june cashmere

euraxess germany on small family farms

in the mountains of kyrgyzstan

nomadic shepherds tend to the elite goats

whose soft cashmere undercoats are used to make yarn.

and what a yarn this is!

it’s an example of the world’s harshest environments

producing the very softest natural fibers.

img_5911cashmere is, of course, known for it’s softness.

what surprised me about this yarn is its amazing stitch definition.

just look at how the cable motif

from amy van de laar’s

”beeswax mitts’

pops!

img_5922i’d rank this new to me cashmere yarn

right up there with my leslie wind cable necklace

and indian lake artisans’ hexagonal wooden needles

(and if you know my taste at all, you know that’s high praise).

want a skein for yourself?

follow this link and enter to win.

i’m ending here, as this lovely yarn is just begging me

to hunker down and knit a bit more before bed…

note: now for just a little of the nitty-gritty.

i was given this skein of june cashmere dk to review,

but, you know me, a free skein of yarn (even if it’s cashmere)

isn’t ever going to make me say that i like what i don’t.

i’m much too stubborn and pig-headed for things like that.

‘soft’ taken from 65: 9-11 in the psalms.

the wow

leslie wind

creates shawl pins and other useful things

(my very favorite thing is her cable needle rings: so clever, so practical)

with wire, tiny hammers, wire cutters and sweat.

truly, i never saw her sweat,

but when i signed up to be taught by leslie at a lys,

using her tools and wire to create a thing of my own, i sweat (liberally).

‘you can make anything you want’ is the way she started.

so i grabbed a pen and drew out a swirling thing that i’d had in my mind lately.

‘do you want me to get you started?’ she asked,

and i nodded my head in response

hoping that it wasn’t completely obvious that i had absolutely no idea what i was doing.

she put my scribble

down on the table in front of her,

estimated how much wire she’d need and cleanly snipped it off the roll

(cue the sweating)

then she gracefully bent the wire into curves & arcs.

starting at one end of my sketch

and ending at the other,

turns out that she’d cut the precise amount of wire needed.

the precise amount.

she did glance at my scrawl once or twice

as she went along, but she never measured what she was doing

against my drawing even once,

except with her mind’s eye,

i suppose.

her finished piece

is exact.

so that you’ve no reason to doubt me, i took a photo of the piece

laid atop the sketch.IMG_2707s+

the amount of skill it takes to do that is beyond me,

it is nearly beyond my understanding altogether

and all the while,

as she bent and twisted,

she was making interesting conversation with me

a veritable stranger (cue more sweat on my part).

i did ‘help’. i hammered the wire flat.

all those little indents are

my hands’ work.IMG_2706s

next time i had the opportunity,

i signed up for another bit of time with leslie.

i was so thrilled with both pieces that i promptly set them aside for over a year.

it’s ironic, but true. i wanted them ‘perfect’

and i could not figure out how to attach leather cords

so that these asymmetrical shapes would hang

evenly at my neck, or manageably at my wrist.IMG_2710s

today, while trying to solve a completely different puzzle

the solution to this one came to me.

it seems so obvious now, that the cords would have to be attached

in asymmetrical places to make it balance,

but until today it felt truly impossible.

now i am thrilled all over again.

these are exactly what

i had first pictured inside my head

when i drew the original sketch for leslie in response toIMG_2711s

her saying, ‘you can make anything you want’.

i love that actually i helped to

make them real,

and even more i love that i got to watch her skills at work.

if you ever get the chance to be somewhere that leslie is,

you should go there and please do tell her

that ‘tal’ says ‘hello’

 and ‘peace’.

she will not remember me

from one busy afternoon nearly two years ago now,

but i will always remember her. life is funny like that.

 ‘hammered’ taken from 39:3 of exodus.