Monday, October 3, 2011

Wearing wool

Sock models (from left to right) Dawn, Alice, Becca, Dave, Glen

I just finished reading Sheepish a wonderful book by Catherine Friend. She writes about all the wonderful qualities of wool; things I have known but forgotten. Qualities like the fact that wet wool still keeps you warm, in fact, wet wool fibers actually give off heat. And the fact that the bacteria that make cotton, nylon and polyester clothing stink after a single days wear, don’t survive in wool. Or the fact that some wools, like Merino, can be spun and knit into undergarments as fine and easy to wear as cotton or the man-made fibers.

On our annual canoe trip this fall, I wore a wool tshirt. After four days of paddling and portaging, it still didn’t smell bad, unlike the cotton long sleeved shirt that I wore over it. I had to wash the cotton shirt twice in the lake. The merino shirt won’t last forever like a polyester one, but it feels much better against my skin and doesn’t smell.

I wore my wool socks under sandals. We portaged five or six times on most days, jumping out of the canoe, clambering through the shallows to shore, carrying our gear across the portage and then stepping into the water again to reload the canoe. My feet and socks were wet most of the time, but my feet were only cold when I took my socks off.

Catherine found several American companies that use American wool and I found several more. Try Ramblers Way Farm, Wigwam Socks, Pendelton, Smartwool and Ibex, or even better, knit something yourself.

No comments:

Post a Comment