Home from Madrona

As I do every time I return from a fiber retreat, I am full of inspiration and project ideas. I’m like a little kid at Christmas with visions of sugar plums. This year’s Madrona was no exception. I took 4 all day classes, but only attended 3.5 of them.

Janine‘s Fair Isle Yoke Sweater Design class got me all excited again about fair isle.  I will finish Anne Boleyn this year. I will finish the sampling for the fair isle sweater that I developed during my 3 day class with Janine 18 months ago.

A single day of energized singles class with Kathryn Alexander only whetted my appetite for more. Her discussion on energized vs. balanced singles make me really want to spin and knit another sweater using balanced singles. I am also determined to spin my own energized singles for the Energized Vest. There’s no photo of it on the web, but you can find the pattern in The Green Mountain Spinnery Knitting Book. You can only purchase the yarn from Kathryn, but she no longer has the natural grey/brown produced. Only the white is available. In order to make the vest, you will need to dye it yourself. And the instructions for dyeing it while preserving the energy? Wow. A lot of work. Hence the idea that I will spin my own. It may be faster/easier. Maybe.

Down Breeds with Judith opened up my eyes to down breeds. As those who know me, I’m a delicate flower. I want/need soft-soft-soft! fibers. I’ve always poo-pooed any other sheep’s wool aside from fine wool class because they are the only thing I can bear against my skin. I have allowed Blue Faced Leicesters into my repertoire, but I’m extremely picky about those too. Not all pass muster. But the down breeds? Wow. An eye opener. The loft! The sproing! And the fabulous hand once I blend mohair, silk and/or angora? Oh. My. Word!

How much do I like it? I like it enough to fly home with a 5 pound bump of a clun/mohair/silk blend roving from Kathleen. I like it enough to ask Kathleen to hold back a clun lamb fleece or 2 at shearing next month. I like it enough that you may find me trolling the websites for a suffolk lamb fleece this spring.

The full day class that I only attended 1/2 of? It was Charlene Schurch’s Komi Knitting class. I was interested in the history of Komi knitting, the stranded color work, and how it relates to fair isle.  I also purchased her recently republished mitten book for more stranded pattern inspirations. I only stayed for the morning part of the session? My brain was full. If I crammed more in, my brain would have exploded.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I will cast on for a plain jane yoked sweater, a la Elizabeth Zimmerman, to test out my measurements. I’ll be using the blue spruce yarn that I just finished. Handspun and EZ’s percentage system are a match made in heaven.