Iron (Wo)man

Recently, I discovered that I'm severely anemic. So much so that it's affecting the hemoglobin in my blood. As a result, the doctor has prescribed that I take 1,000 mg of ferrous sulfate daily - which, from what I understand, is a whole lot.

I don't know much about anemia or iron supplements but I've gotten a crash course this week.

According to WebMD, symptoms common to many types of anemia include the following:
  • Easy fatigue and loss of energy - YEP
  • Unusually rapid heart beat, particularly with exercise - YEP
  • Shortness of breath and headache, particularly with exercise - YEP
  • Difficulty concentrating - YEP
  • Dizziness - Not really
  • Pale skin - Um...I'm Italian. This never comes into play
  • Leg cramps - YEP
  • Insomnia - Not really
This is totally me.

And, since my anemia is specific to an iron deficiency, I may also have:
  • Hunger for strange substances such as paper, ice, or dirt (a condition called pica). - No. Just sugar.
  • Upward curvature of the nails referred to as koilonychias.- Oh....gross!NO! (thank baby jesus)
  • Soreness of the mouth with cracks at the corners. - Nope
Nature Made Iron 65mg, Equivalent to 325 mg Ferrous Sulfate - 300 TabletsSo, when I was at the pharmacy buying my giant jar of iron pills, the pharmacists (who I adore) and I got talking about how severe my anemia was. She asked, "What are your symptoms?" and I replied, "Well, I'm tired all the time - but, really, who isn't?"

And this is the truth of it. Ask anyone how they're doing and very often the answer is "I'm exhausted" or "I could use a nap" or something along those lines. We are such a culture of tired people that my symptoms were undetectable as an actual health issue without a blood test. I assumed that everyone fell asleep sitting up. Or got winded going up a slight incline.

On top of that, I'm "of a certain age" which means that many of those symptoms could have been (and might still be) attributed to girly-issues too. I guess we'll find out once my blood is back to normal.

Which leads me to my final thought on this subject - iron supplements SUCK. Or, more accurately, the side effects from taking iron suck. First on the list: constipation. I'm talking the kind that requires drinking prune juice to counteract it. What am I? 80 years old? Next: black poop. Trust me when I tell you, this is seriously disconcerting. And finally, my personal favorite: severe nausea. Like, "I can barely eat anything" kind of nausea or "I haven't been this sick to my stomach since I had food poisoning" kind of nausea. And it's constant. Now, one could look on the upside which is that, in the last few days, I think I've lost 5 pounds. But, really, not a good diet plan. I'm distractible enough without having the threat of constant puking hanging over my head.

Emergen-C Multi-Vitamin Cherry-Pomegranate Flavored FIZZY Drink Mix, 30 packetsI'm doing everything the doctor suggested - I take it after I eat and then put a little food on top of it and I've doubled my water intake. I'm even drinking Emergen-C to help the absorption of the iron. All of these help mitigate the issues a bit, but not enough.

Needless to say, I want and need to fix the anemia but there's got to be a better way. Being tired is WAY better than being pukey. I may try a liquid form of iron which is ridiculously expensive but might not be so harsh. Or, worst-case-scenario, I'll ask the doctor to give me shots. Even shots are better than pukey.

I'd be happy to hear of any tricks or tips you might have to helping with the iron pill side effects - anything to tide me over until I can talk to the doctor next week.

For what it's worth - get a blood work-up once a year. You'll never know what you might find.

- Alex (aka Iron Woman)

15 Minute Superhero

I really, really enjoy the "long haul" when it comes to crafting. Cabled sweaters or quilts that take weeks or months don't bother me a bit. With that said though, I do get a lot of satisfaction from sewing up something that only takes a few hours on a slow Saturday afternoon. Or maybe even just 15 minutes...

The other day, my boys were driving me nuts. They were taking the masks for their superhero guys and trying to put them on themselves, straining the elastic around their heads. Ugh! I couldn't really blame them. They had capes on and it seemed like the next logical step.

