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Episode 123: Dances with wool (again)

by Brenda Dayne on November 2, 2012

In this episode: Educational, interesting, funny, agreeable, disagreeable, and lovely ways to dance with wool.

Stay in the P3 loop for news and information about the next event at our P3 Facebook page, or our Ravelry Group.

To Be Knit Next: Leisl Sweater by Julie Wisenberger in Shibui Linen.

On the hook: Kata crocheted squares by Penny Davidson.

On the bookshelf: If you buy one book to learn to crochet, this is the one I recommend. It’s very good. Crochet Tips and Tricks by Lily Chin

Huge Thanks to Shelly Sheehan, from The Yarnery, in St Paul, for taking time to tell me about her new book, wearwithall. And to Tom Podner for sharing his wonderful Civil War Monument story with me, so that I could share it with you.

Live and in person: I’ll be teaching at Vogue Knitting Live, as well as the Madrona Fiber Arts Festival. I’m looking for teaching opportunities in the Southern US between January 21st and 30th. Please get in touch if you’d like me to come teach in your town, or let your local yarn shop know you’d like to take a class with me.

I’m wearing wool! For the month of Wovember I’ll be wearing and working with wool, talking about wool, and joining others in showing our collective appreciation of WOOL by wearing as much of this fabulous fibre as possible, while celebrating WOOL and its unique qualities in stories and pictures throughout the month of November.

Oh, and did I mention? There will be fabulous prizes! prizes! prizes! in Wovember.

This week’s giveaway includes beautiful Estonian wool brooches created by Felix, and a skein of truly Shetland-y fingering weight yarn, handspun by me. To win, simply share your story of the first time you ever knit with wool (or realized you couldn’t knit with it, if you’re allergic) in the comments below. The winner will be drawn using a random number generator on November 10th.

I can’t wait to read your wool stories. Good luck!

This week’s audible pick is: Moranthology, by Caitlin Moran.

Music by Robin and Linda Williams, October Light, and The Proclaimers (with The P3 Family Singers), Be the Man (500 Miles), from the cd Best of the Proclaimers.

Download Episode 123

{ 120 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Katarina November 2, 2012 at 1:02 pm

I’ve just ordered two of the Wovember badges! I’m really looking forward to celebrating Wovember too.

The first time I knit with wool was probably in school, but I don’t remember the details. When I started knitting again as an adult, back in 2004, my very first project was actually knit from wool. I made a pair of ribbed leg warmers in grey Drops Alaska. I enjoyed knitting them a lot, it was an easy project, but the best thing about it was that I used wool. It’s probably not the best quality wool yarn, but it got me hooked. I loved the feeling of the wool fibre and the springy-ness of the yarn. Best thing about that project is that I still use those legwarmers. Every winter.

2 Chery November 2, 2012 at 1:10 pm

It must have been a pair of socks, the first time I knew I was knitting with wool, 1980s. I wonder if one of the knitting kits my grandma bought me when I was 8 had wool? Learned to knit at 5 with mom’s leftover yarn, could have been wool…

Now Wool ALL the Time!

3 Angela November 2, 2012 at 1:14 pm

I think the first time I ever knit with wool was to make a pair of socks for my Dad. It was very different than the acrylic I had been using to make a mountain of scarves so it took a bit to get used to. I loved the soft and slight stretch it had and it was lovely to work with. Even after my Mom accidentally felted them he still raves about how warm they were and he was so amazed that I could knit socks. To this day he’s still knit-worthy and gets a new pair of wool socks each year for Christmas like clock work!

4 Jennifer C November 2, 2012 at 1:49 pm

My first 100% wool knitting adventure was a Simple Pie Vest for my husband with some forest green wool yarn I got at a yard sale. Ironstone, maybe? It was a success! Much better than my first sweater with some awful boucle acrylic my mom gave me. Never again! Wool forevermore!

5 LaurieM November 2, 2012 at 2:38 pm

How about the first time I wore something I knit with wool?

I had icicle feet in those days. I wore socks (commercial ones), slippers (hand-knit phentex ones) and yet I always had cold toes at bedtime. My husband really suffered as I often sought comfort for my cold toes on his warm ones.

So I bought a thrummed sock kit from Fleece Artist. The colors were gorgeous and the material for the thrums was silky and lovely. Knitting thrums was exciting and the result was the cushiest, warmest socks ever. I wore them sitting on the couch in the evening and then to bed. I slept better and my husband never had a complaint as I went off in search of more wool, for more socks. I’ve never had icicle toes again.

I still love Fleece Artist and Handmaiden and I’m so proud they are from Canada, my homeland.

6 Sheila November 2, 2012 at 5:23 pm

My first knitting project was with wool. I made a cabled scarf, http://www.ravelry.com/projects/SheilaOKeefe/irish-fishermans-scarf, as a large swatch (and learn to knit project) while waiting for the large quantity of yarn I needed for my first real project, an Irish fisherman sweater, http://www.ravelry.com/projects/SheilaOKeefe/irish-fishermens-sweater. Why, yes, my first project was an Irish fisherman sweater that I designed myself, because I’m a bit crazy like that.

7 Karen November 2, 2012 at 7:24 pm

It’s so great to hear your voice! Thank you for the podcast.

My first 100% wool yarn was Freedom Spirit, a single ply DK weight yarn with short colour changes. It was a fun knit and still makes me happy.

8 Wool & Babies November 2, 2012 at 7:56 pm

I discovered wool when I knit two baby sweaters for my twin nieces. One sweater was mauve and the other a pale pink. I marveled at how soft and billowy the sweaters were when finished. 100% merino. mmmmmmm

9 Julie November 2, 2012 at 8:45 pm

After many years of acrylic and acrylic blends, my first 100% wool yarn was Brown Sheep Top of the Lamb. I used it to knit pairs of gloves for me and my boyfriend. I remember being pleasantly surprised at how much warmer the final gloves were to any I’d had before. Wool has become my favorite fiber for knitting, and I’ll choose it over practically anything else. Now I need to go find my Wovember badges from last year.

10 Meg November 2, 2012 at 10:27 pm

My wool introduction was gradual. The gateway yarn was Lion Brand Wool-Ease, and I knit with only that for a while. Then I found some Patons SWS and went a little crazy with that one Christmas. Then one day I discovered online yarn stores, so I bought a little sock yarn. It’s been all downhill since then, and now I’m completely addicted.

Good contest, thank you!

11 Sue November 3, 2012 at 1:46 am

Like you, I was fortunate enough to start out with wool. I was nine years old and a neighbor (probably in her 60’s or 70’s then) taught me. She knit only with wool and it never occurred to me that there was anything else. At some point in my teen years, I saw and touched acrylic yarn in a shop and was horrified! Acrylic has come a long way since then, BUT… Wool is wool is wool. There is nothing like it.

Wait ’til you get to Madrona! It is beyond amazing. I started going a few years ago and it is the one event every year that I must attend. And wait ’til you see the market!!!!

12 moiraeknittoo November 3, 2012 at 2:05 am

I love the idea of Wovember. :D Thank you for reminding me it’s in progress.

I’m fairly certain that the very first 100% wool object I made was with Cascade 220 and it was a basic watch cap. I remember swearing at the needles, at the purl stitches and being very, very proud that I finished it.

And I’m glad you’re still knitting and podcasting and sharing with us from your corner of Wales. AND that you’re coming to Madrona! HOORAY! *starts a change jar for classes!*

13 Jane November 3, 2012 at 2:40 am

My first all wool yarn was also lambs pride bulky. I knitted two big christmas stockings. One used a slip stitch pattern in a few stripes and the other was my first go at fair isle. I still have them. But i dont really like them so i dont put them out. But i do still LOVE (loaf) lambs pride bulky!!

I remember when you first sweater was your todays sweater. I hope this season has more todays sweaters.

