What is Upcycled Yarn?

When you own a huge sock manufacturing company, making thousands of socks every day, what do you do with the odd cones of yarn left over from each run of a color or style?  This dilemma is the classic “last half-ball of yarn from a project” conundrum, writ large.  Very large.

As an environmentally-conscious company, Darn Tough Vermont didn’t want to send their surplus wool to the landfill, so they asked Bobolink Yarns to help.

The main issue at hand is scale: it is just not feasible to make small batches of socks on enormous machines.  For a company dealing in the global sock trade, fretting about a few cones of yarn here or there just doesn’t make sense. 

This opportunity fit right into Bobolink Yarn’s mission: Creating premium products from unused wool for fibercrafters.

In 2021, Bobolink Yarns received three tons of unused wool from Darn Tough Socks, and we’ve been developing yarns for handicraft and finished goods ever since.  While the focus of Bobolink Yarn is still to bring unused wool from farms into the marketplace, it was impossible to say no to repurposing a significant amount of wool.

Our Northern Wool Levity is plied and hand-dyed from 100% fine white wool.  Fully worsted yet soft, it makes beautiful, defined lace design patterns.  It can also be held together to create a sport yarn – perfect for people who prefer a thicker yarn.  I love how it takes color – the dye comes out lustrous, rich and expressive on this base.

Northern Wool Scarves are hand loomed from 100% finewool yarns that had already been dyed.  You’ll never touch a more pillowy, luxurious scarf.  While my expertise is in marketing yarn, I’ve found that offering scarves to knitters who know that their knitting time is limited before the holidays just seems natural.


Katie Sullivan is owner and chief wool-sorter at Bobolink Yarns. She frequently presents at yarn shops and her yarn is available at yarn shops throughout northern New England and at bobolinkyarns.com. When she isn’t knee-deep in wool, she enjoys baking pastry, nordic skiing and playing banjo.