I just want to share a little bit more about Knoll Farm with you.
I asked Helen a few more specific questions about the sheep to yarn process at Knoll Farm and the following are her answers:
"We have 35 ewes at the moment. We graze about 35 acres. We have a professional shearer come twice a year, in May and September, and we do all the skirting and sorting of the wool. We have many colors and patterns of Icelandic sheep so we sort by color as well as quality.
I do knit, and I love to knit sweaters in worsted or sport weight, but also love the bulky traditional “Lopi” yarn for hats and vests. We always try to have a variety of yarn in stock – some bulky Lopi weight, some 2-ply worsted and some lighter. My favorite wools are the lambswool that we have dehaired for a softer feel, or the ones we blend with alpaca or llama. The black/white blend of lambswool/alpaca that we have in stock now is very lovely knitted up.
We are a bit low on stock at this time of year, but we will be getting more wool in soon. We also love to play around with dyes here at the farm with our white and gray wools."
So, a little bit of an update. I purchased two skeins, each 4 oz, of her natural cloud yarn with his a double-ply yarn spun right in southern Vermont at Green Mountain Spinnery.
I already showed you the Plain Vest I knit.
The other skein I dyed using the low impact acid dyes, using the kettle method, sprinkling the dye over the yarn using a moss green color.
So far I knit up these simple children's socks - the pattern is from the little book, A Knitter's Home Companion. The pattern is called Quick and Easy First Socks and it is truly a simple pattern, great for the beginner knitter wanting to try knitting their first pair of socks.
This is what I have left of the two skeins.
I am going to make a pair of these boot cuffs next with the green.
This ends our first stop at a New England Sheep Farm.
So far my gut instincts telling me to search out local and/or small farms to buy my yarn from have been confirmed by this first experience.
Knowing that our money is being used to support a family making a life, who are committed to caring for their sheep and their land - is worth every penny. Not to mention the joy it is to knit with this beautiful yarn.
(Honestly, I am longing to try Knoll Farm's lambswool in gray, and may at some point, but will restrain myself and move on to learning about another local shepherd first.)