The home spinning of woollen yarn so that it could be woven into cloth or knitted into garments for personal use or local consumption was a normal activity in most communities down through the Centuries.
South West Donegal was no exception in this. What was different,was the yarn it developed and produced.
Reputed to be influenced by the scenic beauty of the landscape with its green valleys and hills flecked with grey and white stones, purple, pink and blue heathers in the Summer, the golden shades of the Autumn, the red berries of the Rowan and Holly trees in Winter and in Spring the yellow blooms of the Gorse bushes this (“Donegal”) yarn had unique features never seen in any other yarn.
The yarn consists of a base colour mixture of up to six individual colours with up to another seven or eight contrasting solid fleck dotted along the surface of the yarn. The skill and craft in producing this yarn lies in the ability to attach the fleck while keeping the solid contrasting feature of the fleck intact.
Although “Donegal” effect yarn has existed in the area for centuries it was the explosion of “Donegal Tweed” (which takes its name from the yarn) onto the International market just over a hundred years ago that brought “Donegal” effect yarns to the attention of the industry worldwide.
Donegal yarns, itself grown out of the same history has been to the forefront in developing and expanding the range of this yarn for the weaving, commercial knitting and the home knitting trades. It prides itself in the skills of its workforce which are handed down the generations to the present day.