When introducing new yarns to our selection here at KWA I often describe my relationship to the yarns as a love story - and this is because they often are! From noticing the yarn with a tingling feeling of falling in love, admiring from a distance, establishing a connection and finally as a full blown romance bringing the collaborations to a completion, my story with Nordic Yarn is definitely one of those.

Four years ago, wonderful Tia came to visit my shop. We sat down at the table in my back room and she told me the story behind her company Nordic Yarn and how they made ethical and eco-friendly Cashmere yarns, and what she told me completely blew my mind! A sustainable cashmere? Was that even possible?

If you've followed me for the last 10 years you know that cashmere is something I've been staying as far away from as possible. The major reason was that the fibres used in yarn production were practically impossible to trace. What we did know was that the increased demand for 'cheap' cashmere within mainstream fashion was creating huge environmental problems in Asia which in turn negatively affected the global climate - and this is still the case. Predation of land due to cashmere production hinders the growing of food from areas previously used for this purpose, and more so also forcing traditional shepherding away from large areas - robbing nomad people from their livelihoods. And here Tia was, telling me that she and Erik had come up with a production which countered all of this.

I immediately fell in love! But Nordic Yarn was new to the market, and I am a small independent yarn shop. Would I be able to make the investment needed, not only to bring the yarns to my shop but also to convince my customers that this cashmere was truly ethical and worth its price? If the yarn market is flooded with cashmere for £5 a pop, how would I be able to make them justify spending maybe 4 times as much just based on my own convictions and principles. The time was not right - but time has definitely worked for me. As consciousness about sustainability, ethical production and consumption has grown, my job has definitely become easier in communication what we stand or here at KWA and why we do things the way we do it. The time has come to bring this love story to its completion - Eco Cashmere is finally on my shelves - and I couldn't be happier about it!

Nordic Yarn origins out of the love between an Italian man and a Finnish lady. They lived near Florence in the city of Prato which is famous for its yarn production but also for recycling clothes. In a time where the reuse of materials were almost unheard of, the recycling techniques that were developed in Prato led to an expertise incomparable to clothes production elsewhere.

- We lived near Florence in the city of Prato, which was the Italian yarn center. My father and his brother owned a company which was recycling clothes. They were ahead of their time, although these days recycling is a common practice, says Erik Palmariello

The Palmariello family used their Finnish connections to establish their clothing production. In the 60's it was still possible to buy used, high-quality wool clothes from Finland and these were bought and sent to Italy where in Prato the material was processed and resold.

When his father passed away Erik moved back to Finland with his mother and met Tia. Erik and Tia traveled all over the world and got to know different cultures and languages, acting as agents for Italian yarn companies. Wondering how they could combine their own sales and marketing skills with Erik’s family background in textile recycling, they thought of yarn. There is hardly any textile industry in Finland anymore, so they thought what would Finns need: yarn, of course, as many knit warm accessories and clothes. So they eventually ended up developing their own range and Nordic Yarn was born.

Tia and Erik didn't want to make the same sock yarn the world is already full of. They wanted a high-quality luxury yarn, which also included sustainable values. Researching different yarn types they decided to focus on cashmere for ecological reasons. As the company has evolved this also includes the production of Baby Camel and Fine Merino yarns, though the Eco Cashmere will always be at the centre of their production. Tia and Erik are no longer husband and wife, but a true power house couple as business partners owning 50% each of Nordic Yarn. They now work full-time together as coworkers and produce their range, conscious of the well-being of the animals from which the fibres origin, the well-being of the global environment, and the well-being of all workers involved in the production.

-I am really proud of our yarns. When we started, we were the only company in the world that made cashmere yarn this way. Today, our competitors’ yarns are of different types, they are thicker and the fibers are short. The knitwear does not become very durable. Our yarns are by far better quality. The raw material is recycled and half of it is cashmere goat’s virgin wool from Mongolia. Nordic Yarn buys the fibre from nomadic tribes whose goats are not intensively produced, says Erik. - We know where the wool comes from so accurately that we could nearly point out the exact goat. Our criteria is very precise.

Eco Cashmere is a DK weight 50g Skein of 100% Cashmere made up of 50% virgin wool and 50% recycled cashmere yarn. Beautifully soft with a nice twist, this plump DK weight yarn will be great for any projects like jumpers, hats, scarves and shawls. Compared to mainstream cashmere production Nordic Yarn has been able to develop a method that achieves a total reduction of 74% in water, 66% in energy use, and 78% in carbon dioxide; it has 5 times lower environmental impact than similar yarns.

Eco Cashmere is incredibly light-weight. The recycled element in part comes from second hand clothing. Some of it comes from surplus material from the large fashion houses like Versace, Valentino, Dolce & Gabbana, Givenchy or Arman. They do not break the recycled fibre or re-dye it, their colour technicians manufacture the yarn colour according to the original recycled material. Only the new wool is dyed to match the recycled wool using eco-friendly dyes. The recycled content helps make this cashmere less pill-prone than others so your garments and accessories still look great after a winter of wear.

Knit with attitude is immensly proud to be introducing the yarns of Nordic Yarn to our selection, starting out with the yarn which we feel really embodies the essence of what their story is all about - the Eco Cashmere.

Yarn Weight: DK
Recommended Needle Size: 4mm - 4.5mm/US6 - US7
Gauge: 21–23sts – 10cm/4”
Weight: 50g
Meterage: 150m/164yrds – 50g