What led to you becoming a yarn producer?
Why is there no wool that does not itch, that is available in beautiful colours, and that is guaranteed to be produced without animal suffering or human exploitation? - This is the question with which I began a long quest and which ultimately led to Patrick and I creating Rosy Green Wool in 2012.
I am Rosy, and I was raised loving animals and the smell of sheep wool, growing up in the small spinning mill that belonged to both my grandparents and parents at the edge of the Swabian Alb in Germany. My grandmother taught me everything I know about knitting and wool quality. The spinning mill did not survive the textile crisis, and I became a computational linguist, obtaining a PhD in computer science. Nevertheless, I never completely gave up knitting nor the possibility to imbue my clothes with an individual, creative expression. Knitting would, perhaps, have remained only a hobby, had the search for soft wool not led me to discover mulesing, a painful process that occurs in Merino wool production. This made it clear that I couldn't possibly continue knitting with wool obtained in such a manner. And it inspired me to try finding a better means of wool production, making the exact yarn that I would like to have myself.
I got to know and love Patrick while we were both still working in IT. When I told him about my wool production idea, he was immediately thrilled. Together we learned a lot about sheep, spinning and dyeing. That was back in 2012, and, in the meantime, that initial idea has grown into our mutual calling.
I was able to show my grandmother our first colour card shortly before her death. She was overjoyed that my love for sheep had finally led me back to where it all started for me - to good wool and to our family tradition.
Where do you create? Do you have a team?
Based in Munich, Germany, we work with a wonderful team spread all over the world, with people in Scotland, Finland, Turkey, Portugal, England, and the United States.
What inspires you?
The love for people, animals, and nature is at the centre of our activities, and we assume full responsibility. We founded Rosy Green Wool in 2012 because we wanted to produce better yarns without animals suffering. Our wool is, since the beginning, guaranteed to be free of mulesing, chemical sheep dips or long slaughter transport. With the GOTS label, independent certifiers monitor us and our supply chain. After we specifically lobbied GOTS for stricter testing around mulesing, the animal welfare organisation Four Paws awarded us in 2020 their highest rating as the only supplier of hand-knitting yarns in Germany. In addition to our commitment to a sustainable value chain, we donate part of our proceeds in an effort to effectively reduce suffering. We do all this transparently through our common good balance sheet.
Can you walk us through one of your yarns from start to finish?
Our wool comes exclusively from controlled organic animal farming in Argentina and France and is spun and dyed according to our specifications in three small facilities in England and Portugal. We visit them regularly and work together on new yarns and colours. These owner-managed manufactories work using traditional machinery and craftsmanship. Instead of winding the yarn tightly on cones, our dye houses dye it as loose skeins so that it remains more elastic. Each skein is twisted by hand.