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Poncho orders galore!

Tales from the Woolly Garret – Poncho Love

Poncho orders galore!

Poncho orders galore!

Oh boy! I have been completely blown away by the response to my End Of Summer Sale. I have reduced adult ponchos and woolly wraps by forty per cent, so I guess that is a really good reduction, and I’m thrilled that so many of you have taken advantage of this. It’s awesome that so many of you are choosing upcycled, ethical fashion as your choice for autumn wear.

My ponchos and woolly wraps are made from recycled lambswool, washed, and then cut into squares and sewn patchwork style using an overlocker (or serger if you are from the USA). I am careful about my colour combinations, and like to use a contrasting or complimentary thread, with seams showing for added texture and interest. I’ve made loads of them over the past seven years, and they remain one of my best sellers.

Here are some of my happy customers wearing their ponchos

poncho wearing poster girls

poncho wearing poster girls

If you have bought a poncho from the sale, or at any other time, I’d love to see a photo of you! I have a ‘Satisfied Customers’ album over on my Facebook page, which you can appear in.

Woolly wraps are also in the sale, with forty per cent off, and we mustn’t forget this famous purchase!

Jeremy Corbyn buys a woolly wrap for his wife, Laura

Jeremy Corbyn buys a woolly wrap for his wife, Laura

All your orders will go out in plastic free packaging. I had to think out of the box when looking for strong plastic free packaging, and came across these three layer Kraft paper potato sacks from Jones and Cane. Customers have reported back that they are great, and can be reused as storage bags.

plastic free packaging

plastic free packaging

So, do head over to the website, while there are still some ponchos and woolly wraps in the sale! Don’t forget to send me a photo of your purchase if you make one.

Beryl & Col from Guru Boutique Darlington

In Tales from the Woolly Garret, One Door Closes and Another One Opens.

You know what they say, about doors closing and opening. Well, I had one door slammed firmly shut this month, as I was kicked out of The Sill, in Northumberland National Park. They were furious with me for suggesting their shop gave preference to Chinese made goods over local makers.  Within the very same week I was contacted by Beryl at Guru Boutique in Darlington, begging me to supply her shop with my woolly wares, and in particular, sweatercoats.

I don’t usually put my coats in other shops, as I find they sell really well from the website, but Beryl was quite insistent, so I agreed to meet with her last Sunday. Apparently one of my customers had gone into to the shop wearing a coat I had sold her at Woolfest. Beryl had fallen in love with them, and thought they would be a perfect fit for their shop.

Beryl & Col from Guru Boutique Darlington

Beryl & Col from Guru Boutique Darlington

As soon as I met Beryl, and her partner Col, I recognised a kindred spirit. Not only that, we actually had friends in common amongst the biker fraternity of Darlington. I used to live at the top of Weardale , and our neighbour at the time Dav, turns out to be a really good friend of theirs. Dav is quite a sight to behold, with a ginger beard that is formed into one long dreadlock that reaches the ground, which isn’t that far, as Dav is quite a short guy.

Upcycled sweatercoat by the Woolly Pedlar at Guru Boutique, Darlington

Upcycled sweatercoat by the Woolly Pedlar at Guru Boutique, Darlington

Beryl & Col chose a selection of clothing, which included a coat and jacket, and took it back to the shop. I was amazed to hear that the coat sold in a couple of days!! I was also chuffed to bits to see that they had arranged a photo shoot, and wasted no time at all in posting photos and videos to their Facebook page.

Upcycled patchwork poncho by the Woolly Pedlar at Guru Boutique, Darlington

Upcycled patchwork poncho by the Woolly Pedlar at Guru Boutique, Darlington

Waterfall shawl as modelled by Emily for Guru boutique, Darlington

Waterfall shawl as modelled by Emily for Guru boutique, Darlington

Waterfall shawl as modelled by Emily for Guru boutique, Darlington

Waterfall shawl as modelled by Emily for Guru boutique, Darlington

What awesome support, and what a lovely blossoming relationship. This feels like a far better fit that the corporate world of the National Park. It’s great when the little people can work together and support each other. Beryl tells me Guru Boutique has been trading in Darlington for 47 years. I’m very proud to be part of that story now, and am super glad of the awesome support that these lovely people have given me.