Action needed to be taken. I took a piece of paper, stuck it to the face of one of the children, and drew a template while I made him stay still. I was going to quickly sew some boy-sized masks.

Template being cut out of white felt.

Diving into my fabric stash I found some wool felt and fabric scraps and set to work. I used my template to cut out one felt piece and one fabric piece. Taking those two pieces, I put them wrong-sides together and sewed around the outer edge using a 1/4" seam allowance. The raw edges on the fabric are exposed this way, but it really doesn't worry me. This isn't going into the washer and frankly a small amount of fraying looks kinda cute.

Yes, it is a polka-dotted mask. Don't judge!

I then [grabbed one of the children running wild while I was sewing] and estimated out what seemed to be the right amount of 1/4" wide elastic to go around the back of a little head. Using a straight stitch I ran back and forth over the elastic attached to the temple sides on the back (I chose that to be the felt side) of the mask. Done!

Impossible to photograph while "flying".

It only took 15 minutes and letting go of "perfection" to make some little boys very happy. Sometimes simple is best.


Not Raptured

Not that I was expecting to be, but I wasn't Raptured on Saturday. Neither was anyone else on the planet, as far as I can tell.

Truth be told, the whole Rapture/End of the World thing was a pretty interesting distraction this week. I learned more about Revelations than I ever thought I'd know and it was infinitely fascinating to read about the true believers who had "chucked it all" in anticipation of not being here on Sunday morning. I feel really badly for these people. I can't imagine what kind of mental state they must be in because their world did, truly, end in many ways. The foundation of their beliefs was ripped from them. I imagine they must feel very lost right now.

Harold Camping - still has his fortune
And what of the prophet who convinced so many people that the end was nigh? He didn't sell off his assets or give away his fortune, by the way.  He's still pretty set today. According to one very short story I read on the news service, he's "stunned" and "can't believe it didn't happen." He's also 89 years old with, presumably, a pretty good sized bank account. Dude will bounce back, I'm sure. Is he going to support the 20-something family that quit their jobs, sold their possessions, and spent the last couple of months living on their savings so they could proselytize the end? These are the people I worry about. He led a bunch of people down a garden path, promising them eternal bliss and delivering complete destruction of their lives.

Regardless of one's religious beliefs, to accept any doomsday prophesy as absolute truth is incredibly short-sighted. Why would today's prophesy be any more accurate than the hundreds (thousands?) of prophesies throughout the ages? And, if you study history at all, you know that, in times of strife doomsday prophecies spread like the virus that they are. People are desperate for a catastrophic solution to life's problems.

I'm a big fan of the "I'm alive in this moment" approach to life. Right now, as I'm typing this, I'm alive. I make decisions based on the fact that, as of this moment, I'm alive. If the prophet forgot to carry the one and the Rapture is really going to happen on May 21, 2012, I'll deal with it that day, as soon as I see the rolling earthquakes starting. And what is there to deal with at that point, you ask? Probably not much. Maybe I'll choose to sit and knit and snuggle with my dogs until the earthquakes hit my house. I'll probably call my mom and tell her goodbye. I'll definitely eat something really fattening and possibly have a mid-day cocktail. Because, when it's all said and done, there's no escaping the end of the world - so you may as well enjoy those last few hours in the simplest way possible.

- Alex

Just a Peek!

I have been working on a project from the ground up, and it feels so right. While I certainly enjoy the experience of knitting and sewing from patterns, cooking from recipes, or embroidering using coloring book pages as a guide... it doesn't scratch all of my creative itches (or employ my Bachelors of Fine Art). Lately I've been doing some dreaming and drawing. Designing my own patterns to follow. The process is more complex than just following a pattern so the gratification is certainly not instant. But this is a direction that is calling to me and I predict that there will be more "creating from scratch" in my future. 

Soon I should be ready to show you something finished, how I did it, and how you can do it too. For now...just a peek.

Enjoy your weekend!


