Sunday, January 4, 2009

Back to School--Wool

Tomorrow, my kids are going back to school (and daycare). I thought having them home for two weeks would feel really looong, but it went by so quickly. No more staying up late and sleeping in in the mornings. 7 a.m., ouch! Who invented that? Why can't we all start our days at 9? It's almost 10 p.m. now, so if I want to get any sleep tonight, I better get going...

Wool (Sheep):

(I got this gorgeous image from Utah State University's website, I hope they don't mind :-) )

I love wool. It's almost worth writing a whole book about it. There are so many companies out there spinning and dying beautiful merino and regular lambs wool--a few are truly exceptional. But more of that later... First, let's talk about the basics:

www.sheep101.info lists way over 100 breeds on the website. Not all of them are bred for wool. I won't go into detail about each breed, but simply say that there is wool, and there is merino...

Wool is incredibly durable. It is warm and can be spun in varying thicknesses. Machine spun, it is usually totally smooth. When handspun, its thickness can vary throughout the same ball of yarn, giving it a very attractive, uneven look. Natural wool appears in black, brown, and beige. The beige wool is highly absorbent and ideal for dyeing. Wool is sold in many colors, sometimes within the same ball of yarn. It can be smooth or scratchy, and may contain traces of hay. Sometimes wool is spun with little knobs to give it a three-dimensional, knobby feel.

Of all the yarns, wool is probably the most versatile. Thin wool (like lace) knitted with thicker needles can be used for summer throws, skirts, dresses, tank tops, and shirts. Thicker wool knitted more densely can make great sweaters and ponchos for spring or fall. Very thick wool works well for winter socks, hats, mittens, heavy sweaters, and coats. Wool is used so often that some people refer to all yarns as “wool.” When knitting with a different, less durable yarn, a very thin strand of wool can be pulled along to give the other yarn more durability. Wool is a great yarn for beginning knitters.

Merino Wool (Merino Sheep):

Spanish Merino is the most luxurious kind of Merino wool. The Spanish were so protective of it at one time, that only the Soverign of Spain himself was permitted to send sheep out of the country. Merino wool is known to be much softer than regular wool. Other than that there is no difference. Merino wool is a great yarn for beginning knitters. It is as durable as regular wool, but softer.

My favorite companies are Merino yarn companies. I will only name a few here, although the list could be substantially longer:
Malabrigo


Colinette


and Morehouse Farms, are probably my three favorite yarn companies at the moment. Check out all their sites. It's worth it.

3 comments:

memoriesforlifescrapbooks said...

I feel your children's pain...I had to go back to work last night! YUK!

Wool is so warm and comfy...love it!

kim* said...

so many colors...i love color :) yellow is the color of the hour for me.

Kala Pohl Studio said...

I love all the yarn colors too:):)