Sunday, November 22, 2015

Ke Aloha Nō: Greetings From Scotland

It's very nice to receive an email from a friend you haven't heard from in awhile.
It's extra very nice to receive a handwritten letter in the mail.
It's super extra very nice when the letter is mailed from Scotland.
Aye, lucky me, I received all of the above from our Island neighbor and friend, Lei.

Imbued with the spectacular Scottish landscape, the luxurious Inverlochy Castle Hotel, and two glasses of wine, Lei sent us a lovely letter filled with news of travel, the ol' neighborhood, family, and the future. Very good stuff.

But wait, there's more, a few days later another envelope arrived, this one mailed from Hawaii. This package was large and squishy. Ooooo, I knew what it was!

Behold: Two skeins of hand-dyed fingering weight (sock) yarn - Scotland Highlands souvenir yarn. And here's what I did: first I squeezed, then I slowly inhaled the sheepy wooly fragrance, and then I rubbed the yarny softness around my face. Ahhhhh, delicious.

Lei's accompanying note read: "Hand Dyed Sock Wool from the Landscapes of Scotland. Add this to your stash. Enjoy!" 

Add this to your stash? What? No way, I would never find it again.

I decided to cast on immediately. So, while the yarn spent a little quality time in quarantine, I searched Ravelry's patterns and found a free pattern called Downtown Cowl by Christy Becker. Christy's pattern was designed "to bring out the best in a multicolored skein". Perfect.

After several weeks of enjoyable knitting the cowl was completed and bound off. Just to be on the safe side, I used the citric acid soak to "fix" the dye with the hand-dyed yarn. 

I didn't have to worry, there was no excess dye and my rinse water ran clear. I washed it again with wool wash (SOAK) and then loosely blocked out the lace pattern by hand.

The cowl was plenty long with the gentle blocking (three drapey loops here).

I searched online for "Scottish Highland landscape colors" that were captured in the yarn but wasn't satisfied with the photos I came across. Then I remembered Lei had mentioned she was on Instagram and found her perfect pics from her trip.

Our thoughtful friend, Lei, will be able to remember her Scottish Highlands adventure every time she wraps her lovely gifted yarn - regifted to her as a knitted cowl, a knitted lei - around her lovely neck.