How the World’s Softest Wool is Made


my name is Mati Ventrillon and we are in Fair Isle, Scotland. I’m a crafter, and a knitter I design fair isle garments and sell them online Fair Isle is known in the world as a knitting technique that involves stranded color knitting so is basically carrying two colors together in one row sometimes three It’s called fair isle because it originated here in the island the Shetland wool was known for being one of the softest wools in the world Fair Isle belongs to the Shetland Islands the population of sheep is a lot higher than the human population the making of a fair isle jumper I think it can be divided in two different processes one is the husbandry of the animals and then the other one is the making of the garments. You have a flock of sheep looking after them feeding them make sure that they stay healthy so that you produce a good fleece. Shearing. I found that the best way to do it is by allowing the sheep to rest on your legs they become very docile and kind of happy animals the moment that becomes like a factory thing the relationship changes completely fleece is spread out you clean any debris any grass you roll it in one little bundle then it sent out to Jameson spinning in mainland Shetland with the Good Shepherd they’re sorted then they’re graded according to the quality of the wool then they get processed get washed it gets sort of pulled apart dyed, spun twisted and then we get the cones the cones get sent normally with the aeroplane from Tingual into Fair Isle. I receive my yarn with the plane I go and collect it and bring it to my studio and then the process of making the garment begins. It comes the design stage I start printing together colors and patterns and I create swatches once the design is approved then we go into the detailing. the Knitting process starts with producing the ribs taken that weave transferring it into the flatbed knitting machine. I place all my wools and then I start knitting the garment. The Machine reads the solid and color. Front, back, right sleeve, left sleeve. All these panels get put together the sleeves get attached by a technical grafting, it creates an invisible thing The seam gets sown along the slip I produce the neck and then the neck gets grafted into the garment. Once the garment is knitted is the finishing process. Trimming all the insides you have to weave in the end. This is the moment where I can check if there’s been any mistake on the weavings the garment gets washed in 30 degrees temperature put it on the stretcher and the wooly horse to dry. Once it’s dry it gets pressed and labeled. It’s normally wrapped in brown paper parcel kind of old style with a little string of wool. The knitting belongs to the island. People stop doing it, they leave the island and someone else comes and carries on so feeling that I’m continuing a tradition and preserving a heritage is full of satisfaction

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