Sunday, 10 February 2013

Organic Wool Project - updates

So! All is well under way with applications to take part in the Organic Wool fabric Project and we've been sending out small samples of the two fabrics that have been woven. If you want to take part there is still time, but you need to get in touch as soon as possible! You can now also contact me at

We've got the beginnings of the web-site up and running and will be adding information as the Project unfolds. We want to create a lively and vibrant community to spread the word about organic wool - not just as knitting yarn, but as woven fabrics too. Take a note of

One thing has already been becoming clear - it's not easy getting your hands on wool cloth certified to Global Organic Textile Standards, which is the highest standard so far available. Yet designers are searching for it.

It's possible to commission your own run, but for many new, small and independent designers and maker wanting this is not financially possible. A topic for further discussion?

Friday, 1 February 2013

The Welsh Organic Wool Project: Information for Designer-Makers

The Organic Wool Project: Information for Designer-Makers

The Organic Wool Fabric Project is a collaboration between designer makers, Llynfi Textiles, and organic wool producer, Ystrad Farm. It is part funded by Better Organic Business Links, Wales. It aims:

  • to raise the profile and explore the potential of organic wool
  • to establish a broad community of interest that spans wool producers, designers, makers and the general public
  • to showcase the potential for organic wool and the quality, innovation and commitment to sustainability of designer/makers in the UK.

We all know wool is great! Sustainable, natural, traditionally British, both cool and warm in many ways. Organic Wool takes it all further:

copyright Juliet Morris

·      it all starts with the organic farm, caring deeply for the land, not just producing but also investing – in strong natural eco-systems, for today and tomorrow;
·      and organic sheep, properly cared for, to welfare standards that build healthy immune systems and avoid the routine or unnecessary use of drugs and chemicals - including pesticides on fleeces;
·      which means organic wool starts its processing journey free of harmful residues and continues that way – through scouring, carding and spinning – with none of the environmentally polluting treatments, aggressive acids, toxic chemicals, petroleum products, chlorine, enzymes, plasticisers that may be used on conventional wool;
·      even the dyeing, if it needs to be done, must be with modern low impact dyes or natural dyes, avoiding dangerous heavy metals;
copyright Juliet Morris
·      and finally, the organic certification standards apply to knit and weave - making sure that finished products are fully traceable, all the way back to the organic fleece … and that textile workers are treated fairly too!

BUT … organic wool produced in the UK rarely realises this potential. Whilst we’ve woken up to organic cotton, the demand for locally produced organic wool barely reaches beyond the sheep. Once shorn, the organic value of its fleece is lost. Shear waste!

The aim of this project is to champion the possibilities for organic wool - through a report, a website ….and the imagination of selected designer–makers to create a small collection of products to showcase some specially commissioned, GOTS certified, Welsh Wool Fabric.

Which is where you come in!

Successful applicants will receive a length of the Wool Fabric to make their item. (Please note:  there will not be a charge for this but, due to the high value of the fabric, we will require a deposit in the form of a cheque which will be returned to you on receipt of your entry. )

We want to create a talking point, a think piece, a chance to raise the debate. If you believe in the value of wool, if you care about the textiles you use in your work, then we need your help getting the message out!

We envisage: a carefully curated and eclectic collection of … women’s, children's and men's wear … accessories … millinery … footwear … interiors  … cushions … lampshades … toys … anything else … ? Over to you!

Initially, the collection will showcase at Wonderwool Wales, Builth Wells, Powys 27th - 28th April and, of course, be promoted online. We’ll set up a blog and a facebook page for contributors. We want an online community with plenty of thoughts, ideas, and good stories - key to capturing media attention and getting our collection on the road. We have financial backing from Organic Centre Wales and the promotional support of the Soil Association, and we’re going to make the most of it.

The prize if you’re selected? No money - but your work on display, with your details alongside, and your own chance to promote your part in this pioneering project - raising the profile and releasing the potential of home-grown organic WOOL.

The Essential Stuff.

Contact for the full details. It's really important that you read the terms and conditions and then, if you’re happy with it all, fill in the application form - signed please (but returned by email is fine).  

In the meantime, any questions? Don't hesitate to ask. 

Llynfi Textiles
Ystrad Farm
Organic Centre Wales
Soil Association
Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS)