Posts Tagged ‘brooklyntweed’

Unbroken bough

April 16, 2014

I’ve wanted for a long time to actually knit with Shelter from BrooklynTweed.  It’s my kind of yarn for a certain kind of knitting.  It’s ~ sheepy.  Some call it a little “crunchy.”  I don’t judge wool by its softness.  I find that an utterly subjective yardstick that’s rarely relevant in my world: I’m able to wear any kind of wool next to skin.

BrooklynTweed Shelter ~ Tent

BrooklynTweed Shelter ~ Tent

That said, I’m also stuck in the realm of accessory knitting for the present.  Too much happening around this Owl’s nest to dream of executing a garment.  And with a lot of my time spent at a construction site, I needed a second really warm hat since I kept misplacing my favorite Rosebud.

It was high time to pull out some Shelter in the colorway Tent (somewhere between the 1st and 2nd photos) and get it on the needles.  But which needles?  Frankly, I wasn’t going to spend a lot of time swatching for a hat.  I did the next best thing: I asked Jane about her experience with Shelter.  She indicated that it did relax with a bath, so she suggested that a US 7 needle and I’d be off and running.

I knew the pattern I wanted to make was Leila Raabe’s Bough.  Cables and texture for a nice woolly yarn, sure to keep my ears warm.  I did

Bough hat blocking

Bough hat blocking

spend some significant time searching the “Helpful notes” on the projects in Ravelry.  Several people indicated the hat was very large.  I do have a large noggin and a lot of hair.  But if there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s a hat that won’t. stay. on.  Hmmmm.   Time for some fiddling.

Some knitters indicated trouble with Shelter and breakage.  I had experienced that with Shelter’s skinny sister, Loft, but I knew how to work around that, cables or no cables.  (And no, I do not use a cable needle, just some nice slick Addi Turbo Rockets.)

Frankly, it worked up like a dream.  I used the Magic Loop technique and experienced neither breakage nor laddering.  The yarn performed perfectly.

Pattern:  Bough Cabled Hat & Cowl Set by Leila Raabe

Yarn:  1 sk BrooklynTweed Shelter in Tent ~ about 4 yards left without making pompom

Modifications:  C/O 91 stitches, then increased to 105.  Also added one row to the end of the pattern, using k2tog or p2tog as needed to close the hat more, as I did not intend to add a pompom.

See the tree?  Bough?  Get it?

See the tree? Bough? Get it?

Unblocked: Ribbing unstretched measured 15 inches

Blocked:  After soaking in lukewarm water and drying over an inverted vase (as you see here), ribbing relaxed to 19 inches unstretched.

Project marriage: 10  These were indeed made for each other.



July 18, 2012

At last post, some of you wondered, “One short trip, why two projects?”

Because there’s nothing worse than Project Fail at 15,000 feet.

Go on, ask.

How do I know?

Loft in Barn Owl in lace section of Pei

It started out swimmingly.  I began knitting the pretty cowl Pei using BrooklynTweed LoftOh. What. Yummy. Wool!   It made my fingers sing!  Because that’s what Loft is ~ minimally processed, close-to-the-sheep wool in fingering weight.  It is also woolen-spun, so it does not have the tight twist and many plies found in most commercial fingering-weight yarns.

That fact brings with it a certain fragility that makes the appropriate choice of tools essential to knitting success.

And that is where Nutmeg Owl failed in the sky somewhere over Nebraska.

Regular readers know I like my needles slicker-than-snot.  As such, I will often eschew a sharper tip on an Addi Lace needle to avoid its silly, icky “drag finish” and go instead with a plain ol’ Addi Turbo (the difference is in the name ~ turbo!).  Had I packed this project around the time normal people go to bed, I might have paid attention to the fact that the lace chart has nupps.  (Pronounced like “stoops,” if you’re wondering.)  Nupps are the bane of many a knitter.  I’m not usually one of them.

Until knitting with a minimally processed fingering-weight wool on

Dull tips + nupps + Loft = disintegration

dull-tipped original Addis, and finding myself consistently unable to grab the 3rd of the 5 loops to close the nupp.  And you can see what happened as a result.  Poor little Loft pretty much disintegrated.

