PSA: Free yarn for a good cause

My new favourite go-to website for workhorse yarns (eg, Cascade 220), is Yarn Canada. Just quick, unremunerated public service announcement that they are giving away $2000 in free yarn to individuals and groups who will use that yarn for charity work and good causes. Check it out!

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Another riding sweater?

So, ages ago, I knit a lovely riding sweater to wear when working the horses in cooler weather. I actually haven’t worn it that much, due to needing to redo the zipper, add a clasp at the top, and being reluctant to let something that took so much time to make become covered in pony slobbers. Despite this, I’ve decided to make another sweater for riding anyway; this one is specifically going to be for wearing at a clinic with my coach in Quebec next year. If it doesn’t get too filthy, I’ll also be able to wear it when I swing down to Montreal from the Laurentians on an off day.

What pattern, you ask? I have no idea. I do know, however, that it will be made with fleece from my barn’s new flock of fiber sheep. (This has all been very exciting, let me tell you.) I did a small swatch of semi-woollen, sport/DK-weight yarn from a BFLxRomney ewe by the name of Diesel, and it’s perfect light sweater material:

Diesel is closely related to the sheep that produced the Grand Champion Fleece at the Royal Winter Fair this year, so she’s got good genetics. The whole flock is young so I have to wait til next year for their fleeces, but I can’t wait. (Also, in case you’re wondering, sheep are DELIGHTFUL — seriously. Sweet and smart and hilarious.) Diesel (front) and her sister, Elisabeth:

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New article in Spin-Off

Happy to announce a new article in Spin-Off, profiling one of my favourite spindle makers, Malcolm Fielding of The Spindle Shop.

That’s my own spindle in the photo, in nearly metallic satin sycamore wood, in its home in a vintage library catalogue (where my growing collections live). Get your hands on a copy of the magazine and I hope you enjoy!

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New class!

I’m pleased to announce I will be holding my Beginner Spinning on a Drop Spindle workshop in Toronto later this month. As part of an event hosted by The Stop at Wychwood Barns, I’ll be teaching this workshop from 10a-12p on October 21. Drop spindle, fibre, and notes to take home are included in the class fee of $50. Spots are very limited so email me at lordal (at) gmail (dot) com to reserve yours!

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How many yards in this skein? Time for some MATH

I’m now a semi-frequent recipient of Chinese yarn, which is notorious for listing only the weight of the skein/ball on the label, and not the yardage. Chinese patterns seem to rely on weight-based requirements rather than the Western preference for yardage, so deciding whether the following heap of fine merino is enough to make Alcomar can be tricky:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I thought I might grab a clever little tool called a yarn balance, which helps you calculate yardage per weight of a particular yarn, but at $54 each, uhhhh… no thanks.

Fortunately, intrepid knitters before me have published a set of instructions for a DIY yarn balance, and I will quickly be acquiring the scrap bits of bamboo and plastic to make my own. I suspect that there’s about 400 yards in each 100g skein, given its light fingering weight, but I’ll report back once there’s been some sciencing…

 

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New classes!

Hey all, I’m thrilled to announce the return of my beginner spinning classes in 2017–check out my Workshops page for more info!

As always, I can do private workshops on other topics (or even a private beginners’ classes with you a friend, for example) as well. Just contact me and I’ll see what I can do!

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Yarn review: Red Heart – Heart and Sole

A while back I got an email from Yarn Canada asking if I’d review a new yarn they are carrying. Of course I said yes (I mean, twist my arm), and was sent a few skeins of a new sock yarn by Red Heart, called Heart and Sole (of course):

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I know what you’re thinking: Red Heart? Really? And yes, it’s true that I long thought of it as “that stuff I knit with when I was a raw beginner” but it turns out they are making inroads on the yarn snob demographic, or at least attempting to. I was definitely skeptical but I’m not going to lie–I actually like this stuff. What first caught my eye was the colour ways:

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This is “Riverstone.” I also picked out “Lakehouse” (or “Mason du Lac” in the mangled French on the label, hehe). Both are pretty gorgeous colour combos. One thing I would change is to make this self-striping, rather than variegated, but I’m not a variegated fan anyway. When you knit up even small samples, you can see how quickly the colours change, so I bet it would pool or flash:

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And how does it knit up? It’s ever so slightly splitty, and isn’t the softest yarn I’ve ever worked with, but the hand is decent and it’s not scratchy. It does feel softer after blocking. Overall, I’d say I was pleasantly surprised, and if they ever come out with self-striping colour ways, I might just be tempted to pick up one or two.

Thanks to Yarn Canada for the opportunity to try out this yarn! As I said, I was pleasantly surprised.

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