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Hawthorne Cottage Yarns
Hawthorne Cottage Yarns

Yarn Profile: English Leicester Longwool

First Impressions
Perhaps it's because the yarn arrives in tidy, tightly twisted buns, reminding me of the glazed pastries at my favorite donut shop. Or maybe it's the way the yarn cascades out of that bun, silky and soft, like my grandma's hair when she'd unwrap her braids at night. Whatever it is, this yarn has me under its spell.

Hawthorne Cottage Yarns are manufactured in Victoria, Australia, by Sue Flynn. She uses the rare wool of English Leicester Longwool sheep, also from Australia, which is spun at a local mill. She dyes it herself in small batches from the front porch of her home, Hawthorne Cottage.

The result is marvelous.

Knitting Up
Only after I finished oohing and aahing at the glow and softness of this yarn was I able to get underway with my testing. The yarn glides and wraps smoothly without any frustrating snagging or unraveling.

The spin is relatively firm, but the yarn still has an attractively fuzzy veneer when knit up. In some yarns, this fluff can make garments look cheap, but with this yarn it's entirely fitting.

Blocking / Washing
The swatches came out of their wash without any bleeding, fading, or change of gauge. They did require some blocking while drying, because the edges wanted to curl and roll.

The fiber softened and relaxed slightly, filling out the stitches to give the swatches a fuller look.

This may be a gorgeous yarn, but it's certainly not delicate. Despite my hardest tugs, I was unable to break a strand of it by hand.

Longwool fibers are normally smooth with little crimp. This yarn is true to type, with less buoyancy and elasticity than other wools.

From a usability standpoint, this yarn gets top marks. From an aesthetic standpoint, it provides all the benefits of "regular" wool plus the exquisite luster and mild softness of English Leicester longwool.

Sue Flynn's talent for creating beautiful colors closes the deal. I have no qualms about recommending Hawthorne Cottage yarn for any project and any skill level. It is rare and pricey, but if you care for it properly, it'll last a lifetime.

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