Adventures in hyperlocal knitting

Mudchute Farm sheep

It’s November first, which means it’s Wovember in the UK! Wovember is about celebrating wool and the people and animals who produce it and drawing attention to the challenges they face at home and in the global market. Wovember outlines this here.

I knew beforehand that moving to the UK might be a little dangerous for my budget and now I suddenly find myself in a place where there is so much excellent wool to be found. That was part of the plan, of course, and inspired by Knit British I’ve decided to try only purchasing wool and fibres sourced from UK producers for the time being. It’ll be a fun way of learning more about domestic wool production, and some of the breeds and small producers that exist in the UK.

I believe firmly in buying locally produced goods where it’s an option. Aside from the lowered carbon emissions that come from shorter travel distances, it helps maintain jobs and livelihoods of people in one’s home economy. And, in the event of problems in global supply chains, buying local enables us to be less susceptible to shock by keeping knowledge and production close to home.

Icy Water Mittens

Right. Well, remember earlier when I said it was getting cold outside? Well, my first finished attempt to keep winter at bay is this pair of mittens. The pattern is Icy Water and the yarn is special because it’s hyperlocal, from Mudchute Farm, a 3.5 mile walk from my house.

I was a little surprised to find such a large farm in East London. It seems to be a favourite place for people to bring young kids because you can meet all the livestock they have there. There are signs everywhere welcoming people to feed the animals, but only carrots. Everyone, everywhere on the farm is carrying bags of carrots. At first I was surprised to see that people had come so prepared, but then I realised that there is an Asda right next door. I’m sure it leads the country in carrot sales.

Mudchute has a small flock of rare-breed sheep that it uses to produce a very durable feeling wool in a limited palette of colours. They also serve lunch and there’s a lot of pleasant walking around the park and farm, so it’s a nice day out, regardless of if you’re interested in knitting.

The mittens are very thick and warm so I imagine I’ll get a lot of use out of them this winter. Project details on Ravelry.

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