Hey everyone!! I am SO thrilled for today's post! Not only do I have a new pattern to show all of you (eek!!), I also get to share an interview with Megan from Wool Days, whose gorgeous yarn you see above in the photograph of my new Kingston Tunic! (And...a giveaway and sale!! Ah!!!)
I used Wool Days luxurious Scout yarn to knit up this super cozy and flattering sweater! Ever since I designed the Kingsley Hat (one of my very first patterns!) I have been itching to use the same stitch pattern in a larger piece. When Megan sent me this stunning Blueberry colorway, I knew I had finally found the perfect project for one of my favorite textured stitch patterns! Kingston is perfect over slim jeans or leggings and is incredibly flattering on all different figures, thanks to slim sleeves and a cozy cowl neck!
So let's jump right in to Megan's interview!
Could you tell us a little bit about what brought you to creating your own yarn line?
Wool is a fibre that ticks ALL the boxes and I'm just a wee bit obsessed. It is nothing short of brilliant in its simplicity. A renewable and regenerative resource when managed with care, wool has virtually unlimited uses – not least of all to delight the hearts & minds of those who love creating with good wool. My love of good wool has grown out of my thirst for knowing where things come from and how processes can be simplified. Which goes hand-in-hand with knitting. Creating practical, beautiful and enduring items with my own two hands for those I love is one of my most treasured skills. Knitting is such a richly fulfilling and creatively inspiring part of my story - introducing me to joy, patience, ambition and connection in a way I never could have imagined. And knitting with wool, good wool, is one of my absotule favoruite things. Wool, gently spun into yarn designed to be held by loving hands; yarn that responds well to direction and is full of character - lively, forgiving and buttery soft. Wool from happy sheep and caring farmers, wool that has not been stripped of its natural goodness or treated with chemicals. I love good wool.
I waited such a long time for someone create a business that celebrated the incredible history, diversity, passion, strength and community that surrounds Australian wool. Because I think it's such an important story to explore and I wanted to support it - the story of the farmers and their land; the story of sheep and their breeds; the story of mills and their mix of traditional & modern practices; the story of dreamers and doers. The story of the things we make & the things we hold dear. It needed to introduce transparency into an 'old fashioned' industry by exploring fresh ideas and sustainable thinking.
But no one ever did. So, along with my handsome blue-eyed man, I started the business I didn't want to wait any longer for. Neither of us have done anything like this before, but we do both have incredibly varied work (& play) backgrounds. So we took what we knew, learnt what we needed to and dived in. Wool days took 3 years of solid work by the two of us to build before we launched in April this year.
Was there a pivotal moment that made you start your business?
No moment as such, more of a slow but strong realisation that I was spending more and more time exploring & enjoying my absolute passion for good wool, and that I wanted to create something more with the energy and drive I had. I thought by moving from passion to business I could create a space and a product to inspire, educate and facilitate the most beautiful conversations.
What inspired the palette of your yarns?
We want our yarns to be practical, beautiful & enduring. So our colours needed to stand alone, play well together, be suitable for garments & accessories, work for boys & girls, kids & adults. Our first batch of yarn has 5 colour ways, and an undyed yarn was a must (because it's my absolute favourite!) and then I picked my 4 favourite colours to create with. Simple really ;)
Can you tell us the story of your yarn?
I spent so long perfecting Scout's design structure - softness, adaptability, forgiving - but more than anything it's the character of the wool that I wanted to highlight. And it's without a doubt that the wool is the true star of the show of our yarn.
Scout wool comes from Eden Valley Farm in Dumbleyung, Western Australia. The 2000 hectare property was settled in 1905, and has been in the Lloyd family since 1945, with Ross and Terri Lloyd as the current owners (sheepdogs Jeff & Dot help out too). The property has been certified Demeter Biodynamic since 1988, a system that supports and develops world class ecological & sustainable production of food and natural fibres. As well as raising sheep, Ross and Terri also grow grain crops which they process into grain flour and stockfeeds.
Eden Valley is home to 4,500 Merino sheep (originally descendants of Collinsville Merino). Since 1950 the family have been breeding their own Stud Merino Rams to do well in their Biodynamic farming system, with a quiet temperament and natural resistance to parasites, they thrive in the low rainfall environment, producing a bright white wool with a soft handle (the fibre is 21 microns).
Shearing takes place mid August when the weather starts to warm – it takes 4 shearers 8 days to shear all 4,500 sheep. Ross and Terri do all of the sheep handling & management themselves – sheep classing, feeding, lamb marking, crutching, pregnancy testing etc. They feel that avoiding outside contractors for stock handling (except shearing) benefits the sheep’s wellbeing and enables them to treat each animal as an individual. It has been an absolute pleasure and a wonderful education sourcing our wool from Eden Valley.
From here Scout is minimally processed in New Zealand, then packed with care by us and sent off to its new home for wool lovers to make it their own. We design knit & crochet patterns to work with our yarn - beautiful, practical & enduring patterns. They delight on first sight, inspire the making process and bring endless joy as a finished item - whether you are picking up your needles / hook for the first time, looking to progress your skills or searching for a particular technique to explore.
What advice would you give to people out there wanting to follow their creative dreams?
Believe in yourself & what you are doing. Don't ask permission, don't follow and don't compromise. Do it for the love of it and be kind to yourself.
What is the most important thing you have learned since creating your business?
I am incredibly passionate about what we're doing and so by far the greatest expectations and pressures come from myself. I am constantly needing to remind myself to slow down and take care of my little family (my man and I) otherwise we would work 24/7 and burn out!
Where can we find your yarn?
You can purchase our yarn from our gorgeous (if I do say so myself!) online store wooldays.com
What is your spirit animal?
It's not a spirit animal, but when I was a little person my nickname was wombat. Because I plodded along doing things in my own time, I always got there in the end but I never wanted any help .. I just wanted to keep on plodding at my own pace!
What is your favorite noise?
We have been living on our beautiful bush property for almost a year now, and every morning I wake to the sound of kookaburras laughing away in the gum trees. It's such a joyful start to my day and I have come to love it dearly.
Anything else you would like to include?
Just a massive THANK YOU to you Andrea. I have been a long time lover of your story, your passion, your patterns and voice within this incredible community of wool lovers. I can't get enough of your blog posts, and feel incredibly honoured to be here in this space with my own yarn baby. Also, in May this year we are launching our new yarn - a 100% Aussie grown and processed biodynamic single source beauty. Very exciting!
So, are you dying to get your own Kingston Tunic on the needles??? Great! Let's have a sale and a giveaway!!
Thanks to Wool Day's incredible generosity, I get to give one of you lucky readers a Kingston Tunic Kit, complete with the pattern .pdf and Scout yarn in the color of your choice! To enter, leave a comment below telling us what you look for in a good sweater! Please remember to include your email address in the body of the comment so that I have a way to contact you! The giveaway will be open until Friday, 2/10/17 at midnight EST.
For those of you who just can't wait:
- Receive 15% off of your pattern in my shop or on Ravelry with the coupon KINGSTON until Friday, 2/10/27 at midnight EST!
- Receive free worldwide shipping when you order your Kingston yarn at wooldays.com before February 21!