Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Yarn from afar

IMG_1148I apologize for the light posting as of late - I’ve been traveling and that cuts into knitting/blogging time. I am happy to report that I did indeed borrow Annette’s wool cards and got my first sample of Clara’s Great White Bale ready to spin (thanks again, Annette!). Each of these little fluffy rolls is called a rolag: IMG_1155You pull out fiber from the end and spin it. I got 6 of these from my single little ounce of fiber… just enough to spin and knit a small sample. I will try to finish that wee project soon! I wish you could touch this stuff… it’s amazingly soft. You can still see some bits of VM (vegetal matter). Some of that will fall out as I spin it, and other bits will probably wind up in the finished yarn.IMG_1154When I got back from my most recent trip yesterday, I found ANOTHER white mailer from Clara waiting for me. What was inside? Lots of stuff!IMG_1149These two skeins of yarn were spun at Bartlett in Maine. It is a woolen-spun two-ply. You can read more about this limited edition yarn in Ravelry. Also included was some carded fiber and a lovely blank book with the GWB logo on it. I’ve already decided to use one skein to knit Jane’s Thirty-Eight cowl. Doesn’t it look like the squishiest, softest thing you could EVER put around your neck?

And to finish the “yarn from afar” theme, I visited a very unique and somewhat famous (at least, it’s famous if you listen to the Stash & Burn podcast) LYS in downtown San Francisco: Artfibers.IMG_1032 They dye all their own yarn (you won’t see a single familiar commercial ball band here) and the bases are very different. As you can tell by the photo above, they have many swatches in each yarn to show different stitches and colorways. All are meticulously labeled (be still my librarian heart). The drawers under the counter contain cones of yarn. You buy it by the yard.IMG_1037I was only able to get there about 20 minutes before closing, so I had to shop fast. This is difficult to do when you don’t know exactly what you want/need. I settled on some of this Ginko, a slinky bamboo-silk blend, in a color that is perfect for my mom (and one I almost never knit with): RED: IMG_1036 This photo makes the red appear a bit more orange-y than it actually is. My mom lives in a pretty warm climate, so I’ll make a little shawlette/scarf number that she can wear in a couple of seasons.IMG_1039 The shop was full of these posters with gorgeous photos of the different fibers. Very science-fair-y (but more sophisticated). This is the one for bamboo and silk, which I’ll post here since that’s what I ended up buying.IMG_1034Artfibers is big on the “yarn tasting” concept. If you have time (I didn’t), you can sit down and swatch with any yarn you want to, right by a big window overlooking downtown from the 3rd floor. I could have spent hours there.

I would have dearly loved to visit A Verb for Keeping Warm in Oakland, too, but I just wasn’t there long enough. I drooled all over their booth at both Sock Summits. But I was the only knitter in my group this time, so fiber field trips weren’t on the agenda. However, we did use our final afternoon to visit Muir Woods National Monument. I have always wanted to see the big trees (these are coast redwoods) and the place did not disappoint. It was magical. I will leave you with a few pictures from there, even though it’s not the kind of fiber you usually see from me…IMG_1105

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