Letter from the President
I am what is called an “information seeker.” I like to gather reams of information before making a decision. I am currently swatching for a sweater and have used no fewer than FIVE needle sizes in the process.
If you were here for Amy Herzog’s talk about sweater knitting a year ago, you heard her recommend creating a firmer fabric than usual to support the weight of all the yarn in a sweater. OK, got it—firmer than….normal? Way too subjective. No help there.
So I am now fondling several swatches of blocked knitting, trying to figure out what is normal and what is firmer and what is….this feels almost existential.
Then there’s the ball band—what does the manufacturer recommend? That actually is not always a safe answer. In a class taught by Clara Parkes, she described the various forces that go into a manufacturer’s recommended gauge. Marketing has a role: Do we need a worsted in our lineup? Better say 5 stitches to the inch. Sigh.
Fortunately, I have so many UFO’s floating around that I can let this problem percolate. I must get two baby sweaters done before those kids are toddlers, and the basket of items awaiting blocking is looking pretty full. And anything on the needles may go into time out thanks to the wonderful guild KAL that our program chairs have hatched.
I know, these are not real problems. I feel lucky to love this craft so much that these things occupy my mind and my conversation. Even better, I have knitting friends to share it with!
Upcoming Guild Events:
FIRST EVER Churchmouse/SKG KAL! 10% off from 4/4-5/4!
FIRST EVER Storm the Shop - April 21st!
FIRST EVER Artist of the Month - Andrea Rangel! 20% off from 4/4-5/4!
STORM THE SHOP: Churchmouse Yarns & Teas on April 21st
Join the SKG as we do our first ever – STORM THE SHOP! Make a day of it! Even non-knitters will enjoy shopping, dining and strolling around Bainbridge Island. Meet at the Downtown Seattle Ferry Terminal, we will be taking the 9:35 am ferry to Bainbridge. Relax on the ferry from downtown Seattle, a scenic 35-minute ride. Perfect knitting time with your SKG friends!
Churchmouse’s shop is just a 10-minute stroll from the Bainbridge terminal. You’ll find them on Madrone Lane, in the center of the village, tucked in behind the beloved Blackbird Bakery (stop on the way in) and across the lane from the legendary Mora Iced Creamery (reward yourself after). John will be waiting with the kettle turned on and staff ready to help you find the perfect KAL for 2018.
If you cannot make it to the STORM THE SHOP event – do not worry! The coupon code is good for 10% off from 4/4 through 5/4 in store and online:
KALwithSKG (note that it's case sensitive) Punch it in the "discount code" box for online orders, and/or say the secret code to us in the store when checking out.
CHURCHMOUSE YARNS & TEAS
118 Madrone Lane N
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
Open every day from 10 ‘til 6
Thursdays ‘til 8
Artist of the Month: Andrea Rangel
We are honored to feature Andrea Rangel as our first ever Artist of the Month. Andrea has graciously provided a 20% discount off any of her indie pattern downloads with the coupon code SEATTLE. Discount is only good for 4/4 to 5/4. Check out her website today - https://www.andrearangel.com/shop
Andrea is passionate about making and exploring. She lives in Victoria, BC and spend most of her time creating knitting patterns and planning workshops, but she also adore being outside cycling and hiking, and she really enjoys sewing. She loves the idea of having a full-on handmade wardrobe, though she is not sure when she'll learn to cobble. Being a part of the making community has been incredibly valuable to Andrea and she hopes her contribution of patterns and workshops inspires other makers.
Andrea has written a whole lot of patterns independently, and she’s designed for great companies like Brooklyn Tweed and Tolt Yarn & Wool. Andrea also has written two books published by Interweave/F+W! Rugged Knits is a book of over twenty patterns inspired by her love for the outdoors and practical knitwear, and Alterknit Stitch Dictionary is stitch dictionary of 200 colorwork charts & five patterns!
