We believe that the earth gives abundantly for our well being. Wool is an abundant, renewable and natural resource that offers us warmth and comfort as apparel, bedding, rugs, upholstery, and so much more.
Examining an individual fleece is like reading a story that only gets told once.
Details in a single fleece can be a record of how dry last summer was, which plants grew plentifully in the pasture, and the whether lambing took place early or late that year. The fleece selection and design decisions we make for each batch is our compilation of these unique stories, serving as a constant reminder that diversity brings balance.
Taking a microscopic look at individual wool fibers reveals even more reasons to love this natural fiber. Wool is the only natural protein fiber with elasticity; that’s what makes it great for knitted apparel because no matter how many times you wear your piece, it will return to its original shape after washing. Wool is also highly absorbent. Its ability to retain a massive amount of water, combined with its breathability, means wool always works in your favor because it feels dry next to your skin even when it’s wet. Tiny pores in the outer cuticle allow moisture to pass through the fiber and regulate temperatures all year long. Moisture gets trapped inside the cells in the winter to create warmth, and is wicked away from the body to evaporate and keep you cool in the summer. Wool is also fire, stain and wrinkle resistant, insulating, sound proofing, more durable than cotton and synthetics, and it’s sustainably produced by animals that are valued by humans and the environment.
Above all, my favorite reason for working with wool is the extensive range of textures and colors it offers.
The attributes of wool can vary wildly from breed to breed, from one individual to another, or even one year to the next. In addition, crimp styles in wool contribute to endless design applications. If you look closely, you’ll notice that the fibers zig-zag or fall in ringlets and every variation in between. The crimp allows the spinner to trap different amounts of air between the fibers when they are spun. Higher crimp wool makes soft, puffy yarns like those used to knit hats and sweaters, while lower crimp wool makes strong, dense yarns like the ones used to weave rugs and upholstery fabric. With wool, the creative possibilities are endless.
Fiber Animals we rely on at our mill include sheep, alpaca, rabbits, and goats. A few Pacific Northwest breeds we favor include Targhee, Rambouillet, Romney, Shetland, East Fresian, Huacaya (alpaca), German Angora (rabbit), and Angora (goat). We also do special projects with locally raised sheep breeds such as Coopworth, Corriedale, California Variegated Mutant (CVM), Wensleydale, Teesewater, Lincoln, Cotswald, Cheviot, Jacob, Icelandic, Dorset, Lacaune, Finnish Landrace, Yak, and more.
Our products are minimally processed in order to maintain the natural and diverse textures and colors of wool. Minimally processed means we select high quality wool by hand and avoid the use of additives in processing.
We do not produce or purchase superwash wool, thus all our products are considered Non-Superwash. Superwash, or Hercosett Treatment, is a method of chemically removing the scales from wool before processing and sometimes coating it in a polymer in order to make the finished fabric un-feltable (machine washable).
Fiber animals are not the only ones we rely on at our mill. We also depend on Pacific Northwest and domestic farmers, other US mills, and an army of needle, hook, and shuttle slinging fiber artists all over the world. The balance or imbalance of this complicated network of people is an integral aspect of small batch wool production. We work hard to make transparent decisions that bring balance to the whole community.
With so many diverse needs in play, we remain united by our shared love of wool and common dependence on the natural world. We view greater understanding and balance across the whole community as the path to sustainability.