Friday, December 9, 2016

Weird Woolly Facts

  Although not all of these circumstances can be limited to wool itself, they all revolve around it in some way. From cloth dyeing to yarn-y laws, and right down to the sheep themselves... Here are some things you just might find interesting.

sheep, wool, yarn

Export = execution:
Ah, Merino... One of the finest wool-producing sheep. So nice, in fact, that the export of Merinos was an offense punishable by death until the 18th century in Spain.

That must be some killer wool., sheep, wool

You're grounded!
On October 26th, 2015, Singapore Airlines flight SQ-7108 was travelling from Adelaide, Australia to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The flight had to be diverted to Indonesia when an extreme amount of methane gases from 2,000 sheep triggered the plane's fire alarms.

And you thought your last flight was crappy..., sheep, wool

Taking the piss:
In medieval times, there were laws governing how people dressed according to social or financial class (known as "Sumptuary Laws"). They all basically meant "you're not important enough to wear that". One of those laws forbade anyone but royalty from wearing the color purple. Yup, King Edward III wanted to make sure his noble family would stand out in a crowd.

Now, that might seem like a selfish or stuck up law, and not weird... Until you learn about the dyeing process of the times. In old Ed's time, purple fiber was probably still being dyed with snail snot. A few hundred years later, people got tired of milking snails and discovered a plant-based alternative. Woad produced a nice, bright, bluish-purple hue... Especially when stale urine was added as a mordant. (source: Dyed in the Wool; A.J.R. Pomeroy), Queen Elizabeth I

Although urine had been used for centuries when fulling cloth, fuller's earth had thankfully been discovered by Queen Lizzy's time. The countryside might have smelled a bit better as a result, but the purple threads of the nobles were still providing the piss-poor with a pot to piss in.

Royalty was getting mor-dant they bargained for!

Sheep aren't turtles:
It is a common belief that if a sheep gets stuck on its back, it will quickly die. Although this may have happened to some unlucky sheep, it is not true that all sheep will die when overturned. The bulky fleece of a sheep can make it difficult for the animal to right itself, but sheep do not simply die from being upside-down.

And others in the herd will push them back up when they fall over! Sheep are awesome.

For women only?
In the state of New Jersey, it is against the law for men to knit during fishing season.

YEAH! That's right, dudes! Don't even think about stealing our crafts! You know... As long as it's fishing season. It's okay the rest of the time., knitting, wool, yarn

This sheep is really... Never mind.
The Jacob sheep can grow up to six horns! This is a rare breed that's prized for its wool and meat, plus the horns are sought after for crafting. Both males and females of the breed will grow horns. There are other breeds of sheep that will grow more than two horns, too!

Not even going there. We all get the joke.

Actually allergic, or slightly scratchy?
Many people, including myself, think they have a wool allergy. I've since learned that true wool allergies are rare, but many people with sensitive skin can get itchy from prickly fibers. True allergic reactions to wool are caused by lanolin, a natural oil in the fiber. Lanolin is found in many cleansing and beauty products, so chances are you've come into contact with it.

For me, I found that working with a blend with low wool content caused little to no reaction. But if I try to wear a garment that's more than 50% wool, I feel like taking a bath in calamine lotion afterwards. Know the difference - If it's a true wool allergy, stay away from it! But if you're just too sensitive, then a small amount of exposure might toughen you up.

Some of that fiber can be as abrasive as a Walmart cashier's attitude!, yarn, wool

  Sheep have been an important part of our fiber art history for centuries. Sure, there are plenty of other fibers to work with today - From synthetic fibers to recycled plastic - But I'm willing to bet that for most, the word "knitting" brings to mind a warm, woolly sweater. Although these weird facts probably won't help you build your skills, I hope you had a little fun learning them. Sheep definitely deserve our respect as the Mighty Wool Makers, but it's still amusing to laugh at sheep farts interrupting a flight., sheep, wool

Happy Crocheting!

A big thanks goes to for helping make today's post more interesting. Since my camera is still on the outs, I went searching for a website that offers stock photos - And I found that pixabay actually has FREE photos that you can download, royalty-free, attribution-free, and just downright FREE. Although it's not a requirement, you can donate to the contributors of the site. And I think that's AWESOME! 

Monday, December 5, 2016


*Beats head against the wall*
  I ran into a big problem today, but don't worry... I'm not going to sit here and complain about it. My camera stopped focusing correctly. I'm trying to work the issue out by playing with settings, but I'm afraid it's a bigger problem than I can fix.

  The trouble started when I was taking photos of a different project than the one here, and I thought maybe it had something to do with the color or lighting. So, I grabbed another WIP to test it out. Although I wasn't able to solve the problem, I scored a few that weren't too bad. Now I have some crochet eye candy to share with you. Hope you enjoy!

crochet, circle vest, Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable

crochet, circle vest, Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable

crochet, circle vest, Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable

crochet, circle vest, Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable

crochet, circle vest, Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable

  Those are the best of the bunch. I took all the above photos in the same lighting while playing with various functions. Nothing seems to change. I searched through help forums and ran across many suggestions that it could have something to do with the IS setting. Switching that didn't help, either. Nine times out of ten, it just won't focus at all.

  As a last resort, I even tried the auto-function. In the following pictures, I moved the table over to increase the amount of sunlight falling on the project. At least I can say it seems to have changed itself... But I don't think it did a very good job at it!

crochet, circle vest, Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable

crochet, circle vest, Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable

crochet, circle vest, Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable

  Well, I'm perplexed. Auto-function might be kicking in to do something, but none of my manual settings are changing at all. And can we agree that auto-function sucks?

  I think I've beat my head against the wall over this long enough, and there's not much use in trying to troubleshoot any further. I've been taking about 100 pictures a day with a $100 re-manufactured camera for almost two years! The poor thing has probably had enough. Ain't that just my luck... I just replaced the battery and memory card a few months ago! *Sigh* I'm going back to my yarn now, because that makes me feel better. There's always a camera on my phone, after all...

Happy Crocheting!

  *Update* The purpose of this post was only to share the pretty pictures I got out of that whole mess... But since I'm getting comments and messages from people that want to help with my camera issue, I'm adding some examples of the bad ones.

  The camera is a Canon PowerShot A3300 IS. It's just a compact digital that doesn't have many settings to adjust. There's macro and infinity for focus, brightness adjustment, a few filters, and color enhancements. Each of the previous photos were taken using various combinations of those settings, minus the filters. I've had this issue before after using the zoom function, but it has always corrected itself after powering down. This time, it isn't correcting itself. Because I'm adjusting so many functions and still getting similar-looking photos, I suspect that I'm hitting buttons but the camera isn't actually changing anything at all.

  So, if you're a camera pro and you happen to know how I could fix it, then I'd love your help. But please, don't go out of your way to help me solve this problem. I've already been looking into a new/used/refurbished camera. I found a Rebel T5 on a discount that's almost within my budget... But wait, now I'm on eBay looking at all kinds of DSLR's that come with tripods, lens kits, and random other things I probably don't need. Maybe some time spent without a camera will finally make me get on Ravelry and finish adding those patterns I'm supposed to be selling... Maybe then I could afford the camera I want. Ooo, look! I found yarn on eBay! Aw, darn... Maybe that's why I never get anything done.


Blog Archive