Free Stuff: O-Wool

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Lattes and Llamas is proud to announce O-Wool as the Geek-A-Long benefactor for August! They kindly sent us eight skeins of Classic 2-Ply yarn to go into the prize baskets for the participants in the Geek-A-Long Ravelry group. All you have to do to qualify to win this spectacular yarn is join the Geek-A-Long Ravelry group before midnight on December 31st, 2014. It’s never too late to join!

Well, OK, that’s a lie. At 12:01 AM EST on January 1st, 2015 it will be too late to join, so don’t dawdle.

When you post a picture of your finished Geek-A-Long blanket to the Ravelry GAL group in any of the three sizes (baby blanket, afghan, or full-sized), you will be entered into the raffle for that sized blanket. However, everyone in the group is eligible to enter the drawing for the fourth prize basket as our thank you for just being a member. If you’re not a member, however, it isn’t too late to join and get in on the fun! You can find everything you’ll need to know about the Geek-A-Long on the FAQ page.

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Something you may not know about Jac and I is that we really love Philadelphia: the cheesesteaks, the sports-ball teams, the parties in Fishtown, the bars on South Street. We love it all*. We ran away from home years ago, landed here, and never looked back.

Of course, one of my all-time favorite things about living here is the sweet succulent yarn. Not only do we have some truly excellent local yarn stores like Loop, Rosie’s Yarn Cellar, and Knitting to Know Ewe, but we also have awesome local yarn companies! I’m really excited to be able to introduce you to some home-grown Philly yarn this month: O-Wool.

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What I love about this yarn is how honest it is. It’s minimally processed so the fibers get to really express themselves. The best way for me to describe it is that you can touch it, smell it, look at it, and really sense the connection between the animal and the wool. It’s a rustic yarn that knows what it’s about. You can almost imagine it scolding lesser yarns, lecturing them on how to act in public. It makes the super-processed big box yarns seem like a caricature rather than a real thing.

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O-Wool kindly donated two gorgeous skeins of Classic 2-Ply Yarn in Begonia (4411), Indigo (5203), Saffron (6402) and Dogwood (4412) to each of the GAL prize baskets. Made from 100% certified organic merino wool, the Classic 2-Ply is perfect for color work, especially fair isles.

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In true Philadelphia fashion, even O-Wool’s bio is full of character:

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’s skeins are wound by a gentleman in Philadelphia who has been working in the textile mills since his teens. It is a joy to watch him work – stopping and starting the skeining machines, snipping and tying off the skeins with the speed of someone who’s been doing it their whole life. He works in an old mill in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. In 1928, one third of Philadelphia’s 850 textile companies resided in Kensington, and it was considered the heart of manufacturing in the city. As textile manufacturing became cheaper abroad, Philadelphia could not compete. There are likely less than 50 textile companies in the whole city, and Kensington’s booming industry has given way to drug dealing and violence. I am happy that O-Wool can play a small part in supporting this last vestige of Kensington’s history.

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.

Thank you for your generous donation to the Geek-A-Long participants, O-Wool!

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You can find O-Wool on their website, Twitter, Facebook, Ravelry, and Instagram.  If you’d like to view the other Geek-A-Long benefactors and prizes, you can find them here.

~ Megan-Anne
*Fun fact: our fav bar is not actually on South St. It’s Good Dog on 15th. Get the salmon burger.

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