I’m busy making another coat to replace the one that has sold, and will be sending that, along with this super number in red, at the end of the week.

Red sweatercoat by The Woolly Pedlar, destined for Guru Boutique, Darlington

Red sweatercoat by The Woolly Pedlar, destined for Guru Boutique, Darlington

Red sweatercoat by The Woolly Pedlar, destined for Guru Boutique, Darlington

Red sweatercoat by The Woolly Pedlar, destined for Guru Boutique, Darlington

Thanks for reading my blog. Sorry it’s been so long since I have written one!

Just giving the heads up that I have started an End of Summer Sale on this website with all adult ponchos and woolly wraps on the website reduced by 40%.

Waterfall Shawl. Free form wool wrap

The Waterfall Shawl. Free Form Sculptural Textile Art.

The Wool Clip has put on an exhibition at the Upfront Arts Gallery near Penrith, called From Fell to Fabulous. As a member of The Wool Clip cooperative, I was asked to make a piece for this.

Taking inspiration from the mosses, lichen, and colours of my beloved Cumbrian and Northumbrian Fells, I set about making a sweatercoat.

From Fell to Fabulous. Upcycled Wool Sweatercoat

From Fell to Fabulous. Upcycled Wool Sweatercoat

We were also asked to make smaller pieces for the exhibition, and I thought about designing something new. My friend Vanessa had asked me to make her a free form wrap using some of her favourite cashmere, and from that, the Waterfall Shawl was born.

Waterfall Shawl. Free form wool wrap

Waterfall Shawl. Free form wool wrap

I am over the moon with this new design, and so it would seem are you, if the response over on my Facebook page is anything to go by.

Waterfall Shawl. Free form wool wrap

Waterfall Shawl. Free form wool wrap

I spent today, a very cold and snowy Easter Monday making another, and as soon as it was listed, it sold.

Waterfall Shawl. Free form wool wrap

I plan to make more, and will soon have them in stock at The Wool Clip, and will have plenty at Woolfest. By the way, tickets for Woolfest went on sale last week online.

Upfront Gallery, Penrith. Fell to Fabulous Exhibition.

Upfront Gallery, Penrith. Fell to Fabulous Exhibition.

 

The Upfront Art Gallery exhibition ‘From Fell to Fabulous’ runs from 30th March – 13th May 2018.

 

 

 

 

Facebook Live 28 Jan 2018

Facebook Live

Facebook Live 28 Jan 2018

Facebook Live 28 Jan 2018

I did it! Facebook live that is.

There were a couple of clangers, like forgetting to put my lippy on, and forgetting half the products that I wanted to show.

I started by explaining how I made armwarmers when I first started woolly pedlaring, but forgot to have pair handy to show folk. Same with the bedpsreads I had hoped to show – oh well, I’ll just have to do another one another time.

Upcycled wool armwarmers in shades of blue

Upcycled wool armwarmers in shades of blue

Someone told me to talk as if you were talking to a friend. I had planned to do that. But actually once I started talking I felt far more as if I were on stage or in front of a class.

It was awesome seeing the comments coming in, and I especially enjoyed seeing that folk had tuned in all the way from Canada, the United States and Hungary.

I had propped my ipad up on an old painting easel, and put it to landscape, which worked well. What I didn’t get right was my hand written sign with the website on. I hadn’t reckoned on the mirror image, so it was all back to front!

