Made in America:
15 Yarns, Tools, and Accessories Made in the United States
As more knitters look to "stash local," it's more important than ever for us to know what is local in the first place.
To help you out, I've tiptoed through the KR archives and pulled out a selection of the most enduring and noteworthy products made in the United States. The more we support them, the longer they'll thrive and the healthier a market we'll create for more such products.
We start with the newest arrival, this pure organic Merino yarn from sheep raised in northern California, spun in Vermont, and finally naturally dyed by Kristine Vejar in Oakland, California. A springy two-ply, Pioneer sings on the needles.
Founded in 2010 by veteran designer, editor, and creative director Pam Allen, Quince & Co. focuses on affordable, user-friendly yarns sourced and spun in the United States. The only exception is Sparrow, spun in Italy from organic Belgian linen. Originally Quince was only available directly from the company's Web site, but you'll also find the yarns now at a select number of yarn stores around the world.
The yarn company launched by knitwear designer Jared Flood offers two yarns, Loft and Shelter, both of which are entirely sourced, dyed, and spun in the United States. The fibers come from the western rangelands, and they're spun at the historic Harrisville mill in New Hampshire. Flood and his team also curate exquisite design collections that make fine use of both yarns.
Jill Draper is a knitwear designer who is passionate about making her own yarns from fibers sourced as locally as possible. The massive 1280-yard hanks of Empire represent just one of Draper's creations, with several others following suit more recently. She has a good eye for color, a fine hand for fiber, and a keen ability to negotiate with the right people to get the very best.
Just one of the yarns created at the Blackberry Ridge Woolen Mill in Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin, Colorflow is particularly unique in that it contains fleece-dyed fibers that have been carded such that, when spun, they create a slow, steady progression of color. Think of it as a homegrown version of Noro, in a stronger two-ply construction and made from a quality grade of American wool.
Taking "local" to the regional level, Solitude Wool sources breed-specific wool fibers from farms in Virginia's Chesapeake Bay region and spins them to the exacting standards of a true handspinner. You'll find a buffet of breeds ranging from Romney and Targhee to Icelandic, Border Leicester, and Tunis.
Nearly all cashmere in the textiles world comes from Mongolia and China—but we do have, on a very micro-scale, a cashmere market here in the United States. One of the most exquisite providers of American-grown and spun cashmere is Ravenwood Cashmere. The farm is located on the slopes of Temple Mountain in Spokane, Washington, and is already sold out of this year's clip. Keep checking the site and you might get lucky.
The yarn that inspired the Great White Bale comes from Eugene Wyatt's flock of Saxon Merino sheep just north of New York City. His yarns are as close to hugging a sheep as you can get without getting your feet dirty.
If Eugene's yarn inspired the Great White Bale, Elsa Hallowell's Elsa Wool was the spark for The Knitter's Book of Wool. Elsa now sources her Cormo from one of the largest flocks of American Cormo in the United States and has it spun to extraordinarily exact specifications, all in the U.S.
No mention of American yarns would be complete without talking about Green Mountain Spinnery, the community spinnery that has served Vermont's sheep farmers for more than two decades. Of the yarns we've reviewed, Sock Art, Wonderfully Woolly, and Sylvan Spirit (a 50/50 blend of wool and Tencel) are still staples of the spinnery's line-up.
Yarns aren't the only things still made in the United States. From their Oregon workshop, Sheila and Michael Ernst make colorful glass knitting needles out of borosilicate glass, which is the original material used to manufacture Pyrex bakeware. These needles combine decadence and utility in something you either fear or adore.
Still manufactured in the United States, the Denise Interchangeable knitting needle set was developed by Lorraine and Robert Linstead. They sold the company to its current owner Linda Krag, a second-generation Denise fan, in 2002. The Pink Denise kit is priced $5 higher, and that $5 goes directly to breast cancer research through the S.D. Ireland Cancer Research Fund. To date, Denise has donated more than $175,000 to the cause.
Hand-turned by Montana woodworker Sam Bolton, these needles are the Cadillac of single-pointed straights for anyone who loves a sharp tip and exquisite woodwork. Sam got into the business by accident after his wife opened a yarn store and mentioned the need for good needles. Already a skilled woodworker, he turned his attention to needles and the rest is now history.
Of course no mention of American-made knitting needles would be complete without a bow to the high-performance, high-precision tools from Signature Needle Arts (including circulars and DPNs). Made in Wisconsin at a high-precision custom metal component manufacturer still owned and run by the founder's granddaughter, these are the cream of the metal needle crop. At a time when U.S. metal manufacturers are laying off staff, Signature's knitting needle division has remained stable and strong.
It's easy to find a cheap, reasonably cute bag for your knitting. Some 99 percent of the time, that bag will have been made in China.
GoKnit pouches are, have always been, and shall always be sewn right here in the U.S. The design is utterly simple yet completely useful.
Show me a gathering of knitters and I'll show you at least one GoKnit pouch in the bunch. They're practical, durable, come in several sizes, and are made in all sorts of fabrics—from the utilitarian ripstop nylon to furry zebra prints.
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