Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life

Anna Gratton Ltd. – Little Wool Co.

Edited May 2015

A unique wool and textile business that literally takes its product from the sheep’s back to the finished garment, Anna and her husband, Colin, farm the Corriedale sheep that form the basis of her products.  The raw fleece is processed, spun and dyed in their top-of-the-line boutique mill which is also on the family farm near Feilding.

As of 2015, Anna stocks 14 different lines of yarn sold under the label Little Wool Co., as well as fibre and fleece for spinning and a range of ready-to-wear.   The yarns range from lightweight (2ply) to bulky (12 ply), and from naturally coloured pure wool yarns all the way to sophisticated fibre blends.

Little Wool Co., 4 ply alpaca boucle

The Corriedale wool is blended with merino, silk, mohair, alpaca and other fibres to create her wonderful range of yarn and fibre products. Anna personally designs and dyes the yarns in her range, while husband Colin takes care of the fibre preparation, spinning and running of the machinery.

In addition to a regular range of solid dyed yarns, Anna also creates much-coveted, unique, ‘one-off’ hand-dyed colours in some of her range each season.

By producing her products from sheep’s back to the finished garment, Anna is able to create colourful, yet quality,  practical and hard-wearing products in an interesting array of textures and fibres.  Her yarns allow the average knitter to produce a professional-looking project that will last the test of time.

Anna’s passion for colour fibre design is evident in the gorgeous colourways and range of her products which include knitting and weaving yarn, raw fleece, sliver for spinners and felters, and ready-to-wear knitwear. Her colour work has been recognised in a Kaffe Fasset award.

Read more about Anna in my interview with her here.

The yarn

The Little Wool Co. yarn catalogue can found on the website, (www.annagratton.co.nz) and you can see more photos of the yarn and fibre and examples of maker’s projects on Anna Gratton’s facebook page.  Appointments can be made to view and purchase in person from the farm store in Feilding if you are up that way, or at one of the many craft events that Anna Gratton attends around the North Island (Dunkleys, Creative Fibre events and Wonders of Wool are some examples).  Purchases can also be made directly by contacting Anna at: filaro AT farmside DOT co DOT nz (replace ATs and DOTs with the normal email protocols).

The below is an overview of some of my favourites.  It is not a comprehensive review of all Anna Gratton’s yarns.

Anna Gratton 100% wool

Pure wool range

Image courtesy of Anna Gratton

Image courtesy of Anna Gratton

This 100% Corriedale wool yarn comes in a range of three weights – 4 ply (fingering), 8 ply (DK) and 12 ply (chunky). It is available as natural yarn (as shown above), in solid colours, and hand-dyed.

The 4 ply, 100% pure wool

Lillia Hyrna shawl

This yarn weight is worsted spun.  This means that the fibres have been combed before spinning to produce a very smooth yarn.  It is almost as soft as merino.

I knitted some of the natural shades of this yarn into a shawl.  The pattern is Lillia Hyrna from the The Knitter’s Book of Wool by Clara Parkes.

Content:  100% Corriedale wool
Weight/Length:  200g/912yd/833m
Knitting weight:  4 ply, fingering, fine
Needle size:  3.25mm upwards (dependent on what you are knitting)
Tension/Gauge:  28s x 36r over 10cm on 3.25mm needles (this is a guide only for a fabric density material)

Here is another example of the 4 ply 100% wool, this time in a hand-dyed colourway called Desert.

Dancing with Leaves

The larger wrap size:

Dancing with Leaves wrap

Image supplied by Anna Gratton

It is a free pattern with yarn purchase – ask Anna for the pattern during purchase.

More 4 ply 100% pure wool hand-dyed colour examples:

Anna Gratton  4ply pure wool

Anna Gratton 4 ply pure wool

The 8 ply

The 8 ply is a DK weight, and unlike the 4 ply, it is woollen spun.  Once washed, it softens up considerably.  It is a robust yarn, which creates very comfortable garments with that crisp look of a pure wool woollen garment.  There is relatively little scratch or prickle factor.  This yarn is absolutely fantastic for garments and wears extremely well.  I have knitted at least two garments with this yarn:

BedfordThe above is Bedford, by Michele Wang.  It is knitted in the natural Pumice (also known as Oatmeal). I live in this sweater for most of the year.

The Shepherd Hoodie
This is a coat I knitted in the 8 ply natural colour Moorit Brown.  It is incredibly warm and comfortable.  The pattern is the Shepherd Hoody, by Kate Davies.

Content:  100% Corriedale wool
Weight/Length:  200g/475yd/434m
Knitting weight:  8 ply, DK, US light worsted, medium
Needle size:  3.75mm – 4.5mm (US 5 – 7)
Tension/Gauge:  20s x 28r over 10cm on 4mm needles

The 12 ply

Here’s the 12 ply knitted into the Heritage Cardigan from Interweave Knit’s Winter 2009 issue:

Fair isle in 12 ply naturals – Heritage Cardigan

Content:  100% Corriedale wool
Weight/Length:  300g/475yd/434m
Knitting weight:  12 ply, chunky, bulky
Needle size: 5mm – 8mm (US 8 – 11)
Tension/Gauge: 15s x 21r over 10cm on 6.5mm needles

Anna Gratton Little Wool Co. natural colours

Machine washable 100% pure wool

Both 4 ply and 8 ply are available in this line. The heathered colours are beautiful and very complementary.  The colours are also deep and rich enough that some of them would be very suitable for ‘man’ knits, especially the navy, greens and browns.