14 Lynnette November 3, 2012 at 2:42 am

I *think* the first time I ever knit with 100% wool was my first felted project, as well as my first intarsia project. I remember I had a hard time finding wool which was not superwash. Not sure what brand I ended up with, but there were a great many colors to choose from.

That project was a turning point for me, because I began to appreciate good yarn (and the forgiveness of felting!)

15 Em November 3, 2012 at 4:04 am

As an avowed (some might even say stubborn) sewer, knitting always struck me as vaguely mysterious and frustrating. And yet, about a year ago, for reasons I still don’t understand I decided to attempt knitting once again. After all, my grandmother was a excellent seamstress and knitter, surely I could also be both?!

My first attempt involved terrible acrylic yarn (pistachio coloured no less) and plastic needles. Naturally it was something of a disaster.

But I persevered (did I mention that I’m stubborn?) and with the help of an understanding LYS staff member I soon found myself in possession of decent needles and some Patons Inca Light. Something just seemed to click. It may have taken 20 years but knitting finally started to make sense! I knit a hat, then another, then twenty more or so. I acquired a spinning wheel (an Ashford Traditional) and have a stash of yarn that is starting to make my fabric cupboard feel like the jealous first-born. Alpaca and merino (such as Misti Alpaca 4 ply) feature heavily in the stash, but Polwarth sliver is the current favorite for spinning.

I have knit through personal tragedy and other disasters, bad weather, long bus rides, and in every pub and cafe worth visiting in the greater Auckland area. I love the portability of knitting, the meditation of it, and that I can create useful things for myself and others. I also love the world of fibre- Ravelry, Brenda (of course), the Knitmore Girls, Franklin Habit and many more. I think because of it’s portability that knitting is able to become a very social activity, so I’m thankful for that too.

And as for that acrylic yarn, It’s still skulking around in my stash (like a cross raccoon in a cellar). It comes in handy every time I need to tie up a skein of homespun for washing :)

16 Alessandra Parsons November 3, 2012 at 11:36 am

The first time I knit with wool was using my grandmother’s scraps to learn to knit and I made a blanket of diamonds that took 14 years to complete and I’m wearing right now listening to your podcast. Admittedly it has lots of scraps of other yarn too.

The first project I made out of entirely wool was a pair of fingerless mitts made from Noro Kureyon, sadly I can’t find them this year, and I’ve knitted the rest of the ball into a scarf. So after Christmas I’ll be on the lookout for a new ball of Kureyon so I can knit a new pair, becasue I wore those fingerless mitts a lot (I do have several other pairs so my hands will not be cold this winter)

17 Andy Baker November 3, 2012 at 1:01 pm

Somewhere in the mid-Nineties (it’s one big blur, don’t ask), I accompanied my friend Julie to Smiley’s in Brooklyn so she could buy some yarn. While following her around, I remembered that I knew how to knit and was inspired to buy a couple of skeins of Cascade 220 green tweed. I knit myself a moss stitch scarf. That scarf still gets comments every time I wear it, even though it looks (to me at least) like it was knit by a guy who hadn’t knit anything in almost twenty years.

18 Aarlene November 3, 2012 at 1:53 pm

My first 100% wool was also my first two color project. I got a headband kit from Bea Ellis with Dale of Norway. Wool was so much better to knit with rather than the squeaky acrylic.

19 GinaC November 3, 2012 at 2:00 pm

After a few years of kntting acrylic sweaters for nieces, i started a pair of acrylic socks as a thank-you gift for a friend. well, i’m fond of them as they were my first pair (looked more like sacks than socks), but never gifted them…i wouldn’t even wear them out in public. Then I took a sock-knitting class at my LYS and chose a lovely and fun, variegated wool/nylon sock yarn…beautiful! Such a treat to wear. Only wool socks from then on. For scarf knitting it’s a different story – must hold every pretty skein up to my neck to check the ‘prickle’ level; thank heavens that’s not an issue on all parts of me: i sense purely woolly goodness on my feet, head and when wearing shawls and stoles!
So glad to have another of your podcasts – many thanks!!

rav: GinaBina

20 lynn November 3, 2012 at 2:07 pm

What a happy Saturday morning to find your podcast waiting! Happy Happy memories of listening to your first.-While I had crocheted a much loved acrylic baby blanket for my son it wasn’t till a few years latter that I knit him a simple blue pullover in wool. I still remember how it felt to cuddle him while he was wearing that sweater. I was converted to wool and never looked back.

21 Jennifer November 3, 2012 at 2:34 pm

My grandmother taught me to the knit in 1998. At the time there were no yarn stores in the small Wyoming town where I grew up. The only yarn that I had access to was acrylics and because it was all I had, I never questioned if it was good yarn or not. I knit a few hats and a blanket and although I enjoyed the process, it was just an occasional hobby.

My first wool purchase was for a sweater that I knit in 2003. The yarn was Lamb’s Pride Superwash Bulky that I found on ebay. I probably paid around $60 for an entire sweater’s worth and at the time it seemed like a lot of money to be spending on yarn (ha!). I happily cast on for my sweater and first thought that I had was, “Oh my goodness, this is wonderful! I’ve been knitting with crap!” (with regard to the acrylics). After I “found” wool I became so much more passionate about the craft and working with good materials. Rarely is there a day that goes by that I don’t knit, spin or weave with wool. I still have that sweater; the sleeves are sewn in funny, it’s silly oversized, and the neck bind-off is too tight, but on really cold days I wrap myself in it and am thankful for wool.

22 Carol November 3, 2012 at 4:00 pm

My first wool project was when my aunt taught me to knit and gave me some of her wool yarn. I really got a kick out of watching her take that wool yarn and knit it into something great like a sweater or socks. I was so excited to have a project of my own and the yarn was so soft and colorful. A very frustrating experience to learn at first, but I’ve stuck with it for 25 years!

23 Catherine November 3, 2012 at 5:16 pm

My first 100% wool project was in rowan DK – a big slouchy cardigan with fairisle yoke, although the colourwork was in a mohair mix yarn – does that count? The main yarn was smooth, worsted spun in french navy. I was thinking about it the other day, I made it about 20 years ago and I have no idea what happened to it (I think I may have sent it to a charity shop during my power suit period – what a silly thing to do). I wish I still had it, I miss it.

24 Kristi November 3, 2012 at 7:11 pm

Brenda! Oh how I’ve missed your posts lately! Welcome back. I won’t razz ya about being absent because I too have not posted on my blog in longer than I want to admit. So I’ll stick to: I’ve missed you!!! =) So getting to “wovember”, wow, the first time I knit with wool… Was December 2009. A couple years after I tried knitting for the first time (and set the needles back down) and found your podcast by accident (thinking it was a “how to knit” podcast) and have been listening to it ever since (2007ish) having no idea what half you said meant but loved the language anyway. So my 3rd project ever was my first pair of socks knit in cascade’s sock wool. A lovely pair of socks I still wear & cherish today. So that is my first wool story. To be continued… ;)

25 Beth Rudo November 3, 2012 at 7:21 pm

When I took up knitting after years without, I bought some wool blended with a small amount of acrylic to make the old house slipper pattern I remembered from years ago. They were serviceable and fit the recipient fine, so mission accomplished. But then I went to a local yarn store and was seduced by a merino and cashmere blend that I kept petting until it went home with me. It became my first lace project, a simple scarf which i still wear on occasion. Oh, my! I was a convert to the good stuff from then on.

26 Aurore November 3, 2012 at 9:19 pm

My first time with wool was crocheting with Holstgarn Supersoft, I fell in love with this yarn. My actual first knitting project is an aran scarf in Fonty Fado. I just have to add a beautiful edging.

27 Robin C November 3, 2012 at 9:26 pm

I still have the first wool sweater I made about 30 years ago, it’s tan, boxy and rather hideous but I can’t bring myself to frog it. Maybe someday I’ll felt it and convert it into a handbag. Thanks!

