It always seems such a shame to me that blog posts are written, read by a few people and then “lost” in the archive. One of my favourite archived posts told the story of Alison O’Neill.Way back in 2013, I first wrote about Alison, who is the neighbour of very good friends of ours. Her story fascinated me, and anyone who has spent time with her, been on one of her walks or listened to her talking about her passion for the fells and her animals can’t help but be enchanted. Back then, I shared this short video made by Ian Lawson Films which gives a glimpse into her life. It might be a little bit out of date, but I still think it’s worth watching. I love how the story of the seasons unfolds and for any knitter who loves wool it really is an eye opener. Alison really does make her living farming on the Cumbrian Fells, and she does it with great style! This is no fairy tale, this is a woman driven by her passion for the Cumbrian landscape and a respect for her animals who has built a business which celebrates the landscape and all that is wonderful about British wool and British craft.
Last year, I caught up with Alison at Woolfest, where she was showcasing her fashion range “Shepherdess” and since then I have followed her adventures on instagram and twitter. I continue to be inspired by her and I love her range, which now includes a few special pieces of Herdwick Tweed. Alison’s enthusiasm for the Cumbrian landscape shines through all her designs, and you can see some of them in this short film made by Summit Fever Media.
Finally, Alison isn’t the only woman who has been inspired by the Cumbrian landscape to create with wool. In future posts I’ll be sharing the stories of Daphne Marinopoulos, who developed The Fibre Co’s Cumbria yarn, Kate, the talented founder of Oubas Knitwear (who you can also see at Woolfest this year) and finally The ladies of The Wool Clip, based” just up the road” in Caldbeck, this co-operative is the genius team behind Woolfest – and I’m ashamed to say I have never written properly about them on the blog – so that will be rectified very soon!