The 4 ply
Content:  100% corriedale wool
Weight/Length:  200g/908yd/830m
Knitting weight:  4 ply, fingering, baby
WPI:  19
Needle size: 2.25mm – 3.25mm
Tension/Gauge: 30s x 38r over 10cm on 2.75mm needles

The 8 ply
Content:  100% corriedale wool
Weight/Length:  200g/413yd/377m
Knitting weight:  8 ply, DK, light worsted
WPI: 16
Needle size: 4mm/US 6
Tension/Gauge: 22s x 28r over 10cm on 4mm needles

Here are a few of my favourite colours:

Little Wool Co. machine washable 100% pure wool

And here is the Slanting Gretel Tee from Interweave Knit’s Fall 2009 issue that I knitted in the 8 ply:

Slanting Gretel Tee, 8 ply machine washable 100% wool in Rose

I very recently finished this sweater for my nephew in the machine washable 8 ply:

Fish isle

I have tested the machine-washability of this yarn and can attest that even after being tossed into a regular front-loading machine cycle, it still came out lovely and not shrunk, pilled, or felted.

Highly recommended!

Mohair

There area number of types of mohair yarn:  the Merino/Mohair (50% merino/50% mohair);  12 ply brushed Mohair (74% mohair, 24% wool and 2% nylon); and classic bulky (47% polymide, 24% mohair and 19% wool).

The 50/50 merino/mohair is fast becoming a favourite yarn of mine.  It is now only available as a 4 ply weight, but will knit very comfortably to sport weight.  It comes in both solid colour and hand-dyed.  It is not a brushed mohair.  The yarn is quite smooth and soft with only a slight fuzz.   It has the most amazing drape.

Merino/mohair

Here is a cowl that I have designed for this yarn:

It is a free pattern, available here.

More merino/mohair loveliness:

Mango

Mango colourway

Mohair merino by Anna Gratton

Sage colourway

Anna Gratton merino/mohair

Lime colourway

Kits

Here are a few of my favourites:

Little Wool Co. Wool Alpaca wrap kit, Tamarillo

The Wool Alpaca wrap kits are 200g of 66% wool, 20% alpaca, 7% mohair and 7% nylon.  There is enough yarn to make a generous-sized wrap with fringe on large needles.

Her other kit that I particularly like is the 12 ply boucle jersey kit (70% wool, 30% mohair).  Some examples of her colours (she has a range that suits all skin tones):

Little Wool Co. Boucle jersey kit, Tamarillo

Little Wool Co. boucle jersey kit, Inca

And this is how it knits up in a medium sized woman’s garment.

Little Wool Co. 12 ply boucle jersey kit in Tamarillo, knitted

I like the even stripes, and the fact you don’t get annoying colour pools, one of my pet peeves in variegated yarns.  You get 450g in one huge hank, and it knits up into a sweater of the above proportions.  I got a free crew-neck pattern with this, but adapted it to make it v-necked and with slightly belled sleeves.

The resultant garment is extremely light, warm, and comfortable to wear.  I’ve subsequently made another addition to this sweater as upon finishing, I found I’d knitted the sleeves too short.  You can read about it here.

The other yarns

Anna carries an extensive line of yarns.  More are on view on her Facebook page (click on the photos tab to see).

All in all, Anna Gratton Little Wool Co. is certainly one of my favourite New Zealand yarn companies, dedicated to creating good quality yarn at an affordable price for the textile crafter.  Anna has set out to cater to all tastes and projects, and I think has pretty much succeeded!

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10 thoughts on “Anna Gratton Ltd. – Little Wool Co.

  1. Pingback: woollen jerseys « Rocstar Dog

  2. Pingback: The Interview Series: Anna Gratton Ltd – Little Wool Co « Kiwiyarns Knits

  3. Very informative. Please do update us on the their progress with their new yarns!!

  4. Pingback: Danger: A Knitter Visits NZ | A Couple on the Road

  5. Hi Diana, I have forwarded your email to Anna (this page is about her, but not her website). She is away at Creative Fibre’s Festival at the moment, but will reply to you this evening when she gets home.
    Regards, Wei Siew.

  6. Pingback: Updates | Kiwiyarns Knits

  7. Could you please inform me where I can purchase wool that is ready for spinning in nz only.I am only a beginner so I do not want to spend a lot of money. Thanks Pat

  8. How do I store wool before it is washed as I don,t want to use it at the moment.
    Pat

    • Hi Pat

      I am assuming you mean fleece that has not been washed. I am not a spinner so can’t really answer that question with authority. If you got the fleece from Anna Gratton, I suggest you email her directly at filaro@farmside.co.nz. A Google search on this topic will be sure to throw up an answer!

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