This colorway is Maxima Clam. Most of their yarn is named after sea creatures, which warms the cockles of my nerdy heart. When I gave tours at the American Museum of Natural History, I loved the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life. Where else can you see a true to life sized model of a blue whale? This yarn reminds me of that hall, it’s a little darker and lots of blue surrounds you. I’ve always found it to be calming.
This is an “oops” colorway, it’s called Conch Shell with spots. If you look at the right side of the photo, you can see there are some black streaks. It doesn’t seem like there are a lot of those streaks so it doesn’t bother me. I actually like it, I think it makes it a bit more rock and roll.
Urban Gypz had a big basket of mini skeins for sale and I couldn’t resist.
I broke out of my normal “let me buy all the blues!” phase. The pure pink and the blue skeins are called Twinkle Toes, it’s a blend of merino wool and silver fiber. The other two skeins are a blend of merino and sea cell.
Apparently, the pervading theme of my purchases was ocean related. I must say, I do miss going to the Jersey shore over the summer. Tennessee has tons of lakes and rivers but it’s landlocked which is a first for me.
Yes, this will be a post in two parts about Stitches South! Part one featuring the goodies I picked up will be up tomorrow. I had the pleasure of splitting a room with Stacey from FreshStitches (check out her blog post about our weekend over here) and she is a hoot! And a great roommate, too.
We had a delicious Southern home-style lunch at Folks‘. When I saw the giant rooster in front, I had to get a photo of us in front of it.
Vanessa and Stacey having fun
As you can probably guess, we were up to no good for most of the weekend. The food was amazing! And tasted so fresh and from scratch. For example, the gravy that came with my mashed potatoes had a strong beef flavor and not like it came from a packet. That taste only comes from making gravy from beef drippings.
I also had the pleasure of meeting (and purchasing from) the fine folks at Cephalopod Yarns.
Left to Right: Lisa, Sarah and Sam
As some of you may know, they were the Sanguine Gryphon and now operate as Cephalopod Yarns. They were hilarious and delightful to talk to along with (not pictured) Shannon Okey from Cooperative Press.
I found that I’m not the only knitter slash artjournaler out there! Stacey Budge-Kamison, the owner of Urban Gypz was there with her art journal on display.
Stacey Budge-Kamison and her luscious yarns
Her yarns are super textured while still being soft. I like working with art yarns so I treated myself to some of her mini skeins, but more on that tomorrow.
I had a blast this year at Stitches South (I did last year too!) and I was pleased to see that there were more vendors this year. I still don’t quite fit into the ‘target’ market (I saw a lot more women who are older than I am by quite a bit) I’m glad to see that XRX is trying to lure in more young and independent shops.
April is National Poetry Month here in the USA. I’m not really much of a poet, aside from some terribly morose ones I penned in high school, I prefer to write in prose. However, I do love writing a haiku. I even wrote a few last year!
So once more, I take up my fountain pen and I present for your reading pleasure some more knitting haikus:
This Christmas saw more items added to my newest collection: Yarns of the World. I now have examples of American (spun and dyed in the USA) yarn, Brazilian yarn, Italian yarn, English yarn and German yarn. I probably have other countries represented but I’ll need to stash dive to find out. Next time I go yarn shopping, I’m going to pay careful attention to the “Made in” tag.
Here are my newest yarns:
The blue/purple skein is Catskills Saxon Merino Yarn in Superbulky. This was a gift from my niece Olivia. This yarn is normally sold at the farmer’s market in Union Square, New York, which is pretty nifty. This yarn is begging to become a cowl. Ravelry page on this yarn is over here.
Next is a souvenir from my friend Leticia’s recent trip to Brazil. It’s Ecola hand painted. The yarn is hand painted by several artists, which is pretty neat. The company is also deeply invested in sustainable farming and shepherding. This yarn is already earmarked to become a tea cozy.
Thirdly, are a bunch of miniskeins. There’s some Lorna’s Laces and MadTosh and a few others in there. I’ve already dipped in to make hexipuffs out of these.
Lastly, is Lang Yarns’s Jawoll Magic from Switzerland. They’re a bigger company than the other two I’ve listed here but they’ve been in business since 1867 and generation number 6 is running the show. I’m always impressed when I find out that a company has been around for over 100 years and still owned by the same family.
I’m really looking forward to stash diving and really researching the companies I buy from. I’m really interested in seeing just where my yarn is coming from.
…because it’s a super secret classified test knit. However, I am at liberty to talk about the yarn I’m using!
Kollabora is putting out their own line of yarn. I am working with their Chunky Hunk line which is 50% superfine alpaca and 50% Peruvian Highland wool. It’s been a dream to work with, even if it sheds. The yarn is thick and thin which makes for an interesting nubbly texture.
Here’s a swatch done in garter stitch with US 8 needles. The downside about thick and thin yarn is that reading your gauge is next to impossible. I have a hard time counting stitches per inch with evenly spun yarn as it is, having it marled on me makes it more difficult.
