I've made a little discovery this weekend. One I thought I'd never really make.
I love wool. I didn't think it would fascinate me so much, but I love it. I recently purchased and read Clara Parkes's "The Knitters Book of Wool" (AKBOW) and decided to knit the patterns in it. Yes, all of them. Now, I'm only on the first one and may change my mind before I'm done in 10 years, but I really like the experimental process that this will bring to me, I'll learn about wool in a way I've never thought about before, and I'll have some great projects in the end.
First, let me tell you about Parkes's book. It's very well written, and her love of yarn is evident from the first page. Her love of WOOL, I should add. She inspired me to try out a fiber that so far I've kept to only that that feels soft and supple to my hands upon first touch.
My skin is sensitive, I've always told myself. My husband's skin is very sensitive (I do believe he has a wool allergy as he describes it as "hot" when it touches him). Because of that, I've never really given wool much thought. We also live in a warm climate and hardly need hardy coats, sweaters, hats, mittens or gloves.
But, as I've played around with knitting these past couple of years, I've become more and more accepting of wool. Not just the superwash merino kind, but others as well. After reading AKBOW, I learned about all the different breeds, and the different qualities of their fleece, and I've become very curious. I wanted to get to know these different wools, knit with them in projects specifically designed for them, and truly appreciate small batch yarns.
So far, I've started the Hills and Valleys hat and I'm truly enjoying working on it. I'm using Rowan's Purelife British Sheep Breeds (chunky) yarn. The yarns are all undyed and showcase the wool of different British Sheep breeds. It would be tempting to try them all...but I do have to focus my knitting time as, unfortunately, it isn't unlimited. I chose Suffolk because I liked the soft grey color. I love seeing all the different fibers in this yarn. There is soft grey, white and black. I love that it smells sheepy. I am absolutely amazed at how springy and cushy the finished fabric is. Elizabeth described it as "probably being very warm" (this despite the fact that she turned her nose up at the "itch" factor).
I'm looking forward to washing this hat and seeing how it blooms. I love the stitch definition and how it feels on the needles. I'm fascinated by the structure of the fabric and am looking forward to getting it off of the needles to see how well it fits. I'm thinking it's going to my hairdresser Ernie...if he approves of slightly itchy wool. :)
Today's picture is of the hat, just started. It was knitted from the crown down: always a sketchy start but once a couple of rows in it's fine.