My goodness, where has this weekend gone? My long list of things I was going to get done has not gotten very much shorter. I did check off one important one, though: attend the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival (more on that when I've had a chance to collect my wits.)
And there is one other thing that explains some of the fugitive time. At the Fall Fiber Festival a couple of weeks ago, I chanced to walk by the booth of Kid Hollow Farm. Along the outside hung a wall of long, puffy hanks of hand-dyed brushed kid mohair. There's something irresistible about a wall of soft fuzzy yarn in all those enticing colors. Sealing the deal, there was a sample sweater in bright, happy colors, a mock-turtleneck that looked cozy and comfortable. Each giant skein hanging there, about a half-pound of fluff, was enough to make the sweater. Believe me, it hadn't even crossed my mind to do anything in brushed mohair until that moment, but there it was. I picked out a colorway of gray and purple and green, with a slightly acerbic jot of brown interjected here and there. The woman who cut down the skein for me, her enthusiasm infectious, turned out to be the designer of the sweater, Puff the Magic Rabbit.
Of course I bought the yarn and the pattern. And then I rounded up world's-most-patient-husband to get some moral support -- he's very good about encouraging me to do what I wanted to do anyway -- and picked out a skein in another colorway for a second sweater.
I got started right away on the gray and purple skein. Just for the fun of it, since it was all in one great big hank, I wound it into one great big ball of yarn. (Those are 14" needles in the picture!) It's about the size of a soft, fluffy bowling ball. Why make a great big ball of yarn? Well, I don't know. Why not? And I did get to pull it out of my bag and amaze a friend and set her to laughing. Reason enough, I think!
I've been knitting away on the sweater in stolen moments. I haven't knit with brushed mohair before, and it's taken me a while to get the hang of it. It's easy to get the needle tips tangled in the loose fluff. But I soon learned to swing the working needle widely around the strand before picking it up to draw through the loops. That did the trick.
One other thing that I've learned requires some extra care is unraveling for any mistakes. Once knit, the loose fluff seems to grip and lock the yarn into the knitted fabric. Pulling out stitches requires gentleness and patience, because the harder it's pulled, the more recalcitrant it becomes. Well, I guess I can't blame it; most of us do better with gentle handling.
This isn't really as restful to knit with as a smooth wool yarn, but with a little careful attention and understanding it's coming along nicely. I've probably spent entirely too much time on it, but the back is done, and about a third of the front, and it just feels good to bury my hands in. I'm not a bit sorry about other things left undone. They'll keep.