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Nerdy Knitter Alert!
This adorable BB-8 pattern is downloadable and requires orange, white, grey, and black DK yarn - all of which you can find at the Real Wool Shop!
What knitting can do for your health and well-being
Last weekend's knitting class just happened to fall on a gorgeous day, so we picked up our yarn, table, and chairs and headed outside to soak in some rare vitamin-d as we chatted, learned some new tricks, and completed our projects. It was Heaven.
Beyond just making adorable and practical things, knitting has a ton of great benefits to our well-being. As we knit on each stitch, we're focusing on and improving ourselves.
Here are a few things knitting can do for your wellness:
Knitting is a form of meditation
Once you have it down and get into a rhythm, knitting is extremely relaxing. Doing the same stitch over and over has similar benefits to the body as a meditation session. Makes sense, right? Doing a stitch can be similar to moving prayer beads through your fingers, but you get to have a cute scarf afterwords.
Knitting relieves many symptoms of stress, depression, and anxiety
If you feel stress or anxiety coming on, one of the best things a knitter can do is reach for their needles and get started. The repetative motion of the knitting as well as sitting down and calming yourself can reduce your heart rate and lower your blood pressure.
Knitting keeps your fingers and your mind nimble
Knitting keeps your mind sharp, and helps you work your fine motor skills to keep your hands in shape. According to the Mayo clinic, seniors who create craft projects like knitting are 30-50 percent less likely to experience a "mild cognitive impairment."
Also, working your hands keeps joints healthy as well, which can keep pain from tendinitis and arthritis at bay.
Knitting for charity can make you a happier person
Not only are there immediate physical affects of the act of knitting, but of giving away your knitting projects as well. When you make a donation to charity (like a pair of Knitted Knockers), your brain acts in a similar way to when you are...ahem...physically intimate with someone, or when you eat chocolate.
Well then. Where are my knitting needles?
Get cozy (and stay that way)
Before you need to clean your moccasins, you should protect them with water repellant or a Scotchguard product. Just spray on and allow to dry, so if you happen to get caught in the rain, you'll be prepared.
If you have moosehide or any other softer leather, you may want to apply a soft leather cream as well.
In order to clean your moccs, you can use an emery board with a toothbrush or suede brush to loosen dirt and fluff up the leather. Spray it with baby shampoo and brush it in, then rinse your brush and clean with just water. Fill the toe of your wet mocc with paper towel or tissue paper to help it keep its shape. Allow it to air dry in the shade.
If you have fur or sheepskin fleece lining inside your moccasins, you can clean them by spraying water inside with a spray bottle, but don't soak it completely. Use the air setting on your hair dryer (without heat) to dry as you fluff it with your fingers.
If your moccs are getting a little funky, you can sprinkle baking soda inside, allow them to sit overnight, and then shake out the baking soda the next day. This should help absorb odor and bacteria.
All the info you'll ever need in one handy image!
Thanks to the helpful folks over at Craftbits, you'll now know exactly which yarn to buy at the Wool Shop for your project just by looking at one helpful pic!
(We know how distracting it can be once you step in the yarn department - oooooo the colors! Is that new?!?)
Of course, if you're in the store shopping for yarn, we're happy to help!
The "Bendy Arrow" is the perfect spring project, that will become the perfect summer accessory.
The Bendy Arrow in blue and white sock yarn by reddit user u/herabee
Grab the pattern for the asymetric garter shawl over at Ravelry: pattern here
And shop fingering weight yarn in our shop or online: Shop now!
Lanolin cream won't sting, and will help relieve itching
"Ouch mommy, I don't want to put lotion on! It stings!"
Sounds familiar? The eczema cycle can be fierce - kids (or adults) scratch until they have open wounds, and then can't heal because it hurts to apply lotion.
There's hope yet! Lanolin cream won't sting or burn, and will begin the healing process while relieving that incessant itch.
Apply lanolin cream gently onto open areas and slather all over the rest of the body.
Do this every day, especially after bathing! It's recommended to apply twice per day.
Use lanolin soap in the bath!
Other soaps can harsh, drying chemicals that will only make it worse.
Tips for washing your cotton sweaters
Our Canada 150 sweaters are here, and you guys love them! But how do you keep that gorgeous, bright red looking red for years to come, and how do you keep your great cotton sweater from losing its shape? You're gonna have to wash it correctly.
Hand washing and drying flat is the best way to wash any sweater, hands down! You won't lose color or have a shrunken or stretched sweater on your hands.
But if you must wash your sweaters, always use cold water. Always.
Sweaters need to be agitated during washing as little as possible, so you're going to want to run them on the delicate cycle on the shortest length possible, if your washer has a cycle length option.
