Who’s afraid of the big bad wool?

maluka table
Maluka scarf
greenshawlout
Sandness shawl

I love knitting with wool, I reckon if you’re going to spend all that time and effort on something, you might as well knit (or crochet) with yarn you love.

I’ll always have something nice to knit for wool fans and those who aren’t so keen on sheepy things in my shop – life is always made lovelier by accepting that we are all a bit different! But I will keep on trying to make a wee bit more room for woolly yarn!

Big bad wool? Here are my thoughts….

More expensive? Well it can be, but it can also be cheaper than some fashion yarns and about the same price as some acrylics. Take a look at James C Brett’s Legacy for a good value, woollen, machine washable yarn.

Hard to/ impossible to  machine wash: Most wool can be machine washed and some can even be tumble dried. It’s usually a 30 degree wash, but that’s recommended for all laundry these days. I reckon tumble drying is horrible to all knitted garments regardless of fibre content, it makes them floppy and probably contributes to pilling.

Hand wash tip: *squoosh your woolly thing around in warm, slightly soapy water, squash out the soapy stuff and rinse with cool plain water. Try and *smoosh out as much water as you can and then plop the knitted thing onto a towel, roll it up in the towel and then stand on the towel until the dampness starts coming through. You’ll end up with something dry enough to pop on a radiator which will then dry in next to no time. 

Not suitable for babies – well, babies give knitwear a good going over that’s for sure, but wool is machine washable (see above) and some can even be tumble dried. It’s soft these days (see below) and natural (see further below) and if you want to wrap something organic around somebody you love, well, wool’s the thing.

It’s itchy: yep, home grown wool used to be itchy and if, like me, you had an aunty who could never quite remember your size (and didn’t believe in ‘baggy’ sweaters anyway) you’ll be a wee bit reluctant to go *’full sheep’. But in blends it’s fine and worn with a bit of **’positive ease’ it will be ok too. In any case, these days ‘wool’ usually means Blue Faced Leicester or merino which is as soft as a babies…

And finally, sheep turn grass and rain into wool. It keeps them warm and dry and they regrow it every year. It’s sustainable, eco-friendly and not in short supply.  Acrylic yarns are produced as a by-product of oil: they are non-natural, non-sustainable and therefore probably not great for the planet in the long run.

Visit the Campaign for Wool for more pro-wool information.

*recognized woolly thing terms

** ‘positive ease’ = a wee bit baggy and ‘negative ease’ = snug around the chest ; )

variety is the spice of life

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I am a knitter, but I learnt to crochet when I was a kid, I’ve dabbled in embroidery and dressmaking, and when I have the time I also like to do a bit of drawing. But I mostly knit and really didn’t consider crochet to be a big part of my repertoire.

But now I’m ‘hooked’ on making pretty little crochet squares for a blanket and I’m beginning to wonder if it’s a wee bit limiting to stick so firmly to just the one woolly pass-time. Someone came in the shop the other day – a lovely lady and a crochet fan. She told me, quite firmly, that she did not ‘do’ knitting as it was too slow. I was a bit put out.

But I had said the same thing not that long ago: I didn’t ‘do’ crochet I insisted: you couldn’t do it in front of the TV, it eats up tons of yarn and well, it was just too finicky. But after spending some time browsing blogs and oohing and aahing over pretty blankets I though, well why not have a go?

It turns out that with crochet you can really go to town on colour and prettiness, because it really lends itself to blankets and cushions. As someone who is rarely out of jeans and has a wardrobe full of funereal black, it’s lovely to mix and match pinks and pastels, and turn the femininity up a notch.

So I guess the message is never say never: variety is the spice of life after all.

Useful Internet links: Attic 24 – lovely colours and nice easy tutorials too.

Coco Rose Diaries  (sadly she is no longer blogging, the pages will remain up I imagine)

Spice of life crochet blanket – I know that many of you are already familiar with this pattern, but it’s lovely, on message and worth a link.