What a Yarn (Knit and Crochet Blog)


There’s one love that we all share: yarn. Blog about a particular yarn you have used in the past or own in your stash, or perhaps one that you covet from afar. If it is a yarn you have used you could show the project that you used it for, perhaps writing a mini ‘review’. Perhaps, instead, you pine for the feel of the almost mythical qiviut? You could explore and research the raw material and manufacturing process if you were feeling investigative. TAGGING CODE: knitcroblo7

For me, a yarn has to have the right feel and smell and the store it come from has to make me feel valued, instead of some sheep being shoved through a chute.

For most of my life, (oh, until about the last five years), we’ve always had sheep and Tony came down one day when I was about 12 to chow me how to cheer cheap. I learned how to do it by hand and when I got good enough to actually support myself by hand shearing, (my dad wanted to make sure i could do SOMETHING, which is why I can pull calves, work with a vet, and do farriier work on horses. These were all dying skills and yet, someone was going to have to know how to do it. It might as well as be me.) Tony taught me how to do it with electric shears. I wasn’t very big but I was as tough as nails from all the farm work i did and after my first electric shear (which was a little pathetic) I was able to shear with the electric clippers.
Lucky for me, we only every had about 20 sheep, so it was entirely possible for me to get them done with my Dad helping me.
First, the sheep are on gathered in a correll that is dry and used only for running animals. You pick a likely looking one who is not bucking and showing the whites of his eyes. Then you put her on a stand, with her head in a halter. Start off by removing by removing the wool over the sheep’s belly, which I separated from the main fleece by because it was usually the rattiest and dirtyest little bunch. The rest of the fleece is taken off in one complete piece . It takes some time (about 10 minutes) to get what Tony would call a good full fleece. IT took a while to learn how to clip just the fleece and not gouge the very thin skin or take whacks out of my own self. (there is so much lanolin, I didn’t do much bleeding but I could slice up a sheep pretty good in the beginning, which meant I had to be responsible for putting nasty medicine on them so the flies and maggots would leave them alone. Once I got good at it, I could keep up with Tony, who could shear a sheep in two or three minutes. I never got up to that speed, but I was fast enough to keep our own herd clipped up and out of the foxtails.

But I love bamboo yarn. Love it. It feels like butter. I’ve made all kinds of things like throws and sweaters with it and even the kind I find at Michael’s works up nicely. The yarns at Posh Yarn qualify as hard core yarn porn. Delicious to work with. Amazingly deep colors, like blackberry cobbler. They are snapped up almost as quickly as she dyes them.

Right now, I’m working with a silk and cashmere lace weight from Skaska Designs.Mine isn’t as shiny as this looks and it incredibly sweet to work with. I have a pair of Signature #1’s and Addi lace #1’s I’m working with. The Addi’s are winning me over. They just work the lace with the right amount of pointiness. The more things I make and the more I value the work of my hands, the pickier I get about every little bit of the process.

So in all, I like the hand of my yarn. I used to sew and that is what would send me into a swoon. Just the soft drape or the crisp fold of a bolt of silk chiffon or white cotton pique. The stuff also has to smell right. Too sheepy smelling just nags at me like chaff caught in the fibers. I don;t like shopping at Sear’s because the clothing dyes just reek.

Yarn Chef is another gifted dyer. She can think up some of the delicious combination of fiber and color that just beg to be worked up,as does the specially spun lace weight from Gossamer Web yarns

I have no real local Yarn stores, so despite a very literal knitting friend assuring AND informing me that local MEANS local, my LYS is in Utah, at Gardner Village, where http://www.kamilles.com/index.php?ID=1209&XID=1209:0:0:0:0  will find books and needles and yarns and patterns and send out a lifeline. If I need a new bag, she can give me some real true information, instead of (“well, it’s a Jordana Page, you know.”

Uncommon Thread in Los Altos is another shop I frequent, since I’m in San Francisco for business every three months.
The gals there are more than helpful. I went in describing a sweater by Chic…but that was about all I could come up with. In no time at all, they found it ON THEIR PHONES, we found not only the perfect yarn but it was brought up from the basement in it’s sealed bag, not faded or handled to death. They are wonderful with that kind of help and seem to have all the you tube teaching videos in their heads, in case I run into trouble.

I have a weekend house on the water and call two shops my own personal LYS’s. Cambria’s http://www.uncommonthreadsyarn.com/classes.htm and I love Kris and Oz, who have settled into our community and heart. I like also YARNS AT THE ADOBE in San Luis Obispo (across from the mission, great parking and it’s right down the street from where I get my hair cut. The gal there will order whatever I want, so when I went to stitches, I didn’t have a need to buy buy buy, I just made notes of what I wanted and had it ordered. Much simpler for me.

Then there is always Jimmy Beans, which is my own personal gold mine.

Oh, and three irish girls, of which I have the colorways of Wind in the Willows (sort of bark, willow walnut shells), Crush(Crushed berries) and Precious Metals(copper, platinum, gold, bronze, silver). Those are all sort of light drapy cardigans and feel delicious. Makes me proud to be from Rathmore.

So by widening my world and re-defining LYS, I’m able to locate from my remote home just a click away from the fiber and help I need.


2 thoughts on “What a Yarn (Knit and Crochet Blog)

  1. I can’t afford the expensive yarns. I just mostly sew for the needy and use what yarns they give me from the collection that are donated.

    1. Paulie,
      I donate yarn all the time. Have you thought about posting at the library (or signing up on Ravelry–facebook for knitters) and asking for leftovers? You might be able to experience some really great half balls!

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