Yesterday, I went for a big walk. I walked down to the Loblaw’s in my neighborhood, and I shopped for sweaters.
Last October, my partner and I moved to Venezuela. You can read about our adventures here. Because we knew we were going to be there for many months, we had to get rid of most of our things. And by “most of our things” I mean that when we left, all that we owned could be carried on our backs. And because we were going to be about 11 degrees away from the equator, our sweaters were not a high priority. In other words, I had to sell or give away most of my sweaters. The only ones I kept were light enough to be useful in a desert climate.
Now it’s getting cold in this lovely island city and I need to be much more cozily wrapped than in Venezuela.
Also, (and this is perhaps an unrelated gripe but I’m including it) the person who maintains my apartment building tried to turn on the furnace the other day, and it’s not working. Not. Working. It is so cold inside my house that my coffee is the temperature of one of those fancy summer coffee drinks – which could be a plus, except that now is the season for piping hot beverages. I understand that it takes a while to get things fixed, but my goodness, my toes aren’t too happy.
As a knitter, I have to say that I hate the idea of buying things that I could knit at a higher quality and have some pride in my work. Knitting sweaters takes time and energy though and I physically can’t knit a sweater fast enough to snuggle in as of right now. I also loathe shopping. But it had to be done.
I toddled down to the grocery store and got me some new sweaters. I bought two oversized raglan pullovers that are 50% cotton/25% lambswool/25% nylon. I also got a 100% cotton flannel shirt that feels like flannelette. That got me thinking.
You see, when I shop, I shop primarily for fibre content. I always check for quality. I see no point in buying a 100% acrylic sweater, for instance. Sweaters are supposed to keep you warm, but acrylic can’t do it. You’ve got to invest in those natural fibres in order to get what you want.
But I wonder why labels listing fibre content have been mandated. I found the website of the Competition Bureau that lists the regulations, but it doesn’t clearly mention why. Allergies are an obvious reason, but the website states that quality control is the main purpose, and that’s astounding to me. How can a product that’s been mass produced with machines for the lowest possible price have a quality control? I don’t understand.
It’s funny; a lot of my non-knitterly friends seem to think that anything that is hand knit must be cozy and warm. Once you break that down and mention that a.) most fabrics are knit and b.) hand knitting doesn’t automatically imbue the fabric with warmth, the value of wool becomes clear. It seems as though the value of your labour should be reflected in the utility of the fabric, and not in its artistic value.
Regardless, as soon as I put on one of my new sweaters I felt so much more warm. I’m planning on knitting something warm and soft for myself soon. Fibre content is so important.
Now, here’s a kitty.
100% wool blanket