Stash Update – January Purchases

by Stef on January 29, 2015

in Yarn stash

tanis fiber arts

January was a pretty slow month for purchases!

After doing my Yarn Club roundup in December, I started following Tanis Fiber Arts on Instagram.  Tanis posted about her big Boxing Day etsy shop update and I immediately rushed over to her blog to check out the yarns that would be available.  Don’t quote me on the exact details, but it’s my understanding that the shop update represents one-off dye lots. Maybe they are experiments, maybe they are seconds? Whatever they are, they’re gorgeous and she warned that they may sell out and get swiped from your etsy cart while you’re still mulling over a decision.  With that kind of pressure, I convinced myself it was best to just avoid the whole thing.  I knew if I rushed to be one of the first buyers, I’d overload my cart with an obscene amount of yarn.

In the afternoon of the sale day, Tanis posted an update to say that just a few yarns were still available.  The shop was almost empty, but I told myself if there was something I loved, I could make one purchase.  Luckily, she still had something right up my alley.  My selection was two skeins of Red label Cashmere/Silk blend in Ravine.  Honestly, this isn’t a yarn base that I would have chosen myself, but the color is pretty much a dream come true for me.  If you aren’t familiar with Tanis Fiber Arts, she offers 10 different yarn bases which are then hand dyed in an array of absolutely stunning colors.  Given unlimited selection, the Blue Label fingering or Purple Label Cashmere sock would be my go-to choices, but I appreciate that restrictions convinced me to think outside the box a little.  This Red Label Cashmere/Silk is luscious in person.  It’s a single ply yarn that is amazingly soft, squishy, and has just the right amount of sheen.  Just looking at the skeins, it reminds me of that Manos del Uruguay Fino that I love, but is even nicer.  This stuff is much more extravagant than I usually allow myself to buy, but I’m excited to use it for something really special.

tanis fiber arts red label ravine

2 skeins Tanis Fiber Arts Red Label yarn + shipping = $70 CAD which worked out to $61.85

I already told you guys about the Follow Your Arrow 2 KAL pattern, so add on another 3.50 GBP which worked out to $5.48

Finally, just this week I decided I just wasn’t into my shrug pattern at all.  I realized that I was looking for other things to keep me busy just so I wouldn’t have to make any progress on it, so I took myself back to the great Ravelry and found a pattern called Conic.  I already started on it and think it has enough detail to keep me interested, without diverting too much attention away from my other projects.  At just $6.50, I’m very pleased with the price so far.

Although my Fiberista Club subscription arrived in January, I already added that onto the December tally so we’ll call this one a freebie month and get back on track documenting it in February.  Adding up the yarn and patterns, I’m sitting at $73.83 for the month of January.



Getting the Jeep road ready

by Stef on January 28, 2015

in Jeep Grand Wagoneer

I honestly wish I could tell you that I’m taking a lead on the work on the Wagoneer because I’m certainly neither adverse nor incapable of at least lending a good helping hand.  The problem is, we don’t have the space and I don’t have the time.  Side note - I’m going to start calling our mechanic M, because it’s not my business to force him to be part of this blog.  He’s our employee at work and has become a friend and he and Alan work well together, so it seems best for all of us that I just let them tackle the Jeep as a team.  Similar to our shop here at work, I jump to attention when called and otherwise stay out of the way.  M is also doing the Jeep work in trade for some snowmobile gear that we passed his way when he moved to town, so things are working out well in everyone’s favor.

We’ve received our latest delivery from eBay, a new transfer case for the Jeep.  I considered going through the intricacies of transfer cases, but… most of you are here for knitting or house updates and I don’t think any of us need to discuss transfer cases at length.  The important part of things is that M insists this one will work which is great news.  We should be up and running in no time.

Onto matters that may interest you more, the Milkshed household is under heated debate regarding new tires for Ron.  I did some quick searches and discovered that some Wagoneers originally came with white walls, to which I say yesssssssssssss.  I love (l-l-love) me some white walls and routinely campaign for a set on the Airstream.  With authenticity on my side, I rooted for this here look:

1985 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Ad

Photo from Classic Cars Today Online, originally available here.

