THE WHOLE STORY
As we all know wool is great! So great in-fact we as humans have been using sheep wool for weaving and clothing since 10,000 BCE. In todays times we can celebrate the befuddling amount of yarn on the market with a wide choice of blends, weights and everything from natural to synthetic and organic. The world is an open field of variety. Having an understanding of the fibre you use and knowing it’s origin is important and with a little guidance and educating we are able to make choices that are important to us. If knowing the source and sustainability of the materials use is important to you then we are here to share our story with you.
In 2010 Juli Hewins and Anton set out rearing and raising a flock of Rare Breed Wensleydale Sheep. Celebrated for their fine lustre long wool and naturally rustic colours, these British Sheep are giant crimp and curly haired teddybears. Over the years we have enjoyed their comedy on par to a certain TV show featuring a sheep called “Shaun”. My mother endlessly saying she should submit the antics and adventures of our own Wensleydale’s to the writers and producers of that cartoon. Over the years we expanded the flock to showcase three main colours.
“No fuss, nothing unnecessary and keep it as natural as possible” has always been the forefront of our mission. From lambing, to processing we keep everything as natural as it can be to produce natural coloured yarn in each of the three colours our sheep spent so much love and time growing. Thanks Sheep’ies!
At the Raw Wool Company the Rare Breed Wensleydale spoke to us as breed because of the smooth, non itchy (kemp free) and durable yarn they produce but mostly we fell in love with the natural colours these sheep boast.
We have created a yarn that the Wensleydale sheep themselves are proud to wear, untouched by chemical dyes for a more natural yarn, celebrating all natural British rare breed wool.
At the Raw Wool Company we have structured our business on being circular. This means everything we create, all the processes, labels and packaging created produces no waste that can't be returned to the biosphere. We wanted to expand this not only for our own fleece but also help local young farmers do the same with their fleece that might otherwise go to waste. We love celebrate British breeds because each breed has its own fibre identity. These unique profiles to the fleece create different wear and use for the fibre. Wensleydale is strong and glossy and have great drape when knitted, Merino is voluminous and bouncy, Dorset is kemp free and squidgy, Llyen is durable and light. This is where we introduce Steve aka "The Salty Shepherd"; just down the road from us in Porthleven Steve keeps his Dorsets and Llyen sheep on the fields over looking the South West Cornish sea. Steve is another young farmer who cares for his sheep just as much as we do. We wanted to great a whole colour pallet of natural colours from Black to White and so the creamy white Dorsets and stark white Llyen was the perfect addition to our collection of undyed British yarns.
Sarah aka "The Kernow Shepherdess" keeps personal flock of show worthy Zwartbles in Porthleven. Zwartbles is originally a dutch breed of sheep bought over to the UK in the 1980's as their numbers dwindled down to nearly only 500 sheep. Their are now building their numbers again as they are great milk and fibre sheep. There fleece is a deep, deep, dark chocolate colour. We are lucky to have our first batch of limited edition lambs wool blend of 70% Zwartbles and 30% Black Wensleydale. Creating a voluminous soft yarn with the added properties of the Wensleydale strength and luster. We will be working with Sarah in the years to come as her flock grows to create more fantastic blends and pure wools.
As well as the fluffy teddybear Wensleydales we love the qualities and properties that other British breeds can bring to a yarn. To create a full colour platte of natural colours and support other young farmers we are expanding out range. BFL and Wensleydale are the softess fleece we have in the UK so it made sense to create a unique blend of their fleece. Creating a voluminous soft yarn with the added properties of the Wensleydale strength and luster. Sourced locally within the South West. UK from a farm in Crediton this blend of 70% BFL and 30% Silver Wensleydale is a very special yarn indeed.