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Wool Sweaters And A Broken Washing Machine

The beginning of my love affair with wool.
April 4, 2024
By Leah Prescott

A Broken Washing Machine & My Love Affair With Wool

Living my entire life in the Deep South, I always assumed wool was for cold-weather dwellers. I imagined thick, rough sweaters and heavy mittens so stiff they could barely wave hello, comprising wardrobes for Norwegian snowshoe travelers or Canadian skiers. (Yes, as a South Carolinian, my mind’s eye pictures winter scenes strictly based on Hollywood portrayals from the 1940s and children’s board books).

My only exposure to wool was a very scratchy experience, so I assumed these brave cold-weather warriors would be warm but uncomfortable.

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Could Yak Wool Sweaters Work In The South?

All that changed a few years ago when I stumbled across an ad for a wool dress that was “breathable, temperature-regulating, and odor-resistant.

This sparked the question, “Could wool work for me, even here in the hot, humid South?”

At that point, I little knew how far the wool journey would take me or that, in 2024, I would make it through an entire cold season wearing an Oliver Charles sweater instead of a winter coat! (And never having to wash it, either)

Testing the yak wool fabric benefits I was learning about took me a while. Especially the anti-microbial and anti-odor properties of wool fabrics, because that seemed completely inexplicable and mysterious. I was, to be honest, quite skeptical.

I was reluctant to alter my laundry routine, and in my family, with a hubby, three kids, and a dog, we washed a LOT of laundry. (We could talk about the days when my twins were preemies with reflux and the piles of little baby onesies filled all of our laundry baskets, but I have a bit of PTSD, so I’d rather not relive some of that).

Still, as I slowly transitioned to wool, I began to realize that my synthetic fabrics were getting less and less wear, and wool was gradually becoming the backbone of my wardrobe.

Little by little, I experienced the benefits, and my routine began to adapt to a less fussy, less uncertain, and less chaotic closet. As I embraced a more simplified core wardrobe, my laundry routine slowly evolved, going almost unnoticed.

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The Great Laundry Disaster of 2021

Since my husband and children were still wearing the same kinds of clothes they always had, I didn’t really appreciate the change my personal laundry burden was undergoing until one fateful day towards the end of the pandemic. That day, my washing machine unexpectedly broke, thus spiraling my family into utter logistical chaos.

As most parents can appreciate, our family was operating on a very delicate balance at this point. As a homeschool mom, a part-time teacher, a freelance writer, and, on a personal level, a complete spazz of a housekeeper, my home was surviving by the skin of its teeth. Our chaos was tamed primarily by ruthlessly adhering to a strict and relentless laundry routine, and all of those rules were about to go up in a whisp of fabric-softener smoke.

What began as a brief wait for a new washing machine arrive led to multiple delays for well over a month. This meant we were dragging our laundry to a laundromat every week. Through that experience, I learned a few things.

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Laundry Lessons, Wool Solutions

One, I found I enjoyed having access to multiple machines at the same time. Two, I learned we did not own enough dish towels. Lastly, as I hauled basket after basket of my family’s clothing across town, I realized something pretty incredible. I never had to wash my wool once.

In fact, with the exception of undergarments, I didn’t wash much of my laundry at all. In retrospect, I could have easily survived with a couple of rounds of quick washing in the sink and never had to visit the laundromat. This was, not to be dramatic, quite a life-changing revelation and confirmation that my new clothing choices had made a difference.

Although the delayed washing machine fiasco was annoying, it proved an excellent illustration of how my wool wardrobe has decreased my chore load, simplified my daily mental load, and made getting dressed each morning so much easier. And that’s something I never imagined when I first saw that ad pop up on my social media feed years ago.

It turns out wool's benefits extend far beyond keeping you warm while you’re trekking through an icy snowscape. My laundry routine is just one of the benefits I’ve seen from the lifestyle change.

Leah Prescott is a blogger and wool expert who runs the Facebook Group WoolObsessed. Leah writes with special emphasis on natural fiber wardrobes.

If you believe that every good wardrobe starts with owning less and owning better, consider buying yourself an OLIVER CHARLES sweater.
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