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A skein of Granite State Green
Granite State Green once knitted up

Yarn Profile: Granite State Green

First Impressions
You don't realize what commercial processing does to fiber until you touch a yarn like Granite State Green. It comes fresh from the sheep with only minimal processing using Green Mountain Spinnery's Greenspun method. Only vegetable-based oils and soaps are used for processing, and no chemicals are used to bleach, mothproof, shrinkproof, or remove chaff from the fiber.

The resulting near-white, lanolin-rich, two-ply yarn is plush, soft, and elastic, with a faint irregularity of spin that resembles the finest handspun yarn.

The sheep who lend their fleece to this yarn belong to New Hampshire's Grazing Power Project. They spend their days happily roaming New Hampshire's transmission power line rights of way clearing potentially troublesome vegetation.

Knitting Up
Knitting with Granite State Green was a breeze. It slid effortlessly through my fingers, and there was no -- I repeat no -- snagging.

Even with my eyes closed, knitting by touch alone, I produced consistent results on both knit and purl rows.

There were occasional flecks of vegetable matter and two knots in my skein. If this were an expensive, highly processed yarn from an elite designer yarn company, I might have been miffed. But in this case vegetable matter is par for the course, and knots are luck of the draw.

Blocking / Washing
If only more yarns behaved like Granite State Green after the wash, what a wonderful world it would be. My swatches were easy to manage, relaxing only slightly in the water. During drying the edges wanted to curl, so I applied a slightly firmer blocking. Problem solved.

Much of Granite State Green's allure is hidden until you wash your garment for the first time. The fibers bloomed into a cohesive, smooth, beautiful fabric. This picture shows an unwashed swatch (left side) and washed swatch (right side).

Granite State Green is a woolen yarn, which means that the fibers weren't aligned and smoothed together prior to spinning. This helps make the yarn springy, elastic, and lightweight. But it also makes the surface fibers more prone to shifting and pilling over time.

My swatches survived a moderate amount of strenuous friction before the knitted surface began to blur. After more abuse, some gentle pills appeared. Thanks to a marvelous memory, however, the fiber bounced back into shape after countless cruel tuggings.

Granite State Green's innate softness (many of the sheep are Rambouillet) makes it suitable for any next-to-the-skin wear, including for babies. Despite the pilling issue -- which is true for almost any woolen-spun yarn -- I still feel comfortable recommending this for a regular-wear garment.

If you've had bad experience with wools, please do try Granite State Green before you give up on wool completely. It's as close to the sheep as you can get without violating any zoning laws.

You can use Granite State Green in its basic off-white state for anything, including gorgeous Guernseys, Arans, or shawls. Or if you're feeling creative, you can experiment with dyeing it different colors. Considering where the sheep spend their days, I think an electric blue is in order.

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