The weather gods are playing dirty tricks!

Strata Fingerless Gloves

Strata Fingerless Gloves

I thought for sure that my friend T’s Rikke would spell the last of my winter knitting. I figured that she’d have very few chances to wear her hat, which was the last of a 3-piece gift: Rikke, Strata (from “Knitting New Mittens and Gloves”) and Eleanor.

Har-dee-har-har. There is actual snow on the car hoods this morning. Not much but it was snow! The average temperature for this date is supposed to be closer to 60 degrees (F) than to 32. Not funny, weather gods. Well, at least I don’t feel so bad about talking up my woolly adventures with alpaca(s). That, and a mug of coffee should warm me up – some.

Details of Strata and Rikke

The plan was to knit accompanying pieces that went together but that did not necessarily match.

I made the first layer of Strata with Blue Sky Alpaca sport weight in Capri blue. This was my first foray into making fingers although I’ve made an uncountable number of mittens and fingerless mitts in my time. It turned out to be a lot easier than I thought. The only caveat? Make sure to save a bit of yarn to stitch up and secure any gaps between the digits. The fingerless cream-colored Plymouth Indiecita alpaca top layer was a breeze by comparison. The only digit required is the thumb.

Rikke, Strata and Eleanor

A Winter Ensemble

And Rikke makes three.

I thought the German Twisted Cast-on would be difficult. At least it looked complicated the first time I saw the YouTube videos. I recommend watching 2 or 3 to get the hang of it as each person explains a little differently. How this cast-on manages to be both firm and stretchy is beyond me. I’ll chalk it up to a touch of knitting magic!

The only issue I had (and I’m not sure why) was snugging up the stitches when switching needles during the decreases. I took corrective measures with a tapestry needle afterwards.

For T’s Rikke, I cast on using the remainder of the KSD from Knitty’s Eleanor, completed in mid-November 2010. The 100 yards of remaining yarn formed the first 3 inches of Rikke. The body of the hat was done using Blue Sky Alpacas sportweight in the Capri colorway, held double with cream-colored Plymouth alpaca.  Once that ran out, the crown of the hat and remaining decreases were done in cream-colored alpaca only. I love how it turned out!

Oh, and did I mention I made one for myself? Except mine was made from one skein of bellamoden’s sport weight yarn in the Fahrenheit 451 colorway. This hat, along with my version of Stephen West’s Boneyard shawl became my “go to” gear this past winter.  Both have seen a good bit of wear but they still look fantastic.

Who doesn’t love an adventure?

Have you ever thought about adopting an alpaca? Well, that’s exactly what a group of friends did for Pirate Alice’s birthday (erstwhile alpaca farmer back story). We would occasionally talk about going to the farm where her alpaca lives but it was talk that came to naught. That is, until the fates intervened during the Chicago Auto Show.  A media blogger friend of ours was given an SUV for a week and AlpacaQuest was ON!  The four hours to the White Violet Farms in southern Indiana were worth it to see and feel the wool on the hoof, so to speak.  It was a chilly rain and mud kind of day but with these faces, no one was complaining!


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