I am so so excited to share with you the story of Island Wool Company today. I discovered their yarn via my friend Karina and her wonderful work on her knitwear collection, Doggerland. I have always wanted to visit the Faroe Isles and the idea of an entire wool company devoted to them just made my heart skip a beat.
Their wool is gorgeous. Snaeldan has quickly become one of my favourites to work with. Its unusual texture is really lovely - almost having the structure of a linen yarn, but the bounce of wool.
Fiona has come by today to introduce you Crochet Campers to the lovely company.
Tell me a bit about yourself. Do you knit or crochet?
I grew up in Cumbria and knitting was always part of my family's tradition. My grandmother taught me to knit, and I always had some kind of craft project on the go. I have only just learned to crochet, but have been really smitten with it! As I am translating Danish crochet patterns into English, it was vital to be able to visualise the designs in progress.
When I went to live on the Faroe Islands I was fascinated by their knitting culture. Nearly all the women are members of a "Binda Klubb", a knitting club. They meet at each other's houses once a month and knit, crochet and enjoy cake and coffee. They draw on their rich colour work tradition, and hardly ever use patterns, instead they make up the designs as they go along, and ask each other for advice. Truly inspirational!
What is your connection to the Faroe Isles?
I went to work on the Faroes in 1991 as a music teacher, and stayed for 5 years. I taught children and adults and conducted a brass band and choir. I met my future husband there who was also working as a music teacher. It was an amazing experience, and the Faroes will always be a big part of my life. It is a truly magnificent landscape,with high rugged mountains towering up from the North Atlantic. We go back every Summer and stay with friends, and starting The Island Wool Company has given me a chance to introduce people further afield to the gorgeous natural, lanolin-rich yarns that the islanders produce.
Why did you start the Island Wool Company?
Running my own business has always been a dream of mine. I did an MA in Scandinavian Studies at UCL, and after having my daughter, I realised that I wanted to work from home. With the language skills for the translations, my passion for wool and my in-depth knowledge of the Faroes, it just seemed like the perfect combination for a business. We only launched in November 2012, but I am loving every minute of it already.
What have been some of the challenges in starting and running your business?
The hardest part is deciding what task to fill my days with first. There is always so much going on, and I have had to get used to extreme multi-tasking! I am also on a very steep learning curve, having come to the wool trade from the world of music teaching. It is exciting though to be learning new skills, and recycling old ones!
Do you have a favourite wool?
Do I have a favourite wool? This is so hard to answer. I love the Snældan yarn with it's vintage qualities. Lanolin rich and super soft. It reminds me of knitting on Grandma's knee all those years ago! Sirri yarn however is organic, with nothing taken out, and when I knit with it, I am knitting with such a raw and rustic product which is full of texture and honest northern character. Navia's palette is gorgeous too. It is great yarn for colour work, and as it is blended with shetland wool, it feels somehow familiar! They are all so different, and I don't have a favourite. It is like trying to choose from a box of delicious chocolates!
We are giving away 100g of Snaeldan 3-ply (DK weight) yarn. It would be a great yarn to substitute in the Cold at Night Handwarmers. If you can tell me, what is your FAVOURITE yarn?
- Competition open worldwide.
- Winner will be chosen at random.
- No members of the Slugs household are eligible.
- Competition closes at 9pm, 18th of August 2013 BST.