Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Naked Truth

This image captured by Jacqui Bateman in 2010 is now been used in reaction to he new PETA campaign.
It was bought to my attention this week that PETA is having another crack at  the wool industry releasing a graphic new poster of a naked model posing with a bloodied lamb in an attempt to highlight the "rampant abuse" which they would have you believe was standard practice in modern shearing sheds.


Having grown up on a sheep and cattle station and spending many of my teenage hours working as a 'rousie' alongside these shearers, I never saw anything closely approaching anything they describe.  With emphasis on fleece quality from textile & spinning markets (like us)  and the demand from farmers to maintain healthy flocks -  shearing gangs operating now are incredibly slick, professional, highly competitive teams who take pride their work, just as much as any other tradesperson.
Shearers are not only professionals, they're athletes and take their work very seriously.

Shearing is an important part of the care and welfare of farming sheep.  Its important to help prevent insect infestation, keeping the animal cool in the hot summer months and keeping the weight of the fleece at a safe level in the winter months. Unshorn sheep can be come very laboured under the wool and water weight of a fleece that has not been removed annually.

Whilst it makes great headlines when you find sheep such as Shrek, the reality is he's much happier and healthier freshly shorn, than not
The SPCA in 2014 received 642 sheep related complaints - none of which were shearing related, in fact SPCA Regional Manager Sue Baudet said many of these complaints were because these sheep hadn't been shorn and were suffering in the heat

The most recent PETA poster - so inaccurate on so many levels I don't where to start.
I just get really sick of sensationalism for sensationalism sake.  I am proud of the New Zealand wool industry and the level of genuine care, concern and passion that people working within the industry:  farmers, shearers, brokers or manufacturers, have towards what we do.  I guess the only message I can take from PETA's poor attempt at highlighting their misguided beliefs is that they would prefer petroleum based synthetic fibres because all that's hurting in it's process is the planet, and the planet doesn't have feelings right?

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Unwinding in Dunedin

The Skeinz table at Unwind 2016
One of the things that is wonderful about my job is the ability to travel once a year to Dunedin to the Unwind Fibrecraft retreat and catch up with all things yarn, fabulous and awesome in the very fashion forward city of Dunedin.  It's great to catch up with friends old and new and to be able to take down new yarns and get a southern spin on how things are done, loved, stitched and created.
Just some of the faces & Traders from Unwind
There is an energy in Dunedin that is quite unique.  A combination of culture, history, isolation, stubbornness and invention that gives Dunedin-nites a great outlook.  The projects, colours and styles are quite different to what I usually see in the north and it helps me get inspired about new directions in The Yarn Kitchen.
The faces of Unwind 2016
Attending retreats is a great way to get to meet other yarnies with an equal amount of fervor as you and to also get inspired.  You get to appreciate how clever we are as a nation and appreciate the fabric of people that go into making up our industry.

One of the new yarns launched at Unwind - Queen Bee (Photo by Outlaw Yarn)
This year we are really spoiled for yarn events.  Unwind is in March and booked ended at the end of winter is Knit August Nights (of course) in Napier.  Also on the calendar is the very success full Woolfest in West Auckland in late may and for those in the south WoolFeast in Christchurch in June (on Worldwide Knit in Public day no less).  If you do get a chance to attend any of these events - do, and hopefully we will see you at one of them soon!