Spinning a yarn for future wool production on Sark
Sark weaver Amanda Vogan-Petrie had been mulling over the idea of yarn spun from Sark sheep-fleece ever since she’d spun Sark wool by hand and with a spinning wheel, for wool for her own weaving and knitting. Warm, fully biodegradable, and from much-cherished sheep that lead a natural life outdoors in beautiful surroundings, the wool had potential beyond the fleeces’ historical composting.
Discussion of this woolly thinking ensued, and led Sark sheep-farmer Dave Scott to put aside the best of the wool last year, which isn’t as simple as it sounds. Speed is of the essence at shearing for the hotter summer weather, to get his flock of sixty-odd sheep hair-cut and comfortable again quickly; so not all the fleeces are clipped quite long enough for spinning wool and some areas are too mucky to use.
Nonetheless, with Amanda’s quality control, ably assisted by local upholsterer Sue Williams, 17.5kg of woolly fleece made the grade.
Tantalising videos arrived (see above!) during the Spring, captured by James at the Natural Fibre Company, of their wonderful heritage spinning equipment turning cleaned and carded frothy white fluff into recognisable wool threads. Then, in April, pristine twisted hanks arrived – Sark’s first commercially spun yarn.
Creamy, soft, and beautiful, the wool skeins have been on sale at the Creative Sark markets, and at Amanda’s Sark Threads studio, at £9.50 for a 50g skein –each is about enough wool for a knitted hat, and obviously experienced knitters will know how to scale up for larger projects. Proceeds after costs will go to Dave and Creative Sark, to try and make sure there’s a sustainable future for Sark wool.
Finally, back in February 2022, the idea set out on its journey to reality when Amanda got in touch with the Natural Fibre Company in Cornwall, who sent special customs bags over to transport the wool. A couple of complex forms later, and with some wheelbarrow-based delivery, the consignment was ready for the Post Office.
So as Autumn draws in and the time for cosy winter knitting arrives, do get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org – or make sure to come and buy your wool at Sark Threads or the Creative Sark Christmas market on November 5th at the Cider Barn.
Photo and Video Credits: Amanda Vogan-Petrie, Shakira Christodoulou, James at The Natural Fibre Company
More stories of creative inspiration on Sark are over on our Sark News page.
WORKSHOPS WITH SARK'S CREATIVE COMMUNITY
Several Sark artists offer workshops throughout the year - follow the link for further details so you can plan ahead for your next trip or creative treat.