There is a great article in the latest Twist Collective, called "The Softness Myth" by Clara Parkes. It is an excerpt from her new book, The Knitter's Book of Wool. Click here to read the article. (I had a mini-gush-fest about her Knitter's Book of Yarn last winter, and have asked for the new book for Christmas this year. Whoo!)
Wool is definitely my favourite fibre -- there is so much variety, it looks so crisp, and I love the natrual properties: warm even when wet, flame-resistant, etc. I won't drone on.
This seems like a good time to write about the yarn I am using for one of my current WIPs. My husband had been asking for a sweater, so I picked a few patterns that were within my skill and interest level, and let him pick the one he liked best. Ever unique, he selected Tiennie's Fog Sweater, with the cabled sleeves of Jodi Greene's Durrow. He wanted a plain, manly colour -- brown, grey, dark green, etc -- and no stripes. I chose black, always a favourite and easy to coordinate. I wanted a textured yarn, a little rough and with some lanolin as this sweater will be outerwear... A yarn to last a decade, with what I call "character," and I wanted to support a Canadian yarn maker. (We are going through the Canadian citizenship process for my hub, and I'm always saying how great Canada is, so why not use Canadian wool?)
After some research, I settled on Briggs & Little Regal (Rav page), a worsted-weight yarn from a family-run mill in my home province of New Brunswick. The mill is over 150 years old; my grandmother has knit their yarn for decades. What a legacy! The comments on Ravelry really sealed the deal and assured me that it was exactly what I was looking for.
I tried a few retailers, but none had the quantity I needed, so I ordered directly from the mill. The phone service was great, very friendly, and I was pleased with the prices and quick shipping (orders are mailed the next day). I even asked to please make sure the skeins were of the same dye lot and the woman replied, "Oh, we always do!" I highly recommend them!! You can check out the Briggs & Little site here; there's a virtual tour of the mill.
The sweater is going really well. I haven't taken a picture because a big, black piece of 1x1 ribbing isn't too interesting. I'm halfway through the second hank, and have come across one spot where the yarn was tied off (I just cut out the knot and spit-spliced the ends together). Otherwise, it's been great. There is some variety in the thickness/thinness of the yarn, but I'm sure it will even out upon blocking, and hell, it gives it the character I wanted. It is lightweight: I used 3.5mms for the hem of the sweater, and 3.75mms for the body. The yarn does make my hands a little dry when I work with it, ande there's a bit of vegetable matter to pull out, but nothing major. I'm going to wash and block the sweater before making my final verdict, but so far I am very happy with my choice.
Oh, and I'm very happy with the Fog Sweater pattern too :)