It’s in the News such a lot at the moment. The British Fibre industry suffers so much with low values being given for their beautiful livestock fibres. Yarn for the Soul began its journey as an even tinier business. It has always stood for supporting small businesses and those under potential threat. It’s simple, as a business owner I have invested in people just as much as product. Community over Commerce. Now I am in a position to want to support the British breeds and fibres that are so undersold, under appreciated and need a big boost.
I have been exploring a blend which will be exclusive to YFTS and comprises of the following:
40% Exmoor Bluefaced, 30% Merino and 30% Bluefaced Leicester.
About the breeds.
Exmoor Bluefaced is a British Breed found relatively close to the base of Yarn for the Soul, Wiltshire. It is a crossbreed of both the Exmoor Horn and the Bluefaced Leicester (the softest British sheep breed). The fibre of the Exmoor Bluefaced fibre is light, springy and bouncy.
Exmoor Blueface is bred and farmed in Devon and they can be seen roaming happily on the Exmoor hills.
Blueface Leicester is known as the softest of all the British Breeds. Having a beautiful, soft and light coat is just one of the reasons to use the breed. BFL are also long coated, making them popular amongst hand spinners. The Bluefaced Leicester was a result of a breeding scheme in the 18th Century, in Dishley Leicester, belonging to Robert Bakewell. It was given its name due to the Roman nose which has a dark blue skin. This breed remained exclusively in the UK until 1970 when it was bred in Canada.
Merino. I am aware that this is not a British Breed, however the properties held I believe make it worth including in this exclusive blend. One sheep can yield between 4 and 5 lbs per year. It really is that light. There are many other properties that make merino worth having. The natural crimps in both this and the BFL mean that is is excellent at regulating body temperature. This is achieved by the crimps trapping air between them - adding insulation to keep you warm when needed. When you are too warm the thin and light fibres transport moisture away from the skin - keeping you cool. Merino is also highly popular with spinners on account of its’ many, long and light fibres. Merino absorbs odours causes by bacteria. It can therefore be worn longer and by requiring fewer washes this adds to its ecological benefits.
Why this blend?
The custom blend has been chosen because I wanted something that
1. Was made using predominantly British Breeds
2. Had the feel of something a bit special. Something that had a rustic appeal.
3. Would be fantastic used dyed or undyed and would also work beautifully when woven.
4. Took the properties of each fibre and used them to their very best while leaving the yarn smooth enough not to irritate.
5. Local. The Exmoor Blueface is local enough to Wiltshire to warrant its use in this extra special blend
6. Soft. The BFL is the softest of all British breeds and blended with the other two fibres is just perfect.
7. Merino has so many wonderful qualities (Listed before) which I felt needed to be included.
The Merino being used are being organically raised and farmed in the Falklands. They are Falkland Merino.
Crafting is incredibly important for those with long term health issues, mental health problems and those who just use knitting, crochet, weaving and spinning as ways to relax and meditate. Using a British Breed would not only help these conditions (due to their texture, the fact you could visit such breeds and see what you are using and rest with a clear conscience that our local economy is supported too) but also help the British Fibre Industry at the same time.
About the yarn.
The yarn will be spun at a small mill in Devon which has been developed by Juliet and John Arbon.
Each skein will weigh 100g and will be 3 fold Double Knit, with each skein having approximately 225m.
This new blend will, of course, be available to buy on my website and in my shop too.
The yarn will be available as dyed or undyed and will also be available as wholesale, meaning other dyers and fibre orientated business can purchase the yarns and benefit from the blend.