Camera set up in the woolly workshop

Camera set up in the woolly workshop

The main purpose of the Facebook Live was to let people know the SALE is ending on 31st January. It paid off, and straight after the video went out, orders came in via the website. I’m thrilled this blue bedspread now has a new home. There are still some lovely bedspreads for sale though, and I hope someone makes the most of the SALE with them.

Upcycled blue bedspread

Upcycled blue bedspread

I also gave a couple of cashmere neckwarmers away, and asked a couple of questions which were answered correctly by Cathy and Pauline. I’ll be doing the same in the next Facebook Live I do.  I asked:

‘What was my dog’s name? – Lucy

And

‘Where does the Wool Clip cooperative have it’s shop? – Caldbeck

Cashmere neck warmer

Cashmere neck warmer

I’m planning on doing one once a month, to give me the chance to showcase new designs, but also to use it as a video newsletter. Hopefully it will bring plenty of folk to The Woolly Pedlar Facebook page, and I can get ahead of the changes to Facebook that are occurring. I plan to give something away with every Facebook Live to make it worth the while watching.

If you watched my Facebook Live, then thank you! I really appreciate the support.

If you didn’t, then here hopefully (if my tecchie skills are up to it) is the VIDEO:

 

 

 

Turn and Face the Strange – Facebook Changes 2018

So, Facebook is changing. Mark Zuckerberg has said that the changes happening to Facebook in 2018 will be the biggest that have ever happened in Facebook. I’ve been on a webinar, and listened to videos and podcasts, and this is how I see it happening, and what I plan to do about it as a business page.

Soon there will be two news feeds – one for friends, families and ads, and another for business pages and groups in a new ‘explore’ feed.  This means that it will be harder for you to find my posts and engage with them. As a business it will be harder to get my message and products across to you.

So, as a small business, I want to make sure that my posts reach people and appear high up in the new explore feed.

Facebook loves videos, especially ‘live’ videos, but what it does not like are videos from other channels such a You Tube. By all means, make a video and load it up to You Tube, but don’t go sharing that on your Facebook business page. Instead, be brave and do a Facebook Live video!

I am going to put my big girls’ pants on, on Sunday 28th at 3pm and do a Facebook Live post from the woolly garret. I’ve found an old painting easel to balance my ipad on, and will even hunt out some lippy. I want to show folk some of the sale stock, and will be running a free giveaway of two cashmere cowls. I’m planning on using Facebook Live as a visual newsletter, and plan to do regular Facebook Lives.  Do come and join in!

Cashmere cowl, neck warmer or snood, brights

Cashmere cowl, neck warmer or snood, brights

Facebook wants you to stay on Facebook, so keep links to outside websites and blogs to a minimum – I write a newsletter through Mailchimp and blog on the website, and will be encouraging folk to sign up for that even more now, so they can get all the news in their in boxes rather than relying on the fickle friend that Facebook is.

Another top tip is to make your Facebook posts interesting, timely and relevant to your audience. My followers love to see photos of the beautiful Northumberland countryside, and hear about how things are growing in the garden, as well as seeing news about what I’ve been making. I am very much an ethical business, and so will be inviting discussions on various ethical topics such as reducing plastic in packaging, recycling and reducing waste.  It’s about so much more than just selling products!

You can help by doing several things:

  • Select to ‘get notifications’ from The Woolly Pedlar
  • Comment on posts that are interesting to you – the more folk engage with posts, the more Facebook will share them.
  • Sign up to my newsletter and blog using the sign up form on the homepage of this website
  • Join in with the Facebook Live events over on The Woolly Pedlar page – the first one being Sunday 28th at 3pm.

Thanks for reading and hope to see you on Sunday 🙂

The Woolly Pedlar

The Woolly Pedlar

Walking in Northumberland

That Old Chestnut – A Healthy Work Life Balance

We’ve just got back from our second 4 mile walk in a fortnight. When you live in beautiful rural Northumberland, it’s a crime not to get outdoors. No need for the gym with hills like these. It’s all about getting a healthy work life balance, which, when you’re self employed, is easier said than done.

