In the past couple of weeks it’s felt like Michigan just cannot pick a lane, weather-wise. We’ve had more than a couple glorious, sunny and warm days this February - the kind that make us northerners squint up at the sun, stretch out our limbs and rejoice. We’ve also had many days of gloomy grey skies and schools closed due to snow. One week we have projected highs in the 50s one day - and six inches of snow the next.
These wild weather swings keep life interesting. My current knitting project is also a study in contrasts - I’m knitting the Brio-Garter Hat by the one and only Stephen West. This project allows me to dip my toes in the two-color brioche technique - something I’ve admired my whole (short) knitting life. I didn’t know before I started the hat that this stitch is actually a form of double knitting! Each round of two color brioche is knit twice - once with one color and again with the second.
I chose two yarns that are completely different yet complement each other perfectly. The first is a Why Knot Fibers Swift base, colorway koi - a beautiful, one of a kind mix of blues, oranges and a splash of purple in there for kicks. Luxuriously soft and comfortable against my ears, it’s always a treat to see how yarn this variegated knits up. The second yarn is a solidly charcoal, rustic small-batch yarn from our friends Zach and Lindsay at Fat Toaster Farm just outside Grand Rapids. Its spun from their flock of Jacob sheep - an ancient breed that produces lofty, warm and springy yarn. Switching between these two yarns every round of my hat is such a pleasurable endeavor - it keeps me entertained and and mindful of the wide variety of yarn experiences available. The bright, vivid colors in the Swift remind me of waking up to a gorgeous sunny day, and the comforting, sheepy Jacob yarn helps me enjoy the wintery mix that still remains.
Speaking of small-batch yarns, we have an exciting new project in the works that we can’t wait to share with you. Recently, we traveled downstate to pick up many fleeces from our farmer friends in Michigan. Our next stop was to drop them off at our favorite local mill, Stone Hedge Fiber Mill in East Jordan. They will be spinning up skeins of DK and fingering weight yarn for us - a custom blend of fiber grown, spun, and dyed right here in Michigan. Make sure you’re following us on Facebook, Instagram, and here through our website for updates on when this one-of-a-kind yarn will be available to you.
By Christina Barkel
Farmer - Knitter - Blogger - Why Knot Tie Breaker