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I know the rest of the country probably isn’t thinking about summer yet, but in Wyoming we have two seasons – Winter and Not Winter.  In my mind, any time that isn’t Winter is officially Summer.  At work, we’re closing out our snowmobile season and will make the switch to Summer Hours shortly.  This means – joyously – that Alan and I will have proper weekends (!!!) very very soon.  We already have plenty of summer activities on the brain – fishing, camping, ATV rides, convincing Radio to come along on our trail rides, visiting Yellowstone, cleaning up the yarn, working on the house, and just generally being outside as often as possible.

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The Jeep is finally up and running so I’ve kicked off my ode to Summer by driving him as frequently as possible.  I’m sure my devotion to this vehicle won’t make sense to most people, but I sort of feel like this Jeep is my car soul mate.  I love it.  It’s loud and incredibly slow and still a little stinky.  It doesn’t start particularly well on cold mornings and will randomly shut down if I give it too much gas without letting it warm up.   The radio only works roughly half of the time and, even then, the only station that works is classic country… but man… I feel great affection for this vehicle.  I happen to be lucky enough to have a brand new pickup truck as my proper vehicle so it drives Alan crazy that I insist upon driving a $600 hunk of junk, but the Jeep just speaks to me.  With the windows down, aviators on, and some classic country (sometimes), driving it just feels like Summer.

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Not a moment too soon, I got word from Michigan that my Airstream is finally home from the guys who were doing the exterior restoration!  Alan and I don’t have time for a full-blown trip home to see our families, but we’re going to make a quick run to Michigan to pick up the Airstream and officially bring her home to Wyoming.  The trip is 24 hours each way, so this is just a means to an end… no fun road trips to be had just yet…

1963 Airstream Tradewind

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Check out that Before and After!  We’ll tackle interior work ourselves, but the exterior is now good to go.  Where possible, our restorer popped some of the smaller dents.  Some of the end cap pieces couldn’t be fixed, so they were replaced thanks to a donor Airstream.  He also cleaned up the badges and polished her a mirror-like shine.  I think we started talking about the Airstream what… a year and a half, two years ago?… so I’m honestly not certain if we’ll do a proper interior renovation or just rip out the carpet and buy a new mattress and get straight to camping.  We’ll decide once she’s here and we really know what we’re up against.  I’m generally not one for naming inanimate objects, but vehicles are obviously the exception to that rule.  A vehicle as magical as an Airstream, especially one polished to perfection, surely needs a suitable name but I’ve been thinking about it for well over a year and haven’t settled on one yet.  Once she’s moved home and we get to know her a little better, I’m sure her name will become clear.

We’re still waking up to little bits of snow every morning, but I’m not letting that get me down!  Summer is well on its way and things are looking preeeetty good from here.

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A Good Yarn makes A Good Hat

by Stef on April 24, 2015

in Patterns, Reviews

A Good Yarn Sarasota Lornas Lace Shepherd Sock

This yarn was provided to me by Stitchcraft Marketing for A Good Yarn Sarasota.  I was not provided with additional compensation nor obligated to write a positive review.

I recently had the chance to check out this gorgeous skein of Shepherd Sock yarn, custom dyed by Lorna’s Laces for A Good Yarn Sarasota.  In the Muggle world, the yarn is inspired by Florida State and is a spot-on version of their trademark Garnet and Gold.  As a more magically inclined person, I heard the words Garnet and Gold and thought – as any good Gryffindor would, of course – surely I can put that to good use!  In the Hogwarts world, these are obviously house colors, perfect for a slouchy hat to keep ones head warm in the library or while spectating a Quidditch game.  I’m a bit old to be attending Hogwarts these days, so Molly (Weasley, of course) and I got to work coming up with an appropriately magical hat.  Molly’s forte is generally of the jumper variety, but she can certainly put some self-striping sock yarn to good use!

