From Sheep to Socks
Farm2Fashon’s 6Farm Socks
Your purchase of these luxurious socks is a gift to our farms & the people we host as visitors. 5% of every sale benefits the educational programs of our nonprofit agritourism organization.
6 Minnesota farms blended naturally grown fiber from 6 unique breeds into exotic yarn that became your socks:
- Tibetan Yak
- Angora Goats (Mohair)
- Suri Alpaca
- Huacaya Alpaca
- Southdown Babydoll x Finn Sheep
- Leicester Longwool Sheep (an endangered breed worldwide).
Here are a few fun facts about our socks!
What is animal fiber?
The coat of an animal – hair or wool – that is humanely removed by shedding, combing, or shearing once or twice a year.
What is Lyocell?
A plant fiber made from Eucalyptus pulp that is a revolutionary substitute for nylon. It’s compostable, biodegradable, wicks moisture, breathes, and stays stretchy for years. Lyocell is also remarkable for purifiying 99.8% of solvents & emissions in water treatment plants!
Why aren't these socks machine washable?
Great question! See below for a full explanation about why natural fiber socks are worth the fuss!
6 Minnesota Farms + 6 Breeds of Animals = 70.6 lbs Combed or Sheared Fiber = 399 Pairs of Luxurious Socks!
We Googled and couldn’t find any yarns like this exotic, natural blend spun with 20% Lycocel, the amazing Eucalyptus alternative to synthetic nylon. At least once a year, shepherds humanely comb animal hair (yak) & shear non-shedding fleece (sheep, alpacas, Angora goats). Last fall, 6 of us in southeastern Minnesota donated raw fiber from our harvest to this “Farm2Fashion” educational project. What better way to showcase the value of agriculture than warm socks in the middle of winter? Our partners were: Minnesota Woolen Mill in Austin, MN for washing, carding (organizing the fibers into one direction), and blending into a loose, fat rope called “roving”; cleaned roving was spun into 100% biodegradable, resilient, sock-weight yarn by Rach-Al-Paca Mill in Vermillion, MN; & socks were knit by Maria Kohnhorst and her 100-year-old knitting machine at Northland Woolens, Nelson, MN. Best yet, we earned the Minnesota Grown label for achieving 80% Minnesota-grown socks!
Clear Spring Farm
2lbs yak fiber & 16 lbs Leicester Longwool in partnership with Windswept Hill
Melodee and Hugh Smith, Welch, MN
Yaks produce a luxurious fiber that is 30% warmer than wool, lanolin free and 1.6x more breathable than cashmere.
Frosty Acres Alpacas
6.75lbs Huacaya Alpaca)
Jessica Anderson, Bricelyn, MN
Huacaya Alpaca fiber features soft, warm, fluffy fiber with crimp.
5 lbs. Angora Goat Mohair
Jennifer Hawkins, Welch, MN
Angora fiber, Mohair, is known for its luster, durability, length and versatility.
Prairie Plum Farm
9 lbs Southdown Babydoll x Finn
Sue Wiegrefe, Mable, MN
Many generations of breeding and selection have resulted in a wool that gets its “cushiness” and resistance from felting from the Babydolls and the sheen, greater fiber length and softness from the Finns.
Red Gate Alpaca Farm
11.6 lbs Suri Alpaca
Terri and Kraig Quamme, Dundas, MN
The national champion Suri Alpacas on this farm are draped in long, lustrous, silky locks.
Windswept Hill Farm
16 lbs Leicester Longwool
Wendy and Bill Wustenberg, Farmington, MN
This farm is helping save this gentle British breed & their distinctive, spiraling, strong & lustrous wool with other Livestock Conservancy farms.
Hand wash these socks!
If you hand-wash these socks (not the washing machine!) they will last a long, long time. Animal fiber is naturally strong, resilient, warm, repels water, breathes, wicks moisture & is biodegradable. Under a microscope each fiber is covered in tiny scales that link together when rubbed together, like a zip tie, especially in water and soap. Scales are a perfect design to make felt or to shrink a natural fiber product to a smaller size. Mass-produced garments made with natural fiber that is also machine washable had all the scales removed with chlorine gas and then coated in plastic. Seriously. We didn’t do that. Your socks were made the good, old-fashioned way and that’s why you need to gently wash them the old school way. Compare these with the other socks you own and let us know how they compare. We hope they become your first choice & stay that way!
How to hand wash
- Gently pat to force sudsy water through socks – don’t scrub or wring.
- Repeat with rinse water.
- Press between layers of towel to remove majority of water. Dry flat.
North Star Farm Tour farms are grateful members of Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Minnesota Grown Program. Minnesota Grown is our valued marketing partner year-round, connecting us with consumers interested in specialty products we raise. Visit Minnesota Grown’s online marketplace at www.minnesotagrown.com