Andrea loves pretty much everything about knitting, so you'll find sweaters, socks, leggings, hats, shawls, and lots more among her patterns. She is all about a good challenge, so she’ll happily dive into all the techniques like lace, colorwork, and cables, though she can knit Stockinette for miles too. Andrea’s patterns are meticulous and clear and she offers free pattern support, so send her an email if you ever have a question about one of her designs!
Andrea can be found at:
Upcoming May Events:
SKG Meeting: 5/2 Lori Maul from Fidalgo Artisan Yarn Company
Field Trip: 5/16-5/20 LYS Tour
Artist of the Month: Andi Satterlund
What's New in the Shop
It’s been nearly four years since I purchased Acorn Street, and it’s been an exciting, challenging, fascinating, and growth-producing time. However, it is now time to move on, and turn the ownership of this special shop over to someone new. This will be yet another chapter in the history of this community icon, where countless needle-workers have learned and been inspired for more than 30 years. Today Acorn Street is thriving and ready to expand into a new phase; I firmly believe that this is a gem of a yarn store with as-yet unrealized potential. Please email me at email@example.com if you would like more information about this opportunity.
The Nifty Knitter
Join us April 7th for a Spring Revival & Ice Cream Social! We will have an unveiling of our brand new Spring 2018 samples and an ice cream social featuring handmade ice cream from The Paisley Parlour!
The Tea Cozy
Jorstad Creek Trunk Show
Kerry Graber of Jorstad Creek will be in the shop Saturday, April 14! Kerry pursues high quality wool from local Northwest farms and she will be bringing an assortment of yarns and kits. These locally sourced and hand-dyed fibers are simply beautiful. Please put that day on your calendar and join us for this special trunk show.
Sheep of the Month: Arapawa Sheep
The rare Arapawa sheep is native to New Zealand. It is named for the island they where they originally resided, in the Marlborough Sounds, off the Northern coast of the South Island. The island has since been renamed 'Arapaoa'. The breed is likely an ancestor of the Australian merino sheep that were brought to the island in the late 1800's, but it's debated whether they derived from sheep that escaped their shepherds or were brought to New Zealand by whalers. There are even theories they could have been from a Middle Eastern breed (though genetic testing makes this very unlikely), or from Spanish explorers visiting as far back as the 1500's. The island is also known for feral goats and pigs. These animals are classified as rare by the New Zealand Rare Breeds Conservation Society.
The feral breed developed organically, roaming steep, rugged terrain and braving harsh weather conditions. For that reason, they are small, lean, and light-boned. The females do not grow horns, but the males grow spiraled horns that reach a meter or more in length. The sheep are most often black, sometimes spotted white (called "Cocktail"), or, rarely, all-white. They can also express many colors in between, including cream, apricot, grey, russet, and chocolate brown. Their wool is similar in characteristic to their parent breed, the merino, being fine and crimpy.
Unlike many farmed breeds of sheep, these sheep evolved to lamb in early winter and will follow that pattern if allowed. This is likely due to the landscape they were used to, which had sparse vegetation in Summer and Autumn. It was best if the lambs were mature enough to forage on their own by Summer.
It took a bit of hunting, but I found one site that sells yarn made from Arapawa wool, and a farm that produces rolags for spinning, though that might require an email or a plane ticket to acquire. Field trip, anyone?? ;)
A Knitter's Guide to Flystrike
Flystrike is a form of myiasis (pronounced "my-EYE-uh-sis" or "MY-uh-sis"), a parasitic infestation of larvae in mammalian skin. The larvae feed on the body of the host mammal and emerges as an adult insect. In sheep, adult flies are most commonly attracted to dirty, sweaty rumps and lay their eggs in the wool. The larvae hatch and infest the skin nearby, causing wounds and infections, which attract more flies, perpetuating the infestation.
