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The Wool Wire | May 30, 2024

Re-learning how to care for our clothes, plus Shaun the Sheep dryer balls, wool pizza, and following a Maine shearer

Clara Parkes
Clara Parkes
4 min read
The Wool Wire | May 30, 2024
Golden hour with the flock. // Photo by Jessy Smith / Unsplash

News snippets from the wool world

Hello from sunny Maine, where the windows are open, the fans are blowing, and the month of May is packed at the door and ready to make way for June.

I've been thinking a lot about what it might take to get more people back into natural fibers. A big barrier that keeps coming up is the issue of garment care.

At least one generation of clothing-wearers has been trained to treat their clothes like a Tupperware container. Toss it in the washer, toss it in the dryer, toss it in a drawer or a closet, no muss, no fuss, certainly no moths, and eventually you can toss it in the Goodwill bin and move on to the next thing.

That whole school of garment care was built around synthetic fibers, not natural ones. Retraining ourselves and those around us needn't be a chore, though. For starters, Woolmark has an entire resource section on its site dedicated to the care of wool garments. (Because Woolmark is funded by Australian Merino growers, the language is very Merino-specific—but the core principles apply to all wool.)

Wool Washing & Wool Care | Woolmark
Comprehensive information on how to wash and care for your wool, including stain removal. An essential guide to caring for wool.

Learning to Love Laundry Again

Our next Foundation Flock readalong picks up on this theme of garment care. We're reading Patric Richardson's utterly delightful and informative book, Laundry Love: Finding Joy in a Common Chore, for a July 3rd discussion in the Community. Even if you're not in the Foundation Flock, you can still read (and enjoy) the book. It really is a gem.

Meanwhile, InStyle ran an article about how to wash wool sweaters. I suspect most of it you'll know already, but I did enjoy the tips for spot treatment of stains.

We Asked Experts the Right Way to Wash Wool Sweaters
What’s the best way to wash wool sweaters properly? We spoke with experts to find out.

Having a (Wool Dryer) Ball

Wool dryer balls reduce drying time by 25%, which translates to less energy used and less stress on your clothes. And now, you can get wool dryer balls that aren't just useful and effective, they're also cute. Introducing Aardman-approved Shaun the Sheep dryer balls—featuring 100% British wool.

Ilkley entrepreneur Sarah Turner signs a deal with Aardman creation, Shaun the Sheep
Sarah Turner, 44, whose business Little Beau Sheep produces the UK’s only 100 per cent natural British wool dryer balls and laundry products, has…

(I also found them on Etsy for $42 for a set of three, including shipping from the UK. A bit pricey for wool dryer balls, and I'm sure a portion of that goes toward licensing fees. But still, the cuteness factor is solid here.)


The Wild and Woolly Life of a Maine Sheep Shearer

Sheep shearing is one of the few manual tasks we've failed to figure out a way to mechanize, although believe me they're trying. This makes a good shearer worth his or her weight in gold for anyone with sheep.

Last fall, photographer Greta Rybus followed Maine shearer Jeff Burchstead on his rounds. Her photographs, accompanied by words from Will Grunewald, are featured in the latest issue of Down East magazine.

The Wild and Woolly Life of a Maine Sheep Shearer
When sheep need to be shorn, there’s a good chance Maine farmers are going to call Jeff Burchstead.

Rybus's previous work includes this gorgeous piece on the Nash Island flock for the New York Times, which she also shares on her website.

Nash Island — Greta Rybus

A new way to get your fiber

And finally...wool pizza, anyone?

Icelandic designers on Good Morning Washington
Helga Ólafsdóttir, director of DesignMarch, and Birta Rós Brynjólfsdóttir, designer at Studio Flétta, were guests on the TV program Good Morning Washington to discuss the Taste of Iceland festival, which took place in Washington this weekend. The festival focuses on Icelandic culture, design, literature and food. In addition to Ólafsdóttir and Brynjólfsdóttir, authors Ragnar Jónasson and Yrsa Sigurðardóttir were guests on the program.

On that note, I'll let you go. Thanks as always for your readership and your support.

Until next time,

Clara

News

Clara Parkes

Wool is life. I make The Wool Channel go.

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