We call Seacolors a Yarnery. Like the crafting of wine in a winery, crafting of color depends as much on the weather and the breedstock as it does the artisanal blending of good taste.
Seacolors raw wool is never “carbonized,” (a sulfuric acid spray treatment, placed in an oven to burn out any carbonaceous material, which leaves an acid residue and gives a “ picky” feeling and makes the wool feel like it’s had a perm).
Seacolors Wool is washed in soap, not detergent.
In order to fix a dye (plant or mineral derived) in a protein fiber (wool is a keratin chain made of amino acids) it needs a catalyst of acid, salt and heat to help it “bite” the wool and create a chemical bond.
Instead of using chemical salts or acids, or petroleum sourced heat, Nanne has developed a system using natural salts and acids, and solar derived heat, that adds neither a chemical itch, nor a boiled wool itch, trading time for temperature, and slowly “ melting” the colors into each other and into the yarns, and featuring colorways that emulate the weather, as soft and easy as the wool itself.
Sheep have been genetically modified for the purposes of Food, Clothing and Shelter since WAY before Jesus. In the world of sheep, there are food breeds and fiber breeds.
Food Breeds include those for:
• Meat, having a larger carcass, and bigger cuts.
• Dairy, smaller bones and often a “fat tail” in fact there are more sheep milked around the globe than any other dairy animal since most of the world does not have the refrigeration or the distribution we have here in America, and get their calcium from cheeses, kefir, etc.
Fiber Breeds are for:
• Carpet, having longer, stronger, shinier wool like Romney, Cotswold, Lincoln, and intended to walk on for a hundred years.
• Apparel, having very springy, soft and lightweight wool, intended to be worn next to the skin, Cashmere being the finest of the fiber classifications.
Wool is measured in microns:
• Fewer than 30 microns does not itch.
• Fewer than 19 is Cashmere classification.
• Meadowcroft rams test between 18 and 23 microns, and therefore CANNOT itch. This is the nature and use of superfine.
Apparel Breeds shear a fraction of the wool as a carpet or food breed, but cost the same per animal to produce which is why there is so little of it available, and why common myths like, “wool itches” and “ wool allergies” continue. These myths have to do with both breeding, and the chemicals used to wash, carbonize, or color most wool.
Currently, all sourcing, scouring and spinning is Bioregional, which for me means within a 5 hour radius of the farm. All participating farms have strict standards of grass based systems that minimizes petroleum use in harvesting, feeding, and fertilizing and increases soil biology. Each farm is under easement, securing future farmland.
Breeding is critical to this raw material, random fiber samples average 26 microns per staple. Each fleece is handled by Nanne; she grades, classes and packs according to soundness and clean weight yield standards to guarantee each spin lot.
Seacolors also offers sweaters and blankets, one of a kind or in limited runs.
Seacolors sweaters are knit by cottage industry divas, at home around Maine, and one other in New England. Each piece is designed and color balanced by me, using my handspun, crochet finishes, and mostly handmade buttons.
The Maine Blankets are also bio-regional, woven, fulled and napped in New England, with colorways inspired by moments in nature and intended to connect you the consumer to a world where you want to be.