Rhymes With Fuchsia

Monday, August 04, 2008

O is for Ovine

My reasons for attending my first fiber festival — Cummington '01, with Miss B riding shotgun — are lost in the mists of time. I think I may have been egged on by some of my cohorts on a knitting board somewhere, but in any case, it was a watershed in my knitting career. Until then I had wallowed in the sensual delights of my local fleshpots yarn emporia without considering too closely where all the woolly goodness had come from.

It came from sheep*, of course. And the occasional rabbit and goat, to be sure, with cotton and silk mixing in now and then, and for hard-wearing practicality I still refuse to scorn the unassuming acrylic blend; but the workhorse (so to speak) of the yarn world is the humble and versatile sheep.**

Do you know how many breeds of wool sheep there are? Me either, but it's a big number, from the noble merino to the hardy Icelandic to the ever useful Romney (whose wool can be softer and more lustrous than you might think if you know it only from the ubiquitous basket of steel-wool-like tryout roving in every wheel vendor's booth).

Even yet I still hear of a breed now and then undreamt of in my philosophy.

Here is one of them. This is my LYS's new mascot, representing an actual breed whose Wikipedia page the owner showed me, but I can't remember the name to save my life. I guess I'll have to go back there to scope out sock yarn find out.
*Why didn't I just do S for sheep? you may be wondering. Because, for me at least, S is a lot easier than O, and I already have an S in mind.
**I know of at least one excellent knitter who is allergic to wool. Luckily there are more great plant-fiber yarns all the time.


  • Fabulous O!

    By Blogger Cookie, at 4:17 PM  

  • I can't believe you have 6 posts since I looked at the computer last... yowsa! And a great O post to boot... (I'm still thinking of one, though ds is standing here awaiting his turn on the computer saying O is for Ostentatious). Anyhoo... My minister friend said something about sheep over the weekend, talking about sheep and goats, maybe he put half his congregation to one said and the other to the other and said they're the sheep and goats and now what. To which I said... sheep are stupid. (or at least so says Pogo, who gave them up in favor of goats). And of course he, being both a minister and a brainiac type, said, maybe that's what we're supposed to do, be blindly obedient. I know for sure I'm a goat... At least the sheep give us some lovely fiber, eh?

    By Blogger knitnzu, at 5:12 PM  

  • Wonderful photos and a great and clever O.

    By Blogger Roxie, at 9:11 AM  

  • Romney wool is SO underrated! It's only steel-wool-ish if you over-spin it. And so would any wool be, if it received that kind of treatment... right? :-)

    I'm working on a Romney/mohair blend right now, in fact, and it's absolutely delightful to handle.

    By Anonymous Beth S., at 12:53 PM  

  • No doubt about it, wool is tops, but I'll put alpaca right up there with mohair on the "greatly to be cherished" level just below wool. Cotton is cheerful and practical in warm climates like mine. And speaking of practicality, nylon (in scant proportion) is indispensable. My socks wouldn't last long without it!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:00 PM  

  • Baa!

    Love it all!


    By Blogger Iron Needles, at 4:13 PM  

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