People who knit or crochet often have very definite opinions about the materials they use. I will knit with acrylic if I think it is something that may get washed a lot, or if the person is allergic to wool, or if the user requests something other than wool. I have been known to buy acrylic yarn if the color variegation intrigues me (such as here). I know people who insist acrylic is the only way to go, and shudder if you mention wool. 🙂
Next up the ladder of yarns I enjoy are the other natural fibers, such as cotton, silk, and bamboo. My first knitting was with cotton yarn, because I figured I could use the wash cloths no matter how badly they looked. 🙂 I love the feel of silk, but like cotton it does not have much “give” when knitting. I would put bamboo in the same category. I knitted a scarf of silk and mohair, and the softness and sheen were lovely.
I love wool. I love the smell of it. In her earlier blogs, Crazy Aunt Purl wrote about picking up yarn in the stores and smelling it . . . and I know what she means. Perhaps it reminds me of the wool blankets on my mom’s bed. I did not expect to like wool; when I was a kid, I avoided it because it was scratchy. The first time I knitted with wool (a beret), I was amazed at the lovely color, the slight elasticity of the yarn, and the comforting smell. Knitting was even more fun with wool yarn. I went on to knit about six or seven berets in different colors. Then I took the plunge, and knitted myself a wool afghan. At one point I had someone else wind my hank of undyed yarn into a ball, and when I got it back it smelled like cigarette smoke. Disaster! Sunshine and lavender essential oil fixed that, and the afghan lives on our bed about ten months out of the year.
I’m not a very good knitter, but I do love the process. Crazy Aunt Purl and the Yarn Harlot both got me brave enough to try new things (though I look at the Yarn Harlot’s work in awe). Recently I discovered Kiwiyarns Knits, written by a New Zealand knitter who left a job in corporate marketing to knit full-time. She posts the most beautiful photos of yarn (I use some of these as the desktop background on my computer), and creates lovely knits and patterns. I crave some of those yarns — the colors are beautiful, and I can imagine the joy of knitting with them. Perhaps I shall have to take a vacation in New Zealand so I can visit some of the stores in-person . . . and breathe in the aroma of the yarn as I choose them. 🙂