If you really want to show your sweaters some love, use a mesh laundry bag or zip up pillow case to keep them from rubbing up against your other clothing.
And, there's no getting around this - air dry that sweater. Put it on a towel, don't hang it up, and if you'd like to move things along a little more quickly, dry it near a window, dehumidifier, or fan.
That sweater makes you so nice and cozy, doesn't it deserve to be treated right?
Shop our Eucalan detergent for delicates - it's not just for wool!
How to make flower or butterfly roving appliques
Washable, easy, quick, and so adorable!
What you'll need:
How to make roving appliques Part 1: How to make roving appliques Part 2: How to make roving appliques Part 3:
Vitamin E and Aloe Vera make all the difference.
It may look like a run of the mill plain white bar soap, but that's where you'd be wrong - unlike other bar soaps, it's great for dry, delicate skin. Most customers start out using it on their face and switch to using it as their hand washing soap and even their shower soap.
Anyone having trouble with eczema or psoriasis should definitely know about this stuff.
The palm oil base is paired with aloe vera, vitamin E, and lanolin (of course!) so skin stays supple and won't lose any hydration to harsh chemicals. It doesn't even contain any animal fat - besides the lanolin, it's just plant based goodness!
Here are a few shoppers who can't get enough of this hidden gem:
Needle looms are adorable and simple to use
Our beatufiul Borocoo yarns are perfect for needle loom projects, which are simple to make and are, frankly, painfully adorable. Careful, if you start using a pin loom, you're very likely to get hooked.
Fortunately for all of us, Berroco has put together a series of blogs on pin loom techniques, and is even hosting a giveaway where a lucky winner will receive a loom, a book, and a skein of Berroco yarn. Here's a link to the contest.
Not sure where to grab yourself a little loom? Not to worry, you can make one out of a picture frame and some nails!
Want to get started? Come on over and grab some worsted weight yarn and check out our stock of gorgeous Borroco yarns!
Wool dryer balls are a great way to add your favorite scents to load after load of laundry
Many of you already know the benefits of using wool dryer balls instead of dryer sheets - they last a very long time and reduce static cling naturally by bouncing around in the dryer, fluffing up clothing as it dries. They even reduce drying time by helping the hot air circulate better in the dryer!
But what about that great smell you get from using dryer sheets, you ask? Not to worry - wool dryer balls (like our favorite ones from Woolah) absorb essential oils to infuse your clothing with a light scent, so not only CAN you add smell, but you can add your own custom scent.
Which essential oils should you use?
There are a ton of benefits from adding your own essential oil scents to your wash - including, but not limited to, customizing smells for each family member if you're organized enough to sort laundry (I'm personally not, but I've heard that's a thing.)
The first step is choosing your favorite essential oil scent - you can really add any essential oil that strikes your fancy (if you're downtown visiting us, you can pop into the Granery to sniff a bunch of amazing oils during your trip), but you can start with lavendar, lemon, lemongrass, bergamot, or citrus and branch out from there.
Make sure you use therapeutic grade essential oils to avoid irritating your skin.
How do you add essential oil to the dryer balls?
In order to infuse your dryer balls, just add 5-10 drops of your oils in a mason jar, add your dryer ball, and shake it to coat. Add more oil when your ball starts to lose its scent, or wait for it to lose it entirely and change it up by adding a whole new scent.
Can it be machine washed?
Rayon is created from wood pulp treated with chemicals to make it cool and comfortable. We all love how soft and airy it is - but you need to show your rayon a little love by cleaning it properly.
Always follow the cleaning instructions on the label, but in general rayon can't stand up to the same abuse that cotton tees and jeans do. You shouldn't mix delicate rayon with loads of heavy cotton jeans, as they can become entwined and the jeans may rip the rayon at the seams.
Instead, if you MUST machine wash, you can put your delicate items in a mesh bag or wash them alone. The ideal way, however, is to hand wash with a gentle detergent (like our fave, Eucalan) and line dry.
Rayon is stronger when it's dry than when it's wet, so make sure you grab the whole garment when pulling it out of the basin after washing rather than by one sleeve or tie.
They're the perfect summer sock, too.
Wool socks are awesome for winter, as you well know. The reason they're so warm in the winter is because they regulate temperature, which means they're also great for preventing overheating while you're out adventuring in the wild hot Ontario summers.
image via roaditup.com
Wool socks are fantastic for running, hiking, and even backpacking, since they wick moisture away, prevent moisture and, yes, keep your feet nice and cool. Crazy, right?
Visit us in the shop for even more brands and designs!
In short: Ethical, Sustainable, and COMFY AS ALL HECK
Yes, we're the Wool Shop, but that doesn't mean we don't appreciate a good natural fabric. We take pride in the high quality of our wool and cotton products, and now we've added bamboo to the mix.
