Episode 27: Chemistry of Wool Yarn

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve recorded, so Episode 27 features a lot of catching up with my travels to Nevada and Stitches Midwest. information about our new Podiversary Giveaway, some current and upcoming knit-alongs, and my knitting progress.  In the classroom, you’ll get an overview of the chemistry of wool and its resulting properties, which are pretty spectacular.

Welcome  to both new and returning listeners!  I invite you to join our fabulous Ravelry group so you can participate in all the activities and contests and be eligible for prizes.  I welcome your feedback — you can post comments here on the blog or in our Ravelry group.  You can also send me email on Ravelry or regular email.  It would be great if you sent me a card or letter via snail mail.  All of my contact information can be found on this site; click on the “About” tab at the top of the page.

This podcast is sponsored by Etsy shops Halcyarn Knitting Accessories and Hansen Hand Dyes.  Thank you so much to both sponsors! Listeners’ support of these sponsors is truly appreciated, and through them you are supporting this podcast and making it possible.

You can subscribe to the show on iTunes or you can listen on the audio player below.

Listen to the Show:


Reminders and Announcements

  • Enter your finished objects in our August graduating class by posting pictures of your FOs in this thread on Ravelry.  At the end of the month, two valedictorians will be selected via random number generator.  One will win a project bag from Halcyarn Knitting Accessories, and the other will win a skein of yarn from Hansen Hand Dyes.
  • Show off your projects that you entered into your local fairs along with your ribbons in this thread on Ravelry.
  • August is our podiversary month for Ewe University!  Enter our new Podiversary Prize giveaway by posting something in this thread on Ravelry that we can learn from you and/or something that you have learned from listening to Ewe University over the past year.  Prizes include:
Tosh Tea Cakes Kit

Tosh Tea Cakes Kit

cambio cowl kit

Cambio Cowl Kit

  • KnittingDaddy (Greg) is hosting the August Charity KAL for the Itty Bitty Knits group on Ravelry.  This month they are knitting preemie hats for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Women’s Hospital in Greensboro, North Carolina.
  • RachelUnraveled (Rachel) is hosting the Outlander Mystery KAL with the Jimmy Beans Wool group on Ravelry.  The first clue was released on Saturday, August 9, so you still have plenty of time to join in.
  • October 1 marks the start of a new Ewe University Anomalous and Spooky KRAL (Knit-and-Read-Along).  For the knit-along part, your assignment is to knit something anomalous or unusual.  I’m thinking about knitting the Painter’s Palette Scarf by Ilga Leja.  Post your ideas in the Anomalous Knit-Along thread on Ravelry.
  • For the read-along part, we need to decide on a spooky, creepy, but not utterly terrifying book to read for October.  Some contenders I’ve been considering:
    • The Hundred Year House by Rebecca Makkai
    • A Stir of Echoes by Richard Matheson
    • Summer of Night by Dan Simmons
    • The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey
      Have you read any of these?  If so, what did you think about them?  Let me know if you have any other suggestions for moderately scary books.  Post your thoughts in the Spooky Read-Along thread on Ravelry.

Awards and Scholarships

Our July valedictorians (drawn with a random number generator) are:

  1. NICOLES (Nicole from Saskatchewan) with post #25 — a pair of gorgeous socks.  PM me on Ravelry to claim your prize, a project bag from Halcyarn Knitting Accessories
  2. KUNZKNITS (Karen from Iowa) with post #111 — a pair of beautiful socks for her husband.  PM me on Ravelry to claim your prize, a yarn/pattern kit from Unraveled Designs and Yarn

Congratulations to our July valedictorians, and thank you to everyone who participated in our graduating class!

Around Campus

I talk about my visit with family in Nevada.  I also got to meet several Ewe University listeners, including Danielle (tahoegurl), Janis (wildponies2) and Rachel (rachelunraveled).  We had a fabulous time; pictures are posted in the Chat thread on Ravelry.

I also visited the local yarn shop in Reno, which happens to be the one and only Jimmy Beans Wool!  In addition to the podiversary prizes shown above, I got a beautiful sock set by Vice Hand-dyed Yarns and another set of Madelinetosh Tosh Tea Cakes for myself in the Mojito Mint color set.  Oh, and I picked up the yarn (Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport) for the Outlander MKAL.

