good mail

Posted on Posted in projects, yarn and dyeing

friday was one of those really good mail days, with a stack of soft, squishy packages waiting on the doorstep, all addressed to me.

since july is an excellent time for a parade, i thought i’d share some of the wonderful yarns and sundries that arrived on friday and on other recent good mail days.

our friend kim at the woolen rabbit has been experimenting with a whole schlew of new yarn bases for socks, lace, and accessories and wanted to share them with us. some of these are so new that they’re not on her website yet, but they will be soon; i’m adding links wherever i can . . .

pearl is a brand new 2-ply merino/nylon tight twist yarn for socks that takes the dye with vivid clarity. shown here in the tiger lily colorway, it promises to knit up into a soft, dense fabric that feel luxurious

pandora is a new 3-ply merino/bamboo/nylon base that offers excellent yardage and beautiful sheen. this scottish heather colorway is one i’ve been drooling over for a while, but kim’s got this stocked in a wide range of colors, some of them unexpectedly deep and dark for a bamboo yarn.

mara is a luxurious light worsted singles, blended of merino/alpaca/silk, shown here in colorway cape cod blues. this will knit up into a dense, cozy fabric for a beautiful winter wrap or afghan, as well as being a good candidate for sweater knitting.

abeilles offers sheen galore in a 3-ply laceweight merino/bamboo blend; not too fine, this yarn can be subbed into most patterns that call for fingering weight yarn (kim used it recently to knit her beautiful les abeilles shawlette). i’m looking forward to trying out this steel magnolia colorway for an upcoming shawlette project.

now all of these yarns are drool-worthy but i have to say, when i opened the box and rooted around a bit, my hand seized on a favorite with a short time

sigh . . . this is lark fingering, the most exquisite 2-ply blend of alpaca/cashmere/silk. seriously, my first thought upon touching it was “can i sleep with this??”
dyed up in one of kim’s alltime favorite colorways, forever in blue jeans, this is one yarn that is destined to be a great favorite (especially for me, haha).

and if that isn’t enough, get this—she’s got it in laceweight, too.

is that not stunning?? that’s lark lace (don’t let the empty page fool you; she’s got it and will be stocking her shop soon) in the ribbit colorway; you know how kim and i love greens and this one is just unspeakably beautiful.

isn’t kim the best??
after i took a little break to splash my face with cool water, i moved on to the next package—a selection of sample skeins from felicia at sweet georgia yarns.

i have long admired felicia’s yarns and was very happy when she decided to get back into selling her beautiful hand-dyed skeins. felicia dyes her yarns and spinning fibers to order, from a beautiful selection of bases and rovings, in a a wide array of colors. just choose your poison and she’ll whip it up for you.

shown above and below is the 2-ply merino silk lace in 50/50 merino/silk.

colorway cayenne and

colorway botanical

this fine lace yarn will make for a fluid, ethereal fabric with no weight at all—wonderful for draping in beautiful folds around the neck and shoulders.

the same fiber blend in a 4-ply yarn—merino silk DK—makes a smooth, dense DK/sport yarn with gorgeous drape, to knit into lightweight sweaters and stylish accessories. this autumn flame colorway just blazes with the glow of a cozy fire or a maple tree at the peak of the fall season.

as if all that wasn’t luxurious enough, thee was also a skein of the cashsilk lace included in this package

sorry this photo is so dark; it does not do this rich riptide colorway the justice it deserves, but trust me, it’s incredible.
this yarn has a nice twist and heft for a blend of such relaxed fibers; it will be a joy to knit with, i’m sure.

i have one more very special yarn to show you from cheryl at newhue handspuns. as you might know, cheryl dyes rovings and spins up ever-so-lovely yarns to sell in her etsy shop. when she took up some serious lace knitting last fall and winter, she started spinning lace yarns and well—it’s just been one incredible thing after another since then (and she puts them all to good use; check out her ravelry projects).

now she’s up to something new with a cashmere/silk blend that she’s spinning into a 2-ply laceweight, with all of that special poofiness, liveliness, and charm that a wonderful handspun yarn has (but without the work on our parts, haha). it’s laceweight, yes, but smooth and drapey and luscious, too

here it is in a blue/brown colorway she is creating; not quite ready yet for the shop, but on its way. i adore it. if you wanted to make say, a pine and ivy, like the one i made with my own handspun silk/cashmere, this would be just the yarn to give you that same effect.

i always say that knitting with handspun is like eating food from the garden—you can’t match the vibrancy, life, and freshness it brings to your work. look for this blend soon at newhue handspuns.

one of my very favorite and practical finds this year has been project bags to keep all of my knitting organized, especially since i’ve been traveling so much this year. and my go-to bag maker is the delightful michele of three bags full. i ordered these two these two new ones to accommodate my ever-expanding travel knitting (and c’mon—who could resist those owls?).

