The Lavenham Blue 2020 Collection has finally been released and is on sale online or in the shop. It’s been a long journey in getting this into a product. There are so many things to think about and the cost impacts! What is special about our own yarn (and like the other independent yarn producers) is the consumer can trace everything about this yarn like for example where it was spun.
When I first started to investigate producing my own yarn I began with wholesale manufactures of yarn for the independent dyer market and there are a couple of big ones in the UK. Many of them do ‘British Yarn’ but when you inquire as to where it was spun you get told Italy or Peru! I found this frustrating. Obviously it’s all down to costs and profits (something I now respect as I’ve gone through the whole process myself) but I wanted to sell a yarn that was not only completely British but also had as little a carbon footprint as possible. So I had to look for yarn that was spun in the UK. There were a few companies that sold British yarn that was spun in the UK but in some cases it was still unclear where the sheep came from. Was it from one herd and one farm? It could have been from the same breeds, but from farms all over the UK. Whilst there is nothing wrong with this, I do think it is nice to know. I soon came to the conclusion I had to do the whole process myself if I was to be happy with the product and to be able to offer the consumer full traceability on the yarn.
From Farm to Shop
The fleece for the 2020 Collection came from a small, mixed flock of Bluefaced Leicester and Romney sheep (10 sheep in total). The flock were from a farm in Newton, Suffolk, 10 minutes from my shop in Long Melford, Suffolk. After sheering, the fleece was sent to The Halifax Spinning Mill in Yorkshire where it was woollen spun into 80 hanks of 4ply/Fingering weight yarn.
Each hank has then been hand dyed with woad individually by me; the whole collection taking a number of months to build up as the hanks were dyed one at a time, outside in the garden.
The Yarn Labels and Postcards that accompany a purchase were printed by Indigo Ross, a printing company in Sudbury, 5 minutes from the shop. So you can see, not only a beautifully British product, but almost a local one to my shop!
It’s been a wonderful journey, if a little problematic at times because of the virus. I was intending to launch the product at Fibre East in July but that all changed from March 23rd when the UK went into a national lockdown. My shop was closed and events were cancelled (and many still continue to be at the time of writing this). However, we still soldiered through and got it created. If this collection sells then, I’d love to do another next year! I’ve already got a farmer and sheep in mind and guess what….they are 5 minutes from my house! So fingers crossed.
100% Wool – A blend of Bluefaced Leicester & Romney
329 metres/360 yards.
Hand wash only.
Videos that may be of interest
Other useful Links
For the FULL SCIENCE on how the ‘blue’ appears and why….read from the master who knows it all. http://www.woad-inc.co.uk/dyeing_with…
Fresh Leaf Extraction – Helen Melvin’s method. You can follow it by buying her fabulous ebook and having a go yourself if you are interested. It’s called ‘The Colour of the Sea and the Sky – The art of Indigo Dyeing.’ https://www.fieryfelts.co.uk/product/the-colour-of-the-sea-and-sky-the-art-of-indigo-dyeing-ebook/