Monday, 11 August 2008

Eco-Wool

This weekend was definitely a weekend of contrasts. K and I celebrated my newly acquired driver’s licence (!) by driving all the way to North Yorkshire and back on Saturday so that we could take my Grandmother out for lunch on her birthday, while Sunday was spent lounging around the flat recovering. A rare lazy Sunday give me a chance to blitz my current main knitting project, a long knitted waistcoat that I have been crawling along with for the last couple of months. After many weeks of searching I found exactly the pattern I was looking for so I'm keen to get it finished by Autumn, but it's my first adult knitted garment and I don't know how long it will take. This is all I have so far...



I tend to get a bit frustrated with available knitting patterns, for pretty much the same reasons I get irritated with dressmaking patterns. My Grandmother, bless her, is no longer able to knit because of arthritis, so passed on a heap of her patterns on Saturday. Unfortunately I have to say that most of them were utterly hideous, just like most of the knitting patterns that I encounter in our local shops. Frills, ruffles and multi-coloured everything yet again seems to be the order of the day, and it can seem practically impossible to get a decent yarn that is both 100% wool and a natural colour. Obviously there is a good market for the kind of patterns favoured by Grandmothers, but in light of the increasing popularity of knitting amongst younger women, I can’t help but think there also is room for some good plain down-to-earth styles, since lots of the younger women who knit are looking for a bit more simplicity in their clothing, whereas the patterns provide quite the opposite. Have you any idea how hard it is to find a simple wool jumper in the kind of shops usually frequented by 24 year-olds? I for one like to knit and sew because I want the option of making clothes in the styles and colours that I can’t always find in the shops. This does not generally include mohair cardigans in a delightful pink and lime green blend.

Back to the waistcoat, you can imagine my delight when I discovered Sirdar's new ‘Eco-wool’, complete with really nice book of patterns that even included that waistcoat I had been searching for. Seriously, they could have used me as a focus group - the colours are perfect (‘sludgey green and sludgy brown’, according to my mother), the yarn is that rare thing, 100% DK wool, and is made without any artificial dyes or chemicals. It's lovely to knit, and I would certainly recommend it to any other knitters out there looking for something both natural and straightforward. Best of all, the wool smells of rich, heady lanolin, reminding me of the clumps of the sheep’s wool caught on fences and picked up on walks as a child . Or indeed on walks as an adult, as I'm pleased to say that I haven't yet stopped filling my pockets with interesting bits of wool, feathers and pebbles every time I step outside in my wellies.

I've already made a hat from the same pattern book. It's kind of organic-goddess-meets-Bob-Marley in style. The kitten’s name is Douglas. This year my parents can officially claim to be self-sufficient in black kittens.

Before too long I should have a waistcoat to match my profile picture.

2 comments:

Peter said...

Congrats on passing the driving test first time! Well done! Kitten is so cute I would adopt it in a heartbeat.

The Organic Viking said...

Well 'first time' is sadly a bit of a misnomer, since I failed it once when I was 17...

Indeed, the temptation to kidnap the kitten is very great. If only we could have pets in the flat!