I have long admired the beautiful designs of Brooklyn Tweed which embody the rugged American frontier lifestyle. Jared Flood and the designs he curates under the Brooklyn Tweed brand are both classic and functional. And it was time I knit a Brooklyn Tweed design.
But I had sworn off knitting sweaters because I don't wear them often enough to justify the time and expense that goes into making them. But then I had an epiphany. It wasn't sweaters per se that were not functional in my wardrobe but rather it was my dressy sweaters that never got worn.
So I decided to knit myself a practical sweater to wear in the fall and winter months when the mornings and evenings are cool and often downright cold. I wanted something that I could pull on in the mornings when I like to sit outside and enjoy my morning coffee or that I could slip into for my late afternoon hike with Simcha. Something without fuss or bother in a neutral color.
It took a lot of searching before I settled on this design. I already knew I wanted to use Shelter a worsted weight yarn manufactured by Brooklyn Tweed, but picking the pattern was more time consuming. I finally settled on the Little Waves Sweater which is actually a unisex sweater (although there is different waist shaping for each sex). I liked the long sleeves, the pockets, the cool textured design, and the button up front.
The finished sweater came out exactly perfect for what I wanted. My thoughts on the yarn, Shelter, are a little more complex. Shelter is described on the Brooklyn Tweed website as "an artisanal woolen-spun yarn made from the fiber of Targhee-Columbia sheep grown in the American West. This yarn has been meticulously crafted to suit the needs of the passionate handknitter." That might be true but for someone like me who knits a lot shawls and socks with merino wool it's a rough feeling wool to work with. For that reason I actually wasn't too happy while knitting this sweater. But then I tried the sweater on. Gone was the pain just that. Similar to the pain of childbirth (so I'm told) it was forgotten and all I had left in my heart was love for this yarn and sweater.
It's hard to describe the feeling I had when I tried on the sweater. The best I can do is say it was like pulling on a hug. The loftiness of the wool creates a light fabric but it's a thick worsted wool and somehow that comes together to imbue a feeling of warmth and coziness. So the bottom line is that I will definitely knit another sweater using Shelter and I can understand all the love there is out there for this yarn. It is however an outer wear wool in my opinion.
Particulars: Little Wave Sweater designed by Gudrun Johnson (author of The Shetland Trader); Design is from Wool People Vol. 6 (a collection of designs curated by Brooklyn Tweed); US 8 circular needles; 9 skeins Shelter (100% American Wool grown in Wyoming) colorway Truffle Hunt. I knit the smallest size and my only modification was to downsize the sleeves for a more fitted look. I used slightly more yarn that the pattern indicates so I would suggest buying an extra skein just to be safe. For tips on how to knit a sweater with a perfect fix see my post Knitting a Sweater and Tips to Achieve a Perfect Fit. I bought the yarn over the phone as my LYS does not carry this yarn. I found the staff at Churchmouse Yarns and Teas very helpful in picking a color. The buttons are handmade from walnut wood and I purchased them on Etsy from Wooden Buttons Galore. This is a well written pattern and a perfect fitting sweater.
N.B. I lightened the last 2 pictures so you can better see the pattern detail of the sweater. The colorway Truffle Hunt is a lovely rich brownish grey with blue flecks.
Scarf Accessory ~I also knit the scarf that I'm wearing in these pictures. It's knit in a fingering weight yarn with beads added. If I'm going to add beads to a project I like them to show up otherwise it's not worth the time and bother of adding them. The bead I used are oblong shaped with a pretty rainbow yellow color and they catch the light beautifully. The soft yellow color of this scarf makes a perfect early fall accessory.
Particulars: Shallows Scarf designed by Bonnie Sennot (author of the blog Blue Peninsula); US 4 needles; 1 skein 200 Herriot (464 yrd) hand-dyed by Skeins in the Stack (Etsy vendor) in Chamomile colorway (I purchased this kit). I purchased the beads from Earth Treasures Gems (on Etsy) and I used 16 grams Miyuki Long Magatama beads which is more than the pattern calls for because I used more yarn and knit a longer scarf. This was an easy and enjoyable pattern to knit.
Frontier Style Breakfast ~
In the fall it's nice to start the day with a hearty breakfast. After all it is the most important meal of the day! I usually have a slice of my homemade bread with oatmeal but when the days turn cooler I like a stack of pancakes. You could go for the decadent cake like pancakes that I like to indulge in a couple of times a year (I use this recipe Old Fashioned Pancakes). But for everyday pancakes it's more prudent to choose buckwheat pancakes and I love the mix made by Kodiak Cakes. Kodiak Cakes's box tells the story how flapjacks (i.e. buckwheat pancakes) were the hearty mainstay of frontiersmen from the fridged Yukon to the High Sierras. These rugged mountain-men and homesteaders apparently relied on the rich, substantial taste of these flapjacks which contained a powerful source of carbohydrates, protein and fiber, with every little fat. You simply add water to the mix and I like to top them with local honey, fruit and granola. For the picture I used butter and maple syrup, but that's not how I typically eat them. The griddle should be very hot and I spray it lightly with olive oil. Perfect every time.
As much as I have a fondness for the frontier and pioneers I'll admit that my perception of the frontier has been influenced by Disneyland's Frontierland and it's Country Bear's Jamboree (remember I was a child when I first saw this). I still love those rocking bears. But I understand in reality the frontiersmen and pioneers had a very difficult life. In fact, if I had been a pioneer on one of the wagon trains I'm sure I would have been buried along the trail. Probably the first week out. And everyone would have missed my cooking.
Finally to accompany your frontier breakfast you need a delicious cup of coffee. This morning I'm drinking Irish Cream a flavored coffee by Christopher Bean Coffee. Love the aroma and smooth taste of this coffee.
Until next time be well, love well and enjoy fall and all the wonderful colors, flavor and foods of the season and especially the hearty breakfasts!