Wyoming Wool Initiative Releases 2022 Wyoming Gold Blanket Design

August 24, 2022

The Wyoming Wool Initiative’s 2022 limited-edition wool throw is now available for sale online.

The blankets are made with wool from the University of Wyoming’s sheep flock in Laramie and manufactured at the Mountain Meadow Wool Mill in Buffalo.

Proceeds from blanket sales are used to support student internships and graduate assistantships; travel for wool judging competitions; and research and development for wool processing and manufacturing.

A new blanket design is released annually. Nicknamed “Wyoming Gold,” this year’s throw was designed by Lindsay Conley-Stewart, project manager for the Wyoming Wool Initiative.

The initiative is a nonprofit supported by the University of Wyoming College of Agriculture, Life Sciences and Natural Resources; University of Wyoming Extension; Mountain Meadow Wool; and other partners.

Its mission is to lead innovative research and programming that promotes and expands Wyoming’s sheep industry. 

“With supply chains being disrupted and the world changing so quickly, the timing is right to take a different look at how we add value to our wool clip,” says Whit Stewart, head of UW’s sheep program and co-founder of the initiative. “What if we expanded markets, allowed producers to get involved in the value-added phase?”

His quest to help Wyoming get more for its wool began in 2021 with a pile of warm, durable—and 100 percent Wyoming-made—wool throws. The pilot program proved successful, with 300 blankets purchased by patrons in 29 states across the U.S. and internationally.

Making a product in Wyoming start to finish is already an accomplishment, but the Wool Initiative is taking it a step further, using blockchain technology to document stages of production.

Blockchain is a digitized database that is shared and modified cryptographically, with the goal of improving product traceability, explains graduate student Courtney Newman.

“We began this project with the goal of bringing more value back to the farmgate so that producers can see the return on all their hard working raising American lamb and wool,” she says.

Dates, details, and processing information were recorded for each of the five stages of blanket production: shearing, first-stage processing, dyeing, spinning, and knitting.

Upon purchasing a blanket, customers can enter their blanket’s number on sheepchain.org and trace its production journey. Videos of each processing stage are also available.

Blankets can be ordered online at bit.ly/wy-blanket-project-2022. To learn more about the Wyoming Wool Initiative, visit bit.ly/wy-wool-initiative or contact woolinitiative@uwyo.edu. 

Source: University of Wyoming and Western Ag Network