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Book Love

I have a new book. And it is wonderful.

A Fine Fleece, by Lisa Lloyd

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If you’re into wool, spinning, knitting, etc. I highly recommend it.

Lots of good wool-talk, beautiful photos, and really great patterns. Plus, all the garments are shown in handspun and commercial yarn versions. Neat, eh?

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I don’t often buy knitting books because, more often than not, they have maybe one pattern in them that I would actually knit and wear. Usually doesn’t seem worth the price of admission.

But Lisa Lloyd and I are on the same page. Lots of texture, classic shapes, natural wool shades. Of course, I would probably do an EZ conversion on most of her saddle shouldered garments (seems so silly to do all that sewing when you don’t have to).

But other than that, it’s the book I wish I’d written.

So, even though I still have the argyle socks in progress (and it is a little slow-going)
Argyle in progress

the book has inspired me to cast on a little something handspun and cabled:

Beginnings of Tilly 09-01-08

That is “Tilly” taking shape in a soft-spun single of Gershom, my Shetland ram friend from Ferndale. I think he’d be pleased.

Arrrgggg yle!

I realize now that I forgot to tell you about a recent yarn acquisition.

It just so happened that a very kind and thoughtful person I know took a trip to Scandinavia recently. And she brought me back the best kind of souvenir: wool! Honest to goodness Norwegian wool. From Norway.

Neat, eh?

And the wool has spoken to me. It says it wants to be socks.

But not just any ole kind of socks. It wants to be argyle. (Wool after my own heart!)

So here we go-

Here’s the lineup: two shades of green are the norwegian, white for the crisscrossing lines is from the stash. Pattern is ancient, gift of a friend, from the cast-offs of an elderly neighbor (2nd from the right, just not so much ribbing).

argyle overview cropped

I’ve never done argyle socks before. I have done a sweater vest, but socks present a whole new kind of challenge. I played around with the idea of doing the argyle with a very clever, short-row construction techinique but finally decided that I needed to learn how to do it the old-fashioned way. Flat. Seamed. Like so:

argyle pattern-cropped

That upside-down T shaped chart is for the cuff and instep. You knit it flat and then wrap the two sides of the cuff around and knit the heel down from there. Then you pick up stitches on the sides of the heel and knit the side gussets- but get this: the gussets aren’t attached to the instep yet. Only once you get past the patterned section do you knit around down to the toe. The poor gussets just out there flapping the breeze, until you’re all done and you go back and sew them up! (And the back of the cuff, too.)

Yes, really. I do generally try to avoid seams in my knitting.

I’m making a big exception for these socks. So lets hope they’re worth it.

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Pretty, eh?

I do so love argyle.

A camera of my very own!

A Camara of My Own

I’m now photo-independent. Which means I have a lot to learn if I’m going to take blog-worthy shots.

I am also now between projects, with the Urban Aran off the needles. I’ve done a couple hats already, and am itching to start another larger project. But that means planning, and I haven’t had enough attention span lately to sit down and really get clarity on what I want to do.

I could go in a couple different directions-

Something tutti-fruiti from deep in the stash

Fruit Cocktail

or, perhaps a nice heathery taupe-y shetland paired with deep dark chocolate romney:

Warm Shades of 3 ply

Romney ram lamb 3 ply close

Bethany Shetland 3 ply close

With Fall seemingly on the way, I’m leaning towards the latter.

But then, it might not be a bad idea to have a couple projects in the works- If i could stagger their completion, I might never suffer Nothing On The Needles Anxiety again.

Not Exactly Wool Weather

Man it’s been hot.

I know that NorthWesterners are widely known to be weather wimps. We often get cranky when the thermometer starts pushing 80F. But this was really something. Think we maxed out at about 96 or 97 on Saturday. The day I was at the Lynden fair with some folks from the spinning guild, doing a sheep-to-shawl demo.

Didn’t sell too many tickets for the shawl raffle (go figure), but we did talk to a lot of interested people about wool and the processing of it into yarn. So that was fun.

Here are some photos form the wool show:

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This was the most decorated item, I believe-

Wool Show big Winner

I took more pictures of knitted and woven items, but most didn’t come out well (lighting issues).

Wool Show Window edited

Wool Show2

So on to the fleeces-

Shetland Lamb Fleece

Shetland Lamb Fleece

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Not as many wool sheep here as at the Skagit County fair, but it’s probably just as well this time out. Those in full fleece were a bit uncomfortable in the heat of the day- though this Cotswold guy was in pretty good spirits- he must have been in position to catch the intermittent breeze!

Cotswold

These Romneys were just laying low, sweatin’ it out-

Romneys

And this pretty East Fresian was happy to be under-dressed for the occasion.

East Freisian2

Tomorrow we’re supposed to be back to our not-really-summer-like conditions.

Not a moment too soon.