The Benefits of Wool – and it’s many uses

So wool has many uses other than as clothing!!!

Clothing as previously discussed in the first blog post of this title

Carpets

Blankets

Bedding, both blankets and duvets or Baavets (as one company call themselves!!)

Mulch or weed suppressant mats to put round plants. There is also the added benefit of moisture conservation!

Fertiliser. It takes a while to break down, but when you toss wool into the compost pile, it adds beneficial nutrients, including calcium and sodium. It’s about 9% nitrogen, 1% phosphate, and 2% potash, too

Pet wares, horse blankets, saddle cloths, pet beds…

Upholstery the stuffing for chairs etc and the fabrics to cover them

Insulation for homes. It has an excellent R value and also provides an acoustic buffer

Insulation in outer wear coats etc

Uniforms for firefighters as some types like merino have the right properties

Furniture and soft furnishings like cushions

Packing boxes for thermal packaging as an alternative to polystyrene

Bricks. Mixed with seaweed and added to bricks to improve durability and environmental impacts

Lanolin products, salves, balms for all sorts including one of the best for breast feeding mummas!! But lanolin can also be used in cosmetics, lubricants and adhesive tapes!

Cleaning products, especially for soaking up the spills due to its absorbency!

Pianos, woollen felt covers the hammers inside the piano!! It also makes acoustic insulation for machinery!!

The Benefits of Wool – Wearing

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the benefits of wearing and using wool! so I thought it might be a good idea to get some of these thoughts out into a blog post!

Benefits of Wool:

Natural, renewable fibre – Wool comes from sheep and is a renewable source of material! Using wool in clothing is great for the environment and far better than using the synthetic alternatives!!

Wool is a natural protein fibre found on the backs of the millions of sheep you see over the world. It is considered one of the most effective forms of all-weather protection, and man-made fibres with the same properties have yet to be produced.

It’s biodegradable
That’s right, it naturally decomposes into the soil releasing valuable nutrients back into the earth. Compared to synthetic materials, it’s a very quick decomposer too!

It’s renewable
For as long as there’s grass to graze, sheep will grow producing a woolly fleece, a renewable fibre source. And woolgrowers actively work to protect the natural environment, enhancing the sustainability of the wool industry to enable future generations to benefit from this warm natural material.

It’s breathable
As wool fibres are packed together, tiny pockets of air form allowing the material to absorb and release moisture. This could be moisture in the atmosphere, or perspiration from the wearer. This makes wool an extremely breathable material and helps you avoid any clamminess when you head inside from the colder outdoors.

It reacts to your body
Wool is also able to react to any changes in your body temperature. It’s an active fibre that helps you to stay warm when it’s cold and cools you when it’s warm. This makes it the perfect material all throughout the year, helping you minimise your wardrobe and maximise the sustainability of your closet!

Wool keeps you dry. Wool fibres wick moisture away from your skin and can absorb around 30% of their weight before you feel wet. This moisture is then released from the fabric through evaporation.

It’s static resistant
As wool can absorb moisture from your body or the surrounding air, it rarely creates static electricity like synthetic fibres do, keeping you cosy and comfortable and avoiding any awkward clinging.

It’s easy to clean
As its primary function is to protect the body of a sheep to the surrounding environment, wool fibres have a natural protective outer layer. This helps to prevent any marks or stains from being absorbed, so the dirt sits of the surface and is easily removed.

It’s anti-wrinkle
Each wool fibre is structured much like a coiled string, allowing it to return to its natural shape after being bent, so woollen items tend not to crease or wrinkle. This makes them the perfect addition to you everyday bag or great items to pack when you’re going on holiday.

It’s odour-resistant
As wool can absorb the moisture from your skin, and therefore the sweat when you perspire, wool can even help to absorb any odour from sweating that is only released upon washing. So wool clothing is great for layering up in post-workout when you need to brave the cooler air outside.

Wool doesn’t stink! Wool products are also highly odor resistant due to natural, anti-microbial properties that don’t allow bacteria to bind and subsequently grow on the fibres in the fabric.

It’s eco-friendly – wool has eco credentials! It’s a natural, renewable product that biodegrades much quicker than synthetic fabrics. It’s got a long lifespan and is frequently and easily recycled and reused. It is also a carbon store; pure organic carbon makes up 50% of the weight of wool. And research is now investigating the health and wellbeing benefits of wool. Wool bedding and sleepwear has been associated with a better night’s sleep, promoting sleep onset and improving sleep efficiency. Merino wool has also been found to help people that suffer from chronic skin conditions, despite misconceptions of it being “itchy”, due to its moisture and temperature management qualities.

