What are the beginner's guides to wool knitting

Update: 14-12-2020
Abst: Made from sheep’s fleece and has pretty amazing properties wool mixed yarn it is warm, breathable, and will absorb quite a lot of water so ...

Made from sheep’s fleece and has pretty amazing properties wool mixed yarn it is warm, breathable, and will absorb quite a lot of water so if you get caught in a downpour in your knitted sweater you might get heavier but you won’t get wet! Pure Wool does require some more care than other types and will most likely have to be hand washed with care and dried flat.Made from merino breed sheep – all of the above properties hold true but merino wool is particularly fine and soft. This is probably my favourite type of yarn to use as it's lovely and soft to knit with and the result is a fabric that is warm yet breathable.Probably the most common fibre in the yarns we sell  it is a man made, synthetic fibre and while it offers some of the warmth of real wool it isn’t very breathable and can pill relatively easily. It is washable and usually hypo allergenic, most baby yarns are acrylic for this reason. It also takes dye very well so they usually come in great, bright, vivid colours.Cotton is a natural fibre produced from cotton plants and is therefore very breathable and lovely against the skin.

 

Angora mixed yarn

 

It’s not very warm and so is a lovely choice for spring summer knits. You have to use the right pattern as cotton is quite heavy when knitted up and so can sag. Care wise  it can usually take a cool machine wash or hand wash and so is fairly easy care.Bamboo is a natural viscose like fibre sourced from the bamboo plant  it has lovely drape and sheen much like viscose and is breathable and usually washable on a gentle cycle. It is ideal for adults and children’s knits.Types of wool but sourced from llamas and goats respectively, both have the same properties as pure wool but are softer and more insulating. Alpaca is particularly warm and has a very soft brush finish. They need a little care and attention and require gentle hand washing.Many of the wools we stock will have some combination of the above fibres which will usually give you a mix of the properties of each. Hayfield Super Chunky with wool is  wool meaning it’s robust and washable like regular acrylic and ha some of the warmth and loft of regular wool.

 

These are very fine yarns used mainly for crochet and lace knitting, most common in these is  in white as it is frequently used for Christening robes blankets.Aran wool is what’s used in those lovely scratchy jumpers, aran weight simply refers to the thickness of the wool Often as knitters we don't really pay attention to what we're using - we see something we fancy the look of and go ahead with our project. In my years in Hickeys I would look on aghast as experienced knitters, people who had been knitting for  picked up an aran weight acrylic to knit up a double knit cotton pattern. What does it matter and why would I care? It matters because, as you can see from the brief outline above; every fibre and weight behaves differently  knit with the wrong type and you get the wrong results. Knit using the wool suggested in the pattern as much as possible or at least find a good substitute - the same weight and fibre type behaviour is important.

 

I'll give you a real life example a wonderful lady used to come into the shop and buy yarn all the time. I was talking to her one day and she remarked how she'd been knitting a cardigan for herself for weeks and how now it was finished she hated the look of it and this is why she never knits for herself and she'll just go back to the baby knitting. I suggested she brings it and the pattern in so we could have a look and see if it could be altered to suit her better. In she comes with a beautiful cotton cardigan that I will admit looked rather long; to my dismay when she showed me the pattern it was for a pure wool aran weight yarn. "Ah now there's your problem  you used a cotton.But it's aran weight. So after a lengthy conversation explaining how cotton is so much heavier more drapey than wool that once she had the garment knitted up, even though she stopped at the right point, the cardigan kept growing. I mean once she put it on, the shoulders started hanging and the cardigan was nearly down to her knees. The only option was to rip it back and start again, so we went and picked a suitable pattern and I gave her a hand starting the ripping back process weeks later that particular lady came sashaying into the store delighted to be modelling her new cotton cardigan.