Introducing...Reno Rafter 7!


It's been about a year in the making which makes this announcement that much sweeter - please help us welcome our very own line of yarn, Reno Rafter 7!! 

Rafter 7 sheep, the namesake of our new yarn, are raised right here in Nevada - less than 250 miles from us here in Reno! The breed was developed in 1990 by our local University of Nevada, Reno’s College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources department and are raised and bred in Eureka, NV. Rafter 7 sheep are well adapted to the harsh Great Basin environment and produce some of the finest wool in the nation!

Once the sheep are shorn, their wool goes from Nevada to Wyoming to be spun and hanked at Mountain Meadow Wool, then off to Texas to be hand-dyed at our sister company, Madelinetosh. From Texas, it comes right back to us to sell to you in Reno, NV - a truly local, American-made yarn!

To really showcase our Nevada-based yarn, we appropriately selected 7 local designers to create a winter collection full of soft, muted tones, in the most gorgeous of garments!


Quinn's Quilt by MarinjaKnits

“Quinn’s Quilt” takes its name from the Quinn Canyon Range on the Eastern side of the state, north of Las Vegas and south of Ely. While Marin doesn't live in Nevada, she feels fortunate to have family in Reno that she visits often. "I definitely have a special place in my heart for Nevada and its wilderness. I love the color pallet of Rural Western Nevada, it is well reflected in the colors of this new yarn line." 


The inspiration of the quilt grew from thinking about old west themes, especially woven blankets and rugs; and the elements in those designs. It morphed into the design you see based on a traditional quilt star or starburst pattern.


Genoa Canyon Cowl by Connie Peng 

Longtime Nevada resident, Connie Peng, originally moved to the Lake Tahoe area for a season of snowboarding but ended up making the state home for over 19 years because of the mountains and the good life of Nevada. "The air here is clean and crisp, the space is open. Over the years I've loved seeing rainbows over the high desert and the reflection of the moon on the alpine lake on my commute from Lake Tahoe to Carson Valley for work. The colors are ever-changing over the high desert, and I love how the muted palette of Reno Rafter 7 yarn reflects that."


The Genoa Canyon Cowl took inspiration from the mountains of Western Nevada and the reflections of them onto various bodies of water around the region including Lake Tahoe, Washoe Lake, and Pyramid Lake, all sacred places for the Washoe and Paiute tribes. 


Cactus Bloom and Rattlesnake Trail Sweaters by Amy Gunderson

Amy Gunderson is a relatively new Nevadan, having relocated here in 2019 for her job at Jimmy Beans Wool. Originally from Iowa, she will never get enough of seeing the majestic mountains that surround Reno - a far cry from the flatlands of the Midwest! She's lived on the east coast, in the south, and for the first time found herself on the west coast. She immediately felt a connection with Reno when she moved here, and can't imagine living anywhere else.

While the snow Sierra Nevada mountains flank the west side of Reno, it was the other desert-like landscapes and colors that inspired Amy Gunderson's sweaters for the Reno Rafter 7 collection. "At a glance, the colors here are perhaps a little boring, brown, and dry, but there is beauty and nuance in these shades. The sage greens have depth and variation. And just as in my Cactus Bloom sweater, there are pops of color to cheer things up."  

Aspen Grove Tam & Mittens by Justine Chenel 

Justine Chenel is a knitwear designer based in Nevada City in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California. Originally from New Orleans, Justine has spent most of her life in Northern California and has developed a deep appreciation for the natural world, especially the Sierra Nevada, where she draws her knitting inspiration from. Growing up, many of her summers were split between exploring the swamps of Louisiana, and road trips to Lake Tahoe and Carson Valley. 

"For the Aspen Grove Tam and Knit set, I took inspiration from the glorious green groves of aspen trees that transform their leaves every autumn, turning the eastern Sierra Nevada and high desert of Nevada a stunning gold." This classic, yet modern, set features a cabled detail reminiscent of aspen leaves across a soft purl background and knits up beautifully in the squishy and wooly Reno Rafter 7 yarn. 


Dancing Flames Hat by Natalya

For this design, Natalya was inspired by the beauty of Nevada, including the peace and quietness that can be found wandering outdoors in this state. "I have so many lifetime memories of the times I have spent in Lake Tahoe and Virginia City with wonderful people hiking and having campfire gatherings!" 

Originally from Europe, she now resides in the Las Vegas area. Natalya is still finds awe of how absolutely incredible the mountains, desert landscapes, Joshua Trees, and historic towns in Nevada are.




Fireside Sweater and Trellis Cowl by Julee Mackessy

Julee Mackessy is an occupational therapist in Reno, where she works with children to strengthen their fine motor skills. She learned to crochet in grade school from a friend's grandmother and got into knitting several years later. In graduate school her love of knitting solidified, becoming her primary way of channeling stress and anxiety. 

"I love getting to see my designs knit and worn by others - the colorway choices, the drape of the chosen fiber, and ease preferences of each knitter combine to suit their body types in different and unique ways. It's another thrill to see on social media or hear firsthand how much joy a knitter found in working through one of her designs."



Slalom Mitts and Crooked River Wrap by Romi Hill

Romi Hill and her family relocated to northern Nevada (Washoe territory) for the wide-open spaces and beautiful clear air from her home in the Walker River watershed. 

She took her love for watching the seasons change and incorporated it into the designs she made for this collection. "In the autumn, the river traces a meandering pattern of golden sunlit foliage and deep indigo shadow across the vast high desert landscape and that is what influenced the Crooked River Wrap. For the Slalom Mitts, I took inspiration from the mountains in the winter, when skis and snowboards trace curving paths down the snowy slopes."



To recreate these stunning patterns created by these designers, you can shop the Reno Rafter 7 kits on our site! 

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