Who is Greenwood Hill Farm?
Greenwood Hill Farm, run by Tom & Andrea Colyer, produces beautiful undyed yarns in DK and Worsted weight. Tom and Andrea have been involved with raising fine wool Merino sheep for the last 30 years. Tom is a former member of the Board of Directors of the American Sheep Industry Association and a retired Naval Captain. Andrea has been designing and retailing her 100% Merino yarn for the last 25 years.
Where do you create your yarns?
Our Merino sheep are raised on our farm in Massachusetts. Our flock consists of both White and Black sheep which is where we get our White and black (Chocolate) fiber. Tom is the shepherd and he carefully controls all facets of the care and feeding to ensure a consistent wool clip year to year. Wool samples are routinely sent to a laboratory in Colorado to monitor the fineness and quality of the fiber. Once the sheep are sheared, the wool is sent to Green Mountain Spinnery in Putney, VT for washing and spinning into our two knitting weights. Andrea delivers the wool to the Spinnery and defines what yarns are to be made. She has worked with the Spinnery for 25 years designing her yarns and how they are spun. The Spinnery blends the White and Chocolate colors to produce Greenwood Hill Farm's Silver and Slate colors.
What inspires you?
Andrea is inspired in a couple of very important ways. First, she gets so much satisfaction from the projects she knits herself for family and friends. Second, she loves visiting with knitters who show her their finished projects with Greenwood Hill Farm yarn and tell Tom and Andrea how much they love the Farm yarns. Fall in New England is spectacular and needs no further comment. Winter, of course, provides the perfect excuse to sit by a wood stove and knit!
Can you walk us through one of your yarns from start to finish?
At shearing time, Tom and Andrea examine every fleece right after it comes off of the sheep. They then decide where each fleece will assigned. With the white fleeces, they “grade” them as to which ones yield the Farm's bright white yarn and which will be used for blending into the Silver and Slate colors. They also sort the black fleeces into the totally black fleeces assigned to the Chocolate yarn and black fleeces with a touch of gray fibers (from older sheep - we all get gray!) for the blending bag. Once the yarn returns to the farm, each skein is washed to remove any spinning oils. After each skein is dry, it is twisted, labeled and placed into inventory ready to be sent out to customers.