A girl after my own heart - the Noro leftovers were entirely her idea. There wasn't quite enough, so I added the closest thing in the stash - a lone ball of sunny yellow Lopi lite.
She declared them soft, warm and wonderful and wants to wear them "forever."
Which is in startling contrast to the reaction a family member recently had to my (premium Icelandic Lopi) Winter Wonderland sweater:
"Is that ever scratchy. Oh my gosh, that's awful!" (feels it more vigorously)
Me: "Well, it is outerwear..."
"Oh! Ewww! That's HORRIBLE! How could you stand to wear something so coarse?"
I think I might as well have displayed lingerie hand sewn from recycled burlap.
(Since the person in question will no doubt recognize themselves, let me say that this is in no way meant as personal criticism, and I am fully cognisant of the fact that people differ widely in their tactile sensitivity. Nor did I take it personally!)
For the record, the sweater is worn as cold weather outerwear, which is what that particular yarn is supremely suited for, and in that capacity, very little (if any) of it touches bare skin. I have worn it for hours at a time, in the heaviest of snowstorms, marvelling at the way those long guard hairs trap the snowflakes above the surface of the sweater proper. Never once has so much as a drop of dampness penetrated its (highly breathable) surface. What intrigues me most is the idea that "not soft" is unquestioningly equivalent to "poor quality," which is perhaps indicative of the evolution of Western society's relationship to fibre and textile. In a few short decades, functionality (except perhaps, for high performance exercise gear) has become merely a "nice to have", and durability / longevity is out of the running altogether. Increasingly, the clothing and textile industry is being recognized as a significant contributor to global waste and pollution, as cheap, disposable fashion becomes the norm.
Even in the world of hand knitting, how many stories abound of the starry eyed purchase of supremely soft yarn, the triumphant FO, and the crushing disappointment when severe pilling rapidly relegates it to "just around the house" status? Natural fibres that are buttery soft and hardy tend to be rare and precious, and the attempt to convert them to cheap and plentiful status almost always comes at a terrible cost to animal and/or environmental well-being. Which is not to say that wearing Icelandic Lopi is necessarily morally superiour to cashmere, or even polyester, just that it is well worthwhile being an informed consumer of textiles. (Even better, an informed purchaser/creator/user. Seriously, what does it really mean to "consume" a garment?)