O-Wool is a small company with the goal of providing knitters and crafters with a yarn that is environmentally responsible, affordable, and made locally in Philadelphia and the USA.
O-Wool is dyed in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia. The mill was built in 1885 and has served a wide variety of textile services, including spinning, dyeing, weaving and carpet making. It currently produces woven twill tapes and provides dyeing services. Germantown, like Kensington, had a booming textile manufacturing industry that is now almost completely gone. In Philadelphia, it is a rare and beautiful thing to see a textile mill that is still a textile mill. Despite some technological advances, when I walk in to this mill I am humbled by its history, and feel honored when I step in to the dye house and see O-Wool dripping over the pots.
O-Wool is spun in the USA. One of our three mills is located outside of Boston. The mill was built in the mid-1700s and is one of the oldest operating spinning mills in the country. The gentlemen who run it have charming Boston accents and speak textile like it is their first language. They brim with technical information and are fascinating, but I try to keep my calls brief as it sounds like they have to shut down the machinery to speak with me. When our mill isn’t spinning O-Wool, they are spinning yarn that’s used to make part of the core of major league baseballs.
The heart of O-Wool has always lain in certified organic fibers. I source merino wool from certified organic farms in South America or Australia (non-mulesed). I source cotton from certified organic farms in the USA. I source my alpaca from a family farms within 1 hour of Philadelphia!
If you would like detailed information on O-Wool’s fiber sourcing and animal welfare standards, cleaning, spinning and dyeing processes, please download the FAQ!
Second to fiber, animals are a true love of mine. I have been vegetarian for 16 years and have made it O-Wool's priority to purchase humanely produced fiber. This means non-mulesed Merino raised under the animal welfare regulations of certified organic production, or local fiber from animals and farmers I have met. (If you want more info on the cruel mulesing process performed on Merino sheep used for fiber, Google it (most descriptions will be graphic - just a warning)). I live with 2 shelter dogs (Peter & Eda) and a shelter cat (McKinley). I've finally moved out of the city to a beautiful old historic farm house in Philadelphia's Wissahickon Valley Park. We've ventured into backyard chicken and duck farming and adore our 7 chickens and 6 ducks. This summer I look forward to finishing building a fence for the ducks so that I can knit in our nice, cool stone house and ride horses through the park as much as possible! If you follow me on Instagram, you will see entirely too many photos of all of these things, and a few of yarn, too. Some day I hope to own some land where I can house O-Wool, a couple of adopted horses, some rescued goats and sheep, lots of chickens & ducks, a couple of old Pit Bulls, a sizable vegetable garden, and my wonderful fiance, who I hope will help me with all of it (I'm going to need it!).