Hole and Sons and the unicorn sighting of the yarn world

Hole and Sons and the unicorn sighting of the yarn world

A lot of you remember (I know, because I get asked about it) when I posted last spring about how Instagram-famous British farmer @benjaminhole was making a yarn from the fleece of his Poll Dorset sheep, under the brand Hole & Sons Wool. Many of us eager knitters, myself included, waited and waited — and waited — for any subsequent news on the release of the yarn. Last summer there was a photo with a note that it was done and needed labels, then it would be ready. Weeks after that came another saying once the harvest was done. Seven weeks ago @kararosenlund got some. Other than that … silence. I don’t know about you, but I’d given up hope. Then one morning the week before last, I was lying in bed scrolling through Instagram and saw a comment from @thesachemfarm saying “@karentempler did you see this?” I recognized the photo instantly and knew exactly what it meant, so I literally leapt out of bed and ran for my laptop, expecting the supply would only last a minute and guessing I might already be too late. I pulled up Etsy, found it, placed a hasty order, and refreshed to a blank page. It was gone. The yarn, and for a moment even the shop. Then the shop came back, but empty. Did my order go through? And if so, what exactly did I order?

The product page at the time said only that it was 50g balls, no mention of gauge or yardage, so I had no idea what I was buying. Assuming it was tiny fingering-weight balls (given the geographic context, the look of the balls, and the relatively small price tag), I had plopped 10 grey in my cart and wondered what on earth I would do with them. For a few hours, it looked like maybe the order hadn’t gone through and it wouldn’t matter. Then came two notes from Etsy saying they had cancelled it, and more notes from Sue Hole (“Ben’s Auntie,” she said, aka @harpstone) — who I only later realized had made the announcement on Instagram, and who I hadn’t been following — that there was a problem between them and Etsy about taking payments, but that my yarn was on its way. At this point, I almost had to wonder if it was a scam — someone using the Hole family name and photos to make a fake Etsy shop — but the messages from Sue seemed genuine enough, and she wasn’t asking to be paid until the yarn arrived, seemingly understanding how fishy it all looked. So I waited again, to see if it would materialize.

Friday afternoon, my sopping-wet mailman handed me a sopping-wet plastic mailer, which I assumed was something else. When I tore it open, you can imagine how far my jaw dropped. Not only is it here, it isn’t tiny fingering-weight balls at all — it’s a sweater’s worth of dk/worsted-weight splendor. With a perfect hand-drawn label by Ariele Alasko, who totally won the talent lottery. (I mean.) And of course, I instantly began fantasizing about what it would become. Whatever it is, I will not be rushing into it! I feel so lucky (and almost guilty) to be in possession of this yarn — from sheep I follow on Instagram, ha! So it needs to be something special, and probably something very classic and British. Like a vest. Probably a vest.

Obviously the question on everyone’s lips is will there be more? Sue tells me they have another batch of fleece ready to go to the mill and it will be a couple of months before it’s yarn. I don’t know how long after that before it appears in the Etsy shop, but she’s promised to keep me posted. Meanwhile, following @harpstone is probably your best bet.

20 thoughts on “Hole and Sons and the unicorn sighting of the yarn world

  1. Congratulations! Your first post made me follow Hole & Sons. And I guess lots of knitters, too.
    So you earned to be provided with this wonderful wool.
    I keep waiting, trying to be paitent. Best from Germany, Ursula

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  2. Will try my luck with the next batch that comes through! I thought they had given up on the idea of selling yarn, wish they would advertise!

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  3. What a fabulous story Karen! I have also been following them on Instagram for quite a while now and it is a fun idea that you now own some of their sheep, so to speak… ;-)

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  4. You’re so lucky! A good score makes us think that much harder about what it wants to become. I look forward to see what you knit with it.

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  5. I think it wants to become the cabled vest from Banana Republic!! I for one would love to have that pattern. It would be the project to give me confidence to knit a sweater… which I’m too scared to try.

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  6. Congratulations on the yarn! I can patiently wait to see what it becomes, so please relish the experience of creating something with it. I will be living vicariously through you!! :-)

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  7. A vest is a great idea, I can’t wait to see what pattern you choose. My order came today! I have, in my possession, a couple of each color. Even though I took the time to message you, I still felt very rushed in ordering, sensing it wouldn’t last. I have no real plan for the wool but perhaps something will come to me during tomorrow’s blizzard :-)

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  8. I wondered what had ever happened about that yarn! If it was mine it would become a cabled, seafaring fisherman’s jumper, because mention of Dorset always makes me think of the novel “Moonfleet”. Lucky you getting your hands on some, it looks lovely!

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