Welcome to 2020, a new decade! We wanted to help you beat the January blues by talking to Sally Jackson from the Faraway Gang all about her nostalgic style jumpers as well as keeping you warm with the benefits and care for merino wool.

Tell us about the story behind The Faraway Gang and how it all started?

Fairilse Jumper Merino Wool by Faraway Gang at Nurture CollectiveThe Faraway Gang was founded in 2017 by myself (Sally Jackson) after becoming a mother for the second time. I sought to get the balance right between having a family and retaining my creativity and independence. After much thought, I took a leap and quit my job as Senior Knitwear Designer for Joules and started machine knitting designs myself. Over a year of late nights, snatching hours during children’s naps resulted in my first independent range which earned me a Gold Junior Award within a month of launching. The Faraway Gang is my third baby, it is a joy to work on and has opened a new and exciting creative chapter that sits nicely alongside motherhood.

Little Girl Wearing Merino Pattern Jumper by Faraway Gang at Nurture Collective
Storyteller Jumper Merino Wool by Faraway Gang at Nurture Collective

We love the quality of merino wool and how your jumpers are made. Can you explain a little bit more about the benefits of merino wool versus regular wool? 

Merino wool fibres are really fine, making it soft, comfortable and gentle against our skin. A big misconception is that because wool it will be itchy when in actual fact it’s super soft due to the extra-fine fibres of the merino sheep. When I am out at events, and people actually get the opportunity to touch the jumpers, I often get asked if they are cotton because of the way they feel.

Merino wool can be thought as slightly more challenging to look after, what are your top tips to looking after and making your merino wool last? 

It is true that you can’t always chuck a merino wool jumper in the washing machine or tumble dryer, but wool can still be easy care. There is a protective natural wax coating on the fibres of wool called lanolin that helps to repel stains and smells so you don’t have to wash it so often. My top tips for looking after your jumpers is always to wash inside out and reshape it when it is damp. Then once it’s dry ( dry flat – no tumble drying), give it a little steam on the inside of the garment. Store the jumpers folded flat as hanging them will ruin the shoulders.

The great thing about our jumpers is that if you look after them, they will last for years. Fast fashion is not something that I wanted to produce. 

I want timeless pieces that can be worn over and over again and passed on. I have had some lovely feedback from customers of how the jumpers that they bought 18 months ago for one child have now been passed down and being worn by the next sibling.  

The making of a Faraway Gang Jumper on a Knitting machine for Nurture Collective Bog
A Group of Children Wearing Faraway Gang Collection of Jumpers at Nurture Collective Maker of the the Month Blog

Let’s talk about your chosen Nurture Collective Icons why you chose them, and which ones mean the most to you? 

Natural: 

I think we have a responsibility as designers and retailers to really consider the materials we are using in our products and why we are using them. We choose to use to use natural fibres at the Faraway Gang for quality purposes. Still, wool is also comfortable, takes colour really well, renewable and biodegradable, so what’s not to love! 

Made in the UK: 

Our knitwear is all made in the UK either with a British factory or by myself. I have full visibility of the production process at all times.

Charity: 

When I set up The Faraway Gang, it was essential to me to give back somehow in a positive way, and I wanted to find a children’s charity that complimented the brand and our core values. Clear Sky Children’s Charity is children’s mental health charity that focuses on using the Power of Play to transform children’s lives. Clear Sky helps children struggling with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties through Play & Creative Arts Therapy. This age-appropriate approach uses the language of PLAY to support children who have faced a variety of challenges including abuse, trauma, neglect, bullying, grief and domestic violence. Qualified therapists assist the child in ‘playing out’ difficult feelings and building their resilience so that they may enjoy happy and healthy futures. The inspiration behind our brand comes from children’s stories, playtime and imagination and their ‘Power of Play’ ethos really resonates with us. As a pair of organisations, we feel we have complementary beliefs about what a happy and healthy childhood looks like. We are proud to support them, so every time you buy a jumper from us, we donate £1 to Clear Sky Children’s Charity. 

Artisan Craft: 

I did a degree in fashion and knitwear, and at many of my jobs, I’ve had the opportunity to knit as part of the design process. The beautiful thing about knitting is being able to design the fabric as well as the garment, and I really enjoy creating and experimenting with stitch and patterns. Fairisle knitting ( a traditional pattern knitting technique) is such a lovely way to get colour into a garment, and many of my designs are knitted in this way with a contemporary twist. It has become a bit of a signature style for The Faraway Gang.

Handmade: 

I have a mix of styles made in a British factory ( all designed by me) and handmade styles by myself on my knitting machine. I design all the patterns myself with colouring pencils and graph paper and then get knitting, playing around with stitch and colour. The designs evolve over time, and I love being in full control from concept to customer. All designs are unique to The Faraway Gang.

Your favourite Inspirational Quote:

“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however, difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at It matters that you don’t just give up.” Stephen Hawking

This quote resonates with me because it is everything that I want to instil into my kids. The Faraway Gang, to me, represents childhood and adventure. I want it to be aspirational and to inspire. Kids should know that anything is possible, so be curious, be yourself, express your personality and reach for the stars.

Little Girl Wearing Merino Forest Pattern Jumper by Faraway Gang at Nurture CollectiveClick Here To shop The Faraway Gang’s Full Collection

Two children wearing a Kids Bandit mask ideal for superhero halloween costumes at Nurture Collective.Our featured Maker: The Dou-Doods

Crafty Wooden Cars by LoveHeart Wood at Nurture CollectiveOur featured Maker: Love Heartwood

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