Monday, 7 December 2015

Let's chat: Wool And The Gang

Taking up a new hobby is great, isn't it? Just over twelve months ago I began to knit and, admittedly during the summer, I took a slight hiatus but now I'm in full flow and eager to improve.

Here's what I consider especially great about knitting:

1) I love being able to bring my own designs to life and wear them. Knitting, I find, is the easiest way to do so.

2) It's incredibly relaxing. Hours and hours can be spent doing the same stitch until it gets to the point where I question myself, wondering why I'm not bored yet or my fingers lethargic. But those fingers get into the rhythm of the stitches and form a mechanical life of their own. Plus, I am somebody who doesn't like to just sit and watch TV, for example. I have to be doing something at the same time and knitting is great for that.

3) It's full of goodness.

"Historically, making one's clothes was often a way to make it more affordable but today this tends not to be the case," says Alexandra Brinck, a textile designer at Wool And The Gang. "With shops full of inexpensive clothing and accessories that usually cost less than the materials required to handcraft things, makers' motivations often centre around uniqueness or ethics."

What's Wool And The Gang? It's an online store and community with an approach to knitwear that's fresh, current and partly what inspired me to take up the hobby in the first place. Browsing the craft and haberdashery sections of department stores, patterns  always seem outdated and typical. At Wool And The Gang, there's baseball-style caps, shorts and collaborations with designers such as Giles Deacon and Aurelie Bidermann.

Initially I was one of those who's intentions centred around uniqueness but, having become more of an advocate for sustainable clothing, I've realised that knitting is like a two fingers up to the throwaway, fast fashion of the high street.

"We try to give the customers the information they need to make informed decisions about their purchases," assures Alexandra. "And since knitting is a craft that requires very few things- just needle and yarn- it makes it easier to check that everything is cruelty-free."

Wool And The Gang's wool is sourced attentively with many coming from Peru. Alexandra explains that "a commitment to sustainability is engineered into our business model," which is why two of the yarn lines are made from recycled materials- T-shirt scraps from fashion factories and fabric roll off-cuts that would otherwise be sent to landfill.
As well as these, Wool And The Gang offers clothing and accessories in the form of knit kits, so you can make it yourself, and ready made.
"When it comes to our ready-to-wear, none of it is made in factory settings," says Alexandra. "Instead it's produced by people working in the comfort of their own home, whether in Peru or the UK."

This brings a personal touch to the way the things are produced and therefore, whether made by yourself or somebody else, there shouldn't be that careless tendency to neglect the clothing/ accessories or just throw them away.

So what is the best thing to make?
"Easy.It's got to be something you'll love knitting and enjoy wearing (or giving away to some worthy recipient). Fine, it helps if the project matches your skill level but I would still say it's important to enjoy the making process. Always work with materials you like and choose designs and colours that you love. If you enjoy the process, you won't mind having to work a little to learn new skills."

On my list of things to produce with ease:
'The Kurt Cap'
A sleeveless dress,

What's on your list?

The quotes came from an interview I did for a recent university assignment and
 I didn't want them to go to waste. 
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