Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all of Woolly Originals’ customers and friends! As usual, rather than sending out cards, a purchase has been made from Oxfam Unwrapped (ref number 42962515) to say Thank you so much for all your custom, support and encouragement. Woolly Originals would be nothing without you all!

The purchase this year is a “Support a Budding Business Kit”.  Oxfam state that this gift could help a budding businesswoman escape poverty and build a better life. It can help to provide the support she needs to get started, such as literacy and numeracy skills, or mentoring and advice. Your gift could be the start of something special, enabling a woman to earn an income, to invest in her business, and create a better future for her and her family. This gift supports our Making a Living (ML) projects.

An example of the sort of business project Oxfam support is:

Support a budding business

Oxfam is helping small family coffee businesses in western Honduras to thrive despite facing a disease that attacks their crops. Esperanza Enriquez lost 75% of her coffee crop when her farm in western Honduras was hit a by disease called Coffee rust. As a result her income plummeted, but now Esperanza’s farm is thriving. Oxfam provided Esperanza with the support she needed to rebuild her business, like new coffee farming techniques and how to make fertiliser. We also helped to set up a co-operative so local coffee farmers could join together to access the equipment they need to roast and package up their coffee. By cutting out the middle men they’re able to earn more for their coffee. “The co-operative Oxfam helped us set up means I’ve been able to replant and move into toasting and packaging the coffee. With Oxfam’s help I hope my future will be bright again.”

 

Swatching Shetland Wool

My vintage Knitmaster knitting machine is a wee bit temperamental! It isn’t keen on yarns any thicker than the size of handknitter’s laceweight. Subsequently, I have struggled to source local wools. However, whilst attending a wonderful spinning workshop with Ange of Weftblown, she suggested trying 1-ply Shetland weaving wool from Jamieson’s of Shetland

I sent off for two cones as a trial.  I was delighted to find that the yarn was strong enough to cope with my machine.  So, I then ordered a range of natural colours with a view to knitting up fabric in my Scottish Wildflowers design.  I was delighted with the cones when they arrived, but experience has taught me that yarns dyed using “heather” techniques can be difficult to use in colourwork. 

Hence, swatching began!  Using six of the yarns as a base, I knitted up a range of samples.  After washing and blocking, I sewed the swatches to a board so that I wouldn’t lose them or forget which colours I’d used!  Now I can choose which combinations are best to use for my bags.