by Erin O’Meara
When people think of wool, images of sweaters, socks and toques come to mind. But wool isn’t just for clothing. Here are a few of my favorite woolen items.
Wool filled pillows for your bed
One of my grade school teachers told us to invest in satin sheets since we spend so much of our lives sleeping. That’s why I have a wool-filled pillow. Virgin wool is a great filler for pillows since the lanolin provides a natural deterrent to dust mites. It will also shape to your head better than synthetic fillers.
You could purchase a ready-made wool pillow or make your own by procuring a woolen batt from somewhere like Beaverslide Dry Goods – an amazing ranch in Montana that makes beautiful yarn from their own flock.
Domestically milled wool blankets are another favorite woolen good that’s a wonderful addition to any home. MacAusland’s Woolen Mills (actually in Canada) is one of my favorite sources for milled wool blankets. I visited them last Spring. Here are some images from my tour:
Mill and store front on Prince Edward Island
This is the start of the processing for MacAusland blankets
One of their looms
Prepping the wool for the loom
Washed wool ready for spinning
Some finished products–they do a special plaid each year with different colorways
Other recommended sources for milled wool blankets include Amana Woolen Mills (since 1857!), Faribault, Bemidji Woolen Mills and of course, home state favorite, Pendleton (we like the National Park blanket series).
Sheepskins from a real farm
We’re not talking about a mass-produced product from Ikea or Costco, but rather, a real sheepskin from a working farm. There are resources on the web to help you locate a sheep farm in your region. In Oregon, contact Oregon Wool. Tanneries that handle small-scale processing are becoming scarce, so support your local shepherd or shepherdess by buying a sheepskin for a chair or couch in your home. I have a Wensleydale sheepskin from Dayspring Farm. Not all sheepskins are white – the variety of colors and curls of different types of sheep means that you can get one that suits your style. If you’ve never touched the real thing, you’re in for a treat.