Giving back the value it deserves
Where there are sheep, there is wool. And in a world where resources are slowly running out, and our mindset is shifting from ownership to use, wool is a renewable sustainable material with unique properties. In the 1990s, Dutch farmers received about 25 guilders for the fleece of a sheep. Today, the farmers only receives between € 0.05 and € 0.30 per kilo. In fact, farmers even have to pay for black wool to be collected these days. This makes it cheaper to throw away wool than to have it processed. And that's a shame because every year, Dutch sheep yield about two million kilos of wool.
What happens to all the wool?
Because the price of Dutch wool has been so devalued, sheep are no longer bred for their wool quality and after shearing, wool is no longer sorted but instead put in large bales or even thrown away. The bales are collected by, among others, the wool federation. These bales of wool are then bought for next to nothing and go to China, for example, where they are processed, for example, as filling for car seats or in carpets. But now - partly due to the pandemic - transport costs have become so high that that is no longer a solution either. Farmers no longer know what to do with their wool and often take the wool to the landfill. Such a shame.
It can also be done differently
With synthetic fibers and fast fashion on the rise, Dutch farmers have been unable to maintain wool production as a viable industry. This has led to an almost complete disappearance of the Dutch wool industry. The Knitwit Stable believes that the sustainable processing and production of wool in the Netherlands is possible. We are constantly investigating sustainable applications, with the ambition to maintain the use of existing Dutch wool within our own national borders. This gives us the clear ambition to bring the entire supply chain back to the Netherlands on a small professional scale.
How do we do this?
We are in contact with various farmers and sector organizations in the Netherlands. For example, we research the different varieties and qualities of sheep's wool and advise farmers and breeders on how to sort by quality. We then buy the sorted wool from the farmers. Depending on the quality and fiber thickness, we pay between € 0.80 and € 1.50 per kilo for Dutch sheep's wool. To give you an idea: fibers with a thickness of 30 microns and below are wearable like wool that does not itch. We know everything above that as the “tickling sweater”. However, this wool can also be used in the Netherlands in rugs and other textile applications. Consider, for example, the million homes that will have to be insulated in the next ten years and the increasing demand for sustainable and renewable insulation material. Wool pellets can also be made from polluted wool, a plant food that naturally contains many nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphate.
The Knitwit Stable is an enthusiastic partner of the Dutch Wool Collective to revive the Dutch wool industry.
As close to home as possible
Because there is no longer a professional processing industry for wool in the Netherlands, as we have to have it professionally washed and spun into yarn in other parts of Europe. We want to continuously create sustainable, innovative applications of Dutch wool and have therefore started developing yarns from sheep's wool, mohair and alpaca.
Own sheep and goats
Our merino sheep, Texel sheep and angora goats roam on 11 hectares of land around our knitting studio. Through our farm, we learn everything first-hand about wool quality, proper breeding management, good land management as well as animal behavior and welfare. This ensures that we can apply our knowledge immediately and that we can also be transparent in our process from sourcing to the end product. We use the fleeces of our animals as the basis for our yarns and our own fashion label The Knitwit Stable.
For makers and consumers
Because we want to give the makers of tomorrow access to sustainable, innovative applications of wool, our yarns are for sale and we are open to collaborations with passionate brands and designers. We have designed our own label for consumers who want to make a difference. Our own label and the yarns per ball are available through our webshop .