Our woolen-spun yarns (including Loft, Shelter, and Quarry) have been designed for airiness and loft. Their woolen mill preparation and lightly spun ply structure are two characteristics that make them unique from other commercially available yarns.
When a yarn is woolen-spun, the fibers remain in a lofty jumble that traps air and offers remarkable warmth and lightness. Its plies are gently twisted to preserve the buoyant quality inherent in the fiber. The woolen-spun process and gently twisted fibers create featherweight lace and garment fabrics, and provide a significant amount of yardage per skein. Woolen spinning sometimes results in slightly thinner or thicker sections due to the oscillation of the mill equipment used to spin it, some of which is very old. Since we never subject our wool to harsh chemical scouring, you may find find flecks of vegetable matter that remain as evidence of the sheep’s life on the Wyoming rangeland.
Here are some tips for success when working with woolen-spun yarns:
Easy does it
Woolen-spun yarns, like Shelter and Loft, can require a gentler hand than other yarns on the market. Because the wool from which it is spun is carded instead of combed, the fibers remain jumbled which means that they don’t cling to one another the same way that the combed fibers of a worsted-spun yarn do. Woolen spinning also works best on wool with shorter staple lengths, such that if you pull on the yarn from several inches away, the yarn can indeed break. However, though the staple length of the wool is short the yarn is strong over the length of a single knit or purl stitch, so the fabric worked in these yarns will be cohesive and strong. You can find more information on the qualities of woolen-spun yarns here.
Slow and steady
When winding Shelter or Loft, we recommend winding either by hand or slowly, in order to minimize stress and tension on the yarn.
Splice it up
When starting a new skein, or if breaks or knots occur, we recommend using the felt-splice method to join the ends as it mimics the yarn’s woolen spun construction. This makes for a strong, seamless join and less ends to weave in!
Block and bloom
Wet blocking is a magical and transformative process, especially for pieces knit from woolen-spun yarn, which bloom beautifully with a good wet-block. We highly encourage wet blocking your piece as when the fibers in the yarn — irregular in length and nestled together in every which way — are soaked in water during the blocking process, they get the chance to relax, and then they readjust and cohere with each other even more as they dry, creating a solid and durable piece of fabric. Please see our blocking resource for more details!