Sometimes you have to come clean and own up to something that you may have been trying to avoid admitting. My admission is that I am a wool snob, and now that I have come to terms with this, I can begin to do something about it (or not).
When you have your own sheep and the luxury to knit with yarn made from your own flock, you tend to favour things with a more natural feel to them. And when you work in the woollen industry you have access to – and gain a large knowledge of – various different wool types, yarn types, spins, specifications and uses. To this end, you find that when you are given the choice between mass-produced acrylic, or 100% pure traceable wool that is equally as soft, you find you are happy to pay the higher price for the pure wool. At least I find I am!
At the moment I am using up my stash of sock yarns. These are either 100% pure wool or 80% wool and 20% nylon. They’ve been hand-dyed beautifully and skilfully and knit up like a dream. (Also on a nerdy side note, they are all worsted and around half of them are superwash…though I do tend to avoid this if possible). However, this yarn is not always practical as though I am perfectly happy to hand-wash and block garments, not everybody has the time. As a result of this, it is important to take into consideration the use of the garment and how it may be washed.
A good example…
My great aunt has just gone into a nursing home, and when I last visited her she had mentioned about how cold her feet got when she was sat around. ‘Aha!’, I thought to myself, ‘Another sock project!’ Binty and I have both worked in nursing homes and we’ve both seen how the laundry is done…nobody has time to wash hand-knitted wool bed socks by hand.
So what do you use? Acrylic! More specifically, James C. Brett marble chunky. This yarn is machine washable (at 30 degrees) and will make a much more user-friendly end product. (When I finally get around to it).
The moral of this story is that it is okay to be a wool snob (so long as you aren’t rude to others about it), but you have to realise that not everyone else is. You must take into consideration that if you are a knitting for someone else, they really may not care one iota that the garment is made from organic superwash merino from high-welfare farms that has been hand-dyed by artisan dyers!