We get a lot of comments from wonderful people who love our yarns and can’t believe how soft and real they feel. The biggest reason they feel like they do is simply down to the animals that spend all year growing that glorious fibre. (Our merino, alpaca and polwarth)
Obviously, I would love to take all of the credit: it must be my processing, the minimalistic approach, my spinning and skeining, but really, it all begins in the paddock with each and every animal. The minimalistic processing just lets the fibre show off all of its wonderful attributes and glory!
Isabel and I believe strongly in sustainability. Wool and alpaca are about as sustainable as you can get! It is natural, it is biodegradable and can be processed without harsh chemicals. We have about 35 of our own alpacas which we use in our yarns and knitwear and when it comes to sourcing additional fibre we want to take that sustainable approach to where we source our fibre from. So, for us local is great, the closer to the mill the better and we buy from farmers who care greatly (like us) about their animals.
All of our alpaca comes from Victoria! All of our huacaya alpaca fibre actually comes from Western Victoria, no more than 100km from the mill. We regularly catch up with the alpaca farmers and know that they care for their animals and treat them kindly, gently and with respect. The fibre is then 100% processed on site by us!
Like our alpaca, the wool we buy is all from Victoria. In fact, we deal with a wool broker 30kms away to find the exact wool that we are looking for.
This year we have had to find a new merino farmer and Isabel and I have made the choice to go non-mulesed. Mulesing is a practice the merino farmers have used to prevent fly strike ( a particularly horrible thing). It can be done in a few different ways, using pain relief, no pain relief, freeze drying but at the end of the day we believe that it is better to breed sheep who don’t need this form of treatment to be done to them. That is why we buy certified “non-mulesed” fibre to ensure the sheep are not put through this stressful treatment.
The Polwarth wool we use is naturally non-mulesed so it doesn’t have that issue to begin with and in a few decades maybe all merino will be like this too.
Our sheep wool is scoured by a local company in Geelong, meeting strict Australian EPA regulations. It is only scoured (not carbonised) then sent to us (125km away) for processing.
Our cotton is 100% Australian. We know it uses a lot of water and can be a bit contentious, but isn’t it better to process it in Australia? Did you know that no other cotton is commercially processed in this country? Sad, but true.
Australia doesn’t grow any linen (flax) for spinning so this is our only fibre that doesn’t come from around the corner, but rather from Europe. If we did, we would!
I hope this helps to give a little bit of an insight into our fibre and why we use what we use and why we are so passionate about sustainable. Shipping fibre around the world to get it processed at a cheaper rate isn’t sustainable, it doesn’t support Australian manufacturing, nor is it environmentally friendly. Next time you buy a yarn, a sweater or anything that is knitted ask, is the fibre all natural? Is the fibre from happy animals? Has the fibre travelled the world to be processed? Has it been processed meeting Australian EPA standards?
There are so many different aspects involved along the way, and areas where we as a mill, but also you as an individual, can make a difference.
By asking questions you can make informed choices, you can help ensure animals are happy, healthy and respected. You can help support Australian businesses all along the supply chain.
Thanks for reading and I will be back soon with more about what we do and how we do it!