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Morehouse Farm Merino Knits:

More than 40 Farm-Fresh Designs

by Margrit Lohrer

Rating: 4 sheep (very good)

You've gotta love a knitting book that starts "Morehouse Farm began with a Voodoo Chicken"! Margrit Lohrer and her husband Albrecht Pichler were living in Manhattan in the late 70's and escaping to their upstate farm on weekends. The rescued chicken was the start of their livestock collection. They decided to farm in earnest and settled on raising sheep - merino sheep in particular for their fine wool with the goal of becoming a "Mecca for knitters".

 

In the early 80's, merino sheep were hard to find and out of favor with American sheep farmers who considered them "greasy, wrinkly and dirty" (speaking of wrinkly, check out the ram on page 14 - I swore it was wearing a thick turtleneck sweater!). The couple's dream was to grow the finest wool and bring merino sheep back to their once-popular status.

 

After some complications along the way, the two were able to import some Australian merino whose fleece was the most beautiful they'd seen. In 1990, Margrit began sheep farming full-time. Morehouse Farms spins their merino yarn in various weights from bulky to fine in over 60 colors.

 

As a lifelong knitter, Margrit's approach to knitting is meditative. She loves to absorb the day's events while knitting for hours on uncomplicated knitting. Scarves, shawls and blankets are favorites for lots of soothing knitting time. The sweaters are simple classics made more interesting by stitch texture and color. They're quick and easy, knit in the round with sleeves knit right in - great for those of us who hate finishing and like to knit then be done with it. In addition to women's sweaters, there are several kids' sweaters, a jacket plus two sweaters and a vest for the guy in your life along with accessories for you and your home.

 

The simpler knitting is great for beginners moving on from basic scarves maybe to some felted accessories for the home, basic socks or first sweater. They can step up their skills a bit but not be overwhelmed. Margrit suggest using the patterns as a starting point and making it your creation. This is a nice book for knitters looking for a relaxing break from other projects that require more concentration.

 

Some of the projects that caught my eye were molas mittens (appliquéd with felt & embroidered) and the buggy mitts which offered opportunities for fun and creativity. Both would add enjoyment to your community service knitting. How about a foulard (small scarf) with case to tuck in your purse until needed for a sudden chill? Fringe-binge mini muffler adds bling to your scarf fringe with beads and funky embellishments.

 

There are several lightly felted projects to try for your first felting attempt. Check out the striped blanket and matching pillows - all knit in the round and lightly felted. The blanket is cut open once completely dry. A baby blanket is treated the same way making it machine-washable. She adds booties and hat for an extra surprise for a new mom. The tufted chair mat (or cat pad) is another felted project that was colorful and appealing.

 

All in all, an enjoyable book with lots of warm knitting, some lacy scarves and wraps plus a few projects to spark the playful spirit of the creative child you once were. The book is peppered with charming photos of sheep, the "dogs of Morehouse Farm" and their other animals. If you're looking for complex sophisticated patterns to test the mettle of your knitting abilities you'll probably want to look elsewhere. But if you want to take a breather and relax into the knitting zone and have something attractive to show for it in the end - you'll enjoy this book and come back to it again.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Candy Grastorf

Buy this book from Amazon.com

 

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