There are some questions that have cropped up a number of times, so it’s time for a few clarifications on the Challenge:
I don’t live in the UK. Can I enter the Challenge?
Yes, you are welcome to submit a design and it will be treated equally by our selection panel alongside all of the other entries. Overseas applicants are encouraged!
Is it really free to enter?
Yes. You will need to bear the cost of shipping your work to Wales, and the cost of any additional materials. Your work will be returned to you in 2016. You will only forfeit your deposit if having promised to send your completed design, you fail to do so.
If it’s free why do we give you a deposit?
We know that sometimes wanting and being willing to do something doesn’t always translate into doing. Sometimes life gets in the way. The deposit is our way of asking you to demonstrate your commitment to the Challenge. As long as we receive your work in accordance with the conditions of the Challenge, your deposit will be cancelled (or returned).
What colour is the wool?
The wool is cream (ecru). There are some beautiful coloured flocks in the mountains but economics has dictated that we stick to cream for this phase of our project. If you incorporate colour in your design you will need to dye it or have it dyed yourself. We may be able to put you in touch with some people who are willing to dye the wool for you for a fee, but that would need to be an arrangement made between you and the dyer.
Does the design have to be all wool?
No, you can use other materials in your design. All that we ask is that any wool that you use is the wool that we provide you with for the challenge, whether that’s wool tops, yarn or cloth. As the competition is meant to make the most of Cambrian Mountains Wool, we don’t want to confuse matters by introducing wool from other sources.
Can we have samples?
No, we’re sorry but samples aren’t available. The timescale for the project is determined by our sponsors, and we cannot fit sending of samples into our already tight schedule. The wool was bought at auction late in October and so far we have not even seen it ourselves! We are confident, thanks to the expert and stringent sorting skills of the British Wool Marketing Board, that if we have bought ‘Fine Mule’ wool, it will be just that. The timescale does make this all just that little bit more exciting though, don’t you think?
What is the fabric like?
Please see the answer to the previous question. However, we have specified that we would like woven cloth 60 inches wides, of a twill weave. Think ‘heavy tweed’***. As soon as we have it in our hot little hands we will post information on this website. The fabric will be UNFINISHED: this means that it will be oily from the spinning and weaving, possibly a little fragrant, and will need scouring (carefully washing in hot water and detergent several times, drying and pressing).
***We have revised this specification, which was originally a ‘fine’ tweed.
Will the wool felt?
Please see the answers to the previous two questions! However, the fleece is a fine mule from Welsh Mule type sheep*. These are generally a cross between a Bluefaced Leicester ram and a Welsh Mountain ewe. As the feltmaker in the group, my preferred commercial wool tops is Bluefaced Leicester, and I often buy wool of a fine type from other British breeds. They rarely let me down. Personally, I am anticipating and hoping for a wool tops similar to Masham. We’ll see!
*Why “type”? The subject of a future post…
Who is the judging panel?
Watch this space – we are just finalising our agreement to post names and bios on the website and then you’ll be the first to know.
Who are the Cambrian Mountains Wool Group?
We’re 5 volunteers with a passion for Welsh wool: again bios will be here soon (we’re running as fast as we can!). We have received support for this project from the Welsh Government, and we are supported by the Cambrian Mountains Initiative. To help us administer the challenge and explore the market for our beautiful Cambrian Wool we are being helped by PLANED.