Monday, February 5, 2018

Angel Hair and Mare's Tails

Rows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere --
I've looked at clouds that way...

-- Joni Mitchell, Both Sides Now, 1969

As Joni so poetically describes, there are many types and shapes and textures of clouds.  Looking out my window as I write, the February sky appears to be a sheet of solid white, punctured by a yellow-white ball of flame as the sun tries to make it's presence known.

Such a sky might just be cirrostratus fibratus, a type of cirrostratus cloud that is formed by strong, continuous winds high up there, which cover large portions of the sky.  Given that the wind chill today is - 32 Celsius...well, I guess that's to be expected!

"Mare's Tails" over Mirror, AB
February 2013

The cirrostratus family of clouds, though, is just one of the types of cirrus cloud, described by Windows to the Universe as "...the most common of the high cloud group" -- clouds that are composed of ice crystals due to the cold air in the upper sky.  

Even at this time of year, the air up there is colder than it is down here on the ground -- no matter how it feels to our faces, hands and feet as we shovel fresh snow or careen down a ski hill or glide around an icy pond.

When they're not in thick layers like cirrostratus fibratus, cirrus clouds are fine and wispy, like angel hair...or mare's tails.  

While they may be composed of ice crystals, human attempts to emulated their appearance with fibre are much warmer to the touch.

One such example is the soft, wispy beauty we have on offer for our Super Special this week...

Berroco Cirrus

42% Mohair (from goats)
40% Nylon / Polyamide
18% Merino
25 grams = 104 metres (114 yards)

Regular Price: $10.00

Sale Price: $2.50

Because of the "halo" that the mohair provides, this yarn can knit up quickly on 6 mm (US 10) needles to make a soft, cozy cowl or hat to keep you warm under the February cloud-cover.   

A little more time with this yarn of a winter's afternoon or two, and you could create your own lovely lace shawlette.  

Designed by Nora Gaughan
for Berroco
Offered as a free pattern on the Berroco website.

So...don't let those cirrostratus fibratus clouds, that weak winter sun and those bitter winds get you down.  We have "cozy" waiting for you...

Written by Margaret, who's been captivated by the wide Alberta skies, angel hair and mare's tails for over forty years.

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