Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Britain want there Wool back!!

Lincoln Longwool sheep
I am a true Yellow Belly, born and bread in Lincolnshire, so my heart sits here and it's history certainly brings me to the belief in why I have such deep affection for British wool and Knitting. Even the term yellow belly among other stories which are said arrived apparently because of the traditional breed of sheep in the county called Lincoln Longwool. As the name suggests, it's fleece was, well, long. These sheep would graze in the fields of mustard that were once a common sight around lincolnshire. As their shaggy coat dragged along the ground it would pick up pollen from the mustard flowers and give them a yellow belly.

Through reading a lot of information on the history of British wool I have learnt that the main reason why our wonderful towns and citys are here today is because of the wealth that wool brought to our country. The textile industry was once a mainstay of British manufacturing.

Wool cloth was spun and woven by the tribes of Northern Europe even before 10,000BC. Roman emperors cherished British woollen cloth, it was so fine that is was comparable with a spiders web. 

The wool trade was of immense importance to the wealth of medieval Europe and Lincolnshire was the centre for this trade. They used the Long fine wool from it's native sheep breeds to produce a cloth which did not require the fulling process. This fulling process is a shrinking method. It requires soft water and water power through mills which need hills and fast running streams. The process was mainly used in the Pennine Districts of Yorkshire and Lancashire.

Due to the new inventions which speeded the process of spinning and weaving based mainly around Lancashire during the industrial revolution of 1750-1850, the older industries which were in places like Stamford and Lincoln declined and never recovered.
We are pleased to see the wool trade coming back into fashion with even a royal seal of approval by prince Charles who has backed National wool week in an attempt to reignite our love of Britain's most natural, eco-friendly and durable yarn. 

Info on British wool week:

Stamford was particularly famous for it's woven cloth called haberget. The towns communication routes via the great north road and the river Welland to the North sea ensured the success of it's trade.

Derek Lawlor
What I can see is that people are stuck to thinking that knit is an old method only used by grannys. Our granny's are cool!! You can create your own piece with any colour you want, in any structure with yarn, it's really exciting and not as complicated as you think, if you want to knit faster you can even use a knit machine instead of your hands. There is so much potential with knit as it stopped at a point and wasn't experimented even further. 

These days we buy all our goods for fashion abroad when we have a fibre in England which could be better than anything if we play with it more. We now have the opportunity with technology and all that to bring back a world wide name for England. The wool industry could even bring back employment. 

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