Planning WOVEMBER 2016

I have returned from an amazing trip to Edinburgh where I was meeting with comrade Louise for some major WOVEMBER forward-planning.

Since 2014, managing the WOVEMBER website and annual competitions, prizes and woolly content have all been done by us: Felicity Ford and Louise Scollay, AKA Mucker & Comrade.


For the past two years we’ve organised WOVEMBER during October at the last minute around other commitments. Our blogging, tweeting and writing about WOOL has been fueled by coffee and an abiding passion for wool, and WOVEMBER has been a month of long days, endless computer work, and no sleep. This year we want to do things differently: to practice sustainability in relation to our own actual resources; to grow the community of WOVEMBERISTS; to expand and develop the original mission of the website; to find new ways to explore the depth and wonder of this amazing textile; and to speak to some of the major political themes of recent times. We are excited to return to Wovember’s activist roots and to have more fun while so doing!


While we’re getting all this in place, the WOVEMBER website is undergoing changes. Though the links between different articles don’t work so well, the 418 articles published on the Wovember website thus far can still be accessed here, and hopefully will all soon be on the shiny new website here that is, for the time being, still under construction.


This week, in a renewed spirit of mischief and activism, we wholeheartedly threw ourselves into WOVEMBERING. Our activities included much writing and note-taking, many great wool and politics discussions, and the important deployment of cake, including this amazing Turkish Delight variety which was enjoyed at Edinburgh’s Earthy.


I also took the opportunity of being in Edinburgh to catch up with an old school friend who is co-founder of an independent brewery in Leith and to introduce Louise to a variety of marvelous beers. I confess that I am proud to have been officially labelled A Bad Influence in this respect.


Pilot Beer supply many different venues throughout Edinburgh, and I highly recommend their amazing Blønd beer (which can be enjoyed at Holyrood 9A), and their Vienna Pale, and their Mochaccino Stout (which we enjoyed at Devil’s Advocate). Pilot beers are all unfined which means they are delightfully murky and full of flavour. Blønd is fresh, aromatic and almost tropical in its fruity goodness; Vienna Pale is satisfyingly biscuity; and Mochaccino Stout is a decadent dark concoction made with cocoa nibs and coffee beans. If you are a craft ale buff, you will enjoy them all!

It was also really great to see my old friend Matt; it must be 20 years since we were at school together and now we are grownups with our own businesses. Hurrah!


For us WOVEMBERISTS who are obsessed with traceability and provenance in relation to WOOL, it was especially satisfying to trace the journey of these special beers from their birthplace in the Pilot Beer Brewery to various venues in Edinburgh where you can drink them.



Other activities in Edinburgh included my fruitless efforts to ingratiate myself with Jeremy Jean: the aloof and discerning podcat of Knit British fame…


…and a most strange experience in an emporium on Canongate, whose proprietor seemed to take exception to our interest in her knitted goods.

We excitedly recognised the base yarn used in many of her beautifully designed garments and were thrilled to spot some gloves and tams by Wilma Malcolmson AKA Shetland Designer. We admired the unusual construction of some of the garments, and the exceptional softness of some legwarmers prompted a little innocent speculation on the original yarns used. All of this is standard stuff for both Louise and myself, who are very interested in the provenance and origins of woolly goods, but our curiosity seemed to prompt immense suspicion. Following us around the store with increasing urgency, replacing items we had touched as though we had dirtied them and hissing strange accusations at us “what did you say?” “I could tell at once you were knitters” “where do you sell your work?” etc. the lady who owned the store eventually harried us out with an inexplicable cry of the word ARSE.



It was all a bit odd, but happily fixed by a trip to the nearby and highly recommended Fudge House.

On our last evening, we set up a dedicated @wovemberwool instagram account, and then attempted to take photos documenting some of our work this week. This included much hap-knitting with 100% WOOL yarns of various provenance; plenty of list-making and note-taking in our special Wovember books; and, as aforementioned, a moderate quantity of Scottish beer sampling. However, artful photos were not entirely forthcoming.


Uncooperative familiars and the difficulty of fitting all our stuff into the small square instagram photoframe meant that the photoshoot swiftly descended into lying in the wool and laughing, instead… but maybe that is a good indicator of the fun ahead for WOVEMBER 2016: there will be lots of wool, plenty of laughter, and a very good dose of TURBO.


We will keep you posted on the official Wovember website as things develop; in the meantime, thank you so much for an AMAZEBAAS working holiday Louise; IT WAS THE BEST!!! I cannot wait to show you around Reading for part 2 in several weeks’ time.


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