I think my christmas gift theme this year is going to be hats in new to me yarns. we’ll see how far I make it since this is only my second one and Tom already claimed it as his. I can’t blame him, I was tempted to keep it for myself once I finished and tried it on.
this time the yarn is a new base from mountain meadow wool named powell*. it is a 4 ply worsted weight blend of rambouillet and alpaca. one of the things I love about this company, besides it being woman owned, is that each label tells you where the fiber comes from. in this case the merino is from the camino’s kid ranch in Johnson County, Wyoming. (the mill itself is in Buffalo, Wyoming) I first heard about mountain meadow wool from sarah’s fibertrek podcast and more recently from ashley’s woolful podcast. I even noticed their name in the madelinetosh website under the american ranch wool category (btw I’m so tempted to order some of that cosmic silver) and it looks like they are working with a few more companies. I encourage you to listen to both podcasts where you’ll hear about how the company began and how they are creating and managing a sustainable mill.
it took me a while to find the right pattern for this yarn. being a loose knitter makes following patterns pretty hard sometimes (ie all the time). the plump stitches with their beautiful definition in my swatch told me this yarn needed to be knit in cables and/or with lots of texture. I just couldn’t get gauge for the original pattern I wanted to knit (could one of you knit this yarn into the bartek pattern and then send it to me?). I finally remembered that I loved knitting the fortnight hat (this is my third) and that it fit all my criteria.
the yarn is naturally dyed into a semi solid and the fern color is a bit of a chameleon. sometimes it’s a yellow green and other times it’s a deep green. when you look closely you can see little bits of alpaca creating a subtle halo. I’ll admit that I’m not the biggest alpaca fan but mountain meadow just sprinkled a bit in here (15%) so I don’t mind it at all. it adds just the right amount of softness without making a limp fabric. my hat feels robust without feeling heavy. this yarn is soft without being cloying. this isn’t trying to be cashmere-like. when I imagine a cozy sweater that you automatically reach out for and wear to death for years I imagine it in a yarn like this. I would call it both soft and rustic with a high squish value (that’s scientific talk there). I really want to order a sweater’s worth and cast on a cardigan immediately (I’m totally eyeing that cosmic silver, did I mention this already?). too many of my sweaters start to look ragged right away, but something tells me this yarn wouldn’t do that.
with the interest in breed specific and local yarns gaining momentum it’s nice to see a yarn that isn’t too out of reach. a gorgeous merino blend in a fiber you can trace back to the (American) ranch and dyed and washed in a sustainable way in an American mill is the holy grail of this movement. I can’t wait to see what else they come up with and if they’ll expand their fiber offerings. I get excited imagining what a romney or targhee yarn would be like from this mill.
*I received this yarn in exchange for my honest review. I’ve never done this before, but I was interested in this company and what they are working towards. all opinions are my own.