local yarn

Inspired by some blog posts about buying yarn from local farms and also after reading articles about the cruel treatment of sheep in the countries that most of our yarn comes from, I decided to start knitting with yarn from local sheep.
After all, even though I live in a very industrialized area, even here I see tons of sheep happily grazing on the banks of the river Rhine all the time. So there must be lots of yarn from those sheep that I could buy right?
Wrong. After doing some internet research I found out that german sheep are kept for the meat only and shearing them is expensive, though necessary. It would apparently be way too expensive to process the wool here, so it is usually burned or otherwise destroyed.
???
We have lots and lots of sheep here and instead of processing the wool that is here we burn it and import yarn from the other end of the world? Sometimes you can only shake your head at the world we live in.
Nevertheless, there are few select shops that sell local yarn and I ordered a big batch from Finkhof, a shepherding community in southern Germany that has been going strong for over 30 years.

Their yarn is 100% local sheep wool which retains a lot of the good qualities that industrial yarn lacks (such as natural grease content). There a a couple of undyed natural colors and I also got a couple of dyed mustard yellow skeins as well. Paradoxically, these skeins were also a lot cheaper than storebought yarns.

The yarn is pretty rough and scratchy to the touch, but once knit up it actually doesn’t feel scratchy to the skin at all, just cozy and very very warm. After the first wash it is supposed to really soften up as well.

The first thing I’m knitting with it is socks of course, with my new rosewood needles. I can’t wait to wear them inside on winter weekends (we’ve just had our first heavy snow yesterday and it is going to go well below 0°C even in the day in the next couple of weeks).
Like a friend has said recently “If you are taking the trouble and the time to make something yourself, might as well do it properly and with the best quality, organic ingredients”. I find myself more and more looking beyond the rim of consumerism and trying to trace back where my food, yarn and household products come from and for me, that is a very good place to go.

13 thoughts on “local yarn

  1. Lynda

    Great post! I often wonder who makes some of the decisions like burning the wool. It’s that way here too.

    You are going to be soooo warm this winter. Love the colors. Can’t wait to see what you make! I’m not a knitter. I’m left handed and could never quite get the knack of it even though my aunt bought me Knitting for Left Handers years ago.

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    1. tidytipsy

      Oh, I know who makes those decisions: people whose only consideration in life is money. Sadly, there are quite a lot of them around. I didn’t know that’s the way they do it in the US as well, that’s just sad.
      I never thought about it, but yeah, knitting for left handers must be different than for right handers… it’s a nice hobby though, maybe give it another try🙂

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  2. Amber

    Feeling painfully uninformed now… I had no idea they burned excess wool. What with the burgeoning spinning community, you’d think they’d be able to find an outlet for more of that raw fleece, even in its uncleaned state. What a waste.

    But good find with the local (and beautiful) yarn! Your socks will be perfect!

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      1. Amber

        Well thank goodness it isn’t all going to waste. I love CSAs, but this one would not be for me I’m afraid. I (sadly) do NOT have the spinning knack. I tried and tried and I just didn’t have the touch.

        I do enjoy a bit of felting though. Hmmm….😉

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        1. tidytipsy

          Oh, I think they sell it in skeins of spun and dyed yarn as well, depending on where you get it! You wouldn’t have to spin it. I’m not really that familiar with it though, I just came across the term fiber CSA through blogreading🙂

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    1. Christie

      Have you ever tried to have some one teach you while watching them through a mirror. I have seen it work for several people. I knot left handed even thought I’m right. Good luck, try again, it is a wonderful hobby.

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  3. Rosamaría

    it is usually burned? so sad!! but I’m glad there is somebody who is working to keep that lovely work in Germany!
    I’m agree with you about the try to looking beyond the rim of consumerism. Shop local is a good way. Eat organic, make trades or swaps and sharing … all that works!

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      1. tidytipsy

        Thanks🙂 I’m so glad I found this yarn and that there are people who are buying and processing the wool.
        The mustard yarn will be a big chunky cowl, I am working on it every day on my way to work in the bus🙂

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