It’s no secret, since we raise our own sheep, and make our own wool yarn, that we are big fans of this wonder fibre, wool. We choose to make most of our yarns with 100% natural wool, despite the pressure to add synthetic fibres for strength, or additional softness. Let us explain why!
- Natural - Natural Wool is 100% natural. Well the sheep grew it, and as far as we know they haven’t been up to anything nefarious in doing so. It’s hard to get more natural than something an animal grows without even trying, AND, it’s only responsible to remove it from the sheep, as it will continue to grow forever and get very heavy for the animal. Meet Amber, our shearer, she looks after our sheep like they were her own and shearing day is a day of celebration, after all it’s our yarn harvest!
- Renewable - Wool is renewable. These sheep can’t be stopped! They keep growing fleece no matter what! They also contribute to the eco-system of our farm by fertilizing our fields, keeping weeds in check and spreading seeds (and planting them with their pointy little feet). Not a bad deal, eh?
- Biodegradable - Wool yarn (and hand knit garments made with it) are biodegradable. Yes, we want our precious handmade woolens to last forever…. but not REALLY. Adding any synthetic fibre to a wool yarn dramatically increases the time it will take to break down in the soil.
- Insulating - Wool is insulating. Literally, it is now used for home insulation. Any home owner knows that insulation has an important purpose YEAR ROUND, it keeps you cooler in the summer, and warmer in winter. This is a blow to the myth that woolens are for winter only. Not here in Canada! You won’t catch any of us farmers here without our wool socks…even in the height of summer. Whenever I think about wool socks I think about the scene in Forest Gump when Lieutenant Dan is explaining the importance of the sock to a soldier’s comfort and survival. Guess what, those socks had cushioned wool soles. It really is the most, comfortable, breathable, moisture controlling…okay….let me get to all of that later….
- Breathable - Wool is actually VERY breathable! Especially our ultra crimpy fibre that goes into our wool yarn! Crimp means room for air, and air means breathability. Of course this breathability is passed on to the handknit garments you make with our yarn.
- Moisture Absorbent - Wool is moisture absorbent. Wool can absorb up to 30% of its weight in water without feeling wet. That means major comfort inside the rubber boots, which we wear every day (see number 4 above!).
- Natural Elasticity - Wool has natural elasticity. Wool fibres can be bent back and forth on themselves up to 20,000 times without breaking. That’s some serious resilience right there! Wool stretches to fit the body…but then snaps back into shape during blocking making it resistant to wrinkling and sagging.
- Colourful - Natural black, grays, browns, white and everything in between! We love to spin our naturally coloured fleeces and when we run out of those...we dye up our white wool using Greener Shades organic acid dye. GOTS certified, it is wonderfully colour and light fast, and we have over 50 different shades available right here on our site.
- Washable - Wool is low maintenance. Wool is resistant to staining and naturally anti-static. We actually, frequently, wash our wool in the wool/hand wash cycle on our washing machine, although hand washing is generally the recommended method to be extra prudent. There are, of course, washable wool products now widely available, and some are even able to go in the dryer. You do need to do your research on the preparation of these types of wool yarns though, as they often involve a chemical process or (GASP!) the application of a man-made coating.
- Odour Resistant - Wool is odour resistant! All that lovely breathability and ability to absorb water means less sweat hanging around and thus no chance for bacteria to grow.
- Flame Retardant - Wool is flame retardant thanks to its high moisture content, and the high amount of nitrogen in the fibre. You can’t burn it if you try…trust us, we tried once strictly for research purposes. Wool yarn also doesn’t melt, it doesn’t produce noxious fumes in a fire, and will not stick to the skin like synthetic fibres.
We think if you add all these great qualities, to ensuring that your wool yarn is sourced from caring, and pro-active shepherds, you end up with a pretty amazing product!
Further to this....
We, of course, KNIT with our own yarns, and on that front, we find our yarn has lovely bounce, is nice and elastic to work with on the needles, doesn’t tighten up and get you in a jam when decreasing, and is very comfortable on your hands. Our yarn, in particular, shows lovely stitch definition and really shines in knitted cables, fancy stitch patterns and brioche. And bobbles, oh my! If you like a nice bobble now and then, our yarn is your best friend. On the other hand, if you enjoy stranded colour work and use steaking to make your garments, our yarn won't let you down. Those loose stitches stay right where you want them when you cut your knitting.
We understand that 100% wool yarn is not the perfect solution for every project, but we do hope that you will consider learning more about 100% wool yarn, and realize that, thanks in large part to the Belfast Mini Mills, there are a lot of wonderful, small batch wool yarns out there that are nothing like the traditional “farm yarn” of the past. Yes, it’s wool, no it’s not “scratchy”, and even if it’s not as soft as some synthetic fibres, it has a whole host of other wonderful qualities that make it worth taking a second look.