she keeps a keen eye out for fun fabrics and then whips them into the cutest, most well-made bags i’ve seen, complete with beautiful glass beaded zipper pulls.

she’s come up with a few variations on the original box shape that i use a lot, including the little mia bag—sized perfectly for a little lace project, i have a couple that i use to tote toiletries and cosmetics as well.

and now the mia is even better

first of all there is a tall mia option and secondly . . . you can now buy them in laminated cotton; how cool is that? this coated cotton fabric comes in a wide variety of adorable prints and is soft to the touch. lined with nylon, these will be perfect for toiletries or anything that needs to be contained if it leaks (and i can now use the cotton ones just for my knitting).

now this next item actually arrived some time ago, but for some reason, i just noticed its presence in the house last week

david made another handsome yearbook for 2009, highlighting various moments from the blog, month by month

he did one last year for my birthday and i think he plans to make it a yearly endeavor. i just love it—i didn’t think it was possible, but this one is even better than the 2008 one.

it’s nice to have a book to pass around and share with friends, instead of crowding around the computer, scrolling through the blog onscreen

ok, i have one last thing—this also has been in house for a while, but you haven’t seen it. remember when i told you that our friend karolyn was knitting samples for the trunk show and that several had arrived in the mail back in april, or so?

here is one of those beautiful pieces she knit, reinterpreted in a different yarn from the original yellow-green colors

it’s the bee fields shawl, knit up in old maiden aunt alpaca/merino laceweight. i’ve had the skein for a while and now karolyn has the label, but i think the colorway is bramble.

much finer and lacier than the original yarn, this gossamer alpaca/merino lace knit up into a perfectly sheer confection of a shawl. karolyn simply knit the tall size on a smaller needle to accommodate the yarn and have a result that is still a generous size (fine yarn in a relaxed fiber like alpaca tends to block out bigger).

this piece is a perennial favorite among and wherever i go, readers tell me that the posts throughout the “summer of the bee shawl” (summer of ’07, in case you’re curious) are among the most memorable for them.

at the time i designed this shawl i was still working more than full time at my day job; my design process was a little slower since i didn’t have as much time to knit and work on patterns. haha, i had to be really creative in writing about just one piece, which was on the needles for quite some time (from may through july).

and readers were SO enthusiastic about it, right from the first swatch photos; it was amazing and encouraging and fun. the idea here was to create a piece that felt like the center of a summer field—a riot of buzzing, bright sunshine, swishing grasses, and all manner of flower textures. but not go crazy, you know? it had to be pretty. the anticipation of the finished piece was palpable as the summer passed and we solved one design dilemma after another (i had not yet learned to get completely charted and organized before beginning at that point, heh).

i gave both of the original bee shawls away as gifts—the triangle to my mom and the rectangle to anne, who dyed the original yarn (i don’t see it on her site any more, but it was a very nice merino laceweight).

thank you karolyn again for putting your beautiful stitchwork into these pieces, which will travel about so knitters can see them close and “in real life”. every time the trunk show is presented, the overwhelming comment is that the shawls have so much more depth and texture in person . . . it means a lot to me that we can bring that to others.

31 thoughts on “good mail

  1. Just wonderful…there really are no words to describe…beautiful? awesome? You name it…just lovely! 🙂

  2. Wow, that’s a lot of good stuff all in one day! I’ve been contemplating trying to make my own version of the ‘project bag’ and all of those samples are sending me to my fabric stash now!

  3. Ruh-roh! Of course, everything was lovely, but that Bee Fields!?! It never did anything for me until I saw this version. Must. Knit. Soon! I think I was too much of a beginning knitter to appreciate it when it came out. So much for the yarn diet.

  4. Beefields is on my summer list of knits….summer of the bees again for me. 🙂

    Isn’t Cheryl wonderful?? I bought her 30 inch Reeves a few months ago and what she did to get it here to me was nothing short of amazing. I love her and this wheel!

  5. Wow – that’s a lot of yarn goodies! I love the year book that David made – it’s such a thoughtful gift & treasure.

  6. Oh Anne, you’re such a yarn slut…I love it! ;-}

    Scottish Heather is one of Kim’s most beautiful colorways – I got my Opulence today, and will be casting on for Les Abeilles as soon as I finish Butternut. Must. Be. Disciplined.

    David’s yearbook is gorgeous. What a sweetie! And Karolyn is awe-inspiring.

  7. that lark is stunning! and the sweet georgia, too. but my stash basket runneth over; i must exercise restraint for now. ::bookmarks yarn for later::

  8. I came home to one squishy package–a skein of numma numma Doppio in pink berry. It is gorgeous. I think if I came home to as many as you did, it would put me (and my husband) over the edge…lol. I love the owl bag. No more of those on her site. I hope she does some more!

