This is mostly a knitting blog. Sometimes pictures of things I've made, sometimes not. I'm a guy who knits, I usually attend a men's stitch 'n' bitch on Monday nights, and I prefer natural fibres to artificial ones. I have a love-hate relationship with bamboo yarns: I love what they can do and how they look, I hate how they are made. I've been knitting since about 2003, though I really didn't get into it until 2005, while convelescing with a broken leg. I must have discovered something good, 'cause I'm still knitting years later.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Seattle Yarn Carnage: Part the Third

Today I did not buy yarn.

But I wanted to.

On our tour of yarn stores in the Seattle area, we pulled into Port Gamble, and the very first store I saw was a yarn store! The Artful Ewe was sitting there, with yarns on the bench outside, and the door wide open. Luckily, we encountered this store today, because it's only open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Because all the other days the owner, Heidi Dascher, is dying yarn. Or spinning, or weaving, or doing other things.

And I didn't buy yarn. Mostly because I shot my financial wad earlier in the week, and couldn't afford it. However, Heidi allowed me to pick out what I wanted and put it in a bag. I gave her my information, and in a couple weeks I will call her and she will ship it to me! All the yarns I chose were hand-dyed, and I chose blues, greens, purples, oranges and blacks. Gorgeous wools and wool-silk blends.

Since I can't show you my yarn (since it's still at the store), here are some shots of the store.

The Artful Ewe, Port Gamble, WA.

These are the yarns from which I chose the skeins the store is holding for me. I didn't want to leave! And I didn't want to stop, but somehow, I decided enough was, alas, enough. But I am very much looking forward to getting my skeins of yarn next month.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Seattle Yarn Carnage: Part the Second

Today we went to Debbie Macomber's A Good Yarn Shop (the store's website isn't up yet, so I am unable to provide a link). The address is 1140 Bethel Avenue, #101, Port Orchard, WA. There were a lot of wonderful yarns, a lot of Cascade products (I love Cascade, but I am able to get it back home in Boston, so it isn't on my list of things for which to look). But there were some local goodies that caught my eye and emptied my wallet.

The first yarn in today's carnage is a beautiful wool, from Oregon. Imperial Yarn, this is 4 ounces, 220 yards, of pure wool. I noticed, while on the website, that this yarn can be found in nine different stores in Massachusetts. I've never seen it before, and I've been to at least four of the stores listed. No matter. It's in my stash now, and I like it.

The next two yarns are a 50-50 mix of silk and bison down. From The Buffalo Wool Co., this lace weight yarn caught my eye, and I just had to have it! There were other colours I would like to have gotten, but it's an expensive item, so I limited myself to only two skeins. The band says, "From the downy undercoat of the American bison comes the surprisingly soft, seriously strong fiber we call 'Buffalo Gold'." This particular iteration of their yarn is called Sexy. It surely is!

Next up in utter fabulousness is Blue Moon Fiber Arts Woobu. This yarn is 60% merino and 40% bambu. I am not a big fan of bamboo, or even bambu, yarns, but this stuff was so soft and amazing that I couldn't leave it alone. This colourway is called A Hazy Shade of Blue, and it is smoky, with black and grey highlights. So pretty. I got two skeins so I could make a vest, even though I don't much like making V-necks. The photograph does not do it justice.

Finally, I bought a skein of Cascade 220. Obviously this is something I can get this yarn at home, but this is a colourway that I haven't seen in a long time. I had started a sweater in Cascade Pastaza in this colour a long time ago, but the sweater was infested with moths, and I don't think I'll ever be able to finish it. I bought this skein in order to be able to order it as worsted wool, because I still like it, even thought the wool does not have the sheen of the Pastaza. I'll live.

These are the yarns I bought on the second day of Yarn Carnaging in the Pacific Northwest. I hope to get a few more yarns before I return to Boston.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Seattle Yarn Carnage: Part the First

Over the last weekend, I helped drive my friend Rachael, along with her mum, her two dogs, two cats, and caged bird to Seattle. Rachael is moving to the area, and her mum and I were along to help drive her there. The dogs, cats, and bird did not help at all with the driving, and one of the cats, Evil Steven, did his very best impersonation of the little girl in The Exorcist.

It wasn't pretty.

