One of the highlights of my recent trip back to Australia was taking the opportunity to meet up with Nan Bray at her farm, White Gum near Oatlands in the midlands of Tasmania.
I’d heard about Nan’s ethical superfine merino wool a few months prior, and so we arranged to meet up on my trip back to Tassie. I thought we might have a little chat, I’d pick up a bulk order of yarn, and I’d be on my way. However Nan was so incredibly welcoming and generous with her time, we got a fantastic tour of her farm in to the bargain.
Even though I grew up “in the bush” in Tassie, I didn’t grow up on a farm, so I don’t know a lot about the intricacies of wool farming. I loved hearing all about Nan’s stories of how she is raising the sheep. The sheep all have access to such a wide range of grasses and plants in the paddocks that they get all the nutrition they need, and the sheep know what plants to eat when they need particular nutrients or are feeling unwell. The sheep are kept together in their natural family groups, allowing them to pass on such knowledge through the generations. The sheep are raised on strong ethical lines. Nan is able to avoid using all mulesing, and has been able to stop tail-docking. It’s so lovely to see the sheep running around with their tails waggling!
It was a warm day, so we found the sheep all huddled together in a coil to keep nice and cool.
To find out more about Nan’s farm (and yarn), you can check out this episode of Landline.
So, now we know all about where the yarn comes from, this is what it looks like when it’s all dyed up in a few of my travelknitter colourways:
It really is the softest merino I’ve ever come across, and it’s very light and lofty. There’s an amazing 470m per 100g, so it goes a long way. I love it! It’s been really interesting developing new techniques to dye the yarn as it isn’t superwash, which means it keeps its lovely natural woolly texture and smell. I love seeing how it takes the colour in very subtle, muted ways.
These skeins are all available at Wild and Woolly in East London. If you’re elsewhere in the world and would like some, just drop me a line or send me a message through my etsy shop to request a custom order.