Walking in Northumberland

Walking in Northumberland

I’ve had to give myself a jolly good talking to again. Having already left teaching due to stress related ill health, I could feel my health taking a tumble again in the run up to Christmas.

I’m just too darn driven. I have an idea, and I let it run away with me. I see an event, and not wanting to miss out, I book it. I work too hard, and I don’t allow myself enough down time.

That needs to change. So, instead of New Year’s resolutions to lose weight and get fit (I always need to do more of that), I’m resolving to do more for myself, to allow myself some time off to develop new hobbies and friendships.

It’s started well, with two fabulous country walks, and yesterday I went to my first art class in a very long time.  It was a life drawing class, though the model was the son of the teacher, and he kept his pants on!

I am also going to take some ‘Granny leave’. Our Hannah is expecting her first baby, our first grandchild, a little girl, and I want to be able to help her all I can. It would be terrible if I were too busy working to enjoy my first granddaughter. At very least, I need to find time for lots of granny knitting – I’ve finished this dear little dress.

I still plan to be making lots of lovely designs, selling online, and being an active member of The Wool Clip, with all that entails for Woolfest, but maybe not going at it at such a ridiculous pace.

Here’s to a healthy work / life balance.

 

Northumberland sheep farming

Northumberland sheep farming

 

The Woolly Pedlar

Tales from the Woolly Garret. Looking back at 2017

I’m on the wagon. The blogging wagon that is. I’d fallen off, and as I love to write, it seems that one of 2018’s New Year’s resolutions must be to get back on the blogging wagon.

As 2017 draws to a close, I’m sure I’m not the only one reflecting on how the year went and how things could be done differently.

I’ve had a wonderful year. It’s the sixth year of running my own business, and each year brings new lessons to learn. I’ve met and worked alongside some pretty amazing people too. I have loved being part of The Wool Clip cooperative, who have welcomed me into the fold. Caldbeck is such a pretty little village, in a stunning part of The Lake District and I’ve enjoyed my days over at The Wool Clip shop there.

The Wool Clip, Caldbeck, Cumbria

The Wool Clip, Caldbeck, Cumbria

As a cooperative we run Woolfest, and last year’s Woolfest was a very different one for me, being the first year of helping to run the event rather than being a trader. I felt very proud to be donning the Woolfest pinny, and really enjoyed the event. Being part of a cooperative is teaching me about team work, and how every member has different skills to bring to the group.

The Wool Clip team at Woolfest

The Wool Clip team at Woolfest

Other woolly events that were most enjoyable were Perth Festival of Yarn and Yarndale. My hat goes off to both teams for two excellent events. I loved my road trip to Perth, and though Eva did an amazing job. I very much hope to be back this year.

Autumn Adventures to Perth and Yarndale

It was my first time at Yarndale – what a lovely show! I met up with my college flat mate who I hadn’t see for years. Sadly Jane died of cancer shortly afterwards, which came as a great shock. If I go to Yarndale again this year, I’ll be thinking of my friend, and hopefully meeting up with some of her friends.

Yarndale 2017 Blog

Best sellers at the events are always my sweatercoats, jumpers and dresses. I enjoy making these very much, and have some ideas up my sleeve for new designs for 2018. I’m thinking fit and flare swing dresses – a shape I love to wear.

I loved hosting my first Open Studio and Garden Party in the summer. It was great fun, friendships were forged, and much cake was eaten. We will be doing it again on 21 and 22 July in 2018. I hope lots of you will come. Do get in touch if you’d like help with accommodation. Helen from Stanegate Hideaways will be offering discounted self catering accommodation in her Shepherd’s Huts.

 

This year saw the opening of The Sill Discovery Centre, just up the road from here in the beautiful Northumberland National Park. I was delighted to be invited to sell a small range of my woolly wares there. It’s blooming cold up on Hadrian’s Wall. So my upcycled woolly accessories are going down a storm there. Kiddies’ ponchos are really popular there too, I think often as gifts for folk to take home.

