Moeke Yarns

How to take care of wool

Wool is a wonderful material: treat it with care and you will enjoy your garments for a very long time.

Use a pH neutral washing product, such as basic soap flakes, shampoo or even dish-wash liquid. This is especially important when you wash natural dyed wool because the colors can be very sensitive to the change in pH!.  Dissolve the washing product in hot water then add cold water. When your hand can bear the water temperature you are ready to wash.

Gently immerse your wool garment in the water. Do not rub, but wash by lifting the garment in and out of the soap water.

If you wash natural wool or wool dyed with synthetic dyes, drain the soap water and prepare a rinsing solution: use water at the same temperature as the washing water was and add some white vinegar. Vinegar will help remove the soap from the wool and will leave it feeling softer. Repeat lifting the garment in and out the vinegar water. Drain the vinegar water and rinse gently until the vinegar is out. Squeeze gently the water out of the garment – never wring it!

If you wash natural dyed wool, drain the soap water and rinse the wool only in water, without adding white vinegar (vinegar is an acidic substance and can modify the colors!).

Lay flat the garment on a towel and roll the towel, pressing gently the water out of your garment. Repeat with dry towel if needed. 

Place the garment on a flat surface away from direct sunlight. Bring the garment into the desired shape and wait patiently to dry. Using a fan will speed up the process. 

Tips:

Wool does not like to be temperature shocked: use water at room temperature both for washing and for rinsing!

Moths are the number one enemy to wool. Protect your garments with herbs satchels filled with rosemary, lavender, lovage or other moth repellent plants! Need inspiration? Read our tutorial for making basic herb satchels!

How we produce our wool

Producing great eco-friendly yarns is a laborious process involving lots of care, dedication and commitment for quality.

The journey to create great wool yarn starts with finding great sheep! We found our sheep at local Romanian shepherds. We looked carefully how the sheep lived and fed - we wanted to ensure that we only buy fleeces from healthy and happy animals, well taken care off and that enjoy their life outside, on natural pastures. Luckily we found such herds in the vicinity of the village where I grew up! These sheep do not have their tails clipped and no mulesing is practiced on them (mulesing is the removal of strips of wool-bearing skin from around the buttocks of a sheep. Mostly practiced in warm climates with the argument behind that it prevents flystrike. I personally think it is just a barbarian practice). 

 Even if the fleeces were of very good quality, they still needed to be cleaned. Living your life on natural pastures has a downside - more vegetable matter tangled in the wool. We first sort the fleeces and kept only the best wool. Then, we pick out the vegetable matter as good as we can, by hand. Next operation is washing - we use warm water, salt and then mild eco-friendly detergents. It is a laborious process and we invest a lot of time and energy into it. Our aim is to remove the dirt and around 70% of the lanolin on the wool (this is important for the spinning phase). And finally, after all this work, we have a beautiful wool that is ready to be sent to the fiber mill! 

When we were children there were fiber mills everywhere, close to our place also. But after the 1989 revolution the wool industry collapsed and these old-fashion fiber mills closed, one after the other. We found some that still survived. The machines in these fiber mills are hundred years old, still working and in good shape! But make no mistake - these are not modern machines that can be operated with a push of a button! They are in the family for generations and the craft of spinning yarn was transmitted from parents to children and to grandchildren. Despite the difficulties raised by working with these traditional fiber mills, we were determined to carry on with our initial plan. Visiting these fiber mills and watching their process was like a trip back in time! 

 

At the end of such a long and laborious process is the yarn. After we receive the yarn from the fiber mill we wash it again with eco-friendly detergents, sodium bicarbonate and we rinse it in water with vinegar. We do this because we believe it is important to remove dust and impurities that stick to the lanolin. Still, even this additional wash will not remove all the lanolin on the fiber. When you will use the yarn, your hands will feel the difference! Our yarn is a minimally processed yarn, that means that it still has some vegetable matter and lanolin in it. It is the price of not using any harsh chemical agents during the production of the yarns. 

I hope you enjoy using our yarns! And if you like to know more about traditional yarn processing in Romania, here is a collection of short films that I made during my visit to the fiber mills that spin our yarns!

 

Our story

 

Hello! My name is Ioana and I am the co-founder of the Lana Moeke company. I started the company together with my brother Radu and his wife Simina, in the beginning of 2014. I live in The Netherlands where I am about to get a PhD in Sociology and they have their life and business in Romania. You are probably wondering: so how did they come up with the idea of starting a wool company? Well, it is a long story but the short(er) version goes like this…

I was born in 1978 in Romania in a city called Oradea. That was still during the communist dictatorship. My brother is 3 years younger than me. During those times our parents had to work 6 days a week and the childcare facilities were not great, so our grandparents from my mother’s side took care of us. They lived in a small village surrounded by woods. We grow up in this wonderful place, with the purest air, the cleanest waters and the best food in the world. Of course, I am a bit biased but not very far from the truth!

Our grandparents were very special persons – loving, caring and hardworking. Especially our grandmother was a very important figure for both me and my brother – she was the glue that kept the family together. She was also very gifted with all things handmade. Not that she had a lot of choice – those times the shops did not have much to offer.

