Archive

Tag Archives: French Market Fibers

With all the sheep walking about, was I tempted by their fleece or yarn?

IMG_0939

Not really.

But traveling with 12 other knitters, who were all wearing beautiful handknits? Killer. Being connected via Internet during the trip (as bad as connections were), pretty bad. Meeting with incredible artists on Shetland? Even worse.

I only brought one sweater to Shetland with me, which I finished on the trip and wore almost every single day.  This is the Northmavine Hoody by Kate Davies from her book, Colours of Shetland. I knit the sweater with the exact yarn and colors given in the pattern, something I rarely do,

IMG_5460

but after going to Northmavine (Eshaness), I was very glad that I did. I feel like I know exactly why Kate Davies chose these colors.

IMG_0931

Handknits from this collection was particularly popular. I also had the Northmavine Hap from this collection, knit out of all the natural colors of Shetland sheep represented by J&S Supreme Jumper Weight. I had made this slightly larger so I can wear it like a true hap shawl (wrapped around and tied in the back), and I wore this shawl quite a bit as well.

IMG_5373

(Photo of my shawl taken at Clove Cottages in High Falls, NY)

Another traveler in this group had a gorgeous Puffin Sweater. I do not think the photos do this sweater justice. It is an absolutely stunning design. And yes, I’m going to knit it,

IMG_5607

..along with perhaps almost everyone else on the trip. I’m not changing the colors on this sweater either…because well, puffins!

We were traveling with Gudrun Durham (nee Johnston), so her designs were of course very well represented. I had my absolute favorite shawl with me, her design, Flukra (now I know how to pronounce it — “fluck-ra”). I felt slightly weird that this shawl was knit out of merino/silk! I will have to make this again in Shetland wool. 

flukra

(Flukra knit out of Hedgehog Fibres Silk/Merino Lace in Grit — a club color way so it is, unfortunately, OOAK!)

Several knitters had Gudrun’s Mystery Knit Along shawls, Havra (mine, still unfinished…)

IMG_5231

(Havra, in Wollmeise 100% in Safran, Sternschnuppe and Campari Piccolo)

I didn’t bring mine but someone also had a Laar:

laar

(my Laar, knit in Wollmeise Lacegarn, Magnolie Dark)

and there were several Audrey in Unsts (which, mine is now gone and I have the yarn to knit another).

IMG_9040

(my Audrey in A Verb For Keeping Warm Annapurna in Indigo Blue Sky — how I loved that sweater.)

Another popular purchase on this trip was yarn to knit Burrafirth out of her Shetland Trader 2 collection (I’m knitting mine out of GASP non-Shetland, non-wool yarn — this is French Market Fibers Uptown Sock in Gelato, 2 dye lots of Midnight on the Moonwalk and Olive Salad)

IMG_5540

…and yarn to make Nikka Vord, my version in the same yarn as the pattern (Jamieson’s DK) but a combination of different natural sheep colors.

IMG_5605

Of course, can’t forget what Mary Jane Mucklestone made me do (more yarn, more Jamieson & Smith 2-ply Jumper Weight but more about that when I talk about the fair isle knits we ran into on this trip.)

See what happened? It wasn’t the sheep. That is, until Uradale. I was “chatting” with Deb Robson via the Internet. She knew I was in Shetland, and she was telling me a bit about her encounters with the Shetland Organics movement (Her trip to Shetland last year can be found on her blog here), of which Uradale is a participating croft. Then she told me that the Shetland Organics yarns are (and I quote her here very loosely, sorry Deb) one of her favorite yarns, not just from Shetland but globally.

IMG_1124

Well? What am I to do!? The sheep there were gorgeous, the fleece was beautiful, and I had someone who would know about these things basically telling me that I should get my hands on this yarn. (Which you, too, can be convinced, link is here)

So I did.

IMG_5541

Then, of course, there was the dinner with Hazel Tindall. She brought along for us a suitcase full of her work. I am remiss in not having taken good photos of her beautiful sweaters, and pillows, and hats, but it’s because I was too busy listening to her talking about them. Well, of course, one sweater really caught my eye. So I asked about it.

And I did something about it. But more about that next time!

I’ve always loved mohair — it is a strange love since I’m usually not attracted to fluffy and lacy things. (My excuse is “it’s so warm” but really, I honestly think it’s the fluffy that I love.)

IMG_8771

My addiction to kidsilk lace went up a notch early last fall when I knit BooKnits’ Almost Autumn in French Market Fibers Mohair Lace in Spanish Moss.

To be honest, I did it because I wanted to knit this shawl on large needles. I really didn’t expect the resulting mound of fluffy loveliness. This shawl sort of sits around the shoulders like spun sugar. It’s incredibly pretty.

IMG_8286

Earlier this year, you saw me tap my mohair lace stash again to knit Heavenly by Romi Hill out of French Market Fibers Mohair Lace in Brandymilk Punch. Knitting this shawl made me go on a total mohair buying bender, and I grew my mohair lace collection by adding several yummy selections from Hedgehog Fibres (and did I ever) and Neighborhood Fiber Co.

