Countrywear brand launches ‘unique’ Yorkshire-made hand-knit yarn

Six months on from unveiling its “Farm to Yarn” Clapdale Wool Project, Glencroft has launched a fully traceable hand-knit yarn made in Yorkshire.

The project, which was masterminded by the countrywear clothing brand’s owner, Edward Sexton and was part-funded by the Yorkshire Dales National Park’s Sustainability Fund, was born out of a desire to support Yorkshire farmers in getting more value for their wool.

Sexton said: “Too often we hear of farmers who have to send the wool sheared from their sheep to landfill because there just isn’t any other economical use for it. As avid supporters and users of British Wool, this simply didn’t seem right.

“The £5,000 grant from the Yorkshire Dales National Park’s Sustainability Fund helped us to kick-start our ‘farm to yarn’ project, allowing us to take fleeces from farms within a five-mile radius to us and transform them into a truly unique Yorkshire-made hand-knit yarn.”

To ensure they made the best possible yarn, Yorkshire Dales-based Glencrcoft brought together a team of British wool and fashion design experts from The Wool Company and KnitLab North to advise on the project, making use of local sheep breeds including the traditional Dalesbred, Teeswater, Blue Faced Leicester and the more modern Texel.

Half a ton of fleece was gathered by Sexton from local farms including Dawsons of Bleak Bank and Whitakers of Bowsber Farm in Clapham, which was processed in Bradford where it was weighed, washed and scoured.

The wool was then carded in Bingley, before going on to Shipley to be spun.

Half of the wool was spun into cones for use on knitting machines which KnitLab North is testing on knitwear designs custom-made for Glencroft, with the Clapdale Wool Collection expected to be launched later this year.

 The remaining yarn was split into two, with 150 kgs spun into 100g hanks of wool for hand-knitting, which are available to buy in Glencroft’s shop, and a variety of local retailers.

Sexton added: “We wanted to show how it is possible to ensure farmers get a fair price for their fleeces, as well as creating a circular economy by giving 10% of all profits from the finished yarn and products back to them.”

It’s hoped following this pilot’s success, Glencroft will be able commercialise its Clapdale Wool over the coming years, working with British Wool.