Guess what? I’m here and finally posting. If I still have any readers left, please excuse my absence. We’ve been going through more difficult times here, as my husband has a recurrence of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He is supposed to have a stem cell transplant. However, they haven’t been able to collect enough stem cells, so they’re on to plan B. Plan B is that he will be given a type of chemo which forces stem cells from the bone marrow into the blood. We are hoping and praying that this will work. It has been such a roller coaster!

In any case, I did not have the energy or inclination to knit, if you can imagine. I didn’t have the energy or inclination to blog either. However, I’m back to it now! After my husband was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s the first time, it was knitting a special baby gift that brought me back to knitting. The same thing has happened this time too. I have four friends who have all had baby boys! There is nothing like concentrating on the joy of newborn babies to revive your spirits!

Something else brought me back to knitting too,….a visit from my mother-in-law. She was knitting, and I missed it. It was as simple as that. I took her to my knitting groups and we had a lot of fun. I also took her to the Briggs and Little Woolen Mill, which is located a short drive away.

Briggs and Little Woolen Mill Briggs and Little Woolen Mill

Briggs and Little Woolen Mill Briggs and Little Woolen Mill

My mother-in-law walked into the yarn shop before I did, and all of a sudden I heard squeals and exclamations coming from inside! The wool fumes got her! It was hilarious! She had been looking for substitute yarn to make the A Walk In The Parka cardigan, from the latest Creative Knitting magazine. The pattern calls for Cottage Craft Woolens yarn, which happens to be made by….Briggs and Little! What a surprise! She bought the yarn that the pattern called for. The people at Briggs and Little weren’t aware of this particular pattern, made with their yarn. The lady, who was helping us, took the pattern to show the rest of the staff, and I heard more squeals coming from the back room! There are also patterns in the Twist Collective, by the way, made from Briggs and Little yarn, which are creating some excitement. They are Roo, by Kate Gilbert, and Sylvi, by Mari Muinonen.

Briggs and Little Woolen Mill

Anywho, my husband and children decided to discretely back away from the mayhem. They took a walk by the lake, and enjoyed the scenery outside. 😉

Gorge at Briggs and Little Woolen Mill

Lake at Briggs and Little Woolen Mill

My mother-in-law bought three sweaters worth of yarn, plus more for good measure! I bought some of Briggs and Little’s new Softspun yarn, in Dusty Rose.

As chance would have it, my knitting friends have been encouraging me to enter some of my knitting in our local exhibition/fair. There is apparently a lady who contributes an entry for every category, every year. She walks in with a huge Tupperware container full of knitting. In any case, most of the entries are very traditional, and my friends would like to see more contributions that show new techniques. So I picked up my knitting again. I had so many unfinished items, and this was the push I needed to complete them. Briggs and Little happens to sponsor a Briggs and Little category, and I had a work-in-progress made from Briggs and Little yarn! I can’t tell you how long I’ve been working on this project. It seems like forever, and now it’s finally finished!

Meet Fanny:

Fanny

  • Pattern: Carousel Horse, designed by Ellen Sibelius (This was a free web pattern through Interweave…not currently available.)
  • Materials: Briggs and Little, Tuffy
  • Needles: 5mm
  • Modifications: I did not felt this item. So, I did not knit double stranded and I used smaller needles than were called for in the pattern.

Fanny Fanny

My daughter can not quite believe that Fanny is finished either, but she is delighted! I haven’t been so rewarded by a project since Curly The Cow. However, the fiddly bits on Fanny almost put her in permanent hibernation. Let’s not dwell on that. She’s finished! Wahoo! Not only that, but she won first prize in the Briggs and Little competition! My daughter was so excited that Fanny had a ribbon on her! She was also proud of her mommy. It was great!

First Prize!

I’m rather proud too; I have to admit. It was a challenge just to get Fanny finished, and I got hugs from my daughter, plus a ribbon and a Briggs and Little gift certificate to show for it!

Where have I been? I can’t believe my last blog post was in *gasp* April!! I’m very out of practice. I had an unintentional blog hiatus. Nothing is wrong at chez Loopy Knits….everything is right. My husband was given the “all clear” by his doctor! So, with his new-found energy and positive outlook, we are doing things. We are doing things that have been on hold for a long, long time. So, we have been very busy…hence the blog hiatus.

What has brought me back to the blog? Well, I have something to share. I want to talk about this place, Belfast Mini-Mills, in Belfast, Prince Edward Island, Canada.

Behind this humble entrance is a treasure trove.

Belfast Mini Mill Store

Belfast Mini Mill Store

I should explain that this is not just a store. This is a mill. They process exotic fibers from around the world, such as yak, camel, alpaca, llama, cashmere, bison, musk-ox and mohair…oh, and sheep wool. I know this is true because I saw it!! Despite the fact that we arrived only an hour before closing, we were given a tour of the mill. I saw bags and bags of cashmere (pictured below)!

Bags of Cashmere!

I also saw bags of qiviut! I’m not kidding!!

The owners invented the “cottage industry” machinery they use. This enables them to process fiber in smaller batches than larger commercial mills. Larger commercial mills will combine fleece. So, you might get your own fiber back, but in combination with others. However, when you send your fleece to the Belfast Mini Mill, you can be sure that you get your own processed fiber back. In fact, Belfast Mini Mills has developed 27 other mini mills world-wide!

The mill process begins with cleaning, carding, and drafting the fibers. As it goes through the machinery, the wool is collected in another small room. They have spinning equipment, which was fascinating. They also produce wool felt, and make up needle felting kits.

Then, there were the animals.

Belfast Mini Mill

As we were given a tour of the mill, my daughter was given a tour of the farm. She was ecstatic! She was responsible for carefully collecting nine eggs, from the nests in the hen house. Apparently there were tiny baby chicks that were white in colour. My daughter fell in love with a very cute, *free*, bunny. We did not come home with it, fortunately. The bunnies really were cute though, and run freely around the barnyard.

Then there was the store.

Belfast Mini Mill Store

They had all kinds of exotic yarns. The cashmere almost seemed ordinary!! Those are alpaca/nylon socks in the upper left hand corner. They also had superwash wool socks, and I came home with a pair for my husband. I forgot to take a picture of the wall o’ socks.

Belfast Mini Mill Store

They also sell needle felting kits, as I mentioned, mittens, gorgeous woven hand towels (pictured), which I almost bought, soaps, wool dyes, books, dyed roving, blankets… This is a woven, merino wool blanket that my mother bought:

Woven Blanket

Woven Blanket

They had qiviut socks, if you want to really splurge! So, so, soft…

Qiviut Socks

Too pricey? Here are musk-ox leather pouches containing qiviut samples.

Musk Ox Leather Pouch With Qiviut Sample

Belfast Mini Mill Store

Would you like to see what I bought?

100% Camel Down

I got two skeins of 100% camel down. It is so soft, I had to take it home. It was $20/skein. I also got this:

Chunky Merino Wool

That’s two skeins of chunky merino wool, $8/skein. I also got a wool dyeing starter kit for $20. I can’t wait to give it a try.

Starter Dye Kit

I decided to include prices I paid, because I don’t think they have that kind of information on their website. I have no affiliation to this place whatsoever; however, I had great fun there, and I thought that others might be interested in hearing about it. It’s worth a visit, or a phone call. I have linked to their website, but I also have their business card. Comment here, if you would like me to forward their phone number or email address. Gotta love PEI!

Cavendish, PEI