Beatrice's Knits

Saturday, March 16, 2013

It's so easy to go to the yarn shop, pick up a skein of wool and toss it on some needles without ever thinking about the creature that it came from or the process it went through to get from the farm to the shelf. I'll confess, that's what I normally do when I start a new knitting project but thanks to my friend, Connie from Missing Willow Farms, I was lucky enough to have a full "sheep to shawl" experience recently!

Connie has a special ewe named Beatrice that happens to make beautiful wool! Just look at her precious face...


...and all of this amazing fleece!


Some time back, Connie had the wool spun into yarn. Since she isn't a yarn crafter, she sent me some of the skeins to work with. Lucky me!!

Here I am happily winding a skein into a GIANT yarn ball. I'm wearing my Missing Willow Farm t-shirt and the wiener dog "helper" on my lap is my very own Beatrice. Fun, huh?


After winding and winding and winding, I was finally able to get this exceptional fiber on my knitting needles and set to work on a couple of projects for Connie. I wanted to make items that allowed the yarn to shine but would also be practical for her farm life.

I made a cowl from a really lovely pattern called Greenwillow. It's available for purchase on Ravelry. The lattice look is done by twisted stitch cabling. It was a new technique for me and I'll admit, I dropped a curse word or two while I was getting the hang of it but I love the final look.


The pattern calls for a provisional cast-on so you can pick up the stitches later and do the i-cord bind-off on both edges. There is also a sideways braid on the interior border - it felt like it took 100 years to finish that round!  


I had so much fun learning twisted stitch cabling that I decided my second project should include it too! I knit these wool socks using a pattern called Diagonal Rib. It's available as a free download on Knitting Daily.



Knowing the sheep that the wool came from made me feel a special connection with these projects. I thought about Beatrice a lot while I was working on them I'm vowing to think more about where my knitting fibers come from going forward!

In exchange for these knits, Connie made me the most incredible yarn bowl (amongst other things!). This is already seeing a lot of action.



Drop by the Missing Willow Farm blog to see pictures of sheering day, fleeceless Beatrice and other cute farm animals!

28 comments:

Trekky said...

That is amazing. I'm sure Beatrice is very proud that her fleece has turned in to such lovely items. And the twisted stitch cable looks great.

Ps) cute dog!

Leslie Andersen said...

What a great swap this was for both of you--I love the amazing cowl and socks you made, and the yarn bowl you got in return is just gorgeous! I also LOVE the picture of you and Beatrice on the sofa! You are both so cute!

rubyslipperz said...

What a beautiful cowl! and the socks!? ...yep they IZ boo-ti-FULL too!!

I LOVE the sheep (or, alpaca, or goat, etc) to shawl thing! It is the most wonderful amazing feeling to feel/smell the "raw" animal, wash, spin, and then make something with it.

Thanks for sharing your ADORABLE Beatrice...what a cutie!!

hugZ,
annie

Erica said...

So fun to know exactly where your yarn came from. I never thought about that before. Your knits look so intricate. I recently did an overlay crochet pattern for the first time and dropped a few choice words myself. lol!

This post is wonderful, because it really connects the crafter to the things she works with. :)

Memories for Life said...

How fun to see the process start to finish!
And what a fun swap you two had! I love the design on your cowl and the yarn bowl is so pretty!

helena frontini said...

I love the natural yarn. Lovely work, that's for sure.

Jessica Jo said...

Before you know it, we'll have you joining us on the C-ster fiber boards. ;) Your work is always exceptional.

katiecrackernuts said...

Now a yarn bowl, that's the kind of bowl I need to add to my collection.
Thanks for the comment on my blog. The yellow earrings are getting a lot of airtime at the moment. Definitely a fav.

Jenelle said...

Very cool! It means so much more to see the source of your materials and to really know how they're made. Your knitting is really impressive! That intricate work on the cowl in particular is just gorgeous. The socks are such a beautiful study in texture!

craftmates said...

I just attended a beginner's knitting class last week. Learned how to knit and purl. I hope I'll be able to make something once I get the hang of it.

You really do amazing work!

Virna

Skwishee said...

Beautiful, Mareth! I love that cowl. Lately, I've been dreaming about moving somewhere that I could raise my own sheep. My husband seems to think that I haven't considered how much work that would actually be. He's probably right. ;)

Connie said...

Hi, Beatrice's mom here. I was blown away by the lovely cowl and socks made from my sweet Beatrice's wool. When I sent her fleece off so long ago, I was hoping some day to find a knitter to make me something, anything. Instead, I found a knitting goddess who made me the most beautiful and practical things a shepherd could want. Thank you thank you thank you, Lime!

meet.make.laugh. said...

WOW! Those projects are unreal! I can just imagine how long it took you to finish.... but it must have been so worth it because that is beautiful! ~Stephanie

Anonymous said...

Amazing! They look so comfy!
Aimee from Craftmates

Additionsstyle said...

How cool to know where your wool came from. Your shawl is very cool looking, and the socks are cute.
Valerie
Everyday Inspired

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Mary Mac said...

Love how crafters exchange such unique talents with each other as you have shown here. Love your knitting skills and love Connie's knitting bowl.

Duni said...

Oh wow! You are a knitting pro. The items you made are gorgeous! I don't buy a lot of wool, since I only knit for pleasure - time permitting - but, since I take a great interest in animals and their welfare I only buy wool from sources where I'm positive the animals are well tended. I don't mind paying extra either. That yarn bowl is beautiful too. Oh, and the photo of you and your little helper - CUTE!!
Off to check out Connie's blog :)

Amanda said...

Oh wow the pieces made are really fantastic!

craftmates said...

Wow, this is amazing! Lovely work. I'm sure Beatrice is mighty proud! Sheep is my daughter's favourite animal so I love it too!-Irma

craftmates said...

Wow, this is amazing! Lovely work. I'm sure Beatrice is mighty proud! Sheep is my daughter's favourite animal so I love it too!-Irma

Anonymous said...
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Natasha Hoover said...

Sheep to shawl - I love it! Your creation has a really cool pattern. I'm kind of an...okay knitter. I knit well enough, but I'm really slow and can only bring myself to knit in the winter. Since I live in SC, that really isn't usually long enough for my slow knitting to get me anywhere!

Roseanna said...

You are so accomplished! I love what you made for your friend...It is truly wonderful to have the Sheep to wool experience! I did it once with my grandchildren we washed, combed and spun the wool. It makes you appreciate the yarn store for sure!

tess said...

That cowl is stunning - really well done! And I love Miss Beatrice - she looks so wise and sweet. :)

Anonymous said...
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Christina Lowry said...

Oh my, what a remarkable story. And your knits! Wow. It looks like you achieved exactly what you had intended. Beautiful work. Thanks for sharing. :)

Anonymous said...

Can you tell us where we can get beautiful yarn bowls like this one? :)

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