O-Wool Organic Yarns: Eco-Friendly and Humane

Beekers watching after the O-Wool

As an animal lover and earth enthusiast, I try to be conscious of what I’m buying, where I’m buying it from, and what implications that purchase has on our environment. Until recently, I had not given much thought to where my yarn was coming from, aside from when I purchased local yarn while traveling.

With a new knit design in mind, I went on a search for a line of yarns that is environmentally-friendly, animal-friendly, has a good set of colors and could be cost-effective for colorwork.

And I found O-Wool.

O-Wool is run by Jocelyn J. Tunney, who seems to work hard to source humane, organic wool, cotton and alpaca. (And if you’re wondering how wool might not be humane, Google the term ‘museled’. The sheep that provide wool to O-Wool are not museled.)

She also tries to keep things as local to her as possible: the wool is dyed, spun, and skeined locally to her in Philadelphia.

I ordered shade cards for the Classic Worsted and the O-Wash Sport.

O-Wool's O-Wash Sport
Cats love O-Wool!

I’ve never ordered a shade card before, but it’s a great way to compare colors in a line of yarn and I didn’t even have to leave the house!

O-Wool’s “O-Wash” is machine washable, using an organic compound that stops the wool from felting.

O-Wash uses a GOTS certified organic compound to create machine-washability. The compound holds the fibers still during washing so the scales cannot interlock and felt. Conventional “superwash” processes burn the scales off the fiber with an acid bath, or coat the fiber in a resin, or both. O-Wash both has its scales and uses a certified organic compound!

From the O-Wool FAQ

O-Wash Sport has some very vivid colors and a nice sheen. At the time of this post, one skein is $15.99/336 yards. A little pricy for colorwork, since I wouldn’t need the whole skein, but a good price for what you’re getting.

They also have a fingering weight O-Wash that comes in mini-skeins! Those are $5.99/100 yards, perfect if you need a bunch of colors but not much yardage.

O-Wash Sport
O-Wool’s O-Wash Sport yarn

And the Classic Worsted yarn has beautiful, muted colorways. It’s also reasonably priced if you’re going to need a few colors for a project at $7.35/99 yards.

O-Wool Classic Worsted
Beekers couldn’t help himself and needed to lay next to the O-Wool Classic Worsted.

I’m not sure which I’ll use for the design I’m coming up with, but I’m definitely leaning towards the O-Wash fingering so that I can take advantage of the mini-skeins.

Have you used O-Wool yarn before? Can I see your projects??

Brooklyn Tweed’s Fall 2015 Lookbook

Willamette Scarf from the Brooklyn Tweed Lookbook

Brooklyn Tweed released their gorgeous Fall 2015 Lookbook today and it’s focused around one of my favorite things: The Pacific Northwest! Since they’ve moved their offices to Portland, I guess they’re feeling a bit inspired. I know the feeling.

The lookbook is beautiful and makes me want to pack up my needles and knit in Oregon somewhere.

Brooklyn Tweed's Quarry in Lazulite colorway
Brooklyn Tweed’s Quarry in Lazulite colorway

They have also released a new line of yarn: Quarry – a beautiful, bulky yarn that comes in the loveliest, earthy colorways! I’m a sucker for roving-style yarn and this one is sourced from Targhee-Columbia sheep in Wyoming, dyed in Philadelphia and spun in New Hampshire, keeping the process all in the US. It will definitely have a spot on my holiday wishlist!

Trying new things: Hand spinning yarn

I began thinking about someday owning my own alpacas after John and I went to an alpaca farm / yarn shop while visiting my parents in Wimberley, TX. In this shop, they sold yarn spun from specific alpacas and each skein came with a little card of information about that alpaca. Yes, the yarn was lovely and soft, but it was actually those silly little cards and knowing the alpaca’s name that made me buy the yarn.

Before this, I only bought yarn based on how it felt and looked. After this, I started looking at the fiber content of the yarn I bought and I started reading books about fiber:

The Natural Knitter by Barbara Albright — I own this one and love it. Each fiber discussed is accompanied by a project that works well with it and the book has gorgeous full-color photos from cover to cover.

The Knitter’s Book of Yarn by Clara Parkes — This is one of the first fiber books I checked out from the library and it is JAM PACKED with information and super cute illustrations of animals.

Spinner’s Book of Fleece by Beth Smith — This one is only about sheep, but goes into great detail about many breeds of sheep and each breed is accompanied by knitted swatches of hand spun yarn made from that fleece. It’s a great way to visualize the differences between the different breeds.

*(These are affiliate links.)

I found Spinner’s Book of Fleece interesting because of the sheep and how each fleece could be so different. Spinning was on a list of things that I’d do if the opportunity ever arose but I wasn’t really looking to buy new gadgets for yet another hobby.

…And I already have enough yarn to last a lifetime.

When we helped out at Evan’s Knob Farm a couple of weeks ago, that opportunity to learn how to spin did arise. Kathy, the farm’s overlord (hehe), let me pick out some roving she had created from her flock of sheep and sat me down at her spinning wheel. That first night of spinning was a bit frustrating, but I kept at it for hours until it finally clicked.

My first attempt at spinning yarn on a wheel
My first attempt at spinning yarn on a wheel

And then I went back to it another night and finished this kinda gnarly but in its own way lovely skein of yarn.

After earning my “Hand Spinning Newbie” badge and my “Sort of Helped Shear a Sheep” badge, Kathy sent me home with a big bag of fleece!

When I got home, I ordered a drop spindle and some hand carders from The Woolery (these were a lot more pricey than I was expecting but I couldn’t find many cheaper hand carders on the web that didn’t look like someone had grabbed dog brushes and attempted to market them as hand carders).

Wool on a carder
My first time using hand carders. Look at those fluffy fibers!

The carders worked well, and I think I got the hang of carding pretty quickly. I carded 5 or 6 little batches and rolled them up into rolags.

Then I had to figure out how to use a top whorl drop spindle… Nothing that a little Googling couldn’t fix.

Hand spinning wool
Look, ma! More yarn!

I spent about two hours spinning the bits of wool that I’d carded. A little slow, but I still enjoyed it.

Yarn on a drop spindle
Two hours worth of yarn… phew!

I need to remember to put a cloth or something over my clothes the next time I spin. All of those little sheep fibers cling to my clothes!

If you’ve been into yarny crafts for a while but have never tried spinning, I’d suggest giving it a try. There’s a little learning curve but it’s no worse than the one for knitting or crocheting. Unless you buy fleece, you’ll only need a drop spindle (mine came with a niddy noddy and was less than $20 for both) and some roving to play with.

Let me know if you decide to try it! I’d love to see your first attempts!

Things that have been keeping me occupied

Coral Teacup and Saucer

Tea, of course.


Keeping my plants alive.

Knitting Another Scarf

Occasional knitting (with the softest yarn ever!)

My Little Otocinclus

My new otocinclus who cleaned the tank all by himself! 🙂

And last but not least: reading. I’m in between 7 books… I must have ADD. (My current reading list)

What are you drinking, knitting or reading? What’s occupying you?