Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Kentuck 2011

My items in the West Alabama Fiber Guild booth.
 Jenny Gorman weaving scarves.

Deirdre weaving towels.

Sue Jones knitting.

Bobbin Lace.
It was a beautiful day for an art show. This blog entry is a photo gallery of this year's event.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Knitting with Exotic Yarns

This scarf  has knitted up to be probably one of the most touchable garments I've ever made. I had around 200 yards of this lovely handspun yarn from Moonwood Farms that I set aside for inspiration. Roo Kline spun this fuzzy peach with the fiber content of alpaca, tussah silk, and angora rabbit. I paired this yarn with 4 other yarns for the perfect marriage of softness and luxury.

The dark brown in the photo is a 100% alpaca from LaMotte, Iowa. The second is a greyish yarn (the photo shows it as a grey yarn) that is 70% mink 30% cashmere yarn from Great Northern Yarns. The light brown yarn is 100% baby camel from Etsy seller NorthcottWilson and the cream/light greyish yarn is also from the same source with the fiber content as a blend of white camel and yak.

The scarf will be finished for this weekend's Kentuck Art Show in Northport/Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Khatruavis Stellaris, A Scarf of Rarity and Beauty

To the common eye, the scarf may look like any other scarf....but to me, this one is not for sale. Before I start into the story of the Khatru, I must recognize the artisans and materials that went into this garment.

The colored yarn in the scarf came from a spinning artist in Nova Scotia (she formerly lived in Iowa). Claire Moxon has an Etsy shop The name of the yarn was 'Autumn Calling' spun in a navajo ply (3ply) 100% superwash yarn. The batt was dyed by Natalie Quist (Cloudlover69) from Chicago in a colorway called 'Decay'. When I received this yarn, I was so instantly in love with the color and craftsmanship of the skein, that I put it away with plans to use it only for myself. It had to be special. :)
The black yarn is 100% alpaca in 'True Black' from IrishMeadows in LaMotte, Iowa. You can get their yarn online through This alpaca black is beautiful! It is silky smooth to the hand and knits beautifully. The alpaca that yielded this yarn is a 3 time champion aptly named "Black Beauty".
Next is the cream colored yarn that has a grey companion yarn I knitted together. Both are very special as well. The cream yarn is 70% mink/30% cashmere from Great Northern Yarns. Craig Turner is the founder/owner of this small company in East Orleans, Massachusetts. The mink is humanely harvested removing the coarse guard hairs yielding this buttery soft down. It is then blended with the cashmere at the mill and spun into this soft DK weight yarn. You can get this yarn straight from the source at
Lastly, the grey yarn is 100% angora rabbit from FriendsinFiber, another Etsy shop. This yarn came to me as a beautiful handspun, navajo plied yarn. The grey so complimented the white mink/cashmere that they were a heavenly soft match.

Now for the story of the "Khatru". For those of you that plugged the word into your search engine and up popped this blog from some crazy fiber artist in Alabama, USA....well....I'm a fan of progressive rock. I listen to a lot of it and especially enjoy the creative talent of YES and Emerson Lake and Palmer. Funny how the leaders of progressive rock are from the it! Before the publishing of this blog, I googled the word 'khatru' wondering for myself just what in the heck it is. Most all of the hits came from the yesfans website bulletin board and my goodness are YES fans imaginative in their definition of this word. Out of all of them, I was quite fond of this explanation. (with slight embellishment from me!)

The Khatru, khatruavis stellaris, is a flightless Siberian bird that is only visible on nights when the moon is waxing and the temperature is below -32 degrees Fahrenheit. Those who have glimpsed in on rare occasions claim that it resembles a cross between a crane, an emu, and a hummingbird. The only documented sighting of the rare avian khatru came from Georg Stellar's researches in that area in the late 19th century. It has never been seen since that time and remains as much of an enigma as Stellar's White Raven and the Tarkus.

The only shred of truth in the last paragraph is Georg Stellar, a german zoologist, did travel to Siberian Russia to study and catalog the plants and animals in that region in the late 19th century. The rest is was how is that for fun?

The scarf was inspired by a song by Yes named "Siberian Khatru" from the album 'Close to the Edge'. If you listen to this song looking for meaning in the lyrics, don't do it, your head will explode. The lyrics make no sense at all. Now the music arrangement will carry you on a journey that lasts the length of the song.

So I found my 'khatru' in this knitted scarf...both for the love of fiber and music.