I’m test knitting a pattern while I have brain fog. It’s a tad frustrating when you lose the ability to count or to read or to understand what your eyes are seeing. But the beautiful pattern, the sympathetic designer and the wonderful handspun I’m using are making up for all that.
The pattern is Cocoberry by Meilindis:
Here’s my project in progress:
I bought it at my very first Landelijke Spindag (National Spinners’ Weekend) way back when (2010)
Back then I didn’t know how to spin long draw. Which is extremely suited to the short and slippery fibers of the camel top. (I think baby camel fluff might be denatured to have it take up the dye better? Just like they do with yak. It’s basically how they make wool super wash. It’s a chemical treatment and it leaves the fibers slick and slippery.)
It was 2010 and lots of people had fallen for the beautiful fibers dyed by Mandacrafts. We had a blast at the Dutch Spinners Group where we all tried to spin this luxury fiber in the way we’re used to spin long, steady fibers: worsted. It was educational and sometime educational, with the fiber flying everywhere and people getting really frustrated (or was that just me?). (link to dutch thread)
Spinning short fibers into a smooth yarn requires a special technique called “inch worming”. Basically you are spinning with not even one inch between your hands, just to get the fibers to twist together before they break apart from each other and become fluff again.
I vowed to never spin inch worming again, it was so frustrating.
In 2011 I bought a new wheel, one that could do long draw. Unfortunately I myself could not do long draw at that moment.
NB: “top” means that the fibers are all aligned while true long draw requires the fibers to be all over the place.
Nonetheless I did something right:
I managed to get a thread:
and even a yarn:
So soft! Such gorgeous colours! But I didn’t know what to do with it.
2012 came around and I bought another bag of that Baby Camel Top. Also in Helleborus. It’s so soft you just have to have it, even if you can’t spin it. I planned to spin it and have more meterage so I could make a cardigan perhaps. But I didn’t spin it in 2012.
2013 came and went and I didn’t touch any camel.
2014 came and that camel fluff is still waiting in the box called “Gorgeous Fiber I want to Spin Right Now!”
Well, I’m not waiting any longer. I’m putting that first skein of Helleborus into my Cocoberry cowl and will worry about that other bag some other time. Cocoberry in Baby Camel is a delight!
It’s so soft! There are so many colours there, the picture can’t capture them. The pattern is extremely suited for handspun yarns.
I confessed that I am brain fogged. It is the aftermath of the National Spinners’ Weekend 2 weeks ago. Having such a thrilling weekend and eating such weird things (kroketten for lunch!) messes up my digestion and my hormones and my sleep and my brain chemistry. It is what it is. I have to sit it out and rest. Eat chicken soup a lot. Knit simple things. Rest up. (OK, OK, doing Spinzilla and eating cookies was not very smart. But hey, it was fun!)
Anyway, I’m still brain fogged and I have to redo almost every row of Cocoberry Cowl. But I don’t mind. Great pattern! Great yarn!
Hopefully the designer Meilindis doesn’t mind either, I’m really bothering her and asking all kinds of dumb questions. But I figure there’s an upside to having a brain fogged knitter as a tester: all the dumb questions get asked right now, by one person, giving her a chance to foolproof the pattern before she releases it to the public.
Now I’m off to frog my last row. Turns out M1R doesn’t mean “Cable to the Right”.