I was both amused and frustrated to read the wonderful Louise Tilbrook’s latest blog post, On Wool – And Other Thoughts.
Louise is hosting a KAL, which is just one online, community event which is carrying forward the Wovember torch this year. You may have read that the Wovember blog is not continuing, but Team Wovember truly believe that #Wovember can continue on social media, and in the wool-loving community in the form of KALs and other events.
Louise’s #WinterWoolKAL is running for the month of November and as long as you are using 100% wool, you can join in and knit anything. Using 100% wool is totally alligned with the aims of Wovember, to promote and recognise wool, sheep and wool work and creatively pushing that the term “wool” is only applied to fibre from actual sheep. (all wool is yarn, but not all yarn is wool!) – WONDERFUL! YAY, LOUISE! Thank you!
My amusement and then frustration came when I read this paragraph in Louise’s blog.
“It was a bit of a surprise then to be greeted with, what a friend laughingly termed a ‘wool backlash’. I received a steady stream of emails, PMs and messages suggesting that my focus on 100% wool (the original Wovember principles) was somehow elitist and risked alienating a large number of knitters.”
(Perhaps a strong dose of the Wovember back catalogue is the best medicine for this malady?)
Alas! I am not surprised. I’ve also been criticised for talking about wool and that apparently talking about 100% wool, grown, spun or dyed locally is somehow (SOMEHOW) a bad thing. I’ve been accused on social media of being a wool snob and I’ve been told that I’m part of a problem – being a podcast which seems to exclude a lot of people who don’t knit with wool. I guess, on the face of it, if you didn’t actually listen to my podcast, you could make that assumption, but knitting with British wool is what I do, so for the time-being its the name of my podcast and blog. However, content isn’t yarn-judgemental and there are no rules to exclude anyone from listening!
Now, I can only assume that the issue with elitism is largely down to the following misconception – wool is expensive and therefore wool is not accessible to everyone. Rubbish! Bollocks! Utter crapola!
The issue here is that either that the person/s who asserts this isn’t aware of the amazing world of wool out there, at a whole range of price tags, or…isn’t prepared to find out. If its the ignorance of the latter, then perhaps you cannot be helped and no amount of pointing you to info to the contrary will help. If its the former then step on in, new friend!
I’m overdue an update of my yarn-budget posts (I try to do this every couple of years and add a few more yarns and check links work), however the idea is not to spoon feed readers every single yarn Under a Fiver, Under a Tenner and For a Few Pennies More. It is a way to open up eyes to the range of 100% wool yarns out there in the UK and provide you with a jumping off point.*
A couple of other, older posts that you may find interesting here at KB are…
The latter was prompted by *another* comment that wool was too expensive to make garments with. This is
a fight an issue which I know I will have to keep on fighting enlightening people about and I’m fine with that!
If you are new to KnitBritish I hope these are helpful. We do have a great group on Ravelry and a smashing community over there. We’ve learned such a lot as a group over the last 5 years and there’s lots of great knowledge in there too, so do feel free to ask questions int there.
SO, do you still think wool is expensive and unattainable? If so, ask yourself the following questions…
Imagine your ideal cheap price for one ball of 100% wool.
To get your price tag, your going to have to see cuts across the process, from the field, to the mill, to the dyer, to the LYS, so where would you like standards, quality and ethical processes and practices to be cut to get your price tag?
With you slashing costs there will be issues with animal care and farming practices; fleeces could become poorer quality as a result to changes there, not to mention other issues with health and wellbeing of sheep (and farm workers!). Milling and skills in making yarn too – there may be less opportunity to train and expand skills with your intended cuts and standards will slide. What about yarn shops – are they going to survive all of this? And finally, probably your enjoyment of making with the end product too will be affected, cos – lets continue to be frank – it’s not going to be a particularly nice yarn after all that, is it?
What do you think your yarn should be worth now?
Ok – too hypothetical for a Friday night, perhaps, but if you really are inflamed*** and cross about wool being elitist, maybe it is time think about it a wee bit differently and let it go. **
| Important Information
* Do remember that prices in the older posts may not be correct and I cannot guarantee availability
** Eternally grateful for Karie Westermann for bringing that video to my attention.
*** Actually, wool is pretty inflammable. Fact