Wool Resources–and Gift Ideas

by JUDITH D. SCHWARTZ & The Editors of Craftsmanship Quarterly


  • Be the first on your block (or do this for a friend or family member) to own the world’s first wool beanie certified to be climate-friendly. The wool in The North Face’s Cali Wool Beanie comes from a Northern California sheep ranch dedicated to methods of land management that are proven to regenerate the soil instead of depleting it. This allows the land to “sequester” carbon in the land, which slows climate change.
  • There isn’t anything cozier on a winter day than a soft woolen wrap. For one of the best, consider this gorgeous Alpaca cross between a cardigan and a wrap. The wool comes from Alpaca grown on sustainable ranches in Peru, left undyed–the better to appreciate its natural, deep grey color. (Note: It sold by Coyuchi, which specializes in sustainable bedding products; purchases through the link for this item, and the one that follows, benefit EcoCult, the leading blog on sustainable fashion.)
  • This sumptuous wool scarf, also made of wool from sustainable ranches in Peru, is produced in partnership with the United Nations. Purchases help support artisans in Peru and Chile, and 20 percent of any sales proceeds go toward a U.N. fund to end violence against women.
  • Good Wool makes soft, featherweight and breathable wool sourced from a family-owned farm in Tasmania, Australia. The farm is renowned for producing some of the world’s most ethically grown wool, which is spun at an environmentally-minded mill and manufacturing facility in Italy. Good Wool’s colorful collection of pieces for men’s and women’s suits is even finished with buttons made from nuts, biodegradable lining, and recycled paper hang-tags. Now that is sustainability!
  • For more gift ideas (and why you should consider them), read “4 Surprising Reasons Why Environmentalists Should Wear Wool,” by Alden Wicker, founding editor of EcoCult and a Craftsmanship Quarterly contributor.


  • For a full immersion into the realm of wool, see Tammy White’s blog for Wing and a Prayer Farm. (Make sure to check to see when you can catch the LambCam!)
  • Here is an introduction to Fibershed’s Climate Beneficial Wool program.
  • If you’re inspired to put some sheep on your property for “lamb-scaping” or for your own source of knitting wool, this backgrounder will get you up to speed on breeds and basics.
  • The Savory Institute’s Land to Market program focuses on regenerative supply chains. Look in particular for the institute’s excellent 30-minute documentary on wool.
  • To better understand how grazing animals like sheep can be beneficial to the environment, you may want to look at my book, “Cows Save the Planet: And Other Improbably Ways of Restoring Soil to Heal the Earth.”
  • To see how a regional, do-it-all wool mill operates, check out this 6-minute video of Battenkill Fibers, a carding and spinning mill in Greenwich in upstate New York. The mill offers custom processing to small-flock wool producers. (If you contact them, be forewarned: their town is pronounced “green-wich”)
  • And if you want a compelling case for thinking differently about livestock, treat yourself to Alan Savory’s influential 2013 TED Talk.

© 2020 Judith D. Schwartz, all rights reserved. Under exclusive license to Craftsmanship, LLC. Unauthorized copying or republication of this article is prohibited by law.

Published: December 10, 2017