Why Acrylic and Superwash Wool are My New Friends

Those of you who know I love to knit and crochet may be scratching your heads and wondering what in earth has happened to their Suna. It’s true. Suna loves natural fibers like wool, silk, mohair, alpaca, linen…mmm. She loves to touch the soft or scrunchy loveliness of natural fibers. Mmmm.

Natural fiber wonderland

Kendall Sue, however, knows the value of quality acrylic or Superwash wool that’s been treated so it can be machine washed. For one thing, it’s machine washable. Baby items and things made for non-crafters hold up way better when made from sturdy, colorful acrylics. Kendall Sue is practical.

Current project made from a variety of unnatural fibers, but still nice looking enough.

Wool is Suna’s (my) favorite to knit with. But I’ve known the heartbreak of moths in Texas so much that I no longer have the heart to make socks. All my socks have holes now. I’ve also known the heartbreak of having your wool handknits accidentally put in the regular washing and drying cycles. Felt is great when done on purpose, but…

Fancy ass knitted item on couch with dog-proof covering.

Sometimes your fancy ass knitted item is needed. Last winter, it got really cold and we lost power. I happily lent a blanket I was almost finished with to a family member who was cold. Now, this item was knit from a Noro yarn from Japan. Lots of it. A few hundred dollars worth. Because I’m worth it, ha ha.

I forgot it was there, and thought I’d folded it up in my cedar closet. Nope. I think Vlassic was sleeping on it. And then it got washed, I’m sure by a very well meaning caregiver or something like that. There was no label saying “Fancy Blanket – cold wash and lay flat to dry” on it, after all.

Hmm

The good news is that the yarn is a blend, so there’s silk and cotton in it. So the blanket just got somewhat smaller, stiffer, and fuzzier. It’s still pretty. I can’t finish it, since the original yarn doesn’t go with it. I’ll just say the missing squares are on purpose. And I’ll remember to keep precious stuff up in my closet. Lesson learned!*

Fewer than 30 seconds after I put the blanket on the couch. This is why I need to stop making fancy ass items.

And I’ll channel Kendall Sue, my practical alter ego and make my next things washable. Luckily, Kathleen ordered the yarn already and it’s Kendall Sue approved.


I’m not mad. Just shaking my head that I didn’t think to retrieve the blanket. It was my error! All is well in the world.

Book Report: A Short History of the World According to Sheep

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I buy most of my books from Amazon, and they, of course, keep track of your buying history. They know I like books on wool, sheep, knitting, and so on, so I got this book, A Short History of the World According to Sheep, by Sally Coulthard (2020), on Amazon’s recommendation. I also thought the cover was pretty.

Beautiful cover, isn’t it?

Absolutely, I was right; the cover is great, a pastoral scene of grazing sheep by Nathan Burton, beautifully printed on textured paper. The book is a great tactile experience all around. These days you don’t often get books bound this well, so kudos to the Head of Zeus Press, whoever they are. I guess quality bookbinding is still alive and well in England today.

This sheepy little tome is indeed quite British, which lends a lot of charm. There are so many mentions of the names of tiny towns and villages in England, Scotland, and Wales that I got an urge to go look up photos of the whole lot of them. Sadly, there are no photos of sheep or villages to be found, though each chapter begins with a really lovely etching of something to do with sheep or wool.

The illustration of the chapter on wartime wool use.

I guess I should get around to Sally Coulthard’s content. It’s quite charming, and just full of fun tidbits about sheep, wool, word origins, and such. There are a LOT of English place names that refer to sheep and wool. And a bellwether was not a type of stock originally, but a very tame neutered ram who wore a bell to lead sheep where the shepherd wanted them to go. I want a bellwether. Well, I want any kind of wether, actually. I am so fond of them.

Each chapter in the book moves along through history and tells how sheep and humans have coexisted throughout history. There’s no doubt about it: sheep have shaped human life in many ways. They are darned useful animals, and Coulthard’s delightful way of telling stories about them makes for a pleasant read. I admit I could have used more details, but then, I’m a detail-oriented reader.

If you’re like me and enjoy reading about history through the lens of one particular commodity (after all, I’ve read books on salt, the pencil, various colors, and so on), you’ll get a lot out of this charming book. If you get bogged down by a bunch of place and people names with which you’re not familiar, or really aren’t enthusiastic about sheep and wool (how could you?), then you may want to go find another topic.

I’m glad to have read this one, as it cleansed my palate before starting the last unconscious bias book in my current stack of books.


An Offer!

Speaking of wool, I have a wooly offer for those of you who listen to the podcasts I make from these blog entries. The first person who sponsors my blog on Anchor for over the minimum $.99 a month will get a knitted throw by ME (and you can choose colors). The first ten people will get TWO knitted cotton dishcloths. Now, don’t you want to run over to subscribe?? Go to anchor.fm/sue-ann-suna-kendall/support to get set up!

Of course, you can make me (and maybe yourself) happy simply by following the The Hermit’s Rest podcast on any platform you like (here’s the Spotify link) and listening to an episode or two. My friend Mandi said it’s so much like talking to me that she kept trying to answer me back.

Knitting Progress and a Memory

Someone surprised me by asking how my knitting project was coming along. Sure, I’ll share.

Knitting plus ever-present lap dog.

I’m close to getting through two repeats of the lace pattern. I’m also awfully close to finishing the first skein of yarn, which means this will be more of a mat than a table runner. So, I’m going to see if there happens to be any of that yarn out there in the world. Who knows?

Pattern up close.

The black part of the yarn makes the lace pattern not show up as well, but that’s a risk I took by not doing this in a solid color. I’m not a perfect decreaser but I’ll smooth some of them out later.

Dark Lace

Just because a yarn is dark doesn’t mean you can’t make a lace project out of it. One of my favorite shawls is this beautiful one made from natural black sheepswool from American Shetland sheep. The shawl was made in 2010 and still looks new. No evil moths have attacked it.

Hey, that hunk of quartz makes a nice shawl display.

The style is Faroese, a traditional British Isles style. The way the center pattern and border intersect is so elegant.

Fun lace. Simple beauty.

The wool is spun a little scratchy, but that makes it stay on your shoulders and drape beautifully. I had Lee take a few pictures of me wearing it, since Ravelry only had pictures of the shawl alone.

It’s very light, but warm. I’m so glad the dogs are old enough that I can wear shawls again. Anyway, dark lace can be lovely.

Those of you wanting to make one can go to my Ravelry page for the project, which lists the source, yarn, and other details. Gosh, I still remember the day I bought the yarn and how helpful the shop owner was. We both kept patting the beautiful wool.

All the details!

Memories. I do have something percolating in my head to write more seriously about, so I’ll be back later. Now I must go on an adventure!

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