Wool is wool, right? Well, sometimes. . . .maybe, sorta. . . .kinda.
When I knit with wool, I am constantly (and pleasantly) surprised at how different wool yarns behave.
Along the way, it has taken me way too long to figure out that, the more I learn about the yarn I'm knitting with, the better my yarn choices and the better my knitting results.
And, as it turns out, the lost step of Wet Finishing, the art of washing and/or wet blocking your swatches and finished projects, can have a truly transformative effect on your knitting.
Myth: All wool felts.
Turns out, that just ain't so.
Yes, most wools will eventually reach what we think of as a "felted" appearance but not all. Part of the secret is that while some wool yarn (mostly very soft ones) will reach this felted state very quickly, other wool yarns will bloom under somewhat harsh treatment long before they start shrinking and reaching a hard, dense, felted appearance. On top of that, when you Wet Finish your knitting properly for the yarn being used, the process can result, not only in a softer yarn, but it will even out irregularities in the knitted swatch.
Our Shetland and Romney yarns are two yarns that benefit hugely from being Wet Finished in the following (vigorous) manner. They won't ever be as soft as Merino, but you'll be pleasantly surprised by the difference between the skein and finished swatch.