Yarn Profile: Meadowcroft Farm Seacolors

First Impressions
Nanney Kennedy is the brainchild (and muscles) behind Meadowcroft Farm, along with her two sons. Located along the headwaters of the Damariscotta River in Maine, the farm has over 125 sheep from which Kennedy gets the fiber for this yarn.

If you want to read more about her, and I strongly urge that you do, you can read her profile in Candace Eisner Strick's Sweaters from New England Sheep Farms. It's an inspiration for anyone who dreams of producing their own yarn, and it'll make you respect her finished product more. (Plus, it includes three gansey patterns designed for this yarn by Kennedy herself.)

The colors are one-of-a-kind, limited-edition dye lots, spanning the rainbow from lime to raspberry to sage and everything in between. Just picking a color presents a challenge.

The yarn is a lanolin-rich double-ply, similar in appearance to a traditional Shetland wool but markedly softer and more resilient.

Knitting Up
The yarn appears scratchy at first, yet it feels good to knit. The lanolin helped me maintain tension by naturally gripping my hand (and as an added bonus, it moisturized my skin). Occasionally a few, almost invisible fibers would snag, but otherwise it knit up quickly.

I found only a few kinks or irregularities in the spin, and only one bit of organic matter. (In this case, because the animals are fed a 100% organic diet, it really was organic matter!)

Blocking / Washing
The yarn bled noticeably during its washing in warm water, but the resulting swatch was only slightly lighter in color. The wash helped bring out slight variations in the color from row to row. If you're truly obsessive about such matters, you may want to alternate skeins every few rows to avoid unwanted color repeats, but I'd just knit it as-is.

The swatches also expanded by about 4.23 percent (from 4.25 stitches per inch to 4 stitches per inch, using U.S. 5 1/2 needles), so be sure to take this into account when measuring for your project.

Overall the yarn relaxed nicely, taking on a softer feel and look.

The double-ply spin makes this yarn hearty and warm. I'd have no qualms about using this for any project, regardless of the age or activity level of its intended recipient.

It will keep you warm without bulking you up. Compared to other yarns of this type, the itch factor is quite low.

This yarn is ideal for a beginner, but it'd also produce beautiful results if used for more complex stitchwork patterns. Nanney also lets you choose one of her patterns free when you buy wool for a sweater.

The average women's sweater takes approximately five skeins, which brings the pricetag up to $75. Considering what you get -- quality wool from someone who lovingly tends her sheep and hand-dyes every single skein herself -- it's a bargain.

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