It’s the first day of my favorite month of the year. A day I’ve been thinking about for a long time -- not just because October signals the true onset of Fall, but because on this day, this year, I get to share with you a very special labor of love that I’ve been nursing behind the scenes since last October.
A little over a year ago, I decided to take a risk. To give myself a challenge and a goal and pursue something that I had been thinking and dreaming of for a very long time. It’s no surprise to anyone that I’m a Wool Lover through-and-through, and today I get to introduce to you a very special new wool -- one that has been meticulously and lovingly developed behind the scenes here just for Knitters.
I would like you to meet SHELTER -- a new line of artisanal American wool yarn for handknitting.
As the summer ended last year, I began researching answers to very specific questions I had been asking myself for some time: With such a rich textile history and an abundance of wool and other resources, why does it sometimes seem so difficult to obtain American yarns in our booming US knitting community? Would it be possible to develop a 100% American sourced, spun, and designed yarn that could be presented in a compelling way to knitters? What would a yarn look like that was developed from Stage One by a single person with no one to answer to but his own personal wool obsession?
The desire to answer these questions sparked the beginning of a year-long journey - one that begins a new chapter today, as SHELTER takes its first steps into the real world.
Over the next few days I’ll be blogging about what has been a gloriously rewarding experience for me designing this special yarn: sourcing American-grown wools, supporting an historic US mill, developing a palette of rich heathered tweeds, and designing a collection with a yarn that I absolutely love knitting with. I hope you’ll stick around for the story -- but in the meantime, I’ll let you in on the highlights below.
SHELTER is a woolen-spun 2-ply yarn made from American Targhee-Columbia fleece, grown in Wyoming. The yarn is spun in historic Harrisville, New Hampshire in the heart of New England, in a mill town that has been producing woolen yarns and fabrics since 1794. I have developed a palette of 17 shades including both rich, autumnal colors as well as natural sheep-colors (you didn’t think I’d forget the greys, did you?) The yarn is a very lightly-spun lofty material that, as a result of it’s woolen-spun process, knits at a variety of gauges comfortably without losing fabric integrity.
Starting today, SHELTER is available for purchase online through (the new and improved) Brooklyn Tweed, as well as in 9 very special Flagship Locations around the country. These exclusive stores carry all 17 colors of SHELTER as well as pattern support from the new Fall collection. They are shops whose efforts I’ve admired for a long time as having vision for the possibilities of knitting’s exciting future. I am honored to have SHELTER on their shelves!
Globally speaking, I think that knitters should be able to procure wools of high-quality that support designers, farmers and mills in our own back yard. I think there is now becoming an opportunity for yarns to tell us a story, and offer us a connection to something deeper than just the experience we’re having on our needles.
Consider this my contribution to that cause. I very much hope that you enjoy it.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of you, for showing up here year after year. This effort simply would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the encouragement and continued support I receive from readers, customers and students. For this I am always grateful -- thank you. (and stay tuned!)