The sniffles

Yeah, I really do sniff yarn, and apparently many of you do, too.

Which yarns do I like to sniff? Well, I’ll take a whiff of pretty much anything once. Unfortunately, most yarns don’t smell like anything at all. I just smelled my Lorna’s Laces, for example, and it doesn’t smell like much.

But some yarns I sniff, and sniff, and sniff. Anything that smells like vinegar is fair game, because I love the smell and taste of vinegar. The stronger, the better! Well, one time I took a deep whiff of acetic acid (concentrated vinegar) in lab, thinking it was water, and it knocked my socks off, so not that strong :).

Then there are yarns which smell sweet, like Greenwood Fibers. Sniffidy sniff sniff!

And last there are yarns which smell like chemicals. I find that many cottons smell a little weird, and then one sniff is enough :).

Are you a sniffer and proud of it! Proud enough to put a button on your blog? Here ya go :).



Please save to your own server. Hotlinking makes me very grumpy. If you hotlink, you will get a cold, I promise.

P.S. There will be no t-shirt. Whoever gave you that idea? Making money off of someone else’s artwork (did you really think I painted that?) is incredibly uncool.


59 thoughts on “The sniffles

  1. Angela

    I love the buttons, but when do we get a T-Shirt? :o) I can just imagine the looks we would get with that one on!

  2. Ashley

    You know, whenever people complain about the vinegar-y smell of Manos or Malabrigo I just laugh and laugh because I LOVE that smell. I could smell it all day. And I too would totally buy that t-shirt.

  3. Rachel H

    As a blogless brand new yarn sniffer – as in it had honestly never occurred to me to do so before today – I’m not entirely sure I’d want to tell the world on a t-shirt about my new, um, habit. BUT I do Love the artwork on the button, so if there was a t-shirt with the artwork but not the text maybe?

  4. Mary

    I have a smelling problem…I do it to a lot of things…the first time I was told I shouldn’t was when my brother snatched my Prince and the Revolution “Around the World in a Daze” “album/cassette” I’d just bought because I was smelling it.

    I won’t buy yarn if it smells “funny,” no matter how soft… Sorry, just weird that way.

  5. Becky

    Love the button. Unfortunately I’ve never had any yarn that smelled like much of anything. Well unless you count the ancient yarn that my great aunt sent me. It smelled like the inside of my shoe. hehehe I’m crossing my fingers that I get some sweet yarn soon.

    PS I’m knitting up a fuzzy Odessa. Yup, I’ve bastardized Odessa in fun fur. lol I just love how soft it is and it is knitting up so fast.

  6. Emmie

    Lol- I have never smelled my yarn before, except the handpainted, and I don’t like bitter/vinegar smells, so I didn’t like that one (sorry grumpy!) but I am off to smell the rest of my stash to se if I am a serious yarn sniffer to be, and if so, then do I have a favorite?

    Stay Tuned!


  7. hb

    I almost fell over when I first opened a package of Malabrigo yarn last summer! Vinegar just doesn’t do it for me.

    But the strange yarn smell that I DO really enjoy is wet wool. Like when I’ve plunged a knitted item into water before blocking, or when I wear a wool hat on a drizzly day. It’s quite amusing that you’ve brought this issue up!

  8. julia fc

    Funny you should mention it: I was turning the stash over today and was taking the opportunity to smell all my really wooly stuff, the Bartlett, the lambs Pride, the handspun romney. Ah, it was bliss. For vinegar, I’ll take Manos. I won’t knit with it (pills like a Bayer) but put some under my nose and call me Sally.

  9. Laura

    Did you know that some company makes aroma therapy yarn? Scented on purpose. I don’t remember the name–I sniffed it at a LYS yesterday.

    Scout (the cat who I do not abuse) loves the smell of Malabrigo, too.

  10. Isela

    I am a sniffer :). I recently got some Patons Merino wool and it smelled like petroleoum, nasty!!! Then, I like to smell the KoolAid dyed ones, they smell sweet.

  11. trek

    I hear you on the inadvertent sniffing of acetic acid. I once got a whiff of nascent hydrochloric acid coming off my reaction flask. Now, THAT will seriously f-up your throat. One wonder, however, why you were sniffin something you thought was water?

  12. nikki

    Oh man, I’ve smelled some FUNKY yarns in my time. The three worst of all have been Peace Fleece (smelled like sheep arse), Bartletts (mine was of the Glen Tweed variety and also smelled of sheep arse), and some handpainted sock yarn that smelled like my mother-in-law (meaning like Regular Tide and a double dose of Downy). In fact, the sock yarn reeked so strongly of laundry that even after washing the two hanks in synthrapol, it still stinks up my knitting bag. Ick ick ick. On the other hand, I’ve had some lovely smelling small farm wools. Nice and lanolin-y.

  13. April

    yeah, well if you can’t sniff it dry, throw some water on it, and there’s the smell! lol

    so do you smell pickle juice, too? mmmmm

  14. Karen B.

    Funny thing is that I have a non-knitting friend staying with me for a bit. She has observed my sniffing and petting behavior with yarn and thinks I’m a bit strange.

    I knew others did this and now, thanks to you Kathy, the truth is out! I’m taking a button.

  15. Christina

    Dear Grumperina,

    This has nothing to do with your post but what cast on did you use for Odessa? I was considering a cabled cast on but want to ask. Thanks!

