Can I just tell you how much of a dork I am? Well, I’m going to.
In case you haven’t noticed the changing sidebar in the last few days, I’ll draw your attention to it now. See anything different? That’s right. I’ve joined some knitalongs. Now, the funny thing is that the resulting loveliness from both of these knitalongs are going to be gifts. The Harry Potter sweater is going to Abigail who, at SIX YEARS OLD, is smitten with Daniel Radcliffe. The thrummed mittens are going to either my mom, or my sister. I am undecided.* The reason this is funny is that both of them, on occasion, read the blog. They are learning of this the same way you are. Right now. In this entry. I thought about trying to be sneaky. I thought about banning the both of them from the blog for a couple weeks. But in the end, I decided that the whole experience would be more enjoyable for them if they got to watch with anticipation the creation process. Plus, perhaps I can work some bribes.
This is not why I am a dork. I am a dork because, well, let me back up a bit.
So I’m reading Stephanie’s blog last Wednesday, (and I have to say, it’s one of my favorites), when she introduces me to the world of thrumming. I had never seen nor heard of such a thing, being the sheltered, mild climate raised girl that I am. I thought to myself, “Mom complained about her cold hands incessantly last winter. She could use some of these! Ooh, GIFT opportunity!” I took Steph’s button and joined the knitalong. Then I hit the books and tried to find (sorry, Steph) proof that she isn’t insane, and that thrumming is something that is done and accepted in the mitten world. It’s true. I found it.
At this point, I thought, “I need to find some roving.” A day or so later, I remembered that brief, humorous, and now frequently joked about period of time that I thought I was going to learn to spin. I have roving!
Pretty roving, along with three spools of twisted fiber that still need to be plied.
I was happy with the thought that I would only need to buy wool that would coordinate with the previously forgotten, and now remembered roving to complete the mittens. Now we get to Sunday evening, when I decided that to humor my anticipation, I would go to the stash and look at colors. I have a lot of Encore (which is an acrylic/wool blend) that I could play with to see what colors looked good. I broke out the stash. Almost immediately, I saw three skeins of purple yarn that I had grabbed out of a sale bin at my LYS a couple years ago.
(That’s a pretty bleached out picture. Here’s a better representation of the actual color.)
It was cheap. There were no labels. Now we’re getting to why I’m a dork.
As I recall, my LYS owner said that they were wool. They feel like wool, but I was unsure, mainly because they are also extremely soft. Making thrummed mittens, whose single purpose in life is to warm and protect hands from viciously cold weather, out of an acrylic blend seems really stupid. I fondled the yarn, trying to determine if it is, in fact 100% wool. Then it hit me. Wool smells REALLY bad when it gets wet. I snapped off 10 or so inches of the yarn in question and dashed to the sink. I soaked it, I pat it dry, and thrust it up to my nose. I inhaled deeply. There was an odor there to be sure, but not as strong as I would have hoped. I went BACK to the stash and snapped off 10 inches of the Donegal Tweed I used for my poncho in January, knowing that IT was wool. I got it wet, pat it dry, and smelled. It was similar. I smelled the yarn in question again. Its odor had picked up quite a bit. I guess it takes awhile to release that gosh awful smell. Finally, to be absolutely sure of the nature of the mystery fiber, and what I thought I was smelling, I snapped off a similar length of Encore and got it wet. I dried it off. I inhaled. Ah HAH!
I can now safely determine that the yarn responsible for my ridiculous behavior has a significantly higher wool content than the Encore. I would guess that it is pure, and would make lovely mittens. 100% stash project! Woo hoo!
And yes, I am insane. As I was standing there, in my bedroom, repeatedly smelling in turn three wet little strands of yarn, I decided that you all needed to hear about it.
From left to right….. Mitten mystery fiber that definitely contains a high percentage of wool, Donegal Tweed poncho yarn, Plymouth Encore.
The purple mitten yarn, which is darker than the photos, is very soft. Perhaps it has some alpaca in it? I know that it doesn’t feel like the Donegal Tweed at all, which is a much coarser fiber. So here you see what I am going to use to make Stephanie’s thrummed mittens. Wish me luck.
* My mom and my sister both live in the high desert of Central Oregon where it gets DANG cold. However, I think mom would actually prefer something pretty and cabled. I happen to have found a mitten pattern that is pretty and cabled. Anne would probably LOVE purply thrummed mittens. So therein lies my quandary. (Feel free to enlighten me, either of you.)