What lead you to becoming a yarn producer?
Brooke Sinnes, the founder of Sincere Sheep, jokes that she must have been an alien at birth because she is the only one in her family who knits, weaves, etc. She learned to knit as a kid in front of the tv and continued knitting through high school and university, where she studied landscape architecture.
After graduation, she took inspiring classes on weaving, spinning, felting, and natural dyeing. Later Brooke moved to Napa, which is in the epicenter of viticulture and wine making in California. There Brooke began to apply the concept of terroir, how the location and year an agricultural product is grown affects its characteristics, to her naturally dyed fibers. After all, she realized, wool is a record of the ewe’s year, and natural dyes change from year to year based on growing conditions.
With that in mind, she created Sincere Sheep and began buying wool from small local farms and processing it at a mill less than 60 miles from her house. Sincere Sheep uses all natural dyes as a way to further support and connect the makers to the fiber producers.
These core principles of community connection and ecology have served as the foundation of Sincere Sheep’s business as it has grown and changed over the past 13 years.
Where do you create? Who is your team?
Our studio is located in the side yard and garage of Brooke’s house, which allows her the flexibility to be there for her family. Sincere Sheep additionally employs 3 people part-time.
Sincere Sheep works closely with local farmers in Northern California and elsewhere in the U.S. and sources locally whenever possible. To recognize their local sources, Sincere Sheep lists the ranch name and location on yarn labels, where appropriate.
What inspires you to do what you do?
In a word? Connection. Brooke loves having a connection to the past, other cultures, farmers, community, fiber mills and the land. She achieves this by using natural dyes, fiber, and crafting. She also loves helping to support other small businesses, family farms, family fiber mills and women-owned businesses through Sincere Sheep.
Fall & Winter are glorious in Northern California. It is our wet season and the days alternate between foggy days that inspire a desire for coziness and bright, clear days colored with blue sky, the chartreuse of new grass, and the sunny yellow of the mustard flowers growing between the rows of the bare grapevines in the vineyards. It may not always be chilly enough to wear all your woolies, but it sure is beautiful.
Can you walk us through one of your yarns from start to finish?
We have our single source Cormo yarns made custom for Sincere Sheep. The yarn making process starts with the sheep being shorn at 9 Mile Ranch in Kaycee, Wyoming. We then send it to Chargeurs in South Carolina to scour the wool and remove dirt and lanolin. From there, it is shipped to the Kraemer mill in Pennsylvania where it is carded, combed, and spun into three different weights of yarn (Fingering, Sport, and Worsted). After it is spun, it is sent to Napa where the Sincere Sheep team naturally dyes it before it makes its way out into the world and into your hands.