Honestly, I haven’t dived that far into research, but all signs point to these white walls as the perfect tire for the Jeep… in my opinion at least.  All the dudes around me, Alan, M, and my Dad, were aghast at the suggestion of white walls and voted for a more rugged mud tire.  Problem is, if we start putting mud tires on Ron, it’s only a matter of time before Alan steals him from me and tries to actually take him through the mud.  I know what you’re going to say – it’s a Jeep!  And yes, I agree with you, but it’s also a pretty classic Jeep that’s still in relatively good shape and I’d like to not totally trash it on the trails around here.  The Jeep will see plenty mountain terrain and will certainly go on adventures and tow a camper, but I don’t want to encourage total trail destruction.  We have ATVs or Alan’s Christmas present for that.


Photo “Jeep Grand Wagoneer 001” by Tennen-Gas – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Look at the photo above.  It’s good, yes, but is it as good as white walls?  Come on.  Surely this isn’t even worthy of debate and you’re all on my side!

Since we already have projects aplenty in our lives, tires were sort of on the back burner for budget reasons.  No matter, though, because when my Dad located these tires on eBay, the debate was settled.  Big ups for eBay, btw.  The Jeep is pretty much sponsored by them, except not, because we actually have to pay for things when we order them.  Price won out in this case, therefore I won, because these tires are on the way to us as we speak.

How excited am I?  So excited.  Seriously.

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In progress: Follow Your Arrow 2 – Clue 1

by Stef on January 26, 2015

in Knitting

Knit Picks Hawthorne fingering

Knit Picks Hawthorne fingering

I wanted to share this Follow Your Arrow 2 update the absolutely second I was done, but vowed to not post any spoilers until the next clue was released.  Clue 2 was sent out this morning, so here is my finished 1A!

I decided to go with the Knit Picks Hawthorne fingering in Belmont and couldn’t be happier with this yarn.   Yarn choices are super subjective so I’ll try to explain this without offending someone out there…  I’ve tried a ton of options from Knit Picks and consider them to be good, but not amazing.  It’s not really a premium brand but it is well priced, nice to work with, and generally fits my needs quite well.  At the moment, I’m calling Hawthorne the exception to the rule.  Hawthorne is absolutely gorgeous and a joy to work with.  I LOVE it so far.

When I completed both my previous Follow Your Arrow shawls, the mystery KAL was long over and I was able to cherry pick my entire shawl from spoilers before even starting.  This time around I was excited for the knit along, but maybe not so much for the mystery part.  I know myself well enough to know that I wouldn’t be happy with some cr-azy asymmetrical shawl so I took a quick look at the spoilers for Clue 1 on Ravelry, just long enough to decide if I was going to do clue A or B.  At the time I hadn’t downloaded the pattern yet, so I knew roughly what shape I should end up with, but had no idea what actual pattern I was up against.  I think my choice was fun, really quick, and a unique construction choice.  I’m absolutely loving this process and I’m excited to start Clue 2 after work today.

Totally unrelated, but would you look at that African Violet?!  When my parents moved to China quite a few years ago, my Mom gave me her African Violets.  Those same plants survived the 8ish years I lived in our Michigan home but never adjusted well after our move.   Once we had a Wyoming house of our own, I picked up a few new plants at Home Depot and they’re absolutely thriving in our new place.



Finish two, start one / 2

by Stef on January 22, 2015

in Finish two start one

Knit Picks Palette in Silver

Since my last update I’ve finished the hat and my first pair of socks and started my bridesmaid wrap.  Although I want to consider how much I have going on at once, I definitely can’t limit myself to just one project at a time. I’ve discovered that the wrap is a fairly monotonous project so I’d like something more complicated on the needles for when I want to mix things up.  The Follow Your Arrow 2 KAL is a perfect compliment.  One is easy, one is more complicated, and they don’t require that I have the same needles in use at the same time.  Since I’m technically starting two projects, not one, I wanted to finish some things that I’ve had in limbo for ages.

I should clarify that when I mean finish, it really means… deal with, however that needs to be done.  It could be something as simple as weaving in the ends on a project that is largely complete, then documenting it to share here if it’s worth doing so.  It could also mean pulling something from the deepest, darkest, most embarrassing corners of my stash and identifying why the project was tossed aside for weeks/months/years.  Maybe I needed more supplies and stopped in the middle or maybe it’s flat out not working and needs to be frogged.  Today, my finish two falls in the latter category.

