Koolsheep’s knit blog


Yarn musings…

Filed under: General — Karen @ 3:12 pm

Back when I started KSS, I knit all my soakers with Lion Brand’s Fisherman’s yarn and I was really very happy with it. It’s the perfect weight, it dyes very well, and it’s affordable. However, it has some cons. It’s on the scratchy side. It’s pretty pilly. And the biggest con for me — there’s absolutely no information on where the wool comes from — where the sheep are raised, what breed they are, and how they are treated.

So a few months into the biz, I started looking for another yarn. I searched high and low. I googled my brains out. I got yarn samples from just about every small farm in the US and Canada. I could not find what I was looking for. Yarns tended to be too scratchy, or the wrong weight. Or just too darn expensive. I used Chester Farm yarn for a while, but was never entirely happy with it for the texture. Plus, it bothered my allergies.

So I kept looking, and thought I had found perfection with Full Belly Farm. This really is a lovely yarn. And I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to know that the sheep are treated well and the yarn is 100% organic, right down to the food the sheep eat. But FBF isn’t quite perfect. First, there are availability problems. After I couldn’t contain myself and shared the name “Full Belly Farm” with everyone I knew last spring, the farm quickly sold out of their cream yarn. I actually had enough stashed away to see me through the year they were out, but even so, there are a few other issues with FBF. 1) it is chock full of pricklers and other veggie matter. I didn’t mind picking it out at first, but it really does slow down my knitting to pick all that stuff out. 2) the weight is inconsistent — both between batches and even within one skein. It can vary from a worsted down to a sport weight and back again within a few yards. 3) the latest spin (from this fall) seems a tad too thin to me. And it feels less lanolin-y. I still have a few skeins from a year and a half ago, and it has a soft ‘moisturized’ feel to it. And it is soo wonderfully stretchy and drapey. The sample I got from this year’s spin felt dryer and less bouncy. Maybe it’s just me. I haven’t gotten around to ordering yarn from FBF this fall, and I’m probably too late at this point.

Maybe my ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ attitude for FBF stems from the fact that I have found a new love. Bluefaced Leicester. But not the same BFL I’ve been using for the past few months. That one is soft, shiny, and beautiful, but it is just a touch too thick. I think it makes great soakers for heavy wetters, but I still prefer something a bit thinner for trimness and drape. Enter my new BFL. It’s a 4-ply and the *exact* weight of Lion Brand’s Fishermans. I love love love this yarn. And I’ve learned my lesson. I’m keeping my source to myself this time because I would be very upset if I was no longer able to buy this yarn. I will say that it’s from England, and as far as I can tell, Brits just take darn good care of their sheep, so I’m convinced about the humane treatment of the animals.

Knitting with this yarn is a tactile pleasure. It is soft and silky across the needles, thin and flexible so that it almost knits itself, and the colors have a beautiful depth and sheen. So this is the new KSS yarn. I’ll still stock a few skeins of FBF for customers who prefer organic yarns, but I think everyone else will love this new BFL as much as I do.


Warm hand, warm feet

Filed under: General — Karen @ 9:30 pm

Well, like I said, maternal instinct took over and I had to make sure my babies had nice, warm toesies. Happiness is warm feet:

(that’s the gray heel of Isaac’s sock sticking out of his left moc. He put his own socks on this morning.)

Here’s a before-felting pic of Iggy’s mocs:

And here are the afters:

And the owners of the warm toes:

Julia’s comment: “They feel good. They look good.” 🙂 These are knit from the Little Turtle Knit felted moc pattern, which is unfortunately no longer available until it’s published in a book sometime next year.

Last week, Jules, Iggy and I were tossing the football around in the yard. Both J & I had mittens and hats on, and I thought, “I want some mittens. Why don’t I have a pair of mittens?” So I searched on-line and I was so happy to find that Kate Gilbert has an awesome free mitten pattern posted on her site. I’ve got one done, but it might take another cold snap to motivate me to get to the other one.

I think I might dye them red when they’re done. ‘Cuz mittens should just be red, dontcha think?


Projects getting done!

Filed under: General — Karen @ 8:46 pm

Well, last post was all about the projects I was working on. This time around, I’m actually finishing them up! First, the surprise project, which was not just knit pants, but a whole new site, Random Eclipse.

(click the pic to see more pants pics).

Next, I finally finished the soakers from the last batch of semi-customs. (If you’re curious, you can see them in the KSS gallery).

Finished K’s butterfly pants.

Let’s see, Julia’s cardigan is done.

(yes, I realize she’s well on her way to becoming a supermodel. No, she does not know what a ‘supermodel’ is, and I don’t intend to tell her anytime soon).

I still have a few custom pants in the works, but after that, I’m in the clear. I’ve been feeling the itch to knit something non-KSS related, and while Bubby was in the running, in the end I casted-on for some felted mocs for Isaac and Julia. With the cold weather coming in, I feel a maternal urge to keep my children’s feet warm. Sometimes, you just can’t fight your instincts.