It wasn’t going to take long for me to dive into that mound of mohair to come up with a selection for a shawl.

One of the colorways in kidsilk lace that I purchased from Hedgehog, Tremble, needed to be made into the latest Romi Hill Pins & Lace Club pattern, Winter’s Moon.

The club yarn for this design was a more sheepy yarn (and don’t get me wrong, I love what Brooke from Sincere Sheep does and her Equity Fingering is absolutely gorgeous), but I thought the design with the double yarn over mesh at the top ending in a set of chevrons (which were screaming to be beaded — so I obliged) was just perfect for some mohair action.

IMG_8780

Just look at how subtly variegated this yarn is. I used square glass beads in “oil slick”, which I thought mirrored the yarn color.

Here’s the latest addition to my mohair shawl collection!

IMG_8768

Trust me. Everyone needs a cloud of gorgeous mohair to wrap around themselves!

 

IMG_8610Sometimes, a designer publishes a pattern and you know exactly which yarn in your collection wants to become it. (This is EXACTLY the reason why a knitter must have the well curated collection of yarn!)  And when that designer is one of your all time favorites, and the perfect yarn is from one of your favorite indie dyers….well, it’s a match made in Knitter’s heaven and in those cases, it’s as if there’s a magic jet attached to your knitting needles.

At least, that is what happens to me. The knitting flies. I’m a woman obsessed, eking out every free second to return to my version of crack.

This exact thing happened to me when Romi Hill gave us a New Year’s present. She took parts of all the shawls we knit as part of her Pins & Laces club during 2012 and put it together into a stole. Out of mohair/silk lace.

Heavenly is the pattern, and my crack yarn of choice for this stole, French Market Fibers Mohair Lace in Brandy Milk Punch colorway.

IMG_8600

The one great thing about Ravelry is that when a pattern like Heavenly comes out, there is mass excitement, and there’s usually a group of other knitters that you can do a virtual knit-along with. Romi has a great group on Ravelry, and it wasn’t long until there was a group of us who convinced each other to abandon other knitting commitments (remember those Christmas presents that got wrapped with needles in them!?) to dive head first into the new project.

This is a bit of a dangerous venture for me, because getting excited with other people just throws fuel to the fire. I think we all whipped each other up into a frenzy, into a buying frenzy — to a point where I really thought that we may have, collectively, cornered the mohair lace market!!!

Of course, in the middle of this mass group enabling time, another one of my all time favorite yarn dyers, Beata at Hedgehog Fibres did an amazing update….with lots of kidsilk lace.

Needless to say, this is not the only kidsilk beauty that ended up in my collection, waiting for the next design inspiration. I’m good at enabling others, but I am super good at enabling myself!

IMG_8655

It’s Beata’s Concrete colorway, which is a very complex grey. I LOVE this color, and I think it is especially pretty in this base.

IMG_1432I am actually surprised at my ridiculous enthusiasm for mohair silk. It’s a relatively recent love. I’ve always assumed that the fuzzy would bug me, and because my taste tend more toward the sleek and tailored, a mohair anything seemed a bit too girly for me. But what can I say? A shawl knit out of mohair silk is so light and so warm, I can really channel my inner-girly and wear the shawl with aplomb.

It has been windy and chilly here in NYC. And Heavenly has become a total mainstay of my wardrobe since I’ve finished knitting. It’s warm, it’s light, and it goes with my black and grey work wardrobe!

What should I knit with my Hedghog yarn?

When it comes to yarn, I’m pretty fickle.

My love for Sanguine Gryphon Gaia Lace has been pretty well documented. I still love it, and happily bring this yarn out of my stash for deserving patterns. In fact, I recently finished the Romi Hill shawl that I wrote about, in Gaia Lace in Owlets, which is a beautiful silver grey. I was a good girl — only modified the pattern slightly by beading the bind off. I have yet to wear this shawl, since the yarn and the beading combination makes this shawl pretty dressy.

My first foray into blogging about knitting was about Wollmeise so my partiality to Claudia’s beautiful colors is also no secret. I am about to cast on a project in Lacegarn, which I will talk about at some point…and I have Cookie A’s Conic on my needles right now in 100% Merino in Ruby Thursday, which is a really pretty red.

I think I may have a new favorite indie dyer. French Market Fibers. Of course, it appears that I have fallen in love with another dyer whose yarn is tough to get. I have two finished objects out of Margaret’s lovely yarn that I wanted to talk about…

First, the secret test knit I wrote about last time. You can see the shawl all crumpled up in the group photo. It’s BooKnits Almost Autumn. It’s a wonderful pattern, slightly different from Bev’s usual designs and it is lace all over. I made mine out of French Market Fibers Mohair Lace in Spanish Moss.  I was a bit of a rogue test knitter (!) and omitted the beads. I wanted this shawl to be ethereal and…well.. look like Spanish Moss. The photo doesn’t quite do justice to the beautiful and subtle colors in the yarn (look really closely — there are hints of pink, green, grey…) The shawl is about to board a transatlantic flight, to be worn by a friend at a wedding, in which she is a guest. I hope I get the shawl back!

