Wednesday, March 16, 2011

new superwash worsted yarn and thoughts about Japan

For the past year, I've been trying out different superwash worsted yarns. I have Trillium, which I love for its softness and amiability during dyeing; it is very gracious about accepting dye, unlike some yarns that need to be coaxed, begged, or threatened. And it's one of the few truly squishy yarns that I've encountered--four plies, so it's very smooth, tight enough to avoid splittiness, yet with plenty of give. Its one flaw is that it's aran weight, and a bit heavy for some sweater patterns.

I've had a custom mill run done for me, in addition to trying most of the ones on the market. None have yet had the perfect combination of twist, hand, and general knitting enjoyment that I'm looking for.

Yet another candidate arrived today, and I think this might be The One, at last. It will go into the dyepot this week; I have high hopes for this base.

It does feel terribly trivial to be thinking about yarn, given what's happening in Japan. I gave some money to one of my favorite charities, International Medical Corps, which has a tsunami relief fund. I'd like to give more, but I'm not really sure which organization is best equipped to help right now. And I am transfixed by the struggle to keep the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant from complete failure. I still have intermittent daydreams of working in emergency management (I was a public information officer for my county's EM department for years), so I have a professional perspective that's slowly coming to bear as I work through some of my emotional and visceral reactions.

As usual, the NY Times has some incredible interactive graphics. Before and after satellite photos that show the impact of the tsunami and what happens during a reactor meltdown are two really good ones.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

knitting news, for a change

I finished Rogue's first sleeve! I may really end up with a completed sweater this time. Though for some reason, I keep thinking about the Grimm's fairy tale where seven (six?) brothers are turned into swans, and their poor sister has to sew them all shirts by the appointed day, or else they'll stay swans forever. To add insult to injury, the poor girl has to remain mute for the seven years that she has to work on the shirts; she can't even complain about how unfair it is, or how her shoulders hurt from hunching over her sewing all that time. At any rate, she manages to finish them all except for one sleeve on the last shirt, and that brother has a swan's wing instead of an arm for the rest of his life.

This fairy tale has been intruding on my thoughts ever since I started working on the sleeve, and I've decided to interpret it as a cautionary tale from my subconscious. I don't want to have to sprout down feathers to stay warm because I was struck down by Second Sleeve Syndrome.

In other news, I signed up for a class at the end of March with Cookie A at Wild Fibers in Mt Vernon. It's Knitting on the Bias. When I called, there was still one spot left in Cookie's Advanced Cables class in the morning, as well as spaces in the afternoon class that I'm taking, in case you're local.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

introducing the Huckleberry Knits fiber club

Nothing surprised me more last year than how well my spinning fibers sold at shows. It was amazing, and humbling.

It does leave me in a bit of a bind for online sales; since my fiber essentially sells out at each show, I'm always building up inventory for the next show, and don't have much to list at Etsy.

So I'm introducing a fiber club, beginning this month. The subscription is for three months. Each three-month period will have one untreated fiber, one superwash, and one luxury or exotic fiber.

I'm excited about the club--I love dyeing fiber and watching the colors meld. Happy spinning!

Red Rocks

Apples Jubilee