the smell of loved woolies

toddler diptych

The first Elizabeth Zimmermann pattern I ever made was ‘Ganomy’ from Knitters’ Almanac. It’s also been the most used pattern in my repetoire. My copy of KA is in bad shape. It lived in the bottom of my bag for a while. I haven’t knit everything she gives pithy directions for, but I HAVE read the whole book–some parts more than others.

Anyway, what I meant to blog about is how much I love wool. I’m sorry you have to wash your handknit hat. I’m sorry you accidentally put it in your hamper and it’s a ball of fluff. I’m sorry it itched you when you first touched it and now lives in a box in your closet. Fact of the matter is: you never gave wool a chance! It took me longer to knit your hat than it will for you to wash it. You should not put something beautifully made in a hamper. If you would have given it a soak, it wouldn’t be itchy.

That first Ganomy was a rather quick knit. It isn’t perfect, as I was a newbie to knitting, but it fit and was pretttyyy in all its Noro Kureyon glory. It was also lost in a hamper, almost-felted, and hella itchy. But I kept putting it on my little one’s (now, 4.5) head, hanging it on a hook, or shoving it in my bag, when he wasn’t wearing it. I even soaked it in warm water + lanolin (the same tube I got at my baby shower–thank heavens for an easy start to my breastfeeding career) + baby shampoo to wash it when it got really dirty one day.

Three years later, it is the hat I love most. Soft, pilly, smelly. It’s never gotten quite as dirty as the first time it warranted a cleaning. Heck, it’s only needed a wash once since then. And because of that, it smells wonderful. It smells like their heads. A lovely mixture of baby shampoo and baby sweat. No, don’t wince! Babies’ heads smell gooood. I promise.

This hat has been loved. It will continue to be loved for the rest of winter and perhaps into Spring. Maybe Easter will be cold and Andy will wear it one last time, on his second celebration of the holiday, like Nate did in 2007.

Won’t you give wool a chance? In a few years, when my boys undoubtedly become obnoxious the way I was when I was little, I bet someone will find me crying on a closet floor, deeply inhaling the scent of my babies from this hat. It’s just a fact.

3 comments to the smell of loved woolies

  • mmmm…yes, wool. Even though I just learned to knit I’ve had a serious love affair with wool for a while now, thanks to the wonders of longies over cloth diapers.
    The wool you sent me smells wonderful. I’m about 1/2 way done with my neckwarmer & i stop every onc ein a while just to sniff it. I’m gonna give it a nice lanolin soak when I’m all done.

  • oh this bough a tear to my eye…I am obssessd with woolly babies…steaming fuggy damp haired small children in layers of wool blankets cooking in the pram…lovely

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