Sampling Ton of Wool

March 28, 2015

Recently, an opportunity to try a sample of Ton of Wool’s Aran weight came up on the Ton of Wool Instagram feed. I have been curious about this yarn for some time and signed up to try.

IMG_0194Ton of Wool is a single farm yarn, developed as crowd funded social enterprise between Kylie Gusset and the Downie family in Tasmania. In Kylie’s words,

Cormo is a rare sheep breed founded in 1959 by the Downie Family in Bothwell, Tasmania. Cormo is the result of cross-breeding Corriedale and Merino sheep, resulting in a incredibly soft, yet strong luxurious yarn. TONOFWOOL is the first time that Cormo from the “Dungrove” property has been made into a commercially manufactured yarn.

It is grown in Tasmania, scoured in Victoria and spun in New Zealand, as most independent Australian yarns are now.  The yarn is made from unmulesed sheep on a farm that is run on sustainable principles including the  generation of energy from wind and carbon sequestration.

My yarn arrived: 25 grams of aran weight Cormo wool. It is an extraordinarily springy yarn. There are five singles plied together, so between the high crimp of the Cormo fleece and the air trapped in the ply, it is probably no wonder. It is on the plumper side of an aran weight but worsted spun so smooth.

IMG_0223As you would have read in my previous post, I dyed my sample with wattle seed pods and iron solution to a warm, silver grey.

The roundness of the yarn suggested cables and textured stitches to me and I cast on my swatch for experiment using 5mm needles rather than the 5.5mm recommended (just cos they were handy). The knitting was exceptionally pleasant. The yarn did not split and happily made cables and texture. The resultant swatch was firm but with a malleable handle. It relaxed after blocking and that texture just pops. I have rubbed and rubbed it and as yet, have failed to make anything but the tiniest of pills develop.

IMG_0266I like this wool a lot. I would like to knit up something in a DK weight in cables or something textured in the fingering weight. At $23 per 100 grams for the white aran weight, it is a fairly priced yarn for an investment sweater, particularly given that it is from a single farm and from rare breed, fine wool, sustainably farmed sheep. The problem for me is the way the yarn is sold. It is packaged in hanks of 300 grams (464m). Whilst I am sure that this has done for a well thought out reason, it dissuades me from buying this yarn. Let me explain.

IMG_0273Using the Stashbot tables, I can calculate that for an average length sweater, I would need approximately 1000m of this aran weight. If I was able to buy this in 100 gram hanks this would cost me $161.00. However, because it is sold in 300 gram hanks, I would actually need to spend $207.00 to get the yarn I would need. I would have a significant amount of yarn that I didn’t need left over.

This is not to say that I would never buy this yarn packaged this way, but it does make it harder. This would have to be planned and saved for but I doubt I would ever regret knitting and wearing something made with Ton of Wool Cormo.