Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Tuesday 23rd May

Finally received my Vogue Knitting International - it didn't take as long as they said it would. Bit disappointed with this one actually. Only a couple of projects really jumped out at me (above) - usually it's a lot more. I was quite pleased to see a column on knitting & the UK and also quite interested by an article on the British Wool industry.

"The British Wool Marketing Board operates a central marketing system for UK fleece wool with the aim of achieving the best possible net returns for farmers." it says on its home page. It would appear that this system is not working out very well - and farmers (esp. small or 'hobby' farmers) are facing massive losses on their wool - the article claims that fleeces costing the farmer £50 to shear are fetching them £0.89. (!)

The system works like this: All farmers (Shetland farmers are excepted) with 4 or more sheep must, by law, sell their wool to the British Wool Marketing Board who pay the farmers a price based on its world value and grading.

So external factors such as the world prices of fleece wool, currency fluctuations and the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) are currently causing damage to the value of UK wool which is resulting in low prices being paid by the BWMB to the farmers.

So the BWMB are indeed obtaining the "best possible net returns for farmers" and may not be the 'bad guy' that they at first appear to be. But it doesn't alter the fact that farmers are effectively 'trapped' into selling their fleece wool to the BWMB, and this leaves them with no choice or option to explore other, perhaps more profitable, alternatives.

It is important to mention that the BWMB are farmer run, and a not-for-profit organisation.

While it is clearly a complex issue that I'm sure is being dealt with as best as possible under the circumstances, it doesn't change the fact that some farmers are finding it more economical to simply burn the fleeces - that to me seems an awful shame, and also - a waste of potential stash!

Both the Scotsman and the Telegraph have online articles about this issue. It saddens me as a knitter to discover that things are so bad for UK farmers - and I wonder what, if anything, can be done to free them from this seemingly desperate situation.

Moving on from this issue - the weekend was a wash-out knitting-wise. We had guests coming on Saturday evening and so spent a combined 13 hours getting the house 'guest clean'. Time I frankly would have rather spent knitting - but I am glad that we put in the effort as the windows are all sparkly and clean, and everything looks so new and pretty. And we had a lovely evening.

Sunday therefore was spent exhausted and in pain from said cleaning - so much so that we didn't wake up til noon, and by the time the Asda / Petsmart duties were out of the way it was dinner-time. I got a couple of rows in on the baby blanket, but nothing substantial.

I have 3 plain projects to bring with me to this evenings SnB - the project ration is feeling me with emotions of alternating extreme boredom and desire to cast on new projects, and a sense of fulfilment as I work steadily through the on-the-needle projects that I suddenly remembered how much I wanted to complete and wear.

We decided to go on a nice walk yesterday evening after work - to get those muscles working in time for Barcelona (strong muscles - better shoping!). So a quick jaunt behind the house led to the spotting of a herd of neds in the path ahead. The guy in front of us did a sharp u-turn on sighting them, closely followed by our own cowardly about turn.

Inwardly pissed that we let them see they had affected our path (and instilled fear) I have to say that (getting into the car and driving to) Queen's Park was a much nicer place to walk instead! I have pics of squirrels to follow :)

and thats me!


Anonymous said...

Bloody hell babe, they were rabbits not squirrels! x X x

your boy

soCherry said...

Meh - to me they're just balls of yarn-to-be!
Squirrel yarn...hmmm...