Warm even when wet. When fibres absorb moisture, they also release small amounts of heat, which can help you stay warm on a cool, wet day.

High warmth to weight ratio. A wool shirt is significantly warmer than a synthetic shirt of the same fabric weight.

Soft skin feel, not itchy. Wool fibres are often treated to reduce the prominence of natural scales, which cause the rough, itchy feel of old wool products. This increases the carbon footprint of the wool production process though and there are many breeds of sheep that produce next to skin soft wool naturally!! For example some of our beauties here!!

Very low flammability. Wool naturally extinguishes itself and will not catch on fire. It will also not melt or stick to your skin like synthetics will.

What else could you add??

Wooly Wednesday, even more yarn dyeing

So last week I gave the first half of the story! This week here is even more of the colourways I have been dyeing up ready for the yarn show!

There maybe more but I am at the point I can’t tell which I’ve uploaded and which I haven’t! 🤯

Sooooo these are getting released at Sweater Weather

Have you got your tickets!!!???!! I am super excited about meeting all sorts of knitting people!! Plus there are a few patterns going to be released for the show!!

If you want the heads up about any yarns left after the show going live for sale then head on over and sign up for the newsletter!! You can get priority notice on new releases yarny and patterns!! And occasionally the odd discount code!!

Wooly Wednesday and LOTS of dyeing

So I have been very lucky and made it through the application process for the Farnham Maltings new autumn show – Sweater Weather

I have been working extremely hard dyeing up lots of yarns ready for the show!

These yarns aren’t available online yet as I just haven’t had time to sit and list them… but any left after Sweater Weather will be listed for sure!!

Which ones are your favourite??

Sheepy Sunday

So after the 3 witches we acquired Wolfie!

She is a welsh white type sheep and was a bottle lamb that one of my neighbour’s wives acquired to raise.

We acquired her when she had transitioned into the neighbour’s garden and was spending more time munching flower beds and pooping on the front doorstep than cutting the grass! Particularly the pooping on the front door step!

We got her about Christmas time and popped her into the field with our guys and she looked at the other sheep as if to say what are these things…. and why why why are you leaving me with them! I think she would have followed us to the house and come in through the front door if she was allowed!

She is a lovely little sheep and is always at the gate after some sheep nuts and a fuss, as long as she has heard us coming. Once in a while we make it into the field before she spots us and then the little leaps and gambols she does are just adorable.

She has the most beautiful thick fleece too!!

Wolfie’s wool is blended into the Rustic ranges of wool we have in our Etsy shop here!

Sheepy Sunday

So we have done Wanda’s Story and Baarbara’s Story….

Here is the story of the three witches!!

Basically we swapped three sheep for some large bales of haylage the summer after we had Wanda and Babs!

Not a hugely exciting story, but we ended up with Garlick, Og and Weatherwax, which for the literary savvy among you will tell you I like reading the Terry Pratchett books!!

These three are all Llanwennog sheep and James cannot tell the difference between most of our Llanwennogs!

So in this picture we have Weatherwax, who is the biggest of the three up front to the left, Og in the middle front, she is easily recognisable as she tore out one of her tags early on and has a funny little left ear. Garlick is getting increasingly difficult to spot as she and a more recent acquisition are remarkably similar now the recent acquisition is growing up!! But she has a petite slim face and is the smaller of the three witches!

So our flock grew from 2 to 5! The hope was that these three would be relatively tame and join Wanda, but no they joined the suspicious Baarbara and hung round at the back, not coming close enough to hand feed but always within range of thrown nuts!!

They are hard to catch and a bit wild, but this has provided us with entertainment, in he form of Weatherwax diving under James when he was trying to catch her, her boosting him up and him effectively riding her as she ran round the pen! She was eventually caught, wormed and hooves trimmed!

If you want to find out more about Llanwennogs as a breed click here

Find their beautiful wool here for sale!

Sheepy Sunday!

So last Month I told you some of Wanda’s story….

Up this month is Baabara!

Baabara is a mule most likely, Welsh white… something along those lines! She is the white faced one in this picture and is the MOST suspicious sheep you will ever meet!!

