Can I just tell you: I love wool! It’s soft and yummy, warm and comforting. It’s natural. It is enduring. Not just durable, but enduring. It’s been around for a while. People have been using it for a while. It will continue to be used for a long time to come in spite of the synthetic alternatives available. There’s just nothing that can take the place of natural wool.
I’m from the South. I’m a certifiable G.R.I.T.S. (Girl Raised In The South.) I was born and raise along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. It gets hot there in the Summer. No, let me take that back. It gets hot there in the Spring. And it even gets pretty warm in the Winter. The Winters are often pretty mild. I remember more than once riding bikes on Christmas Day. I used to wonder what the kids up North did when they got bikes for Christmas but couldn’t ride them because the roads were buried in snow. It wasn’t till I was almost grown that I realized that they got sleds for Christmas instead of bikes. But I digress.
My point is, we really didn’t have reason to need to even think about wool. Cotton was King. It was comfortable in the warm temperatures and could be easily layered to keep us nice and cozy in the winter. (I loved my denim jacket. In fact, I still have one though I seldom wear it. I just can’t let it go.)
But wool just wasn’t in our vocabulary. My only experience with wool was a navy blue wool blanket that was my mothers. I guess she still has it. It appeared to be indestructable – as long as you didn’t throw it in the washer, which we were given clear instructions to never do. It was also scratchy. Or ‘itchy’ as we are often more likely to refer to wool.
Based on this experience with wool, I had no desire to wear it. Didn’t want to buy it. Didn’t want to knit or crochet with it. Even Red Heart Acrylic was softer than wool, right?
When I moved to Delaware – in January six years ago – I got cold. My South Mississippi and Louisiana wardrobe just wasn’t going to cut it. My first purchase was a very nice over coat (for $15 from Goodwill). A very nice wool coat. And it was warm. And it was nice. It still is. It’s hanging in my cedar chiffarobe at the moment. But as nice as it was and and warm as it was, if I had to wear for any length of time on a regular basis, my wrists and neck would itch. It was the wool. Wool = Bad. Right?
My friend Julie, my wonderful scrapbooking, knitting, enabling friend Julie, told me it wasn’t the wool. It was the quality of the wool. If the wool was itchy, it just wasn’t the right kind of wool. She then introduced me to Merino. Oh, so next to the skin soft Merino. That was pretty much all it took. After that, all I wanted was Merino. I wanted to knit with it. I wanted to touch it. I wanted to pet it. I had to have it!
But I’m cheap. A penny-pincher. I looked at the price of the yarn. I felt the yarn. I wanted the yarn. But then I looked at the price again. And I looked at the price of the acrylic yarn. And it would do, right? And I felt the acrylic yarn. Well . . . maybe it would do. But wasn’t Merino. It was so soft and warm and comfortable and comforting. I had to have the Merino. And, being cheap as I am, I figured out really quickly that the best way to have all the Merino I wanted was to buy it at wholesale prices and sell it.
At the same time as my friend Julie introduced me to Merino, she also introduced me to spinning. And I discovered hand dyeing yarn and fiber all on my own. So, if I hand dye it and sell it, then I can have all I want at a price I like, right? Right! That was the beginning of Teresa Levite Studio Hand Dyed and Hand Spun Yarn and Fiber. Though Merino is still my first and my true (fiber) love, I have a sincere fondness for Silk, Angora, and BFL (and that’s BlueFaced Leicester, not Big Fiber Love!) And much more. Much, much more!