  16. briar

    Hahaha – I used the button, but it’s so funny that other people do this!!! I caught myself doing it for the first time at Woolcott & Co. I just…couldn’t resist – all of the yarn looked so good I just wanted to…eat it or something. I figured anything that looked so scrumptious would smell equally good – but yeah…it’s nothing special. Still – every time I’m around great yarn, now, I have to sniff it. πŸ™‚

  17. may

    I’m a major sniffer! It started with yarn, and now I subconsciously smell everything! we were doing a mold making demo in one of my studios, and I sniffed everything that was passed around (wet plaster, a 6 legged plastic gummy frog, oil based clay…) I didn’t notice it until a couple studio buddies started giggling πŸ˜‰

  18. Anne

    I ALWAYS sniff yarn! It’s the first thing I do when it arrives in the mail. Huzzah! I’m not a lonely freak, there are many of us! Thank you so much for the button.

  19. joy

    I love sniffing yarn, new cotton clothes, and new books too. I tried that acetic acid thing once, woke me up better than coffee! πŸ˜‰

  20. Siow Chin

    I once knitted a Manos scarf with a delicicous vinegar-y smell (must be the dye) for my husband but he hated it (the smell), so now I keep it for myself.

  21. maryse

    oh boy, taking a giant whiff of acetic acid must have burned the cilia inside of your nose. ahh, the smells of the lab. how i miss those. ha!

    although i’m not a sniffer so much, i do rub the yarn against my face, so it kind of makes me look like a sniffer. and i do want one of those buttons.

  22. beth

    by far – the best i have sniffed – TESS DESIGNER YARN! walked into her booth and YUM- felt as good as it smelled. MSW right around the corner- get your nose ready!

  23. Jackie

    I’m with Maryse – I’m not really a sniffer, but I find that I am constantly rubbing yarn up against my cheek. Sometimes I find that I’m walking around the yarn store with the yarn against my cheek as I contemplate the other yarns…

    (Honestly, the google hits you’re going to get on this post.)

  24. chris

    I too am a yarn sniffer . . .

    As for the conc. acetic acid, I can relate! And I once had a labmate who took a big whiff just like you did, and after she regained consciousness it completely killed her sense of smell for over a month!

  25. Jenn

    I’m not a yarn sniffer, but half the fun of buying new yarn is showing it to my dog, because *he* is a yarn sniffer. Wool is his favorite.

  26. Jennifer

    I sniff yarn too! And I have to say that the smelliest yarn I’ve ever sniffed was definitely my Mountain Colors. I think the smell probably comes from whatever process they use to dye it. I also sniff books, my cats, my dog, laundry just out of the dryer….pretty much everything.

  27. Karlie

    Speaking of smelling accidents in labs, I was once working with a VERY strong solution of ammonia, and accidentally breathed in through my nose when I leaned over the beaker. My eyes ran, my nose ran, I shrieked….ammonia=bad!

  28. Karen

    I’m a yarn sniffer too. You would love Schaefer Yarn, it is very vinegary. I have some Anne that I’m knitting Jaywalkers in and everytime I open the container I get a snoot full of the vinegar smell.

  29. Lauren

    Quarter Stitch yarns in the French Quarter (not sure if they’re open now) has the all time best smelling yarn. I bought some of their own label chenille a few years ago and still haven’t washed the wrap because I don’t want it to lose that scent.

  30. Roxanne

    I’m stealing a button too…self-professed yarn sniffer here…LOL I smell my handdyed yarns before they go to customers too to make sure they aren’t too bad…didn’t realize some of you *like* the vinegary smell and wet wool smell too…those surprise me…LOL

  31. Tonia

    Another yarn sniffer here, though for some reason I only sniff after the yarn comes home with me. Wool-silk blends are my favorite by far.

  32. Tc

    Oh man I thought I was all alone in this!! I’m so glad to find there are other sniffers!!

    (and seriously, can you make an old book sniffer button as well?)

  33. gigi

    sniff sniff sniff

    yes i sniff and i’m proud to say so…bought some silk yarn once that smelled like dirt and no amount of washing or airing would get rid of the smell…arghhhhhh

  34. marnie

    i sniff. i love wet wool smell. anything lanoliny. reminds me of the early agonizing days of breastfeeding when Lansinoh was my best friend.

  35. Nik

    wow. all this time i’ve visited the blog and didn’t know you were a scientist. i found you today through the knitting scientist ring.

  36. aj

    At last, I can air my guilty secret. I put it up to my nose, squish it and s n i f f . Mm Mm. Thanks for the button and your blog. I heart both.

  37. Mary

    I don’t sniff yarn (or didn’t used to), but after reading this blog post was prompted to sniff my Lorna’s Laces sitting in front of me, and you’re right – no discernable smell. Better than a bad smell, that’s for sure!

    Too bad that won’t be a t-shirt — it’s cute!

  38. Elise

    I, too, sniff yarn. My LYS got a shipment of handpainted yarns by Schaefer Yarns last year… the dyes were set with vinegar. It was like smelling a newly opened bag of salt and vinegar chips every time you walked past. My favorite smell though is the smell of Alpaca top. Undyed and clean. πŸ™‚

  39. Samantha

    We’re supposed to sniff our yarn? Never done that. Maybe I should try it.

    I do like the smell of new books though. And babies — well clean babies.

    Happy Sniffing!

  40. Arleta

    I love to sniff yarn. My honey and kids think I’m crazy. I really love the smell of the sock yarn that I dye with kool ade. Wooly and fruity. Yummy.

  41. beth

    One of my favorite smells is yarn recently purchased from a yarn shop. Mmmmmm…delicious! Thanks for the buttons:)

  42. Patty

    When I walk into my LYS the wonderful smell of yarn comforts me. It’s second to an old book store, both tell me come in and stay as long as you want. I have hidden treasures to discover!

    Great idea for the t-shirt.

    Thanks for the buttons.


Comments are closed.