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WOOLEN-SPUN and WORSTED YARNS
We are proud to offer a wide variety of yarns. What makes each yarn base so different from the other? The variety of sheep breeds, fiber type and length all contribute unique characteristics. Additionally, Bloom utilizes 4 different mills in the Northeast US to make each of our distinct yarns. Some use the woolen-spun system creating a yarn that is squishy, lofty and warm. Other mills are worsted or semi-worsted style making sleek, shiny (and also warm!) yarn. We love wool that still feels like it came from a sheep.....with softness, bounce, texture and tooth and are happy to say none of our products undergo a superwash process.
Both woolen and worsted spun yarns go through the same initial steps in their journey to become yarn: once the wool is shorn it is then skirted (soiled bits are removed and the fleece is manually cleaned of vegetable matter). Next, it is scoured, or washed....often this is the first stage that takes place at the mill. Next, clumps of wool are separated in the picker before the fleece is moved to the carding machine where the fiber is blended and made into roving ready to be spun. At a woolen mill - or when hand-spinning a woolen-style yarn - carding is the final stage before spinning. But a worsted process, whether at the mill or in hand processing, requires the additional steps of combing and pin drafting which align the fibers very parallel to one another. This squeezes the air out of the yarn which becomes smooth and dense with sheen, strength and significant drape. At Bloom we love all yarns....and are happy to offer woolen-spun yarns for their loft, lightness and warmth.....and worsted spun yarns for their sheen, strength and next-to-skin softness. All have the wonderful capability to "bloom" once blocked or washed.
Both woolen and worsted spun yarns will bloom, though with woolen spun yarns the effect will be more dramatic. These yarns have been carded in such a way that their fibers are not aligned or parallel but instead are laid out in a wild and haphazard manner causing air to become trapped as the yarn is twisted. This characteristic gives the fibers room to relax when wetted, resulting in a lovely "bloom" into a fuller and loftier yarn once dry. It also means woolen-spun yarns are warmer than their worsted counterparts as these air pockets help hold body heat, and that some worsted spun yarns are softer due to the combing and pin drafting that brings the fibers into a parallel position. Because our yarns are washed in the hand-dying process some blooming has already occurred. But once knitted and blocked, a further bloom will take place, and the resulting fabric will be light and lush; cozy and insulating. Experienced knitters may have already guessed. . . it is best to block and dry the swatch you make to check gauge before beginning a project. . . .(you always make a swatch, right!?).
To block your finished garment, soak it as suggested below in the general care section, though soap will not be necessary. A good long soak of 30-60 minutes will ensure complete saturation giving every fiber the opportunity to relax. Gently squeeze out excess water and lie item flat on a thick bath towel, rolling it up and pressing firmly so water wicks into the towel. Reposition into original shape as described below.
Wear often! Wool is self-cleansing so won't require frequent washing. When needed, hand wash your Bloom woolens in cool water with a gentle pH-balanced soap such as Eucalan. Many wool washes do not need to be rinsed, or can be rinsed lightly in cool water. Squeeze gently and lay flat to dry according to desired measurements; smooth stitches and align seams properly.
Sadly, we sometimes need to store some woolens for the off-season. Tuck your winter wool safely away only after everything has been washed and thoroughly dried. Keep moths at bay with plastic totes or a well-sealed cedar closet; add a dash of insect repellant essential oils such as lavender or cedar to a cotton ball and store with your goods for added insurance.
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