Our Wish List

Cassandra and I were sitting here discussing all the lovely gadgets that we'd like to run out and buy. We thought we share a few with you and encourage you to give us your opinions on these items. Obviously, we don't own them yet - hence the Wish List - and many are probably frivolous. But, if you think they're a "must have", we'd love to know why. Please also feel free to add your own recommendations for gadgets you can't live without! Maybe we'll add those to our ever-expanding list.

Without further ado, here are some of our favorites:

Juki 2-Needle, 2/3/4/5-Thread Overlock Machine MO-735Juki MO-735 Serger with Coverstitch

A mere $1,000, this is a work-horse of a serger with tons of great features. There aren't many reviews online but the ones we found all liked the machine a lot and talked about how reliable it is. The only important feature that it doesn't have auto-threading which, with a serger, is a god-send. However, for the price, this machine seems to do everything (except auto-threading, of course!) as machines that are twice the price.

AccuQuilt GO! Fabric CutterAccuquilt GO! Quilt Square Cutter

While Cassandra and I are new to quilting, both of us agree that cutting the quilt squares is tedious and may keep us from actually adopting this hobby in earnest. We love the idea of this gadget and, really, at just over $200, it's a pretty inexpensive way to make quick work of a monotonous task.

Simplicity Bias Tape MakerSimplicity Bias Tape Maker

We both think this is the best invention since the telephone. This little machine quickly and easily makes bias tape out of any fabric you choose. Our creative minds are awash with possibilities. And, apparently, you can make 12 feet of bias tape in as little as 60 seconds without burning your fingers. Zowie!

Clover Mini-IronClover Mini Iron

Inexpensive and yet somehow still really hard to justify. When we are pulling out the big iron to press open one quick seam it seems obvious to have this gadget. A little iron for a little job...brilliant. But, does one spend money on something so specific as this when a decent iron will still do the trick? The frugal side of us says "no."

So...that's it. Well, part of it anyway. There aren't too many days that go by without one of us saying "did you see that cool gadget that does [insert convenience here.]"  We really would like to hear your opinions on these or any other gadgets you love so leave us a comment or send us an email. Thanks!!

- Alex and Cassandra


Unlike Alex last week, I am actually thankful for one more week of brisk air. No, I’m not crazy. I do adore all things summer and have been [loudly] complaining about the cold since February. The problem is that I have 2 large wool projects on the needles that I really want to finish.

This will be a cute sweater very really, I'm serious.
Normally, summer weather doesn’t keep me from knitting with wool. I have the luxury of central air conditioning pretty much everywhere I am. But the sweater (Owls by Kate Davies) I am knitting for my teeneage daughter is done in Rowan Purelife British Sheep Breeds Chunky. Anyone who is familiar with this yarn will tell you that it is heavy as heck and frankly, smells like the sheep stall at State Fair. Even the best central air can’t really fight those two monsters.

I am now well acquainted with the smell of the Steel Grey Suffolk.
The sweater body and sleeves are finished and have been attached by the yoke that I have a pretty good jump on. I am hoping to have this sweater done this week if all goes well. And then I will need some good non-humid days to get this sucker to dry after blocking (yesterday would have been perfect!). A smart girl would probably wait until fall to wash and block this sweater...I, however, am an impatient control freak who needs to have closure. I’m pretty sure I will have a finished sweater that took 2 weeks to dry in this humidity (and still smells sheepy).

It is actually very strange for me to have 2 knitting projects going at the same time. I am a start...finish a project...start another one girl. (This phenomena only occurs in my knitting world btw.) For a whole host of reasons I decided to get this sweater out of the way before I finished my Vineyard Wrap. It is not as heavy as the Owls sweater...but it is growing by inches every time I work on it and it is 100% wool. I think it’s probably halfway done. I would really like to get this cast-off before I start something summery...we’ll see if that happens.

My Vineyard Wrap about 12 inches ago...
I’m dreaming about knitting things small and practical. A whole pile of dishcloths maybe?


WTH, Mother Nature?

