Wolf Ridge Weekender

January 2016 feels like a lifetime ago for so many reasons. My kiddos were four years younger. Moose was practically still a pup at just 3 years old. We drove a car we no longer own. Lived in a house we sold almost 2 years ago. Bear was not even a twinkle in his mama’s eye yet. So many of those familiar aspects of daily life have changed. When I stop to really think about it, it is truly astonishing.

But it was in January 2016 that my family and I took a little drive… to Montana.

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And this little farm.

Wolf Ridge Icelandics is just outside of Yellowstone National Park and my husband arranged for a stop on the way toward the park where we planned to (and did!) frolic among the wolves and bison and elk and ermine and dippers of Yellowstone. Some of the pictures are missing from the blog post — I’m not quite sure what’s going on with that — but if you’d like to read the original post, it’s right here.

We didn’t go to find the wildlife, however, until I found some special yarn.

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I had to really dig back to figure out what I’d planned to make with this yarn originally. Turns out I’d intended to knit Andrea Mowry’s White Pine. I started it at one point, but something about it didn’t *click*. The yarn actually sat wound into cakes for a year or more after I abandoned the project as I turned over and over in my mind the options I had and went about the business of other things.

At the beginning of this year, however, I decided it was time to start knitting sweater quantities from my stash. Something about spinning and then knitting my Tecumseh sweater ingrained in me the idea that if I could spin and knit this huge cozy sweater, then I could knit any sweater — from millspun or handspun yarn. It was time to stop putting off all those projects for the perfect set of circumstances, the perfectly fit body, the perfect everything, and just knit them up, wear them, and have fun with it.

And thus when our January trip to Missouri to visit Mr. KS’ family was coming up, I grabbed those caked skeins, knit up a swatch, and cast-on before we left so I could knit on the 10+ hour drive.

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And when it became clear that spinning was not going to work during our visit with the needs of the puppy, the time not spent running about with the dogs was spent like this…

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With needles in hand and Weekender inches adding up.

And by the time I got home, I was on to the sleeves.img_5613-1

There’s something to be said for that much driving and down time while visiting when it comes to progress on a big stockinette project like this. And for those wondering, you do knit the body of this design inside out so even though you get the reverse stockinette style in the finished sweater, it’s more accessible for those who are less smitten with purling. I bound off on February 4th, just one month and one day after starting it. Especially considering the mega amounts of positive ease involved, I’m pretty ecstatic with that timeline!

With all the sickness in the house this month (today we do all feel like we’ve turned a corner toward feeling normal, though — hooray!), I don’t have any modeled images of it on me, but so that I could share it without further delay, I snapped some pictures on my dressform this morning.

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It does look like what it is… a giant boxy sweater!

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The drop shoulder design really makes the body & upper arm areas extra roomy.

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 And I cannot get the color picked up properly with the camera so you’ll have to take my word for it that the light heathery-ness of the color with varying hues of white to a mid-brown have a depth that is just scrumptious. About halfway through I panicked that the yarn was too light for this sweater, but I actually think it worked out wonderfully. And it is plenty warm which is perfect for I intend to throw it on for shoulder season hiking out on the trail.

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And when I see it and when I wear it, I’m so glad to be able to reach back in my memory to that other lifetime. To the ermine hopping across the road and the wolves we had such amazing looks at in the Lamar Valley to the coyote trotting along the road to the kids in the super deep snow up in the mountains, and the little farm nestled up against the mountains where a flock of Icelandic sheep live.

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Memories in a sweater — is there a better way to capture them?

Saugerties Reprise

In early spring this year, I finished my Saugerties Shrug.

IMG_9599The pattern was love at first sight for me & I did the unthinkable in order to get this project on my needles: I actually set an alarm and entered the crazy & cut-throat race that are Plucky Knitter updates. Don’t get me wrong, The Plucky Knitter has some incredible yarns and colorways — I don’t think anyone can deny that. I’m just not into how competitive and rushed trying to order this yarn is. In any case, it says a lot that I actually made a point to get the kit.

Of course, there was a little drama. If you’ll remember from my post on the shrug I had narrowed the colorways down beforehand, but I misunderstood which was the main color and which was the contrast color so when the kit finally arrived I was kind of bummed. I emailed customer service — knowing full well it was my own fault — and asked if there was any chance I could buy an extra couple skeins of the dark color, Magnet & Steel, so I could flip the colors. They were prompt & friendly and set me right up and I went about the business of making my shrug. As you can see, it turned out great and I wear it all the time around my house now. It’s just perfect for throwing on for an added layer especially in the early morning or when I have to let Moose out. My husband compliments me on it a lot, too, which is kind of cool. When you knit as much as I do, I think those around you kind of become immune to fabulous knitwear so pointing out particular interest in one piece means it must be pretty special.

In any case, I decided last week it was time to make the matching hat. I’ll admit to having multiple motives. I wanted to knit a cool hat, yes, but I also knew it would be a good way to get my hands back in the groove of colorwork for a holiday project which I wanted to start. I got it on the needles the day before Thanksgiving and worked it just until I got past the needle change and got the second color started…

IMG_1485Once our noontime Thanksgiving meal was over and my cleaning duties complete, I settled back in with it while I visited with my mom. And before I knew it…

IMG_1489I was on the crown!

IMG_1493-1I finished just in time to watch the (less than stellar) Packer football game with my dad.

 IMG_1534And, of course, it’s been put through its paces. I honestly did not realize it was as slouchy as it is before I started. And yes, it’s supposed to be — I did check my gauge repeatedly throughout as well as once it was complete and it’s spot-on. I was a little unsure about that slouch when it first came off the needle, but I’m digging it now. It’s a great addition to my cold weather wardrobe.

Along with the successful hat, the project I was using it to prep for was also a great success…

IMG_1513-0I’ll just share one quick in-progress black & white photo for now and then I’ll share a proper FO post after the holiday. The recipient knows they are coming, but doesn’t know which colors I selected and I think it’ll be more fun to keep that a secret. Suffice to say, I purchased this pattern way back at the beginning of summer and was delighted to have an excuse to knit up a pair of these fantastic slippers. They knit up in a flash and turned out just wonderful, no doubt in thanks to the extra practice with my hat. It’s rare that I plan my knitting to work out quite so neatly, but I have to admit I’m pretty pleased with how these two project played out. A new hat for me, a holiday gift complete all by way of knitting with one of my favorite techniques. What a great way to spend a a few days worth of my crafting time!