C. Oregon ranch's wool used in Winter Olympics outfits
Imperial Stock Ranch sheep wool for Ralph Lauren's Olympic sweaters
Ninety miles from Bend, on 35,000 acres near Maupin, sits Imperial Stock Ranch.
"The ranch headquarters are a national historic district, it's the only ranch in Oregon with that designation that is still in operation," co-owner Jeanne Carver said Wednesday.
A historic ranch -- older than a century -- and owners Jeanne and Dan Carver are keeping business afloat in a modern economy.
"I had at one point up to 20 women doing production, knitting, weaving, felting, cut and sew, and we started producing apparel within 120 miles of the ranch," Carver said.
Jeanne and her team already were sending products to from the ranch to the runway, when the phone rang.
"I picked up the phone and said hello, and this man just started rolling with the questions about the yarn and I said, 'Excuse me, wait a minute -- which yarn store are you with?' And he said, 'I'm not with a yarn store, I'm with product development in New York for Polo Ralph Lauren,' And I literally said, 'You're kidding me!"
One of the biggest names in fashion wanted to use her wool to make this year's Olympic parade sweaters -- the fallout from a big flap in 2012, when it was learned that America's Olympic team outfits were not made in the USA.
That won't be the case in Sochi, Russia in February.
"I asked him how he found us, and he said, 'I've been doing my homework. I walked into a luxury yarn shop in New York and asked where I should get yarn.' Someone told him to go to Imperial Stock Ranch in Oregon -- and he did," Carver said.
In a collaboration with 40 U.S. partners, more than 6,000 pounds of wool, more than 5 million yards of yarn and 650 uniforms for Team USA were made.
"This touches so many people," Carver said. "This isn't just an Imperial Ranch thing, a lot of people are a part of this."
From a New York design firm to an Oregon ranch, a realization of the Carvers' dream -- to make products without having to cross an ocean.
"This is something you can't even dream of," she said. "I can't even dream this big. This doesn't happen to people like us. We were just doing our job like every day, and they found us -- and it's incredible that they did."
You can buy Imperial Stock yarn all over the country, including right here in Central Oregon. You can find their yarn at Butterfly Yarn Shop in Redmond, The Stitchin' Post in Sisters and Gossamer Knitting in Bend.
Learn more at: http://www.imperialstockranch.com/
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