 

Pixie Hooded Ponchos

Pixie Hooded Ponchos

My other local stockists have all done really well too. Mr Wolf in Hexham in particular did a roaring trade in kiddies’ ponchos. Mike down at Bardon Mill Village Store is also one of my favourite local stockists. He makes darn fine coffee, and has turned the village shop into a great meeting place, which is always full of folk. It was here that Jeremy Corbyn had bought his wife one of my woolly wraps.

 

Jeremy Corbyn buys from The Woolly Pedlar

Jeremy Corbyn buys from The Woolly Pedlar

Christmas events left me battered and exhausted, and if I’m honest, totally deflated. What is it about the general public these days? Is it a recent thing to be so damned rude? Don’t get me wrong, I met dozens of lovely folk and made some great sales, but one event in particular saw the numpties out in their droves.

I suppose if you make weird and wacky clothes from recycled materials, then you are already sticking your head above the parapet. They certainly aren’t everybody’s personal choice, but I have lovingly designed and created them, and I wish folk would keep their negative opinions to themselves. It hurts. I think my ‘best’ comment this year was ‘Well, that was a perfectly good jumper til you started messing around with it’ how rude!!

Dealing with the general public is most definitely not one of my strengths, and I take my hat off to all in retail that have to put up with rude customers all year round. I also find the physicality of doing big events utterly exhausting. So, on reflection next Christmas will see me doing a couple of select events, and selling more online, through my Facebook page, The Wool Clip, and local stockists.

If you follow me on social media, or have read the latest newsletter, you’ll see that there is a massive stock clearance sale here on the website. Feel free to hop over to the shop pages and have a browse. I’ll be adding new items throughout January as I clear a path up in the woolly garret to make room for some exciting new designs for 2018.

Next year is going to be very exciting as we welcome my daughter, Hannah’s baby into the family. I thoroughly looking forward to being a granny. The baby certainly won’t be short of woollies and baby blankets!

Here’s the family, out for our traditional family meal on New Year’s Eve.

The Reed Family 31 Dec 2017

The Reed Family 31 Dec 2017

Thank you to all my lovely customers, friends and family who have helped me over the year. It’s been a great year, and I look forward to another year of upcycling jumpers

Happy New Year everyone!

 

 

On the road in September

Autumn Adventures to Yarndale and Perth

September has seen The Woolly Pedlar on the road again. First of all up to Bonnie Scotland to Perth Festival of Yarn, then this last weekend to Yorkshire and Yarndale. I had promised myself that I would take the day off after Yarndale, but sales were so good at both events I really need to get back to making jumpers and coats as soon as possible. However, as I’m still buzzing from the great time that I’ve had at both Perth and Yarndale, I thought I’d put finger to keyboard, write a blog post and share my photos with you.

On the road in September

On the road in September

It had been a while since I set out in in the van to sell my woolly wares, and I was excited to be heading first of all up to Perth. The drive was nothing short of stunning. The Perth Festival of Yarn was in it’s second year, and was organised by Eva and her team of volunteers. Hats off to you, Eva, for all your hard work! I am a member of The Wool Clip, who organise Woolfest and we are a cooperative of thirteen women who work really hard to put on Woolfest. I cannot imagine how tough this must of been for Eva, who did this all by herself, with just a handful of willing helpers.

