The end of WOVEMBER… almost.

Dear WOVEMBERISTS and comrades,

Today marks the end of WOVEMBER… almost.

We hope you’ll agree that this year has been a particularly exciting edition of our annual woolly festivities. From this end it’s felt important to discuss issues around mislabeling, provenance, traceability and sustainability and to explore some of the potential solutions that WOOL can offer when farmed and processed locally and honestly.

We also featured several small producers and it’s been a real privilege to meet and learn about some of the inspiring people working with WOOL in the UK…

Pure Wensleydale on the left, Wensleydale and Bluefaced Leicester blend on the right, produced by Home Farm Wensleydales

Pure Wensleydale on the left, Wensleydale and Bluefaced Leicester blend on the right, produced by Home Farm Wensleydales

…in Australia…

Tarndie yarns in natural white, silver and brown

Tarndie yarns in natural white, silver and brown

…in Ireland…

Jake the sheep

Jake the sheep

…and in Canada.

The Heart of Elderberry Farm

The Heart of Elderberry Farm

WOVEMBER is at its heart an activist site – it was set up primarily to inspire action. To inspire more work with WOOL; to provide enabling resources for people wishing to learn about WOOL; to encourage more wearing of WOOL; to campaign against mislabelling of textiles; to inspire greater consumer curiosity in the provenance of one’s WOOLLY goods and to model a level of excitement and curiosity that can be practiced anywhere and by anyone.

We are therefore extremely excited that this year Jane Cooper of Woolsack was inspired by our small producer focus to produce a wonderful list of single farm yarns… and this in turn has inspired us to think more on what could be done to Close the Gaps between those folks who are making yarn and those of us who wish to buy and work with it.

It has also been joyous to see the huge buzz created online by your participation in the WOVEMBER INSTAGRAM COMPETITION, and to see the many ways in which you are individually working to promote and celebrate WOOL by participating in the competition. There are 409 posts currently which is an incredible collective achievement! Looking through all the entries is extremely heartening and reveals the many ways in which you love and use WOOL. Well done for amplifying that message across social media!


Here is a handful of images from the photo competition so far to whet your woolly appetites… Remember, all images entered before midnight GMT tonight that feature the #wovember2015 hashtag will automatically be entered into the competition.

Fleece dreams/dream fleece. #WOVEMBER2015 #finefleecedShetland

Fleece dreams/dream fleece. #WOVEMBER2015 #finefleecedShetland

The works and days of hands... #spinningyarn #spinna #spindlespinning #wool #shetlandwool #wovember2015

The works and days of hands…
#spinningyarn #spinna #spindlespinning #wool #shetlandwool #wovember2015

#wovember2015 by knittingiris

#wovember2015 by knittingiris

While we are on the subject of WOOL PHOTOS, can we just say a massive thank you to our resident WOVEMBER photographer Jeni Reid? Thank you Jeni Reid for your magnificent daily photos and for giving our eyes so much WOOL on which to feast…

The magnificent Jeni Reid

The magnificent Jeni Reid

…and I think we all need to see the amazing Levitating Sheep once more, don’t you?

A real woolly jumper!

A real woolly jumper!

The WAL also reveals some fantastic WOOLLY action. There is nothing quite like working with WOOL to show appreciation for this amazing stuff. Here are some of the wonderful things that people have been WAL-ing on this WOVEMBER:

Haprapt by Fidlstix - a glorious hap incorporating stranded colourwork, steeking, and a magnificent woolly fringe

Haprapt by Fidlstix – a glorious hap incorporating stranded colourwork, steeking, and a magnificent woolly fringe

Pearl Chain Mittens by Corvid, inspired by medieval illumination colours and worked in locally produced woollen yarns

Pearl Chain Mittens by Corvid, inspired by medieval illumination colours and worked in locally produced woollen yarns

ErinJoelle's Magnificent Half-Hansel Hap, worked in wool

ErinJoelle’s Magnificent Half-Hansel Hap, worked in wool

As well as all this magnificent work with WOOL happening in the course of the WAL, many folks have been delving into breed-specific swatching, inspired and enabled by Louise and the KnitBritish Breed Swatchalong. Louise intended the Breed SAL to enable a different consideration to the wool we craft with – going beyond the squish of the ball to discover more about breed wool and the fabric it creates. We have been proud to feature some of the joy and discoveries of this swatching here on the WOVEMBER blog and we have been so delighted that the SAL has created an exciting exploration into wool – that’s what it’s all about: diving in, having a go, and sharing what you learn… whether swatching KnitBritish or KnitLocal. The swatch-along will continue into 2016, so do join in and start swatching with single breed wool.

Swatching to learn about the Coburg Fox Sheep

Swatching to learn about the Coburg Fox Sheep

We are so happy to see so much WOOL joy happening. Photos celebrating WOOL; projects worked in WOOL; journeys in swatching that are about discovering specific types of WOOL, different initiatives to help people to find WOOL, etc., etc., and we feel that all this WOOLLY GOODNESS needs some time to sink in.

As mentioned at the start of the month, WOVEMBER this year coincides with big projects for Felix and Louise, who have done the lion’s share of the work in running the blog and dealing with the email inbox this year.

