Having a talented knitter was the inspiration I needed to expand my own knowledge. I wanted to learn to knit hats in the round (on circular needles) and for her to show me the right way to purl. Last night I got an all-out lesson but got horribly frustrated. I was trying to do too much at once, jumping into a project without even practicing on swatches to gain confidence. But this morning I started over with a deep breath and twenty stitches instead of sixty. I still messed it up, but I understood why. Practice is slowly making perfect. Every row gets a little easier and my fingers seem a bit more nimble. There's light at the end of this tunnel, folks. I'll get that hat made proper.
The real inspiration to get better at knitting comes from a line of yarn I found at Black Sheep Yarns in Dorset. Rowan Purelife has a series of skeins sold not by some whimsical name or combination of wools, but by the sheep it came from. The British Sheep Breeds series sells you beautiful 100% natural wool from heritage stock of Great Britain. I chose a coarse, brown Jacob. It was the same wool used for the sample hat—that just holding, made me want to jump on the back of a fell pony with a border collie pumping at our flanks as we'd ride up the hill to check on the lambs. Diana convinced me I could make that hat. I'm a sucker, so I believed her and bough the yarn to use to learn the new skill. My successes in knitting aside—as a shepherd in training I was thrilled to see yarn that actually talks about sheep. Hell, had their picture on the product itself with detailed information about the breed. Here's to keeping those old heritage boys alive. I'd wave a flag, but instead I'll attempt a fancy hat from Jake.