For the Christmas holiday we spent a couple weeks at our ranch in Idaho. As some of you know, we converted the old milk parlor into our dye studio and this was our first time really settling into the space and soaking up the atmosphere. We had a big project on our hands, the first Natural Dye Club and the experience was amazing.
When we initially came up with the idea, a seasonal quarterly club sounded great, getting to experiment with all the seasonal plants and wonderful fibers from small farms we’ve come to know and others we have yet to discover. As much fun as it was, I’ll be honest and say I’m looking forward to a little warmer weather the next go around. Sub zero temperatures created for a “cool” challenge, lots of layers and plenty of hot coffee with egg nog. However, nothing beats the surreal walk from the cabin to the dye studio with the silence of a snow covered pasture and fresh flakes falling. It was yet another thing in life that’s made me truly thankful for the warmth of this thing we call wool.
I really wish you all could have been there and soaked up every moment as we did our best to do. So we created this little film, A Color Odyssey, to give you a small glimpse into part of our journey and the inspiration behind and within what we do, in hopes it will also inspire you, to experiment, take on challenges and dreams, and to find joy in the beauty that surrounds you.
A few weeks back I wrote a post about the processing of superwash wool, it’s use of chlorine gas and plastic. In my efforts to become more “fiber-conscious” I began purging my stash of superwash wool and encouraged other’s to take a closer look at the fibers they were using and find healthier and more sustainable alternatives. Which brings me to this follow-up post, the first of several, outlining alternatives to superwash, my favorite fiber-conscious yarns and some additional insights as they become apparent. Thank you for all your comments, emails and feedback regarding this topic and please share any resources you may have as well! I’ll be updating the Resources page with these companies and yarns, and add more as I become aware of them…the options are truly endless.
*Most yarns listed below must be washed by hand like most non-superwash wools, except for the few where I’ve noted a new organic superwash process is being used. Those are said to be machine washable, though I still say hand washing is best 😉
Alternatives to superwash sock yarn:
O-Wash Fingering by O-Wool (A certified organic superwash process)
Beaverslide 2-ply Sport sock weight (merino with mohair to add strength)
Beaverslide 3-ply DK sock weight (merino with mohair to add strength)
MOCO Qivuit Musk Ox sock weight (Qivuit is stronger than wool and does not shrink)
Green Mountain Spinnery Meadow sock weight (Fine wool and mohair to add strength)
The Fibre Company Canopy Fingering weight
Alternatives to superwash sport, dk, worsted and aran weight yarns (see my favorite yarns below for more of all weights):
Swans Island Washable Wool Collection DK weight (A certified organic superwash process)
Sincere Sheep Luminous DK weight
O-Wash Sport (A certified organic superwash process)
A Verb For Keeping Warm Pioneer worsted weight
Jill Draper’s Empire Aran weight
Alternative to superwash bases for dyeing:
Imperial Stock Ranch Yarns
Yarn Undyed USA (Mostly non-superwash bases, and an exciting new line of Sustainable Merino)
Green Mountain Spinnery
Snoqualmie Valley Yarn
My favorite fiber-conscious yarns, including breed specific and single farm yarns:
Beaverslide Mule-Spun Yarns
Swans Island Yarns
Ton of Wool Cormo Yarn
Quince and Co
Retrosaria by Rosa Pomar
Gosh it’s been a busy week. Yesterday we launched the Woolful podcast and today we launched the Woolful Mercantile. And I say “we” because there is no possible way I could have done this without the help of my ultimate encourager, business partner and husband, David.
These past few months, and especially these past few days, he’s taken Coltrane on extra adventures and answered endless requests for feedback while I edited, designed, emailed, etc. I find myself saying “my” a lot. My blog or my shop or my fiber mill. I’m disappointed when I hear myself say this because everything having to do with Woolful is very much we. You may only really see or hear me on the blog or Instagram, but behind the scenes is someone as equally present and part of these dreams.
So, without further ado, I present to you the Woolful Mercantile, fiber finds for fiber folk. We are the first and only US retailer of Ton of Wool Cormo. You can now pre-order some of the most incredible yarn I’ve ever laid hands on, Ton of Wool Cormo in both Aran and Fingering weights. Also available for pre-order are limited edition project kits featuring Little Woolens patterns. Our first project kit includes the soon to be released Prairie Grass hat pattern, 1 skein of Cormo in Aran weight and packaged in a beautiful bento bag from Ambatalia.
All products are shipped directly from our ranch in Idaho, so you pay only domestic shipping and all orders over $150 ship free.
Cormo is unlike any yarn you’ve ever laid hands on. Founded in 1959 by the Downie family in Tasmania, this breed of sheep is a cross between a Corriedale and Saxon Merino. With Cormo’s strong yet fine wool, it’s composition is unparalleled.
TONOFWOOL is the only Cormo wool originating from the Downie family’s purebred flock, a true single farm yarn, grown in Australia and sustainably processed in New Zealand.