At first glance our yarn may seem ordinary, but with a journey that begins on a farm at the base of the Sabinyo Volcano in Rwanda, it has quite the story to tell! Follow along as we share the process of our Organic Merino Wool Yarn from sheep to showroom.
STEP 1 - SHEAR
Our sheep live the good life! Tended to by nine shepherds on our luscious farm, our sheep receive meticulous 24-hour care so they will continue producing quality wool. To ensure the finest quality fleece possible, each sheep is carefully sheared when their fleece has grown 3 inches long.
STEP 2 - CLEAN
Once the wool is delivered to our cooperative, it is triple washed and any debris is removed.
STEP 3 - CARD
After cleaning the wool, the ladies break up unorganized clumps of fiber through the carding process. They then create a “rolag,” a roll of fiber that helps make the spinning process easier. The end result is the cleanest, softest wool possible which is ready to be spun!
STEP 4 - SPIN
Using hand tools and spinning wheels, the wool is hand spun into high quality yarn. The women then measure the yarn and put it into skeins in preparation for dyeing.
[Fun Fact: It took us over 10 years to perfect our yarn. This included consulting and learning from expert sheep shearers, knitters, spinners and natural dyers!]
STEP 5 - DYE
A majority of our yarn is organically dyed using dye baths created from native Rwandan plants. Natural materials like eucalyptus leaves, cosmos flower petals, avocado pits and onionskins are boiled down and the yarn is added! Each dye bath can produce up to ten skeins.
[Fun Fact: Did you know that each of our colors bond differently to our yarns - Merino, Angora/Merino blend and Cotton - during the dyeing process? This means that while they may be dyed with the same natural material, the richness in color may vary depending on the type and size of fiber!]
After the dyeing process is complete, each skein is washed…
…then hung up to dry!
STEP 6 - SKEIN
Once dry, the yarn is wound into skeins and they’re ready to make the journey from our cooperative in Rwanda to our offices in the United States!
STEP 6.5 - FINISHED GOODS (OPTIONAL!)
While most of our yarn is sold to knitters and creators, some of it will be used by the ladies to create beautiful finished goods like sweaters, hats, scarves, and more.
[Fun Fact: All of our knitwear products are made to order. When you purchase a knitwear item, it is made with love and dignity in Rwanda by the talented ladies of Handspun Hope! This is why the turnaround time for your order takes between 6 - 8 weeks!]
STEP 7 - A NEW HOME
And finally, after a long journey from Rwanda to the United States and into your hands, our Organic Merino Wool Yarn is ready for you to create something beautiful!
Thanks for following along as we share the process behind making our Organic Merino Wool Yarn! We hope you enjoyed learning a bit more the organization and our yarn making process!
To shop Handspun Hope yarn, knitwear and the Hope Artisan Collective, check out the link below!