Quince & Co. began with wool. Natural, ethically sourced, American wool, spun into our soft, versatile, core wool line. We grew outward from these first wools and began looking for more natural fibers to offer. We believe that less processing, and more sustainable choices, leads to better yarns. It results in garments that not only last, but are loved and are better for the Earth and its people. Our wools only use non-mulesed sheep. We do our best to ensure every person in the process is treated fairly and ethically. For our plant fibers we look for sources that minimize pesticide and water usage. We are still working to improve the traceability of fibers like our tussah silks, which can be difficult to find. Each natural fiber, from linen to alpaca, has its place. We have hearty wool and wool blends for cooler months; cotton and linen options for the spring and summer. For each new yarn we develop we work to balance durability and fineness. We aim for a soft but sturdy, enjoyable to knit yarn.
Territory Wool - Finch, Chickadee, Lark, Osprey, Puffin, Owl (50%), Owl Tweet (50%), Owlet (50%) Tern (75%)
Wool is the best. It’s cozy when you want to be warm, it’s airy when you want to be cool, it’s a joy on the needles, it’s hypoallergenic, and it’s all natural and renewable. This list goes on but we’ll stop there for now.
Our core line of wool yarns is made from American wool known in the trade as “territory” wool. This wool comes from Merino, Rambouillet, and Columbia-based sheep that roam the ranges of the US Mountain West.
Domestic Extra-Fine Merino – Phoebe
Like our core wools, extra-fine merino Phoebe is sourced from the US Mountain West. Extra-fine merino provides exceptional warmth, with a soft, drapey hand, and beautiful stitch definition.
For Piper and Crane, our soft and fuzzy (but not too fuzzy) wool/mohair blends, we source superfine merino from South Africa to minimize our carbon footprint and avoid the wasteful practice of shipping vast quantities of wool from the US to South Africa and back again to the US. This South African raised fiber is mulesing free, and every bit as soft and springy as its domestic counterpart.
Alpaca fiber is smoother than wool, allowing thicker alpaca fiber to feel softer than similarly sized wool fiber, and giving alpaca a soft sheen. Spun on its own, however, alpaca yields either a weak yarn, or a highly twisted, dense, heavy yarn. By blending wool with alpaca in our Owl line, we get the best qualities of both fibers, elasticity and bounce from wool, a soft hand and halo from alpaca.
The commercial alpaca market in the US is in a nascent stage. When we first created Owl, we used American alpaca. It made a great yarn, and we were happy to help the growth of the industry here. When we went to make our second batch of Owl, however, we were unable to find enough American alpaca in the colors and quality we needed. So we went overseas to New Zealand where their industry is more advanced, and we could get the colors we needed. We are continuing to work with American suppliers to help them grow the industry to the point where it can be a reliable, consistent source for us.
Mohair fiber comes from the hair of Angora goats. Its luster and fuzziness make it a prized fiber for hand-knitters and fashion connoisseurs alike. We source our mohair from South Africa, where it is spun with South African merino in a sixth-generation, family-owned mill.
Humans have used linen to make textiles for millennia, perhaps as far back as 30,000 years ago. And for good reason. Linen is very durable and comfortable to wear, especially after it has been broken in. It also has a subtle sheen that we love, and it is wonderfully airy in the spring and summer months.
Fine linen is not grown in commercial quantities in the US, so we went to the heart of historic linen production, Belgium, to find the finest quality GOTS-certified organic linen we could find. Flax, the plant from which linen is derived, is a hearty crop that generally needs few pesticides, little water, and little to no fertilizer. We chose organic fiber to ensure that there were no toxic chemicals used at any point, from growing to processing to dyeing, and that the workers along the way are treated fairly.
Grown by family farmers in California, Cleaner Cotton™ consists of long and extra-long staple, acala and pima cotton fibers. These luxurious fibers combine to make an incredibly smooth and soft yarn, with just a hint of sheen.
Though California is capable of growing some of the finest cotton in America, it is unfortunately not possible for most farmers there to grow organic cotton economically. Given the grave environmental problems with conventional cotton growing, but knowing that we wanted to work with the best fiber we could, we turned to the folks at the Sustainable Cotton Project, who produce Cleaner Cotton™. Cleaner Cotton™ growers take a pragmatic approach to farming responsibly, eliminating the most harmful chemicals used in conventional growing, and using integrated pest management practices whenever possible, all while using less water than organic methods. Read more about Cleaner Cotton™ here.
Silk – Tern (25%)
Tussah silk, made from wild and domesticated Antherea silkworkms, is the humane silk. Tussah silk is collected by boiling silkworm cocoons after the worm has taken wing and emptied its shell. Mulberry silk, on the other hand, is made by boiling the cocoons with the silkworm still inside. We are on the hunt for more traceable sources of silk, but for now we buy our silk on the commodity market. It generally comes from India and China.