I'm not really one for Instagram challenges, but I feel compelled to join the #wovemberinstachallenge. I was won over when, after seeing a few initial Instagram posts, I visited the Wovember site. There I discovered it's much more than a fun Instachallenge — it's a sincere monthlong celebration of wool and all its aspects: history, characteristics, and uses; the animals who provide it, and the people who care for those animals and turn their fleece into yarn; the crafts of spinning, knitting, weaving, designing ...
The site encourages us to talk about what wool means to us, to wear lots of wool this month, and to share our stories about our wooly crafts — all very worthy and meaningful endeavors! The wearing of wool won't be hard (now that fall weather is finally here in Massachusetts). I also plan to post something for as many of the daily Instagram prompts as I can.
As long as I'm writing about celebrating wool, I should report back on the New York Sheep and Wool Festival. Rhinebeck was as wonderful this year as ever (though unseasonably warm). It was fun running into fellow designers and knitters, checking out all the gorgeous handknits, and making the rounds of the animal barns and small-farm vendors. I definitely got my fix of petting beautiful sheep, goats, alpacas, llamas. and angora rabbits.
I didn't make a lot of yarn purchases, but I'm excited about what I did buy: a cone of sportweight wool from Barlettyarns in Harmony, Maine (probably destined to become a spring sweater); two skeins of Moodna, from Hudson Valley Fibers; and a naturally dyed skein of fingering weight wool from Long Ridge Farm in New Hampshire (also for a spring design).
I look forward to designing with all of them and have already been swatching and planning a new accessory (or possibly two, a matched set) with the Moodna. It's a lot like handspun, alive and very pleasant to knit.
Getting back to the first Wovember prompt: This "aliveness" of wool — its springiness, and how good it feels, passing through your hands as you spin or knit — is another reason I love it so much. Maybe a good honest wool yarn is so special because it carries within it something of the beating heart, the spirit, of the animal that grew it?
As for "wellness = woolness" — one of the truest statements about that came from Elizabeth Zimmerman, who famously wrote: “Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit either.”
Are you celebrating Wovember? If you've done a blog post or are posting on Instagram or elsewhere, please share in the comments!