Where Does Your Yarn Come From?
Where does your yarn come from? Is that a question you’ve ever asked yourself? Most of the commercial yarns that we carry at Yarn are produced outside of the United States. In recent years there has been growing interest from knitters and crocheters in purchasing yarn that is produced in the United States. There are many reasons to consider buying U.S. wool. The impacts on our environment that come from shipping yarn around the world on the one hand, and the benefits of sustainable sheep ranching on the other hand, are two that come to mind. There are also the benefits of keeping agricultural land undeveloped, supporting U.S. jobs both on the ranches and at the wool mills. And supporting ethically and humanely raised sheep. For all of these reasons we are excited to announce a very special yarn available now in the shop.
Sweet Shop Yarn is a 100% local yarn. The wool comes from Ferndale Farms, which is a local-to-me farm that has been raising sheep for wool production since 2004. The home farm has been in the Hackett family since 1913. An additional property, Valley Farm (Boggy Bottoms) was purchased in 2002. The home property was historically a sheep ranch. The sheep were sold in the early 1990’s due to predator problems.
In 2004, Jill Hackett purchased 40 ewes and started back into the sheep business. Today she runs around 900 ewes and uses livestock guardian dogs to protect them. Her main flock of ewes are either Dorset, Cheviot, Romney or a cross of these breeds. She has a small flock of purebred Romneys, Horned Dorsets and Perendale, which is the breed she prefers.
The Perendale was developed during the 1950’s in New Zealand by Sir Geoffrey Peren, at Massey University for use in steep hill situations. They are a cross between a Romney and a Cheviot. Their positive traits are hardiness and thrift, free moving and easy to handle. Perendales need little assistance at lambing, and do best if left undisturbed. They are good mothers. Their wool should be springy and soft with a 5” long staple, 28 – 32” micron.
In the summer of 2021, Sunni was at the farm helping out with the shearing. Jill had decided that she didn't want to take the time and energy to have her fleeces milled into yarn. Sunni decided that it would be an adventure to take on the project herself. We chose some of the best fleeces from the clip and in October of 2021, she drove them down to the Mendocino Wool Mill in Ukiah, California.
It took more than a year but the yarn is back from the mill and it is absolutely beautiful! Sweet Shop Yarn is a 2-ply DK weight, 100% Perendale wool. For now we have the two undyed colors available but we will be adding colors that we will dye in our new dye studio at the shop.
When you buy this yarn you are supporting a chain of small, independent producers from sheep to skein. If you love wool, you will love this 100% Perendale yarn.