Sesto’s natives go crazy for spinning: the great sheep’s wool revival
Working with sheep’s wool is part of Sesto’s history.
And what’s more, it once helped the locals to international renown. The wool felt hats made by Sesto’s hat makers were highly desirable commodities in the 19th century. In those days around 70 families earned their daily bread from this lucrative handicraft. A “Sesto hat” could be recognised by three trademarks – that it was made from pure sheep’s wool, with the exterior traditionally dyed black, green or grey whilst the interior was left its natural white, and then furnished with the brand marking of the workshop where it was made. In their heyday, up to 40,000 hats were produced every year. Today this ancient guild has died out in Sesto. But wool is currently experiencing a big comeback as an increasingly sought-after natural product.
Monika Tschurtschenthaler from the Steinmetzhof in Sesto is a pioneer when it comes to reminding people of ancient knowledge and awakening traditional handicrafts from their long slumbers. As a hard-working farmer’s wife she cannot bear to stand idly by as valuable resources are left unused out of convenience or modern ignorance. This goes for wool, which far too often is simply disposed of as a by-product of sheep farming. When Monika became aware of this, without further ado the nature-loving Sesto native took spinning lessons so she could learn how to make her own knitting wool. And that is how it all began. Later she added felt-making to the mix. Today the mother of five cannot imagine her life without woolmaking. She has even been able to pass on her “spinning” to two of her daughters and again proved to have a good nose for business: sustainability and getting back to nature are currently all the rage. And so today Monika nurtures her own little flock of sheep and is happy, when many thousands of movements later, her hand-knitted socks, caps, gloves and jackets see a chilblain or two warmly through the winter.