Winter Weather Is Not Conducive to Photography

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The cold that is gripping everywhere else in the country has just brushed Arizona. Instead of the weather being 10 degrees above normal, it’s at normal, perhaps a tad below. The bright sky that will taunt us through a long, hot, rainless summer doesn’t appear every morning, and today I put on a scarf to protect my neck from a nippy breeze.

Huzzah! It is weather like this that makes us forget that February turns quickly to March, and that November’s relief will be a long way off from there.

Knitters know that this is the perfect weather to sit with a big bundle of sweater-in-progress on your lap and a little furry space heater at your feet. That’s what I’ve been doing with a sweater I’m calling Greenies. The pattern is Ease, by Alicia Plummer, and it is going to be so cozy. After getting distracted by non-American wool in my stash, and non-American wool to suit gifts for others, I decided it was time to Knit American again.

Do any of you have a fast way to find American wool-only yarns? I have found a few companies by word-of-mouth, but the rest I have found via somewhat laborious searches of Ravelry and the open web. One day I will have to sit down, get myself into Librarian Mode, and really hash out which keywords and limiters give me a nice concise search. Please don’t hold your breath for that day.

That said, searching in Lazy Mode turned up Sweet Grass Wool, a small company that produces Montana-grown Targhee wool yarn (and fibers, for all you spinners out there). I wanted to emulate the softness of the Merino Plummer uses in her versions of Ease, so I chose the Mounain Silk, a mulespun Targhee/silk blend. I was slightly worried to order online sight unseen, but Patti, the proprietor, was lovely, sending me an update when the yarn was dyed and ready to go (each batch is custom dyed!), and the yarn came soon after, all squishy and green. Oh how I love the color green.

One thing I have learned from using mulespun yarn is that they are denser than most commercially spun yarns, so a mulespun worsted works at a gauge closer to a traditional aran. When I was knitting Melvie (With Beaverslide Dry Goods heavy worsted), I didn’t really get the difference, and, as documented on the blog, ran into a roadblock of angst as a result. Totally user error. For Ease I swatched on my usual needle, one size up from the pattern, and got row gauge (unheard of) but not stitch gauge. I decided to go up one more needle size, because the Mountain Silk on a size 10 was wearing out my hands. I still didn’t have stitch gauge, but in a rare moment of sensibility, I decided that I would not drive myself over the edge trying to entirely rewrite the size small to my gauge, and cast on for the extra small instead.

The holiday break will end next Monday, so I’m going to savor it all with lots of knitting. Who knows–I might even have a sweater to show you soon! Wherever you’ll be this your weekend, I hope you’ll have some knitting on your lap and a fuzzy space heater on your feet!

4 thoughts on “Winter Weather Is Not Conducive to Photography

  1. Debbie says:

    Wyoming wool, spun in Wyoming:
    http://www.mountainmeadowwool.com

    I found them because one of Knitspot’s Bare Naked Wool yarns is partially from Wyoming, which sent me on a google search. The Bare Naked yarns are all from regional sheep and mills, mostly from the US, I think.
    knitspot.com/knitting_pattern/yarn-c-21.html

    Then, there is an alpaca farm near(ish) to me. I don’t know where they have their yarn spun, but it is SO soft.
    http://www.bbhalpacas.com (Their website is not very impressive, but their yarn is.)
    http://www.wcmercantile.com (You can buy it here, if you’re so inclined.)

    Would you mind sharing what brands/yarns you have found that fit your Knit American model? πŸ™‚

  2. Lisa says:

    Hi! Came over from Yarn Harlot’s blog and have been enjoying clicking through random posts. Last year at the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair I discovered the Ross Farm. http://www.therossfarm.com. They describe themselves on their website as a “PA Century Farm raising Heritage and Rare Breed Livestock and marketing wool roving, yarn, quilt batting and livestock.” I like it that they focus on heritage and rare breeds. Unfortunately you can’t buy directly from them online but they do provide links to stores that do sell their goods. Most, if not all, of their yarn is sold undyed.
    Just a thought.
    Back to my reading!

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