"Mission accomplished," declare the intensely creative designers at London fashion house SIBLING. What mission is that? "Putting smiles of peoples faces," they say. And you can easily see it in the sheer joy of innovation they've brought to what many would otherwise think a pretty staid arena: men's knitwear. Their brand of joy and smiles is spreading as SIBLING's Knit Monster tours the globe as part of The Campaign for Wool's tour de force 'Wool Modern'. This showcase for wool in the 21st century brings together artists and designers who, like all of us woolly-holics, want to make good use of natural fibres.
Using natural fibres is undoubtedly one good thing: remembering where those natural fibres have come from is another. It's not just we humans that like a hug every once in a while. Thousands of people may have been queuing in London today to receive a beautiful, spiritually-connective hug from Amma, yet there are are many creatures out there that need a genuine hug too, and are just as capable of appreciating it. Look at Spot Loggins the sheep here, rescued with his mother by The Farm Animal Sanctuary. Now if that isn't a smile in response to a little affection then I don't know what is! The Farm Animal Sanctuary has been bringing comfort to animals for many years but now finds itself in need of our care and support, as winter approaches and funds are stretched in a fight for survival.
Although times are tough all round the world, it shouldn't be a matter of whether humans or animals are first when it comes to hugs or funds. As Chief Seattle is reported to have said: "All things are connected, like the blood that unites one family." So giving the occasional hoof of support to the beings which provide the fluffy stuff we enjoy using should at least be somewhere on every one of our charitable priority lists. Janet and her dedicated team of volunteers at the Sanctuary do a tremendous job in rehabilitating both animals and their trust in humans, and it shows in the excellent fleeces they produce each summer, which you can buy through Ravelry's Moonmoss.
In medieval Britain, growing a good fleece was more important than growing sheep as meat. Perhaps we need to decide as a modern society what we really want from fleece-providing animals. Producing a good fleece isn't simply a matter of genetics, as Janet and her Sanctuary team seem to be able to demonstrate. I'm no decryer of progress: I just believe that progress should have some compassion built into its algorhythms. For the further out of touch we get from the real animals - the actual owners of the super-flexible, breathable and carbon-storing material we covet - the further our own humanity ebbs into the distance. Maybe that's something all spinners, weavers, knitters, fashion designers and users of natural fibres can play a part in halting.
So if you possibly can in these very tough times for everyone, do have a think about donating to The Farm Animal Sanctuary if you're here in the UK, or a to a smiliar Sanctuary near you, wherever you are in the world. Wishing you dreams of joyful Knit Monsters, smiles and sheepy hugs wherever you are tonight!