Sale

Number 4

Shade

Winter Sale Ends in

00
:
00
:
00
:
00

The Highlights

3 plump plies combine to produce our Aran yarn, Number 4.

This yarn has been carefully designed to let each individual breed be the champion. Individually spun to reflect each fibres’ unique characterstics, Number 4 is versatile and varied in its uses.

Softer yarns such as Chalk, Dunnock and Soot shine in warm cardigans, hats and mitts, and crunchier yarns like Granite and Peppercorn are perfectly suited to harder wearing outerwear.

The specs

Aran/Worsted Weight

60-80 metres / 66-87 yards

50 grams / 1.76 ounces

100% Organic Breed Specific Wool

The Highlights

3 plump plies combine to produce our Aran yarn, Number 4.

This yarn has been carefully designed to let each individual breed be the champion. Individually spun to reflect each fibres’ unique characterstics, Number 4 is versatile and varied in its uses.

Softer yarns such as Chalk, Dunnock and Soot shine in warm cardigans, hats and mitts, and crunchier yarns like Granite and Peppercorn are perfectly suited to harder wearing outerwear.

The specs

Aran/Worsted Weight

60-80 metres / 66-87 yards

50 grams / 1.76 ounces

100% Organic Breed Specific Wool


11 Steps

Hand started, hand finished. The key to a great yarn is attention to detail. Here's how we do it..

Growing

Great yarn starts with great wool, which has to come from healthy, happy sheep. By working directly with farmers across the UK, we can be assured of the origin and quality of every fleece that passes through our hands.

A tender, or weak fleece is the sign of an unhealthy animal, so by ensuring the welfare of the sheep that grow our wool, we're guaranteed only the best fibre.

Shearing

Shearing is essential for ensuring the welfare of sheep - it removes the heavy, sweaty coat before the hot summer months.

For sheep, it's just like getting a haircut. It causes almost no stress or worry, and the highly skilled shearers work swiftly but carefully.

Grading

After shearing, the wool arrives at Garthenor Farm as tightly rolled fleeces. At grading, we assess four separate characteristics - Breed, Colour, Age and Openness (if a fleece is felted, or cotted).

This initial sorting gives us the basis to pay the farmer and group together similar wool types for storage.

Sorting

The vast majority of British wool will go straight into production after grading. However, given the spectacular variety of wools within a single fleece, there is no substitute for sorting each individual fleece before scouring.

At this stage, we are assessing: Fibre Strength (known as soundness), Fineness (the diameter of the fibres), Staple Length, Crimp, Vegetable Matter, Lustre, Yield, and Shade.

Scouring

Hot, steamy, pungent air hits you in the face with the smell of wool as you reach the scourers. Here, lanolin, sweat (known as suint), muck and most of the vegetable matter (hay and straw from the fleece) are washed from the fleece in a series of warm water baths.

After washing and drying, the wool is tightly packed in bales, weighing up to 350kg (770lbs)!

Blending & Carding

The tangled mass of clean fibres following scouring start to get sorted, initially during blending, and then during carding.

Huge drums coated (or clothed) with metal wire teeth tease and open the wool, passing through the carder until dozens of slivers of wool are taken off the other end. This is the first time our wool looks a bit like a yarn, but there's no strength at all - twist needs to be added.

Spinning

We're finally making a yarn! Most of our woollen spun yarns are spun on an industrial revolution era spinning mule. These are famed for their exceptionally even, consistent spinning. Most have long since been replaced with faster spinning frames, but up in New Lanark, Scotland, the unmistakable clatter and whirr of the mule lives on.

After this step, we have a single ply - for Number 1 & Cairngorm, they're ready for their final steps, but for our plied yarns, they need to be twisted.

Twisting

Back from the mill on big cones, we need to ply the single ends of yarn together.

To achieve its final form, we use an Italian-made ring twister. This process is slightly slower than more modern methods, but allows us to have precise control of the twist and tension by adjusting belts and speeds.

Skeining

Once twisted, our yarn is ready to be skeined, or reeled. We use a modern, digital machine that can wind 24 skeins at a time - a bit quicker than the single-skein winder we started with!

This mesmerising machine crosses the yarn back and forth to keep an even tension and consistent length for each skein.

