I am Michele Dillon, and "Toots" was my grandma. She taught me to knit when I was a child, and thus began a lifelong pasion that continues to this day. She was the inspiration for the company name - I am the "& Co." Toots LeBlanc & Co. is dedicated to bringing a hand-spinner experience to knitters, crocheters, weavers, etc. who don't spin.
In my early twenties, I learned the art of spinning. The process of making my own yarn created an awareness and understanding of what was passing through my fingers. I began to see that there was no bad wool, only that there were specific applications for each of the many types of wool. Often the success of any given project could be traced back to the proper selection of wool. That "scratchy" sweater I'd hated as a youngster was probably made from a strong wool that was better suited for a rug. Or that pair of socks I loved, but which wore out too quickly, was probably made with a yarn not durable enough to withstand the pressures of normal foot wear.
My yarn begins from wool purchased from small family farmers throughout Washington, Oregon and California. Each batch is hand cleaned, sorted and inspected for color and fiber content. Once the characteristics of the wool are identified, they are then custom blended with other types of wool to create a unique yarn. (For instance, merino sheep wool blended with angora rabbit wool). The wool is processed without harsh detergents or chemicals and then spun into yarn at a local Oregon mill. I label each yarn with the breeds that contributed to its final makeup, helping you to make a decision related to its suitability for your project. The fact that the yarn is lightly processed, and is produced at a small mill creates a uniqueness not found in the uniformity of commercially produced yarns.
All of the yarn that is produced by Toots LeBlanc & Co. is undyed, so that all the color comes naturally from the animal. While this means that there are no dye lots, it does mean that there are fleece lots. Animals and flocks change from year-to-year, and the yarns change along with them so that the Medium Grey of one year will not be identical to Medium Grey the following year.
I am proud to be able to do a small part in keeping the small family farmer, as well as sheep and other fiber animals "working" in this world. I am also pleased to be able to offer knitters and other crafters these unique yarns, and I hope that you find working with them to be a pleasurable experience.
In closing I would like to say a special "thank you!" to my brother Carl Brittain for his invaluable help in bringing my dream to life.