But Why Bamboo?
Bamboo is growing using less water than other crops, and just so happens to be the fastest growing woody plant in the world. On top of that, bamboo produce more oxygen and gobble up more harmful CO2 than an area of trees the same size.
Which is cool and all, but the real reason is that BAMBOO IS JUST SO COMFY. It really is. The soft, breatheable, velour-like bamboo clothing is something you need to feel if you haven't already.
As if that weren't enough, bamboo fabric is also hyperallergenic, so is a recommended fabric for exema sufferers. It wicks away moisture, so our leggings are *true* yoga pants, giving you the option of going to the gym (or not!). Bamboo is even anti fungal and anti bacterial, which means your bamboo garments won't get funky.
Come check out our leggings, which come in a bunch of fun patterns, or
Let's put this debate to bed!
We know all about cotton tees! Come check out our spring selection
Admittedly it's just so easy to toss your cotton tees in the warm wash and it's so much quicker to dry them in the dryer, but if you want your cotton clothing to last longer, you're gonna have to break those lazy laundry habits once and for all.
Line drying is best
100% cotton tees are incredibly susceptible to shrinking, as I'm sure you well know! However, since almost all of that shrinking happens in the dryer, there's a really easy way to avoid it - you gotta line dry.
Drying rapidly causes natural fibers like cotton to scrunch together, which makes the garment shrink. The best way to prevent this is to line dry outside in the summer, and in the winter you can use clothing racks or lay your tee out on a towel until it's dry.
What's the right washing temp?
While it's been a long held belief that washing in warm or hot water cleans more effectively, any temperature besides cold is going to affect your 100% cotton tees over time. Washing in warmer temps causes a loss of dye over time, which is why old tees look faded and washed out.
So, in short, wash your tees in cold water and line dry. Many manufacturers also go so far as to recommend washing by hand with mild detergent.Also, notice how I said "most" of the shrinking happens in the dryer? Well, guess where the rest happens? Yep, your warm water wash, which accounts for a tiny amount of shrinking as well.
But, as we all know, soft and breatable 100% natural cotton garmets are 100% worth it!
Check out our great line of spring cotton tees in the shop, or
Breast cancer survivors in Mexico need your help!
The Real Wool Shop has teamed up with The Cancer de Mama Clinic in La Penita, Mexico to collect new and gently used bras for the next annual clinic.
Cancer de Mama provides support to over 500 Mexican women each year.
We are collecting these items to send to breast cancer survivors in Mexico:
- Used breast prosthetics (or your knitted knockers)
- Regular and/or mastectomy bras
- Summer hats
Join us in helping breast cancer survivors gain comfort and dignity.
Preserving your high-performance outerwear
Oilskin is a very unique fabric that's made by weaving 100% cotton yarn into strong, durable canvas, and then treating it with wax and polymers to create an extremely strong barrier against Ontario wind and wetness.
What's more - it's cotton, so it's incredibly breathable.
Top left: Oilskin Settler Jacket
Top right: Oilskin Duster
Center: Oilskin Deer Hunter Jacket
We offer a great selection of oilskin coats and hats, but once you get your great new garment, how do you keep it looking and feeling great for years to come?
More wax, of course!
Touch up spots that need a bit of renewal or treat your whole jacket or hat each winter to re-waterproof it.
We recommend using our wax dressing to treat your oilskin outerwear:
How to apply your wax dressing
Before applying your wax dressing, clean off dust and dirt with cold water and sponge. Don't use hot water, a washing machine, or soap, as this could permanently remove the wax coating and you won't be able to reapply it.
To soften your tin of wax, take off the lid and let the container stand in hot water until the wax softens. This should take around 20 minutes.
Once the wax is soft, work it into your jacket or hat, paying special attention to creases, dry patches, and seams. Keep the wax away from any cloth or corduroy collars, cuffs, jacket lining, or pockets.
You can achieve a smooth and even finish by going over your jacket or hat with a blow dryer after the wax has been applied.
The dusting debate is on - which material is best for grabbing debris?
In our opinion, lambswool dusters are king. They last for years, and are soft enough to handle shelves full of the most delicate curios, and grab enough dust that you can clean most things in one pass.
No really, but why?
If you want the sciency answer, you're going to have to know a little bit about lanolin. Lanolin is wool's secret ingredient - it's in nearly every wool product (unless it's been removed to make it hypoallergenic to those sensitive to it). It can do an impressive amount of things from moisturizing skin to preventing rust, and in the case of dusters, it makes a great dirt magnet.
The lanolin in lambswool dusters acts pulls in and holds on to dust particles so that you don't need to use additional chemical cleaners to clean dusty surfaces.