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A Good Yarn Sarasota Lornas Lace Shepherd Sock

As a self-striping yarn, my primary goal was to let those stripes shine through as much as possible.  I should note, I tested the yarn on a set of fingerless mitts and socks first, and in all versions the yarn stripes wonderfully. This is the joy of self-striping yarn – just pick your project and knit away.  There’s no need to coax the yarn into stripes or alternate colors because the yarn is expertly dyed to have the stripes just naturally occur.  I had my heart set on a wide stripe and was thrilled to eventually stumble on the perfect stitch count for these bold, rugby-style stripes, sure to do any Gryffindor proud.  After a 2×2 rib for the brim, the hat relies on just a few well placed dropped stitches for added slouchiness without throwing off the wide stripes.  If you haven’t intentionally dropped stitches before, no worries!  This was my first time recklessly letting that ladder fall from my knitting and it’s, pardon the pun, almost like magic.

Shepherd Sock has been called the ultimate sock yarn, and I have to agree with that statement.  It’s an 80/20 Superwash Merino/Nylon blend that’s machine washable.  With 430 yards to a skein, one was plenty for the finished hat – I could probably even eek out another headband or short fingerless mitts.  I found the yarn smooth, easy to work with, and saw great stitch definition.  My finished hat is soft but sturdy.  I knit the entire thing on size 3 needles, a bit of a jump up from my normal sock choice, to get a nice slouchy fabric.  I  have no doubt that the yarn would make a great pair of hard wearing socks as intended.  I’m a shawl lover, of course, and could easily see putting a ton of different colorways to work on a shawl before long.

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Side note: How may Harry Potter appropriate places do you have in your house?  Have you ever looked around and thought, darn, I need something that looks like Hogwarts! I almost put my personal Padfoot to work on the shoot, but I decided to let her have the day off.

Gryffindor House Hat

harry potter hat

Supplies

1 skein of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in Florida State from A Good Yarn Sarasota
Size 3 (4.5 mm) circular needle
stitch marker
measuring tape
scissors
tapestry needle

Additional Info

Here’s a great video from Eunny Jang showing an intentionally dropped stitch.  She talks about a few different types, but you literally just need to watch from 1:50 to 2:08 here.  In her video, the ladders are anchored with yarn overs. I chose to anchor mine with kfb stitches.

Gauge

My relaxed (as it sits, no stretching) 2×2 rib is measuring 9 stitches and 9 rows per inch, stockinette is 8 stitches and 9 rows per inch.

bk2tog [brioche knit 2 together]: knit next knit stitch together with its paired yarnover

YOS [yarn over slip]: bring yarn forward, slip 1 purlwise, bring yarn over right needle

The Pattern

Loosely cast on an even number of stitches.

Set Up Row: *YOS, k1, repeat from * to end of row.

Row 1: *YOS, bk2tog, repeat from * to end of row.

Directions

Cast on 140 stitches, join and place marker.

Knit 2×2 rib for 2.5 inches.

On the next round – k3, kfb, k3, kfb, k3, kfb, k3, kfb, then knit to the end of the round.  These 4 kfb stitches will anchor our dropped stitch ladders.

Knit every round until piece measures 5 inches from brim for a total length of 7.5 inches.

Drop stitch round – k3, then slip the first stitch off your left needle. Wiggle the fabric a bit to allow the ladder to start to form. You don’t need to drop these all the way down to the brim yet, just ensure that they are successfully off the needle. k4, drop the first stitch off your left needle, k4 drop the first stitch off your left needle, knit 4, drop the first stitch off your left needle.  Knit to the end of the round.

If you’re nervous about dropping the correct stitches, you can easily find the location of the kfb down by the brim.  Look for the horizontal bands going across a stitch – this is the “knit back” part of your kfb stitch.  We’re dropping the first stitch of these increases, so just find their location on the brim, then follow it directly up to the corresponding stitch on your needle.

