Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Strangely, Australia is not a great place to shop for yarn.

You'd think it would be, because Australia is known worldwide for its merino (among others), and container ships laden with sheep leave Perth's harbor daily.

But it turns out that Australia has only about three yarn mills. Because of this, most Australian merino is processed into yarn in Italy. Many Italian brands boast of "100% Australian merino."

My quest to buy Real Australian Yarn had a few successes. I found Bilby Yarns, in Perth, which helps local ranchers who raise sheep with colored wool to process and sell the resultant undyed yarn. I found some nice New Zealand wool (they seem to have more mills, and of course Naturally New Zealand is a great NZ brand). And in the Blue Mountains was a great little wool shop in Katoomba where I finally bought myself some yarn (I got a few gifties along the way).

I picked up a couple Jo Sharp books, and some of her wool to make a sofa cushion. I loved this color in the store, but the lighting must have been weird, because I thought it was red. It's not — it's brown-based — but it's still a nice color.

The image at the start of this post shows progress on the diagonal-rib cushion so far. It's semi-mindless, which is good right now.

I also bought this Cleckheaton Country Prints because I couldn't resist it. In the store, the colors also looked different — brighter, somehow. I still like them, but they're different than I expected. I think I'll try to make them into knee socks. Maybe.

I admit I haven't had much energy for knitting. I just finished a 10.75-hour day and expect a lot more of them in the coming weeks as I serve on all the transition teams for the absorption of my old department by the new. I don't expect to know what my new job will be, what my reporting structure will be, or much of anything until towards the end of the month, so that's why I haven't said much in response to your e-mails — I'm not playing anything close to the chest, I just don't know. I'm trying to focus on my (current) staff and seeing that each of them is pitched appropriately and strongly to the new department so they'll end up in positions that they both will be successful in and, hopefully, will enjoy. Work takes a lot of hours of one's life... so if at all possible, it should be at least somewhat enjoyable!


Laura B said...

That is funny... I heard you can't get a good potato in Idaho either.

Anonymous said...

Pretty yarn.

Sorry to hear you're working such long hours, but good for you to be looking out for your staff!

Kelly said...

Welcome back, Valerie! I know how you feel about not getting alot of Australian yarn down there. When I went to Peru, I swore that there would be yarn stores filled with Alpaca for handknitting. There was only one store and they sold the stuff in bags for people that sold handknits professionally. The rest of the yarn stores had ugly, scratchy acyrlic. In fact, I found more alpaca in Argentina than in Peru. Sad, I know.