Bouclelaine is a small familly yarn company based in Brittany. They use local fibers to produce a range of beautiful natural yarns.
I was very happy to collaborate with them to create Bucolique Cardigan because I've always been very interested in working with natural yarns and learning more about the process, from the sheeps to our needles. Clotilde and Brigitte, the founders of Bouclelaine gave me an interview where I learned a lot! You can find some extracts below, and you can see the whole interview in my latest episode of the Design Inspiration Podcast here.
I used their Ouessant yarn to create Bucolique and it was a real pleasure to knit. If you appreciate the rustic touch of natural yarn like I do, then this yarn is probably for you. And if you're afraid of rustic wool because you think that it will be scratchy, let me reassure you, this one isn't at all!
"Ouessant sheeps don't have guard hairs which are the small, sharp like a beard hair that are usually at the base of the fleece, and because of that the fiber doesn't scratch" explained Clotilde.
This yarn has a lovely stitch definition that really highlights texture and cables, and what surprised me most of all was its lightness. I only used 250 grams of yarn to make a size S cardigan with a fair amount of ease. It is super warm to wear but very light at the same time.
"It's probably due to the breed and also the climate on the isle of Ouessant, which is pretty windy with lots of sea sprays. To survive here, a sheep has to dry really fast, which also means that we have sweaters in which we don't sweat! All sheeps at Ouessant spend all their time outside so there isn't any temperature contrast which is also part of the great quality of this wool."
Bouclelaine was founded two years ago, and at the heart of their project is the idea of giving back value to the wool.
"We had this desire to knit local natural yarn and couldn't find any so we decided to make our own."
Wool has been very devaluated in France, often seen as a sub-product of meat and lots of farmers still throw away their fleeces each year. Clotilde and Brigitte, her mother, travel to the farms to collect their fleeces and give them an actual revenue in return. Once the fleeces are sorted out, they send them to the washer who uses a natural process (only wool soap!) to wash them. They are then sent to the spinner who makes the yarn and the colors from the samples that they created. Finally the yarn is sent back to their small studio in Landerneau where Clotilde and Brigitte do the conditioning and marketing.
"I love meeting knitters in person, seeing the sweaters that were made from our wool. From the sheep that we saw in Ouessant to the sweaters that knitters made, seeing that whole cycle is what make us happy."
You can find their yarn online at http://www.bouclelaine.fr they ship all over Europe. And if you ever travel to Brittany, be sure to stop by their beautiful studio/shop in Landerneau!