1. How did the company come to be called Brown Sheep Company?
Harlan and Janet Brown founded the company in 1980. Harlan originally had a sheep and wool business before and simply carried over the name of the company.
2. What type of sheep do you get your wool from?
Brown Sheep Company buys the majority of their wool directly from the growers who have a variety of quality wool breeds such as Corriedales, Rambouillets, and Columbians.
3. Does Brown Sheep complete the entire process there in Mitchell, NE?
The only piece in the process that we do not complete in our mill in the scouring, carding and combing. The scouring process takes a great deal of water, which is not in abundance in Western Nebraska.To complete this process, the greasy wool is baled and trucked to a combing plant. Here approximately 50 to 55% of the weight is lost in dirt, vegetable matter, grease, and short fibers.
4. How does the company choose new colors?
Once a year, new colors are chosen and some old ones are discontinued to keep our lines of yarns fresh and current with color trends. We subscribe to the Color Association of the United States. This organization develops their predictions based on the colors shown on the European runway. The current colors that are already in the line up for each yarn are compared to the predictions and, if there is a significantly new color, it is considered for production.
5. Why are some colors discontinued and how does the company decide which ones to discontinue?
As new colors are added, it becomes necessary to discontinue some colors, simply because there is not enough space for all of the wonderful colors. The decision on which colors are discontinued is mostly based on sales. If a color is on the bottom for sales, it is usually the first to go. Another consideration is that some colors can be very troublesome for us to reproduce. If the dye company has cancelled a dye, we may run into a problem with reproducibility.
6. Are BSC yarns only suitable for knitting and crocheting?
Not only are they excellent for knitting and crocheting, but our yarns are great for weaving as well. We also offer wool roving for hand spinning and felting.
7. Will Brown Sheep yarns felt?
Yes, our yarns are excellent “felters” but with a few exceptions. Our superwash yarns (Stratosphere and Wildfoote Sock yarn) will NOT felt because the yarn is specially treated so that it can be machine washable. The following colors (Lamb’s Pride yarn) are not recommended for felting:White Frost, Creme, Sun Yellow, Snow, and Lullaby.
8. Do you moth proof your yarns?
Yes, we use a non-insecticide chemical called Ecolan CEA to moth proof our wool. It is added to the dye bath at the same time as the dyes and is “permanent” in the sense that it will not wash, rub, or dry clean off the wool. The treatment works as an insect resist agent by making the wool protein unpalatable to the wool moth larvae.
9. Do you spin custom yarns?
Since we manufacture and process all of our products in our mill, we are capable of making yarns for special order. However, this process takes time and is dependent upon quantity and feasibility. If you have a special project in mind, send it our way and we will see if it can be done.