Late bloomer

Ich bin ein Nachtmensch.

I am a night Owl.  (One who does not speak German, I might add, but it was KnittingKittens’ German Phrase of the Day, and appropos.)  As a full-time working mommy Owl, there are not enough hours in the day – particularly hours in the day where my undivided attention belongs to someone else.

Thus, knitting is pushed back on the clock.  Finishing, even father back.  That, and my inability to keep the guest bed clear of piles, stacks and boxes lead to many FOs waiting for attention.

Prairie Rose Shawl

And so it was until the witching hour earlier this week, when I pulled out the bottle of Eucalan to give my project in the ~ ahem ~ June Wool-along for the Knitter’s Book of Wool the attention it so richly deserved.

“Rich” fails to describe the depth of color in this naturally dyed yarn from Long Ridge Farm.  Spun from 80% California Variegated Mutant (CVM) wool and 20% bombyx silk, knitting with it was a discovery process in and

It helps to have an old deck off your office.

of itself.   It felt rather heavier than fingering weight, and it seemed to have quite a bit of lanolin in it.  Close inspection revealed a somewhat heathered effect in the yarn resulting from the natural color of the CVM.  I had no sense at all of the fabric it would produce.  it seemed perfect for the Prairie Rose Shawl by Evelyn A. Clark.

It turned out that the actual knitting was incidental to the rest of the process in the wee hours when I gave it a bath.  The water immediately turned deep oxblood.  I gave it a good

Point detail

soak before rinsing … and rinsing … and rinsing some more.  And another bath.  And rinsing … and rinsing …

The reason I could do this in warm water fearlessly is because I know the fundamental rule of wool and water: constant temperature + avoidance of agitation= NO feltingAu contraire, mon frere, look at the pictures.  The yarn transformed into a true fingering weight and blocked like a dream.

Nancy at Long Ridge Farm discontinued this particular yarn owing to this very issue with dye removal.  (Per my previous post, I should have washed before knitting with it.)  It is rather ironic that low-impact dyeing caused so much waste of water.   And as a responsible shepherdess, she is mindful of the footprint her sheep leave behind.

Spine detail

So I’m really glad to hear she’s developing new dyes and yarns, because the resulting powdery hand and incredible blocking made every pre-dawn dunk worth it in my book.

Here, then are the project specs:

Yarn: Long Ridge Farm Signature Yarn, 2 skeins

Needles: Addi Lace US 5

Modifications to pattern: Not a one.  Are you kidding?  It’s an Evelyn Clark pattern.

Pretty points

Pre-blocked size: 37 inch wingspan, 17 inch spine

Blocked size: 53 inch wingspan x 23 inch spine

We’ll have to see what goes in the bathtub next ~ and what comes out!


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7 Responses to “Late bloomer”

  1. Debbie R. Says:

    Wow! Another beauty off your needles. My favorites..lace knitting, beautiful yarn and Evelyn Clark. Made my night. Good job getting it blocked out too.

  2. Lanea Says:

    Do you know the effect that phrase has on a Washingtonian? You temporarily made Marion Barry flash in front of my eyes, post accident. Oh, how we were tormented . . .

    The shawl is gorgeous, and I will try to slot it into that particular place in my brain and replace the upsetting journalism in situ.

  3. woolandchocolate Says:

    That is so beautiful! I love the color. 🙂

  4. Bullwinkle Says:

    Gorgeous. Love the color (ack! the rinsing!)

    I love a good blocking story (gives me unreasonable hope for everything I knit.)

    And I love that you’re writing about something knit for June. Inspires me to tackle my own UFO/unblocked pile.

  5. Elizabeth A. Buckley Says:

    I do enjoy your blog … but, would love to know how to obtain the pattern for Nutmeg Owl .. your mascot!!

  6. Luann Says:

    Beautiful! And you are not the only one who has crept around in the night with wool wash and blocking wires, my friend…

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