I promised y’all we were going to have a REALLY BIG ANNOUNCEMENT and today I am here to deliver. I’m posting it at midnight (Brooklyn time-- natch) going into Friday because that’s the soonest I was allowed to do so. Yes, that’s right, think of this as a sort of Harry Potter Book Release party for fiber fanatics!
Let’s build up to the news, shall we? First, a hint—many of you had the opportunity last year to meet the inimitable Jared Flood, aka Brooklyn Tweed, when he came to HCW last year. Jared is a wonderful knitter, a splendid designer, an amazing photographer, and above all a fantastic human being (and yes, he's very, very cute). He gave several sold out workshops and, really, we wanted to keep him here, nestled up in the little room across the street so we could get our daily fix.
Alas, we’re not the only ones in love with Jared, and as much as he enjoyed his time here, he had other shops to visit and other pressing matters to tend. Chief among his endeavors in 2009 was the decision to create his own line of yarn. Jared put a tremendous amount of thought into just how he wanted to execute this goal. The result is SHELTER. Before I tell you about the yarn, I will now reward your patience with The Big News:
SHELTER will only be available in a few brick-and-mortar stores and—you got it—Hill Country Weavers is on the chosen short list of Flagship Retailers. HOORAY! Now for those of you reading this blog from afar, don’t panic—you can also get SHELTER online from Jared directly. And/or perhaps you live near another of the handful of locations selling it. Meanwhile, those of you who do live nearby should consider RUNNING, not walking, on in to scoop up what you can. (And considering the Hill Country Yarn Crawl is coming right up, you might want to run down TODAY.)
I’ve had a sneak peek at the pictures—which we’re sharing here today-- and I cannot WAIT to get my hands on the real deal. I also got the skinny on how SHELTER came to be. Jared and I played a little phone/email tag this week—I was hoping to interview him but he is super slammed with getting his first batch out to the stores. He promises us he’ll check in soon. Meanwhile, let me tell you what I do know about the yarn.
Jared noticed an absence commercial American made yarn and wondered if it was possible to develop 100% American sourced, spun, and designed wool yarn that could “make it” amidst so much imported competition. He spent a year researching and developing what such a yarn would look and feel like.
SHELTER is a 2-ply wool with “an extremely light and lofty hand.” It’s versatile enough to serve a number of purposes. It’s designed to really show of your stitch architecture. The palette is nothing short of stunning—think autumnal hues and natural browns and greys (<-- traditional enough to be spelled with an “e”). And the fiber is fleece-dyed.
From ewe to you, the process is 100% American: wool milled in the USA from sheep raised in the USA. Jared selected Targhee-Columbia sheep, a cross breed from Montana that offers yarn that will stand the test of time and, at the same time, skip the itch factor entirely—as Jared puts it the yarn is “uniquely suited for the needs of handknitters and wool-wearers alike.” After choosing the flock for the job, he then moved to Montana and, wearing the boots we gave him here in Texas, hand fed each and every lamb. Okay, wait, I made that last sentence up. But really, for as much thought as he put into the process, he might as well have a flock in his Brooklyn apartment—that’s how hands-on this development has been.
The shorn and dyed fleece is woolen-milled by Harrisville Designs in New Hampshire—and those folks know what they’re doing. In fact, they’ve been milling about (in the best sense of the expression) since 1794. (Yes, they had a bit of a slow spell during the tragic synth-fiber ‘60s, but they rallied and made a comeback in the ‘70s.)
SHELTER is launching with 17 shades, with more to come. The yarn comes in 50-gram hanks of 140 yards. Because it is, literally, very airy, it works well in across a spectrum of gauges. The price is right, too—running neck-in-neck with many commercial, similar weight wools.
One more thing? Jared being a great designer, but of course he’s got patterns to go with the SHELTER line. And yes, you got it—you can pick those up at Hill Country Weavers, too.
Congratulations Jared! We are so happy for you. And we’re SO happy for us. Being one of SHELTER’s flagship locations is an honor that makes us—dare we say it—all warm and woolly inside. Just one favor, please? Now that you’ve launched, come on back to Austin. We’ve got a place waiting for you.