28 LoriAngela November 3, 2012 at 9:43 pm

My first knitting with real wool was a simple men’s grey sweater. The biggest and most expensive thing I had ever undertaken. It helped me get through my cousin’s unexpected death as she drove my tractor doing my job. It was a boyfriend sweater for a guy I had met in the medical corps. He joined the American Army which was more romantic in idea than reality. He whined that the sleeves were too long. I realized I didn’t need this guy or his whining or the sweater.
Thank goodness for the sweater curse.

29 Nyss November 3, 2012 at 10:38 pm

Wonderful episode thanks ^_^

30 Diane Clark November 3, 2012 at 10:44 pm

The first thing that I ever knit with 100% wool was the Cozy Cabled Hoodie.
http://www.ravelry.com/projects/Scitchr/cozy-cable-hooded-cardigan

It is a sky blue hooded cardigan with a zipper knit out of Cascade 220. I love it and I still wear it all the time.

31 Barb November 3, 2012 at 11:41 pm

My first wool project was an Aran pullover, knit with locally produced and millspun yarn. It took me 2 years to complete it–I was in over my head. I remember how much I enjoyed encountering bits of straw and debris in the wool as I knit.

32 Emma November 3, 2012 at 11:53 pm

My first wool project was probably when I was five or six, learning to knit with my mother’s scraps. I knit an animal – a sheep, I think, although the proportions were strange – from Lamb’s Pride Bulky. Now I don’t knit toys very much, but I still use lots and lots of wool.

33 Vickie November 3, 2012 at 11:54 pm

So funny, when you said you were doing inventory of your yarn I didn’t bat an eye. In fact, I thought….oh, yah, I was going to inventory my yarn when I moved to my official work room. I kind of organized it, and I kind of know where it is, and I kind of know what it is. But, I almost think it would be faster to knit it than inventory it. Ooooops, 6 more skeins joined it today. Oh, well!

I have started a top down raglan from your class …for the third time! I am happy with the gauge, with the design, and have every confidence I will complete this one. Will post photos when it is further along.

34 Vickie November 3, 2012 at 11:58 pm

Oh, forgot.. My first wool knitting…. I think that was a Lopi wool sweater in 1982. I would have been 22. Before that I think it was primarily acrylic (I still have the acrylic afghan…I think it will survive anything).

35 Kate November 4, 2012 at 3:56 am

Wow, I had to really peel back some dusty old memories to think about when I used wool, or more to the point knew the difference between knitting materials. I started knitting very young, and as kids do used whatever fit my budget and was within my grasp. I do remember Aunt Lydia’s Rug yarn being something I bought myself at Woolworth. I liked the label. I made slippers with it and I think a dog chewed them right up.

I got heavily back into knitting when I started working as a lung transplant coordinator in my early 30’s and had a beeper glued to my hip at all hours of the day and night and had to make sometimes several trips to the hospital on a single weekend. Quilting is not so portable, so I was back to knitting. It began to keep me company and soothed me like nothing else ever could – as I sweat out the minutes between calls and the hours between flights and kept up that frantic life for about a dozen years. Our secretary’s MIL owned a new knit shop and I remember us having a nice dinner and then going over to see it. I had ventured into another ‘real’ yarn shop once previously and been SHOCKED at the prices. Prior to this, I was using yarn that cost less than 2 bucks for a huge ball to knit for my sister’s children. Yep, ACK!!!ryllic yarn from a discount store that also sold lawn furniture and fishing equipment.

Once I made the decision that I was going to make something with ‘real’ wool, Crystal’s MIL helped me and I made a one piece baby outfit from a Debbie Bliss book and it had little peter rabbits all over it, in blue jackets. I used sock yarn on size 1 or 2 needles and had bobbins all over the place. I couldn’t find a pink I liked so I dyed the white with kool aid for the ears so I’d have pink inside the ears. I was thinking I was really Hot Stuff at this point.

I was sitting on a curb at one of the niece’s dance recitals and I had to wait to give tickets to whoever was not there yet. So I’m on the ground sitting, there are people all over the place and I’m knitting Peter Rabbits with bobbins swinging in the back of the work. An older gentleman walked up to me and stood over me watching for a while and then said “I have no idea what you are doing, but I’m very impressed.”

The outfit was a hit, my SIL had the baby’s picture taken professionally in it sound asleep – actually she reported the baby went right to sleep in that outfit almost every time they put it on her and it had been a bit of a life saver a time or two when the baby was cranky. I think the warmth of wool is a wonderful thing on small children and I learned then that there was most assuredly a difference and that real yarn out of real wool was worth the cost. I told my other sister who is not much on laundering things carefully that I would not be making any more ackryllic sweaters after another Bliss aran cardigan made out of an awful yarn stained so badly it was unwearable.

I do occassionally use a blend, but superwash wool is always my preference if I can get it for what I want it for. Now that I spin and weave also, I even have preference among breeds. Who’dathunkit?

36 Kristyn November 4, 2012 at 4:39 am

My first wool project was a Booga Bag from Noro Kureyon. I remembe thinking how rough it was but that the give was nice. Up until then I used a lot of cotton as I was making many dishcloths.

37 hotknitter November 4, 2012 at 5:01 am

I knit quite a few projects with wool combinations before I knit with a 100% wool. That one was the shoulder shawl from Victorian Lace today, done in a fingering baby merino.

38 Mary (Grandmatutu) November 4, 2012 at 5:03 am

When our two girls were small, some 30+ years ago, we would leave our backdoor in winter and cross-country ski for recreation. Our little 3- and 4-year old girls were charming in their little knickers and wool socks I’d knit with worsted weight wool. Those little socks were good and warm and felted almost from top to bottom. I’d almost forgotten about those socks–very sweet memories. Really love you, Brenda. Thanks for continuing to podcast. I enjoy it so much!

39 Amy November 4, 2012 at 6:02 am

Your stash behind the couch reminds me of my mom’s stash of fabric and crafting things behind ours.

My first time working with 100% wool was the summer of 2006 (I was only knitting a little over a year and was working on an epic Harry Potter scarf out of Red Heart). I spent that summer working at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio and visited a yarn shop in Marblehead, Ohio. I got some Cascade 220 and a yarn that I can’t remember in pink and purple to make a felted bag. I remember working on that bag with huge needles in my dorm and the commons area listening to your show. I think I got around to felting it after I went back home and haven’t felted anything on purpose since.

40 Gretchen Garcia November 4, 2012 at 9:06 am

We would love to have you come to Tampa! Two yarn stores are available to visit. I prefer, as do many progressive & awesome knitters in our SnB, Fiber Art in Odessa, FL (a local Bay area town). Their website is http://www.fiberart-Inc.com. You are a knitting goddess and I look forward to your podcast every month! My first fine fiber was 100% angora, handspun by a vendor at the Florida State Fair from her own bunnies who were in attendance at said fair. I made the Branching Out pattern in Knitty with it, even at the beach. Yes, angora at the beach. I now know better but that was how hard it was to part with. The following year I brought my completed lace to the same vendor (who doesn’t even have an email address). She had her bunnies, her spinning wheel, grandchildren, and the memory of me. I proudly showed her my scarf and she was as delighted as I. Come to FL. We knitters all have tales but in Tampa we also have 70 degree nights and 80 degree days. In February. :-D

41 Blithe Spirit November 4, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Hooray, another episode. Good to have you back. My first forays with wool were with good old Cascade 220 which was cheap enough to indulge on a small budget, but with great colours and good durability and I’ve never looked back. Now having moved to the UK, I’m trying only to buy wool that is sourced/spun in the UK. I love all the ideas behind Wovember and as a result of that campaign, I’ve embraced the slow clothing movement and when I do buy clothes, I’m really trying to buy with all natural fibres. Buy less and only what you really love and wear the heck out it is my new motto.

