This week sees Wool Week, a week-long celebration by the Campaign for Wool. All across the UK there are events to show the wonders of wool, and newspapers have been bursting with woolly stories.
The Campaign for Wool was launched by the Prince of Wales in 2010 to promote wool-rich products and to support and grow the wool industry. His speech at the start of Wool Week this year highlighted the benefits of wool: its warmth, elasticity and the way it can be made into a vast range of items.
Prince Charles also spoke about the benefits of using natural materials such as wool for clothing. A couple of years ago, he buried two sweaters in a flower bed at Clarence House — one made from wool and one from synthetic materials. About 6 months later, the sweaters were dug up and they found that the synthetic jersey was still intact, while the wool one had quietly returned to nature.
Indeed this is one of the key problems of recent throw-away fashion trends. In the UK alone 1 million tonnes of clothing is discarded into land-fills every year. If a substantial proportion of these new clothes are made from oil-based materials such as nylon and polyester, then they will take hundreds of years to break down. Items made from wool would biodegrade within just a few short months.
Many major fashion houses now agree about the superiority of using wool as a renewable raw material, and we have seen designers such as Vivienne Westwood and Paul Smith leading the way to introduce many more wool items into their collections. Wool is now regularly featured on the catwalks in London, New York and Tokyo.
Wool has been used since mediaeval times and has been cherished for its versatility and the way the fibre can be recycled multiple times for different projects. Even small lengths of yarn can be incorporated into larger items, such as in the Ocean Currents Blanket pictured here.
My Welsh grandmother was a master in the art of unravelling baby sweaters, adding in a touch of colour and fashioning a new larger-sized sweater. As lucky recipients of her woolly creations we never felt cold!
So to celebrate Wool Week, have a look in your yarn stash for some 100% wool fibre, and start a new woolly project today! For find the patterns in the photo above and other woolly patterns, please click here. All the patterns are available for instant download.
Happy Wool Knitting!
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