The rattle and noise of a 392 spindle, 120 foot long, 19th century, spinning mule making 4 passes every minute can be heard on the main mill floor at New Lanark. Within this famous tourist attraction, there is a specialist wool and yarn production unit showcasing how wool is refined and created. Almost every stage of the yarn production (from blending to twisting) is open for the public to view.
New Lanark produces organically certified yarns with minimal impact on the environment. The site was originally powered by water with a dozen water wheels and now they have one 24 foot water wheel on exhibition and the water from the River Clyde is used to generate hydro-electricity. The hydro-electricity is used to power the mill, which has won two Gold Awards from the Green Tourism Business Scheme operated by Visit Scotland.
The yarns come in three ranges: Donegal Silk Tweed (90% wool and 10% silk); Heather Mixtures (100% wool, reflecting the colours of the Scottish countryside); Natural Blend (100% pure wool and made from Merino and Zwarble undyed wool). Variations of the undyed wool are mixed together to create the different colors of the pure, unprocessed yarn.
If you’d like to buy some wool, you can buy it online or in person at the shop.
(these are double knitting – bramble, swinford).
(these are aran 100% pure wool – iris, sandstone).
(chunky 100% pure wool – heather; aran 100% pure wool – aviemore)
(chunky organic wool from Falkland Islands)
(a swatch of the different wool colors)
If you’re interested in getting some patterns, there are a few to choose from including this Celtic scarf:
In the shop at New Lanark, you can also buy blankets, scarves and pick up some learning resources about the site. If you would like more information on Robert Owen and village life at New Lanark, I have written a previous post last year. (all the information and photos here have been taken from the website for the New Lanark Online Shop).