What do you get when you have a Finnsheep, a French rabbit and a pattern called Holland?
I know, I know, it sounds like a joke from a bygone era.
To answer the question ~ you get this wonderful melange. Added bonus: you actually finish your monthly wool-along project within the specified month!
Our Knitter’s Book of Wool wool-along yarn was Finn. Back in November, I picked up this blend of Finn and angora from Point of View Farm. Although labeled worsted-weight, it was decidedly thick-and-thin, and really rather bulky in places. Thus, I sought a cowl pattern that was more sculptural than defined, and that would accommodate the 103 yards in the hank.
Holland Cowl fit the bill. Written for just 60 yards, I could play around with extra repeats and work the shaping I like, rather than making a neck tube.
Mods: Worked first 4 pattern repeats on US 9, then 1 repeat on US 10 and the final repeat on US 10.5. Used Russian lace bind-off for stretch.
It was clear that the yarn was happier with the larger needle sizes. Not that the 9 was bad – it will keep close to the neck at the top, and I knew the yarn would relax some with a bath. There was some VM (vegetable matter, to muggles), but it was easily removed and emblematic of how “close the the sheep” the yarn is.
I know there are a lot of questions out there about how to block cowls to keep them from creasing. I have found that using this old metal vase is perfect. For blocking cowls that are graduated at the bottom, I turn it upside-down (as photographed above). For those with a defined edging that might need some pinning out, I stand it upright (as at left), stuff a couple of plastic bags around the sides to pad to suit my needs, and then pin out the bottom on the blocking board. Voila!
I am glad that most of the breed-specific yarn I have stashed in anticipation of upcoming wool-alongs is not blended with other fiber. I love angora, and I really like what it did to this yarn. But I do feel that I took away from the all-Finn experience in doing so, and hope to revisit this yarn based on my pals’ many joyous comments. On the other hand, the soaking led to a more cohesive yarn in the final product, complete with a slight angora halo and wonderful smooshiness. Just what’s needed in the brief wake between New England snowstorms.