Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Gift of Being a Knitter

I just drowned a very handsome cowl made from a lovely Louisa Harding 50% Merino, 50% Silk, hand-spun and hand-dyed yarn.  I’m getting ready to wash, and then block it.

I hope I don’t look ridiculous wearing it.  But, how I might or might not look in it is not what I want to write about.  No, it’s something much deeper than that.  It’s an often over-looked facet of the wonderful world of knitters.

Precisely, it’s a lovely string of memories.  The end result, at least so far, is this trendy cowl.  Somehow I offered to make a blanket for a dear friend’s little one.  If I remember correctly, she was showing me a pattern and yarn she was having difficulty with, but was determined to make for the little bundle.  She began while she was pregnant, and the sweet one was about 6 months old at the time of our conversation. 

I said something like, “Let me do it.  The poor thing’ll be grown before you get it done.”

She gladly obliged, and some time later the blanket was delivered.  She was very appreciative and insisted I take something for my kindness.  The beautiful, burgundy skein was given to me that day. 

I didn't use it until this week, which is about a year later.  Well, I didn't knit with it until now.  But, there it sat, in plain view, for this past year as I considered one project, and then another.  More importantly, every time I saw it, I thought of the sweet lady and her precious family, and I smiled, and I thanked the Lord for them.  Sometimes my smile was visible, other times it was on the inside.

Over the months I rejected project after project for the yarn.  One wasn't worthy of the yarn’s heritage, another was not right for me and I didn't want to let go of whatever it was I made of it.  Another project required too much yarn, another would not get enough use, and on, and on, and more smiles and kind memories ensued. 

So, as I drowned the finished cowl, I realized how much I've already enjoyed its place in my life.  If I never wear this cowl, I've been blessed more than most by its very birth.
Knitter’s get warm fuzzys like this all the time.  Wanna knit now, don’t ya?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Angora Goat

Musk Ox

Which cuddly creature above do you think is producing $300+ per ounce fiber, as we speak?  (Or rather, as I write and you read.) If you said the fluffy goat, you are w r o n g.  Either of the other two is correct.  Yes, they are! 

How could this be?  Well, as a matter of honest, first-hand experience, I don’t know. It’s not that I haven’t tried to find out either.  However, the sad truth is I’ve never actually put my eager little hands on Qiviut (pronounced “kiv-ee-ute” from the lovely  Musk Ox, called Oomingmak by native Alaskans, nor have I felt Vicuna wool.

I even went as far as helping a young man journey into the wild country of Alaska to meet with a knitter there and get me some fiber.  He returned fiberless, with some story about it not being the right “season”.  Does Alaska even have seasons?  I mean … it’s Alaska for goodness sake!

Anyway, people who have actually felt the stuff are entirely ga-ga about it.  The claims are, qiviut is softer than cashmere and eight times warmer than sheep’s wool.  An ounce produces about 300 yards of very fine yarn (fingering weight), whereas the humbled Cashmere goat, pictured above and more familiar, produces about 200 yards of similarly weighted yarn per ounce.   Two-hundred yards would make a 6-foot scarf to give you some idea of what the yardage means.  In the case of qivuit, two-hundred yards would wrap around that precious neck of yours, and cuddle you like you've never been cuddled before!  At least I think it would—as I said, I've never had the privilege.

Vicunas are a camelid, related to Llama, Alpaca, and Guanaco.  Vicunas live high in the Andes, and provide heavenly fibers that sell for about $300 per ounce.  They have a wonderful Cinderella-story history.  (See link below for more info.)  I am drooling to get some fiber from either a Vicuna or a Musk Ox.  Well, I’m salivating anyway.

Here are a few  links to purchase  these luxurious fibers.  That is, “if they’re in season”.

Bijou Basin Ranch primarily raises YAK (similar to Musk Ox), and refers to their unspun yak down, sold for $12.00 per ounce as “clouds”.  What a great word-picture!  I may just purchase a cloud or two for myself!  
Here is an informative article about bison, which are often called buffalo and are very closely related.    Buffalo fiber is much less expensive, but not quite as luxurious.  It looks like a promising companion to cashmere and mohair though.  Buffalo, Yak, and Musk Ox certainly look related, but it seems those who endure the worst temperature and conditions produce the loveliest fiber.   No pain, no gain.  Guess it goes for the ol’ Oomingmak too.

VICUNA:  has Natural colored Vicuna Yarn (said to be the world’s softest fiber)  for $300. Per 214 yard ball. (The ball’s weight was not listed.)

Ravenwood offers domestic cashmere for $35.00 an ounce (200 yards)

Article thoroughly reviewing Ravenwood’s Cashmere by Clara Parkes.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Decision Has Been Made

I’ve never been one to take the obvious path.  That accounts for the past five years of wilderness wandering.  Being a whip-doodle writer, and a lifetime fiber lover (most especially in regard to the art of knitting), the obvious path would have been to simply write about knitting and/or fiber arts. 
So, of course I didn’t do that.  I’m not telling the whole story in one slice, but it’s quite a journey.  I know those who have given me the “tip” of writing about fiber-arts will be so pleased because…that’s what I’m going to do. 


I’ve roved around (if you knit, or spin, you’ll get that, if not, it actually does make sense.) (Does too.)  and found lots and lots of interesting and educational bits and pieces that go into making today’s fiber art world one fantastic adventure.  This is what I will blog to you about.  I sure hope you have many pleasant, informative visits.  Just to whet your appetite, Lord willing, my next post will be about $300+ per ounce fiber—really!

(r u with me Maggie?)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Whoever I am, I'm Still Here...R U?

I've been wrestling with life-goal decisions, and decided it's just too much for me.  Last year I made the freeing decision to be only three things.  It's not really working out well.  

Several wise advisers told me, "Be yourself." Yeah, that's never worked well for me. Primarily because to be yourself, you first have to know who you are.  

The three things?  Got ya there, didn't I?  OK. First was a Writer~my all time number one lots of fun thing to do.  Number two was to continue teaching and playing and learning music~a life-long love of mine. Number three was to continue my work building a business centered around creativity, which blossomed into like five businesses, which is...yeah, WAY too much!

I know, I know, any one of these could be a full-time endeavor, but, not for "special" people.  I mean people "with letters".  Letters like "A", "D", "D" and such.

and so,

Here I am at the brand new beginning of a phase of life one should know what they're doing, and, for-goodness-sake, at least who they are and I'm simply behind the game.  Big time.