Knitters Outer Hebrides MacMillan Cancer

Knitters from the Outer Hebrides raising money for MacMillan Cancer Support with a community quilt

The warm, fuzzy glow that you get inside after exhibiting at events like Woolfest, Perth or Yarndale comes from the people you meet there. First of all, there is the lovely camaraderie between stallholders. I love catching up with my stallholder family, and seeing everyone. Some of us gather together in the evenings over a glass of wine, and catch up on how business and our lives havee been after we last met. There was quite a contrast between my accommodation and meals at Perth and Yarndale. At Perth I stayed in the Lovat Hotel and enjoyed a fantastic curry and social evening arranged by Eva, and dinner in the town on the second night with friends from Perth. At Yarndale I stayed in ‘luxury accommodation’ in my van in the car park, and cooked in the van. Both equally fun, but in very different ways,

Luxury accomodation in the car par at Yarndale

Luxury accommodation in the car park at Yarndale

 

The van kitchen

The van kitchen

Then there are the punters themselves. I find yarn festivals so different to local Christmas Fairs. Everyone is kind, encouraging, and complimentary about my work. It does the soul as well as one’s confidence the world of good. I really should have taken far more photos of happy customers, but was far too busy talking and selling at both events!

Happy faces at Perth Festival of Yarn

Happy faces at Perth Festival of Yarn

These two women had lots of fun trying on my upcycled coats and jumpers. Neither of them bought anything, but we all enjoyed ourselves none the less. The grey coat on the left sold yesterday at Yarndale, but the jumper dress is still for sale. Head to Women’s Clothing if you want to see what’s left!

Elspeth in her new jacket

Elspeth in her new jacket

Both events were special times for meeting up with friends. Elspeth above, and I have been online friends for over ten years, but had never actually met. Recently, Elspeth has lost a fantastic amount of weight and treated herself to a bespoke jacket. She looks absolutely stunning in it, and says she has received lots of compliments since, which is lovely to hear.

This happy photo is of my old flatmate Jane and I. We were at teaching training college together 34 years ago. We kept in touch with a Christmas card every year, but other than that, we hadn’t seen each other for years. Jane came to Woolfest this year, and had no idea I would be exhibiting there. We were thrilled to see each other, and then lo and behold, we met up again at Yarndale. I taught Jane to knit when we were at college, and it is the world of wool that had brought us together again. I am absolutely thrilled to have seen her again. We were the two barmaids in the college bar and certainly got up to some tricks together!

 

The calm before the storm at Yarndale

The calm before the storm at Yarndale

Yarndale is held at Skipton Auction Mart, and I had a double sheep pen for my stall, whereas Perth festival of Yarn was held in the carpeted Dewar Centre in the centre of town. I was interested in this being the Dewar Centre, as my grandfather had come from that neck of the woods, and was himself a Dewar.

My Stall at Yarndale

My Stall at Yarndale

I love the challenge of transforming a sheep pen into a stall, and marvel at all the creativity from other stallholders. The concrete floor can take it’s toll on your legs and feet, and I was very grateful of two small mats that I had bought to stand on. One poor laddie came a cropper on the concrete floor, and we had a brief drama while the excellent first aid team there dealt with a bump to his head. His mum has got in touch with me today to let me know that he is none the worse for his fall.

Yarn bombed bike

Yarn bombed bike

Yarn bombing was very much in evidence at Yarndale, with some fantastic woolly installations both inside and out. There was a woolly river, a meadow, miles of crocheted bunting and an amazing mandala that has been crocheted one circle for every day of the year. I wish I had a pound for every photo that was taken of my yarn bombed bike – well, I am the woolly pedler! I explained that when I first started I had the idea of powering a sewing machine at festivals using bike power, and that was ‘How the Woolly Pedlar got it’s Name’.

Happy customer at Yarndale

Happy customer at Yarndale

So now, with a much depleted stock, I must head back to the woolly garret and get busy for the silly season. Christmas fairs will soon be upon us. My first will be Brocksbushes at Stocksfield, but you can find out more about where I’ll be popping up by heading to the Events page in this website. My woolly wares can also be found at local stockists, details of which are also on the website.

Thanks for reading! Do come and follow me on social media, and let’s keep in touch.

On top of Great Cockup

Tales from the Woolly Garret. A Different Kind of Summer.

