Ode on a (Non)Grecian Yarn

Why is Louet Gems fingering weight yarn so lovely to work with?

This is Koigu KPPPM in the colourway I think of as “Orchid.” (Gorgeously hand painted on Gems fingering weight)

I love the delicate sheen, the tiny little pillows of puffy merino, the yarn’s gentle stretch and “steel magnolia” strength. I love the texture of Gems Pearl when it’s knitted up, whether in stockinette, cable, or lace. The slight pebbly nature that adds interest to anything I knit…And, of course, I love the way it takes up colour. (I’m suffering from Anglophilia today.)

Is it weird to love a yarn that much? To take it out and gaze at it because the way it’s spun makes me (oddly?) happy? Or am I not alone? Do all knitters feel that kind of passion for one yarn or another?

Neighborhood Fiber Co. uses Louet yarns, including my favorite. In fact, Karida dropped off a little cake of Brightwood the other day. Hand-painted yarn house calls…Now THAT’S luxury! I can’t wait to use it. I’ll be casting on for my chevron scarf as soon as I finish the second Orchid Sock.
Here’s my yummy little Brightwood “yarn muffin” (blue), waiting with its friends to be knit into something wonderful. (BTW: I also adore her Brookland colourway…Uh oh. I feel another purchase coming on.)

Looking at my “I-can’t-wait-to-start-these-projects” stash, I see that nearly all of my current and future projects involve Louet Gems fingering weight yarn in one way or another. Socks, of course. And the soon-to-be-mine Chevron Scarf. And the edging on Tahoe (sadly pushed aside while I complete the Orchid Socks, but I’ll be back to work on it soon!).

And Gems is not just sock yarn–it can be used for almost anything. Check out Melissa’s lovely Annabelle design (scroll down a bit, on the right-hand side). She made it in sock-weight cashmere. But wouldn’t Gems make a great substitution?

(My small collection of Claudia Hand Painted yarn, also based on Gems.)

At last year’s Maryland Meat and Wool Festival, I saw dozens of knitters crammed like sardines into the very small Koigu booth, grabbing armloads of skeins out of baskets marked “Sale.” I was shocked…

To me, some of the colours were a bit–how do I say this–garish? But my fellow fiber-holics didn’t seem to notice the colours. They just pushed, grabbed, and bought. I attributed this to the sock-knitting craze that pre-dated today’s lace knitting craze. But maybe I was wrong. Maybe it was the yarn itself, and the mostly-fabulous colourways were the icing on the cake…

I really would like to know what you think. Do you feel the same way? Or are you true to another? Tell me: What yarn makes YOU lapse rhapsodic?

Go ahead, I know you want to comment…and I promise not to let the cat out of the bag ;-)


I’m in Yarnival! (and so is my husband…)

I woke up to the nicest surprise today: Cara wrote to tell me that Knit*Six appears in the November issue of Yarnival! AND my husband, Chris, was named “Hunk of the Month.”

He’s had quite a good month in terms of fame: He played with Brooks Tegler at Blues Alley (a world-famous jazz club in Georgetown), played AND did all the vocals at Brooks’ Glenn Miller Tribute in Wye Mills, MD, and appeared in a photo in Jazz Times. And now this: Yarnival’s Hunk of the Month. I don’t know how much more of this I can handle…pretty soon he’ll be running from screaming mobs of fans ;-)

But he deserves it, for putting up with this:

(The huge stash I just realized I’ve accumulated…I never knew I was hording so much!)

And this:

(The pile of yarn on the stereo behind “my chair.”)

And this:

(The pile of yarn and mountain of needles and other knitting paraphernalia under the table between our chairs.)

Anyway, thanks, Cara, for featuring my blog! And welcome to anyone who comes browsing from http://www.JanuaryOne.com (I’m addicted to her blog…from knitting to social commentary, she rocks!). There’s a link to it at right…

So, we spent a week in Cape May, NJ, which was absolutely wonderful and relaxing. Obviously, since this is only my second post this month…my first one in two weeks…I’m having trouble getting back in the swing of things. For example, I had a pile of editing to do (freelance writing and editing is my bread and butter), but spent the morning rooting around in my mountain of fiber and taking the pictures above. I also took this one…it’s the “eat in” area in our kitchen:

Notice how there’s no place to “eat in”? It’s been usurped, and now I call it my studio. Thank God for windows. I couldn’t have done that in our old apartment, an “English Basement” in Georgetown (think: damp, mold, ant infestations, and noisy upstairs neighbors who stomped around like elephants and used TONS of electricity and gas — we had to pay 25% of the utilities for the house, and it was SO expensive). Jeez…thank God for more than windows, huh?

If you look in the photo above, you’ll notice the umbrella swift and skeins of gorgeous yarn hanging over a drying rack. You might also glimpse and peek of the fabulous raspberry colored sock yarn on the table, next to the bag of batting. Those are all Neighborhood Fiber Company yarns: Victorian Bulky, Duplex (50% mohair/50% merino), Studio Sport and Studio Sock).

This particular batch was headed for a special customer who’s starting her own knitting business in D.C. But there’s plenty more where that came from. And we also sell drop spindle kits and offer spinning wheel rentals in the District. Check out our new and improved Web site!

Well, the Hunk is home from work, so I’ll wrap it up for the day. It’s been a long one, and I’m rambling. And, after all, tomorrow is another day…(What the Hell does that mean? Of COURSE it’s another day. It’s not TODAY is it? No, it’s tomorrow!)

Ah. Bon soir, mes amis.