  9. OMG….I’m EXHAUSTED! Woolen Rabbit and Sweet Georgia are two of my favorites….and then the bags and the shawl and…..oh my! What a great post today. It is hard to remain steadfast in knitting from stash and staying within budget when you show all this beautiful stuff!

  10. Wow, so much yarny goodness with a lace chaser at the end! I esp. love the Lark fingering and lace (ribbit! how cute!), and the botanical from Sweet Georgia – oh, my.

    Nothing like a good mail day! Love squishy packages in the mail!

    And how sweet is David to make books like that for you?

  11. Best mail day EVAH! I thought that you had just received the first two lots of yarn in those various boxes/bags because you were just photographing so much yarn, but then you included photography books, make up bags, and finished projects. What a great day for you. 🙂

  12. I love the way you “expend our horizons” by introducing us to wonderful yarns and fibers the we might not have used previously. Thank you!

  13. Oh yeah. How VERY WELL I remember that summer! I had a little PTSD over those two colorways for a long long long time!

    Sadly, that original merino lace, the mill quit running – they said they didn’t get enough orders for it. I loved it tho.

  14. I love mail days like those! Christmas in july indeed! You know, one of the first yarn purchases I ever made when I really got back into knitting was for the Bee Fields shawl. It’s still in my stash, of course (insert sheepish grin here), but it inspired me to become a KNitter with a capital “KN”!

  15. How you can pack so much awesome information into one blog post is amazing. You have a great way of describing each personality of the yarns. And yeah, I would sleep with some of them!

    The Bee Fields shawl is . . . see? I’m speechless. It’s drool-into-your-coffee-cup good.

    PS. You have the best husband. That blog book is THE coolest gift. What a great way to look back over the years, too.

  16. I need to take to my bed after reading this. LOL! I dream of mail deliveries like yours, and what an amazing husband you have! I’m hoping to knit Bee Fields this year…it’s July…time’s a wastin’!

  17. Dear Anne – please to pack up the Pandora and send to me – I think you may have too much yarn and I am happy to take that off your hands 🙂

    Seriously – that is some BEAUTIFUL yarn!!! The colorway is to DIE for. Once I finally finish the honey baby for Liz (I’ll send you pictures of the FO) I plan to knit the original bee shawl for myself and I think that’s JUST the color!

    Have a great rest of the week!

    An apparently overcaffinated Kate

  18. Such a wonderful post and with so much polish as usual! I can’t wait to see what all that beautiful yarn grows up to be. Thank you for sharing with us.

  19. Such pretties! I’m such a sucker for bags myself (well, and yarn, too!) The Bee Fields is beautiful – I knit the rectangular one for my sister that Christmas, and bought the yarn in the gold tones from Anne for the triangular one for me, but it’s still sitting there waiting for me to cast on!

    And David’s book – that’s such a wonderful idea! Your David is such a great guy! (I think this comment may break my record for number of !!!s in one comment…)

  20. could you please have all your mail forwarded to my house? don’t worry….i’ll send the bills right back!

  21. OMG! Best mail delivery ever! Between Kim and Felicia’s lovelies I’ve swooned to the floor…It is so nice to see the Bee Fields shawl again!!

    Awesome memory book!! That is such a great idea!

    Now, off to rejuvenate and to check out those bags!!

  22. Oh, I do love a parade! And this was such a yummy one. The only thing better would to be able to fondle the yarns myself.

    I love it that David made you a book. What a wonderful life you’re building together.

    And that shawl is just stunning!

    Now I have to run off and check out the bags. I don’t have *nearly* enough bags!

  23. Aaahhh! The Ribbit Lark Lace! I JUST finished up a Pine and Ivy Shawl in Kashmir yarn of that same colorway. It’s gorgeous, but now I wish I’d waited for laceweight, since it won’t be cool enough for fingering weight for a while. It looks like the dye really loves that new blend – what a beautiful pile of greeny-golds!

    I’m so excited that Ms. Kim is expanding her bases! Her colorways are my favorite, and her yarn makes up at least %50 of my yearly purchases. I foresee that percentage going up a few notches.

  24. Awww, David is so sweet! That year-end book is very lovely, a perfect keepsake to a year of busy blog posts. Thanks for sharing your goodies with us. I’m always for shopping vicariously! 🙂

  25. Anne- You mentioned 3 of my favorite people, Karolyn, Kim and Josette. It doesn’t get much better than that.

    Oh, and David is certainly in the top 10!

  26. You undoubtedly have the best packages arrive in the mail! Not only yarn but gorgeous knitting! I know it’s not as simple as that but even so….oooof!

  27. WOW! I found your blog through Raverly and WOW! How pretty!

    I’m glad I found you. I love reading all about the different yarns and looking at all those beautiful knits.

    Thank you!

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