Rhode Warm Wool Blankets

 

Members of the RI Sheep Cooperative gathered at the Urban Edge Farm in Cranston, RI for the 1st Rhody Warm Wool Collection

 

How it all started...
It all started in 2006, when 19 Rhode Island sheep farmers decided to find a way to turn waste wool into profit, and help them continue to run successful, local farm operations. Rhode Island sheep farmers were having difficulty selling their wool. The decline of wool textile mills in New England and low wool prices had turned much ram wool into a nuisance rather than a product. As a result, excess raw wool is often stored on the farm, used as compost, buried or disposed of at local landfills. Rhode Island sheep producers approached RI RC&D with a request to investigate options for the local use of their raw wool.

RI RC&D facilitated the formation of a project steering committee to move the venture forward in 2006. Committee members include representatives from the Rhode Island Sheep Cooperative, RI Resource Conservation and Development Council, URI, USDA-NRCS and private citizens. The Committee's project goal was to produce wool blankets by the fall of each year to have for sale during the holiday season.

Each year, wool is collected from local sheep growers and it is shipped to South Carolina for cleaning and processing before returning to nearby Massachusetts for spinning and weaving. The woven wool then returns home to RI for fulling, napping, cutting, and finishing. Since then, over 125 producers have contributed to the production of the successful Rhody Warm brand of quality wool blankets.

The long term goal of this project is to develop a process to produce quality wool blankets to bring more income to farmers. Ultimately, we hope that more wool producers will participate in the project and serve to promote the sustainability of local agriculture and agriculture products. If you have sheep and would like to contribute wool to the project, we welcome you to join the Co-operative.

Giving Back...
Proceeds from the Rhody Warm Blanket Project have helped provide funding for 4-H Scholarships, donations to other local organizations and increased programs offered by the RI Sheep Co-Operative.

Current Partners...

  • Rhode Island Sheep Cooperative
  • RIDEM Division of Agriculture
  • USDA-NRCS
  • USDA-Rural Development
  • RI Resource Conservation and Development Council
  • Connecticut Sheep Breeders Association
  • RI Rural Development Council
  • University of Rhode Island
  • Southside Community Land Trust - Urban Edge Farm
  • Worcester County Sheep Producers

The Process...

Shearing

Raw Wool Collection

S&D Spinning, Millbury, MA

Spinning Yarn

Finished Yarn

Napping

Finished Blanket

 

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© Copyright 2008-2014 Rhode Island Sheep Cooperative. All rights reserved.
PO Box 88 Harmony, Rhode Island 02829 401-578-2012

Rhode Island Sheep Cooperative, Home of Rhody Warm Wool Blankets - 100% wool blankets and wool throws
made from RI sheep's wool; a joint venture of Rhode Island Resource Conservation & Development Area Council (RIRC&D),
RIDEM Division of Agriculture, and RI Sheep Co-op, a group of RI sheep farmers, RI sheep breeders and producers
of raw wool used for woolen blankets, wool throws, and other sheep products made from RI wool.