Cakes, Hanks, Socks and Lace

At the end of June, I was back to my thrifting ways and found a nice deal on what I thought was a couple skeins of point 5 (A thick/thin bulk weight) and some professionally dyed fiber so that I could compare to my current just washed fiber and see if that improved my spin, and a couple of skeins I was kind of ambivalent about.  Turns out it was 10 skeins of the point 5…. larger than my teapot!  So I am thinking based on the color I will make up some larger toss pillows for our living room.  I also spun a bit of the unlabeled extra fiber, and it definitely went smoother than my first  round with my own prep work.

Earlier this month I turned 40.  I celebrated by wearing a shirt proclaiming I was “Adult-ish” and drinking a blackberry hard cider while eating a chocolate cake… like the adult I am! It was also new license year for me so I’m kind of glad I lost weight this year.  Now just about 15 lbs to go and then maintain it.  Health-wise some things have gotten better, and some haven’t but overall I’m doing pretty good for 4 decades on this planet.

Naturally I took the occasion to buy myself some hanks of yarn.  There was a special on a weight I wanted to use with the handspun I got from a yarn swap, as well as a camel/silk blend which.  It should be arriving later today. (refreshes package tracking again)

I have finished my first non-wool socks pair, and the first of the Op-Art Socks KAL Anni which I made for Ben. I’ve got yarn picked out for Bora next month and I’m hoping to double down with the Alhambra if I can find a suitable combination. (I wonder if I can sneak in a bit more yarn when I go shopping for my latest swappee….)

I did start on my June KAL lace project, but had difficulty reading the pattern due not in small part to the printing side of things so I’ve put in more work on my Glocinella than I have on my alpaca lace shawl.  I’m down to the last 55 or so rows, which are fast approaching 1000 stitches per round, but its coming along.

I’ve also been attempting to get a couple rows of quilting in on the guest room quilt… but its slow going and like most things these days, it seems like the things to do are piling up faster than the things done.

Know your fiber and the animal it came in on – Alpaca

Ben’s mother, Dale (the Sunflower quilt lady), always finds really creative and new things for us to do when we visit Kansas.  We’ve been to the Omaha Zoo,  the Cosmosphere Space Museum, and even to a tiger rescue ranch (since closed).

Tiger Tongues feel just like really big cat tongues when they lick your hands btw.

A most interesting experience!

And this holiday visit we went to an Alpaca Farm called Alpacas of Wildcat Hollow.  Dale also knits, so naturally we made some yarn purchases.  (Fellow knitters, and friends of knitters know this was inevitable! Non-knitter Ben got socks instead.) 

So this Christmas I received two beautiful hanks of 100% Alpaca in fingering weight with which I plan to make an amazing shawl.  I am presently debating if this will be a good excuse to build my own pattern or not.

A variegated Rose color

A variegated Rose color

AND… she picked up a sport weight skein for me to knit her a wonderful scarf.  Going for a more textured than lacy design as Kansas is cold, as in hide yo’ ears! hide yo’ toes! We gettin’ frostbite up in here!

Violet and Teal

Violet and Teal

So let’s talk Alpaca fiber.

Alpaca does not have lanolin like Sheep wool, which is apparently where most people with wool allergies run into issues!  It also is less prickly, naturally water repellant, and a better heat insulator.    Alpacas are closely related to llamas, but have finer fur for making yarn (It seems the llama, being larger with less fine fleece, is more of a pack animal, whereas the Alpaca is more of a fleece production animal).  The fur is shorn from the animal much like sheep wool, but has a greater yield per fleece than sheep.  There are 22 naturally occurring colors of Alpaca, and it maintains a nice luster even after dying!

So there’s a few bits about Alpaca, and something to look forward to working with in the coming new year!