The one in which turds are beautiful

The New Hampshire Sheep & Wool Festival was a great place to sample new-to-me indy-dyed yarns. It’s unfortunate (but totally understandable) that brick and mortar yarn shops can’t possibly carry all the smaller yarn lines. And if they do stock some, the number of available weights and colorways is often limited.

At NH S&W, however, I got to touch and see many new goodies, and speak with the artists firsthand! One booth in particular caught my fancy, so much so that before leaving the festival, I went back and made sure I didn’t miss anything! I’m talking about Spirit Trail Fiberworks. The gorgeous colorways, the many different types of yarn, the owner, Jennifer – eager to tell me all about the yarns, but giving me space as I browsed the display – all wonderful. I was very happy.

That particular day the sun was out in full force, the trees were blooming, I was dressed in cheery periwinkle and apple green… but I was itching for something very gloomy and sophisticated as far as yarn was concerned, I don’t know why. I bought some totally gloomy-licious wool for my mom (I’ll elaborate later), and followed that with a skein of silk for myself.

This skein of Atropos silk in the “special” colorway (yup, that’s what it’s really called) was all by itself, hanging on a display hook – the last of that batch. I suppose it’s mainly chestnut in color, though when I put it against my hair, I can definitely see purple and gray undertones (isn’t that a sign of a true artist? when the colorway refuses to be categorized as any one thing?). Wonderfully gloomy. As I saw it there, I could not ignore the resemblance to a little turd. A gorgeous turd of silky goodness, but a turd nonetheless. Maybe this photo is more convincing:

I was a little sad to find out that it was indeed a lone skein, and that if I chose to buy it, I would have to find a creative way to knit up only 500 yards. But then I reminded myself that I actually prefer small scarf-sized scarves, and that I’ve recently whipped up a few of those using less than 500 yards of yarn each.


Left: Melon scarf from Victorian Lace Today, 438 yards of HandMaiden Sea Silk.

Middle: Dolphin lace scarf from Victorian Lace Today, 438 yards of HandMaiden Sea Silk.

Right: Ene’s Scarf from Scarf Style, 400 yards of Sundara Yarn Silk Lace.

I’m thinking another gorgeous beauty from Victorian Lace Today for my gorgeous silk turd is in order, but which one?


42 thoughts on “The one in which turds are beautiful

  1. Melissa

    I just checked out Victorian Lace Today from the library and I’m itching to start something from the book, but I have to finish some of the other projects on my needles first. I’m looking forward to seeing which pattern you choose!

  2. Gisi

    The scarf of page 16! Its laciness will be enhanced by the dark colour! The whole thing takes only 500 yards and it looks quite big (you could even shorten it, I think).

  3. Gisi

    The scarf of page 16! Its laciness will be enhanced by the dark colour! The whole thing takes only 500 yards and it looks quite big (you could even shorten it, I think).

  4. Darci

    Anne over at Knitspot has some lovely “Nothings” scarves that use small amounts of yarn. Just a thought.

  5. Maritza

    Can I just say that this is the best blog post title ever? And yes, you will make something jaw-droppingly gorgeous from that silky turd. Can’t wait to see it!

  6. Coleen

    I recently bought two skeins of that exact yarn in that exact colorway at the MD Sheep and Wool Fest. I love it! Cant wait to see what you do with it.

  7. Allyson

    I vote for the very scarf, top row on the left (I am entirely too lazy to walk ALL the way downstairs to get my copy to find out the page number). In the picture it’s a pale lavender. It’s open airy lace would be perfect for your “special” colorway. It would be almost mysterious! Can’t wait to see which you choose.

  8. Kathy

    It’s beautiful! I’m seen Spirit Trail at several festivals, but it was the first time that I spent a lot of time looking in her booth. I also bought some yarn — a silk single and a wool/silk blend. The atmosphere last weekend was delightful — plenty of space to look.

