Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Colonel Mustard and a Serendipitous Traffic Stop

On my last trip to Rosehaven Yarns I couldn't resist this sock yarn from BohoKnits.



The yarn is "Ramble" and the colourway is "Colonel Mustard", as in the character from the board game "Clue". Love it! The pattern is from my upcoming Edgewater Knits collection--Snakes and Ladders. Hmm, seems like there's a board game theme here.
See the wrapper for a viola da gamba string in the background? This morning I took part in a gamba workshop given by Ann Marie Morgan, visiting us from south of the border to play a concert at St. George's Cathedral tomorrow. In case you missed it, here's a reminder of what a treble viol looks like (from Knitty Spring, 2013).

Quite a few knitters (notably from Germany) wrote to me when that issue came out to ask if it was a tenor viol. The answer is no; I'm small, and my treble is quite large. It's a sort of optical illusion. And in case you wonder just what viol players play, go here to listen to a very professional rendition of the piece we were working on today.
On my way to the workshop, I stopped at a red light at the intersection of University Avenue and Union Street. There was a large group of cyclists, all wearing matching jerseys making their way through the intersection with the assistance of people with signs. Then, I remembered that the Yarn Harlot was in town overnight with the Friends for Life Bike Rally. And, as the light changed, there was Stephanie herself, careening around the corner looking like a total pro. Go Team Twisted Spinners! Alas, no photos.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

On My Honour

On my way home today, between Picton and the Glenora Ferry, I stopped here.


This is a bakery entirely on the honour system.



There were scones, butter tarts, blueberry pies, lemon squares, coffee and tea ... but no people in sight. You simply leave your money in the jar.


Perfect, indeed!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Preparations

Getting ready here for some photography with my new models, sisters Meg and Kate.



Meanwhile, I'm still trying to retrieve a couple of posts that went into the ether while I was editing during a weird period of intermittent internet connectivity.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Atelier du presbytere

Here in Kingston we've had four days of Artfest, an arts and crafts festival in City Park, just steps from home. This year, for the first time I encountered Atelier du presbytere, a Montreal-based company specializing in linen, hemp, and even vintage textiles and antique furniture, the latter two items imported from the owners' native Provence. The colours are my favourites: neutrals in greys, faded blues, cream, brown, and charcoal. The garments are "one size fits most" with a loose fit adjusted by ties.

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Don't be surprised if you see some my garments being modelled together with a few of these versatile, all-season pieces.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Tutorial: Perfect Picots

Picot edges give a delicate, but tailored, look to a garment. The trouble is that when picot bind offs are executed in the manner set out in most instruction books, the edge can look loose and sloppy, which is the opposite of the intended effect. Often, the little picot points have an unwanted slant.
I wanted to come up with a way of doing a picot bind off that was simple, with a clean, tidy look. And I think, after playing with various methods of achieving this, that the result surpasses my expectations. Indeed, my little points have a bead-like quality that seems to perfectly echo the seeded stocking stitch pattern on the body of my new cardigan.




So, how is it accomplished? First, you need a garter st edge (I haven't experimented with other types so far) with an ODD number of stitches. With RS facing and a needle one size smaller than you used for the garter stitch, *CO 2 sts to the working end of the LH needle,

Use the knitted cast on method, NOT the cable cast on!
then  k2, pass 1st st over 2nd, k2tog, pass 1st st over 2nd, k1, pass 1st st over 2nd, sl remaining st on RH needle to LH needle, and repeat from * to last 3 sts. Finally, CO 2 sts, k2, pass 1st st over 2nd, k3tog, pass 1st st over 2nd, break yarn and pull through last st to fasten off.
The key element of this approach is the k2tog (and the k3tog at the end), which solves the looseness that bedeviled my picot attempts for so long. I hope you give this a try; it's much easier than the traditional hemmed picot edge, and so pretty.
P.S. Happy Canada Day, 2015!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Do you think...

Just home from a stroll around the block.














Do you think gardeners live here?

Monday, June 29, 2015

Better Design: All about Thumbs

There are a lot of ways to incorporate thumbs into mitts and gloves. There's the gussetless version where you knit in a strand of waste yarn, then pull it out to reveal live stitches from which you work the thumb--very good when you don't want to interrupt a pattern stitch on the palm.
Then there thumbs with gussets. I prefer these because gussets allow wrists to be closer fitting and -- ahem, this is Canada after all -- warmer. There are gusseted thumbs worked at the side so that, depending on what else is going on, you can wear the mitt/glove on either hand. In fact, Elizabeth Zimmermann recommended knitting these in groups of three, not two, as invariably one mitt would go missing! This latter type has a drawback, however, which becomes more obvious in fingerless gloves. Without fingers to hold the patterned back of the hand in place, the pattern has a tendency to torque out of position. This is because of the anatomical fact that when we use our thumbs for typing, holding doorknobs, knitting, ...whatever..., the thumb is positioned more toward the palm.
So, after some test wearing of my fingerless gloves, Version 1 (with side thumbs), and frustration at having to twist them back into position every now and then,

See the right-leaning torque?
 I decided to move on to V2, with the thumb positioned 3 sts toward the palm.


Ahh, so much better!


And here you see them in three sizes, including a man's size (the pattern is unisex on purpose) in Quince's tweedy (and manly) "Owl Tweet" in Oak.