My blankets and scarves are all made from wool which I collect from farms within a 30 mile radius of my home in Sedbergh (and one special farm in the highlands of Scotland).
Each year I visit over a dozen farms picking up fleece as it is sheared, between June and September depending on where the farm is and what breed of sheep they keep. The wool is sent to Bradford for scouring, to Huddersfield for spinning and to the Scottish Borders for dyeing, weaving and finishing. Some of it goes to Leicestershire to be knitted into socks. The entire processing chain happens within the UK and I strive to keep chemicals out of the process, to keep transportation to a minimum and to make sure that even the packaging materials are as sustainable and environmentally friendly as possible.
I couldn’t do any of this without a lot of help — from the farmers who raise the sheep to the lady who sews all the labels onto my scarves and blankets, I rely on relationships that involve trust and goodwill. Yes, money changes hands but this is about so much more than financial transactions. It’s about trying to produce something beautiful from a locally available resource while positively contributing in some small way to my local community and leaving as little as possible behind on the planet. It’s about capturing a piece of the landscape and making use of an enormous pool of underused talent to produce useful, practical items that will give pleasure for many years.
In 2021 I will be donating £5 from the sale of every blanket to the Yorkshire Dales Millenium Trust who do great work supporting rural communities and helping to look after the wonderful Dales landscapes. This Charity gave me a grant that helped me launch my business a decade ago. Little did we both know that it would still be going strong all these years later!
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