Some of you have followed my wool journey over the last couple of years, or have, indeed been part of it: I hope to bring to the market, for the first time, a Merino cloth with a 100% British production chain, including a new breed of sheep as raw material producers.
Everything is now in place to make this happen, but I need help to fund the next stages of the project: I have launched a Kickstarter campaign, hoping to raise money to create a brand, a dedicated website and to secure the 2017 supply of an extraordinary and very rare wool.
I embarked on the project when I realised it was impossible to source a light weight, soft wool cloth with true British provenance. I didn’t want to reinvent tweed, as my customers are looking for a lighter and softer fabric, with character but not the typical weight and ruggedness of the material. When I was unable to find such a fabric with a 100% British production chain, I took it into my own hands to produce it.
It took me 18 months to build a relationship with five Scottish farmers who keep Merino sheep that were originally bred for research into a more sustainable local wool supply. Their fine wool can easily compete with imported fleece and I was eventually able to purchase their 2016 ‘clip’ (the wool ‘harvest’). Long standing woollen spinners R. Gledhill Ltd in the Yorkshire borders didn’t hesitate when I asked them to process the wool for me but nobody knew exactly how the wool would lend itself in a woven cloth, or how it would take to the dye.
However, the risk paid off: last week I took delivery of the incredibly fine, soft suiting cloth, just under 12 oz weight, in a classic Herringbone pattern, and different colour ways. Project backers will be able to acquire a piece of textile history in the form of a scarf, a length of the cloth, or even the first bespoke garment ever made from the fabric.
Rewards are ready and waiting to be shipped in time for Christmas (with exception of bespoke garments, which take more time)
For more on the story and a chance to pledge your support, please go to https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/895697676/the-great-northern-cloth
Thanks for your support, it means a lot to me!