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Chick-brella by Jamie Shelman

I don’t quite know what to say about the work of Jamie Shelman. Enchanting, engaging, imaginative…they all fall short in describing these utterly delightful works. Take a peek…no wait! Wait until you’re having a really tiresome day and need a shot of something…

Easter Card by Jamie Shelman

Well, here we are. It’s the end of March. Temperatures in Toronto have smashed every record on the books. Beautiful. As much as I love the cuddly softness of alpaca, the warmth of wool, the luxury of cashmere, it’s time to start thinking about knitting for spring. If we needed any kind of nudge to start fantasizing about fresh fibers (which, of course, we don’t), perhaps we could start with a few of these.

Silk

I guess we all know where this comes from, but did you know that each silkworm cocoon is spun from a single long filament, often up to a mile in length? Think about it. My KnitMeter is at 1.16 miles for the year and I knit A LOT.

Silk Necklace on Etsy

Bamboo

Bamboo HandspunContrary to popular belief, bamboo is actually a species of grass and not a tree at all. How ’bout that! There are thought to be about 1,000 varieties of bamboo, many of which must grow in New Orleans because it is a constant daily battle to keep from being completely over-run by it. Grows everywhere. Luckily, it is naturally anti-bacterial.Though bamboo is a ‘natural fiber’, it has come into much controversy of late, along with other cellulose-based fibers. Apparently, the chemical process required to render bamboo cellulose is not entirely friendly to the environment. 

Milk

Milk HandspunYup, really. Milk yarn falls into the category of ‘bio-synthetics’ along with bamboo, corn, chitin (made from crab and shrimp shells, believe it or not) and soy among others. Milk proteins are whipped into a cellulose slurry, centrifuged, then run through a spinarette to form strands. Milk yarn is anti-bacterial, hypo-allergenic and very soft.

Linen

Linen HandspunOne of the world’s oldest fibers, (as worn by those schlurpy Egyptian dames whose images are immortalized on papyrus), linen is spun from the stems of the flax plant. I’ve often been tempted by the displays of subtly dyed linens in the yarn store, but have been put off by its stiff and scratchy feel. Green Linen HatI’m determined to use it this spring, however, because I understand it softens up significantly as it is worked and even more as it is laundered…like your favorite old T-shirt!

OK! Gotta go knit up every bit of alpaca I have left so I can dash out and spend money on spring fibers. (Don’t tell Carl)

psssst! made some progress on the Malabrigo socks…see side bar ;)

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