We work with our mills to make sure that we purchase fibres where the best farming practices are used for our undyed yarns, and we aim to source our fibres from the ones that fit our own and our customers standards. Where our fibres are sourced from is very important for us, this is a constant work in progress because fibres sources are not fixed, sometimes some countries have fluctuations in yeilds or quality and so the fibres are sourced from the best place at the time, any changes will be reflected in the information below. We prioritize our ethics above the cost of the fibre, and we will not compromise on this.
Where are our fibres sourced?
Our Blue-faced Leicester is British, this comes from small farms all over the UK, and is purchased through the British Wool Marketing board on our behalf. The fibres are then scoured and Superwash Treated in the UK to the highest environmental standards possible.
Our Merino comes from various sources (not Australia), we specify that none of our merino fibres are to come from farms practicing mulesing. Our Merino is therefore mulesing free.
The non-super wash Merino is Peruvian merino, this comes from small herders in the mountains where sheep are their livelihoods, it's in their interest to look after their livestock, in order to receive the highest price possible for their fleece and guarantee themselves an income. Our Peruvian mill also provide education programmes to help herders get the best out of their animals.
The superwash Merino comes from Argentina and Uruguay and is sourced from many farms of varying sizes, from smaller to larger farms, again often the fleeces are collected together from small farmers and then processed on a larger scale.
Our Mohair is sourced from Europe and South Africa. The mill that spin our mohair also own their own mohair farm, and are passionate about the provenance of their products and animal welfare.
Alpaca comes from the Peruvian Andes, again sourced from smaller farmers whose way of life is their animals, again the mill work closely with the alpaca farmers.
Our Pima cotton is grown and processed in Peru.
Linen is grown and processed in Europe.
What does Superwash mean?
Superwash is a treatment applied to wool fibres which makes more resistant to shrinking. In the 80's superwash treatment got a bad rap because in some countries the effluent was not recycled. This has however has changed dramatically as the EU enforced very strict laws and any by-products must be removed from the water before it is discharged into the water systems. This now means that the water discharged actually is better than the drinking water you get from the tap. Not all countries have the same regulations and we only use superwash wool which is from highly regulated treatment plants in the UK and in South America (which also have very strict standards). We are very particular about where our wool is superwash treated. Jeni has personally been to visit our Superwash treatment plant in the UK and this was a really interesting visit, the owner has PhD in this area and employs the most up-to-date superwash techniques and is always trailing new ideas.
So... what does the process involve? Firstly the wool is treated in chlorine to dull the edges of the scales of the wool, this reduces the ability of the scales to stick to each-other and therefore reduces felting. Secondly a super thin coating of resin is applied to the fibres permanently bonding to the wool, this smooths the scales, improving the handle and also prevents felting. This resin biodegrades along with the wool when it goes to landfill.