Friday Night Vi-EWE-ing – when ‘wool’ isn’t wool


As is evident from all of today’s WOVEMBER posts, one of the core aims here is to recognise that the word WOOL refers to the fibre, yarn or fabric derived from the fleece of THE SHEEP; it does not refer to the fleece of other animals nor to fibres derived from petrochemicals or plants.  Tonight’s Friday Night Vi-EWE-ing illustrates the mis-use of the term wool with some fantastic examples from British Pathé. Louise investigates.

As a child my mam and nannie were machine knitters and I grew up surrounded by a lot of wool, but in reality it was not wool.  For the most part it was acrylic yarn, or a blend of wool and acrylic, often referred to as “Scotch”.  I am not quite sure how old I was when I realised that wool and yarn were two different things.

Of course, now I am patently aware that wool…

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Wovember Words: James Rebanks on Shearing Sheep


Today’s WOVEMBER WORDS come from James Rebanks whom many of you may know on Twitter as @herdyshepherd1. TEAM WOVEMBER have been following James for years now and his Twitter feed is surprising, delightful, educational and real. James published a book this year entitled ‘The Shepherd’s Life‘ which has been extremely well-received for its engaging depiction of life as a shepherd in the Lake District. Today for Harvesting Wool we share a section in which James describes the work involved in shearing sheep.

Dad’s T-shirt is wet with sweat. He straightens his back occasionally as if it aches. He catches the sheep from a pen, and turns it with a twist of the neck over her leg, on to its bum. A hand reaches up and pulls the shining rope that starts the…

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Sue Blacker on the unique characteristics of breed wool


WOVEMBER would be nothing without the knowledge and support of our honorary member of  TEAM WOVEMBER, SUE BLACKER and we are delighted that she has agreed to write some more this year!

Given that the KnitBritish Breed Swatch-along is running alongside WOVEMBER this year and that participants are discovering such a lot about the characteristics of wool – which goes way beyond the initial hand-squish-grab of the ball in the shop – LOUISE was keen to ask Sue about her favourite single-breed yarns which are worth swatching to discover their qualities and longevity as a knitted fabric.

sue and gotland [BY pic) Sue with her Gotland sheep This WOVEMBER people are participating the the Breed Swatch-along and are looking beyond the thoughts of the initial feel to discover the individual characteristics of each breed wool. By test driving swatches and repeating the wash, block and wear process we are discovering how the wool fabric changes, what it…

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Wovember Words: Government of Cattel


For today’s WOVEMBER WORDS we examine a 1596 document by Leonard Mascal, as it is introduced by Barclay Wills in his own fantastic tome, ‘Shepherds of Sussex’. Words from both ‘Government of Cattel’ and ‘Shepherds of Sussex’ indicate the unchanging aspects and long history of much of the work involved in Growing Wool and it is interesting to note the old spelling of Shepherd: “Shepheard.”


In 1596 Leonard Mascal published his Government of Cattel, one section of which was devoted to sheep. The author was a member of an old family settled at Plumpton, Sussex, and although no mention of the county appears in his book on sheep some extracts are quoted here, for among his notes and instructions on the managemenet and doctoring of sheep a few passages suggest that many of the scenes so familiar to us in these days are repetitions of those in vogue nearly…

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WOAH-vember !


An extra WOVEMBER post today with an important announcement.



We asked you for your WOVEMBER contributions this year and we have had such an incredible response to our call for submissions. We have been OVERWHELMED with woolly contributions and, staggeringly, we have now come to the stage where we have to say that we are unable to accept any more contributions for WOVEMBER 2015!

As Felix mentioned in our opening post, it is mainly the two of us running proceedings this year and the superlative, well researched and well-written contributions we’ve received –  with 100% WOOL at the core – are enriching our content, spreading the WOVEMBER word and are really engaging. We cannot thank you enough for your contributions and your deep love of wool – thank you so much for sharing this with us.

If you have been…

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