Monday, September 18, 2006
Not just another pretty face
They produce nice fibre, too. And they have really cool feet. I expect to see a gryphon or something mythical when I look up from these.
Our local alpaca stud (I didn't know we had one) had an Open Day on Saturday. If I had an acre of land I could have an alpaca. Three alpacas (alpacas want to be with their friends). Google could scarcely find an unkind word about them (if deeply offended they will spit green goo, being regurgitated stomach contents. Some are more easily offended than others). I think my husband was worried by my obvious fascination. He has reason to be. I think the one that looks like Dougal is a suri alpaca. If I had an acre of land...
And alpacas smell better than sheep. But sheep's wool in the hand is worth several dozen alpacas in a field.
How long does it take to wind 2500yds of laceweight into balls? By hand? with the skein draped over the end of the bed? AGES. This is Lisa Souza's laceweight merino in 'Wild Things', the stuff that inspired my recent search for the right shawl pattern. I think I've settled on Mim's Seraphim Shawl: lots of garter stitch, warm and simple to show the colours, edged with simple but elegant lace. I think I might try to work out how to make a square one. I have yet to wash/pin out the swatch, but I think I like it best on 3mm needles. I wish I had more experience in judging these things, but I won't get the experience unless I make a judgement and see how it works out.
Here's the next yarn on the bedpost. Don't let the image fool you: this is a colour colours that simply don't reproduce digitally. I've tried scanning it on my pre-press scanner and it still doesn't do justice to the depth and richness. Some sections are blue, some are purple, most are beautiful colours I don't have words to describe. This is a full 1450yds of Mountain Colors Weavers Wool in 'Purple Mountain' swirling around a waterworn, mollusc-pitted fragment of Durness Limestone from Applecross* in Scotland. I'd rather be in Scotland.
It's going to be a sweater of my own design (ha) knitted from the top down. I have the books (Walker, Budd, Zimmerman). I have the will. And in the colours of that yarn I have the necessary inspiration. I have to think a bit, though. I want a sweater design that I like as much as I like the colour. Collar not too high, in rib with a few cables for interest. I thought about long sleeves that widen so they can be folded back; it's a nice idea, especially as I tend to push my sleeves up to my elbows when I'm working, which wreaks havoc on nice rib cuffs. I have to think about that, as I may not have enough yarn for those sleeves and a body that grows out from raglan shoulders to something comfortably loose. I really want to do something to break up the otherwise large, smooth ski-slope that is my chest, now I wear the right bra size. I am thinking about filling the area where a 'v-neck' would be if this was a v-neck, perhaps with cables flowing down from the neck. I guess they can't be too complex, or they might almost result in smocking pleats where they finish on the body... wait, I think I've read that one does increases to add stitches to prevent cables doing that. Swatch? You bet. Just wait until I finish winding the rest of the 1450 yds into balls, by hand, as I wait for the computer to finish burning CDs.
* From this beach. You're looking WSW; if the weather was clear you'd see Scalpay and the southern end of Skye across the Inner Sound.