The Little Grey Sheep produce hand-dyed yarns for knitting fanatics
PUBLISHED: 14:02 19 June 2013 | UPDATED: 14:02 19 June 2013
On Well Manor Farm, Emma and Neil Boyles and their flock of gotland sheep produce hand-dyed yarns for a burgeoning number of knitting fanatics, writes Elizabeth Barnett
Length of time in business: 5 years
Number of Employees: 1 full time, 1 part time
Ethos: To produce fine British knitting and weaving yarns
Location: Well, Hook, RG29 1TL
Contact: 07771 741346 firstname.lastname@example.org www.thelittlegreysheep.co.uk
Emma had a charmed childhood, growing up in the country in South Pembrokeshire with the beach as her playground. Her Mum kept three sheep and was a member of the spinners and weavers guild, although it was her Nan who taught her to knit. Her Great Grandmother was a tailoress and fantastic at crochet, so she was always destined to do something creative.
Emma and her husband Neil had always wanted to have land of their own, and by chance came across Well Manor up for sale some eight years ago. Despite moving in with buckets to catch the leaking roof water, they both set about replacing fences and hedges and introducing livestock to create a farming environment.
Her first completed knitted garment was an apricot matinee jacket for her new born brother, which she made when she was just 12. Although she has always loved textiles it was only when her children started to become more independent that she found the time to start investigating and improving their own flock’s fleece for yarn.
She is currently working on a new range of patterns for the autumn, which takes a huge amount of time. She says, “I like to produce the patterns myself as I believe it gives me more understanding of our yarns and any difficulties my customers may encounter in making the garment. I am also developing the workshop side of the business. Teaching others is a passion of mine and we are producing a range of knitting, spinning, weaving and craft courses.”
Every year Emma and her right hand man, Susie Parish attend the Unravel Exhibition in Farnham in February. She also sells the yarns through the internet and the farm is open for visits by individuals and groups by appointment. Five years ago they sent off 20kg of wool for spinning, this year they’ve sent over 300kg.
With plans to build a traditional barn, which will hold their new studio and classroom facility, Emma and Neil are the perfect example of what you can achieve if your willing to inject a little bit of passion and hardwork.