42 Ummrania November 4, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Wow, what an amazing giveaway. I am still a relatively new knitter so 100% wool I havent knit with too much, my first project with wool was a hat for my dh I made with 100% merino, it was so soft and I wanted to cuddle it. DH however never got a chance to wear it because I let our son wear it to school one day, and that was the last time it was seen :(. I have never knit with homespun or with shetland, I would love to win this!

Great Podcast!

43 docksjo November 4, 2012 at 4:06 pm

I can’t remember the first 100% wool I knit with,but it probably was my very first project. I was about 3 years old when my grand mother taught me to knit and crochet.
In my family nothing but natural fibers is acceptable for garment or anything really. My grandmother used to knit lovikkavantar made from chunky 100% wool the felted a bit and embroiderde with the same yarn in different colours. That is most likely what I was using.

44 EvelynU November 4, 2012 at 4:08 pm

I discovered wool shortly after I re-discovered knitting, in 2006, when my only child went off to college. With her gone, I had too much time on my hands, and I found crocheting hard on my wrists, so I decided to try to learn to knit, which I had failed to do numerous times before, starting at age 7 at grandma’s knee. This time it took! (Thank you, Klutz book!). After a couple of small projects, I learned that my daughter was lacking mittens, in Chicago, in January. I used Lion Brand mixed blue colors and made mittens! One was smaller than the other, but I rushed them to her, and she loved them! http://www.ravelry.com/projects/LosttheThread/chicago-winter-blues-mittens

45 Katia November 4, 2012 at 4:31 pm

The first 100%-wool project I remember was shortly after I started knitting – a norwegian sweater for my father. Fashion of the early 80ies. I was sixteen years old and very proud of the result, and so was he of my skills – he wore it often, although it was slightly too warm.

46 Jennifer R. November 4, 2012 at 7:29 pm

My first all wool project was a sweater for my cousin in law’s first baby. At the time, my favourite sweater was a navy v neck cardigan with pockets, knit for my dad by my grandmother. I had convinced my dad to give it to me over the holidays and I wore it incessantly. So when we were told the baby was coming and I had to choose a pattern, I chose a little v neck cardigan. I knit it in navy fingering wool on 3mm needles. It was adorable. I bought tiny versions of those woven leather cardigan buttons. Packed it up in tissue and put it in the mail right after the baby was born. It must have stood out from all the frilly pink gifts they received to welcome their first daughter, I should hope! To this day it remains my favourite baby knit.

47 Rebekkah November 4, 2012 at 7:55 pm

My first 100% wool project was when I took up knitting again 8 years ago. You know, the time the knitting thing stuck for good. First I knit a cotton sweater. Which was a mistake. Then I found a hoodie cardigan pattern in Knitty that I had to make. It was a top-down raglan, with cable detail at the raglan increases and down the front edges and middle back of the cardigan. I wanted something softly variegated, like the sweater in the pattern photos. I happened upon handpaintedyarn.com, which sells yarns that are produced by a cooperative in Uruguay. They had a soft singles yarn from kettle dyed merino, pretty much identical to Malabrigo worsted. Except nobody had heard of Malabrigo back then, and this stuff only cost me $7 a skein, plus a pittance for international shipping.

It arrived smelling strongly of the vinegar used to set the dye, which to this day remains a beloved scent for me. I associate it with beautiful woolly goodness.

Before the yarn arrived I started a mock-up out of some craft store acrylic. Which was a good idea, because I had never knit a raglan before, and needed to work out exactly what the pattern was telling me to do. With some practice, and some words of advice from the designer, I figured it out and was ready to cast on when the wool arrived.

I remember it being a luxurious and fast knit. I remember that I was knitting it during Thanksgiving that year, which I spent at my apartment with my then-boyfriend, now-husband, Alex.

My only complication was that I had not yet learned the difference between “pick up” and “pick up and knit”. As with the sleeves on my first sweater, I thought I was supposed to thread the entire needle through the stitches to “pick them up”, then knit into them. It was a horrific nightmare picking up those stitches for the hood, and I obliterated an Addi Turbo cord trying to do it. (Don’t ask… it was complicated.)

So that’s my first wool project. A sweater out of some of the softest wool imaginable. It never got a zipper, and it pilled so badly it pretty much matted. But it was warm, cozy, incredibly soft, and beautiful.

48 Doreen November 4, 2012 at 10:16 pm

I remember knitting a wool “Mary Maxim” wool cardigan when I was about 15 (many years ago) followed by more knitting, then weaving and spinning. I prefer wool with nylon for socks and wool with silk for just about everything else. Wool makes anything better!

49 Christy November 4, 2012 at 11:58 pm

My first…with wool….knitted a pair of mittens. OMG that was 50 years ago…I was 10. I still have one of those mittens. :) Nostalgia

50 Robyn November 5, 2012 at 12:04 am

I’ve missed you and have been worried. Glad to see your podcast and hear your voice. So sorry I will miss you at VKL in January. Was there last year but will not make it this year. Hope you have a safe and comfortable trip and that your classes go well. My first “real” wool project was a Dalegarn baby sweater I knit for my step-sister. It was the fair isle pattern with the lady bugs on it. I would get so wrapped up in seeing what would emerge next I found myself knitting into the wee hours of the night. As a result the entire sweater and hat were done in about 2 weeks. I was tired but oh so proud.

51 Robyn November 5, 2012 at 12:05 am

As a matter of fact the sweater I knit is the picture that shows up next to my name. Just saw it and realized it was “that” sweater. LOL

52 Karoline November 5, 2012 at 12:46 am

My first 100% wool project that I knit was a sweater that I spun from 100% Bluefaced Leicester roving in white. This sweater was made from the first singles that I ever made on my new spinning wheel at the time. These singles also became the canvas for my first adventures in dyeing.

53 Dana November 5, 2012 at 12:55 am

My first wool was Noro Kureyon that I knit into a pair of armwarmers (from Stitch and Bitch Nation, I believe) for my sister-in-law. I had been knitting dishcloth after dishcloth out of affordable cotton and wanted to branch out. I was on maternity leave and we were living on one income for a year, so the Kureyon was a splurge and kind of intimidating! (What if I messed up?) I’d never worked with a single before and discovered that if I knit the way I did with cotton or acrylic blends I would absolutely strangle the stitches and break the yarn. Kureyon was the beginning of my love affair with the relaxing aspects of wool and knitting. I hardly ever knit with any other fiber any more. <3

54 Barbara Heinrich November 5, 2012 at 1:17 am

My first wool sweater was made out of a beautiful rich blue tweedy yarn. No clue now who made the yarn but it was my first 100% wool sweater and it was my first sweater as well.
I began it when I knew I was going to move to California and, coming from Gulf Coast (Texas) – it was going to be the first time I would ever need a heavy wool sweater.
I made it with a friend’s help- and I still have it over 35 years later! It has been worn by almost all the women in the family and now it’s back in my house. I don’t wear it much but I can’t stand to get rid of it – someone is going to like it again and wear it. Fingers crossed!

55 Sarah-Mae November 5, 2012 at 7:50 am

The first four years of my knitting-life were spent in acrylic garter stitch heaven. My best friend taught me how to knit in grade 9, and without any adult guidance, we continued to knit rows upon rows of garter stitch scarves from any Wal-Mart yarn that caught our fancy.
I recall going in one day and picking a natural colored 100% wool (still, from Wal-Mart) thinking that this would make such a glorious natural scarf to add to my collection of fun fur and thick n’ thin scarves.
I never wore that scarf. It itched.

56 Britta November 5, 2012 at 9:03 am

My first wool project was a simple roll brim hat, in Lamb’s Pride Bulky. It was my first departure from horrible novelty yarns, and I was hooked!

As always, it was great to hear you. I love the picture of your stash. If I were to unpack my stash in the middle of a room, it would end with me rolling around in it, getting high on the wool fumes.

