Wednesday, January 13, 2010

My Addiction to Wool

I have to admit it. I have a knitting addiction. I think my "learn to sew" progress would be going much, much better, if knitting didn't keep taking up every spare moment that I have. And my addiction to wool is almost nonsensical considering my wool allergy. I keep itching my left thumb and I'm sure it's because of the wool, but I can also tell you that I'm going to be purchasing more wool the next time I have a coupon and an opportunity (I've been trying to tell myself that I've "outgrown" the allergy... and maybe I really have outgrown it... I don't break out in hives anymore when wool comes within inches of my skin...). I know what you're thinking... there are quite a few alternatives to wool these days. Why would you use wool if you're allergic to it?

I am determined to learn how to felt. I have bought wool, the itchy, awful kind that would have given me nightmares as a child, because I am determined to learn how to felt and that is the kind of wool that is required. The process is not going very well.

I started out with a pamphlet that claimed to explain felting. However, my own knitting limitations popped up right away. You see I've gotten into the habit of making my own patterns. And over the past few years I've learned enough so that it usually works out. I can sit down and knit a sweater that I see in my head (even one with cables... the pictures I've posted are old knitting projects that I happen to have pics of on my computer) and have it turn out (most of the time). So when I didn't see any patterns I liked in the pamphlet I read the instructions one more time carefully and decided to make up my own...

The first try was a disaster. I misjudged exactly how much the length of the hat would shrink and ended up with a flattened plate like blob that even Sadie wouldn't go near.

Round 2 was going to be perfect though (can't you see the pride that popped up that made the end result pretty much inevitable). I made the hat much longer. I tried it on and the rough wool went all the way down to my chin. There was no way the thing wouldn't fit when it came out of the washer. I'd taken everything into consideration. Everything except the possibility that the second hat would go into the washer for the exact same amount of time on the exact same setting as the first hat had and would shrink even more.

The second hat is wearable. But I had to ask Paul about a dozen times what he thought before he decided to make up something nice (along the lines of the "hat growing on him"... and that was with some prompting after watching me work on the thing for a dozen hours) just so that I would leave him alone and stop asking him about it. Not a good sign.

Thankfully after some searching I found this pattern on The best part about it is that it's free (a free hat pattern! Hip-hip-hooray!)! So here goes try #3. I'm really hoping this thing turns out. I'm knitting a sweater for Sadie at the same time just in case though! I can only take so many knitting disappointment in one week!


  1. What a beautiful sock you made for Sadie. I like wool a lot too, but I'm even more fond of alpaca wool. It seems to be a lot less itchy. Good luck on your felting. I have only tried felting a rosary, and I have not gotten very far with that either :).

  2. If you've ever read anything by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee you'll love her blog,

    She even has felting info on the site and her own personal battles with plungers, buckets of water, and 6 pairs of slippers that needed to be felted.

    I myself have an addiction to knitting. I'm making my husband a pair of hiking socks out of superwash wool and size 6 needles. I'm almost done and it only took me a year to knit them. I'll get better by the grace of God.

    Thank-you for the wonderful blog. I'm enjoying it very much.

  3. Hi Maria-
    Alpaca is wonderful! The other wool I'm hooked on is Di.Ve' Zenith, which sadly has been discontinued. However they still have it stockpiled on a few sites like this one:

    It's so soft and wonderful! I would buy every bit they have if I could afford it.

    Hi Jana-

    I love her books! I have the Yarn Harlot, Free Range Knitter, and one other that I can't remember right now! She's so funny. I've read some of the stories out loud to my husband and he just looks at me like I'm crazy! I can definitely relate to the long deadlines on getting things done. For my birthday I bought a pattern and a bunch of wool with some of the birthday money. It's a cable knit pattern and I'm slowly making my way up the back panel. At least by the time I finish I'll hopefully have had the baby and lost the pregnancy weight and be able to wear it right away!


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