The Noble Wool Club has a very nice ring to it. Noble. Wool. How to join a club that recognises nobility in wool? — you might wonder. But hold on. You need to be an 'ecologically sustainable and economically fair farming initiative' . I don't know about you, but that counts me out. The name intrigues nonetheless. Let's see how to make the cut...
Scabal launched the Noble Wool Club this year in collaboration with Woolmark in order to bring attention to the skills of ultrafine woolgrowers. I presume the readers of The Tweed Pig are fairly boned up on quality wool and the natural qualities of quality wool — fine and soft, insulating and breathable, renewable and biodegradable. With the Noble Wool Club, Scabal hopes to place a new focus on the selection process of their raw material that isn't just about the fineness (or micron count) of the wool fibres — although Scabal excels at producing cloths using wool with exceptional fineness, as with the mind-boggling 12 micron Super 250s Summit fabric that came out last year — but also considers provenance, excellence in farming standards and sustainability.
Sheep to Shop
CEO of Scabal Gregor Thissen describes the requirements of the Noble Wool Club in the manner of a wine-grower describing terroir — the conditions need to be right to get the best results, and those conditions need to be protected once that quality is achieved.
The rules for the Noble Wool Club focus on Australian Merino sheep farms, favouring:
- Family-owned farms that have the accumulated knowledge passed on through generations.
- Farms that breed pure, or 'true-to-type', Saxon Merino sheep, based on heritage bloodlines.
- Sheep kept on the granite-based soils, generally found 600m above sea level.
- Wool that has a high staple strength and a fine crimp (or many bends) to enable the spinning of fine yarns.
As (I think) I've said many times, we can't have too much information on the labels inside our jackets: the tailor, the cutter, the cloth, the finisher — why not? It can all be tucked away for anoraks like me to pore over. Perhaps it's too much to name the sheep (Flossy, Dolly etc) that provided the wool, but why not the farm and region? Let's get some recognition for the hard work and integrity of the best wool growers, as Scabal is commendably aspiring to with its Noble Wool Club.
Scabal's Noble Fleece, described as a 'culmination of nearly 500 years of experience in weaving' is a Super 200s suiting fabric created from wool that qualifies for the club. The fabric is made at Scabal's mill in Huddersfield, England — a mill in operation since 1539.
Understanding that readers of The Tweed Pig have ravenous appetites for all things tweed, I can also remind you of Scabal's Noble Tweed range. I don't believe it's directly a part of this initiative, but we can't just stroll past and not mention anything. Look at the rather nice green gun club check and navy hopsack from the range below.
With the Noble Tweed range of middle-weight tweeds, Scabal is keen to reflect traditional British designs, but with a softer handle.