"If you want the weather to change, wait five minutes." - Every person who lives in Wisconsin

Wisconsin is known for unpredictable weather - just ask any Wisconsinite - and the past twelve months have proven the adage over and over.

The day before there was NO SNOW
Since moving to Madison in 1996, I've seen the gamut of weather, from 20 below zero days in winter to 104 degree days in summer. Granted, these represent the extremes, and we don't suffer from them constantly, but it does illustrate the ridiculousness of our seasons. My first few winters were relatively mild, with the majority of the "bad" days being in January and February. Then, one winter it stayed cold and actually snowed in May. I thought my head was going to explode. Summers were no better. My second year in Madison was the hottest summer on record in, like, 110 years or something. Because they are generally mild, few of the houses have air conditioning. I spent a LOT of time in the lake that season.

However, the most unreliable season of them all is spring. As a matter of fact, I can pretty much attest to the fact that we didn't get to have a spring this year at all. Last week, it was 34 degrees at night and my heat was on. Yesterday it was 83. *facepalm*

Which brings me to today's crafty subject - gardening. I have no desire to work in the garden in a sweatshirt and scarf so my garden has been raked out and that's about it. I feel awful about that because all the plant sales have started and I've barely scratched the surface of where to put things! My inside plant tables are overflowing with sprouted herbs and a couple of little perennials that I couldn't resist but I'm days away from being able to actually getting them in the ground. Every sunny day that I sit in my office is a day I could be turning earth, laying compost, and weeding.

In the interim, here are my tips for starting your gardening when it's still too cold to be outside:

1. Start plants from seeds. Usually, I'm all about convenience and would rather go to the home store and buy lovely, established plants. But, if the weather is keeping you from digging in the dirt, you can get a taste of it by sprouting seedlings at home. You can make seed cups from baby food jars or yogurt containers. Once the seeds have sprouted, you can divide them and put them in bigger containers. Watching the new growth really helps get me in the mood for gardening.

2. Start a vermicomposter. It's a worm farm. This is really only a good tip if worms don't freak you out because you keep them in your house. (Just for the record, I've never had one escape.) Worm composters are amazing, fun, and productive. You feed it your food scraps (no protein please!) all winter long and it makes compost and "worm tea" for your spring garden. I could do an entire post just on this topic so, for now, I'll just recommend that you go online and do a little research.

Can O Worms 00300 Composting Bin
Worms live here.
3. Snuggle up with a good garden planning book.  There's nothing more inspiring than seeing what others have accomplished in their gardens. I'm currently intrigued by the concept of "square foot gardening" - which is just a trendy way of saying "raised bed gardening." You can really get a lot of yield in a small space.

As I look out the window at yet another rainy afternoon and realize that my garden time will be delayed at least one more day, I try to remember my gardens of yesteryear and know that, in a few months, I'll be enjoying the fruits of my labor.

- Alex

P.S. It's hailing now. I posted this 10 minutes ago. Seriously. 

Just Call Me Half-Pint

I have a confession to make, right here and now. There is a part of me that eschews technology. Odd as that sounds from someone who works full-time digitally designing, blogging on the side, and watching TV when she can get a minute to herself. I think it's the constant stimulation, the being reachable no matter where you are, or maybe the way it makes us all so sedentary. There is no peace in the world of technology.

I think that is why my biggest creative outlets are nearly 100% low-tech (with my electric sewing machine as the exception!). Quietly knitting, or doing the other "making" that I do calms the rough waters and reminds me who I am. Buddhist Monks meditate, I press a seam. Same thing in my book.

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to attend a soap-making workshop at Old World Wisconsin. OWW is an interactive historical experience in Eagle, Wis. Here is a blurb from their site:

Journey back to the past at Old World Wisconsin — a vivid re-creation of the working farmsteads and settlements established by European immigrants in America's heartland.

Discover teams of oxen and horses working in the fields, the farm folk preparing hearty meals over wood-burning stoves, and the heirloom plants in well-tended gardens. Stroll through the Crossroads Village and chat with the town blacksmith or the keeper of the general store. Discover the true spirit of early Wisconsin.

