A skein of Wonderfully Woolly
Wonderfully Woolly knit up
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Yarn Profile:
Green Mountain Spinnery Wonderfully Woolly

First Impressions
Wonderfully Woolly comes to us from the Green Mountain Spinnery, the Vermont-based spinnery that's been helping sustain small-scale sheep farmers in New England for 25 years and counting.

The yarn is made from two plies of sturdy, minimally processed New England wool that's been spun in the woollen style so that the fibers are left in a lofty, jumbled alignment. This is the optimal preparation for warm winter fabrics because it helps trap as much still air in the fabric as possible.

But here's the fun part about this yarn: While it comes in a choice of 18 colors, only six dye baths were used. How'd they do it? Simple. Instead of bleaching the wool to a crisp white oblivion and then applying 18 different colors to it, Green Mountain Spinnery chose three different shades of naturally colored wool as the foundation for the yarn, and then they applied the same six dye colors to each yarn. The results are at once familiar and slightly different, and they show what natural colors can add to your yarn.

Knitting Up
From a knitting-up perspective, Wonderfully Woolly lives up to its name. The yarn gripped my needles with the perfect degree of tension, hugging when necessary and letting go at just the right moment to allow a steady and rapid pace. My knitting was fast and snag-free, and after just a few rows, I was knitting easily by touch alone.

As with all Green Mountain Spinnery yarns, the fibers in Wonderfully Woolly were minimally processed to help retain their luster and natural beauty. The fibers also retained some small bits of vegetable matter, but they were easy to remove.

My knitted fabric had the telltale somewhat irregular texture that two-ply yarns produce. Knowing that this kind of yarn tends to transform in the wash, I decided not to panic about the irregular stitches.

Blocking / Washing
True to all yarns of its type, Wonderfully Woolly thoroughly enjoyed its warm sudsy wash. My swatches released a faint amount of dye in the wash, but not enough to cause fading.

After a brief blotting on a towel, my swatches dried very quickly and required no blocking whatsoever. The finished fabric was a delight to behold. The more blatantly irregular stitches had relaxed into a cohesive and inviting—yet still comfortably textured—piece of fuzzy fabric. There was no change in gauge.

I have good news and bad news. The good news is that Wonderfully Woolly is an extremely rugged and well-wearing yarn. It will keep you warm and dry during all but the most serious winter storms (assuming we actually have any this winter).

If you noticed the word "rugged" in the previous paragraph, then you'll know what the bad news is. Right off the skein, this yarn has a hearty, rugged hand that borders on scratchy. With washing and wearing, however, my swatches continued to soften and relax into a much more wearable form that's entirely appropriate for hats, sweaters, and mittens. But if you have any wool sensitivities, you may want to stick with a softer wool such as Merino.

This yarn fits right in with Green Mountain Spinnery's classic and traditional aesthetic—an aesthetic that's currently making a comeback in the knitting market. Wonderfully Woolly gives textured Aran-style garments a blurred, somewhat mossy surface texture. It lends a softness and delicacy of hue to colorwork projects. And it works just fine for simple stockinette as well.

While I appreciate the subtlety of the one-dye, three-yarns concept, it does result in a somewhat limited color selection. You have three fairly similar shades of white, yellow, green, turquoise, navy, purple, and red, plus one natural brown. I found myself missing the candylike rainbow of the 33 colors in Mountain Mohair, another Green Mountain Spinnery favorite. Still, I'd love to see what kind of subtlety you get from mixing three shades of a single color within one garment.

Wonderfully Woolly is priced at $10.95 per 250-yard skein. A pullover with a 40-inch chest would require approximately 1120 yards, or 5 skeins, with a total bill just under $55. That sounds very reasonable to me, especially for wool from small New England sheep farms.


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