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Fashion – Enter Wales: Novelle Yarn Project – Wool Conference & Spinning #11


Continuing with the development of the Novelle Yarn project with SMARTCryum and Potter Group, Eddie Bebb, Commercial Manager at Fashion-Enter Wales attended a conference at Aberystwyth University on 11th May 2022.

Eddie reports:

The title of the event was Fleeces for many uses – processing Welsh wool in Wales.’

The event was managed by Farming Connect and attended by over 40 like-minded wool lovers from every part of the Welsh Wool supply chain to discuss better ways to process and promote a product which is currently criminally undervalued but has fantastic potential.

It was a great opportunity to network and I was fortunate to be in the same break-out group (discussing price/value/worth) as Johnny from Garthenor Organic who has plans to expand his wool spinning operation in Cardigan.

Managing processing cost is the obvious challenge in front of him.

Also, in our group but at the other end of the supply chain was Anna Felton of Monkstone Knitwear, Anna explained about the challenge of trying to promote Welsh wool to a point where products would be able to attract a premium price similar to the way Welsh lamb is able to.

Anna is visiting the British wool open day in Newtown later this month and accepted my invitation to visit the Fashion-Enter factory.

The conclusion of the breakout review was that there are 2 main areas to concentrate on:

1. Processing

2. Marketing

Further sessions are to be organised in the coming months with delegates able to select which topic they are most interested in.’  

Meanwhile, Chrissy Smith, founder of The Lost Sheet Company has been researching, spinning and sampling Fashion-Enter’s sourced wool. 

Chrissy at her shop The Lost Sheep Company in Colwyn Bay, Wales

Here is what she had to say about her company and working on the project:

‘Just sharing a few things about me and past developments, and some observations regarding your yarn development. 

‘The Lost Sheep Company grew out of my desire as a knitwear designer to work with Welsh breed yarn when I  moved to Wales. I found 9 breeds but only black Welsh and llanwenog was available then.

‘Investigating why that was and where that fleece went led me to my connection with the shepherds, a pledge to pay them a minimum of 10 times the wool market board price and a determination to educate and create change. I am now known by the marketing board who I have spoken to, and also Prince Charles, thanks to Gareth Wyn Jones. From this I learnt to produce my own yarn.

‘Prior to moving to Wales and following 6-years studying textile development and design, I worked with Toft alpaca using their waste yarn to produce high-end hand bags which became their signature pieces selling for £300. And then garments and pattern designs.Their company has changed somewhat since, but I am also a designer for ukalpaca where my designs are extremely popular. You can see my designs on their website as Chrissy Smith, which  they have spelt Chrissie on some patterns!

‘Last year I was approached by Disney and spent 6 months developing products for them for an exciting TV series launching this year. These products included organic dyed Welsh breed handspun and various woven products and hand whittled craft tools. I loved it!

‘So you can see why I’m excited to be involved with your project!

‘Regarding your yarn so far…The wool marketing board code Richard gave me indicated a medium grade fleece. Lleyn falls into this category if you want a Welsh breed it has a long staple suitable for fine spinning,  has lustre and dyes really well.

‘I have spun up samples of the Welsh breeds and woven some too. Which I will pass onto Richard. Samples are spun as singles for weaving and fine plyed. I can also include aran and chunky weight too if you require.

‘I am now looking forward to working with your recycled waste and developing your yarn.’

More from this project next week.

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