Tuesday, February 19, 2008
My brother has an alpaca farm in Troy, Idaho, about 20 minutes away from me, where my three alpacas live, thanks to him! Well, until he took me to an alpaca show in western Washington state about 6 years ago, I never knew about alpacas. What wonderful animals. They are so gentle and their fiber is absolutely to die for! Here's a picture of a few this summer, taken a month after they were sheared.
I'm fortunate because he "lets" me help him when I can, especially when it comes to shearing days. And we work ogether to plan what to do with the fiber. We've had some fiber spun into yarn at a local mill and we've had roving made at ME2 Farm in Colville, Washington. I met Jayne, the owner, at a Fuzzy Bunz show two years ago, and although she owns no alpacas, she impressed me with her knowledge. I think she has learned to appreciate alpaca fiber as she has worked with ours. She likes to "know" the animals whose fiber she is processing, so I always try to provide pictures. This year, she said she just loved the fiber from Missy, my strange fiber huacaya.
So, last week, my brother imported some baby alpaca yarn from his South American supplier, who guarantees that his yarn is "real, true alpaca." Many folks don't know that in South American, they can claim that yarn or other articles made from only 80 percent alpaca is 100 percent alpaca! That's why the quality, especially of alpaca clothing from South America, can be itchy--something you don't get with true, 100 percent alpaca.
Anyway, this yarn was in scrumptuous colors--I just wanted to touch, hold, inhale! it! I had used some of the same yarn last year to knit the Evelyn Clark's Swallotail Shawl from Interweave Knits.
I have so much yarn now--at least 4 projects on needles--and at least 4 or 5 more planned, but I think I NEED some of this new alpaca yarn--maybe I'll try an entralac sock pattern I've been looking at from the Interweave Sock.
Such yarn hoarders we knitters are--but it's because we can't resist the colors and feels of the yarn. There's never enough time to use all the yarn we want (or that we have!) But, that's what the future's for, right?
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
The website is fairly new, so stop back again, and if you live in our area, come to a meeting. We love new folks!
At our last meeting, we decided that we needed to do something to contribute to our community. After many suggestions, we decided that we would knit baby caps and blankets. And at least four of us have started!
So what size is a baby cap?? We heard that we should knit them to fit a grapefruit!
Many of the pattern books I had for babies had the "old, traditional" baby hats with ribbons around the neck. Nah! We're going to make caps more interesting than that, and we're not going to stick to the pink and blue--no gender identification for us!
I did find some nice patterns in some of the magazines I had around. One was topped with an i-cord that you tied and it looks pretty cute. I'll have to remember to take some pictures.
One of the problems that we forsaw was that these caps will have to be easily washed and dried! So many of us knit with mohair and alpaca and wools and other natural fiber blends, that we'll have to dig deep into our stashes to find the appropriate yarns for these caps--that, and visit Goodwill, perhaps! But it will be fun.
Thursday, February 7, 2008
The hat is knit, on circulars--first the layer (closest to one's eyes) using one color with the final row in the middle color. Then you begin the second layer, work it until it is a certain length, and join to the first layer using a three-needle join. The two layers then are continued with the final layer in the third color. After the third layer is a certain length, it is joined to the first two and completed! It has bobbles and lacy patterns; it fits nice and snug; and the alpaca yarn makes it silky, soft, and warm without being too hot.
I can usually finish layer or two a night--sitting in my comfortable chair in front of the TV with a good Netflix movie!
And here are two recommendations for feel-good, but not "girly" films, to knit by:
- "The Milagro Beanfield Wars"--a 1988 film directed by Robert Redford, full of magical realism with a young Christopher Walken as a villain.
- "Neverwas"--I'd like to buy this to have and watch on those days when I need to just feel happier~!
Sadly (ha ha), now, I'll simply have to go buy more alpaca yarn. Someday, I'll make one to keep for myself!