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You should now have 140 stitches on your needle

Decrease Rounds

(k18, k2tog) repeat to end
(k17, k2tog) repeat to end
(k16, k2tog) repeat to end
(k15, k2tog) repeat to end
(k14, k2tog) repeat to ens
(k13, k2tog) repeat to end
(k12, k2tog) repeat to end
(k11, k2tog) repeat to end
(k10, k2tog) repeat to end
(k9, k2tog) repeat to end
(k8, k2tog) repeat to end
(k7, k2tog) repeat to end
(k6, k2tog) repeat to end
(k5, k2tog) repeat to end
(k4, k2tog) repeat to end
(k3, k2tog) repeat to end
(k2, k2tog) repeat to end
(k1, k2tog) repeat to end
(k2tog) repeat to end

Cut yarn, thread through remaining stitches, pull closed and weave in ends.  Wiggle your dropped stitches so the ladders open up all the way down the the brim.  Your hat is now complete. Wear it with Gryffindor pride!

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I run through all of this chit chat in the video, but I know not everyone is interested in them.  If you just want to see the yarn, skip to 12:45!

This is the first month I changed my preferences for Fiberista Club!  Previously, I’d selected the knitting box, lace to dk yarn weights, all colors, all hues.  Although I eventually came around on last month’s orangey-pinkish-red (love certainly not at first sight), I decided to take matters into my own hands a bit more this month.  Upon release of the mood boards, I changed my all colors choice to just neutrals.  I didn’t even realize we could make adjustments monthly, but I saw some chatter about it on the Ravelry boards, so I decided to try it out myself.  Once again I received yarn that definitely wasn’t something I would have picked for myself, but I’m really happy with it.

Since then, we’ve seen spoilers that show all the different yarns that shipped.  Whenever I see the spoilers, I find myself wondering if a different yarn would have been better.  Obviously this makes no sense because I joined the club explicitly to try yarns that were outside of my comfort zone, so immediately swapping for a more “go-to” choice is silly, but it’s so hard to combat the disappointment I sometimes feel when I see other colors that are AMAZING and I just think mine is REALLY GOOD.   I really like what I got, but I looooove some of the other choices.  I don’t want to swap my yarn, but there are certainly some other colorways that I like more.  Obviously this is the difficulty of joining a mystery club!

Fiberista Club moved to poly mailers this month to combat some of the shipping issues that seem to pop up every month.  My package (as with all previous months) arrived within just a few days of shipment, entirely without delay.  I will say, despite not having any “shipping issues”, the lack of predictability with shipping would be my biggest club complaint so far.  If I can offer one constructive criticism, I do wish we knew that our packages were shipping out on the 1st of the month (5th, 10th, whatever it may be) with consistency.  This is a new club, yes, but we’re now four months in and shipping definitely hasn’t hit its stride.  Going forward I really hope that there’s some consistency established and we just know that they’ll always arrive on X day (the same every month) because they were shipped 3 days prior.

Finally, I now know that Fiberista Club has a referral program.  I’m not sure if this is new or has been around since Day 1, but it is new to me.  I always hesitate to mention referrals (for anything), because I worry that readers think they’re getting favorable reviews just to push for referral credits.  So.. here’s my little disclaimer! I’ve been happy enough with Fiberista Club that I decided to transfer my monthly payment to a 6-month pre-pay.  My subscription is paid for by me and was not gifted or discounted in exchange for any sort of review.  If you’re intrigued by Fiberista Club and would like for me to get credit for referring you, this is my referral link.  If you refer 3 friends, your next box is free and… I love free things! If you are intrigued by Fiberista Club and would not like for me to get credit for referring you, not a problem. You can check out Fiberista Club at https://fiberistaclub.cratejoy.com/subscribe/ (a pasted link, so you know I’m not hiding affiliate stuff in it!)

{ 8 comments }

Yarn Wishlist / 1

by Stef on April 16, 2015

in Yarn stash

yarn-wishlist-1

With the exception of a swift (finally!) I’ve been purchase-free so far this month.  Instead, I’m building up the yarn wishlist and thinking about exactly what yarns and brands I want to try next, once I finish a few projects and clear a few more skeins from my stash.  Spring hasn’t quite hit Wyoming yet, but I’m clearly thinking about fingering weight yarn in fresh colors.

