Friday, November 11, 2022

A More Discreet Raglan Increase

This is a photo of the alternative to the Yarn Over increase that I used in Mr Greenjeans. I don't think there's an agreed upon name (or abbreviation) for it, but Emily Wessel of Tin Can Knits refers to it as a "knit under the bar" increase.

When you come to the point where you would otherwise make a Yarn Over, you simply make a knit stitch under the thread connecting the stitches before and after. Instead of a great honking buttonhole you get this nice, tidy decorative opening. Bonus: like the YO increase, it's fast and easy, especially compared to the more common Make 1 increase.

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

A Winter Uniform

I have a new favourite dress. It's my latest modification of the Carson Dress, this time with 3/4 length sleeves.

The fabric is Robert Kaufman's Brussels Washer, a linen/rayon blend that's perfect for all seasons, but especially winter. It drapes beautifully and resists wrinkles. It can be a little difficult to source in Canada, although if you hunt around the internet you can find sources.

Mods: 1. Neck raised 1 1/2 inches. I might even raise it by another 1/2 inch in the next iteration. The original has a whopping huge opening.

2. The bodice and skirt widths have been reduced by 1/2 inch at each side on the pattern pieces for a total width reduction of 2 inches. As originally drafted, I would have been swimming even in the size Small.

3. I took one inch off the bottom hem, then did a doubled 1/4 inch hem. 

4. I "perfected" the cut of the pocket pieces. The pocket and pocket lining pieces were not perfectly aligned with each other or with the dress front, but that was easily solved. I find this sort of thing is a bit more common with indie patterns.

What I love about this dress:

1. The slanted pocket openings.

2. The 3/4 length sleeves. Perfect for winter when worn under a sweater.

3. The extraordinarily comfortable high waist.

4. There are no darts. With a T-shirt underneath, no bra is necessary. A win, for sure.

5. The whole thing, from cutting to wearing took only three half days of effort.

As Bill was quick to point out, this dress wouldn't make it on the streets of Paris. My response, "It would, however, be perfect in a Merchant & Mills photo shoot." It's rather like a cross between M&M's "Ellis" and "Florence" dresses.

FYI, the cardigan is my now very old Wakefield Redux in Galway wool, no longer available in Canada. Is it still being sold by Plymouth in the US? Such a lively green. The elbows are about to go, so I need to take care of that asap. The outfit is pulled together with my Pembroke Scarf in Regia sock yarn.  Worn with leggings and ankle boots, it's perfect.

I love this outfit so much that the first thing I did when we got home was to order more Brussels Washer to make a second dress. This is definitely my new uniform.

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Welcome Back, Mr Greenjeans

In 2007, Knitty Magazine published Amy Swenson's lovely little cardigan "Mr Greenjeans", and I promptly made a version for myself. It was the year we moved back to Canada after 16 years in Washington, DC. It was the year Bill became a semi-retired person, although he continued doing contracts for the World Bank as well as working some adjunct professorships for a few more years. It was the year James went away to University.

At the time, the knitting universe was in a state of evolution. There were a number of digital pattern platforms popping up. There was Patternworks, started here in Canada. And the next year along came Twist Collective, also based here, under the leadership of Kate Gilbert. I got my start publishing patterns with these two, as well as Knitty. 

In 2007, Ravelry was founded. It was different. It allowed designers to publish their own patterns directly, without going through submissions, editing, and the half-year long wait to finally see a pattern go live. It enabled designers to do their own photography, add links to tutorials without the constraints of hard copy magazines, do post-publishing corrections and changes, and best of all see photos of finished projects and comments from knitters. 

Knowledge of Ravelry spread slowly at first through the knitting world. In 2010 at the NY Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, I went to a Ravelry get-together wearing my little Ravelry button. There we all were in a small grassy field. Only a few years later, pretty much every one of the thousands of attendees at Rhinebeck was a Ravelry member.

The success of Ravelry naturally led to the eventual extinction of most of those earlier online platforms as the digital knitting revolution sorted itself out. But Knitty has stuck around. Last summer I browsed through some of the early issues and was reminded of how much I enjoyed knitting and wearing that old Mr Greenjeans. I decided to make a replacement using some skeins of BT's Shelter in "Snowbound" from my stash. And here it is:

Modifications: 1. Instead of yarn over raglan increases, I chose to do the more discreet "knit into the space under the thread connected to the next stitch". There's a little hole, not a great gaping buttonhole.

