Wednesday, 3 March 2010
It drives me crazy how hard it is to buy locally-produced wool in the UK. We do have sheep in this country: I've seen them. Yarn shops are stocked to the rafters with Australian Merino wool, Fair Trade Bolivian wool, American hemp yarn - but not a British, low-air-miles ball of wool in sight.
When I buy food, I always try to seek out locally-grown produce. Failing that, something that hasn't travelled half way round the world. I wouldn't buy baby sweetcorn that came all the way from Peru, so why should I buy wool that has clocked up the same air-miles, when the same product could be produced closer to home?
So I made two new year's resolutions this year: one was to learn how to hand-spin, and the other was to learn how to use natural dyes (don't get me started on UK crafters who think that using Kool Aid is a form of natural dyeing... it's chemical slop that's been exported half-way across the globe...)
Here's my first-ever hand-spun ball of wool! It varies enormously in width from 1 ply to super-chunky, but it's all mine and I'm ever so proud of it. I used a drop spindle (which I presume is called a drop spindle because I keep dropping it on the floor every 30 seconds or so) and some Shetland fleece, both kindly given to me by my lovely Polish mother-in-law, along with a patient lesson and years of spinning expertise.
If I make another ball of yarn this size, I think I'll have enough to make a hat. Excited!