Who We Spin For & Our Wool Agent
OUR WOOL AGENT – ANDREW BOWMAN
Our production concept is simple – a return to old style manufacturing, sourcing raw fibre (locally wherever possible) and converting it in Britain into high quality, luxury yarns and fibre tops. To help bring this to life we work closely with Andrew Bowman of Wooltops. He is our Wool agent and sources many of the beautiful fibres we make into tops and yarns at our Mill. We also spin for him, at our Mill, small runs of commission yarns in natural shades from his own fibres which he wholesales and retails.
Wooltops, set up by Andrew’s grandfather, has an established supply chain that is 100% committed to focusing on the traceability of its wool products. Sourcing from the UK whenever possible, the British Falkland Islands, and from selected farms around the world, Andrew gets to know the farmers he works with and their sheep farming techniques that produce (Mulesing-free) premium wool. Andrew works closely with spinning mills that share his ethos and enthusiasm (this is where we come in) so the passion shines through. Wooltops and John Arbon Textiles together, specialise in taking wool from the farm right through to the highest quality spun yarn.
Not only do we create and produce all our own yarns and tops, but we also commission spin for other woolly folk. Here is a list of a few of our regular customers. We are very proud of the yarn we spin for them and hope that you will like it too.
DAUGHTER OF A SHEPHERD
The Daughter of a Shepherd journey began with the 2015 clip of the Hebridean sheep who graze Escrick Park Estate, shepherded by Rachel’s father, John Atkinson. With a firm commitment to using only 100% British wool from shepherds and producers within the United Kingdom, they aim to support all aspects of British manufacturing in their processing and production.
THE LITTLE GREY SHEEP
They are a small independent fibre producing farm in Hampshire with a range of glorious hand dyed yarns. Every last fleece is hand sorted on the farm by Susie and Emma, to ensure that only the best quality fibres go into their yarn. A luxury product takes time to produce, and The Little Grey Sheep’s years of experience have culminated in the production of luxury British yarns.
Marie’s yarn is made from four different British sheep breeds: Bluefaced Leicester, Exmoor Blueface, Wensleydale and Zwartbles. The wool fibre from each breed adds a certain characteristic to the yarn… Bluefaced Leicester adds the beautiful softness, Exmoor Blueface adds the softness too but this sheep produces a white fleece therefore adding a ‘cleaness’ to the blended tops making for more successful dyeing. Wensleydale adds the strength and lustre and Zwartbles adds the bounce or springiness.
Skein Queen is a small independent artisan yarn dyeing business established in June 2007 by Debbie Orr and now run by Rachel Moutrie. Their dye studio is based in beautiful Berkshire, producing magnificent hand-dyed yarns for your perusal. They stock a variety of luxury bases and dye a wonderful rainbow of shades.
SUSAN CRAWFORD VINTAGE
Susan and her family run their small independent yarn, design and publishing company, alongside running their working farm, where they tend a small flock of sheep primarily for their fleece. She writes, designs and creates colourways, all inspired by the landscape around her intertwined with a life-long love of fashion, textile and social history.
THE KNITTING GODDESS
The Knitting Goddess is an independent dyer of British knitting yarns, producing hand dyed yarns from British wool. Their yarns are dyed in small batches, which means that every skein is unique and unrepeatable. Like us, Joy & Bobbie believe that there is something utterly satisfying about using yarns when you know exactly where the wool came from, where it was processed and where it was spun. Their wools are all sourced from UK flocks, and are processed, spun and dyed in the UK.
A independent knitting business based in Edinburgh, founded by designer Ysolda Teague, selling knitting pattern pdfs, books and a carefully selected range of yarns and accessories. They release patterns both individually and as collections. Ysolda (she/her) is a designer, sizing and fitting enthusiast, illustrator and website wrangler.
Many moons ago Emily Foden had a spell working at our Mill, so we have a lot of fondness for her. Plus her hand dyeing is magical – she creates wonderfully subtle colours in her studio in Mooresburg, Canada.
ARBON SOCKS & TOWN END YARNS
Town End Yarns produces luxury alpaca blend knitting yarns. In 2017 Kim took over the sock arm of our business (now Arbon Socks) but continues to produce a wonderful range of alpaca and wool socks. Her socks are all knitted in the Midlands by traditional, family businesses. They produce colourful, everyday socks, warm and comfortable walking socks, rugged country socks and the softest, cosy bed socks.