Classic Elite Yarns had its origin in the late 1940s as part of an old-line textile manufacturing mill in Lowell, MA. Classic Elite was created as a marketing division of the mill and catered to hand weavers and designers. At the same time, the brand expanded beyond its original iconic mohairs to include cottons, silks, alpacas, wools and natural fiber blends. CEY began presenting at industry trade shows and producing two annual collections of handknitting designs – and the new company also began to make the pages of international fashion magazines.
Today Classic Elite Yarns is owned, managed and staffed primarily by women, and is no longer in the manufacturing business (the mill operation having shut down in the 1990s). Instead it focuses on distributing fine handknitting yarns from numerous international mills.