I've been thinking a lot about how to go about my American Wool resolution for this year and decided that it will be more educational for me (and maybe you) if I choose one company or yarn brand at a time and actually knit with their products. I'm still working on curating a master list to share with y'all since new purveyors of North American wool keep popping into my head. Just a heads up, it's getting to be a long list!
First up is Toots LeBlanc & Co. Toots is the first company I came into contact with in my knitting life that used North American wools and fibers in all of their yarns. The Toots yarn line is naturally colored and the array of shades is just breathtaking. This is a family-run operation and I was lucky enough to be at the Seattle Knitter's Guild many years ago when the owner came to talk about her company. This is what her website says:
"I have created unique woolen blend yarns with fiber from animals raised on small family farms in Washington, Oregon & Northern California. I have hand selected only the finest fleeces in order to create a luxurious fiber experience. The yarns are listed below. I hope that you enjoy working with these yarns be it for knitting, crochet, weaving or some other fiber passion.
- Blue-Faced Leicester/Pygora
I purchased a sweater quantity of Jacob/Alpaca sport weight yarn intending to knit Audrey in Unst, but subsequently decided I wanted that sweater in red. I pulled this yarn out of stash yesterday to swatch for a test knit (which I can't share until it's released, sorry!) and love knitting with it.
This yarn is a 2-ply consisting of 50% Jacob wool and 50% Alpaca. I can feel the lanolin in the yarn so my hands are super soft after knitting my swatch and it's also an indicator that the yarn is minimally processed, which I enjoy. According to The Knitter's Book of Wool by Clara Parkes, Jacob is a demiluster wool, meaning not very lustrous, with a soft hand that is suitable for outerwear. In my opinion, the alpaca adds extra softness to this particular yarn and will make for a great cardigan. I'll post more about this yarn after I complete my project and can share pictures.