For the past several years, summer would see me packing up the van and heading off on the road to festivals to sell my woolly wares.  The Green Gathering down in Chepstow in particular, was a firm favourite. This year, however, I decided to do things differently.

The Green Gathering 2016

The Green Gathering 2016

 

I’m no Spring chicken. With Woolfest in June, Perth Festival of Yarn and Yarndale in September, then the mad period that is the run up to Christmas, I decided that we needed a break. (Head over to the Events page to see where I’ll be in the coming months)

Dear friends at The Green Gathering

Dear friends at The Green Gathering

I was sad not to be at the Green Gathering, as it is very dear to my heart with eco-living and green issues being a very big part of my life. I’ve also made some very dear friends there over the years. However, I am also part of a co-operative now, The Wool Clip. This has given me a permanent space in a shop to display and sell my woolly wares from. The need to go on the road isn’t so great.

The Wool Clip, Caldbeck, Cumbria.

The Wool Clip, Caldbeck, Cumbria.

30 Years ago

30 Years ago

This year was our Pearl Wedding Anniversary. Thirty years of wedded bliss! We got the opportunity to rent a wonderful cottage in the Dudden Valley in the Lake Distrist and our three grown up kids all decided to come away with us for a week’s holiday in the Lake District to celebrate. We enjoyed some fabulous walking, fresh air and good company. I even got to the top of a mountain with the help of my son who is an outdoor instructor! You can see the weather wasn’t the best, but the sense of achievement, amazing!

Top of Harter Fell

Top of Harter Fell

More walking and letting it all go on the mountains took place the following week when my dear husband took me away to Over Water Hall. This is a fabulous country hotel in the North Lakes with amazing food, accommodation and general luxury. I felt very spoilt. We walked and walked, and couldn’t resist going up Great Cockup on our actual anniversary. Here I am enjoying striding out on the hills, and at the top.

Letting it all go

Letting it all go

On top of Great Cockup

On top of Great Cockup

My thoughtful husband had popped a miniature bottle of Prosecco into our picnic bag for the summit! The only damper on the day was the territorial buzzard who decided that we really shouldn’t be walking across her field! Scary stuff, but with a walking pole held high as if I were leading a party of tourists across London, the buzzard only swooped as low at the point of my stick. Needless to say we didn’t walk that route back to the hotel.  I don’t do fields of cows, and I certainly don’t do territorial buzzards.

My long suffering husband and me

My long suffering husband and me

My long suffering husband was glad we weren’t on the road doing festivals too. He also works from home  (as an accountant) and to come and help me set up stall means taking lots of time off work, which then needs to be caught up with when he gets back.

Apart from the walking and holidaying the the Lake District, it’s still been a busy summer. I hosted my first ever Open Studio and Garden Party – this was a roaring success, despite the stair rod rain! So much so, I’ve booked a date for next summer, and I hope lots of you will join me. Northumberland has so much to offer, and lots of folk are talking about making a weekend or holiday of it. My friend Helen from Stanegate Hideaways is offering 10% off accomodation in her Shepherd’s Huts if folk are coming to the event.

Summer in the garden

Summer in the garden

We love growing our own veggies. Last year with a summer full of festivals, the garden was sadly neglected. this year we’ve been able to spend much more time in the greenhouse and out in the veggie garden, and the fruits of our labour are coming in thick and fast.

The British weather has certainly been true to form of late. As I sit and type this, the rain is lashing at the windows and it’s blowing a hoolie. I’m damn glad I’m not doing the festival circuit this year. In fact, I’m off to make a bowl of porridge and a pot of coffee. Then it’s up to the woolly garret and on with the jumper making. I’ve been pleased to have had the time up in the woolly garret these past few weeks to really get my head down with designing and making. I’ll have lots of new creations coming with me to Perth Festival of Yarn and Yarndale in September.  The website and The Wool Clip shops are also full of lovely woollies. It’s been good to do things differently this summer.

