In 1982 Sophie Chaplin, with no prior experience of wool or knitting, set out to continue the tradition of “The Terrible Knitters of Dent", a reputation held by the 18th century Dent townsfolk who knitted with amazing dexterity and speed. The men and children of the dale could knit as well as their women and not only that; they could knit with one hand whilst milking a cow with the other. In the tradition of their village ancestors, Sophie and her team of local knitters today, create exceedingly good knitwear that is exported all over the world.
The collection is not high fashion, with only 6 or 8 new styles evolving each year, but that's as well as each piece, is made in Sophie's signature felted lambswool, and so is made to last a lifetime. You will feel as good in one of Sophie's jumpers today as you will 10 or even 20 years from now. Sophie's Wild Woollens are an investment to be worn any time and anywhere.
Sophie's garments are knit oversized and then washed, sometimes twice, in the machine. The heat and friction of washing naturally felts the wool and reduces the garment to size. There is therefore huge amounts of wool in each garment. Sophie loves how you can’t see the stitches in felted wool. It looks like a fabric and is dense, warm and hardwearing. Each garment is finished off with her unique felted buttons. Until recently all her buttons were made by rolling layers of felt into a sausage underfoot, each batch taking up to 10 hours. This is now done by an amazing machine which speeds things up considerably. Once rolled, the felt sausage is sliced to produce her trademark buttons.
Sophie started Sophie's Wild Woollens by knitting all day and washing all night, after a year she took on some other knitters. 38 years later, she runs a successful cottage industry, employing between 8 and 10 local women who work from their own homes. She found all her knitters by word of mouth and some of them she has known for over 20 years. The tradition of knitting in Dent continues, a success earned through commitment to passion and local skill.