I just finished reading the book pictured above:Hit By a Farm: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Barn by Catherine Friend.
I stumbled upon the author’s blog a couple of weeks ago — can’t remember how — and that led me to the website for the book. I immediately sent the link to L-B, who kindly sent me the book as a gift. I’ve been reading it at lunchtime while I knit, and just finished it yesterday. I recommend it highly — it’s a non-romanticized tale about how two women left city life to start a farm.
Okay, I keep thinking “Green Acres.” One partner is gung-ho about farm living (like Oliver Wendell Douglas), and the other has doubts (like Lisa Douglas). But there the similarity ends.
It’s just a really really good, entertaining read. If you are a bleeding-heart animal-lover like me, you’ll enjoy it. Be forewarned — you’ll cry in places, too. But, as I said, it’s a great read. I was sorry it ended — I want more!
Sproingy Squishy Sock Yarn
Reader Liz in NoWhere PA commented:
“Some of the ones I’ve found easiest to work with are Socks That Rock lightweight, Fleece Artist, Claudia Handpaint — you know, all the nice sproingy squishy yarns. I’ve not had any problem with splitting on any of those.”
If you’re ordering off the internet or from a catalogue, how do you know if you’ll be getting a sproingy yarn? How do you know if a pattern in a book requires a sproingy yarn? Living without a LYS, I can’t really touch all the yarns mentioned to know if they’re stretchy. Do I assume that a 100% wool superwash is stretchy and that a 75/25 blend won’t be?
I’ve just donated two pairs of patterned socks to the Dulaan Project because the yarn I used wasn’t stretchy enough and I can’t rip a perfectly good sock. (But two girls with size 3 feet will be really happy.)
First off, I like the name of your town. 😉 My Great-Uncle Chester often spoke of a town — NorthAxeHandle, MA. I wonder if that town and your town are similar?
So. How do you know without fondling it that you are getting a Spriong Squishy Sock Yarn? I guess you can’t really know until you give it a good fondle.
Though it does seem in my experience of sock yarns, the 100% wool superwash ones are sproinger than the wool/nylon blends.
In my last incarnation as a sock knitter, I used the wool/nylon blends exclusively. This time around (current obsession started in March of this year) I’ve experimented with a lot more 100% wool sock yarns, and discovered that I like them much better than the blends. I’ve also decided that I’m not too crazy about self-striping yarns, though they do have their place. I’m all about the handpainted variegated stuff now.
I’ve been busily knitting my way through as many different sock yarns as I can — have you noticed? I’ve got several in my stash that I’ve not flung a needle into yet, but I’m looking forward to doing so. I’ve not bought the Austermann Step yet, btw.
So many sock yarns! So little time!
Ann Rose commented:
I notice that you knit a great many highly textured garments (Keelan looks like a nice blend of cables and seed stitch — elegant simplicity), and I’m wondering if you would choose a jumperweight yarn over a worsted or Aran weight for something like a full-on traditional Aran sweater. It’s always been a fantasy of mine to design and knit an Aran, so I could have the cable designs I love most AND have the sleeves fit my short arms, but I don’t yet have the necessary experience to know what weight yarn would be best.
It depends. 🙂
If you really want an authentic traditional Aran, you make it from aran weight (i.e., heavy worsted) wool. Such a sweater is almost never suitable for indoor wear, however — too warm and heavy. However, if you make your traditional Aran a cardigan, it makes a great jacket for any cool/cold day but the coldest days of winter.
If you want a sweater you can wear indoors, knit it from finer yarn. A dk weight yarn woukd make a lovely cabled sweater. Of course, the more heavily cabled your sweater is, the thicker and warmer it becomes.
Keelan is knitted from the equivalent of jumperweight yarn. Because of the fineness of the yarn, I’ve done a fairly, shall we say, sparse set of cables.
I think an all-over cabled design in such a fine yarn would end up looking incredibly busy.
An example of this is Alice Starmore’s Fulmar, which is an aran design knitted in 5-ply guernsey wool. Because it is knitted at a fine gauge, there’s a lot of space for a lot of calbes, so it ends up being a really busy design. Um . . . yeah . . . I’ve knitted Fulmar twice, and I do think it’s lovely in its own way, but I also prefer slightly simpler arans.
Another factor is the size of the individual wearing the sweater. A wee tiny person would be overwhelmed by a traditional aran knitted in aran weight wool. A dk, sport, or fingering weight aran would undoubtedly look better.
So . . . it depends.