Update from Whistler, Canada

7-16-13 jorstad yarn pics 036Hello from Whistler Canada!  I am writing this while here with my family enjoying a week of vacation before school starts.  While my family sleeps in each morning I work on writing up my toe-up sock pattern.  I want this pattern to be available along with the sock yarns at this fall’s fiber events.  This pattern is actually memorized in my head, and ingrained to the point I could almost make this entire sock blind folded.  In fact, I often knit socks from this pattern during movies at the movie theater.

Haven’t heard of movie knitting?  I have been knitting in movies for a number of years as a way to cultivate the ability to knit without having to look at the needles.  I not only wanted to be able to knit in movies, but knit and read books, two of my favorite things to do.  If you want to learn how to knit without looking, simple patterns in the round are good candidates for movie knitting.  With the toe-up approach, the long stretches of stockinette after the toe is complete are easy.  If you make a mistake and it is too dark to fix, just put it back in your bag and enjoy the rest of the film.  Or do what I have done on occasion, dart to the bathroom for a comfort break and to pick up a dropped stitch.

Jorstad Creek will be at the Olympia Harbor Days festival August 30, 31, and September 1.  This is a local event for me, because I live in the neighboring town of Lacey.  I see this event as an opporunity to introduce local yarn and fiber to my community, and let people know about the great sheep and fiber available right here in the northwest.  In addition to the Jorstad Creek booth there will be arts and crafts from many local artists, tug boat races, music, and activities for children.  I have taken my children to this festival through the years to look at the boats and walk around Percival Landing.  If you would like to know more about the festival, you can visit the website at http://harbordays.com/.  If you decide to visit us, the booth number is 61, near the end of the row located on Columbia street and adjacent to the main stage.

I will have more of the popular Tweed Sock yarn, dyed in great colors, as well as a new yarn with the same donegal-style bits spun in the fiber, Tweed DK in 100% Superwash Merino.  This is a high-twist yarn of exceptional quality.  If you are looking for something different for your projects, or exploring the idea of a knitted sweater or scarf as a holiday gift for a man, this yarn with the tweed effect may be what makes it outstanding.  It will appear rugged and rustic, but the feel is luscious and soft because of the merino – no complaints about “it itches” here.  This is a good time to plan and start gift projects to complete them in time for the holiday season, so I hope you will stop by with your ideas and see what we have.

Shopping around at Whistler, I noticed how wool is re-emerging as a popular fiber for active wear.  There are dozens of stores that specialize in tough alpine clothing at Whistler Village.  Merino wool is now being used in layers of clothing from long underwear to outer sweaters and socks.  As knitters this is based on knowledge we already had, that you can’t beat wool for this type of clothing.  It breathes and stays warm even when it is damp from sweat.  I point this out with repetition to my long-suffering husband who frequents these places to see “what’s new.”  He rolls his eyes with great patience and accepts another short lecture from his knitter wife who finishes with “I told you so.”

A note for the fiber enthusiast, I scored a large quantity of alpaca in the most incredible greys and creamy white from a local farm in Tenino, not far from the area where I have been procuring my icelandic wool.  I will be sending some of the alpaca for blending into the 50% alpaca/wool blend yarn, this time in greys and white for the natural colors and for the dye pot.  I will save the finest of the fleece for roving for spinners to purchase.  I see more of these alpaca blends available in commercial yarns, and I am looking forward to offering a local alternative sourced from sustainable farms in the area.

Also returning this fall is the Finn yarn that sold out at Madrona last February.  This three-ply sport weight in natural grey and select dyed colors was very popular for its soft hand and elastic qualities.  I discussed Finn Sheep as a breed in earlier blogs, and I haven’t lost my enthusiasm about this medium weight fiber.  These sheep have the nicest disposition, their friendliness matching their fiber.  I became aquainted with Polka, a friendly ewe whose sister is named Dotty to match.  I continue to be amazed at these animals that are generous with their fiber and their affection.

I hope to see you all at one of the upcoming events, please mention you are subscribed to this blog when you see me!  Kerry Graber