When they come up for feed in the field, Baabara is always right at the back! She is the hardest to catch, utterly unmotivated by food and a talented escape artist like her friend Wanda!

I say friend, but the pair of them tolerate on another and that’s about it!! Baabara prefers to mix with a few of the Llanwenogs!

She was given to us by neighbour who had her as an odd one out in their flock of Lleyn sheep to keep Wanda company in our fields and it helped to keep Wanda from wandering!!

She has a beautiful full soft fleece and it makes for gorgeous yarn!!

You can try out some of her wares here!! All spun up locally here in West Wales and dyed by me!

Wooly Wednesday – hats

Since moving to the smallholding I wear a lot of hats, literally and metaphorically!! I have a few favourites…

My lattice hat, knitted up in a gorgeous sock weight alpaca yarn I bought on the Great London Yarn Crawl, my River Knits yarn hat, which is a gorgeous sock weight yarn and I knitted a super slouchy beanie hat in it!

More recently I have been knitting up hats for a few people around here and using double knit yarn!

This one is knitted in our hilltop blend and it is rarely off the farmers head at the moment!

I have also been finding the boy’s hat strewn about the place…. this one was found out by the stream in the last cold snap frozen solid!!

It has now been thawed and washed!!

I have a number of hat designs out and up for sale in the Etsy shop, on Ravelry and on Lovecrafts including this Queen Bee hat

And…. I am working on a heap more designs!! All inspired by the natural world around here in Wales!

Here are some sneaky peeks!!

What are your favourite or go to hat patterns??

I still have a Baable on my to knit list!! Knit my mum one but never got round to mine!! 🤦‍♀️

Wooly Wednesday

One of the most popular yarns in our online shop are our sock weight yarns. We have several bases, Smooshie (the silk, wool blend) Sock (superwash BFL) Stardust (the one with the sparkle) and now we have the Rustic sock!

Rustic sock is spun up from our own sheep here on the smallholding at a local mill and then dyed here on the holding ready for you to knit into the perfect sock weight project. Rustic sock is the little sister of the Rustic DK. It is the same blend of Llanwennog, Beulah and Welsh white and is a gorgeous bouncy yarn that just drinks in the dyes. It knits up pretty darned nicely too! (though I am not at the stage of sharing my projects in it just yet!)

Last Friday I released the first two colourways in this base Dragon’s blood and Deep Blue Sea.

These two colourways are just gorgeous, deep, semi solid, and this yarn would make a super comfy pair of socks for walking. A shawl or scarf to keep your neck warm or a slouchie beanie hat to keep the frost off your ears!

This week I will be releasing a few more colourways in this yarn!

Winter Skyscape, Wooded walks, Oer (pronounced oi-r rolling the r

slightly, which is Welsh for cold)

Crafts from the Smallholding on the hill

For all our beautiful, sustainable Welsh yarns, in a range of vibrant colours

What colours should I dye up next?

Are you looking forward to spring colours?

Or shall I keep on with the winter inspirations….. I am thinking some fireside colours with reds, yellows and oranges….

Drop us a comment below or comment over on FB or Instagram!

Wooly Wednesday

This Wednesday I am going to look at a pattern or two from another source!

I am currently knitting up the fabulous Arboreal sweater by Jenn Steingass (this link is in Ravelry, I am afraid there are no other links I could find where she sells the patterns outside Ravelry)

I am knitting it up using our Rustic with alpaca base which is currently up in the Etsy shop. I am using the natural beautiful grey base colour, a small amount of cream from the Rustic range and the Gentian for the blue.

It is knit up from the top down and all the colourwork is in a yoke around the neck. Beautiful leafy patterns!

The yarn is knitting up beautifully, Roger at the mill puts a lovely twist into the wool and it really is turning into one of favourites to knit with. I am also loving the combination of the natural grey of the wool with the hand dyed Gentian colour way.

True to my form though, as this knitting is for me it gets left to the bottom of the list, so was put aside for all the Christmas knitting and put aside for the custom orders….. but I plan to get back to it at least one night a week now and keep some progress going!

Jennifer Steingass has many many beautiful yoked sweater patterns so I hope this is my first of many! In fact logging into Rav has set me off again and I now rather like the Forestland sweater….. Sooo many patterns sooooo little time…..

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/search#query=jenn%20steingass&sort=best&view=captioned_thumbs