North Light Fibers, Our Favorite American Made Yarns

© Knit Purl

Knitting with American-made yarn always seems bring me closer to my own American heritage. There’s a special joy I find in hand-knitting with fibers that have been made close to home. I feel more connected with my nation’s rich industrial textile history and the women drove it. Knitting American-made garments also help me strengthen my local and national economy, all while supporting small businesses and small agriculture. Fibers manufactured entirely in the USA also cut out the need for excessive overseas shipping of goods, thus I get to reduce my carbon footprint as an excellent bonus.

 

© North Light Fibers

If you haven’t tried knitting with North Light Fibers yarns, I encourage you to do so. With “100% made in the USA” stamped proudly on their tag, their entire selection of yarns are produced on Block Island, 12 miles off the coast of Rhode Island. The Micro Yarn Mill, situated right in the middle of their family-owned farm, takes the fiber straight “from shear to skeins.” They tumble, wash, pick, dye, de-hair, card, spin, ply and finish their yarns right on the island.

 

© North Light Fibers

Given the seasonal nature of the island, Block Island’s economy is limited to the summer season, and jobs opportunities are limited in the cooler months. The mill and farm at North Light Fibers create jobs and reinforces the small local island economy year-round. Our friends at North Light Fibers make it their mission to prove that despite the island’s seasonal nature, year-round manufacturing is not only possible but a viable economic boost. If that’s not enough good work, they also partner with communities near and far — from collaboration with local island knitters and weavers to partnering with Women for Women, a nonprofit group that helps women in war torn countries.

 

© Tolt Yarn and Wool

We have three charming yarns available from North Light Fibers. Atlantic, made from 100% Falkland Island’s Wool, is a bouncy worsted weight yarn that surprises when taken from skein to swatch. A yarn that feels strong and hearty in skein form creates a lovely, soft fabric with excellent stitch definition. Fellow Knit Purl staffer and blogger Em Hanna and I both knit ourselves some Lambing Mitts with only one skein of Atlantic each. Atlantic’s subtle heathery colors work wonders with the simple to knit sequence texture. I’d also love to try it out on Julie Hoover’s Dafne pullover for a great layering piece this fall.

 

© Knit Purl

Just like it’s worsted weight counterpart, Water Street also can seem deceptively simple in skein form, but absolutely astounds when knit. The softness of the cashmere balances with the hearty merino to create a soft, yet hearty fabric. Not quite a tweed, the subtle color variation throughout this 40% cashmere / 60% super Fine Merino make it unlike any other yarn we have in the shop. A simple mock-cable in tincanknits’s Gather cowl (short version) would make a great two-skein project for summer travel. Grab a third skein for the matching hat!

 

© Quince & Co

Just in time for our Month of Lace, we’ve just bumped up our supply of Forever Lace, the super-soft 80% baby alpaca 20% Bamboo blend yarn offered by North Light Fibers. The touch of bamboo will help this alpaca yarn maintain its shape overtime. With great tensile strength, it’s even recommended for weaving warps. I’d knit it in Hanna Fettig’s light-weight Wispy Cardigan or Assemblage's Kozue, a simple, yet refined scarf. During the month of July, you can enjoy 10% off Forever Lace, and all of our other Lace-weight yarns to celebrate all yarns light and airy.

 

What yarns do you knit with the feel closer to your heritage? Have you thought about the impact your favorite yarns might make on your local community?

July 03, 2017 by Charli Barnes
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