But life moved on: the revolution in 1989 brought the dawn of the communist era, my grandparents passed away, I grew up and followed my dream of becoming a sociologist and my brother started his own little business in Oradea. Maybe because I live now so far away from Romania and my life is so busy, I started to appreciate more and more those times when I was a child – the free and careless life following the natural rhythm of things. I took crocheting and knitting as hobbies as a way to reconnect to that part of my life and to keep alive the memory of my grandmother.

But then, last year, something happened. I went to visit my parents who now live in my grandparents’ house and looking through the things left from my grandmother I found two big bags with yarn. I remember that yarn: was hand-spun by my grandmother 16 years ago because she wanted to wave some bed spreads for us. But then she ran out of time due to a vicious illness…

The moment when I found that yarn was an inspiration to me. I realized that there is a potential there that is lost... Romania has quite a number of traditional sheep breeds and a long tradition in wool processing. But nowadays, due to bad economic circumstances, shepherds cannot sell their wool anymore so they burn it. Such a waste…

My decision to do something about it was immediate. I told my brother about my plan and he was immediately in. We would make yarns from Romanian wool, produced with traditional methods and no harmful chemicals, spun them in a traditional fiber mill and dye them with plants.

And here we are, a year after my holiday in Romania. It was an absolutely amazing adventure this year, but we managed to do what we aimed for: our first minimally processed traditional Romanian yarns are ready! I hope that you will enjoy them just like we enjoy our small contribution to the preservation of the traditional heritage of Romania!

September 2014

PS: Be sure to check the story of how we produce our yarns and other behind-the-scene stories that I regularly post on our blog!

Pattern of the Month

For those in search of inspiration and free goodies: look no more!

Where to buy

 

For Australia: 

Canterbury: Sunspun Fine Yarns

Online: Shepherdess Australian Handmade

  

 

For Belgium: 

On-line: Haggis & Tweed

  

 

For Canada: 

Vancouver: Three Bags Full Yarn Shop

  

 

For China: 

On-line: Blue Balloon

On-line: Wool

On-line: Caston

  

 

For Denmark: 

Copenhagen: Uldstedet

Aalborg / On-line: Skabagtig

  

 

For Finland: 

On-line: Lankakauppa Kera

  

 

For France: 

On-line: Laine & Tricot

Grenoble / On-line: Lanae Tricot

  

 

For Germany: 

Muenchen / On-line: Rauwerk

Brunswick / On-line: Stil Bluete

Mönchengladbach: Atelyeah, Kreativwerkstatt

  

 

For Japan: 

Osaka / On-line: Eylul

  

 

For Latvia: 

On-line: Amu

  

 

For The Netherlands: 

Den Haag / On-line: Cross and Woods (yarn and fabric)

Driebergen-Rijsenburg: Trollenwol

Leiden / On-line: Stik en stof (fabric)

Rijssen / On-line: Het Wolhuis

Vries / On-line: Wol zo Eerlijk

Rotterdam / On-line: Ja, wol

Rotterdam / On-line: Textielfabrique 

  

 

For New Zealand: 

On-line: Jane Wool

  

 

For Norway: 

On-line: God som ull

  

 

For Portugal: 

Lisabon / On-line: Retrosaria

Faro / On-line: Maçãs d'Amor

  

 

For Spain: 

Baleares: OPENstudio79

Barcelona: Les Jardins de Juliette

Malaga / On-line: Oh Lanas

  

 

For Sweden: 

Göteborg / On-line: Strikk

Helsingborg / On-line: Tant Thea

  

 

For The UK: 

Edinburgh / On-line: Ginger Twist Studio

Grayshott/ On-line: Tallyarns

Ticehurst: The Old Haberdashery

  

 

For Ukraine: 

On-line: Azuleta

  

 

For USA: 

On-line: Woolful

Carnation/ On-line: Tolt Yarn and Wool

Denver / On-line: Fancy Tiger Crafts (yarn and fabric)

Oakland/ On-line: A Verb for Keeping Warm

New York /California/ On-line: Purl Soho

Why wool

Read all about what makes wool such an amazing natural fiber and about what makes our wool special.

- Wool is a natural fiber that can absorb 30% of its own weight in water without feeling wet. And not only that: wool generates heat when absorbing moisture. Imagine that you are outside in a beautiful winter day, playing with snow. Those wool mittens will get wet but you will not feel the cold and actually your hands will stay warm. Isn’t that wonderful?

- Wool is great at insulating and regulating temperature. It also breathes. This means that you will not overheat under a wool blanket, but the wool will absorb humidity and by evaporation will keep the temperature nice and stable.

- Wool is biodegradable. Yes, that’s right, you could use wool in your garden compost and it will disintegrate and transform into nourishment for your plants!

- Wool is naturally anti-static. Great news for pet owners who struggle with the army of hairs that their pets can shed!

- Wool is naturally flame-retardant and will not catch fire as easily as other fibers.

- Wool has great odor control characteristics. That’s because wool is very good at absorbing sweat and releasing it into the air. This is one reason why wool diapers can be used many times without being washed.

Our wool has all the above qualities and something extra: it is produced without using harsh toxic chemicals. We discard the vegetal matter from the fleece manually and mechanically and clean the wool with water at different temperatures and mild eco-friendly detergents. 

Built with HTML5 and CSS3 - Copyright © 2014-2017 Moeke-Yarns