The soap-making workshop was low-tech heaven. The entire process was done outdoors over an open fire using tools and materials with which Laura Ingalls Wilder would have been quite familiar. Our instructor, Anne, not only taught us how to make soap, she also told us fascinating facts about life as an early Wisconsin settler. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to explore the grounds and experience the living museum while I was there (soap-making over an open fire takes all day) but big plans are in the works to go back with family in tow. Here are some images from my fun, fun day:

Mixing the lye in vintage glass jars.
Melting the lard over the open fire.
Anne [carefully] adding the lye to the lard.
Hours of stirring, stirring, stirring.
Until this happens.
And then you add the herby-bits.
I got to go home with my own box of soap. It will be cured in a month or so.

The soap we ended up with is powerful stuff. Pretty drying. I will probably be using this batch for laundry. Anne told us how to make modifications to the recipe to make it better suited for skin. It is a really cool process and there is even some talk about trying our hand at this the next time we go camping. I have notions of rose soap...hmmm.


Drumroll, please....

And we have a winner!

Congratulations to pinkundine - the winner of Mighty Distractible's very first give-away. She will be receiving a lovely skein of Brooklyn Tweed's Shelter yarn in the colorway Woodsmoke.

Thank you to everyone who participated. We really enjoy trying out new products and hope to do more reviews and giveaways in the very near future. As a matter of fact, if you have anything in particular you'd like us to try out - a book, a fabric, a yarn, a notion of some sort, etc - please let us know!  Just email us or leave a comment in our comment section.

=========================== Today's post:

In keeping with the review theme, I'd like to tell you all about a movie I saw yesterday. Queen of the Sun is a documentary about bees - specifically, about the bee crises that we're facing in the US and Europe. It was fascinating and I'd really like to encourage everyone to see it.

Bees are suffering from something called "colony collapse disorder." This is a phenomena where an entire colony of bees will abruptly disappear for no apparent reason. In the US alone, we've lost over 5 million colonies in recent years which accounts for nearly half of the country's the bee population. Interestingly, Australia and New Zealand have not experienced colony collapse, as yet.

Scientists are scrambling to discover why this is happening - and for good reason. Bees are critical to our ecosystem and, if we don't have them to pollinate our fields, we will, quite literally, have no crops. Imagine if your only food was oats and potatoes... no fruit, no vegetables, no tree nuts, etc. And, this is just the tip of the iceberg. The domino effect that would happen if the bees died out is really complex and frightening.

For years people have speculated that colony collapse is a result of pesticides, genetic engineering of crops, the widespread use of hormones and antibiotics in farming, and various other reasons. This movie posits that the real culprit is mono-culture farming - ie: 600 acres of nothing but soy. Or corn. Or almonds. Or whatever. When you farm a single crop over such a huge expanse, the bees can't live on that land year-round. They need things that bloom throughout a long season so they can build up their stores for winter hibernation. If they can only pollinate for one month (or less) they die out, or move somewhere else.

Perhaps the most disturbing image in the movie was the scene of tractor-trailers trucking thousands of hives across country in order to pollinate the almond crop in California. It was the most unnatural thing you could imagine - they feed the bees corn syrup laced with antibiotics in order to "wake them up" so they can pollinate 600 acres of trees and then get shipped back to their home state - sometimes as far away as New England. Many bees die along the way and the mix of bees from different regions of the country means that they're passing mites and diseases back and forth and then trucking those illnesses back to their home states. It's just wrong on a lot of levels.

He brushes his bees with his mustache
Now that I've totally bummed you out, I promise that the movie is hopeful and lovely and sweet. Biodynamic and organic beekeepers from all over the world are interviewed for this film and they are a amazingly dedicated and quirky bunch of folks. The gorgeous shots of bees and flowers are interspersed with fun, animated sections used to illustrate some of the stories.

