For American knitters, Germantown is a yarn with a long history – a history older than the United States itself, in fact!
Philadelphia, where Kelbourne Woolens is located, is not only the birthplace of Germantown yarns, but the birthplace of the United States, and the location of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Germantown, a neighborhood in northwest Philadelphia, was chartered by William Penn (who named Pennsylvania) for 13 German families in 1683. These Quaker and Mennonite colonists began a worsted industry in Germantown, and became known for creating high quality wool yarns.
During and after the American Civil War, Germantown yarn grew in popularity and by the early 20th century had become a household name, synonymous with good quality worsted wool yarn. Many well-known American companies created their flagship yarn under the Germantown name – companies like Columbia-Minerva, Fleisher, Bear Brand, and Brunswick to name a few.
The last true Germantown yarn was discontinued in the 1980s, when the company Brunswick stopped production. For many Americans, Germantown was the first yarn they ever knitted with, and many still remember it fondly.
Kelbourne Woolens Germantown is proud to carry on the tradition with a 100% US sourced and manufactured product. Germantown is made with US Territory wool, or "range" wool, an archaic name for wool that comes from the former US Territories. This is broadly anything west of the Missouri River, but in the case of Germantown, mostly from the Western states of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming.
The most prevalent sheep breeds are Rambouillet, Targhee, Columbia, and Polpay. The natural colour of the fleeces has a creamier tone than the whiter Australian or South American wools, and more crimp and body, which makes for a loftier yarn with more bounce. Germantown is a worsted spun 4-ply yarn, as opposed to a woollen spun, which means the fibres are combed, adding strength and a nice, smooth quality to the yarn.
Germantown is just a simple yarn for extraordinary knitters – and we hope you love it as much as we do! Kelbourne Woolens just launched with 18 fun and vintage-inspired colours and hope to add many more in the years to come. This worsted-weight 100% wool yarn comes in 201m/100g skeins and knits up on 4-5.5mm needles. Find out more at https://kelbournewoolens.com.