Herringbone knit stitch in Lucy's Sheep Camp

First up, this herringbone knit that I posted about ages ago.  Let’s call this great yarn, poor execution.  The yarn is from a local company, Lucy’s Sheep Camp.  I worked the skein in herringbone stitch and planned to use it as a throw pillow.  This is a perfect case of rushing into a project without a clear idea in mind.  I was majorly into herringbone stitch at the time and, after Radio ruined a different herringbone project as a puppy, I tossed that one aside and started this one out of frustration.  I still think herringbone is lovely and still love this yarn, but they aren’t a good match.  I only have one precious skein of yarn and herringbone uses a lot of yardage.  I still think the yarn should become a throw pillow eventually – perhaps for our bedroom, where it won’t cross paths with the dogs – but I want something simple that lets the yarn shine.  Maybe just stockinette with a fat cable up the middle?  For now, the goal is just to clean house and deal with these abandoned projects that take up space and stress me out.  I ripped this one out and wound it back into a ball for later use.  Done!

Scrapped kid's sweater

Next, this sweater, which I’ll admit is poor yarn, poor execution.  It seemed like a good idea at the time, but I started before I was really skilled enough to take on these kind of details.  I also ran out of yarn at the time, so it was tossed aside while we waited on our next trip to town.  There’s a lot going wrong here.  I like the yarn visually, I don’t love working with it.  I didn’t do a gauge swatch either and ended up with a sweater that would likely fit a 5-7 year old which is something I have zero use for.  I decided to scrap the whole things and set the yarn aside for another project.  I’ve been thinking about starting a big weaving (I know, so Pinterest, ya’ll) so it shouldn’t go to waste.   Done!


Upgrading the master bedroom

by Stef on January 20, 2015

in Wyoming Home

Dreamfoam Bedding Ultimate Dreams King Size Supreme Gel Memory Foam Mattress,

When Alan moved in a few years ago, we decided to upgrade my pillow top mattress pretty much immediately.  We ended up purchasing a queen size Tempurpedic Cloud Supreme.  Alan has some back issues so the absolutely painful price tag – $2,800 if I recall correctly – was an investment in our health and happiness.  At the time, I don’t think we even considered getting a king mattress.  We needed something that would fit my Crate & Barrel bed frame and our old bedroom couldn’t fit a larger bed.  Unfortunately, we didn’t properly consider that we’re collectively pretty large and need a lot of sleeping space.  What’s the phrase about throwing good money after bad?  I’d already invested in an expensive bed that was supposed to last for forever, so instead of getting the mattress we needed, we spend a TON of money on a mattress that would fit… then resisted getting a larger mattress for yeeeeears because of the sunk cost.  You see where this is going.

Alan and I never buy each other presents for the holidays.  Instead, we just agree on something that we both need.  This year, given our absolutely massive master bedroom, we decided it was time to finally upgrade our sleeping situation. I know that some people would consider a queen perfectly large, but we were waking each other up constantly with the bumping, kicking, fighting over blankets, breathing on each other.  It was not a good time and seriously affected our sleep and attitudes.

I should point out that quite a few blogs are getting sponsored mattresses right now, but this blog is definitely not one of them so it was time to bust out my best shopping skills.  Our first instinct was to just get another Tempurpedic Cloud Supreme.  The price tag for a king size? Oh, somewhere around $3,400 which was beyond out of budget.  Cut that price in half and we were still waaaaay out of budget.  I started searching for things like “Tempurpedic Cloud Surpeme Knockoff” and landed on a few mattress forums.  Obviously I lead a very riveting life, what with all those mattress forums I read in my spare time.

Enough back and forth, because I want to keep this long story from being excruciatingly long.  Our final choice was the Dreamfoam Bedding Ultimate Dreams King Size Supreme Gel Memory Foam Mattress, purchased from Amazon for $799 and considered to be a “Tempurpedic Cloud Supreme” equivalent.  After great success with a mattress cover on our Tempurpedic, I also grabbed this waterproof mattress coverThe new mattress meant we also needed a new bed but the one we chose wasn’t slated to arrive for 4-5 weeks, so I bought this King bed frame.  The product photos show it placed inside a complete bed in place of traditional rails.  I checked measurements multiple times and rationalized that we could do the same.  Spoiler – we couldn’t.  Now that our bed frame has arrived, we’re giving the plain support frame to my parents for their place in town, so it won’t go entirely to waste.  

