We love wool

Cushion in Purple Tartan Wool
Cushion in Purple Tartan Wool

What a fantastic renaissance wool is having this season in the soft furnishing sector.  Thanks to it’s unique natural properties it has stood the test of time and is one of the oldest textiles known.  We hope you will also be inspired by the wonderful virtues of this fibre,

Blue and Green Tartan Wool Bag
Blue and Green Tartan Wool Bag

The fact that wool will only smoulder and not burn means it is naturally flame retardant, making it the perfect chemical free eco-friendly choice for upholstery and for creating a healthy home environment,  unlike synthetics which can be highly flammable.  On top of this the natural fibres absorb dye very easily, deeply and uniformly, without the use of chemicals.

Wool is such a versatile fibre as it is soft and light and drapes brilliantly making it ideal for both clothing and soft furnishings, including curtains, cushions, throws and blankets, as well as upholstery and a whole range of accessories such as bags, scarves and much more.  The fibres are naturally elastic and will stretch under pressure and then spring back into shape so that anything made from wool will not sag or bag.  And on top of that it is also dirt resistant!  The fibres have an outer layer of scales that are resistant to  dirt and dust penetration, so any stains will sit on top and not embed, making the fabric easier to clean.  Soiling is easily removed by gentle washing in warm soapy water. And even though it absorbs moisture, the scales have water repellent properties, perfect for rainy days, and your sofa.  Wow!

Grey wool cushion with hemp
Grey Wool Cushion with hemp

And just when you were thinking it can’t get any better, it does, because wool is also hard wearing.  The fibres are strong and less likely to break, and resist piling and snagging, so wool fabrics will look good indefinitely and typically have a longer life span than synthetic fabrics.  No wonder fathers used to hand their overcoats down to their oldest sons!  What mileage.  Great for both your wardrobe and home soft furnishing budget then.

Oh and I almost forgot to say, that wool is also a natural insulator, so it keeps us warm!  The crimp in the wool fibres mean tiny air pockets heat up when any moisture in the centre of the fibre heats up, thus holding the warmth.  This works both in a wool jacket as well as for curtains.

And last but not least the acoustic and insulation properties deserve a mention.  Wool carpet helps minimise noise levels in the home, while the fibres are also making their mark as insulation for loft spaces and walls, as a natural alternative to petro-chemical derived products for those wishing to become more green.

Let us know what you love about wool.

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Whats is GOTS?

If you are at all concerned about the possible health implications to your family of the number of chemicals in the home and in particular used in the processing of textiles for clothing and home furnishings you may have already come across the letters GOTS. But what do they stand for and what does it mean to us as “shoppers”.

The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is a tool for an international common understanding of environmentally friendly production systems and social accountability in the textile sector;  it covers the  production, processing, manufacturing, packaging, labelling, exportation, importation and distribution of all natural fibres.  In brief, this means that all dyestuffs are free of AZO colorants, heavy metals and other chemicals of concern, and no chemicals are used during weaving or finishing which might harm you, so you can use any fabric which has been GOTS certified knowing that it is safe for you and your family.  For a full list of things that are specifically prohibited and much more go to the Global Standards website.

A fabric which is produced to the GOTS is more than just a fabric.  It’s a promise to keep our air and water pure through high standards.  Mills are required to treat wastewater and return it back into the system at drinking water quality. At  this point in time an organic fabric processed to these standards is the safest, most responsible choice possible in terms of both stewardship of the earth and preserving health for both ourselves and future generations by limiting toxicity and reducing carbon footprint.  Growing organic fibres also helps to maintain balance of the soil. Thank goodness for companies like OEcotextiles who are committed to producing fabrics that are safe for our families and for the world.

Organic hemp curtains and cushion
Organic Hemp Curtains and Cushion in Mist Grey and Alabaster White – fabric by OEcotextiles

Finally the standards ensure that workers are treated well and are paid fair wages. Working conditions are good (such as air purification systems, adequate light and ventilation) and child labour is not permitted.  Hard to believe that this is not always the case in the 21st century!

Surely we all want the same thing, a healthy home for our children to thrive in.  There is great power in our decisions, in the choices we make every day.  Sometimes it seems as if our lifestyle is in direct conflict with the well-being of the planet and all eco systems. How can we become more green in the home when it fells like there is limited time and income at our disposal?  But it is important to remember that we do have a choice, and by choosing where we spend our money we make a direct contribution to the changes we wish to see in the world, we must be the change.

Prefer natural fibres? Alpaca wool is great for cushion fillings

Do you have allergies to feathers or dust mites?  Do you prefer natural fibres to fibres derived from petro chemicals?  Do you look for quality products that last, rather than something that has to be replaced every 6-12 months?  Cushion inner pads in 100% natural Alpaca wool could be an alternative.

Looking for ways around dependence on the oil industry and also to reduce carbon footprint of the business I came across locally based Spring Farm Alpacas.  A visit to the farm introduced me to these delightful animals whose wool is naturally soft and cuddly, and it rapidly became obvious that the high standards of animal husbandry at Spring Farm ensure that their herd’s fleeces are exceptionally lustrous and full of bounce.

Alpaca Wool Filling
Alpaca Wool Filling

Wool is naturally flame retardant and does not need to be treated with any chemicals therefore making it an ideal material for people who experience allergic reactions to a wide range of substances in the home.  In addition, Alpaca wool is said to be particularly hypo-allergenic.

Alpaca Wool Cushion Inner
Alpaca Wool Cushion Inner

Test driving the cushion inners throughout the cold winter months revealed that not only are the fillers soft and comfy, but they also bring a warm glow to the back on cooler evenings.  Using organic cotton for the covers completes the chemical free experience.  I have started with cushion fillers in 16″ size as this is the most popular.  However, any size could be made to order.

Baby Organic Cushion
Baby Organic Cushion

Using textiles and fibres in the home that are free of chemical additives is particularly beneficial where there are young children or a small baby.  There are hidden pollutants in many furnishings.  Or if you  just want to become more green and move away from products dependent on the oil industry,  towards things that are renewable and biodegradable, then choosing wool fillers and cushion covers in natural fabrics such as organic hemp, linen and wool will help to put you on the road to a healthy home.

Cushion in Organic Hemp in Alabaster White with Pink, Feather Filling
Cushion in Organic Hemp in Alabaster White with Pink, Feather Filling
Sea Foam Blue Green Organic Hemp Cushion with Alpaca Wool Filling
Sea Foam Blue Green Organic Hemp Cushion with Alpaca Wool Filling