While on the subject of “marrying” project and yarn, it occurs to me that my latest WIP for the Knitters Book of Wool Wool-along is another example of the interplay between the two – and the different results of those choices.
It was high time I actually knitted a project from KBOW. The book is an oft-opened reference that never quite makes it back onto the shelves. Some of our best known knitterati are published between its covers. I find it kind of unexpected that I had never knitted a pattern by the estimable Evelyn A. Clark. I mean, she is the godmother of today’s triangular shawl movement, for pete’s sake, with a sterling reputation for putting out error-free patterns.
This month’s fiber is Romeldale/California Variegated Mutant – CVM for short, a sheep carefully bred for its fiber, developed within the last century. I had picked up a couple of skeins of fingering-weight CVM spun with 20% bombyx silk from Long Ridge Farm at the Connecticut Sheep and Wool Festival, dyed using low-impact methods by Nancy Zeller.
Put those two things together, and here is the result-in-progress: my Rustic Rose Shawl.
The pattern is Prairie Rose Shawl, featured in the book in shetland as well as something more light and delicate. Instead of going the laceweight route, I put the yarn and pattern together to see what would happen.
I’ve found this yarn to be its own thing – and rather difficult to compare to anything else. It is “rustic” for lack of a better word. Unlike commercially spun yarn, it feels like it is not far from the sheep – there is definitely some lanolin left. There is minor variation in its thickness. In some respects, working with it feels like knitting with Classic Elite’s Classic Silk, but with a less dry hand.
The colorway, Rubia, was produced using madder. Upon winding my two skeins in succession, I found some residue the color of dried blood on my fingers – a small thorn in this rose, if you will. I emailed Nancy about this, and she replied in just over a nanosecond. I had missed the advice along the way to wash out my skeins before knitting. That said, the problem has been much less evident while working on the shawl charts, and Nancy advises that any remaining dye will come out in the soak-and-block process. This is a yarn producer who genuinely cares about the satisfaction of her customers. I was impressed.
I will be looking forward to that warm Eucalan bath and pinning out so I can see how the yarn is transformed – if at all. Should it remain the same texture it is now, that’s fine, too. Not all roses come out of a hothouse, and the ones along the country roadside are equally lovely.