A mission to bring together the US and USSR today continues to knit countries together through yarn, with Peace Fleece
As I get older, I find myself thinking a lot more about the people behind the products I buy and use. The people who work in the fields and the factories. The people who work in warehouses and the studios. All the people who come together to make products that I love.
I hate the thought that anyone could be exploited so that I can purchase products cheaply. As much as I can, I try to stay away from anything I know is created largely due to people who are desperately underpaid or even enslaved. (It’s a big reason why I haven’t eaten seafood in years.)
So I’ve become enamored of companies and products that try to turn this tide. Yes, there are company-runners with consciences! Many really do want to make the world a better place and give people a chance to create wonderful lives for themselves.
And on a knitting level, many of you are well aware of how much I love Darn Good Yarn (and specifically the Darn Good Yarn of the Month Club). I’ve also written about Fairmount Fibers, which hosts Manos Cooperatives.
Today I’d like to reintroduce you to Peace Fleece. Knitting for Charity first featured this company back in 2007. I thought about updating that article. But so much has changed in Peace Fleece that I thought it would be worthwhile to write a whole new post.
History of Peace Fleece
The original 2007 Knitting for Charity post will tell you a lot about this company. But in a nutshell, Peace Fleece began when a sheep farmer named Peter Hagerty traveled to what was then the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, or USSR. (As you may know, our modern-day Russia provided the bulk of that country.)
Mr. Hagerty traveled to USSR with a dream of finding another sheep farmer who was willing to let him buy wool to take back to the United States. His mission was as lofty as you can imagine: to begin tentative steps toward peace with this country through trade. (At that time, the USSR and the US were extremely hostile toward one another. Those two countries — if not much of the world — lived in fear that one country or the other would start a nuclear war.)
On the very day that Mr. Hagerty set foot in Moscow for the first time, he met, as he put it, “the only person in the entire country who could sell me Russian wool.” After a brief but intense conversation, the two made a deal. A thriving wool business partnership was born.
That was only the first of a series of partnerships between the Hagertys and other nations. You can find a multitude of stories about the other countries and farmers Peace Fleece has worked with on their blog. Check out the stories on this page as well as this page.
Peace Fleece Today
Today Peace Fleece has expanded from its original mission of peace with Russia. Now they work to support “pastoral communities that have been historically in conflict with the US.” (Quote from their home page)
Currently they work with the Navajo nation to offer fair prices for their wool. Navajo farmers raise Rambouillet sheep, the largest of the fine wool sheep. Peace Fleece blends this wool with their own domestic wool and mohair to produce a soft yet sturdy yarn. For a lovely read about their Navajo wool buy, you can visit the Peace Fleece Ravelry thread here.
You can now find Peace Fleece yarns in 29 states around the United States, as well as in Australia, Canada, and United Kingdom. To see if a yarn shop near you sells Peace Fleece, you can check out their list of carriers.
And if there’s no yarn shop near you that sells Peace Fleece? You can still purchase it online. I find the prices for Peace Fleece yarns to be incredibly reasonable, considering the yardage and quality.
In their catalog you can find worsted and DK yarns. You can also take a look at their miniature skeins. These are perfect for ascertaining if you’d like to commit to their full yardages, or for colorwork projects.
They also sell beautiful balls of fleece batting for spinning! You can purchase these in 8-oz or 1-oz balls.
And if you like straight needles that can double as works of art, do take a look at their exquisite knitting needles selection.
Also, if you have any questions about working with Peace Fleece yarn, be sure to check out the Peace Fleece Lovers Ravelry group. This is a group of passionate Peace Fleecers who will happily answer just about any question you might have.
I just love the whole idea of pursuing peace on earth through blends of yarn, don’t you? Why not check out Peace Fleece and consider picking up some yarn to help bring the world together!