Author Topic: The Etiquette of giving real wool  (Read 4583 times)

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One Goat to Rule Them All

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The Etiquette of giving real wool
« on: July 29, 2010, 10:26:21 PM »
This year for Christmas I've decided to give homemade gifts to my family, including a knit toque. Now, I am a bit of a yarn snob, but I'm not too bad. I think that Acrylic yarn has it's use but in general I prefer to use wool, especially for clothing. My local yarn shop has a fantastic selection of beautiful yarn, and I don't mind spending the extra for good quality wool. Plus this is Canada, and we need the extra warmth!

So what's my problem? Most real wool is hand-wash only. I go to the yarn store, and I stand in front of the beautiful wool, and I think "this would be perfect, but it's hand wash only!" There's a limited supply of appropriate superwash (real wool that is machine washable), and what I really want to use is the nice, soft, hand-wash only wool, but I feel such guilt! I hate handwashing my own knits, and I feel like it would somehow be rude to give my family hats that they can't throw in the washing machine without ending up with shrunken felt.

So what would you think if someone gave you a hat made out of real wool, that you would have to hand wash? Would you think "Oh, how lovely!" or would you think "hand wash? I don't think so!" and throw it in a drawer? Should I get over my fear of hand washing, or should I bite the bullet and go for acrylic?

Dindrane

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Re: The Etiquette of giving real wool
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2010, 10:43:43 PM »
I'm going to pretend for a moment that I'm not mildly allergic to wool, and could wear anything made of pure wool without wanting to scratch my skin off within 30 minutes or so. ;)

That said...I don't really wash my hats that often.  And hats are small and easily washed in the sink.  So, I think it would be a lovely present.

I do have two suggestions, though.  First, make sure that anyone you're giving a wool hat to does own some other item of wool clothing that you seem them wear on at least a semi-regular basis, if you want to be really sure they'll appreciate it.  Or, you could bring up the subject of hand washing wool without mentioning the hats you want to make and see what their reaction is.

Second, if you give one of these hats to someone who you can't be sure knows what to do with hand-wash-only wool, you might just write a little note with instructions for washing and drying it.


VorFemme

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Re: The Etiquette of giving real wool
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2010, 11:07:38 PM »
Order some of the little sew in labels with "hand made by" and "hand wash only" on them so that the washing instructions wouldn't be lost............

Houston is too warm to wear wool for warmth - so *I* wouldn't be doing too much knitting for anyone living around here.  The family members who live in Oklahoma (colder, although not as cold as Canada) might find wool very comfortable - but SIL is not known for her housekeeping skills.  I would stick to things like fleece scarves that are warm, hand made, faster to make, and machine washable.

That's because I don't think that destroying a gift by accident/mistake makes the person who did it feel good.  And the nieces are young enough that they aren't doing much laundry for themselves............since both parents work - I don't want to add "extra work", either.
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ydpubs

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Re: The Etiquette of giving real wool
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2010, 11:13:07 PM »
Generally, most people I know would not mind hand washing a pair of hand knitted socks or a hat.
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RainhaDoTexugo

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Re: The Etiquette of giving real wool
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2010, 12:47:01 AM »
Honestly, I don't remember the last time I washed a winter hat.  I think it's fine, most people are willing to handwash something that doesn't need washing often.  I'd be more concerned about sweaters and other clothes.  It is a good idea to include washing instructions.

Mocha

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Re: The Etiquette of giving real wool
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2010, 12:12:36 PM »
Last Christmas I knitted my Son-in-Law a scarf and matching hat in Lush yarn (50% angora, 50% wool).  It's hand wash and lay flat to dry.  Although I included extra yarn and washing instructions, I also offered to wash it when it became necessary.  My daughter is also a knitter and could take care of it, but they have a dog and cat and a small apartment.  If it's someone you could do the washing for, maybe you could offer that service and feel better about using the fabulous yarn you like.

I do admit to using acrylic yarns when I make baby items because of the allergic/irritation and washing issues.  It just seems easier and the parents can then easily wash the items.  Babies are not known for neatness.  The Baby Jacquards that self-pattern make adorable hats.

Lush is incredibly soft and my Son-in-Law loved the gifts!  I say use the wonderful yarns.