Top Row: Buckaloo View Fingering I in Marigold, fingering weight / 100% superfine alpaca / approx 300yds/274m;  Quince & Co Finch in so many colors! I love belize, petal, chanterelle, audouin. 100% American wool / fingering weight / 221 yd; Tanis Fiber Arts in Spearmint.  This color comes in all her bases, but I’m partial to Pink Label right now.  Lace weight / 100% superwash merino / 1000 yds

Bottom Row:  Jill Draper Makes Stuff Esopus in Pacific, Light Fingering Weight / 250yds / 100% US grown Superwash Merino Wool; Voolenvine Wolke in Succulents (sold out, but will hopefully be restocked), fingering weight / 80/10/10 Superwash Merino, Cashmere, Nylon / 435 yards, A Verb For Keeping Warm Creating in Early Girl (Sold out. So sad!) 100% Superwash Merino / 385 yds / Fingering weight

 

 

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two color brioche in the round knit cowl

Finally (and seasonally inappropriately, unfortunately) my second brioche cowl is done and I’m geared up with a pattern and tutorial to show exactly how I made this bad boy.

Quick reminder – my first brioche cowl was made from stash yarn.  The (very) brief instructions for that version are:

1 skein Manos del Uruguay Maxima in Rainforest
1 1/3 skeins Manos del Uruguay Maxima in Stratus
Size 6 (4 mm) circular needle

Cast on 130 stitches, join

Knit 5 rounds to make the curled edge

Do two-color brioche stitch using Rainforest for the knit rounds and Stratus for the purl rounds.  I continued in brioche (approximately 150 rounds) until Rainforest was almost gone.  To transition from brioche back to stockinette, knit every knit (single) stitch and k2tog on the stitches with yarn overs.  If this doesn’t make sense, you’ll see what I mean in the video below!  Add 5 more rounds knit rounds in Stratus, then bind off.  That’s it! I ended up using a full skein of Rainforest and roughly 1 1/3 skins of Stratus.

Since that cowl used an ambiguous amount of yarn and has “suggested” row counts, I wanted to come up with a cowl that only uses 2 skeins of Maxima.

two color brioche in the round knit cowl

Tutorial:  Two-color Brioche In the Round

Supplies

COLOR A:  1 skein of Manos Del Uruguay Maxima in variegated colorway (Rainforest shown)*
COLOR B:  1 skein of Manos Del Uruguay Maxima  in solid colorway (Helium shown here, Stratus used previous)*

* I included a bunch of color combo suggestions below!

Size 6 (4.5 mm) circular needle
stitch marker
row counter
scissors
tapestry needle

Abbreviations

bk2tog: Brioche knit 2 together.  Knit the “paired stitches” — these are the slipped stitches from the previous round with their paired yarn overs.

bp2tog: Brioche purl 2 together.  Purl the “paired stitches” — these are the slipped stitches from the previous round with their paired yarn overs.

sl 1 YO:  Slip one purlwise while creating a yarn over.  In the video, I show how I “catch” the yarn with my needle as I slip the stitch on knit rounds.  For purl rounds, just slip the stitch purlwise with yarn in the front and add a YO at the same time.

Additional Info

There are so many sites who do great brioche tutorials, if you don’t find mine helpful.  I love The Purl Bee especially.

bk2tog [brioche knit 2 together]: knit next knit stitch together with its paired yarnover

YOS [yarn over slip]: bring yarn forward, slip 1 purlwise, bring yarn over right needle

The Pattern

Loosely cast on an even number of stitches.

Set Up Row: *YOS, k1, repeat from * to end of row.

Row 1: *YOS, bk2tog, repeat from * to end of row.

Directions

I found brioche difficult (actually, impossible) to learn through written instructions.  Please watch the video above.  I’ve made two of these cowls and still find it difficult to write out instructions!

Cast on 120 stitches in COLOR B (Helium shown).  I prefer long tail cast on.

Place stitch marker.  Join, being sure to not twist your stitches, and knit 5 rounds.

Setup round: Using COLOR A, (k1, sl 1 YO), repeat to end.  On the entire round, you’ll knit 1 stitch, then slip the next stitch purlwise while creating an additional loop of yarn.

