Rocksheep is a small independent dying and knitting design studio located in Birgitz, Austria.
The whole thing developed as the natural consequence of my hobbies knitting and spinning. Wool and fibre in general are a fascinating material to be creative with: Starting with soft, fluffy clouds, sometimes still oily and full of straw and sometimes even manure, you can end up with warm clothes that are actually usable and totally unique! While there are many commercial yarn companies out there producing beautiful colorways and luscious yarns, I soon wanted to try my hand at making my own yarn – by both dyeing and spinning following my own ideas and needs.
In my “other life”, I’m a linguist and a PR fundraiser for the disabled. Working exclusively with my head most of the day, I love the sense of fulfilment manual, creative activity can give after a day at the office.
During winter, my favourite spot is in front of the fireplace with my spinning wheel! My beloved wheel is a true heirloom piece! My grandmother used it extensively for contributing to the family income after the war. Grandpa got raw wool from the farmers in the village (all raising Tiroler Bergschaf) and washed it. Grandma spun thin singles, plied them with a lazy kate made of knitting needles stuck into a stale bread loaf and knit sweaters and socks to sell. She taught my mother and aunt to spin, but they never really took to it. I got the wheel seven years after she passed away and long for a chance to hear her advice everytime I sit down with it.
The raw materials
I only use high quality raw yarn for Rocksheep. All wool is sourced from mulesing-free spinning mills in South America (Peru, Uruguay and Argentina) and Germany. In the future, I plan to get more and more European yarns into my product line, to avoid the negative effects of shipping wool around the world. A start is the very local Tiroler Bergschaf Alpenjazz roving and the superwarm Landler worsted weight yarn I offer.
The dyes I use comply with professional, European standards and are certified with the OEKO-TEX 100 standard. They are lightfast and washfast. However, some bleeding may still occur at the first wash.
Besides the dye, I use white vinegar essence or citric acid and dishwashing soap during the dyeing process. I produce the yarns in a pet-free and smoke-free home. I can take no responsibility for any products used for spinning at the spinning mills.
The Rocksheep sock yarn Samba and bulky weight Mambo are superwash merino, which means you can safely wash it in your washing machine at 30°C (about 86°F).
All other yarns are not superwash and need to be washed by hand. Use a gentle wool detergent. The water should be lukewarm to avoid felting. Move the woolen items around as little as possible when they are wet. Dry your items flat and pull them into shape.
Right after knitting/crocheting, I recommend wet blocking your finished projects. There are many many instructional videos out there! Repeat the pinning after every or every second time of washing the item.