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Re: The Etiquette of giving real wool
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2010, 12:36:37 PM »
I would think "Oh my, what a lovely hat!  Now who can I regift this to?"  I love wool hats, but I've developed a wool allergy and would become red & blotchy and very, very itchy just touching it...  I don't think including the washing instructions would be rude though - I would appreciate it!

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Re: The Etiquette of giving real wool
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2010, 12:40:08 PM »
Honestly, I don't remember the last time I washed a winter hat.  I think it's fine, most people are willing to handwash something that doesn't need washing often.  I'd be more concerned about sweaters and other clothes.  It is a good idea to include washing instructions.

I had a pair of handmade wooly socks, and trust me, the pleasure of wearing them MORE than made up for the slight extra work of washing them in the sink. (Then my hideous aunt stole them, but that has nothing to do with this story.)

I think the point I'm trying to make is: I want some wooly socks... err. I mean most people would just be grateful as long as you include washing instructions.
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BettyDraper

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Re: The Etiquette of giving real wool
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2010, 12:42:05 PM »
I've ordered little sew-in labels that say 'Made Especially for you by Betty" and "Handmade by Betty" -- I suppose there is no reason you couldn't order some that just say "Hand wash only" and stitch them in.

They were inexpensive; not sure if I ordered through a sewing shop or from an ad in the back of a magazine but the cost was minimal for pretty much a lifetime supply.  

Either that or just include a slip of paper in the box saying "Made for you by XX.  100 percent wool ~ hand wash only"  

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Re: The Etiquette of giving real wool
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2010, 12:57:31 PM »
Since it gets cold in Canada, wool would be the optimum fiber to use. I would go ahead and make the hats and then tell the recipients that the hats need to be hand-washed.

Acrylic is okay, but it doesn't have the great warmth that wool will provide.

I made my DSon a helmetliner to take with him when he was deployed (Afghanistan in March = brrr cold). The directions specifically called for 100% wool. I used Cascade 220 Superwash (with 5 mm needles).

I told him about it needing to be handwashed, but if it ended up in the washing maching by accident once or twice, it shouldn't be too bad. 

Yarnie

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Re: The Etiquette of giving real wool
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2010, 01:01:00 PM »
I usually tell people when I give the item how it needs to be cared for.  I even knit with wool (super soft, but still) for babies.  I just don't like knitting with any real acrylic content.  I do knit with wool cotton blends, which can often be machine washable.  100% cotton, I don't like as much, and often, you need to hand wash anyways to avoid shrinkage issues anyways.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: The Etiquette of giving real wool
« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2010, 01:03:36 PM »
I always include the washing instructions off of one of the ball bands (or the whole band) when I gift hand knitted articles to people.

I don't see anything wrong with gifting a hat that is handwash only.  I don't wear a hat too much so I only wash them once or twice a season.
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HorseFreak

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Re: The Etiquette of giving real wool
« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2010, 01:19:49 PM »
My first thought would be, "I'm going to tear my hair out scratching" due to my wool sensitivity which is quite common. I rarely if ever wash my hats and I would never put something handmade like that in the washer. I have an acrylic yarn winter kitty hat by Fishfish Designs that I gently hand wash in cool water when necessary.

high dudgeon

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Re: The Etiquette of giving real wool
« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2010, 03:53:23 PM »
I'd think "Oh, how lovely!" and then throw it in a drawer. While I'd appreciate the expense and the skill involved in making it, I just don't have the time to handwash things very often and it's hard to find a good place to let things air dry. Stuff that can be machine washed will get used much more often in our household, whereas something that's only handwashable might get used once a year, maybe.

I think this is one of those "know your audience" things. I wouldn't assume that anyone is automatically going to love something that's handwash only, and I wouldn't assume that being handwash only was going to make it unusable to them. I'd specifically ask the intended recipient in advance. Either by telling them I wanted to knit them something and ask if they'd prefer wool or acrylic, or by finding a way to bring up the topic of handwashing and winter accessories and see if they mention they have other things they handwash or not.

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Re: The Etiquette of giving real wool
« Reply #14 on: July 30, 2010, 07:15:16 PM »

I'm in the allergic to wool crowd, too, sadly. If i weren't i would love a wool hat. Like PP's have said, hats don't really need washing all that often - i am sure the pleasure would be more than the "burden" of having to clean it.

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