Wednesday, February 26

Our wool could be your sweater... longjohns, smart wool socks, handknit wool socks, Carhartt overalls, cotton thermal, wool & angora sweater, wool sweater, quilted vest, handknit wool hat...

No, that is not a list of all the Winter gear I own, just what I put on yesterday am before heading to shearing at Catskill Merino. It was a really fun & inspiring day but, man, was it cold!

Eugene & I were introduced by the fine folks at Green Mountain Spinnery a couple years ago when I was on the hunt for more locally grown wool and I have been using his crossbred flock for Mohonk ever since. If you followed along with Clara Parkes' Great White Bale you might recognize Eugene...

This is a lock of the wool palmed from one of the MANY huge bags packed to the top with some of the most gorgeous fiber I have laid eyes on.  I have Mohonk spun into a soft & spongy 2-ply sportweight, which I think takes best advantage of its squishy crimp and almost velvet-y texture.
Triad - made with Mohonk
Each Stitch sweater made with Mohonk
I realize to most people the thought of spending a totally frigid day outside standing in poo might not have qualified as one of the most inspirational days. But to me it was.  I love being able to spend time with some of the people who raise the wool I use to make my yarn. It warms the depths of my soul to see people shearing at lightening speed with incredible care. I am so proud to play a tiny part in keeping this cycle of growing/shearing/spinning/making whirring along.  It makes me humble and awestruck to think of these creatures giving up their coats on a cold February morning so someone can wrap themselves in cozy yarn in September.

Driving home from Goshen all I could think about was how privileged I am to be a single step in the chain of making.  I send a partially finished product out into the world and YOU turn it into the thing it was meant to be.

The yarn is so deeply special to me,  knowing, liking and respecting so many of the people involved with the processes makes it feel so close to home & so right.  Knowing the animal participants are well cared for & healthy means the conscientiousness that goes into knitting, weaving or crocheting has its start waaaay back at the very beginning of the process for JDMS yarn.

a fleece flipped onto the skirting table to remove dirty or short pieces 

Now that the sheep have been sheared comes the waiting. Tom Petty is totally right, waiting IS the hardest part! Before re-emerging as gorgeous squishy Mohonk, the wool travels to be baled, scoured, spun and will finally make its way undyed and ready for color back to the Hudson Valley.  It is a process that takes a few months, is not inexpensive and requires collaboration with lots of people. The results are SO worth it though. It should arrive at just the right time as I just opened the last undyed box of Mohonk from 2013's clip (though I've heard there may be a mislaid box or two still at the mill)

Besides the crossbred flock that I use to make Mohonk, Catskill Merino raises some of the most fine  (in both a "that's mighty fine" and a low micron count fine) Saxon Merino I've ever seen! You can see it for yourself Saturdays at the Green Market in Union Square in NYC or buy it online.

I'm so grateful to everyone involved with making the yarn and to all of you for appreciating it.

Parenthetically (without the parentheses - well, except these) if you are a wool grower or know one looking to sell a whole clip please feel free to email me jillATjilldraperDOTcom