Until it comes to Fleece Artist, that is. To be precise, Fleece Artist's Cashlana, that seductive blend of merino and cashmere which would cause a saint to look sideways, mere mortals to faint.
As did Celtic Memory. The French phrase is 'coup de foudre', I think, signifying a sudden, heartstopping moment, after which nothing is ever the same again. Often applied to love at first sight. Which this was.
Of course it wasn't my fault. It never is. In this case I lay the entire blame on Amy Singer of knitty.com. She it was who put up the Spring issue full of delicious new patterns, among which was the breaktaking, yes indeed the heartstopping Laminaria.
If ever there was a shawl crafted by mermaids or water spirites, this is it. I have never seen anything so magical in my life. (Oddly enough, when I moused over the original illustration, I could swear that the word 'Kelpie' appeared suddenly but disappeared again just as suddenly. See? Magic. Definitely. Of course the skilful photography didn't hurt either.)
Don't you just love that pointy edging?
The original is worked in Fleece Artist Suri Blue, in the Moss colourway. Just for interest's sake, as you do, I pottered over to the website of my favourite supplier, Knitty-noddy, and looked up the yarn. Very nice indeed. Lovely yarn. But can I live without it? Yes I can! I was on my way back, congratulating myself smugly on my self-restraint, when THIS caught my eye.
Oh dear heaven! Cashlana (90% merino, 10% cashmere) laceweight in the Moss colourway. Can one survive not just one but two coups de foudre in the same morning? Is this fair? Amy Singer, Fleece Artist, and Evelyn at Knitty-noddy, are you three in cahoots? Evidently. Oughtn't to be allowed A girl can't even surf the Net any more without being besieged. Could you have resisted?
Evelyn at Knitty-noddy is a delight to deal with, friendly, helpful and totally understanding of the wild desire coursing through the veins of anyone who chances to catch a glimpse of Cashlana en passant. It took hardly any time. 'Twixt Paddy's Day and Easter, the package winged its way from Oregon, and arrived serenely in West Cork this morning, where its glorious contents were reverently unpacked and placed on suitably soft Irish moss and dry beech leaves for their picture to be taken. The primroses courteously welcomed them too.
This yarn is so beautiful I don't feel worthy of it. But I am going to cast on for that Laminaria shawl just as soon as Sock Madness allows - in between the rounds if necessary (a good reason for finishing each round in double-quick time, don't you think?) It looks to be an entertaining pattern, with some new Estonian lace stitches which will be fun to try.
The green theme continues. Inspired not only by the shawl and the Cashlana, but also by the evidence of spring bursting out all over West Cork, Celtic Memory decided to dye up some more merino/tencel sock yarn in an attempt to capture the spirit of new growth.
Here they are on the line, with a row of newly-hand-washed socks behind them. Tropical Rainforest to the left, Irish Moss to the right.
Those with sharp eyes may note some unidentified skeins beyond the socks on the back row.
These are rather special, and they fit right into the green theme too. This is genuine Irish organic fingering weight wool, in three natural shades: white, brown and grey. With my mind running on shawls already, the idea occurred that since the shawl packs last Christmas were so popular, perhaps people might like truly organic shawl kits. Can't you just imagine the Icelandic Lace Shawl made up in gentle stripes of these? Or any of those lovely Faroese or Icelandic shawl designs?
Went hunting in the fabric stash and eventually hauled out what I had been searching for - a good length of genuine antique linen, probably 19th century, and probably organic too for all I know, since they weren't using too many pesticides then. A session on the sewing machine, and -
Hey presto! Antique, double thickness linen knitting bag, complete with drawstring and adorned with green shamrock (removable for laundering), with three lovely thick skeins of certified Irish organic fingering weight tucked inside. 400m of each shade, plenty for that Icelandic lace shawl or indeed any other. The kind of gift you want to keep yourself.
I've just listed these on eBay (Item Id: 170204791162. ) There is another purpose behind their sale: my dear friend and yours, Angeluna, has a son undergoing treatment for leukaemia at the moment. Medical costs are horrific and soaring with every day. Any profit will go to his hospital fund. It is bad enough having a loved one so ill without having to worry about money as well. OK, so it will be a drop in the ocean, but at least it's something one can do to show support. I hope she won't mind my mentioning it here, but she has written about her son's illness on her own blog, so I trust she won't think I've overstepped the boundary.
A lovely surprise and harbinger of spring this morning. Noticed a tiny wren flying back and forward outside the front window rather more often than usual. Went outside to investigate.
Planted this creeper in a pot between the two small windows a few years ago, hoping it would spread and decorate the front wall. It did, and I like it very much.
So did someone else, it seems. Take a closer look.
Can you see what has been tucked in there so neatly and tidily? A little wren's nest, skilfully woven of moss. It isn't lined with soft wool and feathers yet though; the cock bird builds the nest and then invites his lady love around to see if she approves. If she does, she chooses the carpets and curtains as is her right. I do hope she likes it. It's in a very good position for taking pictures of the babies in the fullness of time. And I couldn't be more thrilled that the King of Birds has honoured our home in this way.