Last year we launched our British Sheepskin bobble hats off the back of popular demand. However as a Glencroft hat, we wanted it to be that little different to other bobble hats in the shops, it’s made entirely in the UK using real sheepskin and 100% wool. Here’s five other things you may not know about our bobble hats.
- A high quality bobble made from a waste material and filled with more waste material.
We trim over 100 British sheepskin rugs a week in our Dales warehouse and supply these to shops around the world. Offcuts are created during the finishing process which we then use to make our bobbles.
To make a bobble we first cut a circle of sheepskin from a large offcut approximately 11cm in diameter. We then sew in and out around the circumference of the bobble using a leather sewing or Glovers needle. This is a flat needle with a triangular point perfect for leather or sheepskin.
We then put some more waste wool or sheepskin in the middle of the bobble and then it’s the fun part. We pull the thread and the circle closes up to make a bobble.
After this we then take some more thread and sew the bobble to the top of the beanie. We are investigating ways to make secure but also detachable bobbles for future products, watch this space!
- Our sheepskin is entirely British from beginning to end
Our British sheepskins which we use for our bobbles all come from sheep that have lived in the UK, the sheepskins are a by-product of the meat industry – not all sheepskins are tanned, many still go to landfill. Our sheepskins are tanned in one of the last remaining British sheepskin tanneries using various chemicals that convert the sheepskin from an animal by-product into a leather material that is perfectly clean, durable and washable. Read more about the tanning process here.
The tanned sheepskins are then finished by us by hand in our Yorkshire Dales warehouse. Any unusable offcuts are given away for craft projects ensuring zero waste from sheepskin. Read more about how offcuts are made and what you can do with them here.
While a lot of British sheepskins are tanned in Europe or further afield, we use only British tanned sheepskin from British sheep. This also gives us confidence in the supply chain for our British sheepskins. The UK has some of the highest animal welfare and environmental standards in the world, this applies to the sheep on the hills and the usage and recycling of any chemicals used in the tanning process.
- Real sheepskin, not faux fur or other animal fur
While farming of animals purely for the value of their fur (as opposed to a by-product of meat like sheepskin) has been banned in the UK since 2003, real animal fur is still imported and recently was found in bobble hats advertised as ‘faux fur’. Faux fur is so called because it is made from man-made fibres – plastic polymers – to look like real fur. Many bobble hats contain faux fur such as this. In recent years, as the price of faux fur increased and imported real fur dropped to exceptionally low prices, some brands have used real fur but not labelled as such. Currently companies only need to account for 80% of a product’s composition when labelling. Read this BBC story about how to check whether your bobble is faux or real fur.
- British Wool beanie
Glencroft makes all its products from wool, a natural biodegradable material. These beanies are made from 100% wool, British Wool that has been shorn from British sheep. Wool is a fantastic material for beanie hats as it is breathable, elastic, easy care and long lasting. Couple that with a sheepskin bobble and you have a practical and fun natural hat that will last for years.
- Support British Farming and local businesses
Glencroft is based in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, a beautiful rural part of the world. We’re surrounded by mountains, dry stone walls and fields full of hardy Dalesbred sheep, amongst other breeds. We produce everything from sheep – wool, tweed and sheepskin. Our beanies are knitted down the road in Lancashire factories and our bobbles are made in-house here. Some of the local farmers even wear our clothing, completing the rural life cycle.
If you want to buy a hat that’s well made and ethically sourced, take a look at our sheepskin bobble hats, as well as our other beanies, caps and hats, in our full hat range, available here.