Peace Fleece! I talked a bit about Peace Fleece in the Shopcast epsiode 149, but I also wanted to write a bit about it here. Peace Fleece is made from 75% Navajo Rambouillet wool and 25% Texas mohair, woolen-spun in Harrisville, New Hampshire. The company was originally founded as a bridge between the USA and USSR during the Cold War, sourcing wool from the Soviet Union (and then many former Soviet countries) and blending it with American mohair and wool. Now, Peace Fleece has shifted its sourcing to the USA, primarily from Navajo Nation, with the same purpose – to unite peoples through fiber arts.
I can’t say enough about how much I love Peace Fleece Worsted, which we now carry at The Woolly Thistle. It is a 2ply yarn, dyed in the wool and woolen-spun. In my mind, it is approximately an Aran weight, but because of its fluffiness, it can be knit at both tighter and looser gauges without issue. I would say you could get away with anything from 12 sts/4 inches to 20 sts/4 inches, with the 12 being quite loose, drapey, and less durable, and 20 being very tight, stiff, and durable for something like mittens. I’ve used it at 14 sts/4 inches for an oversized sweater, 17 sts/4 inches for a classic men’s sweater, and I actually knit a pair of fingerless mitts with a close to 24 sts/4 inches gauge!
I knit a few swatches in Peace Fleece in the Poashja Hemlock colorway. On a US8, I got 18 sts/4 inches. On a US9, it was more like 16 sts/4 inches I also knit on a US9 in the round and got 15 sts/4 inches – showing that swatching in the round is critical for knitting projects in the round! Then, I also washed the US9 swatch in the washing machine and it did shrink a little bit to 16.5 sts/4 inches – make sure to wash or block your swatch as you intend to wash or block your garment!
Because of the mohair content, this yarn does have halo and fuzz to it. I might not use it in an intricate lace pattern, just because it won’t show off your hard work as well. I have knit it in a textural lace, not something I needed to block out and be very visible to have impact. But the fuzziness, plus the woolen-spun construction, makes it ideal for colorwork. I think of it as a jumbo-sized Jamieson & Smith 2-ply Jumper weight – even though it’s not Shetland wool, it has the same ability to stick itself together and comes in wonderful heathered colors.
Speaking of colors, I love the Peace Fleece colors! Because of how the yarn is made, the colors come out with all kinds of tweed-like bits and colored fibers that add so much depth and interest to the primary color. For example, Amaranth is a deep red, but it has purple, blue, and black fibers blended in. Bonnie Blue Gap is a dark blue with bright blue, yellow, and green fibers. Anna’s Grasshopper is a sage/mint light green with bits of yellow, orange, and white, among others. The colors are so interesting that they do a lot of work for you – even in a straight stockinette project, the colors add depth and movement.
Bottom line? Peace Fleece is a thicker weight yarn, in unique colors, with a halo and the lightness of a fluffy woolen-spun yarn. I love it for sweaters, hats, mitts, and cowls, in stockinette, colorwork, and soft textured stitches.