Tell Me Everything You Know About Wool

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Photo: Richard Lyons/Shutterstock

In an interview with Modern Farmer, knitting and wool expert Clara Parkes answered many practical queries about the fiber. For example: What's a smart economic choice? Forgo the cashmere and take up with merino for longer-lasting and less expensive softness. What's a cool and specific profession? Wool classers — more common in the U.K., they judge wools based on fineness of fabric and brightness of hue. What's nonsense? "Virgin" wool, she says, no longer means anything. It used to be a helpful distinction during, like, WWII, when old woolen blankets were broken down and reworked, but no one does that anymore.

How should we feel about blends?

I would be wary of what I call ‘why bother blends.’ It’s like 10 percent this, 10 percent that, kitchen sink. Let’s toss some angora in there; let’s toss some silk in there, some bamboo. It becomes more of a mad scientist than really giving you a fitting second skin against your body.

Also, she endorses Uniqlo as a "guilty secret shop."

This has been your seasonal sweater bulletin, fellow wool enthusiasts!