I went to Yarnover yesterday. Bought ZERO anything. I have plenty/more than enough/disgustingly too much yarn already, plus I was not in the mood for browsing much.
I took a morning class, Tips and Tricks, from TechKnitter. Learned a bunch of things, brain overload.
In the afternoon I took a class from Clara Parkes (I keep thinking of her as Clara Parker-Bowles -- Brit royal overload much?) called something like All About Wool. That one was relaxing and fun. She handed out bits of washed but unprocessed wool, bits of carded wool, and tiny hanks of yarn, which we swatched. Heaven!
Here is my swatch surrounded by locks and bits of carded wool. (Now I know exactly what those terms mean! Yay, me!)
A Woolen-spun Saxon Merino 2-ply sportweight from Catskill Merino. This yarn was lovely squishy, almost sproingy (I know you know what these technical terms mean) and delighted everyone in the class. Woolen-spun, you are lovely. An additional treat: Eugene Wyatt, the man who raises this flock, has a stand in the Greenmarket in Union Square in New York City every Saturday; we are going to New York for a long weekend in a couple weeks to visit #1 Son. I might just have to subway down to Union Square to look at his yarn. Maybe (maybe? hah!) I will buy some yarn that day.
B Worsted-spun Wensleydale 2-ply from Garthenor Organic Pure Wool. As soon as people started knitting with this there was a soft undercurrent through the classroom of, Ewww, I don't like this. True, this yarn was completely and totally different from the first -- Clara said of the two that now we had experienced both ends of the spectrum -- but my cables knit from it were so gorgeous I kept showing them to people who were pooh-pooh-ing the yarn. In the right garment this lightweight yarn would be wonderful.
C Targhee 2-ply from Sweetgrass Wool (scroll down to the 2-ply natural). This one is kinda halfway between A and B, a lovely combination of both. So lovely, in fact, that when I got home I ordered a skein of their natural sock yarn and a skein of the 2-ply natural blend dark. If I do indeed knit socks from the former I will have to renege on a long-standing pledge never to commit to hand-washing a pair of socks; it might just be worth it.
D Dorset Down from Garthenor. When I was in college I made myself a fisherman knit pullover, full of cables, from a kit I bought at Dayton's. (You know this was years and years ago because 1, it was called Dayton's, not Macy's or Marshall Field, and B, it still had a yarn department.) This yarn reminded me of knitting that sweater. Creamy ivory worsted weight, still a hint of lanolin in it.
E Shetland from Elemental Affects. This was a sturdy light worsted weight. Would make a sweater that would last roughly... forever.
F Unspun Icelandic from Schoolhouse Press. The knowledgeable among us commented that this yarn seemed to be slightly felted to help it hold together; even so, it was fragile. The yarn broke for the knitter next to me, and broke for me when I frogged and reknit this on the smaller needle. I knit on a Signature US#4 needle because, when I initially knit it on the #6 it looked awful. I think the #4 was just right. Would make a lightweight but very warm garment if you could stand handling the yarn.
G Icelandic from Wellspring Woolens, available at The Yarnery in St Paul. What a contrast with the unspun Icelandic, above! This one was soft and lightly plied; I could see making a very warm but lightweight cardigan from this. I think I knit it on the #6, although my memory fails. Melinda Kjarum, who raises the sheep and spins the yarn, was in the class, much to Clara's surprise and delight. She (Melinda) gave Clara two balls of yarn, from one of which came this sample. She shared pictures of her sheep and stories about them. Clara said she wants to come back in her next life as a sheep on Melinda's farm.
H Herdwick from Garthenor. If you like knitting with coarse hemp rope, this is the one for you. A coat made from this would be passed on to one's children and grandchildren and probably great-great-great-grandchildren, assuming it was protected from moths for the requisite 150+ years. Clara pointed out that it works well in weaving, however, and I could see how it might; once again, it would make an heirloom coat.
As you may have guessed, I didn't have my camera with me at Yarnover and I didn't bother pulling out my iPod camera. Just know that the place (Hopkins High School) was jam-packed full of yarn and knitters and that the latter were displaying the products of their labors proudly. I only have two hand-knit sweaters (so far) and they are both much too warm to wear when the temperature is above freezing; instead I wore my t-shirt that says, I knit so I don't kill people. Contrary to that sentiment, I was happy to see friends there -- Cathy-Cate, Ellen (of Warm Heads, Not Hot Heads fame), soxanne, Lorene from my knitting group (she was working a booth with Loretta, from whom I bought the yarn for this scarf at my first Shepherd's Harvest), Chris who has a cabin on our lake.