2nd Scour

During blending, a gentle vegetable oil was added to the wool to help it glide through the spinning process and protect the delicate fibres.

Once we've skeined the yarn, it's in for its second wash. Our soft, Welsh spring water bubble up at the top of the farm, and is the secret to bulking and relaxing our yarns, allowing them to breathe. The transformation at this step is stunning - from an oily, firm yarn into the gorgeous skeins we sell.

Noddle & Label

At the end of this drawn out process, the final steps are to twist the skeins ready for sale - known as noddling, and slip on our label.

The yarn loop on the label of each skein is so that once you're knitting, you can tie a little end of yarn through the loop to keep in your knitting book.

Reflecting our landscape

From sheep to skein, Number 4 only has two things added - a gentle detergent, and a light spinning oil.

Both of these are washed out in the final rinse, so these yarns are about as pure as they come.

For us, there's simply no better reflection of the landscape that surrounds us than pure organic wool.

Sheep to Skein: A Fibre Journey

Each shade within Number 4 is spun individually, so has its own story.

Discover the origins and journey of each below.

Chalk

100% Organic Shetland Wool

70 metres / 77 yards

Sourced from Wiltshire & Somerset, England and Ceredigion, Wales

Ring Spun in Cornwall, England

Cocoa

50% Organic Hebridean Wool, 50% Organic Manx Loaghtan Wool

70 metres / 77 yards

Sourced from Wiltshire, England and Gwent, Wales

Ring Spun in Cornwall, England

Dorset Cream

100% Organic portland Wool, Single Flock

60 metres / 66 yards

Sourced from Herefordshire, England

Ring Spun in Cornwall, England

Dunnock

50% Organic Manx Loaghtan Wool, 50% Organic Llanwenog Wool

80 metres / 87 yards

Sourced from Wiltshire, England and Ceredigion, Wales

Ring Spun in Cornwall, England

Fossil

100% Organic Jacob Wool, Single Flock

70 metres / 77 yards

Sourced from Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland

Ring Spun in Cornwall, England

Granite

100% Organic Herdwick Wool, Single Flock

70 metres / 77 yards

Sourced from Wiltshire, England

Ring Spun in Cornwall, England

Manx Moorit

100% Organic Manx Loaghtan Wool

60 metres / 66 yards

Sourced from Wiltshire, England

Ring Spun in Cornwall, England

Peat

100% Organic Jacob Wool, Single Flock

70 metres / 77 yards

Sourced from Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland

Ring Spun in Cornwall, England

Peppercorn

100% Organic Hebridean Wool, Single Flock

60 metres / 60 yards

Sourced from Gwent, Wales

Ring Spun in Cornwall, England

Quarry

100% Organic Jacob Wool, Single Flock

70 metres / 77 yards

Sourced from Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland

Ring Spun in Cornwall, England

Soot

100% Organic Jacob Wool, Single Flock

70 metres / 77 yards

Sourced from Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland

Ring Spun in Cornwall, England

Whitewash

100% Organic Jacob Wool, Single Flock

70 metres / 77 yards

Sourced from Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland

Ring Spun in Cornwall, England


Worldwide Shipping

If the order gets to us before midday, we dispatch the very same day

Quick delivery, and free over £99 worldwide, or just £49 in the UK

Gentle Care

To keep your knits in top condition, we recommend a warm hand wash (about 30°C / 85°F)

Use a small amount of your favourite gentle wool wash

Lay flat to dry on a clean towel


Climate Positive

For every skein of yarn we produce, we offset about twice the carbon footprint through sustainable, ethical initiatives, as well as responsible farming practices here at Garthenor.

We also offset our own footprint - things like travelling to shows, electricity usage and heating.

When paired with uncompromising animal welfare, traceability and organic certification throughout, we're confident of doing our bit to help the planet.

Organic, Honest & Fair

  • Certified organic to GOTS
  • Unmatched environmental benchmarks
  • Industry leading animal welfare standards
  • No harsh chemicals at any point of production
  • Fair working conditions

Organic, Honest & Fair

  • Certified organic to GOTS
  • Unmatched environmental benchmarks
  • Industry leading animal welfare standards
  • No harsh chemicals at any point of production
  • Fair working conditions