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I Took the Plunge

You all know how much I love wool. And you all know how cold I get in Michigan most of the year. I always swear I’ll knit a pair of wool longjohns but I never seem to get around to it. Mind you I have a large collection of different types of longjohns to make it through the winter. The best ones I have right now are the cuddle duds Sue gave me. I can even wear those under a skirt, as they are slippery on the outside like a slip. But when it is really really cold, I crave wool.

In college I had a pair of the original Duofold longjohns, one smooth layer of wool over one smooth layer of cotton, but I wore them until I had a hole in the knee. Since then I have mostly had to make do with thermal-knit cotton… better than nothing, but bulky and no good when damp.

I have looked for this original Duofold fabric at the local sporting goods stores. They typically carry Duofold brand but it is that synthetic stuff everyone seems to love these days. I can’t wear polyester, it makes me itch! Just like wool can make others itch, I guess. Boo hoo…

Two years ago I swore I’d buy some wool longjohns (made with superwash wool they are neither scratchy nor handwash, they are just plain the best). And then I looked around a while to find some. SmartWool looked good but the midweight ones were $55 USD a pair (now they are $60), and I just could not stomach that idea. That brand is always excellent quality, but pricey next to similar items from other companies.

And so I surfed. No surprise, the best solution for wool longjohns seemed to be in Australia, where they really understand about great wool. At wool-underwear.com they had several styles… from feminine and lacy to lightweight to double-knitted. I was thrilled because one of the designs went all the way down to the ankle without a cuff/ridge of ribbing. I wear my longjohns under tight-fitting leggings, and the ridge that shows about three inches above my ankle with most longjohns is a hassle requiring legwarmers or big slouch socks if I want to cover it up.

So I hemmed and hawed and while doing that I got a catalog from Land’s End. They had silk longjohns for less than the wool (about half the SmartWool, actually). I caved in to financial considerations, and got a pair of the silk.

No surprise folks… I don’t like the silk. They *are* warm and they *are* thin, but the fabric sort of catches on my hands and they are very static-elictricity-prone. I may be wrong, but I swear they are not as warm as my beloved wool might be. You can bet I do wear them, but I am disappointed.

Fast forward two years. This week I got checks for my birthday from both my Mom and my in-laws. I decided I really did not *need* anything, have all the clothes/yarn/food I can use, my car is in good repair and computer parts are already coming on their way to fix the only real need I have right now.

So I went back to wool-underwear.com, where they had a page with six choices from which to choose. And I bought two pair, thanks to my two birthday gifts. For about the same as one pair of SmartWool would have cost. (I ordered style PBJ, which amuses me since in the US that stands for Peanut Butter and Jelly.)

I’m really excited to finally be able to stay warm, in my own style. Wool!!! Now I need to allow time for the mail to deliver, which is not exactly fast from Australia. I have already waited two years, though… what is another week or two?

This almost makes up for not going to Africa during the snow season!

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