knit

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.

 

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  1. This is really beautiful wool. Did they say why they pack it in 300 gram packs instead of 100 gram packs? It’s probably a marketing plan and they’re hoping that enough will buy the 300 GM pack. Too bad if that’s the case……… they will lose customers who would like to buy what they need and that’s all. Finances are still tight, no matter where you live or what “they” say. A lot of us process our own wool now rather than send it to a mill to save money (for more fleeces!!)

  2. That does seem very expensive but it did knit up beautifully. I suppose if we were to source the fleece, scour and prep and finally spin it then it would turn out to be more. I find that even the BWM 200gm balls are leaving me with lots of bits left over. But I don’t even think the last lot of BWM that I bought very recently was actually anywhere near the quality of 5-10 years ago when I last bought up a couple of jumper lots of yarn.

  3. Hmm, big difference in buying 100 gms as opposed to 300 gms. I would ask them, just out of morbid curiosity 🙂 Your sample is beautiful, dye and knitting. I am not used to seeing so many plys in a yarn. Is it a NZ mill thing? Whitegumwool.com has 4 and 8 plys.
    Maybe I just don’t get out and about to yarn stores as much as I SHOULD !! Nice that there was no pilling. Keep it in your pocket for a while…oh, summer, sorry 🙂

  4. This colour is just deliciously wonderful, Rebecca. Spurring me on to try some dyeing over the school holidays! (A synchronicity of time, space and easy access to trees and rainwater, and all in my favourite place in the world… I’m counting down the hours till holidays just as much as my kids.)

  5. That’s a very pretty finished swatch. It’s a shame you couldn’t split a purchase with another person or plan a few projects with the same yarn (children’s hats, maybe?). I like the idea of investment yarn, especially if it doesn’t pill, though I also have a budget that I adhere to and so I understand being deterred! I’m quite pleased to be using up bits and pieces from my stash at the moment. I often buy a bit too much yarn because I change my mind often about sleeve length and design, etc. I’m finding that the left over bits are going to be useful for some garments for my nephew (who is three). 🙂

  6. It does look like a really nice yarn … I’ve just been oggling the website. I know you recently reminded me that we have great single origin yarns here in the UK, but my problem is that I want to sample everything … I wonder if I can buy Ton of Wool here! 😉

  7. Wonderful to see this Cormo in action. Thank you for that swatch, Rebecca, and for doing the math on a sweater’s worth. You’ve done all the heavy lifting!

    It makes me wonder what best marketing practices are for yarn producers. Much to consider beyond the growing and processing of the fiber itself. This manufacturer couldn’t ask for better feedback.

  8. Fascinating review and reflections – I’m glad you have addressed the ever un-romantic but very real aspect of budgeting for yarn. This wool does look very tempting to be sure! xo

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