57 Megan November 5, 2012 at 2:57 pm

The first wool project I knit was a felted market bag in Fisherman Wool and 1824 Wool in army green. I knit the handles on the wrong sides of the bag, oops. I still have the bag though–and still have a love/hate relationship with felting.

58 Sarah November 5, 2012 at 3:10 pm

I’m one of the lucky ones. My first wool project was also my very first knitting project. If you don’t count the pink misshapen ‘Barbie blanket’ thing that I concocted, at the age of four, after begging my grandma to show me how to knit.

Armed only with a copy of Stitch ‘n Bitch and my debit card, I walked through the doors of Birkeland Bros., a lovely family-run wool shop in Vancouver (where I lived at the time), and was immediately struck by the overwhelming smell of wool being processed by the 100-year-old carding machine in the back room. After wandering aimlessly around the shop for several minutes, I noticed a small basket of acrylic yarn, on sale, and quickly grabbed a few balls in colours that I wouldn’t hate to wear. And that is when Cara, the proprietor, came to my rescue. After quickly determining that I had no idea what I was doing, she told me firmly that I must not, under any circumstances use acrylic yarn for my first project, that I would find it frustrating to work with and that it could turn me off knitting forever. (She had seen it happen with other new knitters.) She then helped me find three inexpensive balls of beautifully soft bulky wool – I wish I’d had the foresight to keep the bands so that I could say what the yarn was.

I took it home and proceeded to make a garter-stitch scarf that has never been worn, due mostly to the fact that I decided to improvise and tack on a pocket to hold my bus pass. I don’t know what I was thinking! The thing was bordering on ugly to begin with, and the pocket pushed it right over the edge. But while the scarf itself was a complete fail, I was hooked on the feel of wool and needles moving between my fingers as I transformed a piece of string into something new.

I still have the scarf, safely tucked away in a box in the company of other mementos from my life. It will never be worn, but its sloppy colour changes, poorly-fixed mistakes, and inexplicable pocket make it a cherished record of my first steps as a knitter.

http://images4cf.ravelrycache.com/uploads/fallnangel/9385921/firstscarf_medium.jpg

59 Nancy Chesik November 5, 2012 at 4:36 pm

The first project I knitted with wool, was a Dale sweater. I loved it, still love it, and still wear it. I bought the wool from elann.com It was one of the nicest patterns I ever knit!

60 Sue November 5, 2012 at 6:38 pm

My first 100% wool project was also my first ever knitting project. . . an 8 foot long fishermans scarf out of locally grown and spun cormo wool. It was a beastly project and I can’t believe that (a) I and the ladies in my knitting group thought it was a good idea (b) that I monogamously knit it for a whole year (c) that I FINISHED it and (d) I actually bought more of the wool–it’s still in my stash 14 years later and I am currently knitting a hat with it! Thanks for the contest–I love Wovember!

61 Kim L-H November 5, 2012 at 7:00 pm

My 1st 100% wool project was a sweater that I knit for myself 26 years ago. It was the first cardigan that I knit and it has some gorgeous smocking and an interesting overall pattern. I didn’t do the greatest job when I picked up stitches and worked the neckline…but I loved it and wore it anyway! This sweater will always be special to me because it was what I was wearing when I met my husband. I don’t wear it anymore, but I’ll always keep it : )

62 Nicole November 5, 2012 at 8:03 pm

The very first project I knit with 100% wool was a pair of slippers. For years and years I avoided wool because I thought all wool was itchy and scratchy. I am so glad that I have become for open minded about wool, and I have discovered so many wonderful yarns that are soft and squishy and do not irritate my (ridiculously) sensitive skin

63 Sabine November 5, 2012 at 8:26 pm

My first sweater out of 100% wool was knit when I was 13 in the bgeinning of the 80s. It was grey and very rustic and had a cable in the front. It was my very first sweater ever.
The most remarkable sweater out of 100% wool was a Gansey which I knit at least 20 years ago (long before I knew what a Gansey is). I still wear it even though it is a bit loose. But the wool is as beautiful as it was in the beginning even though it has been washed many times.
Spending the little extra money for good quality always pays!
Thanks for your wonderful, witty and intelligent podcast Brenda! I have been enjoying it for quite a few years now!
Greetings from Germany
Sabine

64 Shannon November 5, 2012 at 10:16 pm

My first 100% wool project was a basic wool hat on circular needles. I knitted it in a dark brown Cascade worsted weight yarn and gifted it to my partner.

– Shannon @ moveeatcreate.wordpress.com
shannon.r.rose@gmail.com

65 Felicity Ford AKA Felix November 5, 2012 at 10:35 pm

So wonderful to read all your comments about knitting with WOOL! My first proper wool project was in 2006. My friend Liz had introduced me to Bamboo needles and Knitty.com and I was obsessed with doing the lunch-bag in this pattern… OBSESSED.

http://knitty.com/ISSUEwinter06/PATTbrownbag.html

I trawled the Internet for weeks to find an equivalent yarn to that used in the pattern, something I could buy here in the UK, and of course a 100% WOOL yarn which would felt properly. Somehow the process of researching the wool, finding the yarn, knitting and felting the project and then making some mods to it so that I would be truly happy with the end result, was the beginning of feeling empowered to substitute yarn, and also the beginnings of major interest in what I knit with.

Six years later, I am obsessed with WOOL from the SHEEP! Thanks Brenda for heading up WOVEMBER in your illuystrious ‘cast, and thanks knitsibs for chiming in with your wool stories, I’ve loved reading them all, here.

66 Deedee Winters November 6, 2012 at 1:13 am

The first time was with Icelandic wool –a vest for my husband. It was probably 20 years ago. He outgrew it soon after it was completed. I gave the est to my daughter to be reclaimed, but I don’t think she ever did anything with it. I have become a yarn snob now. I seldom knit with anything except wool.

67 Beth November 6, 2012 at 3:45 am

My very first knitting project was also my very first wool project, too. It was Manos del Uruquay and a scarf, all knit stitches, for my dad. I was on Sabbatical and a spent a weekend learning to knit with one of my dearest friends.

68 Mark W. November 6, 2012 at 4:33 am

My first 100% wool project was knitted from Noro Kureyon. It was my fourth project, and I figured I was hooked on knitting sufficiently to warrant investing in some real wool instead of yet another ball of Patons acrylic. I eventually decided to knit a pair of Voodoo wrist warmers from Knitty.com, but with actual thumb coverings rather than an open thumb hole. Fortunately, I figured out how to use the thumb instructions from the Hurry Up Spring armwarmers from “Stitch ‘N Bitch Nation” to do the job. They turned out beautifully, and I wore them for several years before passing them along to my younger cousin in North Carolina, who I knew would love them for the colors.

69 sue kent-stuard November 6, 2012 at 5:47 am

my first project with wool was a pair of socks for my dh. The yarn was self striping and looked great in the skein, but I used needles that were way to big and the pattern had waves. And…they were so big they became ankle warmers. Lessons learned….

70 Kat November 6, 2012 at 6:05 am

The first thing I remember knitting in wool was a barrel shaped ribbed tank top in Noro. The poor thing had horizontal stripes and I had not yet learned about the need for negative ease, so I swam in it. Sad, sad. But I love wool! Even Noro, in non-horizontal, smaller doses.

