From talking to sheep farmers here in the wesht, I understand almost all Irish wool is exported to China and other countries in its 'raw' state for feck all money to the farmer. Most tell me they lose money shearing their sheep. But is there any exception to this, in other words, is there any genuinely Irish wool being processed in Ireland and made available to the clothing / craft sector in Ireland? Many thanks.
This is very interesting.
Knitting is one of my hobbies and something I adore. I started knitting with acrylic yarn but as the years pass and I progressed with knitting my tastes changed. I make a conscious effort to work with natural fibers like cotton or wool now.
I don't know if there's any Irish wool. Spinning is something I would love to try my hand at.
I think it's such a pity so much is being outsourced to other countries. I was browsing a shop with Irish/aran knitwear and it said 100% Irish and taking a closer look at tags it would say 'made in China' or 'made in Thailand' or whatever other foreign country. Makes me want to puke.
You have to ask where is the value added. Is it in the processing wool to yarn? Not really as the profit is in selling the made item.
Processing yarn might only a few million euro to the economy. Even if it was processed here, there is no market. It is such a niche product ie yarn for hobbies
Farmers generally pay someone to shear their sheep. They would not lose money on wool, if they did it themselves. But none I have ever met do it themselves.
Have a look at Stwist wool. It is grown processed spun and dyed in Ireland. It's as close to a commercial Irish yarn as you are going to get. Our sheep fleeces are just too crunchy for modern tastes. Everyone wants everything to be merino soft.
Thank you so much for that info. For anybody else who comes across this thread, here is their website http://www.stwistwool.com/ and no, I'm in no way connected.
Not affiliated either but I did meet Diarmuid from Stwist a few years ago when he was giving beginner spinning lessons and he was just starting to spin his own yarn commercially. He's very interesting and passionate about Irish wool. I recently saw the yarn in This is Knit in Dublin so he's making it work!
Those are lovely looking yarns!
I wish I knew some sheep farmers now to pass on the details