Beautiful Sock Set

Beautiful Sock Set by Vice Hand Dyed

Tosh Tea Cakes in Mojito Mint

Tosh Tea Cakes in Mojito Mint

Lorna's Laces Shepherd DK for the Outlander MKAL

Lorna’s Laces Shepherd DK for the Outlander MKAL

I fell in love with the beautiful lake, the location of my morning walks while staying in Sparks:

sparks marina

Stitches Midwest Recap:  On Saturday (August 9) I attended Stitches Midwest in Schaumburg, Illinois.  It was an amazing, wonderful, and super busy day.  People I met:

I also met and chatted with and hung out with Mary Jo from Ohio and Heidi from California.  Pictures will be posted on our Stitches thread on Ravelry.

Here’s the yarn I got at Stitches:

Miss Babs Yowza in the Cloak colorway

Miss Babs Yowza in the Cloak colorway

Gnome Acres House Gnome sock yarn, Stars Hollow colorway

Gnome Acres House Gnome sock yarn, Stars Hollow colorway

Knit Circus sock yarn in Fireflies colorway

Knit Circus sock yarn in Fireflies colorway

Another Crafty Girl sock yarn in the I am Not a Moron! colorway

Another Crafty Girl sock yarn in the I am Not a Moron! colorway

Upcoming Events that I’ll be attending:

  1. Timber Ridge Knitting Retreat — August 23
  2. Bishop Hill Fiber Guild Spin-In — October 18

Newly Discovered Podcasts:

  1. Dairyland Knits — fun videocast with Josh from Wisconsin
  2. Knitting at Tiffany’s — lovely videocast with Tiffany from Canada

The Academic Status of My Knitting Projects

Graduated:   8 dish cloths for my mom and sister (I made 2 of each color but only took pictures of one of each)



Yarn:  Sugar & Cream
Pattern:  Grandmother’s Favorite Dishcloth
Needles:  US 6 (4mm)

Junior:  Plain Vanilla Sock in My Own Hand-dyed Yarn

vanilla socks

Yarn:  100% superwash merino fingering weight that I hand-dyed myself
Pattern:  Plain Vanilla Socks by Keri McKiernan
Needles:  US 1 (2.25mm)

Sophomore:  Garter and Rib Basketweave Blanket

blanket closeup

Yarn:  Cascade Pacific Chunky
Pattern:  Garter and Rib Basketweave Blanket by Lisa Davis
Needles:  US 10.5 (6.5mm)

Freshman:  Ombre Socks

Vanilla Socks in Ombre

Yarn:   Blurred Lines by Vice
Pattern:  My Knitted Heart Vanilla Socks by Elizabeth Suarez
Needles:  US 1 (2.25mm)

Freshman:  Outlander Mystery Knit-along


Yarn:  Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport
Pattern:  Outlander MKAL by Rachel Roden
Needles:  US 5 (3.75mm)

Follow-up on Graduated Project

The Muzati Shawl that I finished last month is featured on the designer’s pattern page!

At the Library

I finished listening to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce.  It starts out bizarrely but then turns into a heartwarming tale of human kindness and the transformation of people.  I gave it 4 stars and recommend it.

In the Classroom

For this episode I delved into the textile chemistry and industrial chemistry literature — whew!  It is enormous and pretty demanding.  But my goal for this segment was to give an overview of yarn chemistry with a focus on animal fibers, specifically wool.  I talk about both the physical and chemical structure of wool and how they are responsible for the many beneficial properties of wool which have led to its long history of use.  I hope you’ll come out with a better understanding of why people talk about wool as “nature’s wonder fiber.”  Give it a listen!



2 thoughts on “Episode 27: Chemistry of Wool Yarn

  1. Thank you, Dr. Kelly, for talking about the Preemie Hat charity drive I’m hosting in the Itty Bitty Knits group on Ravelry this month! It was quite a welcome surprise to hear you mention it as I was driving to work this morning. It’s a cause that means a great deal to me, and I’m thrilled by the generosity of knitters who are contributing.

  2. Pingback: To Frog, Or Not To Frog, That Is The Question | Knitting Daddy

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