introducing limited edition norfolk horn yarn

Ok, so the whole online shop thing is taking me a wee bit longer than I’d planned.  Doesn’t everything? So many choices and decisions.  And charges!  Boy do those one stop shop easy peasy e-commerce providers hide their charges!  Any way I think I’ve found my perfect (for now) solution based in the UK, transparent annual charges and carbon neutral.  Perfect.

So I’ve decided to take the plunge any way and debut my ladies.

Drum roll please…

Launching today some very lovely and extremely rare limited edition 2017 norfolk horn yarn.

 

Squishy, sheepy and softer than you imagine.

Yay! I cannot quite believe I’ve got my act together enough to get to this point. But here we are.

If you are itching to get your hands on some and cannot possibly wait any longer then read on.

The totally professional (cough cough) handspun approach to online e-commerce…

 

Here’s the important stuff:

£8.00 per skein
Skeins are 50g approx 160m
Knits to 4-ply
(photos show all info on label)
Postage UK £3.40 (royal mail 2nd class – I will ship signed for UK £4.40 specify if you prefer this option)
I will ship globally but will quote shipping cost when you order.
Payment will be via PayPal

To place an order please email me (jennatfibreworkshop.co.uk) with how many skeins you would like and we can take it from there.

How exciting is this!

 

 

 

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Whats in a label

I’ve been preoccupied with the labelling for this delicious Norfolk Horn yarn. Honestly, I am so excited by this project its ridiculous.  My preoccupation with tiny details is knowing no limits.  I really am sweating over the small stuff.

My current preoccupation is labelling.  What do I want you to think and know when you see, squish, sniff and work with this precious yarn?

This has meant getting to grips with new software.  Once upon a time it felt like the computer ruled my every waking moment.  Its overwhelming hunger for the production of data to be analysed in spreadsheets, databases, powerpoints and the words.  The words.  The terrifying  enormous volume of words. So much guff!

It took a while before I could spend any length of time with a computer or device of any kind.  I did anything to avoid it. The thought of it gave me the heeby geebies.  I would get this clenching in the gut just thinking about it.  As time has gone by I have been able, bit by bit to rationalise those away. And, for the first time in a long while, I lost some hours working on a borrowed computer teaching myself to use graphics software so I could produce a logo and the labelling for this limited edition Norfolk Horn yarn.  I had forgotten how much fun it was loosing yourself in the creative process of representing ideas and concepts visually.  Not just the creativity of it but also the challenges of learning the skills to make them.

This is one of Olivers lovely ladies from down the road.  She contributed her fleece to the 2017 clip.  She was my starting point.

IMG_20170325_111955562.jpg

I think she is a perfect example of her breed. I love her blackface, those slim long black silk stockinged legs, the swept back open horns and that slightly wild-eyed look.  I knew that the logo had to be a representation of the physical characteristics of the Norfolk.  But I also wanted it to convey their character. A little bit wild, a wry intelligence and quirky in a sort of just off left of centre way.

It is to be simple, direct, and unfussy.  A bit like the Norfolk Horn. In other words, I see more than just a rare breed of sheep.  The Norfolk represents so much more to me.  The Norfolk horn personifies its place and its people.  In other words, everything that I wanted the yarn to encapsulate and express.

This is she:

LabelFrontcropped

Sean thinks she’s a wee bit devilish, but I like her. What do you think?

And the other side:

labelbackcrop

Just in case you are interested its printed on 100% recycled, unbleached, unlaminated white card printed with environmentally friendly inks at a printers that actually has an environmental policy.  I like companies that sweat over the small stuff .  It means that you and I don’t have to…

 

The Norfolks coming home!

p10200901-e1524240154524.jpgIts ready! My Norfolk Horn yarn is finished.  It will be wending its way to me very soon.

Gulp.  Golly, shit just got real! I’m having a bit of a panic attack.  What have I done?  Is this project going to do what I want it too?

Its been a long journey already.  Beginning in the winter of 2015 when the first itching of wanting to do something for these regal wonderful sheep who helped me out so much.

The itch would not go away.  I knew from my spinning life that many small holders have nowhere for their fleece to go aside from the odd one to spinners like me.  Most talk of using them for mulch or compost or worse still burning.  This lead to more research into what happens to wool in the UK.  Phone calls with the wool board.  The prices paid. Conversations with local sheep farmers, small holders and their shearers. The appalling situation that people who keep small flocks of rare breed sheep face when it comes to their fleeces made me more convinced to do something.  I wrote up what I found in a post on the issue here  .  Rachel Atkinson (Daughter of a Shepherd) wrote a particularly impassioned blog post : fleeced  in her blog My life in Knitwear.  Recounting how her father received less than £10 for his entire clip of Herdwicks from the Wool Board, roughly 3 pence a fleece.  I was convinced that this was absolutely a good thing to do.

More research.  How exactly did you get fleece turned into yarn? Is it possible to produce a yarn from Norfolk Horn that would be beautiful and economically viable?  Who would spin it?  It had to be done properly. And by properly I meant not just spinning the breed to its best but also with care to the environmental impacts from this process.  If you know me you know I live my life trying to do less evil so this is a non negotiable part of it.  The Natural Fibre Company had answers to all my questions.

It was a fun spring and summer finding the people who keep Norfolk horns that would sell me their fleeces. People like Oliver in the village with his tiny flock.  The team of volunteers and Richard the farm manager at Gressenhall Museum of Rural life who gave me their entire clip. Waiting on people who turned out not to be able to help me.  The weird and the wonderful. I’m not a sociable type, so for me this was well out of my comfort zone.  But it was good for me to have something to focus on.

Another question was how do I raise the funds to pay for it all? This project had to stand on its on its own.  No funding.  No raiding the pension fund.  No savings to draw on. I spent the summer at local events with The Fibre Workshop squirrelling every penny into to the Norfolk Horn Project fund. So thank you to every one that bought a mini batt, handyed roving, spindles, fleece and felted nicnaks.  I could not have done this without you.

And, in October 2017 I took my tiny crop of 3 bags full to the mill. You can read about that adventure here.

And now its coming home!

I am beside myself with anticipation…

And also a little bit terrified…