Harmony is always possible—that’s the philosophy behind PIRTTI.
Living and working in harmony with the earth and with ourselves may not always be the fastest or the easiest. It often requires slowing down, trying something new, failing, and learning. Finding joy in the process.
I practice this in my own studio projects, from the Muse top to dyeing with expired flowers and food waste. And I learn from others around me doing the same. When my friend and collaborator, Kei Zemlicka, shared her latest project, creating a locally produced sweater from heritage wool, I connected with it immediately. Sourcing local wool, spinning the yarn, and designing a versatile, timeless fit—the richness of this sweater is beyond how it wears (although I can attest that mine is my favorite sweater). I’m so proud to bring the end result of Kei's journey into PIRTTI’s fold. The Farm Sweater is available now, in limited quantities, in the PIRTTI shop.
Read on to learn more about the process and beauty behind this special garment.
Kei Zemlicka is a seasoned knitwear designer, having spent decades designing for premium brands and traveling the world honing her expertise. She's poured this knowledge into the Farm Sweater, creating a piece unlike any other in her career. She set out to make a sweater using local, heritage wool and local production—already no easy feats. She added the challenge of matching the premium quality that is typically only seen in knitwear from places like Italy, Peru, and China.
To make this happen, she partnered with Wooly Meadow Farm near New Paltz, NY. This little Hudson Valley farm is equally devoted to slower, more deliberate ways of working. They're truly stewards of the land where they raise their heritage sheep and sell gorgeous, natural wool.
The Farm Sweater is crafted from 50% CVM wool from Wooly Meadow Farm and 50% merino wool from the Southeastern US. CVM (California Variegated Mutant) sheep were developed in the 1960s from the Romeldale breed. They're unique for their multicolored pattern of fleece—that's the mutation that gives them their name.
CVM wool is premium quality and 22-25 micron—it has a soft loft but can be itchy next to the skin. That (and cost) is why Kei chose to mix in merino. When spun together at the Battenkill Spinning Mill in the Adirondacks, the two wools created a gorgeous, soft yarn that's hardwearing, naturally anti-microbial, and super warm.
Designing this sweater, Kei began as she always does—with hand-knit swatches, testing patterns and textures. She developed a plush, classic fabric and gave the body of the sweater plenty of ease and generous cuffs. From the upstate wool to small batch machine knitting in Queens, the sweater is a through-and-through exercise in local production.
It's warm and comfortable. The fit is easy and practical. Hike in it. Roll up your sleeves and work in it. I've put my own Farm Sweater to the test and so has Kei, who even wore hers during a recent PIRTTI workshop.
Sweaters like this are made for life, to be patched and repaired and enjoyed for years.
Shop the Farm Sweater in the PIRTTI shop. Limited quantities available.