing to meet these criteria, but I think the final product speaks for itself.
It is a beautiful product to work with, a joy to hold in your hands while you are stitching, and provides a comfort that only working with wool can bring.’
In closing, we are celebrating Wool Week by featuring old and new items(new items that will be offered this week only) each day, beginning on Monday 24th through Friday 28th. If you do not receive our newsletter, you will want to sign up at www.suespargo.com, and enter your email address in the big orange box on the left hand side of the screen.
Please take some time to visit The Campaign For Wool website, check outWendy’s blog, and of course browse the lovely hand-dyed wool collections on our website! Earthworks Solids andTextural Wool Bundles
‘Live naturally, choose wool’
Happy Wool Week!