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 two 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 seems 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 cute little family farm about 45 minutes away!
If you would like more technical information on O-Wool’s fiber sourcing, cleaning, spinning and dyeing processes, please download the FAQ!
Second to fiber, animals are a true love of mine. I have been vegetarian for 15 years and have made it O-Wool's priority to purchase humanely produced fiber. This means non-mulesed Merino, or local fiber from animals and a farmer I know. (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 farming and adore our 6 chickens (Rumpy, Lucille, Frey, Pumpkin, Maitake and Chanterelle). This winter I look forward to knitting in front of our massive cast-iron wood-burning stove and frolicking in the snow-filled park. I'm right next to a horse stable and go out riding almost every weekend (and spend many hours grooming the horses, much to their dismay). 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, a couple of old Pit Bulls, a sizable vegetable garden, and my wonderful boyfriend, who I hope will help me with all of it (I'm going to need it!).