Tuesday, December 13, 2016

A Work in Progress: Marian Part I

As I discussed in my previous post, I have a son who is an Irish dancer.  Last year, during a growth spurt and while training with extra long hours for the World Championship competition, he developed pain in his legs.  The pain grew progressively worse the more he practiced, and eventually he required evaluation by a physician.  He, like so many rapidly-growing young dancers, had developed a very serious stress fracture... and despite casting, physical therapy, and even acupuncture (notwithstanding my skepticism, I was willing to try anything by that point), he was unable to dance by the time the Worlds competition came around.

     By the time we knew there was no hope of him competing, it was mere days before our scheduled trip to Scotland where the competition was to be held.  I had lacked the foresight to imagine such misfortune, and so I had not purchased trip insurance.  Thus, though my son was not planning to dance, we embarked on our trip anyhow.  Seriously... there is not enough yarn to knit away the frustration, the disappointment and sadness, and powerlessness I felt... as a mother, AND on my son's behalf.  I packed two major projects (including the long Mardi Gras Cycling Hose and a slouch), which I promptly completed, and so one day into the competition week, I found myself hitting the streets of Glasgow in search of a yarn shop.  I was stress-knitting.... nolens volens.

    Luckily, I discovered that my tiny hotel was located just a short walk from a quaint and conveniently located Glaswegian shop called, "the Queen of Purls."  Run by a fiber artist, Zoe Armstrong, the shop caters to people seeking natural fibers, hand-dyed yarns, and rare and native-breed sheep.  I knew I needed a pattern in which I could immerse myself... one which would both take longer to complete than the socks AND not require much yarn (given limited suitcase space).  I settled on a pattern I found in the shop called the Marian Tunic -a perfect fit for my needs -  a lace tunic which was sufficiently complicated lace to occupy my mind, and openwork so as to use fine-gauge yarn and not much of it. 

Leto is in green.  

     The yarn I selected is one of the shop's hand-dyed yarns... created by the shop owner herself. 
Leto is a 100% North Ronaldsay heavy Lace weight. [Leto pictured in green.  I used the  natural Ardalanish for my Isle of Mull Slouch].  North Ronaldsay sheep are from Orkney where they graze on a diet of primarily seaweed.   This yarn has a very rustic, rugged quality - qualities which give it a rough feel which reflects the harsh conditions in which the sheep live.
North Ronaldsay Sheep by Liz Burke

     During and since the trip, I managed to nearly complete the tunic with the yarn I purchased... but for the edging of ONE SLEEVE!  What started out as a panacea for my son's frustrating situation morphed ironically into a source of frustration all its own.   Thankfully, technology is such that finding Zoe online and obtaining one more skein of this rare sheep in her custom dyed colorways is no longer an impossible task. Should YOU wish to purchase some of her unique Scottish yarns, you may do so on her website HERE.  Stay tuned for the completion of this WIP.