Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Yarning

I haven't been blogging much lately. I just don't seem to have much to write about. I'm not sure why this is, as I'm doing all the things I usually do. Work has been busy, but not impossibly so, and I'm knitting and reading and seeing friends. But somehow nothing seems worth blogging about. I'm sure this is a state of mind rather than a sudden dip into boredom in my life, so I plan to deal with it just by writing - even if my posts lack interest.

A couple of months ago some knitting friends declared a 'knit from stash' year. A ban on buying yarn. Like most knitters I have a yarn collection, even though by many people's (knitters, that is) standards it's not extensive. I was tempted to join the yarn buying boycott, but decided not to. I knew it would become just one more thing to feel guilty about when I fell short. And I know that yarn just accumulates. Somehow, you acquire more.

Proof of this is this very soft fingering weight yarn I acquired from MissFee as a prize to celebrate her blog birthday.

Angel yarns

It's a yarn I didn't know - from Angel Yarns - but Ravelry tells me it's from the UK. It's such a great denim blue colour for socks - or I can imagine it merging with related colours in a shawl. Thank you, MissFee.

And while I'm writing about yarns, a number of people have asked me my reactions to the BrooklynTweed Shelter yarn I used for my Terra shawl. I hadn't realised I'd neglected to comment on the yarn in my blog post. I like the yarn - a lot. It's roughly worsted weight but because it's what I have learned is called 'lofty' - quite light for its gauge - it can be compressed and knitted with smaller needles if you wish. The loftiness also makes it ideal for shawls on larger needles; warm and casual without too much weight. The range of heathered colours are predictably classic, tasteful and wonderful. When you look closely at the yarn you can see the many colours that go to make up, in various combinations, the final colour.

That's the good bits. And the bad bits aren't really bad. One is that the yarn has lots of organic matter. You can pick a lot of it out as you are knitting, but even after soaking and blocking, my shawl has small bits of grass and straw. I think this enhances the 'naturalness' of the yarn and like it. But it wouldn't suit a formal garment or dress-up shawl. Secondly, Jared Flood (BrooklynTweed) has clearly gone to great lengths to use authentic raw materials, yarn processors and spinners - to continue the historic thread of yarn production in the USA. But if you're importing the yarn to Australia, interesting as it is to know it's authentic within the US yarn tradition, you rather wish you were searching out or encouraging the development of a local equivalent.

Despite this caveat, as well as using Shelter yarn for my shawl, I have enough in a couple of different colours for gift scarves for wonderful friends (and yes, I did buy this yarn).

Shelter yarns

If you are interested in spinning and yarn production, over the last week BrooklynTweed has had an excellent series of posts on the production of his Shelter yarn. You can find it here.

5 comments:

Rose Red said...

Yes, I feel the same way about the Shelter yarn (and searching out a local equivalent, if one even exists - I suppose we are lucky in that our local yarn is merino, soft lovely soft merino).

Caffeine Girl said...

When Jared Flood spoke at our Knitting Guild, he brought some samples knit from Shelter. They were beautiful, but a bit scratchy. I'm hesitant to buy the yarn, as a result.

Sally said...

Lovely post! Thank you and don't stop!

drkknits said...

that denim yarn is just the perfect colour for you. i fondled some shelter before i went to the US and was interested to see that it was all sold out everywhere i went. i thought that was good, and thought the same thing about the difficulties we have sourcing our own stuff here. its a good yarn for the colder climates but im not sure i would wear it here much though. having said that, your terra shawl is just stunning.

Brenda said...

Thanks so much for the in-depth review of Shelter yarn. I've read such mixed reviews of that yarn. And I love that sock yarn. Knitting form stash is great when you have a stash such as that.