It does grow a bit but not as much as I thought it would. The wool gives it more memory than just alpaca alone and the thick/thin texture keeps it from blooming too much. I’ve had fun seeing how the different thicknesses stack up in the garment itself.
Have you heard about Wovember? I found out yesterday! (I know, I’m always late to the party.) It was started by Kate Davies and Felicity Ford in 2011.
“The idea is to show our collective appreciation of WOOL by wearing as much of this fabulous fibre as possible, and celebrating WOOL and its unique qualities in stories and pictures throughout the month of November. We hope that through our enthusiasm and creativity we can raise awareness of WHAT MAKES WOOL DIFFERENT, and jointly create a force for WOOL APPRECIATION strong enough to effect changes in how garments and textiles are described and marketed.”
Wool is an amazing fiber. It’s warm, even when wet, moisture wicking and it’s durable! All wonderful properties for warm winter clothing. It’s been an exercise in frustration for me to go clothes shopping for a warm winter coat or sweaters just to see very little actual wool used! It’s mostly acrylic fibers which don’t trap heat as well and they leave you a big sweaty mess.
I remember the first time I used real 100% wool yarn. It was Cascade 220 and I was crocheting a star blanket. Up until that point, 2008, I had been crocheting using my mom’s stash of Red Heart yarn. I had bought some nicer acrylic yarn from AC Moore, specifically Caron Simply Soft. It was nicer to work with than the squeaky Red Heart and it was in my budget. I had ran out of yarn on the blanket but I wanted to keep going since I was at a Stitch n Bitch meeting. I bought the Cascade because it was in the right shade of red to be complimentary.
I never looked back at acrylic after that. The yarn was smooth and had a better feel to it. It didn’t feel like it was coated in plastic. It moved and breathed and just felt so natural and correct in my hand and around my hook. I was transported. This was yarn that was begging to be used right there and then. And to be used in better ways than my sloppy first attempts at crochet. I didn’t get that visceral feeling from acrylic yarn, I still don’t.
Most of my stash is wool. There’s some alpaca in there and wool/nylon blends for sock yarn but I love pure 100% wool yarn.
I’ve been patiently slogging through my cardigan and the Sgt’s socks I’ve been itching to do something a little faster. The opportunity came along to test Odessa’sTriple hat so I jumped on it!
I’ve got the yarn all wound up and will be casting on later today:
The blue-ish yarn is Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Purple Mystery. It’s hard to capture its true color but it’s blue and purple. Ravelry says it’s an Aran weight but it’s more of a worsted. It is so incredibly soft. I wound both balls by hand and it was so smooth and soft. Now I see why people obsess over it.
The white yarn is Oasis Yarn Aussie Worsted. While it’s a great economy wool yarn (I paid about $6 for 200 yards) it just doesn’t compare to the softness of Malabrigo.
I’ll be knitting the body of the hat with Malabrigo and the color work section in Oasis. I think the white against blue will make a nice high contrast. Plus I want to feel most of the Malabrigo (that’s 4 times I’ve written that) against my head. It would have been a good soft and smooth yarn to use for my chemo hats. Next time someone asks for one, I’ll be using it!
Yes folks, today is I Love Yarn Day! And there are few things I love more than yarn. (Note to my family: fight amongst yourselves to figure out who it is.)
One of the things I do love are my wonderful yarny friends, both online and in real life. Amber from Last Yesterday is lucky enough to be both an on and offline friend. A few weeks ago, I received a wonderful belated birthday present from her.
Oh yes, that’s a skein of Wollmeise! It’s from their “We’re Different” batch and it’s called Looks Like Moses. Amber has spoiled me rotten with her gifts. She’s also spoiled me rotten with her wonderful friendship.
I shall be spending today at my local Panera Bread happily knitting in public. I’ll also be meeting up with Twitter friend, Michelle from Ugly Little Thing. If you’re in the Nashville/Hermitage area, stop by and say hello.
Are you doing anything special for I Love Yarn Day?
Yesterday, the SGT and I spent part of the day at the Tennessee State Fair. I was really excited to hear that there would be exhibits of prize-winning needle crafts. I guess I didn’t know that was still a thing that people did. Not all of my favorites were blue ribbon winners but on the whole they were pretty good.
My favorite knitted/crocheted piece was the chess set and I love the portrait embroidery. I think I might do something similar! I also loved the sea themed quilt
We were quite impressed with the “Spoon tomatoes” that are as big as the nail on your little finger. They tasted just like a normal tomato!
I had a lot of fun and perhaps next year, I’ll enter something. Who knows? Maybe I’ll get a blue ribbon!
Hi, I'm Vanessa. In 2010, when I was 25, I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. I blog about my life after cancer, my love of knitting and cage fighting. I make sewn and stuffed body parts at Survival Organs.