Apr 27, 2017

Wallowing in Wool

One of the few things I love about winter is the unbridled opportunity to wallow in wool. From scarves and shawls to cardigans, mitts and afghans, every woolly item sees action on a regular basis.

Spring has arrived and summer is on the horizon, so an ode to the wonders of wool may seem odd, but like many of you, I work with it year round. From 100% wool to fiber blends, I rely on its springy resilience to keep my stitches even and help pieces rebound after washing.

Years ago, I discovered wool's inherent versatility when I worked in an environment where business suits were daily fare. After much experimentation, many false starts and lots of wasted dollars, I discovered the solution: classic, tailored suits in fine wool fabrics. They traveled well, required minimal maintenance and lasted a long time.

When I used my noodle and chose wisely and well, a few suits and a handful of separates offered countless variations that made it easy to dress for work and pack for business travel. In concession to our hot and humid summers, I had a few summer weight pieces, but overall, my work wardrobe consisted of a year-round core of wool and wool-silk blends.

When I began knitting in earnest, I had to relearn this important lesson. Early on, I made an oversized gansey in a wool-acrylic blend, followed by a sweater jacket in 100% wool. Both pieces survive today, but the difference between the two is notable. Pilled and rather limp, the gansey is restricted to at-home use. The all-wool sweater jacket, looks fresh and (nearly) new, so it's quite wearable. (One day soon, I'll try to get pictures of both.)

All of this is a long way of saying, with a few notable exceptions, wool is the common denominator in the yarns I love most. Warm weather may be on its way, but one way or another, I'll still be wallowing in wool.

PS: The photos show some of the wool and wool-blend yarns currently on the short list for summer knitting. Subject to change, of course!

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