Round 1:  Switch to COLOR B and bring yarn to front.  (sl 1 YO, bp2tog), repeat to end. On the entire round you’ll slip the single stitches and create an additional loop of yarn at the same time.  On the slipped + YO stitches from the previous round (I call these paired or doubled stitches), purl them together.

Round 2:  Switch to COLOR A and bring yarn to back.  (bk2tog, sl 1 YO),  repeat to end.  For the entire round you’ll knit the paired stitches together, then slip the single stitches while creating a YO.

That’s it!  Repeat rounds 1 and 2 for 127 rounds total.  To transition from brioche back to stockinette, knit every knit (single) stitch and k2tog on the stitches with yarn overs.  Knit 5 rounds in COLOR B, then bind off.

Weave ends.  Soak cowl and block aggressively.

 

two color brioche knitting color combo suggestions

I think the real fun of this pattern is in the color combinations.  Since I love Maxima so much, I looked through a bunch of different colorways and made some suggested combinations!  At the moment, I think my favorite mix is Currant + Sand or Peach Melba + Natural.

 

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In progress – baby alpaca lace shawl

by Stef on April 8, 2015

in Knitting

EZ 100th Anniversary PI Shawl: Gull Wings

Thanks to the long weekend, I finished my second brioche cowl (pattern soon!).  Since I haven’t yet decided what to do with the fingering weight shrug that I no longer need, I jumped to another project on my list and finished off a sock yarn hat.  With two projects done, I gave myself the go ahead to start something new from stash yarn.

Between socks, the hat, the cowl, and a stash yarn blanket, I feel like I’ve had a lot of monotonous knitting on my hands lately.  Totally craving something that required constant counting and focus, I dived into a modified Pi Shawl from my recently purchased Plymouth Yarn Baby Alpaca Lace.  The pattern is an Elizabeth Zimmerman 100th Anniversary Shawl called Gull Wings, available on Ravelry here. I’m quite a few repeats past when this photo was taken, but things are going smoothly so far.  I’ve been reckless in my use of lifelines (and by that I mean that I haven’t used any) and I’m sure I’ll learn my lesson before long.

You may notice that the center of my circular shawl is totally missing.  I love these circular shawls but struggle with how to wear them.  Having something long and drapey hanging off my shoulders just isn’t practical for my everyday life, so I decided to experiment with taking the center out so I could hang the shawl around my neck, either wearing it sort of like a capelette, or just bunched up like a regular cowl or shawl.  This is just an experiment, so no promises how well it’ll turn out!

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Stash Update – March purchases & time to reassess

April 2, 2015

Clearly, I’ve gone mad and temporarily forgotten my stash goals, but that’s no reason to totally fall off the wagon.  First up, I guess I need to fess up to the bad – New, pre-owned needles from Ravelry ChiaoGoo 6″ Bamboo – $4 Addi Turbo Lace – $9 Addi turbo – $9 TOTAL w/ Shipping […]

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Yarn Chat #3 (New camera, new needles, yarn haul, upcoming projects)

March 26, 2015

New camera My “local” yarn shop NEEDLES Knit Picks Interchangeable I just checked the Addi site and see they’re running a promo for 20% off needles right now! Get yo self some Lace needles! Addi Turbo Addi Turbo Lace ChiaoGoo 9″ Circulars Kamille’s Yarn Shop Austermann Step Simplicity by HiKoo Plymouth Baby Alpaca Lace Juniper […]

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Henslowe Shawl – Finished!

March 23, 2015

Alan and I had a short work trip to Salt Lake City last week.  While we were in civilization, I decided it was time to finally upgrade my camera.  The new one (not an affiliate link, just being helpful) is incredible but ooooo boy there is no hiding from its attention to detail.  This thing […]

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Toe-up Two-at-a-time Socks – Finished!

March 19, 2015

I finally got some pictures of my completed two-at-a-time toe-up socks.  First of all, certain people in the comments, those obviously smarter than me, have been abbreviating this as TaaT socks, which is genius, because I’ve typed out two-at-a-time toe-up more times than I can count. I know we’ve all gone back and forth multiple […]

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