Those who know me know that I've been talking about having a backyard hive for a couple of years. Last fall, I cleared it with my next-door neighbor (just to be sure no one was going to totally freak out) and I picked out the hive I want to buy (a very small, low-honey-producing one.) So, now I just need to get everything ordered and join the local bee-keeping society because I'm pretty sure I'm going to need some help with this new hobby.

Please read about hive collapse or see the movie. There are a lot of threats to our ecology today but this one is fixable if we act now.

- Alex

It's a Love Fest

A little housekeeping to do before my post:

Don't forget to enter to win some yummy yarn! A skein of Brooklyn Tweed's Shelter Yarn in the colorway Woodsmoke could be yours if you do one or more of the following...

1. Leave a comment here on Monday's blog entry
2. Become a follower of this blog
3. Join our Mighty Distractible group on Facebook
4. Follow us on Twitter

Winner is announced Friday! Good luck!

Last night I realized something as I was pouring over my project list on Ravelry. I never did follow up with you on my little boy cabled sweaters I knitted for the winter holidays. There was a promise of a follow-up here and I totally spaced it. Oops!

The perfect sweaters for spring...who knew?
But, it's actually okay. In Wisconsin May is chilly, so my littles have been wearing these sweaters nearly every time they go outside these days. Way more than they did over the winter months. I'm so glad I chose bright green and blue cotton yarn because it is so appropriate for spring. I think I might make this sort of choice again next fall when I plan their next sweaters.

The yarn, Classic Elite Provence, was spendy, but worth every penny. What a dream to knit. I have used cotton many times and this was by far the least "splitty". The colors were so vibrant and fun that I never actually tired of them after all those hours of cabling. And speaking of the cables, wow did they pop with this yarn. This was the recommended yarn for the pattern and I'm so glad I didn't try to substitute it with anything else.

This blue is amazing.
The pattern itself was just spot-on. All directions were clear and perfect. A FREE pattern (aptly named Provence Child's Pullover) published by Classic Elite. How awesome is that? The cables were simple and I think anyone experienced in sweater construction who wants to try their hand at cables should consider this pattern. It took some time to follow that chart, but the results are well worth it.

Loved the yarn and loved the pattern.... love the little sweaters!



Cassandra and I are proud to announce our very first give-away! One skein (140 yards) of Shelter yarn by Brooklyn Tweed in the colorway Woodsmoke, Lot 02.9902.

From the label of the yarn:

100% American wool. Grown in Wyoming. Spun in New England. 

Shelter is an artisnal, woolen-spun yarn made from the fiber of Targhee-Columbia sheep grown in the American West. The yarn - spun in the historic mill town of Harrisville, NH - has been meticulously crafted to suit the needs of the passionate knitter. We hope you'll love working with this yarn as much as we do!

To win this skein, simply read our reviews below and then correctly answer the question at the end by leaving your answer in our comment section. Each correct answer will be an entry to win. You can also enter by following us on Facebook and Twitter. If you already follow us, leave us a comment on our Facebook wall or send us an @reply and mention this review. Each new follow and each comment from an existing follower counts as one additional entry. Winner will be chosen by random drawing from all the qualifying entries on Friday, May 6 at 3pm CST.

Cassandra's Review:

The Yarn
Score: 5 out of 5

When I first opened the mail package containing the yarn for this review, I have to admit to being a little wary. Not sure what I expected, but, this yarn seemed way too lofty and had the appearance of being frail. I am a big fan of Jared Flood’s style and taste and so I put my reservations aside and pressed on. So glad that I did. I was wrong, wrong, wrong. Yes, it was lofty...and that meant it was a dream to knit. And I lost nothing in stitch definition, as you can see from my knitted sample. And frail, no way. I actually gave it some hard tugs to test it out. I had some trouble understanding the pattern I was knitting and had to rip out a couple inches about 5 times (in the same spot). The yarn sprung back each time. Strong!

