Brooklyn Tweed’s Woolen Spun “Shelter” and “Quarry”

Oulu mitts knitting colorwork Fair Isle

This was my first purchase of Brooklyn Tweed’s “Shelter” yarn. It’s a worsted weight with 140 yard per skein. It feels a lot like the Quarry yarn, which I have knit with before, but that one is a bulky weight.

Reviews I’ve read at Ravelry, of Shelter yarn, are also similar to Quarry, in that knitters have sometimes had trouble with the yarn pulling apart as they knit. I know what they are saying is true, because I had this problem when I first began knitting with Quarry. I almost decided to NEVER buy it again – I was so mad. I thought it was the dumbest yarn ever. Glad I got over that.

Now, I want to try knitting with the worsted weight version. Shelter yarn comes in some really beautiful earthy colors. I don’t have any specific patterns picked out yet, but these skeins will probably become hats.

Brooklyn Tweed shelter yarn skeins
Shelter yarn skeins come in a variety of pretty colors.

In Defense of Shelter and Quarry Yarn

A few years ago I bought a couple skeins of Brooklyn Tweed’s Quarry yarn. It felt very weird, and when I began knitting a hat, I couldn’t even get it joined in the round. The yarn kept breaking apart. Later I learned that because this yarn is woolen-spun it will tend to come apart easier than regular yarn. The Brooklyn Tweed site has a whole page pointing out the difference between woolen-spun and worsted-spun yarn.

The unique quality of Quarry yarn means it may pull apart easily.
The yarn will sometimes simply pull apart

If you don’t feel like reading that whole page, then here is what you need to know: If you get a skein of woolen-spun yarn that seems to be breaking easily, twist the yarn a bit before putting pressure on it, such as when joining in the round. I think maybe certain skeins may just be weaker than others, or maybe the company changed something. The dark yarn above pulled apart very easily, but when I knit with Quarry again, I didn’t have the problem of breaking.

Here is the Oxbow sweater I began knitting in Quarry yarn (color Geode). I had no trouble at all with the yarn splitting apart as I knit. I did however have lots of trouble with the pattern, so this garment has been frogged.

Knitting the Oxbow cardigan sweater
Oxbow sweater was eventually frogged!

This type of yarn does feel funny. It has a dry, lightweight feel, but not scratchy. The yarn knits up into a very lightweight garment that ends up being surprisingly warm. This makes the yarn perfect for sweaters, which could otherwise end up bulky and heavy. Any project knit with this yarn dries super fast as well.

This yarn will bloom, which means when it’s washed the fibers fill in the spaces between the stitches. That helps the knitting look more uniform and perfect.

Another plus for me is that it is completely made in the USA. In fact Brooklyn Tweed yarn is spun in Harrisville, New Hampshire – a location I am very familiar with. I often drove past signs for Harrisville on my way to Keene, and ended up visiting the Harrisville Designs Mill Store during a NH visit.

In closing, I am certainly no expert on yarn, but I’m coming to love the wools for their beautiful properties.


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