Wensleydale Examined, Part II

Published on Monday September 22nd, 2008

Before and after:

I wish I came out of the bath looking and feeling so much improved! Look how even and cohesive the heavier Zwool-spun Wensleydales are:

And the twisty Romney looks much better, doesn’t it? Here’s the Cinderella yarn:

The grey Wensleydale sport from Zwool that was so scritchy and twine-ish when I knit with it feels fabulous now. It still might not be quite next-to-the-skin soft, but it would be great for a sweater that didn’t snug the neck too closely. Lois said she was washing a bunch of it up, which would make the knitting really pleasurable, too. But here’s My Preciousss:

The Stonehedge-spun yarns really didn’t need to get any lovelier, and I’d already decided that if they didn’t either disintegrate or shoot laser beams at me when wet, I was ordering a whole mess of the dark one for a sweater. Sure enough, no melting and no death rays. They bloom. They purr. They wink suggestively. I wrote Lois to make sure she had nine skeins for me. She sent me an affirmative, and invitation to visit the sheep if I find myself in the neighborhood (which is near Corvallis), and this picture:

How could I resist? I wrote Lois a thank-you note and check and walked them to the post office with a glow of good feeling. This yarn isn’t cheap: I’m paying $144 for a 38″ sweater (with a big shawl collar, mind you – I could have chosen a simpler design that would use less yarn if I were really stretching to make the purchase). But it shouldn’t be – I consider the price very fair. It’s coming from carefully tended sheep of a rare breed on a small farm that’s someone’s livelihood; the wool is beautifully and knowledgeably spun by a little mill that’s another U.S. family-owned business. Knowing its origins and knitting it myself, I’ll treasure it far more than a garment I’d pay $144 for in a store.

My first experience seeking out a local wool provider couldn’t have been more pleasant. It’s been lovely to communicate with generous Lois, who’s included some extra yarn at no cost to make sure I won’t run out. I’ve happily agreed to send her pictures of the finished sweater for her website. Those of you attending Oregon Flock & Fiber should look for the Bellwether Wool Company booth so you can check out the Wensleydale and their wool blends for yourself. Tell Lois and Linda I sent you.

10 Comments to “Wensleydale Examined, Part II”

  1. yoel Comment Says:

    What a sweet little sheep! It’s cool how they make ’em in the colors you want, too!

    That’s very pricey for yarn, but I agree that it’s worth it to support a local and lovely yarn source.

  2. tracy3xl Comment Says:

    I will certainly give them a “look for.” I’m looking forward to it.

  3. Veronique Comment Says:

    Oh, how can you resist when you see that sweet little sheepy face?!
    And I have to say that there are plenty of commercial yarns that may have cost the same amount (some Rowan yarns for ex…).

  4. jane Comment Says:

    I’m loving your ‘knit local’ posts – it’s such a wonderful idea! The yarn you’ve chosen looks absolutely wonderful & I can’t wait to see what you’ll make with it. And how could anyone resist that little sheepy face?!

  5. whitney Comment Says:

    Oh, how lovely! I’ve really enjoyed seeing your reviews of the various local Wensleydale yarns, and how fun to have a photo of one of the sheep, and an invitation to visit them! I can’t wait to see what you knit up with the yarn.

  6. meg Comment Says:

    So pretty – and I am so glad that your favorite came out of the wash so nicely! Maybe there should be a ‘knit local’ month – I think it would be fun to see other bloggers discover their local yarn sources!

    I can’t wait to see progress on your new project – what gorgeous yarn.

  7. Kim D. Comment Says:

    Oh beautiful yarn. I completely agree with you and definitely think you made the best choice. I look forward to seeing the beautiful sweater develop

  8. cheryl Comment Says:

    Ohhh… how inspirational! I totally understand your reasoning behind spending the extra money. I’ve been talking to the hubby recently how I think that we pay way too little for the goods we’re offered and if things were more expensive we’d be much more careful with our purchases. I know my stash would be smaller and better chosen if I had to pay more for the yarn.

    You’ve given me pause… thank you for that!

  9. Anne Comment Says:

    Thanks for the post-bath/update post! I would have had a hard time choosing, as they really all look very lovely. I agree with your rationale about the purchase price. You are going to treasure that sweater for a loonnggg time to come.

  10. Debby Comment Says:

    That sweater is going to be so gorgeous, especially coming from such a handsome sheep!! Thank you for your inspiration to support the local farmers and spinners.