Norwegian Wool and the Magic Sweater!

This beautiful sweater was made for my husband Matthew when he was an exchange student in Norway. He was 16 then and is now edging close to 50.

It’s like a magic sweater out of a fairy tale. Matthew tells a story of how he took it off at a party when he was studying at the Maryland Institute in Baltimore and when he went to get it off the pile of coats he found it had gone missing. He thought it was gone forever. Then, three years later when he had his truck packed to move back to Texas he saw it. As he passed St. Johns University on his way out of town, he saw a woman walking the other way wearing his sweater. He stopped the car, jumped out and asked her where she’d gotten it. She said she’d found it at a thrift store. He told her the story of the sweater (then only 10 years into its history) and offered to buy it from her, offered to pay any amount she asked for. She kindly gave it back and he’s had it ever since.

Now that I think about it, this sweater has survived without a single bit of darning for more than half his lifetime. The wool is still glossy; there is not a single ‘pill’ anywhere on the inside or the outside. It has moved from Norway to Texas to Maryland back to Texas and, along with Matthew, settled in Italy. Now in it’s 35th year, I have put a few reinforcing stitches at the cuffs and have noticed that the yarn is thinning around the elbows. I wash it carefully in cold water, dry it flat; despite its age, we both wear it often. It has seen me through a few cold, Lombard days when no other thing in the house could keep me from shivering. This is the kind of sweater that a knitter aspires to.

Inspired by this sweater I recently ordered some Norwegian wool (washed, carded and combed)¬†from a local Italian wool co-op. The box arrived and I have to say it’s beautiful. The same gloss as the wool in the magic sweater. It’s a dream to spin, the staple at least as long (if not longer) than the BLF that I tried at the spinning workshop I went to last fall. It’s also about a third again less expensive than BLF (1.50 euro/100g for the Norwegian wool vs. 2.20 euro/100g for the BLF).


Now the challenge is for me, not only to do a decent job of spinning it, but also to make it into something as beautiful and enduring as the magic sweater.

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