the dog days of summer are officially upon us. linked to the rising of the dog star, sirius, ancient romans observed the dog days from july 24 through august 24. well, we are right on schedule with rising temperatures and humidity that threaten to to throw us into sultry, late summer torpor.
dog days were popularly believed to be an evil time when, according to according to Brady’s Clavis Calendaria 1813:
“the Sea boiled, the Wine turned sour, Dogs grew mad, and all other creatures became languid; causing to man, among other diseases, burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies.”
hmm, no wonder our knitting mojo can go astray in this weather—makes you wonder how the world might have turned out if A/C hadn’t been invented . . .
oh wait—you can just stop by our place, haha.
like those old egyptians and romans—and most people on earth today, in fact—we live without mechanical cooling and find other means by which to keep comfortable during these hottest days of the year.
naturally we seek yarn solutions—as we do with all of life’s challenges. believe it or not, there are fabrics that not only make this time of year tolerable, but actually enjoyable.
so naturally we wanted to represent our love of these fabrics in our yarn lines. we started a couple of years ago, sampling hemp and cotton blends with one of our mills, but those plans kept getting sidelined because the mill was too busy to handle the experimentation process.
i happened to mention the situation to our ohio mill in the spring, never dreaming that they’d be positioned to produce the kind of yarns we desired and SNAP! next thing i knew we were holding samples. and not just attempts, but seriously fine test skeins.
well we got right on that, swatching and knitting and making and drooling the whole time—we looooved these yarns!
and now we can share them with you so you can experience them for yourselves. i’m telling you, these will cure any knitting malaise you’ve fallen into.
first, we’ve got hempshaugh, a merino/hemp/silk blend that has a wonderful airy crunch while feeling like a soft old t-shirt next to the skin. this one is a super wicking fabric; it never feels soggy, whether you’re knitting with it or wearing it. hempshaugh is available as a fingering weight in millet (left) and buckwheat (right).
i knit my swatch on size 7US (4.5 mm) needles for an airy fabric that has plenty of structure for garments. i’m planning to knit a skirt with it as soon as i finish my current project, which is knit in hempshaugh lace.
this amazing yarn has such wonderful body that the laceweight version can be knit into featherweight tops, scarves, and shawls on needles we can all deal with—size 5US (3.75 mm) and even bigger for lace.
it makes just the most beautiful fabric; you won’t want to miss knitting something with this yarn. like the fingering version, hempshaugh lace is available in both millet (above) and buckwheat (below).
but you know we never stop at one.
what fun would that be? and how would we layer things up to create wonderfully varied looks if we had just one cool yarn?
plus, we just couldn’t resist—when our mill showed us this luscious alpaca/cotton/merino/nylon blend, we were lost. we’re calling this blend ginny and it is also available in two weights—ginny sport and ginny DK. right now it is in stock in the first shade, texas, a creamy off-white, perfect for hot summer days.
haha, yesterday erica picked up this swatch and smiled, then said, “it feels like a stuffed animal!” i knit this one in the round to see if the yarn would work for the gearhead pullover and it will, though it will be very light and airy (but comfy!).
ginny is cool and smooth and amazingly stretchy with great recovery.
the sport weight is perfect for lightweight sweaters and socks and shawls and just about anything you’d use a heavier fingering yarn for. i can’t wait to try it in some socks.
next time i will be back with another post about these yarns, discussing more of the nitty gritty facts and figures, as well as lists of pattern ideas for knitting some up now.