Fabricated tales

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so what’s the story behind this magical material?

As a company, Wool and the Gang place a real value on working with materials that reduce the impact on the environment. Our challenge was to find a sister-product to Crazy Sexy Wool. We wanted a yarn that made a bold statement, that was also quick to knit up (ideal for beginners), and that would be a great material for summer. 

We’ve always loved t-shirt materials but we wanted to find something that had been recycled, and not just created for the sake of the yarn. We reached out to our old tutors at Central Saint Martins for some help with sourcing and they sent us to Turkey, one of world’s major textiles meccas. What we found there was a family-run business, which collects tonnes (and I mean tonnes!) of the selvedge off-cuts from fabric fashion factories and, using local labour, re-purposes them into the Jersey Be Good we know and love.

Jade Harwood – co-founder and Creative Director

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What is selvedge?

Fabric manufacturers will always produce a material wider than is needed in case of shrinkage that can happen during the dyeing process. Any excess is trimmed from the fabric – this is the selvedge, and it usually end its life in a landfill. However, there are solutions to this waste.

On a recent visit to our supplier in Turkey, Jade turned roving reporter to bring you the story behind our Jersey Be Good yarn.

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Seeing textiles waste first hand is really unsettling but there are great people like the family business we work with in Turkey who are doing their bit to clean up this crazy fashion industry – we just need to dig deeper to find them.

Here’s the skinny

The company we work with sends its lorries out to around 150 factories to collect their fabric off-cuts. Once collected, the pre-selection process begins. The sacks of scraps are piled high and are hand-sorted by a team of local women – warmly referred to by their employer as ‘the golden girls’. Over 12 tonnes of selvedge are vetted daily, however only roughly 25% of the scraps are of a high enough quality to be recycled as yarn. For the 75% that are too thick or too thin, or of a poor quality, it’s not the end of the line for these scraps. Many of them are press-baled and sent to India, where they are made into rag rugs and industrial felt (like the stuff used to insulate houses!).

 

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Once the selvedges have been selected, the sorting process begins. This can be done in the warehouse, or by local villagers in their own homes. The lengths of fabric are hand-knotted together and wound into balls of the same shades. One worker can sort up to 80 kilos of yarn per day.

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The final step is for the yarn to be wound onto bobbins. The balls of yarn are brought back to the warehouse and are wound into cones using hand-operated machines. Each cone is checked and weighed, then packed onto pallets. Each cone will have maximum of four knots – some lucky cones have none at all.

 

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Last year, our supplier produced over 6,000 tonnes of Jersey Be Good yarn, and this year they are set to produce 12,000 tonnes – that’s the weight of around 3,000 elephants!

It’s a great story, right? We hope that you love our Jersey Be Good as much as we do, and celebrate its quirky, unique qualities. Due to the way this yarn is produced, we’ll never be able to guarantee the shades that we receive. So if you see your favourite colour on-site, stock up – it may not be back! And that’s why anything you make from Jersey Be Good will be truly unique.

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12 Comments

  1. awesome story 🎽👏 can’t wait till mine arrives in the mail

  2. hello

    My name is Patrick’m Trade Pep company
    I would like to know the prices of their selvages 100% cotton, for importing into Brazil and how much do you have to provide a month, and my mail is comercialpep@hotmail.com await your response

  3. Gang. I love your ideas, work, stories, creativity and every single pattern, yarn and email !!!
    Congratulations !!! I am a Big fan and client of
    your company !!!
    Maria Ines

  4. I ordered the Jersey be Good in the black/white combination and made the sweater pattern sent with it (3/4 roll up sleeves). It turned out fine, but I can’t ever wear it because it is so heavy! The yarn has too much spandex content to be used for this. I would have loved it and worn it a lot if it were 100% cotton. I’m very unhappy, not only because of the time spent making it, but the cost was so great. What kind of compensation, credit, or reimbursement can you offer me? I love all of the other products that I have bought from you but this one is a total failure!

    • Hey Suzanne,

      I’m really sorry you were unhappy with this purchase from us :( I’ve forwarded your email address on to customer service and they’ll be in touch asap to see what they can do.

  5. I am so glad I know how and where the yarn I bought came from… And am so proud to use them to make a blanket for myself and contributed to using recycle material… The postal master that received this box of yarns thought I bought a some sort of furniture.. It was so heavy and she was surprised it was yarns *lol*..

    Keep up the good work! And thank you!

  6. I have just finished knitting the Hold Tight clutch, and am wondering if there is a good way to block this piece before finishing? The woven stitch section, despite my getting gauge, seems to pull in a bit. Thanks!

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