Friday, May 20, 2011

Mystery yarn and lots of rain

It has rained nonstop for a week in New Jersey, where I have been during that time, after not seeing rain for quite awhile. Here on the tree stumps in her back yard, mushrooms are going crazy. Alongside this broken stone bird head it looks like we planned it, to look rustic. But we didn't, we just haven't been keeping up with the yard. I was hoping to get some outdoor work done up here, cleaning out the shed and organizing my possessions that are stored therein.

After a mostly dry season last year I am starved for mushrooms to photograph! The strangest thing in the back yard though was the fact that all of my boxes in her wooden shed seemed to be full of Rose of Sharon seeds. The things grow like weeds in the yard, but there weren't any IN the shed. There weren't any ABOVE the shed. How on earth did the seed pods manage to worm their way into my shoes, boxes and any sort of containment device, in the shed? It is a mystery to me. More on mysteries in a moment.

Now, on to blue things. Isn't it interesting when you can see the moon during the daytime?

Last week I got some mill-end yarn at AC Moore, a bag of five skeins of this stuff. Here's where the mystery is...I can usually identify any mill-end yarn because I spend an irrational amount of time in yarn stores and I know what brands usually wind up in the mill-end bin. I even recognized that they had Hobby Lobby I Love This Yarn! there, which was surprising since they don't even have Hobby Lobby around here. Which is a store that I love, because how can you not?

So here is the mystery yarn. Help identifying it would be greatly appreciated! Each skein is pretty hefty, and I've test knitting enough to know it's probably fingering weight. Using #4 needles I got about nine rows to the inch, and 29 stitches on the needle made it 4 inches wide. So that is 29 sts x 36 rows = a 4-inch square. But that was unblocked, stretched slightly.

The mill-end bags say it could contain anything from acrylic to nylon to wool, and I think that judging by the way it feels and knits up -- and sticks to itself I'm untangling it -- it must be at least part wool. I couldn't get it to "spit join" when I tried to felt it by rubbing the ends together wet, but to be fair I've never been able to get 100% wool to do that either.

Oh pretty skeins, what are you? How much of you is there? If this is fingering weight, then these are about the size of a ball of Noro sock yarn, which would mean there could be 300 or even 400 or more yards per ball.

So to test it out I am knitting the Out of My Head Shawlette -- or at least starting it, we'll see how it goes -- which uses less than 400 yards. So it won't take long and will be a good test of how the colors stripe out and if it blocks. If I can wet block it successfully to make the lace pattern set neatly, then I will be pretty sure it has wool content and I can make a larger, more complicated piece out of the rest. And I will know if I have 2000 yards of the stuff!


  1. One of my chief joys of working overnight stock at AC Moore is getting to tear into the unopened cases of mill ends before anyone else! And then stashing whatever goodies I find until I can purchase them the next day ;) They often get crazy high-end yarn that the store doesn't usually carry--for instance, I got 12 balls of pink silk bamboo once. I have a vague suspicion that your mystery yarn might be some variety of Noro (it looks very much like the lace-weight Noro I got at Loop), but it could also be Lion Brand Amazing...I'll do some poking around & get back to you on later!.

    The other thing I love about working nights--looking at the Moon as I'm walking home in the morning :)

  2. Thank you so much for your thoughts on that! Now I am super excited for what else I might find there! I thought it might be "Amazing" at first but I could only find that listed for worsted weight and this seems to be something around fingering weight. I really have a strong "Noro" feeling looking at the colors and the size of the skein! I also have 7 skeins of a lime green ribbon yarn I got that I can post a photo of too.

    Night time and yarn are two of my favorite things in the world! :)

  3. I've honestly never understood why Amazing is listed as worsted, I've worked with it, and it is VERY skinny, much closer to a fingering or DK weight yarn than any worsted weight I've ever used. The only thing I can think is that because it's an acrylic/wool blend, the woolen fibers make it extra fuzzy (the skeins puff out quite a bit once you remove the paper label). If it is Amazing--and I think I'm leaning in that direction more after closer consideration of your photos--it is almost certainly Glacier Bay, a color which, much to my frustration, my A.C. Moore doesn't regularly carry. Actually, if I remember the sale flyer correctly, Amazing is on sale next week--maybe you could pick up a skein to compare size/texture/etc.? Or if I get more (as I almost certainly will, I end up buying yarn almost every time I go to work >_<) I can take some pix for you.

  4. They look very similar in photographs but I did check out Glacier Bay Amazing at Michael's (I had thought it might be that too!!) and that's much thicker and rougher than this one - this is a little smoother and thinner in person than it looks in the photo! I would almost swear if they made a lace version of the same yarn this would be it though.

    I appreciate your help with the detective work! We'll stumble across something one of these days and say "Ahh!! That was it!" In the meantime it is knitting up wonderfully whatever it is!

  5. That yarn is gorgeous!!! I've given up on the yarn arts, I just don't have the manual dexterity for them! But I hope you'll starting posting lots of pictures of all your pretty creations so I can live vicariously through you!

  6. Thank you Fala! I think you've got a lot of manual dexterity too with all the things that you make! I feel like I should be spending more time painting but at the moment I need shawls for summer air conditioning so that is where I'm directing my fidgety energy. :)