Lo­cal he­roes

Clare Devine urges us to con­sider Bri­tish pro­duc­ers when mak­ing our yarn and fi­bre choices

The Knitter - - Feature -

WHERE DOES the yarn in your stash come from? The con­cept of the so­cial me­dia cam­paign #ShopLo­cal, and think­ing about the jour­ney a skein of yarn has taken from pro­ducer to con­sumer, are now be­ing con­sid­ered by many knit­ters. When think­ing about ‘air miles’, we ap­ply this idea not only to the food in our fridge, but also to the yarn on our knit­ting nee­dles.

Within our com­mu­nity, there are some in­spir­ing fig­ures cham­pi­oning Bri­tish wool and the many pro­duc­ers upon th­ese isles who bring to­gether beau­ti­ful ma­te­ri­als for us to knit with - from sheep farm­ers to spin­ning mills, and from the dye pots of our tal­ented in­de­pen­dent dy­ers.

A new way of life

Back in 2012, while on a train jour­ney from Read­ing to Ed­in­burgh, knit­ter Louise Scol­lay made a de­ci­sion that has shaped the last three years of her life - and which has also in­flu­enced the way many knit­ters view their own stash.

As she gazed from the train win­dow, watch­ing the blur of fields and sheep whizz past, she thought about the yarn gen­tly run­ning through her fin­gers; a sim­ple

49 skein of Shet­land Or­gan­ics wool. It dawned on her that this yarn, al­though it had been pro­cessed in Orkney, came from a flock a mere mile from her back door.

This truly was her lo­cal yarn – and at that mo­ment, Louise de­cided to set her­self a per­sonal chal­lenge. For a year, she would ‘Knit Bri­tish’ and spend time dis­cov­er­ing all she could about Bri­tish breeds and the fi­bre in­dus­try in the UK.

Since those early days, Knit Bri­tish has evolved from a per­sonal chal­lenge to a blog and a pod­cast. Louise’s de­ci­sion to ex­plore and knit with Bri­tish breeds

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