The Northern Yarn
Way back when Northern Yarn was just a pip of an idea, I wondered how easy it would be to get my own wool processed, from really local sheep.
My daughter had lots of friends at school that lived on farms so I started investigating. What did local shepherds do with their sheep's fleeces? That alone gave me plenty of food for thought, farmers must pay for their sheep to be sheared (for large flocks) then pay to get the wool to the wool board then wait for it to be graded and auctioned. A long process and for little reward.
I decided to jump straight in the deep end have wool processed from a local farm and blog about it, so others could join me on my journey.
I had very little knowledge of fleeces and knowing what would make a nice yarn, no knowledge at all about mills and costs, but I decided to do it anyway. Six months later I was holding my first batch of Poll Dorset Lambswool 4 ply (Jennett) and a blend of Poll Dorset shearling and Bluefaced Leicester (Lynn).
I then ventured further a field to Bradshaw and was introduced to Lancashire's native sheep, the Lonk. Emma & Matt love Lonk and explained that the breed have been grazing on the Lancashire moors for centuries. Northern Yarn 'Lonk' 4 ply was born. Then Zwartbles 4 ply from Lucy who lives on a farm in Garstang and Yealand Manor Mule from Yealand Manor in Silverdale. These beautiful, single farm yarns are very small batch and sell out quickly, so I now have blends from more than one farm, that can be kept as consistent lines; Methera & Mamó have become our signature yarns! The special thing for me is that I have met the sheep and their shepherds; I've seen where they live and how they are looked after. Everyone I have met clearly loves their sheep and care for their welfare and the land they roam.
This has become a big part of what I want to do; to promote local farmers and the sheep they keep. Process wool from their fleeces and support our local economy by giving the farmers more for their fleece and introducing customers to wool from sheep they have probably driven past. I'm still learning and the more farms I visit the more I want a few lambs of my own! But cuddling and fleece collecting will have to do for now. I hope you enjoy Northern Yarn too and you can read my blog posts to learn more about the farms I visit.