Why you NEED wool in the summertime!
I’m thrilled to introduce the summer 2015 issue of Interweave Knits, and you’ll notice there’s a theme of knitting in The Great Outdoors, as well as a good amount of wool yarn in this warm-weather issue. Let me tell you a little story that might help explain this angle we’ve taken with the summer issue. And make sure to check out the full project preview here.
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I was in Blowing Rock, North Carolina, for a weekend knitting retreat my mom and her best friend host every spring. I always attend—to enjoy the camaraderie of knitters and to support my mom. But I don’t take classes during the day. I go to the mountains on this April weekend to hike.
Western North Carolina is a hiker’s dream, with the ancient, soft green peaks of the Appalachians, myriad waterfalls, and lots of great trails. This year, I planned to do the trail that leads up the back side of Grandfather Mountain, one of the state’s beloved landmarks. I planned the hike for Sunday, and gave myself Saturday to wander around the little mountain town and relax. It was a gorgeous sunny day, and I walked into town from the inn. As I made my way up the hill, I heard live music playing, then cheerful crowd noises. I crested the street to find myself in the midst of a festival. Local food and beer vendors lined the alleys and parking lots, and a three-piece folk band was zealously playing to my left. The band was called Redleg Husky and I sat and enjoyed them for a spell.
The day only got better when I discovered a small but well-stocked outfitter called Footsloggers. I strolled the aisles, touching boots, camping gear, rainproof pants. I came to a wall of socks. I’d purchased some new boots a month before, and had noticed that, because of their Gore-Tex content, they made my feet sweat pretty badly. And then my socks would be soaked, and the insides of the boots soaked, and my feet would blister. (I promise there’s a point to this story.) Eight miles into a sixteen-mile hike, it’s not fun to have wet, raw feet! I contemplated the wall of socks. As I stood there, the store clerk approached me and asked if I needed help. I pursed my lips and looked at him, then decided: yes, I will tell him about my sweaty feet. He was not bothered by it, and quickly explained something that I should have known—I needed wool. Wool makes such incredibly breathable and moisture-resistant fabric. Combined with some nylon, as most store-bought merino hiking socks are, and processed to be washable, it’s the comfortable, allweather solution I needed. I bought a pair.
“I needed wool.”
My hike was glorious and my feet dry and comfortable! The pictures above show me atop the mountain, and the Grandfather in the mountain himself–see his profile? I’ve amassed quite the drawer of merino hiking socks now, a year later, and after discussing the issue with other active knitters, such as Andrea Sanchez and Courtney Spainhower, who talk about knitting in The Great Outdoors in the Summer issue, I know it’s a common conclusion: wool is best. In celebration of this fact and the summer season—when so many of you get outside and get active—we’re looking at the intersection of our craft and The Great Outdoors in this issue, with wool layers for backpacking, a romping story of a hike in Iceland by Mary Jane Mucklestone, a round-up of sturdy knitting gear for the trail, and a collection of cute knitted headbands for summer festivals and recreation.
In addition to these outdoorsy projects and stories, we look inward with some home décor projects inspired by early American textiles. By using an I-cord machine, designer Martha Lazar worked up a braided “rag” rug—I was so enchanted by her rug that I asked her to do a tutorial on her methods; find it in Beyond the Basics this issue. We’re featuring Martha’s favorite I-cord machine as a product in our store. With the Embellish Knit! you can make more than rugs and home décor—a few of the headbands in this issue require I-cord, and they’ll work up in no time with this tool.
Find the Embellish Knit! and many of the products and kits in this issue at shop.knittingdaily.com. I hope you have a summer full of adventure, sunshine, community, and yes—wool.