Recycled Wool Autumn Sweatercoat

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking for waste wool knitwear

Finding Recycled Wool Knitwear – it’s easier said than done!

Recycling Textiles

Recycling Textiles

If we’ve not met before, let me introduce myself. I’m The Woolly Pedlar, upcycler of waste wool knitwear. I run a small business from my home in Northumberland, recycling wool textiles into new clothing, soft furnishings and accessories. My quest for recycled wool knitwear has taken many twists and turns over the last six years, but recently I have started to despair.

The Woolly Pedlar, upcycler of waste wool knitwear

The Woolly Pedlar, upcycler of waste wool knitwear

I’m coming up against many brick walls when it comes to buying recycled wool knitwear in bulk.
The statistics say that you could fill Wembley stadium with the amount of recycled textiles we throw away every year in the UK, but getting my mitts on it is easier said than done.
It would appear the vast majority of our recycled clothing is now shipped abroad for second hand clothing markets in East Africa and Eastern Europe. The Textile Recycling Association informs me that very few of the recycled textile companies are grading in the UK. It is more cost effective just to ship everything abroad, where our second hand cast offs are piled high in the market places of developing countries. This has huge knock on effects for the traditional textiles of those countries, and for the cotton farmers. It also means I cannot get my woollies.

Wool jumpers waiting to be upcycled

Wool jumpers waiting to be upcycled in happier times

My upcycling business has two main sources of recycled wool knitwear – one is the second hand clothing market, and another, knitwear manufacturers who produce waste. Indeed, I used to buy a lot of waste wool knitwear from Hawick Knitwear factory, up in the Borders of Scotland. However, Hawick Knitwear closed in 2016. You can read more about this in ‘The Sad Demise of Hawick Knitwear‘. I was gutted when this source of beautiful lambswool and cashmere dried up. The only UK manufacturer of knitwear I am currently buying from is The House of Cheviot. I use their waste wool sock tops to make my ‘Thinking Hats’ and ‘Coffee Cup Cosies’. If any other knitwear manufacturers are reading this, and generate waste, then please get in touch.

Recycled Sock Tops from House of Cheviot

Recycled Sock Tops from House of Cheviot

This leaves the second hand clothing industry and charity shops. My home town of Hexham has six charity shops, and four out of the six save waste wool knitwear for me. You see, even if a jumper has a hole in it, I can cut out the good bits, and use them to make ponchos, bedspreads, bags and baby blankets. You know the saying, waste not want not!

 Patchwork style poncho using waste wool knitwear

Patchwork style poncho using waste wool knitwear

However, this can be patchy, and relies on the volunteers in the shops remembering to put knitwear to one side for me.

Scope have stepped up to the plate and have gone one stage further. They are attempting to collect regionally for me, and this, I think might be the way forward.

I contacted Kate Holbrook from Turtle Doves to see if she could help. Kate, like me, recycles knitwear, but specialises. Kate has put me in touch with The Together Plan, a small charity in London supporting communities from Belarus. I am delighted to say they are happy to supply me with a small amount of recycled wool knitwear. It’s also great that two ethical businesess such as Turtles Doves and The Woolly Pedlar have been able to work together.

If we could find a way to collect the waste wool before it goes to the big textile recyclers, then maybe, we can keep more of it in UK and the local economy, and I’ll be able to carry on making lots of lovely upcycled woolly goodies.

I’m off to get in touch with other area managers. If you are reading this and can help me in my quest, then please get in touch. I am after medium weight wool knitwear, (no chunky, hand knits or acrylic).

Looking for waste wool knitwear

Looking for waste wool knitwear

If you have been having a clear out at home and have any woollies you’d like to send, then please also get in touch. I’d be happy to pay postage and can offer a discount code for the website for your trouble.

Your Hopefully,

The Woolly Pedlar

Upcycled Coatigan from Recycled Knitwear

Upcycled Coatigan from Recycled Knitwear