If you are looking for something really special, something that is USA made from sheep to skein, I have something really cool for you. American B.R.A.N.D (born. raised. and. naturally. dyed) is produced entirely in the US, and the dye is even naturally derived.
It's not just about being American made, really. It's really about having less impact and waste overall, regardless of what country the goods are produced in. Opal has their version in Schafpate- German wool, German produced. Much of the yarn we knit has been in three different countries before we knit it. The sheep could be in Australia, then the wool may also travel to China and UK for the superwash process and to be spun, then it finally comes to a US distributor, and then to a yarn store. Heck, the skein of yarn I'm knitting right now has seen more of the world than I have!
When a skein is produced from sheep-to-skein in one country, there's so much less travel and impact on the environment. For those of us who consider our choices and how they affect those around us, it's nice to have a new offering.
The wool is sourced from Rambouillet flocks that graze in pastures from Montana to Texas. The yarn is spun in Pennsylvania and dyed in North Carolina. And the palette comes from using only natural materials which include indigo, cochineal, gall nuts, pomegranate, cutch, walnuts, madder root, weld flowers and rhubarb root. The colors are very rich and vibrant, which is something I wasn't expecting from that type of dye. The texture of the yarn is also something that was surprising- there's almost a "grab" to the yarn- I can tell just by feeling it that I would knit it on metal needles and not wood- the slick metal would allow it to slide off the needles easier than the wood, which would just make it somewhat "sticky" if you get my meaning. I can't tell if this is because of the type of wool used in the skein, or if the superwash process (what allows the wool to be machine washable without felting) is different here in the US than China or elsewhere. I have a call into the company about this, but I haven't heard back yet. I like the texture of the yarn very much, I'd just be interested in knowing exactly what makes it feel "stickier" than other yarns I'm familiar with.
The price of American B.R.A.N.D is slightly higher than other wool/nlyon blends available right now. It retails right under $30 a skein, which is higher than a comparable blend like Manos Alegria (also a great superwash wool/nylon) which sells for $24.25. My assumption is that the cost is directly related to developing a completely new type of base yarn and the work that went into creating a new work flow and sources so that the product could be all American made. I know that it's also more labor intensive (and often requires a lot more time to heat set and more water and rinsing) to dye with natural or plant dyes.
I'm really pleased to be able to offer this line in the shop, and I think you'll see a trend in others following suit- perhaps not all USA made all the time, but certainly other large companies moving toward a locally-sourced (even if local is Peru or Germany or Canada) or local from start to finish. Dream in Color now sources much of their fiber and milling here in the states, and soon I'll be carrying yet another option that is USA made from sheep to skein.