Total tool fail on my part ~ my preferred Signature stiletto-tipped circs in that size were all tied up on other WIPs (ahem!) back home.

Time to back away from the yarn and move to the other project.

Remnants of Spirit Trail Nona for Plain Jhaynes

One round-trip and seven hours of Downton Abbey later, and my lace remnant-busting Plain Jhaynes mitts are well on their way.  These won’t be plain, either.  Just you wait.

And that is why no sane knitter leaves on a trip without two projects.  Ever.


July 10, 2012

I know I’m not the only daft knitter who does this.

Can’t be.

Upcoming: 72 hours of travel through two time zones to attend a meeting in the desert, then turn around and fly back East.

What will I obsess over most before I leave?

What knitting to take, of course.

With my current project too close to completion, it’s a recurrence of startitis.

Key considerations:  A one-skein project that involves minimal tools, little swatching and nearly mindless instructions.  Because I have some sense, a pattern that I already own.  And a combo I can package easily this evening while packing the other stuff.  You know, clothes, makeup ~ things muggles consider necessities … before my wake-up in the owl-hours to catch my flight.

Sometimes I will spend days thinking this over.

I don’t have the luxury of time now.

But the answer is incredibly simple:  Knitspot’s Plain Jhaynes mitts with Spirit Trail Fiberworks Nona in Seaweed left over from my Phoenix Rising.  It’s a perfect use for laceweight remnants, and since the yarn just happens to be (ahem) in a basket on the coffee table, we can check that off.  Oh – and I have a skein of BrooklynTweed Loft and Pei within easy reach, too, so I can finally write some kind of a review.  Loft in the colorway Barn Owl, to boot. Or hoot.

Check and check.

Season 2 of Downton Abbey is loaded on the iPad.  A defensive measure for the one (long) flight where I appear to be stuck in a middle seat (gulp!).

Now to the rest of that packing list …

Cozy Rosy

January 30, 2012

It’s been awhile since I wrote about Rosebud.  It’s taken that long for me to be in a location where I actually had a model to photograph wearing this Jared Flood design from the BrooklynTweed Fall 2011 book, probably the single best collection of knitting patterns I’ve seen in a decade.

A relaxed Rosebud

A good bath in warm water made all the difference in the world ~ and helped this hat relax significantly.  It also made the angora in the Blackstone Tweed bloom into a nice soft little halo.

I like to block three-dimensional objects in three dimensions, so rather than drying it flat and

Top of the Rosebud

rotating it periodically to try to avoid creases, I stuck a couple of crushed plastic grocery bags in the top and placed the hat over my favorite inverted blocking vase.  No creases to worry about, and the hat lengthened about three inches, too.   I made the larger “slouch”  version on purpose.  (My original, made for charity, was the one-skein non-slouch and would not stay on my head when tried on.)  The second photo is the more accurate color.

Yes, to those who have asked, this is garter stitch knitted in the round, so it’s not for you if you (for reasons I fail to understand) dislike purling.

I’ve road-tested Rosebud in windchills below 10 and out sledding.  It stays on my head, keeps my hair dry and my ears warm.

That’s a winner in every sense.


January 13, 2012

Just in time for a sudden drop in temperature to what winter is supposed to feel like in these parts, here’s some Friday eye candy.

My Targhee Groves

Pattern:  Grove by Jared Flood / BrooklynTweed

Yarn: Sweet Grass Wool 2-ply Targhee, colorway Brilliant Blue.  Or what’s left of it.  Which is still mighty blue.  Again, a heartfelt thank-you to the knitter who left this in the 2010 Stash Lounge at the Knitter’s Review Retreat!

I thoroughly enjoyed this pattern, other than needing to blow it up about 200% to make it readable.  The only reason these sat forlornly waiting for thumbs was my foreknowledge that I’d have to deal with massive color bleed in finishing.  It was reasoned procrastination.

Project marriage score:  10

Matching up pattern and yarn doesn’t get better than this.   Boy, are my hands glad today!


