Friday, February 7, 2014

Episode 55 - Imperial Stock Ranch

It is no secret that both Gayle and I are fans of Imperial Stock Ranch yarns. I love the fact that in a global wool economy, the yarn I purchase from Imperial is comparatively "local." I love the fact that the ranch is a family-owned business. I love that I can talk to the person who raises the sheep, knows the history of all the buildings on the ranch, pays the bills, and selects new colors for the yarn lines. Imperial Stock Ranch is that kind of a place.

Olympic sweater, back, Imperial Yarns Erin base.
Gayle and I were lucky enough to catch Jeanne Carver the day before the opening ceremonies of the XXII Olympic Winter Games. It was the day before the US Olympic Team would attend the opening ceremony wearing the Ralph Lauren-designed sweaters made from Imperial Yarns--5.6 million yards of their Erin base to be exact, some 6250 pounds of wool. The story of how their yarns went from sheep to Olympic sweater is worth watching.  View it here, as told by Ralph Lauren.

If you visit the Imperial Stock Ranch website, you will see there are three areas to the ranch, producing meat, textiles, and yarns

Other stories about the ranch and the wool:
Oregon wool in Olympic Sweaters, from The Bulletin
Imperial Ranch entering apparel field, from The Oregonian

This eleven-minute video gives the best overview of the whole ranch operation, as told by the Oregon Field Guide.

Olympic sweater, front, Imperial Yarns Erin base.
To see the sweaters worn by the Olympians, view this article here, as told by Today.

Our short hour with Jeanne didn't allow us to talk about all the history of the ranch, but you can find out more here, as told by Jeanne to the Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education organization.

You want cute lambs? Find them here, and find out what happens when ewes give birth to triplets.

This is a nice photo essay on the day the Imperial Collection was photographed, from The Oregonian.

There is also a short video that was put together by the local NBC affiliate about the ranch, the yarn, and the Erin wool that was chosen for the Olympic sweater. It can be viewed here.

At the beginning of our chat, Jeanne mentioned she could see snow outside and how the land needed the moisture. A ranch--like any living being--needs certain things to survive and flourish. The welcome moisture in the dry climate is just one of many needs. The ranch's current caretakers Jeanne and Dan Carver are giving back to the land in many ways, and Imperial Ranch willingly gives in return. As fiber artists, we have the opportunity to pick and choose the tools of our creation. I know that I will be using Imperial Yarns in the future. I too want to be part of the Imperial Stock Ranch story.

- Sharlene


  1. Any leads as to whether RL will be publishing the pattern? I love it!

    1. you know I like it to but I was reading on different pages how other knitters thought it was to much and how ugly it is. I do love it though it reminds me of the "older original RL sweaters and to me screams RL and America!

  2. THANK YOU for the wonderful interview with Jeanie and web links to items regarding Imperial Stock Ranch. I have ALWAYS wanted to knit the Sunburst Shirt Dress. My yarn choice? Tracie Too, of course!

  3. A wonderful episode! So interesting and educational!!!