More on-going wool projects
There are many other wool projects going on that have contacted us after the up-start of Valuing Norwegian Wool. Part of the project is to collect information on these, and make this available both to our wool-partners but also to anyone else who is interested. The thought, of course, being that cooperation can bring us forward. Some are based in Norway, some abroad. Follow the links (anything blue!) and you will learn more about what these creative people are doing. Some of these sites only have texts in Norwegian, but you will find contact-info.
Leine merino sheep
Anders Deinboll Fortun tells about his breed of sheep:
"The reason I work with Norwegian fine wool sheep is that my grandmother, Bjørg S. Deinboll, imported the first merino rams from Portugal, crossed them with Tauter sheep in 1947, and later with meat merino from Germany. (…) One is a traditional merino type from the Benmore breeding station. It is large with a lot of fine wool and a few skin folds, but not extreme such as the finest merino sheep are known for. The rams have horns. The other is meat merino (called Samm = South African Meat Merino) which was imported from New Zealand to Kvam. They have – like the German meat merino – wool that is a little rougher and the rams are without horns. In the meantime, it was a balancing act of inbreeding and a mixture of Norwegian sheep, mostly “spæl sau” (Norwegian land breed) and Suffolk. But one principle has been binding and that is to lay stress on wool quality. I never take rams with a coarser wool quality than 28 my, preferably under 25 my."
Terje Bjerga and Erik Asmyr started up Færder Får in 2003, using the old Norwegian “Vill sau” (“wild sheep”), a breed that was almost extinct 30 years ago. If it is not shorn, it loses its wool once a year. The sheep are rusty, small and adapt themselves very easily to difficult and meagre conditions. They have a strong flock instinct and are able to run from predators. The wool does not correspond to the Norwegian wool standard, but the bottom wool is very fine and soft. It is popular with crafts people working manually. The meat has a gamey taste and therefore is popular. Færder Får have been certified organic. They offer “wild sheep yearn” in five natural shades, the yarn is not treated chemically or dyed. Some of the lanolin is still naturally in the yarn.
Twool is a very light, warm and sturdy fabric. The fibre fabric makes it soft to the touch, while the knitted/woven fabric gives it structure. It is particularly well suited for coats, jackets and blankets. The different materials that make up the finished fabric are produced as follows: Knitted wool fabric produced by Volund AS at Løkken verk; loosely woven wool fabric is produced by Krivivev As at Tingvoll and the layers are combined and finished by Sjølingstad Uldvarefabrik in Mandal. The fabric is machine washable and available in a large range of colors. It was developed by Johanne Moe Nyland in 1985.
The Grey Trønder breed has a very active interest group working to promote this breed, and they have started developing naturally colored yarn from this Cross breed with old merino-blood. The breed is very hardy, and the yarn they have produced from the wool is quite soft. The yarn has been spun at Hillesvåg Ullvarefabrikk and Telespinn. At least one of the farmers is certified organic.
At the Swedish ullFORuM they are working on the following:
- Building a center for wool-knowledge.
- Testing and evaluating a Mini-Mill, or a machine line for small-scale local production of yarn and batting.
- Spreading knowledge about the elements included to refine the raw material to a marketable product - the Design Process
- Carrying out various activities in order to highlight the importance of breeding for the profitability of sheep production. Our goal is a profitable dual purpose animal with meat, wool and health in focus. Imports of semen from FINE-FIBERED rams may be made to broaden the genetic base.
Atelier - Laines d'Europe
The European Association for Study, Liaison, Innovation and Research into Textiles: Wool, originating with the wild sheep, has made it possible for man to be more comfortably dressed for millenia. For a long time, it fed spindles, wheels and weaving looms then it was one of the pillars of European industrial development. Today, it is merely a dull raw material in declining demand. Breeders get rid of sheep, factories close. A.T.E.L.I.E.R. is an association whose members are breeders (sheep, Mohair goats, cashmere rabbits or alpacas), shearers, spinners, weavers or knitters, small industrialists or craftsmen, artists or researchers. Refusing to accept market forces and impassioned by this subject, they have recreated the "wool sector" and constitute a network which is gradually extending throughout Europe. Their recent publication "Wools of Europe" gives a fantastic over-view over breeds and applications for wool-types.
Biella The Wool Company
We would be delighted to hear from woolgrower groups or associations who firmly believe in the aims set out in our “Mission”, and who can assist the woolgrower in the selling of the final product through local outlets, either directly or indirectly. We are currently setting up a European network so if you are interested in collaborating please email us or fax us details of your woolgrowers group or association and we shall be in contact. See under "Tools" for their guide to which sheep breed fits what type of product.
A Devon-based sports-wear company started by surfers. They’ve started using wool for inner-wear from Bowmont sheep, a breed that was bred in Scotland 20 years ago, which is 75% Saxon Merino and 25% white Shetland. In 2010 there are less than 100 ewes, but they are expanding. Here’s what founder of Finisterre, Tom Kay, has to say: We’re our second season into shearing and lambing the Bowmont flock and we should have enough wool to begin making some products very soon. The wool is looking very fine and it’s quite exciting to be slowly getting this breed of sheep back on its feet!