71 Carol Bateman November 6, 2012 at 10:48 am

As I was a child in the 50’s wool was always wool .
My first terrible tangle with wool….? Well that was at my local Grammar school .The Year Seven project was a scarf in school colours, my Mom knit that . She must have knit my Year Eight project socks too ,because I don’t even remember them .
Year Nine was the diabolical gloves ,in navy 4 ply. The right glove was perfect but the left ,…. the left glove was knitted for a creature with a huge square palm and very teeny tiny fingers. That year Mom got tough, she would only knit one glove if I knit the other .
In Year Nine I knit a white baby coat. Yes I did . All by myself. However on the night before it was to be handed in I realised that it was so grubby that I washed it and was amazed to find that the next morning it was still wet!!!!!
So I took it to school and wedged it into to the top of one of the tall heaters in my form room. At lunchtime I came back to find out that it had gone. My class mates told me that it had fallen on to the head of the History Master during a lesson. I had to go to the Male Staffroom to ask for it back. I could hear them all laughing as I was given my bundle and Mr Gieves told me how never before in the whole of his teaching career had he been hit by wet washing in a classroom.
It was now almost dry (and clean) but when I handed it in it had that faint wet wool kind of smell.
Of course I vowed never to knit again. Never ever ! So that is why when I close my computer I’ll pick up my dnps with my beloved 4 ply merino, only pausing to close the cupboard door to keep the Stash locked in .
Cheers.
I

72 Felicity Ford AKA Felix November 6, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Ah I finally got a chance to listen all the way through with no interruptions, what a fantastic job you did with this. How wonderful to hear about the airing of the stash, and thank you so much for your endorsement of and support for WOVEMBER! I really appreciate your mentioning it in the show. I loved the job you did with the audio, too, especially the Amy Singer/Proclaimers mashup. MADE OF WIN!

73 Shannon November 6, 2012 at 1:38 pm

My first wool knitting project as an adult was a scarf knit in a beautiful colorway from Manos del Uruguay. It is beautiful but a little scratchy; although, wool is still my first love in the fiber department. Thanks for a great giveaway and great podcast!

74 Brenda H. November 6, 2012 at 2:24 pm

My first wool project was not too long after I started knitting. In the Knitty 2006 patterns was a ski mask called ‘Antifreeze’. I saw it and thought ‘that is exactly what I need!’. I deliver mail and in the winter I dress for warmth, not style, so I have one of those goofy looking Fargo type hats, but although they are great to keep your head warm, your face,neck etc. are in the cold. So I went to the LYS and found some wool yarn that wasn’t itchy(I was amazed at how soft wool could be) I’m pretty sure it was merino, but don’t remember. Anyway, I made the hat and it was EXACTLY what I wanted. It was warm, my size, and exactly fit the bill. Very satisfying to need something and then just make that very thing. Thanks Brenda, for your podcast, I enjoy it. I listened to this last one while delivering mail-don’t tell my boss.

75 Liisa November 6, 2012 at 4:50 pm

I had signed up for answering the phones for the winter. This meant I would be spending the winter of 1987 in a government-issued cabin in Denali National Park. It seemed a good idea to learn how to knit a warmer layer instead of eating myself to one.
I learned the basics with acrylic on pillow squares that were never made into a pillow. A February trip to Fairbanks in -42 degrees yielded me my first real wool, Lopi, and the pattern too. Off I set, joining the yarn and clicking away on those size 10 needles, knitting my first sweater, for my Park Ranger boyfriend. I had not yet been clued in about the hazards of such an undertaking.

I worked merrily along until I got to the yoke and as I started for the neck, I had way too many stitches on my needles. Back I ripped to the join and knit the yoke again, paying very close attention to the marked decreases. Still too many stitches. Back I ripped. This time, I “phoned a friend” and called the store in Fairbanks, 2 hours to the North, where I had bought the yarn and pattern. Kindly Esther looked it over for a couple hours and called back to say, “There is a mistake in the pattern, it is missing a decrease in the yoke pattern. Add a decrease here and here and you should be OK”. That did the trick! A completed sweater later, said Park Ranger was appreciative, it fit him and was a darn good first try. At least memory tells me it looked good. When, on a Alaskan summer evening, I gave him back his ring, he tossed the ring in Wonder Lake. Not sure what he did with the sweater but, at the moment, it didn’t seem like something I should ask about.

76 Liisa November 6, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Editing needed – it was the winter of 1989…I got my timelines messed up…

77 Judy November 6, 2012 at 5:30 pm

Ah yes, my first wool. It was also my first sweater, and it was actually a success–well almost. It was a lovely yellow, raglan turtleneck back in the dark ages, when I was about 14. Actually, at the time the acrylics hadn’t really taken off yet. I don’t remember actually knitting anything acrylic until about four years later. It turned out beautifully, but there was one problem that I didn’t consider. I have very sensitive skin, and this was a very wooly wool! I couldn’t wear it without a long sleeve top of some sort under it, and even then it bothered my neckline–and was stupid scratchy. I think I wore it twice. I kept it for years and years–it was the first item of clothing I had made! But finally I admitted to myself that it was just taking up space and donated it to Goodwill. Hopefully someone got it who appreciated it! And I never took a picture! Sigh.

78 Lisa November 6, 2012 at 5:41 pm

The first 100 percent wool project I knitted was a “Mr. Roger’s” (of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood) sweater in a beautiful grey Briggs and Little worsted weight yarn, for my husband. I named it “Sisyphus” because there was so much plain knitting it was like constantly rolling a rock up a hill.

79 Lee November 6, 2012 at 8:48 pm

I have been knitting for years! The first thing I remember knitting was made of wool. It was a scarf for my dad, 2×2 rib using two colors of Brunswick Pomfret held together. Yes I am that old. :)

80 Julie George November 6, 2012 at 8:58 pm

I’ve been crocheting since I was 12 and that was mostly cotton or acrylic (think ’60s and ’70s). I’ve been working almost exclusively with wool or some protein fiber since I began spinning in the mid-90’s. I believe my first wool project was in the 80’s and involved a knitting machine. I ADORED batwing sweaters in the 80’s and knit several, and wool was my mainstay. Nowadays I adore anythign wool; I clean fleece, raise angora rabbits for their wool, blend fibers with silk or alpaca and dye them all. Wool is the best – for darn near any season as well.

81 Wyn Jones November 7, 2012 at 6:06 am

I learned to knit when I was ten years old, and used lots of acrylic (it was the 1970s). The first thing I remember making with ‘real’ wool was a mohair coat from a Vogue Knitting pattern in the late 1980s.

I knit the entire sweater in nine weeks (at the time I was intentionally unemployed). Before I started it I would have sworn I did not have an allergy. But nine weeks of prolonged exposure to the mohair resulted in a runny nose, red eyes, and facial swelling if I wore the coat. (It had a large shawl collar. So there was lots of yarn near my face.) After hauling it through several moves, and several attempts to wear it, I finally sold it to a friend who adores it.

I do not seem to have a sensitivity to any other wools. Luckily – so I can use as much alpaca, merino, and Noro as I like.

82 Birgit Schiller November 7, 2012 at 7:56 am

My first 100% wool experience was in sock knitting. I needed a neutral yarn for a fair isle sock and the store did not have ANY neutral sock yarn. So the lady sold me a fingering weight 100% Merino wool. I had been knitting quite a while by then but had never worked with Merino, as it was way too expensive for my student budget. All I had worked with was dubious blends of nylon and more or less scratchy wool. Well, eventhough the saleslady SAID the yarn would not felt, it of course did so in the first washing shrinking my socks. Eventhoug I could no longer wear them I kept them for aout 5 years now and just two weeks ago gifted them to my sister who has smaller feet and loves them because a) they are really beautifull (a classic norwegian star pattern in neutral and medium blue) and b) because of the felting they are super warm home-socks. So in the end I am finally happy with my first eve 100% wool experience.

83 Sue Arney November 7, 2012 at 4:24 pm

My first memorable 100% wool article is a sweater. It is cabled and thick and warm made of Shetland wool and I still wear it in our cold New York fall and winters.

84 MzTallulah November 7, 2012 at 6:21 pm

Welcome back Brenda! It’s good to hear you again. My first 100% wool knitting was also my very first knitting project, with a wonderful grey yarn I got from my LYS at the time. It was a cardigan, which I made up as i went along, with no pattern, just some help from a kind lady. Fifteen years later, I still wear it around the house – my mum just the other day remarked how I should give it to my partner (and give up the pretence that I am actually knitting him one of his own), whose girth is about twice mine. Enough said.

