Christmas loot

I'm home enjoying some alone time on the holiday, and I was unpacking some boxes that got sent back from New England after Christmas - there's a bunch of stuff that I haven't shared yet.

Although I put a bunch of yarny stuff on a list for Santa, somehow he never got it ( time I'll make sure I send that list to Santa myself, rather then relying on Ironman to do it). The only yarn present I got was some lovely brown handspun alpaca from Hampden Hills Alpacas.

handspun alpaca

Handspun alpaca

There's 148 yds of sportweight, and 414 yds worsted weight, all in a gorgeous rosy greyish brown color. I have no idea what it's going to become yet - maybe a nice cozy hat and scarf combo. Or some mitts - it's a cold wet day today and I could use a pair.

I also had the opportunity to visit Halcyon Yarns in Bath, ME right after New Year's. What an amazing place! I walked in and thought I'd died and gone to yarny heaven. It's a big fiber warehouse, brightly lit and cozy warm. I was accompanied by my mom and my brother, who were very accomodating of my enthusiasm as I wandered aimless, mouth agape in awe. There were aisles and aisles of yarn, for both knitting and weaving, wheels, piles of fiber, patterns, everything you could possibly ask for (as long as you weren't looking for lots of sock yarn). I was especially stuck by the number of local products they stocked - lots of yarns I'd never heard of that were made in Maine, locally made swifts and other such things. They had a separate room full of needles and notions. I managed to restrain myself and only got the following:

Handdyed wool

a bag of handdyed wool of unknown variety - about a 5 in staple and quite crimpy, maybe Romney?

SW merino and merino-tencel

4 oz of superwash merino and 4 oz of merino-tencel, to play around with dyeing once Boo is weaned,

Zephyr wool-silk

and one small cone of Jaggerspun Zephyr Wool-Silk laceweight in the most gorgeous color ever, for a small lacy scarf somewhere down the road.

It really was a fabulous place. As I was heading to the register, I came across the display of Noro Kureyon sock yarn. I practically fell over from color overload, and grabbed a skein to take home with me. But it's not exactly soft in the skein, so I asked the lady at the register (who might have been Halcyon herself, but I don't know) if she'd used it yet, and whether or not it softened up much after washing. She allowed as how she hadn't made socks with it yet, but another customer had used it. The socks had softened up some with washing, but she was not particularly enthusiastic about it. I've read elsewhere that it does soften up considerably after washing and (gasp!) drying, but she more or less said she wouldn't use it for socks. And it was another $20 I wasn't sure I wanted to spend just then. So I didn't get any. How many yarn store owners/employees would be that honest about their products? Now I'm pretty sure I'll get some, based on what I've read about others experiences, and I'll be getting it from Halcyon.

One last bit of news to update:

Ivy soaking

Ivy is now done (except for two 52 inch ribbed ties - crap!) and is soaking before being blocked. I love the smell of Eucalan! And I'm looking forward to a new sweater as soon as I knit up 87" of ties.

ETA: Here are some pictures from Halcyon Yarn at Deb's blog - sounds like she had the same reaction I did!