Nothing beats a hand made wooly jumper. Cosy and soft, it cocoons your skin, giving you a level of protection, comforting and kind, it becomes a part of you. When I was little and lived in Moscow I loved stealing my dad's wool jumpers and wearing them over jeans. They felt so comforting and warm and I loved their smell, tobacco and Colonge, I pretty much lived in them during the winter months.
I have very few jumpers that I love as much these days, as I skim through my wardrobe, aside from a very few items, my wool jumpers are rather crap to be honest. I cherish very few of them. When I look at the labels I realize that most of them have been made in China (even Rag&Bone and APC make their knits there nowadays) and almost none of them are made of 100% wool, in fact almost all of them have acrylic, nylon or acetate mixed in with wool.
Having realized the dire state of my jumper collection I embarked on a mission to find 100% hand made jumpers, real keepers that are made to last. That's when I came across the UK brand Monkstoneknitwear. Their website alone is so wholesome and fresh, it's a dream come true for an exhausted city dweller like me. It makes you want to move to a farm and breed sheep yourselves.
As for the brand...
Monkstone Knitwear was launched in 2011
"The design process for Monkstone Knitwear mirrors that of the farm, using the developing ideas and methods associated with the principles of permaculture. The design methods have been adapted to work with the wool in a way that is sustainable and natural. This enhances the biodiversity of the farm. The yarns that the Monkstone Flock offer are Welsh Black Mountain, Coloured Dorsets and Natural Dorsets. Each season they design based on the yarns they have from the sheep.
They shear on a yearly basis and if the weather is warm they will shear a little early (how cute!). They pay attention to the sheep needs at all times making sure they are looked after to the best of our ability here at Trevayne.
They use experienced local shearers to get a good quality fleece, then bundle the fleeces based on breed, keeping the fleeces separate to make cleaning and spinning the wool a lot more accessible. This also means the team can design accordingly, based around amount of fleece they get per breed keeping style in mind.
After the washing and spinning process, which takes around 2 months, they divide the kilos of wool. They divide it into oiled on cone, washed on cone (for machine knitting) and hand knitting yarns in 50kg balls. They tend to get 5-8 kilos per sheep. Their ram ‘Rambo’ had a fleece of 7 kilos. (Auuffff...)
When the yarns come back to Monkstone Studio they then send the yarns to their hand knitters, and the wonderful factory they use which is only 42 miles away from the farm."
How about that? Quite a different story from the "wool+
nasty extras" made in China jumpers you can find in Zara. This is what quality and craftsmanship really are about. Simple, pure and wholesome creations...
Make sure to visit these guys on their lovely website!