American Wool Series

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Money & Mouth

You know that saying, "put your money where your mouth is"? Well, that's kind of what the American Wool Series is all about; thinking hard about where the tools we use as knitters come from and how what we purchase impacts the knitting and fiber industry. I was contacted by Brittney, who has a kickstarter project currently in need of funding that would support small farmers and mills back East. How cool is that?

You can find Brittney's kickstarter page here. Maybe I'll be reviewing Spun Fiber Co's products sometime soon, huh?

Saturday, March 28, 2015

American Wool Series: Quince & Co.

This installment of the American Wool Series isn't a new-to-me yarn company. Ever since Quince & Co started up in 2010 I've been following the blog and looking forward to each new addition to their yarn line. Quince & Co is the brainchild of Pam Allen, former editor of Interweave Knits, and Carrie Hoge and their taste in classic color palettes and clean, modern aesthetic is apparent in every aspect of the business . Before I wax too romantic over Quince & Co's yarn, this is what is posted on the website about their yarn:
 Our wool and wool-blend yarns are spun in historic American mills from territory wool. By sourcing our wool in the US and manufacturing our yarn locally, we minimize our carbon footprint and we help keep American ranches from turning into parking lots.

But, hey, as much as we want to work with American fiber, we also want to enjoy the pleasures of fibers that aren't readily available in the US. When we use fibers that aren’t from the US, we find out as much as possible about where they are from and how they came to be. If we're sourcing a yarn from a plant fiber, we want to know if it was grown in conditions that are healthy for the soil and for those who tend and harvest it. If we're looking for an animal fiber, we want to know if the animal was raised in a way that sustains the earth and preserves the culture of the people who care for it.

 Be still, my knitter's heart.  The current yarn line includes 11 different yarns ranging from lace weight to chunky weight and includes 100% wools alongside alpaca blends, organic Belgian linen, Texas super kid mohair, and a wool-silk blend. I have knit with 5 out of the 11 yarns and found them to be not only a delight to knit but a good value. For example, Finch is a 100% fingering weight wool that has 221 yards in a 50 gram skein and sells online for $7.85. You can't really beat that price. Did I mention that it comes in 55 colors? 

One of my current WIPs (show in the top picture) is in Finch and the yarn is lovely to knit with. Finch has great stitch definition due to the roundness of the yarn and feels nice in the hands as well. If you haven't had the opportunity to try Quince & Co yarns I urge you to do so, I think you'll like it. 

PS - The WIP in the top picture is the Knitted Waistcoat from A Stitch In Time, Vol 1 by Susan Crawford.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Music Monday

"Long Tall Sally" by Little Richard. This clip is from the 1956 movie, Don't Knock the Rock.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

FO: Welcome to the Flock

It has been a little quiet over here. I'm working diligently on two projects but also doing a fair amount of sewing. However, I did manage to finish baby sweater and it's ADORABLE.

See? The perfect little sweater to knit when Winter is desperately trying to become Spring. It reminds me of verdant fields and little lambs. 

Pattern: Welcome to the Flock by Julia Farwell-Clay
Yarn: Vesper Sock Yarn in Ivy League (green) and scraps of white and brown for the sheep
Needles: US #3 (3.25 mm) & US #5 (3.75mm) Hiya Hiya Sharp Interchangeables
Mods: I used larger needles than the pattern called for since my gauge was too small using the needles listed in the pattern. The pattern calls for a sport weight yarn knit at a dk gauge but I used a heavy sock yarn that knit up beautifully on size five needles. Fair warning, there are two rows of colorwork where you are knitting three colors in the same row which makes keeping even tension difficult. So worth it.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Music Monday

"A Pair of Brown Eyes" by The Pogues from the 1985 album, Rum Sodomy & the Lash. Erin go bragh!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Music Monday

The last few weeks have been really difficult for me for no good reason whatsoever. My remedy is to listen to really good albums at top volume and dance around like a wild woman. I highly recommend this tune. 

"What Do I Get" by the Buzzcocks from Singles Going Steady.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

American Wool Series: The Master List

It has been a long time coming but I finally have a somewhat finished master list for my American Wool Series. The thing is, I keep thinking of new fiber folk to add to my list; that's a good thing, right? 

In no particular order:

Beaverslide Dry Goods
Quince & Co (minus the linen, which is grown in Belgium)
Brooklyn Tweed
Sincere Sheep (Terroir series)
Imperial Stock Ranch
Bartlett Yarns
Made in America Yarns
Green Mountain Spinnery
Brown Sheep Company, Inc.
Spincycle Yarns
Insouciant Yarns
Local Color Fiber Studio
Fancy Tiger Heirloom Romney
Stone Hedge Fiber Mill
Elemental Affects
Jill Draper Makes Stuff 
Toots LeBlanc
Cestari Sheep & Wool Co
Thirteen Mile Lamb & Wool Company

I'm pretty sure this isn't every North American grown/milled/dyed yarn purveyor but it's quite a list from off the top of my head. There's a secondary list that's in the works for yarn companies that have offerings of North American yarns but their product focus is yarn in general and not NA yarn. I tried to do my due diligence with the folks on this list and research all of the fiber that they use in their yarn lines, but there may be a few who have fiber blends that aren't 100% North American. My list was quite a bit longer than this but I realized that people who might have their yarn milled and dyed in the US didn't necessarily use wool raised in the US. It took a fair amount of poking around on websites and Ravelry to get the information I wanted and what I found was that people who wore their badge of 100% North American product proudly advertised it as such and they were the easiest to find.

Share your information with me! Any glaring mistakes on my list? Know any other businesses that create mostly North American yarns? Do tell!

Monday, March 2, 2015