1. How did the company come to be called Brown Sheep Company?
Harlan and Janet Brown founded the company in 1980. Harlan originally had a sheep and wool business before and simply carried over the name of the company.
2. What type of sheep do you get your wool from?
Brown Sheep Company buys the majority of their wool directly from the growers who have a variety of good wool breeds such as Corridales, Ramboulets, and Columbians.
3. Does Brown Sheep do the complete process there in Mitchell, NE?
The only piece in the process that the company is not able to accomplish for themselves is the scouring, carding and combing. The scouring process takes a great deal of water, which is not in abundance in Western Nebraska. To complete this process, the greasy wool is baled and trucked to a combing plant. Here approximately 50 to 55% of the weight is lost in dirt, vegetable matter, grease, and short fibers.
4. How does the company pick new colors?
Once a year new colors are picked and some old ones are discontinued to keep different lines of yarns fresh and current with fashion. Brown’s subscript to the Color Association of the United States. This organization develops their predictions based on the colors as shown on the European runway. The current colors that are already in the line up for different yarns are compared to the predictions and if there is a significantly new color it is considered for production.
5. Why are some colors discontinued and how does the company decide which ones to discontinue?
As new colors are added, it becomes necessary to discontinue some colors, simply because there is not enough space for all of the wonderful colors that the Brown Sheep Company likes to create. The decision on which colors are discontinued is mostly based on sales. If a color is on the bottom of sales, it is usually the first to go. Another consideration is that some colors can be very troublesome for us to reproduce. If the dye company has cancelled a dye, we may run into a problem with reproducibility.
6. Are BSC yarns only good for knitting and crocheting?
Not only are they excellent for knitting and crocheting, but our yarns are great for weaving as well. We also offer roving's for hand spinners.
7. Will Brown Sheep yarns felt?
Yes, they are excellent “felters” but with a few exceptions. Our Lamb’s Pride Superwash will NOT felt because it is specially treated so that it can be machine washable. Also the following colors are not recommended for felting: White Frost, Crème, Sun Yellow, Snow, and Lullaby.
8. Do you moth proof your yarns?
Yes, we use a non-insecticide chemical called Ecolan CEA to moth proof our wool. It is added to the dye bath at the same time as the dyes and is "permanent" in the sense that it will not wash, rub, or dry clean off the wool. The treatment works as an insect resist agent by making the wool protein unpalatable to the wool moth larvae.