Yarn Spotlight: Field of Breeds

Wools from different sheep breeds give us strikingly varied qualities of fiber and fabric. This yarn review will help you to navigate the many options available!


1 Mountain Colors 3-Ply Wool

Content: 100% Targhee wool Put-Up: 145 yds [133 m]/3½ oz [100 g] Construction: 3-ply Care: Handwash and dry flat, or dry clean Recommended Gauge: 20 sts = 4″ (10 cm) on size 9–10 (5.5–6.0 mm) needles

Made completely from Targhee sheeps’ wool, Mountain Colors 3-Ply Wool has a soft, wearable touch. It knits up into a fabric with plenty of body and elasticity. The fiber has a matte finish and bright colorways inspired by the Rocky Mountains. The Targhee was developed by the USDA in the early twentieth century. A hardy breed, it’s well-suited to the chilly western states where it originated and known now for its quality fiber and lamb meat.

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2 Beaverslide Dry Goods 3-Ply Fisherman Weight

Content: 100% merino wool Put-Up: 160 yds [146 m]/weight not specified Construction: 3-plyCare: Handwash Recommended Gauge: 15 sts = 4″ (10 cm) in size 8–10 (5.0–6.0 cm) needles

This Aran-weight yarn knits into a smooth, stretchy fabric with lots of elasticity—one of the beloved characteristics of merino. The colorways of this yarn include strong earth tones and undyed naturals. The Merino is an old breed, popular globally for its prized fiber. It has been developed into many strains, with different fiber qualities. Beaverslide has developed its own flock in the extreme Montana climate where the company is based, giving the fiber a loftier quality than some merino imports.

3 Lorna’s Laces Masham Worsted

Content: 70% British wools, 30% Masham wool Put-Up: 170 yds [155 m]/3½ oz [100 g] Construction: 2-ply Care: Handwash cool lay flat to dry Recommended Gauge: 16 sts = 4″ (10 cm) on size 7–8 (4.5–5.0 mm) needles

Pronounced “massem,” the new Masham yarn from Lorna’s Laces drapes well while remaining durable. At thirty percent pure Masham, this yarn from a rare crossbreed of northern England, knits up into a stretchy fabric with some halo. And thanks to the yarn’s fiber combination, dye takes unevenly to create a subtle tweedy effect. Hand-dyed in Lorna’s beautiful colorways, this yarn is sure to become a favorite for hats, cowls, and other insulating accessories.

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4 Solitude Wool Corriedale and Corriedale Cross

Content: 100% wool Put-Up: 120 yds [109 m]/2½ oz [70 g] Construction: 2-ply Care: Handwash warm and lay flat to dry, or dry clean Recommended Gauge: 181/2 sts = 4″ (10 cm) on size 7 (4.5 cm) needles

Solitude Wool raises and/or sources its fleece from sheep raised in the Chesapeake watershed. Woolen-spun from hand-selected Corriedale and Corriedale/Lincoln crossbreeds of Virginia, this yarn is versatile, with lots of project potential. The knitted fabric has a slight halo and a wearable touch. Beautiful greens and gray-purples, as well as handpainted skeins, make this medium-weight a delightful workhorse yarn. The Corriedale breed is descended from Merino breeds; it was developed in New Zealand to thrive in areas with low rainfall and to provide long staple wool.

5 Sincere Sheep Equity Sport

Content: 100% Rambouillet wool Put-Up: 200 yds [183 m]/2 oz [57 g] Construction: 2-ply Care: Not specified Recommended Gauge: Not specified

Wholly from the Rambouillet breed, also known as French Merino, Equity Sport yarn is bouncy in the skein and stretchy in the fabric. The fiber comes from and is spun in northern Wyoming and is dyed naturally in all colors of the rainbow. Elegantly rustic with handspun appeal, it’s a beautiful yarn that imbues knits with a distinctive woolly character. The Rambouillet breed, developed from Spanish Merino and British long-wool breeds, is now popular in the western United States and offers a very fine fiber.

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6 Fancy Tiger Crafts Heirloom Romney

Content: 100% American Romney wool Put-Up: 200 yds [183 m]/4 oz [113 g] Construction: 2-ply Care: Handwash warm, lay flat to dry Recommended Gauge: Not specified Recommended Needles: Size 8–10 (5.0 mm–6.0 mm)

Hailing from Denver shop Fancy Tiger Crafts, Heirloom Romney is a 2-ply worsted-weight yarn with plenty of crimp. The reliable Romney, a British long-wool sheep, is known for its hardy, warm wool. The fiber in this yarn is raised, milled, and dyed in the United States and makes for a yarn with rustic appeal. It’s durable enough for outerwear and great for sweaters that will last years.


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