Friday, November 15, 2019

A Picot Pembroke

Yesterday I cast off this little beauty.

It's simply a Pembroke Scarf made with Regia 4-ply Design Line sock wool. I stopped before the end of the ball because I wanted the scarf to be shorter than my earlier one -- just one twist around the neck instead of two. Also, I used the picot bind off that I "unvented" when I designed the Fusion cardigan. You can find the details for how to do it in this tutorial here. Note, though, that I didn't go down a needle size as recommended in the tutorial. For the cardigan I wanted a firm border. For the scarf I wanted the edge to stretch during wet blocking, so I used the same size needle as I used for the rest.
What comes next? Well, I might tackle this,

or I might take the yarn shown above, Hillesvag "Tinde", and go in my own direction. I'm pondering. In the meantime, if you want what I think is the best video tutorial of the Italian cast on (a form of tubular cast on) here is the link.

Thursday, October 17, 2019


A perfect Thanksgiving weekend was had by all here. Instead of the usual turkey routine, I asked my butcher around the corner for some turkey legs, which I turned into turkey pot pie for the main feast. This is what everyone here really wants more than sliced turkey with gravy, etc., so I obliged, especially since Isabel had travelled across the entire continent to be here. Here she is on the Glenora ferry last Tuesday, as we took advantage of the spectacular fall weather.

Along with her luggage came an old tam (this one) which had had an unfortunate encounter in a backpack with burrito sauce. The accident had occurred some time ago, so we both were concerned that it might mean the end of the hat. Clearly, the customary soak in Eucalan would not be enough. Instead, I soaked the tam for about half an hour in Sunlight dish soap and water, then gently rubbed some bar Sunlight into the stain and even more gently massaged it around. The cream background colour is the old (good) version of Patons Classic Wool, so the possibility of a felting accident was top of mind. Luckily, that was avoided, and we learned that burrito sauce is no match for the magic of good old Sunlight. I generally don't like scented products, but for some reason can't seem to get enough of that lemon bar soap smell! Here is the tam, clean and fresh, along with Isabel's Yule tam blocking over dinner plates on top of our radiators.

 My knitting over Thanksgiving consisted of this.

Instead of using a bulky yarn, I'm using a chunky (Cascade Eco in #8014, the not-quite-palest of the natural, undyed shades). I've gone up two sizes to produce the desired finished measurements at a slightly different gauge. I hardly ever knit other designers' patterns, but this one has been calling to me for a while, and so far the instructions are very well written.
While browsing Ursa's project page on Ravelry, I happened across Espace Tricot's version in a beautiful Norwegian yarn that they carry, and lo and behold, five skeins of it arrived at my front door this morning.

The colour is actually a bright olive green, but the rainy skies and low light this morning aren't showing off the gorgeousness of the wool. Not sure what this is destined for yet, but I can hardly keep my hands off it. All of this activity, including an avoidance of social media for the next week or so, is part of my plan to deal with Rhinebeck envy. Hope it works!

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Every Colour

Time for a new Fibonacci Neckerchief. The old one finally died at the end of last winter and I put off doing anything to replace it until now.

The yarn is Riverside Studio's merino singles in "Dryad". I think it contains some of just about every colour, but the shades are muted, the effect being as if natural dyes had been used. It ought to go with everything. This won't take long, and that's a good thing since our delightful weather is about to turn colder in time for Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

KnitEast 2019: Scenes

Back from KnitEast, getting ready for Thanksgiving (making cranberry sauce, ordering local bread and pickles, etc.) Too busy for an extended post, so here are simply "scenes" from last weekend.

View from my room.
The front lawn.
Wool at the local supermarket. By Sunday night they were cleaned out.
View of the Baptist church at dusk.
Stephanie and Lucy (both knitting on Steph's sweaters) during the fashion show.
Pencil illustration by one of my students to help another student. Thank you, whoever came up with this.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019


When you're doing repetitive activities that require only a corner of your brain, it's nice to have some good listening on the side--not something so engaging that it takes over your mind, just enough to keep you happy while you cook, or knit, or print class handouts, or wash and block sweaters.
I've been busy today with this,

and this,

so I've been keeping the other part of my brain entertained with some favourites from the 17thC, like this and this. If you don't think that early music rocks, then click on the links and enjoy!
P.S. So sad that the beautiful chunky wool I used for the above Petrova is no longer available. Why can't good things last forever?

Sunday, September 22, 2019


Handknits should, in my opinion, keep going for years, decades, sometimes generations. But it takes effort. It's a bit like conservation of a piece of art. Knits must be cleaned of sweat, food, dust, grime, the buttertart that leaked down its front last week, etc. Holes need to be repaired, pills removed, stains treated. That's what I'm doing during our September warm spell. The warm weather with low humidity makes for quick drying. My Modern Gansey is currently drying on the dining room floor after a day of multiple treatments for its buttertart accident. Sunlight dish detergent as well as Eucalan were involved. Not to worry; all is now well (whew!) It'll be part of KnitEast's fashion show in less than two weeks.

The collection of knits already refurbished for fall is growing.

The Bibliogloves, like the Modern Gansey, are in Quince's "Glacier" (but in Chickadee instead of Osprey). It's a truly beautiful colour, but let me tell you, boy, is it hard to keep clean. Worth it though.

Many designers keep a collection of never worn, pristine knits just for display at events like retreats and yarn fairs. I disagree with this approach. I want knitters to see how well-worn, well-loved knits look after years of wear and care. Maybe you've seen Elizabeth Zimmermann's famous aran cardigan with its shortened arms (due to worn out cuffs) and inventive heart elbow patches. That's how the life of a sweater ought to be lived!

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Home Alone

When the kids were school-age, and Bill went to work everyday (or more often, was in another hemisphere), I had lots of time home alone. It was my salvation in what amounted to sixteen years of single parenting while we lived in Washington, DC. I'd play audiobooks (on cassette back then!), listen to music, prep dinner, clean house, and KNIT.
Fast forward to the present, and my life with a retired stay-at-home husband. I'm hardly ever home alone anymore. Sigh. So, when I had the house to myself for most of today, I made the most of it. I always feel freer (more free?) and more creative when I'm alone. I tried on outfits for my upcoming weekend at St. Andrews, tried on makeup to wear with said outfits, made a giant batch of bias binding, as well as most of a new dress, listened to an audiobook while doing all of that, and generally had a great day.
Just in case you don't know this trick for making yards and yards of bias binding out of a fat quarter of fabric, here's a great video on the technique. Here I am in the midst of cutting up my continuous bias strip.

Before I launched into the bias binding marathon, I trimmed the new pompon on my Yule Tam (see previous post). Pro tip: always add the pompon before wet blocking. The soaking plus air drying results in a fluffier, slightly felted little ball all ready for a final haircut. Be careful not to overdo the trimming though; force yourself to stop before you end up with a teeny, tiny ball half your intended size.

Finally, I want to show off our new old daybed. "Old", because the frame is 19thC, purchased at an antique shop in Bath, ON. I had new hemp webbing and foam added, then had it painted in Annie Sloan's chalk paint in "Paris Grey".

It's super comfy, and makes for a perfect extra sleeping place when there are more people in the house than bedrooms. Hope your Sunday was as terrific as mine.