Hello Made in USA Challenge readers! Amy here from Beads & Brass, where I blog about knitting and American Made clothing. I decided to combine my two passions and write a guest post for Sarah about American sourced and spun yarn.
I have been knitting for about two years, and as my knitting skills have increased, so has my appreciation for yarns made from natural fibers. Less expensive yarns are typically made entirely with synthetic materials, and I find that knitting with these yarns hurts my hands because they do not have any give or stretch. Yarns made with natural fibers, or even a blend of natural and synthetic, are much easier to work with and produce a softer and more luxurious finished piece. And if you are going to spend 30+ hours knitting a large or complex piece, don’t you want it to be luxurious?
Last spring, I became aware of the American Made movement and I decided to buy more Made in the USA products. It was easy to find Made in the USA yarn at a variety of yarn stores in my area, including the big box stores like Joann’s and Michael’s. But a few months ago I noticed that some labels stated the yarn was Made in the USA with imported fibers. A lot of wool fiber comes from South America and the mountainous regions of Asia. High-quality wool comes from cold climates – animals grow thicker coats to survive the cold weather – so this didn’t surprise me. But I live in Minnesota just outside the Twin Cities, and I’m aware of sheep and llama farms in the area. I started to wonder what these farmers were doing with their fleece. I knew they had to be selling it to someone, and it made sense that local knitters and yarn spinners were probably some of those buyers. Based on this assumption, I decided to find American sourced and produced yarn.
If you are looking for American sourced yarn, a great place to start in your local area is at fiber fairs, county and state fairs, farmers markets, and craft shows. I attended my first fiber fair last fall, and I was impressed by the number of local vendors. I saw yarn spun from wool, alpaca, and angora (rabbit).
I found several companies that sell their American sourced and spun fiber online.
Brown Sheep – Based in Nebraska, this company purchases all of their wool from US suppliers, mostly from growers in northern Colorado. They import mohair from South Africa. This is a popular brand of yarn at local yarn stores (LYS).
Dream in Color Yarn – Based in Illinois, this company is owned by two women who are self-proclaimed lovers of color, which is apparent when you see how many color options they have for their yarns. Two yarns by this brand are 100% American made – It’s Native and Calm. The rest of their yarns contain domestic fiber 75% of the time. All of their yarns are processed and spun in the US, except for yarns containing cashmere (which are still processed in North America).
Imperial Yarn – This company’s wool comes from a 30,000 acre ranch in Oregon. They also use American-sourced alpaca and cotton. The ranch is dedicated to using sustainable land-management practices.
Lily’s Sugar’n Cream – You can find this cotton yarn at any big box retailer for very reasonable prices. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that they use USA grown cotton.
Lion Brand Pure Wool – Lion Brand offers a variety of yarns spun in the US, but this is the only yarn that I could find that claims to be made with American sourced fibers. Lion Brand yarn is found at the big box stores, although I’ve never seen this Pure Wool there. You can buy it from their website.
Green Sheep Shop – This isn’t a yarn company, but an online yarn store featuring a great American-sourced section. I found some of the other online stores difficult to navigate when it came to searching for American-sourced yarn, but this website makes it very easy.
Mountain Meadow Wool – Based in Wyoming, yarn from this company is 100% American Made. If you purchase yarn from this company, visit their website to track your yarn back to its original source at the ranch. This company is committed to using green technology and natural dyes.
Quince & Co. – Based in Maine, this company offers wool yarn that is spun and sourced in the US. Their blended yarns feature high-quality fibers sourced from other countries. This company also puts out some of my favorite patterns!
Other Buying Options
There are several American yarn companies that are dyeing and spinning yarn made with imported fibers. Although you will not be supporting American farmers and ranchers if you purchase these yarns, you are still supporting American owned companies.
If you know another brand of yarn that uses American sourced fibers, please share below!