skyline nail button border bed navy velvet

With so much wood in our bedroom already, I wanted to change things up a little bit with our bed choice.  I’ve always wanted an upholstered bed so I finally took the plunge with the Skyline Furniture Nail Button Border Bed in Navy Velvet.  For $450 this obviously isn’t an heirloom piece, but I’m actually really pleased with the construction! I considered picking something tan or khaki so it wouldn’t feel too “trendy”, but our curtains are already tan and you don’t even want to know the saga that we’ve gone through with blackout curtains.  Since Alan doesn’t care about decisions like this even one bit, the navy was my ode to him.  I love the bed, I knew he’d like the color.  Easy enough!  

I have lots of thoughts on both the mattress and bed, but I’ll share them in more detail once I have suitable photos of our room.  Our room has been a disaster zone since the day we moved in, so it’s time for us to put a little more focus on it and get it cleaned up soon.  For now, you can see these two sketchy phone photos.

The room is so ridiculously large that we let the bed expand next to our queen bed and still could have fit another half dozen king size beds scattered around the room.  For real, this bedroom is larger than some apartments I’ve lived in.  Had I built the house, I wouldn’t have laid things out this way, but we’re livin’ with what we’ve got.


simple hat cascade 220 mint

I finally finished the hat that’s been haunting me!  Bothered by the prospect of making my friend wait even longer, I went for my old standby – the Quick Cabled Slouch hat, this time converted for worsted weight yarn.  I also changed the decreases a bit, but it’s nothing worth sharing in too much detail.

As I mentioned before, the yarn is Cascade 220 in the most lovely shade of mint.  While I love the color, I can’t say that I’m all that thrilled with the yarn.  The finished hat is beautiful and should keep my recipient warm all winter long, but the yarn was a bit dull to work with.  I know Cascade 220 is really popular, but I’m honestly not all that sure why.  It’s fine, I guess, but I think there are better options for run of the mill worsted weight wool.  Nature Spun, a thowback option for me, one that I used over and over and over again maybe 2 years ago, offers more yardage for less money and it blocks out much softer.  There’s nothing particularly wrong with Cascade 220, I’m just not in love with it.  If I’m looking for workhorse worsted wool again, I’ll start with Nature Spun.  If I can’t find the right color in that option, I’d use Cascade 220 as my secondary choice.

simple hat cascade 220 mint

simple hat cascade 220 mint

It’s a simple detail, but I think my favorite part of the hat is the way the ribbing leads right up into the cables.  It’s a lovely detail that makes for a nice finished piece.

With this and my socks complete, I’m all cleared to start work on new projects… which is great because I already have! Once I get over the fear of taking pictures of my feet and posting them on a blog (ugh) I’ll share those finished socks.


This or That? Yarn selection for upcoming Follow Your Arrow knit along

January 16, 2015

I posted about my original Follow Your Arrow shawl just a few weeks ago.  If you are intrigued by the idea of a mystery knit along (KAL) or you’re into the idea of trial-by-fire improvement to your lace knitting, maybe you’ll join me (and countless others) in the Follow Your Arrow 2 KAL.  I bought […]

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Video unboxing // January Fiberista Club yarn subscription box

January 14, 2015

In the spirit of the new year and trying new things, I decided to record a video for my January Fiberista Club subscription.  If you are relatively new, I did a roundup of yarn clubs just before the holidays and decided that, for me, a yarn club was a great way to still have the […]

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Meet my 1985 Jeep Grand Wagoneer (aka huh, what? something that’s not knitting?)

January 12, 2015

I posted this picture in my 2014 round up but haven’t yet given any context.  I promised this place wouldn’t become all knitting, all the time so let’s talk about something that’s about as far from knitting as you can get.  I’m sure I’ve said it before, but in case I haven’t, Alan and I are […]

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Milkshed’s new years resolutions and some house keeping

January 6, 2015

I recently realized that this blog is now 3 years old.  I knew I’d been at it awhile, but didn’t remember that it was that long.  I’ve never really taken the blog seriously and often put it on the back burner (or totally off the burner…) whenever we’ve gone through life changes.  Our world outside the […]

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