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This has eluded me. My ultimate goal is to make some nice soakers and longies for this baby. But I don't know how to judge the right wool, less processed and good for this type of thing. There is a semi-local woolen mill near here and I was wondering if their wool would be considered good. The website is http://www.briggsandlittle.com and gives a summary of their yarn making process.
 

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Ooo..I know Briggs and Little stuff... I wouldn't use it for next the skin wear though, its a bit scratchy, even for me. I would consider their stuff to be middle of the road in terms of price and quality. Its good for outer wear like pullovers and cardigans that are rugged and will stand a bit of outdoor weather. I'm currently knitting a pullover with it, and every so often I pull out a little bit of grass or hay!

To judge good wool yarn, it depends on the softness and what you want to use it for. I spin my own yarn for longies and I have knit up some from commercial yarn, so I can compare the two.

Patons Classic Merino is good and soft for longies, but it fuzzes up crazy. Its also prone to felting and shrinking, so be careful when you wash it, even handwashing.

The best commercial yarn for longies I've found has been Galway Irish wool yarn. Its soft, doesn't fuzz up as much as Patons does and doesn't go out of shape as quickly. Price wise, its about the same.
 

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I'm trying to figure this out too. Locally all I can get is Patons, and I can already see how badly it fuzzes up. I'm trying a LTK soaker in it, which is fine since I'm just learning the process but I'd like to get some better yarn for the next project.

It would be great if I didn't have to order it from the US too. This part seems to be more complicated than learning to knit!
 

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I think it depends on your priorities...

If you want some organic wool, that is butter soft, treliske is incredibly nice. But, of course, since it's very soft, it pills like crazy and won't wear as well as some other, more rugged wools.

If colorway is really important to you, that's one reason why Manos is so popular... beautiful colors! But it also pills easily and I think it's soft enough, but it's not butter-soft or anything.

Your wool needs will change depending on age. For a baby, you want very soft wool, for instance. For a toddler, softness isn't as important and you don't want anything that will pill really easily. I would never again clothe a toddler in Manos, personally! Learned the hard way.

Not sure if this helps any!

Oh, also, it's my understanding that if you knit the wool a bit tighter than normal, it will pill less. So if you're using a gloriously soft wool, and want good absorption and less pilling, maybe go down a few needle sizes from the recommended one. Maybe someone else who's more knowledgeable can elaborate on that a bit.
 

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Yup, knitting it a tighter (with smaller needles than recommended) will reduce pilling, but then it becomes harder to knit and the gauge will be off. Do a swatch first and you might have to go up a size in the pattern to compensate.

The longies will be kinda stiff though, with a lot of body, so just be aware.
 

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B&L makes fine soaker yarn. i have used it many times. I like using Regal on 3.25mm needles. It makes a soaker that isn't too thick and the yarn has nice drape.
Some people think it might be too scratchy, and it isn't as soft as a merino while in the hank. but, once you lanolize the soaker it is a fabulous yarn, even for next to the skin.
Plus, you can't beat the price!
 

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i like peace fleece for older babes and toddlers and the soft (but pillier) 100purewool for younger babes and daytime use.

patons is good middle of the road

100purewool is less stretchy that patons but softer and prettier

peace fleece is better for heavy wetters and night time but is not soft until lanolizing and using a little while.
 

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Ellp, correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't the amount of pilling be a direct factor in the length of the thread staple in the spun thread? ie a longer staple length means less pilling as there are less ends to poke out? This would explain why working in a tighter gauge allows less pilling.

I'm not a knitter or spinner, just a needlepointer.
 

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Burgundy, you're correct. The length of the wool fiber is related to how pilly the item gets. Also how much of the wool fiber's surface area is "exposed" is also a factor.

For example if an item that is prone to pilling is knit loosely, there is more exposed surface area for it to rub and work the short bits of wool out (aka pills). When an item is knit tighter, the fibers are woven in more, and its less likely to pill. However, that said, once you have a knit item pill several times (with you removing said pills each time), it will pill less and less often, because the short fibers will have worked itself out, leaving you with the more desirable long fibers in the knit item. Does that make sense?

I've found that hand processed wool fleeces that have been cut off the sheep with long staples and processed gently are less likely to pill for the above reasons.

Commercial wool yarn comes from large batches of good and badly cut fleece and processed harshly to remove the oils and veggie matter, then dyed. There's a lot of handling involved and that makes the wool fibers more likely to break. So in general, I've found commercial yarn more likely to pill than hand processed and spun stuff.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Ellp
Commercial wool yarn comes from large batches of good and badly cut fleece and processed harshly to remove the oils and veggie matter, then dyed. There's a lot of handling involved and that makes the wool fibers more likely to break. So in general, I've found commercial yarn more likely to pill than hand processed and spun stuff.
And also easier to break - I can snap almost all commercial wool yarn with my hands, but usually have to cut my homespun with scissors.
 
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