January 9, 2012

Given some uninterrupted knitting time, I do manage to whip WIPs into shape.  Often, they are allowed to sit because I know that when the knitting is finished, I’ll have to confront some other task that is going to hold up the works.  Like clearing off the guest bed to be able to block a shawl.  You get the idea.

Grove mittens

This pair of Grove mittens has been waiting ever so patiently for thumbs since … well, probably since last February.  That’s about the time I finished the first pair and experienced the extreme dye run-off from the otherwise utterly wonderful Sweet Grass 2-ply Targhee. The dye did crock on my fingers while I was knitting with it, so I expected the same thing, to happen when this pair got wet.  I consulted with Dye/Fiber Oracle Shelia January and textile maven Crazy Lanea in advance and thought I knew how to beat this batch.

Simmering, not felting

Thought” being the operative term.  I started with a simmer.  A nice long simmer in vinegary water to try to set the dye.  There was no apparent loss of color in the just-short-of-boiling water.

Digression:  Yes, this is 100% wool, and yes, it can and will felt (beautifully).  But not if temperature remains constant and agitation is kept at a minimum.  Don’t let anyone tell you that you can only wash wool in cold water.  It’s simply not true.

The run-off begins ...

I placed the mittens in same-temp water with Eucalan woolwash to rinse the vinegar – and saw instantaneous, massive color run-off.  Look at the color of the water.  Holy Synthrapol, Batman!  This time, I know what needs to come next.

As blue as the Aegean ...

It’s time for Synthrapol.  A nice still-pretty-darn-warm bubble bath.   If you work with yarns that are hand-dyed, or you like blue or red yarns that are hand-dyed, it’s a good thing to have on hand.  The water turned cobalt.

Let’s rinse them, and try it again.

How much dye ... ?

Somewhere the Yarn Goddess has her head thrown back and is having belly-laughs at my expense.   Come on, already!

This is insane!  How can there still be color left in the mittens???

I won’t torture you with more pictures of the same.  Suffice it to say that on the third wash, I left the mittens to sit a good while, removed them for a rinse, and then gave up.  I will not use 50 gallons of water to rinse a pair of mittens.  That’s just silly.

Look - it's only swimming-pool blue!

Time for one last dip in Eucalan to remove any remaining really-not-good-for-anyone chemicals.

Progress!  At last!

Suffice it to say that if my mittens should turn a snowman’s head blue, I shall live with it.  And if they turn my fingers blue, I’ll manage.  (The inside of my winter jacket is bright blue anyway.  I would even scoff at the Yarn Goddess if I did not know that retribution would be swift, painful and utterly out of proportion.)  The yarn, left by a generous knitter in the Stash Lounge at the KR Retreat in 2010 is wonderfully perfect for New England winter.

I do wonder what the green skein will do, though.


January 5, 2012

Oscar Wilde had it right.  Sometimes the only way to get rid of temptation is to give in.

I did.  And in the space of 3 days, here is my first FO of 2012.  The pattern is Rosebud from the out-of-this-world BrooklynTweed Fall 2011 Collection.  I knitted a one-skein version of it on smaller

Rosebud, unblocked

needles as a charity hat.  The yarn is Berocco Blackstone Tweed from our Knitter’s Review Retreat swag bags in 2010.  I thoroughly enjoyed knitting with this blend of wool, mohair and always-loved angora, and knew it (desperately) wanted to be on a bigger needle.  The pattern was fun and thoroughly addictive.

So at this year’s retreat, I watched the Stash Lounge in the hope that other knitters might destash their skeins.  Lo and behold: Two in the same dyelot!  Bingo!

Since Christmas, I have been trying – really trying – to finish up some UFOs that have been waiting patiently on the back burner.  But I need someone clever to explain to me please how it can be that I can knit for three nights on the same sock cuffs and still NOT have achieved the last half-inch before the heel flaps?

Confronted with that physics problem, I did what any smart knitter would do:  I put down the socks for some instant gratification.  Rosebud.  With two skeins, for the full-sized slouchy version to cover my noggin and head o’hair.   Still needs blocking and modeling.

