Sunday, 25 March 2012

Erato! and how do you shear a mink ?!?!

When people ask me what I like to knit , my answer is cardigans and shawls. Well Romi Hill is rather talented with regards to shawls and I happily immersed myself with her progressing e-books and lace clubs.

Erato is beautiful shawl with a thick cabled 'back bone' and a pretty lacy edge. I have enjoyed knitting it but it certainly require precise counting of stitches and close attention- especially the lacy edging.

The pattern calls for a 4 ply yarn but I've decided to use a thicker yarn from Knitspot fall in full colors club. The December yarn was really luxurious -two butter soft skeins in double knitting weight , a blend of %70 mink and %30 cashmere from Great Northern yarns. I ran short and had to cast off two rows short of the pattern . Blocking beautified the pattern and bloomed the shorter mink fibers.

The mink fibres are just long enough when blended with a slightly longer stabilising cashmere fibre for these two luxury fibres to be spun and plied into an extremely soft and lightweight knitting yarn. The mink and cashmere fibres have similar micron thicknesses and are wonderfully compatible. The minks are not harmed in any way; they are sheared once a year, just like a sheep, in the warm summer months to harvest their treasure of superfine down. The mink and cashmere fibres are woolen spun (a spinning technique where the fibres go every which way) leveraging the fibers' natural lightweight insulating properties by trapping more air and creating a yarn with a signature "halo" that is exceedingly lightweight, soft and warm – a yarn you want to pet.
The paragraph above was more or less from the great northern yarn website.The mink is raised and harvested in China. Read the above again if you like- the minks are sheared, just like sheep and are not harmed in any other sheep as far as I know have no sharp teeth and claws , mink on the other side are viscous carnivorous mammal and cannot be tamed. China is not renown for its human/animal rights, right? something does not ring right or is it just me..