85 Simplylee November 7, 2012 at 6:59 pm

My first wool project was also the first sweater I ever knitted. When I was 14 years old, a favorite Aunt that lived close by taught me to knit – a ski sweater. I was too naive to be overwhelmed! Here I am 50 years later still clicking the needles. Thanks for bringing back a sweet memory.

86 Sylvia Sinclair November 7, 2012 at 7:14 pm

My first woolen knitting adventure involved a pair of socks and my sister. Some years prior I had knit the obligatory series of afghans for family members using many, many yards of acrylic yarn, which was just fine. I had tried to teach my sister to knit, and had failed miserably, in large part due to my own impatience, I feel certain. She learned to knit socks one winter while working on a Wyoming dude ranch, and taught me to knit socks the following spring, with far more success than I’d had with her, but then, she was studying to become a teacher, so she had an unfair advantage, right? I wore those socks for many happy years, and remain an avid sock knitter to this day.

87 webfrau November 7, 2012 at 7:23 pm

Great to hear your dulcet tones again.
Hard to remember the first wool project, it was a lifetime ago. The first I can clearly remember would have probably been the early ’80s. A grey short-sleeved over-tunic, in some sort of basket stitch with a garter stitch collar and edgings. It would’ve been DK weight.

88 Prue Hill November 8, 2012 at 7:20 am

Not perhaps the first but a memorable one was the result of dyeing with natural dyes and others, blending the primaries to make secondary colours and ending up with a lot of small balls of singles in different colours.

I decided to knit the tam from an Interweave “Hand Spun Hand Knit” pattern book. I knitted a swatch and my gauge was fine with one yarn. Then I started to knit the Fair Isle tam. After knitting the number of rows cited before starting the decrease, I looked at it. And realised that it would fit an elephant’s head.

But I wasn’t going to frog it. I kept knitting for a while, added some armholes and a neckline. I still wear my Fair Isle vest but I no longer follow published patterns so blindly.

89 Phaye Geiger November 8, 2012 at 12:01 pm

The very first thing that I knit using wool was a pair of socks. I had learned to knit using cotton making the usual dish cloth and saw a class of ladies making socks and signed up for the class. I have knitted more pairs of socks but those first pair are very special and I am glad that they are made of wool.

90 Cindy November 8, 2012 at 12:30 pm

My first wool sweater was a “boyfriend” sweater which turned out way too big because I did’nt know a thing about gauge. It was eventually thrown away. But after 20 years or more of knitting I have figured out gauge and I have knitted at least 10 or more sweaters by now plus endless shawls and socks

91 freekeygeek November 8, 2012 at 2:43 pm

My first 100% wool project was with Kauni Wool 8/2 Effektgarn. I picked it up at a local shop soley because I loved the color format. Rainbow, starting wtih a beautiful golden yellow. I’m not big on wool, I find it itchy – but I HAD to have it.

I decided to make a scarf for my sister . . . this was 2 years ago. The project has since been frogged three times. I think it’s time to find a different (less complicated) pattern. :-\

92 Chris November 8, 2012 at 5:41 pm

The first time I knit with wool was the first time I knit. I was at my mother-in-law’s for Thanksgiving and going stir crazy in the house. I knew there was a yarn shop near the house, and I’d been thinking about taking up knitting, so I decided to walk up there and see what happened. Within an hour, I was settled in on the couch in the shop with a shop worker on either side teaching me how to knit. I still go to that shop every time we go home.

93 Alex November 8, 2012 at 6:36 pm

I’m listening to the podcast while riding the train. I’m smiling ear to ear. I’ve fallen in love with Cast-on all over again. Thanks for such a great episode. Alex (your Amsterdam connection)

94 Alex November 8, 2012 at 6:55 pm

Oh! I forgot to leave my wool story. My first 100% wool sweater was knit in 1978. I was going to college at Humboldt University in Arcata, CA. There was (maybe still is?) a nice little yarn shop near the square in the city center. They sold quality yarn – real wool and serious stuff for all us back to nature hippie types. :-) I bought aran weight yarn in off-white and knit an aran pullover with a hood and kangaroo pockets. It took a long time as this was my second sweater ever, but I wore it for years afterwards. I have no idea what ever became of it. But I still remember it fondly, and the shop the yarn came from.

95 Anita Dodds November 9, 2012 at 12:29 am

Probably I was 14 and knitted a Sirdar pattern for a classic pullover in light gray. I stll have the sweater tucked away somewhere, 40 plus years later. We were living in Colorado but my mother is Welsh and my aunts sent us all the women’s magazines. They would send wool whenever we decided what we want. We picked the wool from yarn cards. The wool was probably similiar to fingering weight.

96 Paula F November 9, 2012 at 1:35 am

I’m not sure when I first used 100% wool. My guess is that I was in graduate school. I knit a fisherman’s knit sweater which was very heavy and a little too big. The easiest way to get it off was to have someone else pull it off of me.

97 MamaCat November 9, 2012 at 5:15 pm

The first time that I know for sure I knitted with wool was when I was in graduate school in the 80s. I discovered soon after I started that my apartment building was right next door to a mini-mall that had …. ta da … a yarn store!!! I had been crocheting since age 8 and knitting since I was about 10, but had never really made much. I crafted a lot, but did more needlepoint, crewel, and crochet than knitting.

I bought some extremely purple but VERY woolly and wonderful yarn, and made an extremely complicated cable sweater with a very unusual neck construction. Not really a beginner pattern. There were a few mis-crossed cables, places where the gap between crossings was wrong, and so forth … but I still loved that sweater and wore it for many years. This sweater really marked the beginning of my love affair with both knitting and wool. And it also made me kind of intrepid. All that happens if you screw something up is you have a sweater with a mistake in it. Nobody dies, kwim?

98 momwhoknits November 10, 2012 at 4:08 am

Although I can’t exactly remember the very first garment I ever knit in wool, I do remember the first sweater knit in wool that was striking enough to cause comment among friends. It was a cardigan, from Briggs and Little wool. It had four shades of purple and also some yellow in it. From far away it looked like fair isle, but close up, it was a slipped stitch pattern. I loved that sweater and had it for many years – but I am not sure just what happened to it. I don’t think I gave it away, but I may have loaned it to my mom during my first pregnant, since I was quite warm enough thank you. If I did, I never ever got it back. And it was a thing of beauty.

99 Kate November 10, 2012 at 8:52 am

Hi Brenda , hope I’m not too late with this, only just listened to the latest podcast on my run this morning and it put a spring in my step on the way home! The first garment I knit with pure wool,like you, was my first. From the age of 14 ( back in the late 70’s) I had a Saturday job in an old fashioned wool shop which stocked mainly Jaeger yarn and was run by a very snooty lady who, interestingly, didn’t knit! Anyway, I wouldn’t have given it any thought I’m afraid, it would just have been what I accepted that everyone knits with pure wool Jaeger yarn, don’t they?!

100 Emma November 10, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Its wool that started all this!!! I found a spinning wheel in a charity shop at the time I didnt know how to knit, spin or even if the wheel worked! Well it’s 2 years since then and now have severe wool related issues (as described by my teenage children ) the first knitted projects were very lumpy Handspun fingerless mitts I haven’t looked back

101 Charlotte Bech November 10, 2012 at 7:15 pm

My first 100% wool project? Had to digg deep in dusty memory to recall. Was it my first sweater made in schools craft class when I was 15 years old? The one with a kind of square facon and sleeves that seem to grow even longer as I wore it. Made from fat white and purple yarn. No, I think that was made from a cheap acrylic yarn found on the shelves in the class room. No, actually my first 100% wool project must have been the cute woolen diaper trousers I knitted for my baby son some twenty years ago. How time flyes …

102 Janetmelissa November 11, 2012 at 2:09 pm

I had been knitting exclusively acrylic scarves and a few hats for about 3 or 4 years when I decided to make my mother-in-law a “real” gift- my first shawl, my first wool (lion brand LB collection merino), my first lace – I think it might even have been the first time I followed a pattern! That was about 2 years ago, maybe 3. Somehow it seems longer ago!

