Finding Wool

I’ve always had an appreciation for the fine wool sweaters produced in such places as Ireland, Scotland, New Zealand, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. They know their wool, and they know what it takes to keep people warm on a cold day.

I’ve come close to scoring good ones at thrift shops before: just the other day, I found a Pringle of Scotland arran sweater in a nice solid blue color. The problem was that it was an XL. Since I’m on the border between medium and large, that sweater was too big. In retrospect, I do wish I had picked it up, as they retail for way more than $300. I could have flipped it on Ebay pretty easily, I think. But the past is the past…

Today, I had the calling to check out one of the shops at the edge of my normal travels. They had had one of their famous 99 cent sweater sales last Friday, so I guess this one is newer than that, because it would have gone in a heartbeat, I suspect!

Before hitting the aisles, I checked out the hats and found an old (probably early 1980s) bomber hat from Adventure 16 that has a GoreTex shell and is lined with what I suspect is sheepskin. In my size… Good find, since today fleece lined GoreTex is rather expensive. Comparable models are selling online for $50+, so those $3 were well spent. This hat will keep me warm in just about anything…

Back to the knickknack section, I found a statuette of Rob Roy; the kind you might find in a gift shop in Edinburgh. Since I’ve been to Scotland and visited Rob Roy’s gravesite, I have an appreciation for anything attached to him. This will sit on the mantle for sure…

To the sweater aisle. My mind saw the thickness of the sweater first. I was about halfway down a long section of sweaters – mostly cotton and acrylic; wool tends to stand out. Really thick wool sweaters are like beacons. This one had a fairly traditional looking snowflake pattern that typifies Scandanavian design. I checked the size and saw the ‘L’, and promptly pulled the sweater off the rack. It looks to be used lightly, with bits of pilling mostly in the back (as if a backpack was worn over it). The label was ‘Dale of Norway’, which I was not familiar with, so I pulled out my iPhone and googled it. When I saw prices upwards of $300 for their sweaters (it appears that this one may be one of the more expensive ones, as it has a lining, which the “cheaper” models don’t seem to have – it might even be one of the windstopper models which retail at $400-600!), I put the sweater in my basket and went off to try it on. It fits beautifully…

So the dilemma… Having recently sold a wool sweater because I never get cold enough to use it; do I keep this one, or sell it and make a little profit? I paid $5 for it, when the retail appears to potentially be 100 times that amount or more). Or perhaps I’ll keep it until I find that elusive arran sweatshirt I’ve been wanting… And then sell it for a tidy profit.

today's finds


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