Monday, December 3, 2012
When you're about to wade into an intense shopping experience, it helps to set a few goals first. Budget is one -- meet but don't exceed. When yarn is involved, it's good to allow serendipity to lead you to unexpected treasures, but also having some patterns in mind helps a great deal (Hm, I need 700 yards for that shawl I really want to make, 1300 yards for that lace cardi, etc).
One of my side goals at Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool in 2010 was to buy a few hanks of wool from outside my usual comfort zone, and from vendors I hadn't fully investigated before.
Some Rhinebeck vendors do it all: raised the animals, gathered the wool/fiber, spun it and then dyed it. That's real dedication. I paid closer attention to the wider range of their woolly goods in 2010, which I sometimes had dismissed as being "too scratchy" or otherwise not inspired enough for the kinds of projects I had in mind. Turned out that besides the vendors I had already learned to love, I found several more whose yarns were simply yummy.
Hatchtown Farm Handpainted Aran Wool...I likey very much. The hank of yarn I got was 250 yards of firmly spun wool from Coopworth sheep, dyed the most delicious shades of chocolate brown, black and gold. It was fated from the start to become hats. When I finally started on the Not-Cabled-Hat pattern (that I absolutely LOVE for quick gift hats) I discovered that the black and gold sections had the wonderful good sense to arrange themselves into leopard spots!
I still have half the skein left, and fully intend to do a teeny bit of experimenting to see how to replicate this effect in a different pattern hat or cowl. Because, AWESOME.