Wild Weather & Wild Fibres

Jun 24, 2010


Summer has hit Ontario with a vengeance: Long, hot, humid days, afternoon thunderstorms, a tornado warning or two, and even an earthquake, just to spice things up. It's a time of year when I hear that some knitters stop knitting, supposedly due to the unpleasantness of hot, sticky wool in their hands.

That rumour seems like a bit of an urban legend up here in Canada. Knitters who knit only during the winter months are like Bigfoot: Everyone seems to know someone who has seen one, but no one has seen such a personage with their own eyes! In reality, all around me, needles click and flash, producing sweaters and legwarmers and socks and shawls by the dozens. There's a wee note of urgency about all this thunder-and-sunshine knitting: Summer is so brief here, and even in June, there is a sense that winter is never far away.

As for me, I'm still on the Lots o' Stockinette section of the Tattoo Tank Top from Knitscene Winter/Spring 2010. Nothing to see here, move along, folks, move along.

I got a bit distracted this week by sock worries. For some reason, I decided it was time to inventory our sock wardrobes, in order to ascertain if more pairs were needed, and if so, in what colours and styles. This year, the percentage of socks requiring darning is higher than at any other time in the past six or seven years, making me wonder if that's how long it takes for my toes to wiggle their way through the carefully Kitchenered ends of my socks. Nicholas wears his through at the heel; I swear that man must wear boot spurs inside his shoes–the holes he ruefully shows me are great gaping woolly sinkholes compared to the tiny rips in my own socks.

Watch this space, then, for my upcoming Adventures in Darning. I hate to throw away good knitting.

 

Last week, I asked this question: What If you had only ONE BALL of a truly special yarn...what would you make with it?

After all the votes and comments were tallied, the Top Three were:

  1. A shawlette;
  2. a cowl, and
  3. a scarf.

In other words: You wanted that softer-than-soft, gorgeous special yarn right next to your face, where it could nestle up against your neck and be properly admired and enjoyed.

What is the oh-so-special yarn? Well, the truth is that the yarn isn't quite done yet; it's still being spun. The fibre is musk ox down, otherwise known as qiviut.


The "fleece" in the photo is actually a pile of qiviut prior to being spun: Pure, wild, straight-from-the-tundra qiviut. (Well, OK: That batch there had already had the worst of the tundra hand-picked out by yours truly.) I received several small bags' worth as a fabulous, unexpected gift this past fall. There's both quite a bit more of it than I first realized, and yet not very much of it at all, at least not in terms of the final yardage it will produce. I'm still spinning, so I'm still not sure how much yarn there will be when all that wonderful fluff has become wonderful yarn.

As soon as the yarn is ready, it will gallop onto my needles, and I'll see about making you that shawlette. My hopes are to make one lacy enough to be worthy of this ultra luxurious yarn, yet versatile enough to be wrapped around one's neck, put over one's head, or tucked inside the neck of a jacket or coat. The pattern, along with the whole story of this very special wild fibre yarn, will ("corn crop willing and the rain don't come," as the old prairie summer saying goes) be in an upcoming issue of Spin-Off magazine.

Stay tuned. I promise to tease you with photos and snippets of my progress along the way.

– Sandi



Sandi Wiseheart
is the founding editor of Knitting Daily. You can find her blogging here on Knitting Daily every Thursday. Want more? Visit Sandi's personal blog, wiseheart knits. Or, if you're on Twitter, you can follow her: sandiwiseheart.

 




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Comments

on Jun 30, 2010 8:56 AM

Summer is a wonderful time to knit- no Christmas gifts to rush, no one wants knits for their summer Birthday, and plenty of time on car trips to knit! Unfortunately, a friend I am currently "coaching" to knit (well, sort of, as well as I can long distance, anyways), being a new knitter and all is that "cold weather only" type (majority of the year it's cold here)....but she will learn ;)

KarinP wrote
on Jun 25, 2010 4:59 PM

I can't wait for that issue of spin off magazine. On what do you spin the quiviut? Wheel or spindle? what draw do you use?

TraceyB wrote
on Jun 25, 2010 6:46 AM

Oh Qivuit, my sister in law made 3 beautiful shawls with it, I just loved touching that beautiful fiber.  I have to admit I am a summer slacker.  Not 100% but when it gets so hot I stick to the furniture I give up.   Because I hate to look at a grubby sweater even before I get to wear it..      I have a 6 hour car ride in AC so it will come out again.

on Jun 25, 2010 6:32 AM

I fell in love with Qivuit at Lake Louise last year. In the lovely hotel there (we were not staying just visiting unfortunately) there is a tiny shop which sells beautifully made Qivuit garments and a little yarn. It was way out of my price bracket I am sorry to say. The assistant was fully aware I was not going to make a purchase but still allowed me to take pictures and went into there store room to find a magazine with an article in about the whole Quivit story for me to buy (half price as it was out of date) One day I hope to make a purchase but it will have to be a very special project to do this lovely fibre justice. I will follow your story with interest.