One of the wonderful things about wool is that there are so many varieties! While Merino is well-known, there are endless varieties of wool, and today we’re taking some time to reflect on our favorite fibers.
Bridget - While I stopped using acrylic early on in my knitting life, I didn’t really understand the difference between breeds for a long time, and usually just knit with Merino, since it was readily available. I just bought the right weight in the right color, with little regard for the composition of the yarn itself. It wasn’t until I started to spin yarn that I was really introduced to the wider variety of breeds. I came to love spinning Corriedale for its springiness! My favorite non-sheep fiber is alpaca. I love that it’s airy and light, while still being incredible warm. Perhaps I’m biased because I’d love to have an alpaca someday!
Libby - I learned to knit in my early 20’s, so there was lots of information on different types of wool at my disposal. Most of my early knitting was with Merino as it is one of the most common breeds for wool. While I still love Merino, especially now as a dyer, I believe variety is the spice of life - I love exploring with wooly wools like Icelandic lopi, Hebridean, Shetland, and Romney, but also with other soft alternatives to Merino like Dorset, Polwarth, and Blue-Faced Leicester. One of my favorite new wools is actually Yak! It provides a darker base for dyeing so colors come out deeper. And not to mention, it can have a similar micron count, or softness, to Cashmere, but is much more environmentally friendly to grow!