THE CASE FOR HAND KNIT HANDBAGS PART II – NATURALLY UNIQUE

Sheep

This little lamb gets sheared to produce woollen yarn

Did you know wool comes in two different types?  Our wool yarn is worsted.  We buy it already spun, plied and ready to use.  Worsted wool is characteristically smooth, firm, and strong.  Worsted yarn has a great sheen, especially when spun from a long and lustrous fleece. This is opposed to woolen yarns, which are spun from rolag.  Rolag is a roll of fiber generally used to spin other less lustrous woolen yarn and many people buy it in a more raw state for homemade dyeing & for creating their own custom yarn.

I choose worsted wool because it is naturally stronger and the longer length helps it felt so much better.

What makes wool such a unique texture and so special to my designs is its character. It has elasticity, scaling and crimps. Elasticity is important because it allows the fabric to stretch, breathe, and return to its original shape. The fiber has scales that overlap like shingles on a roof. This adds strength and allows the knitter to connect additional balls of yarn easier.  Crimp is best described as the number of bends in the fiber.  The more bends, the finer the crimp and the greater the ability to spin the wool into fine yarns.

Fine yarns are the preferred choice for a hand knitter who believes in top quality and tight construction.  Crimping allows the fibers to attach to each other and most importantly, to give it strength & durability. For example, hair has little bend, no crimp and an inability to effectively be spun into yarn. A fine wool like Merino may have up to 100 crimps per inch, while coarser wools like karakul may have as few as 1 to 2 crimps.  [1] [2]

Wool is resistant to static electricity; this is why wool garments are much less likely to cause a spark or cling to the body. The use of wool car seat covers and wool carpets actually reduces the risk of a shock when a person touches an ungrounded object. So you won’t get sparks after walking on a Persian rug for instance.

Another wonderful fact about wool Fibers is that it is hygroscopic, meaning that it readily absorbs moisture. Wool can absorb moisture almost one-third of its own weight before even feeling wet.  Lambs are protected by a layer of lanolin in their fleece which keeps their skin nice and dry.  In addition, wool is naturally fire retardant. Did you know that wool is specifically chosen for garments for fire fighters, soldiers, and others in occupations where they are exposed to the likelihood of fire, and large temperature swings within their job?

What is it about all the different yarns, the textures, the patterns, the colors?

Oh, and the color combinations are incredible. It is a designer’s dream. Wool holds colored dyes so well and lasts so long. I am amazed to see that my bags have the same vibrant colors and keep them for years and years.  I love it because I can choose and play with any color combination under the sun.

Wool Yarn

The wool yarn is used to make Uhane Knits Handbags

Fisherman’s Wool can be found in several of Uhane Knits bags models. It’s in the Signature

& Nani collections like the Lisa Marie, Kara, Niko and Lani. It’s in Oatmeal and other colors. Light as a feather, Fisherman’s wool is coated in lanolin oil so it is extra damp resistant and perfect for all seasons. No fear taking the bag into the elements, rain or snow.

Lisa Marie Shoulder Tote

The Lisa Marie Shoulder Tote felted in Fisherman's wool

Furthermore, this is why fine wool is so important to felting. Felting is the process of agitating the wool with hot water and a little soap to help the fibers attach to one another better, making a stronger fabric.  The process of felting changes the structures of the fiber to make it one solid unified fabric.

After hand knitting, felting is what makes our handbags awesome. It’s because the loose fitting knit and weaving begun with needles then becomes unified, solidified and stronger.  Sometimes, after felting, the weave pattern visibly melts away. Wool is the only fiber that actually felts properly.

Now, don’t get me wrong, synthetic materials do have their place and are very useful. Moreover, we do use them in Uhane Knits handbags.  We utilize Nylon to create strong belts and topstitching.  Microsuede makes for a fantastic interior lining and durable pockets.  Other materials that adorn our bags include wooden beads & tags, steel, nickel and brass rings and other metal fasteners, snaps and nylon zippers.


Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s