Wool Week!

Tomorrow is the start of Wool Week (October 14th-20th)!

Wool Week is a campaign to raise awareness among consumers about the unique, natural and sustainable benefits offered by wool, and has led to increased demand for wool which led to an increase in the price farmers receive for their wool.

To celebrate Wool Week 2013, 14th – 20th October, John Lewis Oxford Street and Edinburgh will be running a week of FREE fashion focused knitting classes and drop-ins, focusing on how to use bright colours, and new techniques to create high fashion patterns. Despite not being allowed to knit this week, I’m popping in to watch a few workshops; I want to learn Fairisle knitting as it was colourwork that caused me wrist pain so I’d love to know the best technique.

TIMETABLE-FINWhat are you doing to celebrate Wool Week?

 

Pom Pom Parade

 

The other day I told you about The Campaign for Wool’s attempt to set a new Guinness World Record for pom-pom sheep. Since it was at the zoo, one of my favourite places to visit, I decided to pop down and play with yarn.

There were lots of tables full of crafty goodies to make pom-pom sheep, and all the yarn was pure wool! It felt a bit extravagant to be making pom-poms with such snuggly wool, but the whole point of the record was to raise awareness of wool.

When I made pom poms as a child we used cardboard donut-shapes and cut them away, but here you can see the donuts are made from foam and can be pulled over and off the fluffy wool.

It was so much fun that I couldn’t resist making two little sheep. Before joining the flock, we went for a walk around the kids corner of the zoo.

 

 

 

On the way back to the woolly pavilion I bumped into Shaun the Sheep!
Then it was time to say goodbye to my super soft fluffy friends. Can you spot them in the holding pen?

I also found another activity that kept me occupied for an hour or so, but it is so exciting it needs its own blog post later on… In the meantime here is a teaser of what I was doing…

***Reminder: My celebratory giveaway closes tomorrow! ***

Thanks and A Parade of Pom-pom Sheep

I am so overwhelmed with the responses to my giveaway (there is still time to enter!) and the lovely comments from everyone so far. I got a little lump in my throat reading some of the comments and was so touched to realise that people actually like what I’m writing. When I asked for feedback, it was in no way a “I want to hear how awesome I am” thing. In the past I have had really low self-confidence and a big case of compare-itis where I always judge myself against others; I read so many great blogs, I’m never really sure what I am contributing to the big blog world.

Some people’s wishes for what they want to see more of on here are actually things I have thought about (such as fitting) but have never posted as I didn’t know what else I could add to the wealth of info on the internet, but you guys have given me a little self-belief booster to trust my instincts and share my little bits of knowledge. I have said it on twitter this week, but I can’t say enough how much I love the supportive collaboration of sewing bloggers 🙂

That was a bit deep, so now for a bit of fun. What do you get when you combine pom-poms, sheep and the zoo? Shaun the Sheep’s Pom Pom Parade!

The Campaign for Wool & Shaun the Sheep's Pompom Parade attempt Guinness record at ZSL London Zoo 3 copy

I totally missed the Campaign for Wool’s plea for people to make pom-pom sheep, which I am a little disappointed about. I loved making pom-poms as a child. My grandma would cut out circles from cereal boxes and give us all her odd ends of yarn, and we would sit winding the yarn to make pom-poms. I can remember turning pom-poms into black cats, snowmen and multi-coloured balls, and how exciting it was when Grandma cut the card away to reveal the final fluffy pom-pom. I think I am going to have to teach my new class how to make pom-poms (it will count as good fine-motor development!).

As I type, the Campaign for Wool’s Wool Room has so far collected 8,035 pom-pom sheep but they want a collection of 10,000 for a new Guinness World Record; they are having a pom-pom sheep-making workshop at London Zoo this weekend, and hope to raise awareness of how awesome wool is at the same time. You may remember I visited Wool House earlier this year (when I had just started my Basic Bella cardigan) but it was lacking in real-life animals (I missed the day when the sheep were there) so this new project sounds like lots of fun.

The Campaign for Wool & Shaun the Sheep's Pompom Parade attempt Guinness record at ZSL London Zoo 8

 

I don’t think my wrists are quite up to pom-pom making yet, but I have identified my next knitting/crochet projects when I am ready to ease myself back into yarn-work; the next Campaign for Wool project is to create a Woollen Wood and there are some very cute little patterns for butterflies, flowers and bugs that should make good “beginner” projects for me.

*Cute pictures are from Campaign for Wool but have given me inspiration for future makes!

Wool House

Wool HouseToday I went to Somerset House to visit the Campaign for Wool’s Wool House exhibition. The exhibition showcases everything to do with wool – weaving, crochet and knitting; yarn and fabric; home decor and fashion.

Unfortunately today the real sheep were not in the courtyard, so instead I was greeted by a life-sized crocheted bear. Scary but cuddly at the same time.

bear

 

There was The Most Comfortable Chair in the World EVER which was fully upholstered in Mongolian Longhaired Sheep fleece. I could have sat there all day, snuggled into the soft yarn, but instead headed off to see the rest of the rooms.

fluffy chair

 

Most of the exhibition was set up as rooms in houses, with as much as possible made from yarn, even the walls! The nursery featured a knitted raindrop mobile, plenty of woolen toys, and feature walls that reminded me of Fuzzy Felt (soft woolen wall hangings/panels with felted trees and leaves for decoration).

 

sheep

 

 

The “Modern Room” was full of bright, fun felt that had been cut and folded origami-style to create cushions (the left-over felt was used to make blinds) and sound-absorbing wall panels. There were some lovely green flower cushions, made by cutting slits and folding them to create petals that I am inspired to attempt to recreate.

felt

 

 

 

In contrast to the modern room was the “Natural Room” full of rustic yarns. While not my preferred colour-scheme, this room was cosy and homely and full of little touches like these cute knitted pots.

wool

 

 

Unlike some of the more modern rooms, the natural room featured a chair that looked comfy to sit in – it had been totally upholstered in old Aran jumpers. You could clearly see the components of different jumpers and cardigans (the chair back was buttoned up nicely) and there were useful pockets carefully placed on the arms.

chair

 

 

As well as all the furniture and interiors there were rooms displaying different styles and types of clothing made from wool – classic Savile Row suits, pure wool scarves, Vivienne Westwood tweed shoes, and tweed cycling gear complete with flashing safety lights. There was even a pair of “jeans” made from wool tweed that looked just like denim!

Did you know that Britain is home to the most species of sheep? Rooms were full of interesting wool facts, along with samples of a huge range of woolen fabrics, yarn and fibres. Apparently wool makes a great mattress as it keeps you warm in winter and cool in summer, however I was more tempted by some fabric that could make a nice jacket….

crystalsPure wool tweed covered with Swarovski crystals! Hmm… maybe not the most realistic choice for a sewing project!

Wool House is open for another week so if you are nearby I would recommend popping in for a quick look and stroke of all the lovely yarns (and a free felt sheep key-ring!). I left the exhibition feeling inspired to spend the rest of the afternoon wrapped up in my wool blanket with my knitting.