Thursday, September 27, 2007
I recently finished and blocked the lovely Forest Canopy Shawl designed by Susan from I'm Knitting As Fast As I Can. The pattern is fantastic for a first shawl, I suspect, because of the incredible regularity of the pattern and the fact that the directions are so abundantly clear and complete. For me, it was a great project to knit at my knitting group and at conferences.
My shawl is knit with hemp laceweight yarn bought from DZined at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival last spring. Although the inflexible yarn was hard on my hands while knitting and I therefore only knitted a few rows of this shawl at a time, I loved the crisp feel during the summer heat--and I now adore the drape--so different from silk, so different from wool.
Hemp has a reputation as a very, very hard-wearing fiber. (Hemp fibers can even be used to strengthen cement!) According to Wikipedia, a field of hemp grows very quickly and without much need of soil amendment. It produces 250% more fiber than cotton and 600% more fiber than flax when grown on the same land. The hemp plant produces everything from edible seeds to paper, from biodiesel to ethanol, from plastics to cosmetics. (And did I mention that it made a wonderful fiber?)
Son only agreed to model the shawl if I also showed the lovely dodecahedron he made with his Zome Tools (a construction toy made by these fine folks) in homeschool geometry this morning. He was inspired by the dynamite The Joy of Thinking DVD lectures produced by the The Teaching Company.
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