Back to the UFO parade for me.

And to see if those little sock legs (on US 0 needles) might have knitted themselves while they sat in Time Out.

One can hope.

Ciao 2011!

December 31, 2011

Putting up a new calendar will be something I truly relish.  2011 brought one significant and wonderful change to my household, but also some major life difficulties.  We made it through.  I mostly made it because of the friends who held me up when I didn’t think I could tread water anymore.  I am endlessly grateful.

With all of that unwanted drama, my knitting output declined significantly.  (So did my yarn purchasing.  I know you don’ t believe that, but it’s true.)  Still, I’m really proud of some of the things I did this year.  A complex

"Craft Activism"

There's my sweater! I knitted that!

sweater executed on tight deadline in 2010 is featured in Craft Activism.   I’ve never had my knitting published before.  Even better: Some very kind designers have seen my interpretations of their patterns online and took the time to say some terribly nice things.  That amazes me.  Good fodder for bad days.  Or for when I look at the numbers and feel like I may have underachieved compared to last year.  But each year is different from its predecessors.

Yarn used in 2011: 7619 yards = 1.4 miles

Finished objects:  17  ~ 2 hats, 2 sweaters, 2 cowls, 2 pair of mittens, 1 Christmas stocking and 8 shawls

One-skein projects: 10

Fibers first used this year: Romney and Finn   The former is pretty common in this neck of the woods, and I enjoyed getting to know it on the needles.  The Finn I used was actually a Finn/angora blend.  While I liked it, for purposes of the monthly Knitter’s Book of Wool wool-along, I learned that I prefer to use the straight stuff so as to have a real feel for the actual wool without the additional fiber that changes its characteristics.

WIPs /UFOs remaining: 14  shudder  Okay, to be fair: two of these are waiting to be blocked, a third needs some pictures taken, and a pair of mittens needs thumbs and a good simmer in vinegar to set the dye.   I have two (ancient) sweaters with identical yarn shortage issue that arose on the sleeves.  These need to have sleeves knitted in from the top down so they are of equal length.  I can do this – it will just take a little time.  And I will pick up another skill.  That will cut into the number.  I did frog a project, too.  That felt REALLY good.  I highly recommend it.

Designers I enjoyed:  Sivia Harding, SusannaIC, Gudrun Johnston, Ysolda Teague, Jared Flood

Favorite yarns I worked with this year:  Spirit Trail Fiberworks Nona, Sunna, Holda, Birte, Verdande.   Berocco Blackstone Tweed.  BrooklynTweed Loft ~ which I haven’t gotten on the needles yet, but know I will enjoy.  Interestingly, without a LYS to call my own, my yarn acquisition was almost exclusively a yarn club, travel/souvenir purchases and yarn/fiber festivals.

Priorities I had for the year:

  • Geodesic Cardigan – stalled temporarily
  • Grove mittens – check!
  • Holland cowl – check!
  • Woodruff mittens – More Jared Flood mittens coming soon in Shelter when I can decide on a colorway.  Yeah, I’m ummm, deciding on a colorway.  Because somehow there are more colorways at my house than there used to be.  (See favorite yarns above.)
  • Bristol’s Cowl – I’ll get there.  Really.  If nothing else, because more people have read my posts about Quince & Co. Chickadee than anything I’ve ever written here.  I can only imagine what happens when I write about Puffin.

Priority from 2010, finally achieved: I knitted a sweater for myself.  And I love it.  Still need some pictures and I’ll show you here soon, but it is done.  All it took was a major power outage and hours of knitting by candlelight.

Other things I’d like to do in 2012:

  • Play with beads:  I’ve started to mess with them in my lace.  They are fun.  Doubtless, they slow me down some, but a little can go a long way in making a piece into a show-stopper.
  • To frog or to finish:  Attack some of those very old WIPs.  We’ll see how that goes.  I have turned from owl to magpie when it comes to shiny new objects (read patterns/yarns) and my attention span may be devastated.

