Monday, April 22, 2013

4KCBWDAY1 - off to a bad start

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It's Knitting and Crochet Blog Week once again, and having missed last year's due to my wedding and honeymoon, I was excited to hear it was running again this year. Eskimimi has once again put a huge amount of work into this event, creating new topics and adorable graphics to support them... For which I say a huge thanks, and I apologise in advance for the absolute mess I am making of this first topic prompt.

See, I'm just not feeling this first topic. The basic premise is this: assign yourself to a knitting 'house,' symbolized by an animal. Maybe I'm just channeling in my inner teenager, but upon reading the topics I thought, "I don't want to be pigeon-holed! I will not submit to labels! I don't have a knitting spirit animal!" This is frankly ridiculous, because I do participate in many labeling exercises in my life. However, being sometimes a Bee, often a Peacock, occasionally a Monkey, and even at times a Manatee, I didn't feel like committing to one house. So I decided to stretch the topic to its extreme.

I started thinking, and realised that maybe I DO have a knitting spirit animal.

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Meet the Hebridean sheep. These particular ones I met at Woolfest last summer, and they are easily the wackiest-looking sheep I've ever seen. The reasons I have adopted the Hebridean sheep as my knitting mascot for the purposes of Blog Week are as follows:

1. Wool comes from sheep

Wool is my preferred fibre with which to knit, so I had to choose a sheep. I haven't knit with Hebridean wool yet, but I would like to try it. I quite enjoy using hardy, rustic wool yarn, since I know it will be sturdy and wear well. I also have a lot of sympathy for the rare native breeds that don't get much attention in light of merino's supremacy. Merino is great for some things, but there is certainly room in my knitting basket for other sheep breeds.

2. These sheep are resilient

Hebridean sheep can survive in difficult conditions, able to live outdoors even in the winter. Scotland is an excellent place to rely on wool for warmth. In the islands off the west coast of Scotland that give this breed its name, it doesn't get very warm - wikipedia (the font of all knowledge :P) gives an average temperature range of 6 C to 14 C. (edit: which may only refer to average maximum temperatures, so isn't exactly representative. But that's what I get for not fact-checking out of laziness.) Although I have not yet been there, given the Scottish weather I have experienced on the main land, I can only imagine how windy it might get on the islands. That gives me a lot of respect for creatures who can eke out an existence outdoors.

3. They are truly badass

Look at those horns! According to the Hebridean Sheep Society, male and female sheep are born with at least two horns. Moreover, the Wester Gladstone website shows sheep with up to 8 horns! Clearly in my brain, the more horns, the more badass. So correlation does not equal causation? Meh, I don't want to hear about it in this case.

Hebridean sheep don't represent me in any concrete sense. Although I consider myself to be a bit wacky, and I'm pretty awkward sometimes, I'm not particularly badass or resilient in many ways, nor do I sport any wicked horns. But I like them and they inspire me to be tougher and try some different things in my knitting life. I hereby commit to knitting something out of Hebridean wool this year, and I will report back on the experience.

Happy blog week, everyone!


  1. I find it hard to believe (as a Scot who has been around a fair amount of her own country) that the average low in the Hebrides is 6 degrees Centigrade!! Having lived in the odd remote and a few not-so-remote parts of Scotland, I suspect that Wikipedia is erring on the somewhat optimistic side ;)

    Kudos for originality though! (See my response to the topic here:

    1. Thanks for your comment! I thought 6 C seemed a bit high when I read that as well, but I wasn't really inclined to do any further research at that point. (Bad librarian! Bad! Haha.) Further googling just now suggests that maybe 6 C refers to the average maximum temperature in January, rather than a minimum? In any case, the wind must make everything seem colder.

  2. "The more horns, the more badass" seems like it would be a great motto for...something.

  3. They are awesome! I love learning about different breeds of sheep since I started spinning :)

  4. Wow look at those horns! I bow to your house:)

  5. Hey, I think it's pretty badass to found your own house -- well done, you!

  6. I love your knitting spirit animal! Although they really do look intimidating with those amazing horns. I bet their wool is just as amazing. Yes, rustic woolly wools are the best!

  7. Cool way to approach the topic - I like it :) Those sheep are pretty badass too ;)

  8. :) So you did do the post. I'm not starting until Day 4. Hehe. Moo!

  9. Well I love this approach - and those sheep are indeed badass. Just channel your inner badass self (you know it's in there) through these lovelies.

    I'll look forward to seeing the finished FO.

  10. So cool! I look forward to details about your experience knitting with Hebridean wool. They do look pretty badass.