In June of 2018, Trisha and I embarked on an adventure to Colorado to meet the humans who grow, mill, and dye our yarn.
We dragged along our favorite photographer Tanja Heffner, hoping that we would be able to document our journey and share it with you all. We were so excited to meet the people behind the beautiful yarn samples we received in the mail.
At the time, Hillfolk was still mostly an idea and a set of architectural prints. We were still in the process of figuring out what lines we would carry, but we knew supporting a small US-based fiber operation from sheep to skein fit our mission.
Our first stop on our yarn tour was a family owned farm that raises mixed Blue Faced Leicester and Shetland sheep. We use this wool for our fingering weight yarn, available in 8 colors.
The Colorado plains are perfect for raising sheep, the colder the winter, the better the wool. All our fingering weight yarn comes from wool grown on this small family farm. The Boxley Black colorway comes straight off the dark brown guy in the back.
We then made our way to a small town called Craig, Colorado to meet up with our guide, expert in all things wool and sheep, and artist extraordinaire, Jen Guyor of Wild Lily Artisan Fibers.
Jen Guyor of Wild Lily Artisan Fibers. This sweet baby lamb was born with a crooked neck and leg, but she was such a sweetheart and the best snuggler.The first time I talked to Jen in the spring of 2018, it was like I had met my yarn/maker soulmate. We discussed our aspirations for our collaboration, and over the next few months, we dialed in what types of sheep breeds we would use for our wool and what types of yarn we would make. Jen facilitated our communication with Yampa Valley Fiberworks, a small but mighty little mill and sheep/alpaca farm located in Craig, Colorado.
Sorting wool for our Boxley Black colorway.
Arriving at the mill, we hand sorted wool, to prep it for washing. Our tour guide at the mill was Lewis Moon, owner/operator of the mill.
Lewis Moon, our tour guide and expert on all the machinery it takes to spin yarn.
He very patiently explained to us all the ins and outs of their process, while Lorrae, his business partner and wife buzzed around managing customers and their staff.
Just one small step of the many it takes to get from sheep to skein.
Our sport and aran weight yarn is a Merino/CVM blend grown on a farm called Cactus Hill Ranch in SW Colorado.
Cactus Hill is another small family owned operation run by Elena and her dad Alan. Elena works hard to ensure they raise their sheep using sustainable practices. Our hope is to visit her operation someday, so we can meet the amazing people behind the wool.
Pretty much the highlight of our trip.
It was a beautiful clear summer Colorado day, and we spent the rest of our time at Yampa Valley feeding baby lambs and making friends with the alpacas.
I mean, look at this guy.
We hope you've enjoyed seeing a glimpse into the hard-working, passionate community who work with us in the production of our yarn.
...in the next installment, the story behind our bulky weight yarn produced in Wyoming!