How to clean your lambswool duster
In order to clean your duster, just clean in mild detergent, allow to air dry, and spin the handle between your palms to fluff the duster up once more.
Sheepskin with a purpose
We sell several types of sheepskin, from super baby soft lambswool to uniquely coloured long hair sheepskin. Sheepskin is warm in winter and cool in summer, and is great for the car, relaxing by the fire, or even keeping comfortable while cruising on your bike.
While all sheepskin are comfy and luxurious, there's one that also has a very practical use for hospitals, hospice, and those who are bedridden at home. "Medical" grade sheepskin have a smaller pile, but are more dense and can withstand more frequent washings.
For those confined to a stationary position, medical grade sheepskin provides soft and firm support, and helps prevent bedsores because of the air that's allowed to flow through the fibres.
Whether you have a need for this special type of sheepskin or just want a versatile skin to make your home more cozy, come in and feel a medical sheepskin for yourself.
The Best Choice for Spring & Summer Sleepwear
You've heard the statistic - 33% of our lives are spent sleeping, which should be enough motivation to make sure you have a few pairs of great jammies. But what about all of that luxurious lounging time spent on the couch before bed or taking in your first cup of coffee in the morning? That'll kick the pajama-clad part of your day up significantly, especially on the weekend. While PJ's may seem like a good place to save a few bucks, why miss such an important opportunity to treat yourself?
As we come into the warmer weather season, we're loving the cotton Victorian sleepwear now in stock at the Wool Shop. The traditional Victorian styles are so comfy and romantic!
While we recommend our Victorian jammies specifically, we also just love 100% cotton in general, and here's why:
1. Cotton is Lightweight and Soft
It's so much easier to relax in something light and soft, especially in the warmer months!
2. Cotton is breatheable
Air circulation promotes deeper, better sleep. Since it doesn't hold heat in, it's great for warmer months and those who love getting cozy with blankets.
3. Cotton doesn't irritate skin
All natural cotton tends to be the least irritating to sensitive skin.
Shop our sleepwear now or stop by the shop to see how you could be lounging and sleeping better!
We are more than just wool.
Check out the men's and ladies fashions, yarns and knitting supplies. Of course the fashions are seasonal and change every few months.
See our stock of sheepskin slippers in many styles and colours to suit everyone's needs.
New Wool Care App for Apple and Android devices
THE WOOLMARK COMPANY RELEASES ITS WOOL CARE GUIDE APP, SPREADING THE MESSAGE THAT CARING FOR WOOL IS EASY
The Woolmark Company is pleased to announce its rollout of a Wool Care Guide app, placing information on apparel care at the tip of your fingers.
The Wool Care Guide app easily explains to consumers what different logos mean which they may find on their wool products, and details the steps to make caring for your wool apparel easy. You can wash, dry and iron your wool clothing at home with the confidence that Woolmark Apparel Care products are tested and approved for their performance in caring for wool.
The app defines the four main categories of apparel care:
Care Labels: This will help you understand your care labels, such as whether your wool item is safe for machine wash or hand wash only. Using approved GINETEX care symbols, washing wool has never been easier.
Equipment: The Woolmark Company tests and approves the wool cycles on washing machines, tumble driers and irons. Appliances with the Woolmark Apparel Care logo have been tested on their ability to wash wool effectively. Look for the same logo on Woolmark-approved detergents, which are suitable for laundering your wool textiles.
Care Tips: Irrespective of the laundering method, it is recommended that wool garments are turned inside out prior to laundering; this will prolong the 'as new' surface appearance of the garment. Other tips such as how to avoid colour bleeding are also clearly outlined in the Wool Care Guide app.
Stain Removal: The app also provides effective measures of stain removal for the treatment of everyday stains such as coffee, wine and grease. All safety precautions recommended by chemical suppliers should be followed.
The Woolmark Apparel Care program seeks to provide quality laundering technology to consumers to provide the very best care options for wool garments. The program allows for the Woolmark Apparel Care symbol to be licensed for use on detergents, washing machines, tumble driers, irons, fabric softeners and bleaches for domestic use. All products are tested by independent laboratories, authorised to carry out Woolmark testing. Detergents were first licensed with the Woolmark symbol in 1969, and the symbol has been applied to washing machines since 1968.
"The Wool Care Guide app is part of the Woolmark Apparel Care program's overall strategy to provide consumers with educational and functional tools for laundering their wool apparel with ease," explains The Woolmark Company's Chief Strategy and Marketing officer Rob Langtry
"These initiatives address a mis-perception among some consumers that wool garments are more difficult to care for than garments made from other fibres, yet we address these misconceptions through global marketing, education and R&D, spreading the message that wool is easy to care for."