Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Are you COLD and BLUE? A remedy...

So here is what you should think about if you get to feeling BLUE and COOOOOLD and afraid that warmth will never return in your lifetime.   It's ALMOST fiber-festival time, which means that, across the country, also across Canada and England and some other countries, people pour out of their locked-up houses with bushels and boxes of gorgeous hand-crafted yarn and set it up in tents in the middle of fields or fairgrounds -- and sell it to people like me.    I just bought some of the amazing yarns produced by Solitude, which is a small-farm-project enterprise in the Chesapeake.  We have had some of their amazing yarn (locally sourced, handdyed, locally spun, etc.) in the shop for awhile now.   It's gorgeous wool -- not the ruined kind of wool that American knitters sometimes think they prefer (made too soft, will pill instantly, etc.),   This time, I got a dozen skeins of the undyed alpaca-wool lace-light fingering weight shown below (the ones on the far right) with little slubs of dyed blue and green spun into the natural animal colorations.  When I go to the Maryland Sheep and Wool  Festival in May I'll talk with them some more, try to grab some of the stunning luxury-fiber hand paints made by JOY (Just Our Yarns), which is a survivor from the utterly amazing coop that closed in Alexandria, VA, a few years ago, Springwater Fiber Workshop, operated by two women who were principals at the fiber workshop.    So you see?  There is ground for optimism.  Soon there will be the Ohio and Indiana festivals (Bowling Green, Greencastle, etc.) and a bunch more.  I will put on lots of miles in the little Moonrock Silver Beetle.  Stay tuned.    svb


Lovely undyed black alpaca is blended with just enough Merino wool to give this lace weight yarn a little elasticity. It comes in undyed black and three subtle color variations created with dyed in the wool Merino. Elegant and very soft to make something special.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

OMG -- Look at this!! Copied in its entirety..... !!!

Penguins wearing sweaters are the cutest thing ever

Feb. 13, 2015 at 3:35 PM ET
Humans aren't the only ones bundling up right now: Some penguins can also be found warming up (adorably) in sweaters.
Penguins at Phillip Island Nature Parks who have been affected by oil spills wear tiny knit sweaters as protection against the elements, since oil affects their feathers and makes them vulnerable.
Little Penguin in knitted sweater
Phillip Island Nature Parks
"Knitted penguin jumpers play an important role in saving little penguins affected by oil pollution," Danene Jones, a spokesperson for the nonprofit, told TODAY.com in an email. "Oil separates and mats feathers, allowing water to get in which makes a penguin very cold, heavy and less able to successfully hunt for food."
The phenomenon of penguins wearing sweaters has charmed the Internet a few times over the years, as stories have emerged of Good Samaritans knitting tiny garments for the animals in need.
Little Penguins in knitted sweaters
Phillip Island Nature Parks
This week, another such story went viral, as the 109-year-old Alfred "Alfie" Date revealed in a sweet video interview that he started knitting the creations after hearing the call for sweaters.
"I can't say no," said Australia's oldest man and avid knitter. "It's a good way of getting along in life. You make friends all the time but you don't make a fool of yourself either."
Little Penguins in knitted sweaters
Phillip Island Nature Parks
Over 400 little penguins were affected by the last major oil spill near Phillip Island in 2001. Ninety-six percent of those animals were successfully saved and released back into the wild.
Though Phillip Island Nature Parks did put out a call for the sweaters for little penguins (a species of penguin unique to southern Australia and New Zealand), the organization now says it's got all the sweaters it needs.
"Thanks to everyone who has contributed," Jones told TODAY.com. "We don't require any further jumpers!"
But penguin lovers can still find other ways to help the little creatures in need on the Parks' website, The Penguin Foundation.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

WOW! Ann Arbor in the News!

Look at this!   Some of you may know Ann Arbor's Riin Gill, one of the region's most gifted hand-painters of knitting yarn and roving.  She also has been working hard to make use of Michigan-raised wool -- you can see some of the fruits of that project here in gorgeous semi-solid skeins (mostly DK and worsted weight, with lots of non-Michigan yarns in lighter weights).   Artisan Knitworks has over 800 skeins of her yarn available in a trunk show through the 15th.   You have to see this to believe it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!    svb