In celebration of Wool Week UK (5-11 October), we chat to Catherine Nelson of WoolSoft, a ‘nuts & bolts’ business that makes 100% British wool-filled inserts for scatter cushions, floor cushions, bolsters, pouffes and more. Her most recent venture sees a complete cushion collection, all covered in beautiful tartan wool fabrics (above) – perfect for cosy autumnal room schemes!
How did WoolSoft come about?
I was brought up in North Wales, Lleyn Peninsula and everything at home had to be wool otherwise it was ‘no good’ – according to my late mother! I saw for myself how hard a life it was for shepherds, but they kept going, and deep down I always felt I owed them something for their labours. I feel that WoolSoft is my nod to them and those who have followed them.
Describe the making process.
Our inserts are not rolled off a production line, we make the casings ourselves, all of which bear the British Wool Marketing Board label. As for the wool, we are passionate about that as you can imagine! It must be of a high quality. It’s hard work sorting it all out as it’s worked by hand and larger items such as bits of twig and hay, have to be taken out before being stuffed into the casings!
Why is it so important to you to use British wool?
Apart from the obvious economic benefits to sheep farmers and wool producers, the UK have a huge variety of sheep breeds that produce wool for all sorts of uses, from carpeting to fine fabrics and knitwear. As far as I’m concerned it’s the best.
In what way do you promote and support the use of British wool?
In any way possible! I personally will only buy wool products made using British wool. I’m a keen support of the Campaign for Wool, which has made a huge difference to the appreciation of this wonderful fibre. I never stop ‘bleating’ on about it! There’s no doubt that since the Campaign began there has been an upsurge in the use of wool. Whilst the price has gone up, farmers now get a better return and this in turn leads to better quality wool all round.
What do you love about working and living in the countryside?
The truth is you’re never lonely. I live in a tiny community and we all know each other. I have marvellous neighbours and the wildlife is wonderful – there’s always something to see and hear, different creatures and birds! Every day is different and even in the worst weather there is still something to admire and appreciate.
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