  9. Tam

    I vote for the one that is shown in your scans which has large diamonds on the edge and dainty little flowers. It is shown in a tan (on my monitor) color so you already know it will look good in a brown shade. I think the dark color would be even better than the tan.

  10. Amy

    It’d vote for one of the plainer scarves, to show off the subtle color-changes. What a beautiful bit of silk!

  11. deborah

    Oo-oo-oo!! Your pictures, third row, left, shown in yellow-orange. Can’t wait to see what *you* choose. 🙂

  12. kelly

    The swallowtail shawl uses less than 500 yards, and would be lovely in such a rich brown. You could also exchange the nupps for some pretty gold beads!

  13. Seanna Lea

    I like the first you have listed (the lavendar one with the triangular edging), but really any of the scarf shaped ones would be extra stunning in this yarn.

  14. Anita

    Oooh, I think the Double-Bordered Scarf (p104), or maybe the Scarf with French Trellis Border (p98) or the Scarf with Clarence Border (p82). Yeah, I get a little carried away whenever I look at that book! Even if it’s for ideas for someone else. 🙂 (Hey, weren’t you doing the Trinity Stitch Shawl at some stage?)

  15. Julie

    Anne Hanson just added the Fiddlehead Scarf pattern to her site. It would be gorgeous in your ‘turd’ yarn! And, what better to fertilize a garden….

  16. Alexandra Walters

    The Swallowtail scarf from Interweave Knits takes about 400 meters. I was able to knit one from a single skein of Handmaiden Seasilk. (If you can tolerate nupps.)

  17. Kathy in KS

    You know, I don’t know if you want to go this route, but here’s an idea anyway. There’s a sheep farm near me, I just found out, and the lady who owns it not only spins/dyes/and sells the wool in various weights(worsted etc), but also keeps each sheep’s fleece separate! So, unless you’re buying one of her special blends, which are clearly marked with who she blended with who, you know which sheep your yarn came from! Cool, huh? Anyway, I fell in love with the color of the yarn that came from a sheep she had named Blossom. I bought 500 yards of fingering weight, and went searching on Ravelry for something 500 yards or less. One shawl pattern came screaming up at me. It called for about 450 yrds, I think, but it was the name of the pattern that really sealed the deal. The name of the pattern was… ready?…Blossom. How cool is that? I’m going to knit a Blossom shawl from yarn that came from Blossom. So, maybe there’s a turd scarf out there somewhere…

  18. Kate

    There’s always the small-sized Laminaria from Knitty, which is actually what I’m going to do with my 500yds of Atropos. It would make wonderful use of the sheen of the silk.

  19. Nicole

    My first thought was “oooh that yarn looks good enough to eat”… and then I saw how you had it coiled… and you called it a turd.

    In my defense, I was thinking it looked like chocolate 🙂

    This one

    already proves itself to look very nice in a dark colored yarn 🙂

  20. Andrea

    You do beautiful work in lace. Thank you for telling us the yardage on these shawls. I have been knitting from japanese books and did not knit any lace since my workshop with Galena 3 years ago. You have made me hungry for lace projects again!


  21. Emily

    Oh hey, off-topic: I saw you at Windsor Button Saturday, I was walking out as you were heading up to the counter, and it wasn’t until I looked at you full in the face that I was like, “Oh hey, it’s Kathy.” But I didn’t want to be a weird stalker so I just kept going before I even really realized what had happened. Lol.

  22. Emily

    I was entranced by nearly exactly the same skein at MDS&W! Mine is a bit more pewter though, with the most lovely subtle highlights. Winding it by hand was delicious.. though it took me forever!

    My little skein of Special is going to be Alhambra, from Anne Hanson…

    I can’t wait to see what you end up with!

  23. Rosi G.

    Beautiful yarn! I saw someone already mentioned Alhambra from Anne Hanson (KnitSpot), but she has several scarves she’s designed which she calls her Little Nothings. Your turd would be wonderful as ANY of those!

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