What a crazy month it’s been! Now that I’m finally home and the dust has settled, it’s time to get back to my knitting. And that’s something worth celebrating! As I’ve been unpacking (it never ends), reorganizing and regrouping, the full realization of how much yarn I actually acquired during my travels has hit. I was a bit of a magnet – I SWEAR I try to keep yarn intake down to the absolute essentials… but then I black out and find a suitcase full of the stuff splayed out on the floor when I get back.

I’ve been doing a lot of swatching in the last couple of days – my head is full of ideas and I’m ready to explore them! Today, though, I thought I might feature a few highlights from my collection of travel souvenirs.

Garthenor Black Sheep

Serious British Wool Alert: Have you heard of Garthenor? I hadn’t until I was over in the UK and picked up these two balls of beautiful black sheep’s wool in London. Garthenor produces organic wool for spinners and knitters from UK grown sheep. Their website has info about what wools
are actually in their yarns, which is (oddly) rare and always a major plus in my book! I have a weakness for black wools – this yarn is a rustic DK-weight Black Welsh Mountain breed, and is begging to become a pair of sturdy, woolly mittens!

O.M.A.

And speaking of black sheep… here’s something that has got my spinning mojo rip-roaring again! A 70/30 black shetland/tussah silk combed top from Old Maiden Aunt. This stuff is beaaautiful and just waiting for the wheel (this week I hope!). Shetland is my favorite spinning material, so I’m psyched to see how the silk feels blended in. Color-wise I think it works incredibly well together. I’m planning for a totally zen evening with this one.

Oh and the blue? Yeah, it’s kind of a stunner, isn’t it. It’s a fingering weight merino from the same dyer’s Homecoming Collection – “Lon Dubh (Blackbird)” – a deep, saturated, smokey blue that definitely WORKS. Both of the gems above were gifts from the generous and talented Old Maiden Aunt in Scotland – I’m thrilled!

Rowan Lima

At TNNA, back in Ohio, I stowed away with a few choice balls of new yarn for Fall and this one got me really excited. Now – I’m not a big alpaca head – but this yarn commands some attention! It’s a new worsted alpaca from Rowan called “Lima.” Aside from the beautiful palette of colors and great heathered blending that’s happening, the construction of the yarn I think is notable as utilizing some of alpacas best qualities and ditching some of its worst. The yarn is basically a miniature 2-stitch I-Cord which, most importantly, traps a lot of air in the yarn – keeping it LIGHT – while at the same time maintaining great elasticity. Elasticity and lightness are words I don’t often use to describe alpaca so I really think this yarn was designed well. Now all there is left to do is appreciate the lofty, butter-soft jewel-tones, which I will proceed to do now.

Marr Haven Wool

And lastly – this one doesn’t
really count as an official souvenir but it was waiting for me when I got home from traveling (I ordered it just before I left, as a bit of incentive) and is certainly a show stopper! I’ve spoken about Marr Haven before, but this is one of my very favorite yarns and I do like to treat myself to it every now and again. The folks at Marr Haven grow purebred Merino-Rambouillet sheep (soft wool, but with body!) in Michigan and mule-spin it to keep the true integrity of the fibers intact. They don’t offer a ton of color selection, but if you’re happy knitting with naturals until you die, like me, you’re set. Aside from that wonderfuly soft, lofty, lanolin-y experience while knitting, the texture is a game-changer! I’m smitten.

I certainly have plenty to keep me busy this summer – the yarns above are just a sampling! When it rains it pours, doesn’t it?

Are your air-conditioners fired up? Summer knitting, here we come.