I stumbled across the wonderful podcast Woolful by Ashley who is also going to built up a wool mill. There are some great people she speaks to designers – knitters – wool shearers – wool mill owners. It’s a beautifully composted kaleidoskope of interesting people. Take a look and see for yourself!
Her podcast reminded me of one goal I once set for myself – to work with natural fibers only. I have eliminated acrylics from my yarn list (except for some impulse bought sock yarns) because I simply don’t like the touch of them. After making the Takoma out of woolen tweed from Ireland, I realized how the quality of pure and less processed wool improves with each time you wear it. It becomes softer, dirt does not stick, it smells slightly sheepish and it’s so much warmer than any other fiber without making you sweat.
Ashley from Woolful brought up another important aspect – to scource the wool locally. This is a trend going on in many places right now, but wool very often gets processed elsewhere than the country of origin. There are some companies I know who source and produce their yarn in the US only, but being from Germany I want yarn from here and not ship it around the globe.
After some wild planning what it would need to make my own wool mill here on the property (yeah, that’s some crazy drive to get the kids from school), I looked up if there are already some places where I could buy locally processed german wool or process my own wool – if I found a sheperd from the area.
I have made the same search some years ago with disappointing results. There was so little out there it was a shame. Turns out things have changed! I suppose it’s the growing interest in local things and the support of our ever growing fiber community that made it possible for small businesses to arise in the fiber processing area.
So back to my search for finished wool: I found an estamblished sheep farm which is run by a small community of enthusiastic craftsman people.The Finkhof. The website is completely in german.
They run the farm since the 70s and it’s great to see a long term farm functioning this way. They focus on processing their own sheep (machine spun) which is a rare german breed called the “coburger fuchs”. Coburg is a town in Germany and fuchs means fox. The wool has small red fiber in it and has an overall slightly redish look – it’s so beautiful!
The demand for their wool products has increased so much in the past years, that they scource organic wool from other local farms, too, but mark which of their wool is from their own farm so nothing gets mixed up. I could resist and bought 400g of sport weight, 200g of the thick “coburger fuchs”and 100g thin sock yarn in grey. They have dyed yarn, too, and some other wools, but I was more interested in the “fuchs”.
On tuesday the wool arrived and at first I must say I was a little bit off because the wool is not super soft like alpaca or fine merino. But! Now that I’m knitting it, it get’s softer every time its moved around. Some scratchiness will remain, I’m sure of that, but you get used to that. My woolen Takoma has softened over time so much, I can wear it on my bare skin now.
So what am I actually knitting with this stuff? It’s the Seacoast sweater by Joji Locatelli published in Wool People 7 by Brooklyn Tweed. I’m very excited because my yarn is only slightly thinner than Brooklyn Tweeds yarn Shelter and it matches with my own gauge which is all that matters.