103 Tera November 11, 2012 at 3:13 pm

My first all wool project was a pair of socks. I quickly learned the importance of separately laundry carefully. A sock – of course it had to be only one – must have been stuck inside a pair of pants. I have learned to use superwash for those items destined to end up in the washer.

104 Ceridwen Davies November 11, 2012 at 5:59 pm

My first wool project? It has to be the scarf I finally completed when I was just seven. But despite the pride with which I could wear that, it pales by the side of the blanket I knitted with different cable stitches from wool I sheared from a sheep on the city farm. Not only was that the first sheep I had shorn, (while I was pregnant, too – yet didn’t know at the time) but also the first fleece I had treated from sheep to finished item: I sheared the sheep, spun the yarn then knitted it up. Satisfaction on so many levels.

105 Juliann November 11, 2012 at 9:45 pm

I have been knitting since age 5. I can’t remember the exact moment that I knit with wool. I do remember that my grandmother would take me with her to pick out yarn at the LYS. She always commented that I had good taste, because my choice was always expensive. She would order yarn from catalogs-remember catalogs? I remember that I wanted to knit a sweater to go with my dress project in Home Economics. She allowed me to pick out my own yarn-a lovely sky blue wool with gold flecks in it. I liked it so much I knit my younger brother a matching sweater. I don’t think he ever wore it. In her last days at the hospital, I was sitting at her bedside knitting socks. She opened her eyes and said, “You could always turn a heel much better than I ever could.” I always remember this when I turn a heel. Thanks for the chance to win.

106 Patty November 12, 2012 at 3:39 am

My first all wool project was a sweater for my then boyfriend, who is now my husband. I was so proud of this sweater, cables and all. Where I went wrong was when I blocked it. It never fit quite right but he didn’t want to tell me. Recently I found it in the cedar closet, our 14 yr old daughter loves it. At least it is getting worn now.

107 Judy11 November 12, 2012 at 6:59 pm

After years of knitting with acrylic (yeah it went with all the polyester double knit I was using to sew the girls clothes) I don’t think I actually got into knitting wool until I finally knit a superwash wool blankets in Navy for the first grand child. In the earlier years of my knitting, so much was given away to non knitters – esp baby items and I knew wool yarn would get felted. I did not move into wool until the fabulous choices of superwash began arriving. Now I am more adventurous and even work on hand wash items for myself and family, who know how to handle wooly wear.

108 Mioshee Greer November 13, 2012 at 5:44 am

The first time I knit with wool was for a felted bag. The bag didn’t come out EXACTLY like I wanted but after huffing all those wool fumes, I was HOOKED!

109 Erin R. November 13, 2012 at 11:54 pm

Thank you very much for suggesting an early ‘airing of the stash’. I found a lovely wool that my mother and aunt had spun, and I myself had actually carded back in the 80’s. It’s turning into a lovely Aran-looking cabled hat, after being in mom’s stash first, then my aunt’s and then mine. :-)

My first project out of wool was my first project, a very wobbly looking dark green bookmark that was too thick for any book. It is hanging on the wall in my grandmother’s house, where it has been since I first finished it with pride and gave it to her. (She taught me to knit when I was a child). Gran is now 96, and still sharp and living on her own, although not lonely – I spend a lot of time at her house still.

110 Jessica Dion November 15, 2012 at 4:07 am

I took a knitting class with a friend, just after college. With a nice Reynolds pattern for a cardigan in hand, I perused the yarn at my local harvest festival, and purchased a bag of skeins (I had no idea whatsoever how many yards that was, but it was certainly heavy enough to turn into a sweater, I thought) in a wonderful shade of deep cerulean blue. It was such an enchanting blue that I was willing to forgive the bits of “vegetable matter” sprinkled into the yarn. It sat in my stash, intimidating me for years. In fact, it sits there still. I now love the yarn more than the pattern, so we are just waiting for the perfect project to come along. Years later, I found myself again buying wool, in an attempt to knit wool diaper covers for my daughter. The first pants I made were serviceable, but scratchy. I went on a quest for better yarn, found Malabrigo Chunky, and never looked back. Merino, I love you!

111 Laurilee November 16, 2012 at 9:21 pm

My first time knitting with wool was several years ago. It was my first time using wool as I had always been told that wool was to itchy. The Colours in the yarn were just so beautiful I had to have it. Wool has been my friend since them.

112 Melissa November 17, 2012 at 12:07 am

Thanks for the suggestion of Caitlin Moran. I just downloaded “How to be a Woman” in audible- looking forward to a few long drives this weekend now!

113 Sandy November 18, 2012 at 5:01 pm

First 100% wool knitting: a pumpkin hat. I knit a large, it’s too small for me, but well loved by my husband and son. Just the right amount of silliness for autumn wearing.

114 Tina November 19, 2012 at 6:36 pm

The 1st time I ever knit was with wool. I started knitting because I wanted more hats & already knew I loved the warmth of wool. I went into a LYS thinking I’d have to knit the hat & line it so it wouldn’t be itchy. The shop owner introduced me to a soft non-itchy superwash & I’ve been hooked on wool (& wearing the hat) ever since.

115 Dalyn November 27, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Sorry I missed the give away…
My first time knitting with wool, now. A sweater I just recently cast on for myself with wool my mother picked up for me while in Nova Scotia. I must say I was a bit nervous as I caked it up but I am loving it. A belated Anniversary wish to you. Sticks and string are truly more powerful than I ever imagined. I am one of those who happens not to have many ‘knitting’ friends and enjoy the warmth of your voice. That episode you spoke of… was my first. I have been listening to you ever since. Sticks and string keep me sane. Thank you.

116 gale (she shoots sheep shots) November 27, 2012 at 3:19 pm

Oddly, Amtrak has filtered your podcast so I can’t download it while traveling by train. Must be all that talk about natural fibers….

117 Francine November 30, 2012 at 9:32 pm

Hi Brenda! I’m so happy to hear that you’ll be at Madrona. I was hoping you would be! That’s one of the best and walking distance from me! Good to see you back in the PNW. Unfortunately, I was lost in the crush of the crazy Madrona sign ups and didn’t get any of your classes ): But, I hope you’ll be doing some sort of signing event? Mini class?

118 Sarah Young December 1, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Alas, with moving and packing and renovating, work and a wily toddler, I saved this podcast too long and missed the giveaway. And since I failed at the lotto, I’m SURE I would have won the wool! How well I remember my first wool after years of acrylic ignorance. But I was 20 maybe, and crocheted (yes, a hook…I don’t even remember how to use one now) a pretty beautiful heather and grey wool granny square blanket for my then boyfriend. And I think it was from Kmart or something gross, because there wasn’t a LYS in Charleston then. And then I learned better. And then I moved to San Francisco, which is like going from a yarn convent to a wool orgy. Artfibers? Hello!

119 Hallie Ewanus December 4, 2012 at 5:53 pm

I was 7, It was 1957! the very first item was wool. it was all that was sold at my local 5 & 10, red heart knitting worsted in a hideous varigeted green. it was for a 12″ square . My brownie troop was making lap blankests for the local veterans hospital. Those poor guys, what horrors they were dropped stitches and al the mistakes. We felt so proud to have finished our squares.
Been knitting ever since.

120 Rebekah January 16, 2013 at 9:03 pm

I know the giveaway closed a while ago, but just wanted to comment anyway… that ending was so beautiful, where you talked about the timelessness and the quiet of knitting… I found myself nodding in such agreement with you. It is amazing what power some sticks and some string has. :)

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