2. I made the sleeves wrist length. If it's cold enough to wear a sweater, you generally want your forearms covered.

3. I made four buttonholes, not just one. You can always do up just the top one. I like the way the cardigan hangs on me when it is fully closed.

4. I made this buttonhole from my tutorial on buttonholes in 2x2 rib.

Welcome back, Mr Greenjeans, and thank you, Amy Swenson. Now, I'd better post a photo of my new cardigan on Ravelry.

Sunday, October 23, 2022


Sometimes connections forged in childhood remain for life. So, whenever I think of this purple/pink (pink/purple?) colour, I also think of Miss Heliotrope, the governess in Elizabeth Goudge's "The Little White Horse". It's completely stuck in my brain and there's no possibility of severing the connection. I loved the book back then, and I love this colour in my adult life. See?

I've been hauling out the winter woollies and organizing them for the season ahead. I think this little combo is going front and centre in this year's favourites. From left to right:

Churchmouse Yarns & Teas' Studio Beret, my handspun handknit Bellevue Mittens, and my Diamanda Mitts in the "pink lemonade" colourway. 

They're all going to have a little sudsy bath tomorrow before going into this season's rotation. That is, once the gloriously warm fall weather evaporates.

View from Lemoine Point.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Walk with Me

Just some scenes from an afternoon stroll on a glorious fall day.

Monday, September 19, 2022

The Return

September has arrived and, as planned, we returned for lunch at County Cider in Prince Edward County. It happened to be the day when the grapes were being picked. (Yes, they grow grapes as well as apples.)

Perfect weather and a perfect day, making for a perfectly boring blog post. No knitting was accomplished since our timing with the ferry was also perfect with only a couple of minutes of waiting.
As usual, we made sure to visit Hagerman's farm stand to stock up on our way back.
Truly the best time of the year!
Back home, feeling a little burnt out from spending most of August painting the house (still not finished), I decided to haul out some nice Waverly drapery fabric from our linen closet and transform it into new cushion covers. This was fabric that was purchased 23 years ago while we were living in Washington, DC and that has been curtains in various houses we have owned. I hated to see it just sitting on a shelf going to waste.

My current phone has a really bad camera; I apologize for the poor quality of my pics.

Friday, August 19, 2022

Summer Summary

I haven't blogged in ages. Apart from the fact that blogging has fallen out of fashion in a world of Instagram and Tiktok, I think the pandemic has had the effect of making a lot of us simply want to cocoon in our own private world. I seem to have lost the drive to make new knitting patterns while I focus on painting our house's interior, advancing my sewing skills, making yogurt, and sending James off to live and work in the EU.

Where to start? Who would have guessed that it would be so much fun to paint the interior of our house? It's become my pandemic project, one that I can tackle at my own slow pace. Our WW1- era bungalow is small enough to demand a cohesive colour scheme, and here is what I've chosen.  

From left to right: Wickham Gray, Boothbay Gray, Paperwhite, Distant Gray, and Linen White, all from Benjamin Moore.

Names are deceiving. "Distant Gray" is actually a clean, fresh white. "Linen White" is a cream with a very pale, slightly yellow undertone. The palette is light, neutral, calm, but not boring. My intention is to bring as much light into the house as possible without going for the ubiquitous all-white look. The vestibule is looking better in blue greys after I opened it up by removing the ugly and dysfunctional folding closet doors. It took a week to get rid of all the wallpaper.


And here's the living room with its newly refreshed walls.

 At my feet is my current sweater project, Mr Greenjeans, proceeding at a glacial pace. 

I decided to reduce the size of the raglan eyelets by knitting into the horizontal thread between two stitches instead of making full-blown yarn overs. Also, I'm making the sleeves full length. If it's cool enough for a wool sweater, you generally want your forearms to be warm. Yarn: BT Shelter from stash.

My latest sewing project has been Style Arc's Adeline. An easy pattern, but not one to be undertaken by novices given the scanty instructions. For anyone looking for an excellent YouTube tutorial on sewing V-necks, I recommend this one. As usual, instead of an interfaced neck facing, I opted to make the facing out of batik cotton, a fabric that is dense and non-stretchy. See?

The mauve colour isn't my favourite; put it down to the perils of online fabric ordering.

Finally, James has made a move to Ireland to live and work. We had a lovely day together in Prince Edward County before he and his freshly washed sweater collection left. Here he is enjoying pizza and cider in Waupoos overlooking Lake Ontario.

 I mean to go back in September with Bill when the crowds are gone and the air (and apples) are crisp.