You know, I brought along five knitting projects to work on when I wasn't driving, but since I did the lion's share of it, I actually did no knitting at all. Go figure. And now all those projects will be flying home with me at the end of the week.

Yarn Carnage, however, has already started. There are so many amazing yarn stores in the area, and I visited two of them today. My object is to buy yarns that I cannot get back at home in Boston. Things that are local, or unusual, or hand spun and/or dyed.

At Churchmouse Yarns and Teas, I was impressed by the collection of yarns (I didn't check out the teas, but my friend Laura did, and said it was a small selection but an excellent one). I asked to be shown local yarns, and a salesperson gave me a wonderful tour of the yarns, pointing out what was local and different, and things I'd not be able to find at home.

First up, from Insouciant Hair (Artisan Yarns from Carefree Animals), the yarn band says, "Insouciant Hair is dedicated to making breed-specific artisan yarns with fiber from micro-farms throughout the Pacific Northwest." There were several yarns from which to choose, and because I wanted to continue yarn carnaging, I only bought two varieties. First up, a skein of Corriedale Wool. Fingering weight, 400 yards, undyed. The band goes on to say, "Corriedale is known for its wonderful combination of softness and durability. It is a multi-purpose yarn with loft and luster that is a joy to work with."

Next up, from Insouciant Hair, two skeins of Romney Wool. Sport weight, 250 yards, this is an undyed grey. From the band, "Romney lends itself to a large array of projects Although not often worn close to the skin, Romney can be used for mittens, hats, shawls, and sweaters. It is also generally thought of as good wool for felting.

The next item up is not quite local, but not something I've found in any of the Boston stores. Jared Flood's Brooklyn Tweed yarns. The band says, "SHELTER is an artisanal, woolen-spun yarn made from the fiber of Targhee-Colubia sheep grown in the American West. The yarn -- spun in the historic mill town of Harrisville, NH -- has been meticulously crafted to suit the needs of the passionate knitter."  I don't like to order yarns on-line, so I haven't seen or worked with this before. It is a bit scratchy, but I think it will knit up beautifully. Three skeins, 140 yards each, for a baby sweater, the colour is Button Jar.

Finally, two skeins of Spincycle Yarns, from Bellingham, WA. Rachel and Kate own this company, and dye and spin the yarns. I bought some of this a few years ago, on my first trip to Seattle. I haven't knit it up yet, because I only have one skein each of two different (but not complementary) colourways. But now I have these two skeins, and I think something might come of them. While we were in the store, we spoke with a woman who owns a yarn store in central Washington, and one of the women involved in Spincycle is her niece (not sure which one, though). These are a superwash Bluefaced Leicester wool, 200 yards each. The wool is dyed before it is spun, Dyed in the Wool.

The next stop on the Yarn Carnage Tour was Amanda's Art-Yarn, in Poulsbo, WA. We didn't have a lot of time, so I took a quick look-see around, and liked what I saw. A nice collection of yarns that would make any knitter happy. Meanwhile, my friend who was touring with me noticed that there were Breyer horses on a shelf, and spoke to Amanda about them. I checked out the local yarns, and added a few to my collection.

I bought six skeins of Color Dance Yarns, in various colours (no website, but a Facebook page, which I just "liked"). On the back of the band, "Color Dance Yarns are an artisan-dyed in the Pacific Northwest."  Below are my purchases.

Marina, a superwash Merino. The photo did not capture the intensity of the purple in this yarn, and I'm looking forward to knitting it up.

Purple Haze, another superwash Merino. There are bits of green and blue along with the purple. I think it will knit up very nicely.

Nightshade, shades of purple, black, and grey. Really pretty, superwash Merino.

I love the name of this colourway, Distracted Cherry. It's a cloudy red that is really very pretty. Superwash Merino yarn, just waiting to be knit up.

This is Caribbean, a really pretty blue-green that reminds me of pictures of that sea. Superwash Merino.

Finally, Swamp Thing. Shades of mossy green, it actually reminds me of the colours I saw on a swamp tour in Louisiana I took, way back in 2004. Superwash Merino. Of course, the name of this colourway has me singing, "Swamp Thing! You make my heart sing!"

This ends this portion of the Yarn Tour Yarn Carnage of 2013. I'm sure there will be more to follow.