Australian merino sheep are especially susceptible to flystrike, in part because they have skin folds that make nice breeding areas, and because they are a breed originally grown in cold, windy climates (they have fine, thick wool, and produce a lot of lanolin to insulate themselves) and tend to sweat a lot if they get too warm, which attracts flies. There are a few ways to control this, but the most common way in Australia is known as "mulesing", named for its inventor, John W.H. Mules, who discovered it after a shearing accident. Mulesing involves the removal of strips of wool-growing skin from around the butt of lambs and is done with or without anesthesia. Despite being extremely controversial, the National Farmers Federation of Australia maintains that without mulesing, over 3 million sheep per year would die slow, painful deaths due to flystrike. The Australian Veterinary Association also recognizes that, although mulesing itself has implications for sheep welfare, the practice should continue if there are no more humane methods for controlling flystrike. They also support anesthesia and accreditation of those that perform the procedure.
Why am I telling you all this? It's relevant to the Arapawa, I promise! (And I think it's important for wool-users to understand the potential side-effects of the process of getting that wool. It grows on sheep, not trees! Shop consciously!)
Because mulesing is painful and can harm or kill sheep if not done carefully, farmers and researchers are looking for ways to control, or prevent, flystrike in more humane ways. There are other methods being used with great success elsewhere in the world. Many farmers band the tails of lambs (known as 'docking') so that they fall off and are shorter. This is less painful for the lambs because the blood supply is cut off and the tail withers and falls off in a week or so. This keeps their bums cleaner than if they have long tails catching poo. Other methods include using pesticides, keeping sheep healthy, growing them in climates inhospitable to flies, and keeping manure separate from sheep.
Another method of control and prevention, effective when used in combination with methods like tail docking, is to breed sheep that are resistant to flystrike. This would require traits such as having tougher skin and behavior that deters flies, such as tail-switching. Because the Arapawa developed alongside its parasites and without human intervention for a long time, they have these traits and are resistant to flystrike, foot rot, and other parasites. They are being studied for these traits and could be used in breed development, especially considering their similarity to merinos.
Amy Gleixner, Membership
Arapaoa Island - Wikipedia
Arapawa Sheep - Wikipedia
Arapawa Sheep - Rare Breeds
Arapawa Sheep - Muriwai Valley Farm
Arapawa Sheep - Roy's Farm
Arapawa Sheep - Warwickz Farm
Arapawa: a novel New Zealand sheep breed of distinct origin
Fly strike in sheep - Wikipedia
Myiasis - Wikipedia
Docking and Castrating
Mulesing - Wikipedia
Happening Near You:
Vogue Knitting Destination: Imperial Yarn and Imperial Stock Ranch with Lorilee Beltman & Olga Buraya-Kefelian
Imperial Stock Ranch, Imperial Yarn & Imperial River Company, Maupin, OR
Sheepish in Seattle: The Quadr-Ewe-ple
Portland to Seattle
Fiber Gallery: Trunk show with SpinCycle Yarns
April 15-20 and 20-25
Cat Bordhi’s Island Knitting Retreat
Friday Harbor, San Juan Island
6th Annual OKfiberfest
Knot Another Knitting Festival
33rd Annual Mission Mill Sheep to Shawl
Stitch Two Together
Puget Sound Western Washington Local Yarn Shop Tour: lystour.com
26 independent yarn stores from Bellingham to Renton
June 29 - July 1
Black Sheep Gathering
Purls and PopUps: A Micro Yarn Tour
22nd Annual Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival
7th Annual Knit City Fibre Festival
Vancouver, BC, Canada
October 7-12, 14-19, and 21-26
Cat Bordhi’s Island Knitting Retreat
Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, WA
Seattle Weavers’ Guild Annual Show & Sale
Knot Another Knitting Festival
The Dalles, OR
Vogue Knitting Destination: Behind the Yarns Visit with Brooklyn Tweed and Shibui Knits
November 5-8, and 12-15
Explore 4 Wild Card Retreat: Shetlands with Deb Robson
Friday Harbor, San Jan Island, WA
As always, check out the Knitters Review for more fiber events in the world!
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