The best merino wool comes from Australia and New Zealand, so it’s no wonder that two leading producers and exponents of yarn come from New Zealand. Both Margaret Stove (Margaret Stove Yarn) and Anna Gratton (Filaro Yarn) have international reputations firmly based on the quality of the yarn they produce and the quality of their workmanship.
Margaret Stove has been spinning for over 25 years and is renowned for her fine ability to spin superfine fleece. She has published two books ‘Handspinning, Dyeing and Working with Merino and Superfine Wools in New Zealand’ and ‘Artisan Lace’. But her reputation is based on much more than writing books about spinning and making lace; she is renowned as a knitter, teacher and designer. Her work is an inspiration to other lace workers and her work is found in many galleries and private collections throughout the world.
As well as using superfine merino wool to produce lace work, Margaret also owns her own label of beautiful superfine merino wool, called ‘Artisan’. You can not only buy her hand dyed wool, you can also buy her excellent kits and patterns to help you create wonderful lace designs.
Another fellow countrywoman is Anna Gratton. Anna’s is a ‘sheep’s back to finished garment’ operation run from her mill in the countryside on the north island of New Zealand. She has farmed a flock of both stud white and naturally colored Corriedales since 1976. They produce sound, long fiber, which is spun in her worsted spinning mill. The silky fleece produced is in the 27 – 30 micron range. But Anna is much more than a producer of wool, she is also internationally known as an artist in knitwear.
Anna sells her yarn under the Filaro Yarn label and you can buy her yarn either by visiting her mill, by mail order or on the internet. There are many colors to choose from – the natural wool colors are perhaps the most beautiful. The yarns are all dyed at her mill. As well as pure wool, she offers many blends such as merino/mohair, wool/rayon and mohair/wool/nylon. The Sparkle Mohair collection is a popular choice from Fialro Yarn. Filaro “Sparkle Mohair” is a wonderfully soft brushed mohair boucle with a strand of lurex glitter that shimmers and glimmers but without any scratchiness. It is made in New Zealand from 47% mohair, 35% wool, 14% acrylic and 4% nylon.
Both Margaret Stove Yarn and Filaro Yarn are fine examples of wool that is available from New Zealand. Both have distinct qualities; the super fine merino of Margaret Stove yarn and the worsted wool from Filaro Yarn. Both what is common to both is that the yarn is produced by two women of international stature who are the embodiment of knitting, not just as a craft, but as an art form.