Pulling the wool over my eyes

This Week's WoolUntil a few days ago, I think I’d clocked up a magnificent 23 years without knitting anything.

Then I succumbed to a sudden and inexplicable urge to knit a Möbius scarf. None of this easing myself back into it gradually nonsense, oh no, not for me. I still had my old knitting needles tucked away, but nothing to actually knit with, so I set off to buy some yarn.

Blimey, it’s a whole new world out there.

Apparently, when fickle characters like me clear off and stop buying things for 23 years, all the wool shops vanish. Who knew? Even the fantastically named Tipsy Spindle (purveyors of home brewing equipment and knitting supplies, I kid you not) is long gone.

But hey ho, there’s always good old John Lewis.

All I wanted was some double knitting that didn’t contain wool (cotton, acrylic, whatever – I’ll take anything else, but I’ve had enough wool-related rashes for one lifetime) in a colour that didn’t make me want to throw up. How hard could it be?

Harder than I thought. I felt like a confused new arrival on Planet Wool. There was alpaca, bamboo (bamboo!), silk, merino… Blimey. And the prices. I thought about Blue Witch’s comments about the prices that farmers are paid for fleeces. Someone’s getting fleeced here, that’s for sure.

I eventually found some cheapish yarn in a selction of yucky baby colours. Heck, it was only for a get-back-into-it practice run.

And I’ve knitted a yucky pink Möbius band (only 1 dropped stitch, but we won’t mention that). Yay! Not bad for a first attempt. Now I’m on a quest. Are there any actual wool shops left out there? Preferably ones that might sell me something that isn’t actually wool. Answers on a postcard please…

Photo: This Week’s Wool by Nadia308. Used under Creative Commons Licence.

7 comments to Pulling the wool over my eyes

  • Oh dear, this is how it starts. You’ll be joining Ravelry and then spinning your own next… 😉

    Wool shops are generally online these days. Many of them are small produers. Some of them charge huge prices and make huge profits. Charity shops and sections in some cheappie/hardware (generally independents or small local chains) shops. “Wool” is now generally much softer and not the itchy stuf of old.

    Ambermoggie has quite a list of online suppliers in her sidebar.

    And I’m impressed you managed a mobius band as your first project back after 23 years. Must be the mathematician in you. I looked at the instrucitons a year or so ago and didn’t bother 😉

  • omission from end of 2nd para 4th line… ‘are good sources.’

  • Lois Lindemann

    Spinning, I wonder… would that work with the 48 tonnes fur that Ginger Cat seems to shed on a daily basis? 😉

    Thank you for suggesting where to look – I’ll be heading off to Ambermoggie’s place to check that out.

    I have to say I wasn’t sure how my Mobius band would turn out. I couldn’t get my head round how the instructions worked. Just following them was quite a challenge! Even now I’ve knitted a sample (only a few rows deep), I’m still not entirely clear about how it works. I can see that it does, but I couldn’t adapt it or design something similar (yet). Think this may keep me busy for a while.

  • You can spin cat fur, but even the best spinners I know usually blend it in with wool whe carding it first. Cat fur doesn’t have the same kind of raised scales on it as most sheep wool to allow the fibres to hold/join together when spun. And the staple length (length of each individual hair follicle) is generally much shorter.

    But, I do know of one person who regularly spins just her cat’s fur. She’s beens pining for 84 years, and used to teach spining, mind!

  • E&O courtesy of a(nother) failing keyboard…

  • I’ve also gone back to knitting after many years and I agree -some of the wools are lovely but I’m shocked by the prices. I worked out it would cost me 20 quid more than the original cost to knit a replacement for my partner’s favourite jumper. And that doesn’t include my labour charges!

  • […] January 16th, 2010 Posted in: Everything Tags for this post: wool. 2 comments – more welcome! My quest for a wool shop turned out to be much easier than I thought. We celebrated the sudden disappearance of almost all […]