Part of the cleaning the closets/ inventory process this spring involved re-organizing my yarn stash. My stash is not vast compared to some but does fill a large lidded plastic tub with a couple of auxiliary baskets and in-progress projects. These include the Norwegian sweater I started during the Lillehammer Winter Olympics (in 1994!); a silk/cotton with enough skeins for a lacy summer pullover; a heathery purple cashmere/lambswool; and a fancy black with bright colour accent mohair that wants to be an openwork vest. I could easily knit with what I have for a couple of years without needing to buy anything else. I don’t really need any more yarn.
Nevertheless, as a fabric and fibre fashion maven, I am drawn to places where hanks and balls of yarn are sold. I love the colours and textures and, as in fabric stores, the magic of potential imbued in every skein. So, even though I have a lot of single skeins of yarn suitable for socks, hats or gloves I sometimes can’t resist something special.
Enter The Good Karma Farm & Spinning Co., from Belfast, Maine. I discovered the wonderful yarns of Good Karma Farm last year while shopping at the Belfast Farmers’ Market. Throughout the summer the Belfast Farmers’ Market provides a wonderful place to buy fresh, local, sustainable and fabulous goods from venders in the Mid-coast area. I go every couple of weeks or so specifically to buy Murphy’s meat for the raw portion of his diet. (He still likes meat cereal so he really only eats one third to one half raw on any given day.)
Once I made first contact at the Good Karma booth it became a regular stop when I visited the market. The colours of yarns displayed on the smooth branches of the display tree attract first, then one touch of the soft blend of 60% wool /40% alpaca will have you dreaming of the possibilities.
I resisted the yarn at first. I did buy some fun bead stitch markers that would make anyone want to knit a pattern requiring them. Then I bought a kit for fleece-stuffed mittens to try. They knit up quickly and were a perfect gift to a friend in need of super warm mitts. Feeling the softness of the yarn passing through my fingers and seeing the colours blending together made for a satisfying experience.
Then, this spring, Good Karma announced a BIG CONTEST. Their blogger and other duties person, Julie knit her original design scarf, Nautilus, in one of their new colourways. The one skein scarf, I think, must be inspired by the particular colour that, to me, suggests the rugged Mid-coast Maine coastline.
The contest is to knit something with one skein of their 60/40 yarn and submit a picture by mid-July. Then a random draw will determine a winner. The winner will get an 8 skein dye lot in a colour not yet designed that the winner gets to name! How cool is that? Of course I don’t really need any more yarn but knitters will tell you it’s not about need as much as want. No, it IS about need…….
So I stopped in to the market a couple of weeks ago to buy a skein for my entry. I chose a skein of Sweetheart, all soft pinks with a hint of cream, and that suggested to me a lacy scarf and flowers so I began to design.
I’ve designed cable sweaters and funky hats and Fair Isle-style patterns but I’m fairly new to lace. The fun part about knitting a scarf is that it really doesn’t take a long time. I think writing down the pattern and putting together the .pdf was the hardest part. The picture has been posted on their Facebook page and I have now published my first design on Ravelry. Here’s a link to the download: http://bit.ly/mqh5Rp
Now I’m drawn to my needles and working on another lace scarf design. I like knitting because it helps me work out other problems, unrelated to the task in hand. An impasse in sewing or a frustration about computer things can be relieved by sitting with yarn and needles. After a time, a solution wells up from somewhere and then I am back to whatever was vexing me.
Maybe I’ll win the contest and I’ll dream about what I will knit with 8 skeins of soft and lovely yarn. Still, if I don’t win, maybe I’ll get my Norwegian sweater finished before the next winter olympics. I can dream, can’t I?