Once In 15 Years

In May, I finally ordered my first yarn from Barrett Wool Co, Susan B. Anderson’s yarn company.

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I don’t know why, but I hadn’t really been in a rush to try it until I saw the Wildflowers Cap pattern in Making Magazine & then noticed the subsequent kit from Barrett Wool Co. It combined my love for colorwork with a pretty blue at a time when I realized I was low on hats for the coming winter, so I ordered the kit figuring I’d enjoy some colorwork, make a cozy hat, and try out this new-to-me yarn.

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And like so many things, I set it aside while I was working on more pressing projects.

As many of you know, I love colorwork. I love the process as much as the results so much so that when I work on colorwork projects I tend to be even more obsessive with them than my normal craft (and that’s saying something) and I finish them really, really quickly. It’s also true that the longer I work in colorwork, the more consistent my stitches. Since I work 2-color projects holding one yarn in each hand, that makes a lot of sense. It takes time to get that hand that isn’t usually holding working yarn to hold the yarn just right and get the tension where I want it.Β With this in mind, I had three colorwork projects lined up for September the last of which would be a gift knit that I wanted to be just perfect (it’s still in progress because I’m perpetually late with projects lately. The second project on that list, though, was the Wildflowers Cap.

I got the yarn wound, threw it in my bag, and took it up with me when we traveled to visit my parents. When I finished the first project and went to cast this one on, I was feeling good about my colorwork and was excited to get through the ribbing and on to the next 2-color section. When I cast-on with the Wisconsin Woolen Spun though, something happened that really doesn’t happen very often for me with mill spun yarn. I was really blown away.

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As the name indicates, this yarn is woolen spun which makes it unique in its own right from most of the mill spun yarn available. It is so light & airy and has so much bounce & elasticity that I am just in awe. As a spinner who is working her way up to learning how to spin a woolen yarn, it absolutely fascinated me. In the 15 years I’ve been knitting, I’ve only see one yarn even come close to this kind of spin. And 9/10 times, I’d choose the Wisconsin Woolen Spun over that ‘other’ — it’s just that good.

It goes without saying that it played very nicely with that colorwork assignment, too. The pattern was really fun to watch take shape and required only minimal trapping on the wrong side, so while I would peg it a bit more advanced than true beginner colorwork project, it’s do-able for an second colorwork project or a very ambitious first. For me, of course, this hat was done in almost no time at all.

I blocked it last week, including a glug of vinegar in the luke-warm soak water just in case it considered bleeding — it’s a precaution I pretty much always take with multi-color projects from dyers with whom I’m not yet familiar. I’m happy to say there were no issues and the bloom of the wool that followed the bath was a delight.

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I didn’t think the yarn would be more pleasing than it was to work with, but after a wash and dry, it was.

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It’s just plump and squishy and so wonderfully warm.

Because of wet weather and the double-thickness of the colorwork, it took a while to dry and I happened to set it outside to finish drying in the sun while my in-laws were here. My mother-in-law saw it and fell in love, so of course I sent it home with her where I know she will use it and enjoy it. What more can a knitter ask?

I do have some leftovers…

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And based on weight alone, I think I may have enough to make a second hat from the kit yarns. I’m aiming to cast-on as soon as I finish that third colorwork project. I’ll let you know how it goes, but I’m hoping that I won’t be playing too exciting of a game of yarn chicken with my second cap!

If my gushing isn’t enough, I want to add that as soon as I finished my Wildflowers Cap, I went online and ordered a skein of the Wisconsin Woolen Spun fingering weight. Knowing how much I love the worsted version, I just had to try the fingering.

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It’s a big 450yard skein and I bought the same blue that the Wildflowers Cap used — I should have tried a different color, but I have a weakness for a good blue that this is a really good blue. Despite the fact that I will have way too much yarn, I have a simple hat in mind. I’m thinking maybe of Susan B. Anderson’s Baker’s Hat because I’ve wanted to make it since she published the pattern. I haven’t decided for sure yet though.

It may not seem like it, I consider this skein of fingering weight a great coup in the restraint department. What I wanted to order was the Gigi Cardigan Kit in Bright Penny. What can I say? I have such a weakness for good yarn. And a yarn that is so unique & so special that I don’t even have anything to really compare it to? My impulse is to corner the market and knit everything conceivable with Wisconsin Woolen Spun for the foreseeable future. Alas, I’ll just have to savor these two smaller projects for the time being, Who knows, I may even do the unheard of and knit a colorwork project slowly just to enjoy every last stitch of this lovely yarn.

16 responses to “Once In 15 Years

  1. I have resisted the Barrett yarns so far, but this article doesn’t bode well for me. That blue is positively enthralling. I also REALLY need to do a colorwork project. I need to get off your email list – NOT!

  2. I love that hat! And it is so kind of you to give it away before it even dried. I bet you can make the remaining yarn work for the hat. If you lose at yarn chicken, you could go down a needle size and make it for your daughter. Then you would get to see it on her head all the time. πŸ™‚ As opposed to when it is on your head and you can’t see it. πŸ™‚

    • Yeah. I still think about it… I have to knock out at least two sweaters for me and one for my girl before I can go there though (this is a completely random rule I just made up this minute), so I’m safe for a while.

      • Those rules keep us from buying everything, right??? I am focused on knits for sale. Not as fun as knits for people I know, but it keeps me in yarn money! Just started a pair of booties in the leftover handspun I got in your destash last year. They are so cute!

      • Anyway to talk myself into or out of buying yarn!

        Oh, I’m so glad you’re enjoying and able to use every last bit! I desperately need to make myself the sunglasses case I keep promising myself with my leftover handspun…. One of these years I’ll get there! XD

      • It’s such pretty yarn, i am not going to want to part with the cute little booties. πŸ˜‰. An eyeglass case, hmmm? Sounds line a good plan for some scraps… or a good weaving project!

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