Saturday, March 29, 2008

Maidenhair - Alice Starmore

I am a big fan of Alice Starmore designs. I have almost every book she has published and throughly enjoy the knitting related history she writes about in her part of the world. However, I have not knit up any of the patterns. Do you do that too? Collect pattern books, tag the page of the desired sweater and not get to it? Well, I am breaking the spell. I have swatched up the Lavish Alpaca DK yarn in the Herb Green colorway that I bought for the Maidenhair sweater in the "Aran Knitting" book. The sweater is box style and long but I plan to shorten it to just skimming my hips. I read that the boxy, roomy sweaters are coming back. So by the time I finish it, I will be in high style.

I bought two bags of the superfine alpaca yarn from InterAmericaGroup on their ebay sight. When it arrived, I was happy with the color but a little dismayed with the gaurd hairs I could feel as I rubbed the ball of yarn against my chin. These were not hairs on my chin! I have none. They are in the yarn. Stop laughing. I know all you knitters, like me, fondle your yarn. As I was knitting up the swatch I plucked a few guard hairs from the yarn strand. They are quite easy to see as they do not take up the dye and are white. I thought that I have caught them all. But after I washed the swatch and it was dry I found few more hairs popping out and plucked a little more. The seed stitch for the sample swatch shows up better that I thought it would and I was able to get the gauge the first time out. The sample is so soft and I can not feel or see anymore of the wirey hairs. I plan to proceed with the sweater.

Note to new knitters: Guard hairs are a wirey protective hair that are common in llamas, alpacas and some other hair type animals. During fiber processing these hairs are removed. I learned about this while becoming a spinner and processing my own fiber.

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