The second project is a sweater that I just finished knitting and is currently being blocked. It’s Levenwick by Gudrun Johnston. It was part of Brooklyntweed’s Wool People I, and has been in my queue since it first came out. I made mine out of French Market Fibers Merino Worsted in Wrought Iron. I cannot wait to get this sweater off the blocking boards. I had originally ordered this yarn from Margaret with thoughts of making something else, but as soon as I opened my package, I knew that it would be perfect for this sweater. The body of the sweater is knit in reverse stockinette — which makes the fabric look woven. It’s really perfect for a subtly variegated yarn, I think. The color is sort of purply and grey and black and lovely. I ran out of yarn so I couldn’t make the pocket for this, but I think it keeps the lines simple and very work worthy. I plan on wearing this with a shawl pin to close at the neck until I see Jennie at Rhinebeck so she can make me the perfect buttons for the sweater.

What’s new on your needles, now that the weather is turning a bit more sweater-worthy?

I travel for work. It is definitely not as glamorous as it may seem — slogging around with a wheelie crammed with all my electronics while making sure all your liquids are in small enough containers that can pack into a ziplock can get old. Nalgene must somewhere have in their database that I have purchased a bazillion little bottles.

Traveling is, however, one of the best things that happens to my knitting productivity.

First of all, pockets of time where I am  seated, with no other “Thing I Should Be Doing” are very precious. On a flight? I’m trapped. I cannot be addressing errands that should be getting run, cannot be hiking/training/playing with the dogs, and there are no piles of laundry or dishes that require my attention (that I can do something about, that is). Of course, I could be Go-Go Internetting my way across the country, but I’m not that productive. So — on with the headphones, on with either podcasts or an audio book, and the needles come out.

And for the duration of the trip? (Honestly, you didn’t think I traveled on a multi-day trip with just one project, did you?) On this one, I’ve got 4 with me. 2 shawls that were both more than halfway done, and a sweater that is done in pieces that is nice to have, and a project that is completely mindless (a garter body center for a shawl, done in teeny cobweb/lace).

Four is a bit excessive. But truly, I needed them all. First of all, the 2 “more than halfway done” shawls were definitely candidates to get completed on this trip. I would of course need a mindless project for times when I was sort of sitting around (lots of meetings!), and the sweater because it’s done in pieces (so I feel like it’s a finite thing) and if I can get a piece a done per trip, then I may not notice that I’m knitting sleeves. (This deserves a separate post. It’s an affliction that is similar to second sock syndrome, but The Second Sleeve That Takes Forever is another one of my diseases).

The shawl I have really been trying to work on is Romi Hill’s Rosa Flora shawl. I’m knitting it in (I know, I know) Sanguine Gryphon Gaia Lace in a silvery grey called Owlets. It’s beaded with clear, silver lined hex beads. It’s a semi circular shawl, and drop dead gorgeous. I want to finish…not because I don’t like knitting it, but I really want to see what this shawl looks like in its full glory.

The second almost-done shawl is a test knit, so I can’t talk about it until the pattern is released. I’m knitting it in French Market Fibers mohair lace in Spanish Moss, and it really looks like spanish moss. I am considering binding it off in a dark grey for some contrast. This shawl calls for beading, but I am probably going to omit it, so I don’t take away from the fluffiness of the shawl.

The sweater is Viften/The Fan by Marianne Isager. This sweater has been in my queue for quite some time, and I thought this was work worthy….and I’m working on the 2nd of 5 pieces for this sweater. I’m using Sanguine Gryphon Bugga in Montauk Monster, which is a dark grey. (It’s a Cephalopod Yarns color now…)

The “mindless project”, which usually lives in the drawer in my office, is Quill, by Jared Flood. It really is going to be pretty, but I need to knit 270 rows of garter before the fun (lace) begins. I am ALMOST there (at which point this project will escape “mindless” status). I’m knitting this shawl out of French Market Fibers Uptown Lace, in 2 colors. I will talk about this shawl a lot more when it gets more interesting — and I am knitting this because what I really want to do is knit a fingering version, cut in half into a triangle. I figured that before I start really monkeying with a beautiful design, I should understand the original first. (I know. I have a strange mind). I think I know EXACTLY how I want the construction to go, but I may come up with more ideas as I progress with this shawl. I’ll definitely document the modification process here.

Running back to my knitting, as I really want to free up my Signature #5 needles that are in my Rosa. Because Romi has released another shawl that would be absolutely perfectly cozy for fall in a tweedy, classic yarn!!!

What’s on your needles right now?