Celebrating the Wonders of Wool

Every year the Campaign for Wool organise a week of events designed to educate, inspire and promote the benefits of wool.

We’ll be having our usual sale as part of those events, but thought we’d contribute to the celebrations with a post all about the properties of this amazing fibre.

 

Using only grass and water as it’s raw materials, unlike synthetics which are mainly derived from plastics and requiring fossil fuel (oil), wool is one of the most versatile, sustainable and natural resources we have. As if that wasn’t enough reason in itself to wear wool, it’s properties far outstrip most of the rival fibres on the market. Among it’s many features are:

Breathability: wool fibres are crimped, and when tightly packed together, form millions of tiny pockets of air. This unique structure allows it to absorb and release moisture—either in the atmosphere or perspiration from the wearer—without compromising its thermal efficiency. Wool has a large capacity to absorb moisture vapour (up to 30 per cent of its own weight) next to the skin, making it extremely breathable.

Resilience: wool fibres resist tearing and are able to be bent back on themselves over 20,000 times without breaking. Due to its crimped structure, wool is also naturally elastic, and so wool garments have the ability to stretch comfortably with the wearer, but are then able to return to their natural shape, making them resistant to wrinkling and sagging. Wool therefore maintains its appearance in the longer term, adding value to the product and its lifespan. Wool is also hydrophillic—it is highly absorbent, and retains liquids—and so dyes richly while remaining colourfast, without the use of chemicals.

Suitable for all climates: thanks to its hygroscopic abilities, wool constantly reacts to changes in body temperature, maintaining its wearer’s thermophysical comfort in both cold and warm weather.

Safe: it is not known to cause allergies and does not promote the growth of bacteria. Thanks to its high water and nitrogen content, wool is naturally flame-retardant, and has a far higher ignition threshold than many other fibres, will not melt and stick to the skin causing burns, and produces less noxious fumes that cause death in fire situations. Finally, wool also has a naturally high level of UV protection, which is much higher than most synthetics and cotton.

(Thanks to The Campaign for Wool for the science there!)

We know from our experience here at Spin A Yarn that the wool garments that our customers bring in – sometimes decades old – with the correct care, remain vibrant, soft and warm – often handed down from generation to generation. We have even seen historic gansey jumpers and heirloom christening blankets – all cherished and ready to serve a new owner.

Fishermen wearing traditional gansey style jumpers. These were knitted with the sheep’s natural oils left in the yarn, which afforded waterproofing in all weathers.

If you’ve always thought ‘wool is too itchy for me’ or ‘wool is too hard to care for’ then never fear. Our customers are often surprised at how incredibly soft and smooth some of our merino yarns are – virtually as non-prickly as cotton, perfect for the most sensitive necks or small babies. Plus there are now a huge array of yarns which can be machine washed – and even tumble dried! – due to new processing methods. Our experienced staff can talk you through your concerns.

If you’re still in any doubt, pop in to the shop and ask to try some of our many pre-made samples up – once you move to natural fibres, we’ve found it’s hard to go back!

 

 

Soft new shades and elegant patterns in Rowan Cocoon

We were delighted to see some new shades in one of Rowan’s most classic yarns Cocoon, and with them a book full of elegant, feminine patterns.

Rowan Timeless Cocoon pattern book

Our favourite of the new shades is this dusty pink. It’s flattering on so many different people, and yet soft enough to almost act as a neutral with stronger colours.

Rowan Cocoon Misty Rose

Cocoon is a chunky weight roving yarn – meaning it’s a single ply, loosely spun yarn – with a blend of 80% merino wool and 20% kid mohair. The mohair gives it body and warmth, and enough stitch definition to still let cables and other details pop, and the kid mohair lends a gentle halo to the finished knitting.

Rowan Timeless Cocoon Scarf

We particularly love this jumper pattern with delicate slipped stitch cabling – and anticipate it’s going to be very popular in the shop!

Rowan Timeless Cocoon Jumper

The Timeless Cocoon pattern collection has been put together by Rowan favourites such as Lisa Richardson, Brandon Mably and Sarah Hatton.

Rowan Timeless Cocoon Patterns

What do you think of the new collection?

Rowan Cocoon Shades

 

New super-squishy alpaca chunky in for Winter

We have a gorgeous new arrival here at Spin A Yarn…King Cole Superfine Alpaca Chunky.

This sumptuous natural Alpaca yarn comes in 5 soft neutral shades, Fawn, Koala, Camel, Charcoal and Grey. We know our customers love natural shades, and we find undyed yarn has a special softness all of it’s own. If you’re planning a trip to the shop, make sure you pick it up and give it a squeeze!

The yarn is supported by a beautiful book full patterns – from Socks, Hats & Scarves to Vest tops and shawls. With most projects only requiring 1 to 2 balls, this book is a fantastic cost-effective way of adding some luxurious natural fibre to your wardrobe. Click here to view the yarn on our site – as usual to order, pop in, email an enquiry through or just give us a call!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

King Cole Alpaca Chunky basket

The cutest Adriafil dress pattern – free with yarn!

When Adriafil made their new patterns available to us recently, we just knew that we had to have a sample of this sweet little dress made up immediately.

Adriafil dress with pattern

Adriafil Knitcol is one of our all-time favourite yarns here at Spin A Yarn. It’s a self-patterning yarn, which means that the manufacturers have cleverly dyed the yarn in such a way that when knitted up it makes a lovely pattern, giving the impression that you’ve spent hours knitting complicated fair-isle patterns, when you’ve actually just knitted straight stocking-stitch!

Adriafil KnitCol with dress

DK weight, 100% merino and machine washable, our customers have always loved it for children’s knits as well as bright and fun accessories. As you can see, it looks quite different in the ball than it does knitted up.

Adriafil KnitCol shelf

Fortunately Adriafil provided us with a helpful swatch chart which shows how all the different shades look when knitted.

Adriafil Knitcol Shade Card

Aren’t they clever?

The dress pattern is free from Spin A Yarn when buying the yarn from us to make it – just ask one of our friendly staff members if you’re interested in making it.