Day of Caring and sweater thoughts

Oddly, this post may not be about actual knitting even though it has sweater contents.

But to kick off with the United Way Day of Caring. This is a thing that my company supports and thus yesterday I went out in the community with a bunch of my colleagues to clean and paint a shelter for single young mothers. My company paid me my normal salary and I did some much-needed work for an organisation that barely covers its costs for day-to-day running and just doesn’t have the time or resources to give the place a really good scrub-down and re-paint. I’m quite fond of that idea and it was good to be able to put something back into the community, particularly for an organisation (SHYM) that I previously knew nothing about but would like to find ways to help in the future.

The bit that I’m not so fond of is the after effects. Ouch! My back hated me yesterday (all that bending backwards to paint high up stuff) and although that’s a bit better my legs now ache from all the crouching and standing. I actually feel worse than I did after climbing Snowdon and that’s just embarassing, to be honest. This fall/winter I have to get off my butt and actually do something about my fitness levels. Get out walking when the weather is good, make myself do some time on the treadmill every day that I can’t get out. I’d like to be back at my Snowdon levels of fitness, ideally.

Or at least able to keep up on all the walks that I know we’ll be going on when I visit England at Christmas.

The sweater thing is a bit of a whine. Why is it that this season (as with last season) it is impossible to find sweaters that aren’t 100% acrylic and don’t contain either wool or angora? Even 5% or 10% of either makes me itch. Sometimes its not too bad and I can tolerate the sensation for a day, sometimes my skin seems particularly sensitive and I can’t even cope for 30 seconds. My middlish days, I can tolerate the sweater for a few hours but by early afternoon I’m dreaming of taking the sweater off and burning it. I’ve never liked wearing long-sleeved shirts under sweaters (I get that “get this off me!” sensation in a few minutes) and that doesn’t always help because the guard hairs often prickle me through the T-shirt anyway so I’m hating the double layer and itching like crazy. Woo.

This year I managed to find one acrylic sweater that is OK-ish for softness and improved a lot after its first wash. I’m going to have another trawl around the mall to see if I can find another – it was a lone acylic in a jungle of wool. I picked up a sweater in Old Navy that didn’t feel too bad (cotton/acrylic mix with 10% angora) when I tried it on and drove me crazy by late morning when I wore it to work this week. And all their sweaters have angora. Some also contain wool for added itch. Last year it was the same in Gap and, really, in every store that I tried. Which is why I have a sweater with angora and a cardigan with wool, both of which are unwearable a lot of the time. The cardigan is tolerable some days, the sweater is going to charity.

I’m trying to knit up sweaters for myself out of fibre blends that I can tolerate (merino, man-made, cashmere – Rowan Cashsoft is fab, going to try Extra Fine Merino at some stage), but that’s going to take time and I’m short on sweaters now.

Really, is it too much to ask for some soft sweaters that don’t contain wool, alpaca or angora? Seriously?

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