This yarn is gorgeous. I am making a sweater at the moment (with another yarn purchased before I discovered this) that I wish I was knitting up in Shelter. It would have a wooly appearance but I think is softer and wouldn’t itch the wearer. Oh, and I haven’t even talked about the color. All of the colorways are so tasteful, you really can’t go wrong. This yarn is lovely, go buy some!

The Pattern
Cassandra’s Score: 4 out of 5

Yes, I made a tea-cozy. What of it? 

The Lumpy-Bumpy Tea Cozy 
by Kristen Rengren

The finished product speaks for itself on this pattern. It turned out as cute as I hoped that it would. Sure, I had some painful moments at first (refer to the ripping above), but once I got it I cruised along nicely. The ripping I had to do was not a reflection on this pattern... total user error! As a matter of fact, I messaged the pattern author on Ravelry for help and she got back to me right away. How sweet is that? This was a free pattern, it knitted up quickly and it only took 1 skein of  Shelter. Love! The one thing I might do to change it is to thread a grosgrain ribbon through the eyelets to cinch it up instead of the crocheted yarn chain. I think the bows at the handle would be sweet. 

Alex's Review:

I had some trouble choosing a one-skein (140 yard) project for this yarn.  I knew that, whatever I made, I wanted to keep it so it had to be a hat or scarf or something. I ended up choosing – of all things – a Jarod Flood pattern to go with my Jarod Flood yarn!

The Yarn
Alex's Score: 5 out of 5

When Cassandra brought the yarn in and handed it to me, my first reaction was that it was oddly springy and not soft but not coarse either.  I couldn’t decide whether I really liked the feel of it or not. The color Cassandra chose is a wonderful, earthy mushroom color that, of course, appealed to me right away. 

Once I went to work with it, I fell in love. The springiness I felt makes for a great “feel” while you’re knitting. The fibers held together beautifully – no splitting AT ALL – and it was much softer than I’d originally thought.  The yarn is just a tiny but “rustic” in that the spin isn’t slick and even all the way through. I like this because I think it lends a more interesting look to a project but one slightly off-putting thing was that I’d occasionally hit a bit of something scratchy or hard in the spin. I have no idea what this was. I’ve worked with wool that was spun on farms and found bits of straw or hay in them but this didn’t seem to be barn-floor-debris.  I just left them in there. My finished project – a really cute hat (see below) – came out beautifully.

I will definitely be buying more of this yarn in the future.

The Pattern
Alex's Score 4.5 out of 5

I ran through the one-skein choices on Ravelry and, oddly enough, ended up with a Jarod Flood pattern called Quincy. This hat has an interesting Mobius strip design that makes it look like a cloche when worn a certain way. The image on the front of the pattern is what attracted me.

The pattern was easy enough. It required a few techniques I’d never done so I got to break out my old pal, The Knitters Companion. Basically, you do a provisional cast on (thank you Knitters Companion) and then you knit a 144 row “scarf” with a built-in I-cord on either edge. Once that’s done, you flip the band in the middle, fold the thing in half and Kitchener stitch (thank you Knitters Companion) the seam together. Once that’s done, you pick up stitches from the inside of the I-cord and knit the crown. Easy-peasy!  Of course, my Kitchener stitch seam is REALLY crappy but, overall, I really love the way this came out.  I did find that I had to reinforce the crown “join” at the point where the Mobius strip meets but, otherwise, this was a solid pattern, well written and easy to follow. 

So that's our review of Shelter yarn by Brooklyn Tweed. Now... answer the following correctly in our comments section and you'll be entered to win one skein of this yarn!

What observation did both Cassandra and Alex make about this yarn that led them to assume the yarn might be problematic?

Comments are closed. Please see May 6, 2011 post for winner.

Good luck and thanks for reading us.

- Alex (and Cassandra, of course)

* Mighty Distractible is in no way affiliated with Brooklyn Tweed or Jarod Flood (although, we're pretty big fan girls and would love to be!.) Neither Brooklyn Tweed nor Jarod Flood are aware of or participated in this give-away.