Felix is completing a huge commission for The Museum of Oxford. It’s her largest to date and is entitled “The Fabric of Oxford”. It is a sound piece… a lecture performance and a gallery installation, in production since March 2015. The Fabric of Oxford offers a series of perspectives on the city of Oxford as perceived through its textiles. It’s not a 100% WOOL project, but an inclusive exploration of the city through its fabrics. Felix has been steadily working away on this project whilst also managing WOVEMBER work and badge and button sales but the project now needs her undivided love and attention in the run up to the launch on December 11th. Louise is also extremely busy maintaining the KnitBritish podcasting schedule, overseeing the Breed Swatchalong, planning the Podcast Lounge for the Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2016 and working closely with others in the wool and knitting industry, behind the scenes. The day jobs of TEAM WOVEMBER are closely intertwined with the work we do here at WOVEMBER and in the threads of editing audio and examining breed specific swatches, the WOVEMBER work continues. This year, every now and again whenever we doubted our ability to manage WOVEMBER and all our other tasks, we reminded ourselves of the wisdom of Samuel the sheep, from Charlotte’s web. There is a Moji video on Skype that has become our favourite. We feel it should be a favourite amongst all comrades working to promote WOOL and that we should share it here:

There is a lot to think about… not only in terms of who shall win prizes for items WAL-ed and Photos entered into our competition, but also in terms of the issues we have covered here (and not covered) and the gaps between Producers and Consumers of WOOL that we would still like to see Closed.

Team WOVEMBER planning WOVEMBER 2016...

Team WOVEMBER planning WOVEMBER 2016…

In coming days we will be reflecting on this year’s WOVEMBER, choosing prizes, thinking about WOOL and its central place in fashion and in the future, and then gathering our thoughts for a series of reflective pieces and announcements for mid-December. In the meantime, enthusiasm and generosity from WOVEMBERISTS has been great, and we have several bonus posts to feature at 7pm in coming days… so although today officially marks the end of WOVEMBER, WOOL fans fearing the end can relax in the knowledge that there is more to come.

While we are reflecting and working on our other respective projects, we urge you to sift through this year’s postings in case you missed any, (at last count we had assembled and posted an incredible 96 posts to date in 2015!!!) to continue wearing WOOL, and to share your own thoughts on the month in the comments below and in our Ravelry group.

Thank you for being part of the WOVEMBER celebrations,
Felix & Louise x

Team WOVEMBER at the sheep auction in Shetland during Wool Week 2015

Team WOVEMBER at the sheep auction in Shetland during Wool Week 2015

This entry was posted by Felicity Ford.

17 thoughts on “The end of WOVEMBER… almost.

  1. Thank you so much for all your work in getting this to us. Enough here to get me through to the end of the year at least with re-reading. What a great month it has been.

  2. It has been just an amazing – wonderferful month. So much learning and inspiration! Thank you all from the bottom of my wooly heart for all your hard work.

  3. Thanks guys for an awesome month. I am glad there are still some bits left to share with us as I was beginning to feel a mourning for wovember coming on. Its been a great month and you are both stars.

  4. Stunning, just stunning! I have kept the list of single Farm Yarns and will pass this on. You both have done a fabulously wooly job!!! and we have been the recipients of it all, lucky us! Here’s to next year, huzzah!

  5. Each year I think that you can’t possibly top that Wovember and then you do! There was so much this year that was both educational and enjoyable. You all are very good at what you are doing with Wovember. Please never stop!!

  6. Just wanted to say a massive “THANK YOU” for Wovember. I have loved reading all the posts and seeing the wonderful photos. It’s been educational ( in a very good way), entertaining and inspirational. It’s certainly re-affirmed my determination to buy British, as local as possible and to explore and appreciate even more single breeds. I’ve also started spinning, 10 days ago, and I’m enjoying discovering how differently the single breeds fibre is to spin. Thanks to everyone concerned! Amazing!

  7. It’s been fantastic, and I have felt so excited by it all, an ‘old’ knitter just returning to the (sheep)fold and discovering all this amazing webby wonder. I have learned a huge amount, and found an amazing number of new resources, both virtual and woolly. My bank balance is sorry, but my heart most definitely is not. Thank you so much for your hard work!

  8. Thank you to all the Wovember team – what an enormous task but what incredible posts and photos you’ve brought us and so much to read and think about – I definitely need to go back to the beginning and make sure I haven’t missed a post – there was a constant stream of wonderful stuff, I could barely keep up. It has definitely renewed my commitment to knitting with British wool and really thinking about where my clothes come from and how they are made and produced. Kudos again to all and I hope you have time to put your feet up (even for a wee bit) and enjoy a well-deserved tipple and some knitting.

  9. What a fabulous WOVEMBER! Every evening I would sit reading the day’s posts, rereading previous ones,and perusing many of the links. I have been educated, amused, inspired and awed. Thank you!

  10. This was my first year but won’t be my last! I can’t wait to use the wool I purchased from HOME FARM WENSLEYDALES – it is so amazing and their customer service is awesome. 🙂

  11. Thank you so much Wovember Team, another stunning year of interesting, grownup, thought provoking articles. I just loved the emphasis on the Small Producers. I’ve learned a lot and discovered at least 3 new sources of wool. You are my heroes. And thank you so much to everyone who took time out to write an article, you are all amazing. Cannot wait until next year.

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