Mariette, a friend of Wovember from Rotterdam, has written today’s post about how particular wool and wool textures are part of her therapy ‘tool kit’.

Through a childhood in difficult circumstances I grew up learning not to listen to my own feelings. In the end I did not even know they were there. After several problems in adulthood (burn out, RSI, depression, anxiety disorder) and several therapies (CBT, psychotherapy etc.), I came upon a more helpful path: through mindfulness and creative therapy I slowly learned to discover my feelings and understand myself better. And wool is helping me a lot.

Touching wool helps me to discover my feelings and to come close to them. I first discovered that while working with Dovestone, a 100% wool yarn from Baa Ram Ewe. I made a sweater with it and and I loved cuddling with the stockinette sections. It seems almost as if the wool itself gives me comfort. Afterwards I made a hot bottle cover with the leftovers, because I wanted this yarn in my bed!

wool-clad hot water bottle
The comforting, wool-clad hot water bottle

After a couple of years in creative therapy I am more daring with staying close to my negative feelings, but it is still difficult to discover them. However, almost always when I squish the cozy I start to cry – no matter if it is hot or cold. It is just the wool that makes it happen. Maybe I can feel safe, because I know that the wool gives me comfort and helps me when I come closer to negative feelings.

I have been thinking about this more and more. It is still a mystery to me what it is about the wool that makes this happen. Not every wool helps as much. Superwash yarns do not give me comfort, that’s for sure. The softest yarns like Merino do not work so well, and maybe it helps when the yarn is woollen spun. On the moment I am knitting with Cornish Tin II from Blacker Yarns, and that gives the same effect as Dovestone.

Am I the only one with this experience? I would love to hear whether others have found wool helpful in their work with negative feelings.

Mariette, thank you so much for sharing this. We appreciate your openness and know you are not alone in this. Feel free to comment and discuss your own related experiences. Words and Images © Mariette.

7 thoughts on “WOOLNESS & ME: Wool to aid negative thoughts and feelings

  1. Louise, this is completely heart warming. I make felt hotty covers, and there is nothing more comforting. I use Shetland lambswool. I think it does make a difference, the type of wool. Merino is characterless, over-processed, in my opinion. So interesting that you react so emotionally to the different types.
    I am so glad you have found therapy in knitting. It is the most wonder craft for all the reasons you speak of, and lots more.

  2. I completely feel the same. I never thought there would be another person who felt this way. That wool heals my brain, that knitting counteracts the negative self critic in me. I want to write more but I’m crying. Thank you, so much for sharing this. Thank you xxx

    1. Dear Melanie, I think we have the same! I did not mention the negative self critic in me, but you say it exactly as it is. Hugs!

  3. I often work with “woolier” wools and love them but didn’t realize it was the specific wools until you mentioned it. I recently knit a sweater that I would routinely just pick up and smell while working on it. So wonderful! I never thought of this as a particular type of yarn characteristic that I should look out for, but recently I started a sweater for my daughter that I thought I would love knitting, but the yarn, a reclaimed merino from thrift store sweaters gives me little joy, and I find myself thinking of starting other projects, just to get back to that same joy in working with that particular yarn. Now that I can put words to this feeling, I’ll have to think about that as well as color, yarn weight, etc when choosing yarns to knit with.

  4. I can really agree with this.I’m in my ‘woolly space’ today with my loom,spinning wheel and lots of wool.I can feel the anxiety lifting as I concentrate on some spinning.I also find over processed wool characterless.In wanting softer and softer wool we’ve lost the connection between the sheep and shepherd and the maker. I’m taking a fresh look, feel and sniff at my wool and thinking of the sheep in their fields, the farmers I buy the fleeces from and the animals in the farm animal sanctuary I support.,thank you!

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