Sunday, January 29, 2012
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Sheep, of course! And alpaca, llama, cashmere goats, mohair goats, angora rabbits, musk ox, yak, and even buffalo. And those are just some of the sources of animal fiber. There is a similar litany of cellulose fibers with cotton and linen the most well-known. But sheep give us the wonderful wool so perfect for knitting - forgiving, resilient, soft, strong, absorbent and insulating. Don't you think that is what this sheep is saying?
This is a Churro sheep from the Canyon Wren Ranch in Arizona, photo courtesy of the Tucson Handweavers and Spinners Guild. The Dine (AKA Navajo) have used Churro wool for centuries to spin and weave their beautiful rugs. Churro wool yarn can be found in breed specific yarns.
Knitters are less likely to use Churro as it can be coarse. We gravitate to luscious Merino, lustrous Blue Faced Leister, soft Targhee, sturdy Corriedale. These are some of the breed specific yarns available now at wool festivals and online. Merino has led the way and has been in yarn stores for years where lace knitters seek it out as their preferred yarn. As knitters become even more discerning, we may choose Corriedale for sweaters, Romney for jackets, 3-ply Merino/silk blends for socks- tailoring the best features of the sheep breed to our knitting.
The National Needlework Association will be held later this week. It will be interesting to see if there are more breed specific yarns for the market this year. No doubt there will be new and even more beautiful yarns and goodies for knitters. Check out your local yarn shop in the coming weeks to see what is in store for us.
Book Signing at Kiwi Kniting with Antje Gillingham
Antje Gillingham will be in Tucson at Kiwi Knitting, Tuesday, January 24th from 3-4 pm to sign her book Knitting Circles Around Socks. It is always interesting and informative to meet and talk with authors. It is especially nice to have them in town with us. Going to conferences out of town is fun but they can be crowded and hectic. Our local shop allows us more time and conversation with visiting authors and designers. See you there.
Sunday, January 1, 2012
More Knitting Resolutions
Resolution #2: No more than five knitting projects in progress at one time.
That means once there are five projects going one must be finished before starting a new one. This resolution usually works until seduced by a pattern or yarn or the need for a gift. Then it works to keep the projects at no more than six- usually.
Resolution #3: Evaluate any UFO i.e unfinished object that has been untouched for too long.
"Too long" is undetermined but can be assessed by a feeling of a long time. The evaluation determines if the UFO should be finished, unraveled or re-designed. One of these actions should be taken immediately once the decision is made.
Resolution #4: Buy quality yarn.
Staying within a budget is important in today's economy so shop sales. Knitting requires a lot of hands-on time with yarn. This time will be more enjoyable and the end product better if the yarn is lovely, appropriate for the project, great color or colores and a joy to handle while watching the project grow. This principle applies to knitting needles and knitting notions too.
Resolution #5: Get organized.
It is always nice to know what you have and where to find it. Re-organizing seems to be necessary at frequent intervals too. It almost seems like the yarn shuffles itself around and multiplies.
Resolution #6: Start with the stash first for patterns and yarns.
Then supplement with new yarns or a new pattern as needed. A good excuse for going shopping at the local yarn shop.
Resolution #7: Always have a mindless project in progress and one that is more challenging. Mindless projects are great for those times when the mind is not fresh or there is some distraction. Challenging projects keep the mind engaged and learning and are perfect for quiet focused time when less errors are made.
Resolution #8: Take knitting classes.
There is always something new to learn - techniques, color combinations, designs, finishing, beginning, embellish, fitting and on and on. At the very least it might be what is not appealing or a better way.
Lace Elements - January 17th
Cast Ons- January 25th
Entrelac Hobo Bag- January 31st & February 7th
Lace Scarf- January 24th & 31st
Mariposa Shawlette-January 9th, 16th & 23rd
Socks Your Way-January 10th, 24th & 31st
Swirl Jacket-January 14th, 28th & February 11th