THE AMAZING NATURAL FIBERS: WOOL

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November 29, 2008
This fall I have been more crafty than usual. I don’t know what happened, but I discovered I could do things I never thought I would be capable of. One of those things was circular knitting. As you can see in the photo, I am the proud maker of a beautiful pair of mittens and a circular hat (which doesn’t really fit anybody, but I still think is cute).

Ever since learning about the properties of wool I have become addicted to it and what better time to make use of such addiction than the beginning of winter?

I have learnt about wool while researching cloth diapering. Although in Romania wool is (or, I think is fair to say now, WAS) used widely, I never appreciated it. I slept on wool mattresses, covering myself with wool comforters, and wearing wool sweaters, gloves, caps and socks, beautifully crafted by my mother and grandmother, all through my childhood. I never thought that I was lucky until recently, when I discovered how the synthetic materials can be harmful to our bodies and never offer all the great advantages of wool.

Wool can absorb 30% of its own weight in water without becoming damp, cold or clamping, which makes it so great for diapering. It is naturally antibacterial and absorbs odors too. It is a great insulator (even when wet) and helps the body maintain heat like nothing else out there. You can read a very well documented article on wool odor and toxin absorption here. And more information here.

I made wool mittens for my daughter of which I am very proud. The vest for my husband didn’t meet a good fate. It turned out too big, so I washed it in the machine out of which it came a little bit too small and weird shaped. But I am still happy with the twisted pattern that I tried for the first time and it is still wearable, so it’s alright.

This is my first year of such difficult and large scale knitting projects. Until now I was only an expert in scarves and last year my mom taught me a hat pattern and how to make booties. I am working on a hat like that now.

While in Romania last year my grandfather generously gave me a big sack of fresh-cut wool which I wanted to fill up Waldorf-style dolls. I didn’t do anything with it, because there was no time and no space left in my luggage, but I know it will be put to good use over there, in the land of wool. In the meantime, I am happy that here wool yarn is easily available in stores (which in Romania isn’t) and I can make small things for my family to wear, even if we’ll keep sleeping on foam mattresses and only cotton comforters.

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