From farm to yarn with authenticity and our own unique story
Summer harvest, Our sheep dog Flake, and Cattle at the top of the farm
Nestled in the rolling hills of the Isle of Purbeck and on the Jurassic Coast of England is home to our family farm. We have a mixed farm of Sheep, Pigs, Cattle and Arable and there are 7 members of the Hole family currently working on the home farm, covering 2 generations. Our farming lives are busy and varied and we work hard to farm our land well. One of the things that we love about our way of life is that there is no such thing as a typical day in farming, every day is different. Farming is seasonal and heavily dependent on the weather.
Lizzie Hole works on the farm full time, Sue Hole runs Isle Yarns and Sam Hole has his own flock of Dorset sheep
We run a commercial flock of 1400 Ewes and a small flock of pedigree Poll Dorsets to produce breeding Rams. We have been looking at ways to add value to the wool after shearing and in 2015 we took fleeces from this and our son Sams flock to The Natural Fibre Company in Cornwall to be washed, carded and spun to create a pure woollen spun yarn which we now sell through selected yarn stores and online.
Poll Dorset Ewes
Shearing time, rolling fleeces to take to the mill
The Natural Fibre Company in Cornwall, wool bags ready to go, the wool being processed
The Poll Dorset sheep have a 'downs' type of wool, known for its density and springiness. It is crisp, full bodied and rustic, making it ideal to be woollen spun which allows the fibre to wrap upon itself while trapping air in the centre. The wool is firm to knit with, finished items show excellent stitch definition and are warm and rustic. The wool takes dye clearly and well and 'blooms' and softens when washed. It is stretchy so blocking will allow for size adjustments. The wool is great for all kinds of projects and so far we’ve seen hats, mitts and jumpers knitted with the wool and we enjoy seeing projects shared on Instagram with the tag #isleyarns
'Henderson' by Joanne, 'Cow Road' by Claire, 'Art Deco' by Melody
Once we had produced the first batch we started to think about developing a colour range for the wool and collaborating with Indi designers. Their input has been invaluable in testing the wool, selecting the colours and designing patterns with it.
As farmers we know our strengths and also our limitations. Our skill sets surround rearing well cared for, healthy animals. We are lucky to have found a market for the wool and even luckier to have experts in and around the wool industry who have all played a crucial part in our journey so far. From our first conversation with Lara Pollard Jones at the Natural Fibre Company and her patience in explaining all the options to us, our dear friends Marte Marie Forsberg and Kate O’Sullivan who took such beautiful photos for the website and showed us how to tell our story and the designers Jo, Sarah, Claire, Melody and soon to join us, Dana, who embraced the authenticity of the product and have given it wings to fly through their enthusiasm and vision.
Joanne Spittler, Sarah Hazell, Melody Hoffmann and Claire Ward
Our aim is for Isle Yarns to become an established small brand, to extend our colour range, build on the relationships we have with the designers who design beautiful patterns to compliment the wool and to introduce a collection of handmade knits and woven goods to sell alongside the yarn. In our first year we have increased the colour range to 11 colours with 7 more coming very soon. We now have the wool spun in 4 ply as well as double knit, we are introducing worsted spun as well as woollen spun and this winter we will be introducing a special edition of lambs wool/silk yarn which the designers will all have hand dyed in colours of their choice reflecting the colours of the area where we farm.
Whilst we focus on increasing our brand, we are committed to keeping the authenticity, sustainability and integrity of our ‘farm to yarn’ story and we are so grateful to everyone who takes this journey with us. Farming can be an isolating way of life but by sharing photos of our farm life on Instagram we constantly recieve positive responses from people all over the world, full of encouragement and respect for what we do.
Added to cart