Our Big Three
Recently, we’ve been doing some soul searching and thinking about why The Woven actually exists. What is it we’re trying to achieve?
Our cornerstone belief and the driving force behind starting this crazy, amazing journey, has always been that the joy of knitting needs to be spread and made accessible to everyone. Over the years, we’ve grown in unexpected ways, met countless fascinating, new personalities and heard so many inspiring stories. In particular, one of the major things we’ve learnt during our time as wool producers, is how exactly the NZ wool industry actually works and how we fit into it.
So, bearing that in mind, we decided it was time to refocus and hone in on what exactly we want The Woven to stand for and achieve. Now, we’re ready to introduce you to our ‘Big Three’. These are the major goals we want The Woven to achieve – they are the driving force behind everything we do. We’re pretty set on achieving them and we hope you do too.
So, without further ado, here they are:
- We want to change the perception of knitting for potential new knitters.
If you are a new knitter, welcome! We’re super stoked to have you on board and hope that this part of our plan didn’t even need to be put into action to win you over. From day dot, we’ve been passionate about achieving this goal, because we know how incredible the benefits of knitting are and what a fun community it is to be a part of. Speaking from personal experience, Michelle will tell you that when she used to knit amongst her friends as a teenager and young woman, they struggled to connect her youthful, spirited and enigmatic personality with her favourite hobby. They just couldn’t understand why someone who didn’t need to knit or who had a flourishing social life, would want to knit. In their minds, knitting was something old ladies did to pass the time between waking up and their afternoon nap.
Now, think about yourself. Think about your friends who knit. Can you find even one that matches that description?
Nope, we didn’t think so!
That’s because this idea is completely ridiculous, outdated and inaccurate. Knitters are often some of the most imaginative, driven and positive people we’ve ever met. We know there are a lot of people who would not only find the actual act of knitting calming and highly enjoyable, but would also make loads of new friends and find a supportive community when they start knitting. That’s why we’re so passionate about making knitting easy, fun and relevant for beginners by using contemporary patterns, vibrant, modern colours and step by step instructions that mean it takes no time for someone to jump in and finish their first project. Of course, we’re also trying to foster a supportive community that means a newbie is never alone and help is always on hand when they get stuck. We know trying new things is hard and sometimes it can be tempting to give up or lose heart if you’re alone and stuck without a helping hand to guide you. We’re always encouraging new knitters to share their progress with us and we’d like to encourage you to do the same. If you know someone who’s just starting out, get involved and ask them if there’s anything you can do to help. Who knows – you might just make a friend for life!
This idea of helping each other and building up confidence leads on nicely to our next big goal…
- We want to evolve the culture associated with knitting.
We absolutely adore our Free Range Woven knit crew and as we’ve mentioned above, we couldn’t have dreamt up a more engaging, surprising and lovely group of people to spend our time with.
However, as we’ve discussed in previous blogs, the idea of achieving ‘perfection’ is still one that pokes its ugly little head out, no matter how hard we try to beat it down. At The Woven, we want to promote the idea of experiential knitting – being in the moment when you’re creating and not worrying about taking chances on new techniques or thinking outside the box. Knitting or making anything at all with your hands, is as much about producing something beautiful, as it is about learning and the self improvement that comes from connecting your mind and body.
We’re committed to fostering a community where openness and support are at the heart of things. Beginners and experienced knitters should feel equally at ease, so everyone can learn from one another and be allowed to improve at their own pace. We want people to start their own knit groups and meet up in public places to spend time together and share advice about knitting and life. Simply put, we want the perception of knitting being a very rigid, old-fashioned and solitary activity to change to being a creative, social and contemporary one that’s benefitting everyone involved.
And by ‘everyone involved’, we don’t just mean the knitters (or even us!) We mean everyone involved in making knitting a possibility. The farmers, the mills and even the sheep. While many might choose to ignore the changing times and continue along the merry track of ‘this is how we’ve always done things’, we all know that this approach always leads to the same conclusion. Businesses shut down, traditions die out and valuable wisdom and stories are forever lost.
The New Zealand wool industry is in desperate need of a supportive community that can work together to produce the high quality yarns they are so well-known for. Offshore production and old-time thinking in design and production techniques have significantly weakened New Zealand’s mills – a fact that we find very saddening. That’s why we’re trying to cast more light on the fantastical world of wool production in New Zealand. We’re all about making people see the value of the process mills go through to produce high quality, New Zealand designed and produced yarn. We want people to become more conscientious when they are buying their wool. Whether you buy your wool from us or someone else, try to do some research into where the sheep come from, where it was milled and what processes the wool has gone through. We promise that buying responsibly produced NZ wool that’s helped a mill and farm stay in business will make knitting your next project that much more enjoyable.
As you all know The Woven supports NZ farms and mills and we always challenge ourselves and our mills to work in new and exciting ways that’ll further the industry and keep it relevant. We want knitting, sheep farms and mills to be around for hundreds of years to come and we understand that for that to happen, we’ve got to keep marching forward and adapting. We’d love for you to join us in beating the drum for New Zealand produced and designed wool.
Our last goal is a bit of a combination of the above two, but to some extent, we think it might be the most important one.
- We want to encourage people to have fun and be authentic.
Throughout this blog and in lots of our other materials, you’ll see us mentioning ‘Free Range knitters’. If you’re new to us, you might not be entirely clear on what that means.
A ‘Free Range knitter’ is someone who knits what they want, when they want, how they want to. Its someone who looks at each project as a welcome challenge and enjoys the fact that each item is going to have a little bit of themselves and their story in it.
Simply put, its someone who stays true to themselves, accepts others and loves seeing stories in work. They see the value in handcrafted items and the processes that have gone into creating a ball of yarn.
They are authentic to themselves and choose to build people up, not tear them down.
We’re committed to doing everything in our power to foster a community where this is the norm and we’d love for you to join us!
There you have them, then. The big three goals we’re striving towards achieving with The Woven.
If you agree, let us know! We’d love to hear your thoughts on ways we can achieve this as a knitting family – let the revolution begin!