Monday, June 1, 2009

Confessions of a Former Fiber Snob

Kilty is the black sheep on the left; her mother Emily is on the right

A word about the fibers that I use: This is as good a time as any to admit that I am no longer the fiber snob I started out to be. When I first started knitting and weaving, I used only pure wool. It came only from sheep that I had raised, and I washed, picked, carded, and spun it all myself. And then I dyed it, but only with natural dyes from plants that I picked in the wild or grew in my garden. 

I eventually allowed a few other natural fibers into my house--cotton, silk, and ramie. But I was absolutely a real dyed-in-the-wool fiber snob. 

Fast forward thirty years. I have all the time in the world now to fiddle with fibers. But once I gave as a special gift a hand-spun, hand-dyed, handwoven vest to a little child whose busy and overworked mother tossed it into the washer and then the dryer. I began to understand that my all-natural garments might not survive in this modern world. Now that I knit for various charities, my little sweaters and baby blankets go to places where they may not get washed at all, or may get pounded on rocks in a stream, or... who knows? I certainly won't be there to request careful laundering and so...

I (blush) now knit with acrylic yarn that can be laundered and dried any old which way. There. I said it. 

Now you know.


Linda said...

I doubt much charity knitting is done in natural fibers. I certainly would not use natural fibers.

Non-natural fibers come in beautiful colors today, perfect for charity knitting.

Go for it!

June Saville said...

It's a wise person who realises adjustment is necessary - eh Clair?
June in Oz

clairz said...

Well, I have to admit that synthetic yarns have improved over the years. They used to feel so harsh that I couldn't imagine wearing anything made of them, but now some of them are soft and quite pretty.