If I seem uninterested in goal-setting, it’s because I sometimes have to remind myself this really is my Zen thing.  My knitting is my own journey and I find it far more interesting to let it lead me wherever it wants to go, than to stick to a prescribed path on the map.  Because at the end of the year, I think it’s kind of fun to look at what I wrote and where I went instead.  It’s all about the trip.

Salut 2012!


November 9, 2011

I refuse to look at the calendar.  To do so would be to acknowledge that in one week, I must finish knitting a sweater, knock out some hats, make swatches for a class, pack things to destash, and get the other occupants of my household ready before I disappear for four delicious days of knitting with no other responsibilities.

LOFT - Barn Owl

In the meantime, I will plug my ears and shout, “LA LA LA LA LA!”  And let you feast your eyes on the contents of a package that arrived at my house long before the power crews.

This, my friends, is BrooklynTweed LOFT.  Colorway:  Barn Owl.

LOFT: Blanket Fort - how evocative

It is the long-anticipated skinny sister to SHELTER, 275 yards of woolen-spun American wool to each hank.   Picture a hank of Jamieson’s Shetland in fingering weight.  Then imagine it “foofed up.”  A skein of LOFT is about twice a poofy.  You DO want to squeeze the Charmin.

In the skein, LOFT reminds me very much of the Sweet Grass Targhee I used to make Grove mittens(also designed by BrooklynTweed/Jared Flood).  No wonder, since LOFT is made from

LOFT: Old World

Targhee and Columbia wool.  It has the same sort of natural stickiness, too, that lends itself to colorwork.  If you liked colorwork.  Or wanted to actually knit colorwork.

I purchased some accessory patterns so I can give LOFT a proper test-drive for myself.  In the meantime, I will point you to the Yarn Whisperer’s rapturous review.

Excuse me while I go back to compulsive list-making so I can actually get out of town …


September 2, 2011

Ahhh, yes.  We have blocking space again.

Pattern:  Juneberry Triangle by Jared Flood/Brooklyn Tweed

Juneberry Triangle in Birte

Yarn:  Spirit Trail Fiberworks Birte, 2 sk, Dancing the Orange.  Skeins were alternated on the main body of the shawl, but not on the wide border.

Needles:  Signature Circs, US 6

Pattern mods:  zilch

Dancing the Orange

Finished size:  63 inches wide by 29 inches deep

Birte is extremely bouncy to knit with.  I can easily understand why it is so appealing for cowls, mitts and other close-to-skin accessories.  I didn’t know quite how it would behave when asked to perform lace tricks.  Based on the fiber composition – 75% Merino, 15% Cashmere, 10% Silk – I knew it would block, but how well was the big unknown.

Birte's bobbles and blocking

Juneberry Triangle was a great demo to find out.  With double yarn-overs and even bobbles, there were plenty of different stitch patterns to block and see what Birte would do after ample drying time on wires.  I gave the shawl a good soak in warm water and Eucalan, then blocked pretty aggressively on wires and dried it for three days.

Well-charted territory

If you like knitting by chart, this pattern is for you.  Each chart comes with clear instructions at the outset as to the direction of even and odd rows.  Even though there is pattern on both the right and wrong sides of the work, the pattern is pretty intuitive.  Some knitters have worked the decorative bobbles larger than the 3-stitch version written.  I opted not to, as I was unsure how Birte would behave when blocked, and didn’t want them mondo big depending on that.

Digression on charts:  Knitters love ’em or hate ’em.  Give me a chart over words any day of the week.  I can see my stitches on a chart the way I can’t in words, and my brain and hands can be at work on a chart without my conscious mind paying much attention at all.  I can’t explain it any better than that.  Maybe I spend too much of my waking time with words to be able to digest them during my knitting time …

All in all, this was a most enjoyable project.  The pattern was clear, the yarn was well-behaved and most suitable.  I flew through it and wouldn’t hesitate to do it again, this time trying it in the worsted-weight wool (Shelter) also suggested for a different look and feel altogether.

Project Marriage Score: 9

Now that the runway is clear, stay tuned.  Lots more FOs just waiting to hop onto the wires.

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