Modern Wool is a family-owned company based in southern California. The love and care evident in their products trickles all the way down to the source. Obtaining their gorgeous merino wool from ranches in both Colorado and Wyoming, they create hand-knitted throws, scarves, blankets, and pillow cases, just to name a few.
They also sell their cozy, handmade merino wool yarn, catering to knitting enthusiasts with a taste for the finest materials. So grab a blanket and cozy up as we find out a little bit more about this sheep-friendly enterprise by chatting with Modern Wool’s founder, Zoe Renteria.
Darling Magazine: What inspired you to begin knitting?
Zoe: It was one cold winter day that I really wanted a couch throw. I looked at every store and all over online and I fell in love with knits. However, I was looking for something without any synthetics in it, due to environmental harm and drain to the body, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. Thus began my journey to learning to make yarn and teaching myself to knit.
Finally, sometime later, I made something of what I had envisioned and I said to myself, “I will never make this again … it was far too much work.” Then I posted a photo on my Instagram and all my friends started asking me to make them one. Everyone’s enthusiasm really helped me get energized to continue this labor of love. It has since really been a joy to share something I really treasure with so many people. Also bringing in others to help as it grows has been really fun.
DM: What is it about wool that makes it so wonderful?
Zoe: Wool is an amazing material; it’s mostly fire-resistant, it regulates the body’s temperature and is even useful in summer. Wool and all nature-made materials also have a positive impact on the body’s energy and strength. It’s wonderfully soft and feels so alive. I’d compare it to having a poster verses a hand-painted art piece. Once you experience real materials, it’s hard to use anything else.
Wool and all nature-made materials also have a positive impact on the body’s energy and strength. It’s wonderfully soft and feels so alive.
DM: Describe some of the challenges you initially faced in sourcing merino wool.
Zoe: When I was first looking for wool, there was a lot of media exposure about some harmful sheep shearing practices. So I spent some time talking with the mills and finding out about the sheep sourcing and the animals’ treatment. Many really didn’t have good information for me.
Luckily I discovered a farm that was very ethical and gave me straight answers on all my questions and invited me for a visit during shearing season (though I haven’t made it in person yet). Once I was assured of this, it was much easier for me to proceed. To top it off, their quality was amazing. I feel great knowing I’m using earth-friendly materials for my products and that the animals are being treated well. One day I hope everyone’s products will be so well sourced.
DM: You make the yarn used in your hand-knitted products. (Which is also available to purchase on your website.) Can you tell us a little bit about the process of making yarn by hand?
Zoe: Well it is really tedious (ha ha) but entirely worth it in the end. I do love the feeling of the material so it makes it a labor of love. As a busy mom-entrepreneur I really cherish the quiet, work time I get as well. I also hand dye many colors by request. It is also rewarding to see the brilliant things my customers make from the yarn.
DM: What makes Modern Wool so very modern?
Zoe: Good question. I love our name because to me what we are doing really revives the art and beauty of wool anew. We are taking wool and bringing a new way for people to enjoy it visually. I hope that our fun take on knitting and yarn will inspire generations young and older with a new enthusiasm for wool. It is a time-tested material that is so very good in so many ways. Thank you so much for letting me share with your readers about something I cherish so much.
To find more from Modern Wool, spot them in Darling Issue No. 10 on page 63 in “Where We Unravel.”
Images via Nicholas Winslow