Continuing on from Clare's post earlier in the week about the celebration of British Wool I thought I'd take this opportunity to take a closer look at two yarns from Rosy Green Wool; Heb Merino Fine and Manx Merino Fine. Both these yarns use wool from British rare breeds Manx Loaghtan and Hebridean.
Rosy Green Mélange Vintage Yarns
When Rosy Green Wool embarked on producing knitting yarns they wanted to ensure that the wool that was used was only sourced from sheep that had been well cared for according to the strict rules of the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). You can find out more about GOTS on Rosy Green's website.
Rosy Green became aware of another issue; many old sheep breeds are threatened with extinction, because they are not able to meet today's commercial demands. It was this that spurred them on to produce their wonderful Mélange Vintage yarns.
Both the raw Manx wool and Hebridean wool which go into Manx Merino Fine and Heb Merino Fine come from Fowlescombe Farm in Devon, England, where the sheep are kept according to certified organic farming standards.
Because of the rarity only a small amount of yarn are available each year; we currently have in stock the shearing from 2013. Each skein is individually numbered as Rosy Green wanted to emphasize the yarns uniqueness. The appearance and quality of the wool can vary from year to year, depending on the weather and soil conditions and so each year the yarn will be slightly different.
Both yarns are blended with soft Merino which means you can wear your finished garment next to the skin. They are a fingering weight with 200m / 50g and knit to a standard 4ply gauge with 28 stitches over 10cm, making them perfect for any 4ply pattern. Each yarn base is available undyed and in seven colours.
Manx Merino Fine (72% Merino, 28% Manx Loaghtan wool) shown in Devon Natural
Manx Loaghtan produce a fleece that is brown in appearance and when blended with white Merino it creates a luxurious subtle mélange yarn which has a warm underlying beige appearance.
Heb Merino Fine (80% Merino, 20% Hebridean wool) shown in Devon Natural
Hebridean produce a fleece that is much darker than the Manx Loaghtan; usually black to dark brown but sometime they turn grey if bleached by the sun. When blended with the white Merino the Hebridean produces a obvious mélange yarn that has grey cooler tone.
Knitting with these rare breed yarns helps to support Rare Breeds Survival Trust which is committed to the protection of endangered sheep breeds in Great Britain; Rosy Green Wool donate 0.50 euros for every skein sold.
About the Author
Rachel Owen is the owner of Tangled Yarn. As a mother to two teenagers life is never dull! When she's not knitting can be found wandering the Pennines with her faithful cocker spaniel Bailee. Her favourite colour is blue or is it green? And she could sink a ship with the amount of tea she drinks!