November 22, 2014

Store-bought Hemp Yarn

I got some hemp knitting yarn from Hemp Traders delivered and straight away I wound a ball and knitted the start of a dish cloth.

I like knitting that particular dish cloth pattern because it's easy.  There's very little casting on and a lot of knitting with the occasional yarn over, or decreases after the halfway mark.  I can even knit it while watching subtitled videos.  The only thing I dislike about handknit dish cloths is the cotton yarn, so much so that I give all of mine away and never keep any.  This hemp yarn is a great improvement in my mind.  It has a crisp feel and a sheen, even in bumpy garter stitch.  I keep looking at it and feeling the cloth.  The yarn is skinny: I am using size 2 needles.

I'm glad I took a chance and ordered the yarn sight unseen.  I can knit dish cloths mindlessly and I can replace my ratty woven cotton ones.  I suppose it's the chatelaine in me, fussing about the state of the linen cupboard.  I've been putting off replacing the sad things because I didn't know where to get my usual brand, my old source failed me.  Now I can have hemp cloths and lots of them.  They should perform well, hemp is durable and doesn't moulder when damp.

I ordered a large quantity of white Romney roving from Qualicum Bay Fibre Works, wool that will be picked up and stored for me by a kindly family member until my next visit.  I have masses of unspun wool already.  This purchase is less about need that it is about my desire to support a mill that deals in local fibre on Vancouver Island.  I think it's important that an area keep the means of production.  The mill needs more sales to stay in business.

I have asked the mill to put my name in the queue for their spinning services.  At the proper time the roving will go back and be spun into yarn much like the stuff I'm knitting my Cullercoats sweater out of.  Ideally I would spin the wool myself but again, I have lots of other roving to keep my spindles busy.  Moreover, yarn from this mill gives a lot of what I look for in fibre.  It's not like buying mass-produced yarn from a craft store or yarn shop.  It's traceable to a region, undyed, and breed-specific, and it supports local producers and processors.

The hemp yarn is mass-produced and imported.  I am okay with that because it is good quality and I doubt it's possible to get anything comparable that's small batch and traceable.  The laws on cultivation in North America are restrictive.  I don't know about machinery to process and spin hemp, whether there are small-scale setups that bridge the gap between hand-processing and a factory line.

The Cullercoats sweater is coming along.  After getting stalled for a while near the top of the back, this past week I cast on the left front and knitted quite a lot of it.  Good thing I've made progress or I'd feel guilty about starting the hemp dish cloth.

I have a språng project on the loom that's about two or three hours from completion.  I hope I gauged the width correctly.  It's hard to tell.

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