Unfortunately, because of that sometimes bothersome beast known as NaNoWriMo, I’m not able to do much else on the interwebs during the month of November. Once I’m done writing for the day, I’m tired of staring at a screen and I just want to knit and ignore everything else.
You’ve probably heard about Wovember, and initiative that is run by the amazing Knitsonik (aka Felicity Ford), Louise Scollay (of KnitBritish), Kate Davies (yeah, the incredible knitwear designer Kate Davies), and Tom van Deijnen (of Tom of Holland). They have been putting together some incredible articles on the Wovember website all about sheep and wool, and it gives some great insight into the worlds of fiber producers.
Unfortunately, wool is being exploited in the fashion and fiber industries, and that’s why Wovember started, to be a wool advocate. Wool is amazing on its own: It has strength, warmth, elasticity, and moisture management. Wool is biodegradable, thus sustainable. In short, wool isn’t synthetic.
In marketing, many yarn and clothing companies use the terms “wool,” “woolly,” and “natural” to convey a feeling. Usually there isn’t any wool, or a very small percentage of wool in the items they produce; most of the product is some form of synthetic fiber. It saves them money. It’s easier for them to work with. They can control every aspect of that fiber when it is synthetic, including softness.
I hate to get too much on my soapbox, but it is really sad for me. Synthetics cannot come close to being what wool is; they are derived from coal. In actuality, synthetic fibers are a form of plastic, and it doesn’t feel good to know that plastics are being passed off as “wool.”
To prove my point, I went to the two things that are closest to yarn stores in my area, Jo-Ann Fabrics and Michael’s craft, and I looked at the yarns that were labelled with “wool,” “woolly,” or “natural.” And these are the results I got. (Please know that early on, I did buy yarn from these places. Now, however, I can’t even look at their yarn sections without shedding a small tear or two. And that might be an exaggeration, but only just. Also, the lighting was terrible in each of those shops, thus limiting how good I could make each photo look.)
Impostor No. 1: Lion Brand “Wool-Ease” (80% acrylic, 20% wool)
Impostor No. 2: Big Twist “Natural Blend” (80% acrylic 20% wool)
Impostor No. 3: Lion Brand “Woolspun” (80% acrylic 20% wool)
Impostor No. 4: Loops & Threads “Cozy Wool” (50% acrylic 50% wool)
And, my favorite:
Impostor No. 5: Loops & Threads “Woolike” (85% acrylic 15% nylon)
As an added bonus, here’s one that isn’t wool, but I thought deserved a place on this (albeit incomplete) list of charlatan yarn lines:
Imposter No. 6: Buttercream Luxe Craft “Alpaca Solid” (80% acrylic 20% alpaca)
Because of NaNoWriMo and the new pattern (photos soon!), this is probably going to be the only Wovember post I’m going to do this year. Next year, however, I’ll be prepared. 🙂
So, think about what you wear and what you create with. Think about the impact it has on the earth when its life is done. And by all means, buy wool! (Preferably from an organic small farm that’s local to you … I rest my case.)
Before I can go off on another rabbit trail and distract myself from a certain word count that needs to be completed, I better stop this post.
Thank you for reading and for commenting! You all are so encouraging.