Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Pembroke Scarf Pattern

Having been inundated with requests for this, here is the recipe for the Pembroke Scarf, surely the most mindless method of using up fingering/sock yarn.

Finished Size 
Variable, depending on yarn chosen, needle size, and your preference.
As shown:
Wingspan: 67”
Depth: 10 ½”
Suggested Yarn
Fingering-weight yarn, especially yarn with alpaca, merino, or other luxury fibres. 
As shown:
Misti Alpaca [50% alpaca, 30% merino, 10% silk, 10% nylon; 437 yds/400m per 100g skein]; 1 skein. Colour # HS72.
Size US #2.5/ 3.0mm 24" circular.
Tapestry needle for weaving in ends.
Variable. As shown:
28 sts = 4” in garter stitch after wet blocking
Pattern Notes
This simple pattern is all about attention to details, specifically, how the selvedges are worked, and how the tips of the scarf are shaped.
If you are unsure of how to work the longtail cast on without a slipknot, see
Using 24” circ, CO 4 sts using the longtail (knotless) method.
Row 1: Kfb, knit to end.
Row 2: P1, SSK, knit to last st, kfb.
Rep Rows 1 and 2, until there only enough yarn left to bind off, or until desired length, ending with Row 1.
Last Row: P1, SSK, knit to last 2 sts, k2tog.
Bind Off
Work the BO FIRMLY; the method below yields a stretchy edge which could otherwise end up too loose. Alternatively, go down a needle size. The finished edge should lie flat, but have a good deal of stretch.
K2tog, k1, *return sts to LH needle, k2togtbl, k1, rep from * until 2 sts rem on LH needle and 1 st rem on RH needle; k2tog, pass 1st st over 2nd, break yarn leaving a 6” end, draw end through rem st, and fasten securely.
Weave in ends.
Soak for 20 min in a wool wash product. Squeeze gently, and block to desired size (no pins are required).

Tuesday, June 1, 2021


Starting today, you'll notice that my designs are, for now, not available on Ravelry. I knew when I opted to make my patterns free that there was a risk that a few people would fail to understand (or care) that "free" does not mean free from intellectual property protection. Alas, there have been some shenanigans in this area, and I've decided to hit pause on the accessibility of my patterns. Sorry to say, there's no end date set at this stage for this break, but I'll let you know here as soon as I figure out what's next. In the meantime, the comments section of the blog is turned off. Patience, please.

Thursday, May 27, 2021


I've just completed another green dress -- the Carson Dress from Paddleboat Studios. It's instantly become my favourite thing to wear. The only alteration I needed to make was to shorten the skirt by one inch, pretty minor stuff. 

The green has a blue-grey cast, rather different from the bright teal green of my earlier dress, and it matches my eyes perfectly. Also, it looks great with my denim jean jacket. I especially love the sleeve cuff construction.

FYI, this pattern, although simple, does not have instructions that would be easily understood by beginners. For instance, it says to insert and sew the cuff "as if setting in a sleeve" -- all well and good for experienced sewists, but a bit thin on details for novices.

I'll definitely be making more versions of this, including a long-sleeve dress for winter.

With James gone to his own apartment, we've rearranged the house. What was the master bedroom is now my sewing room. In a weird fluke, the previous owners' pale pink walls (which I detest), actually go with this old dhurrie carpet resurrected from our Washington, DC house.


But my "office", at this season, remains the front porch.

Unfortunately, I'll be indoors tomorrow. High of 11C/52F predicted, with rain, which we need desperately, so no complaints. That's Madder's "Uniform" cardigan still in progress. Lots of plain knitting, which I find boring, so it's going slowly.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Tutorial: Picking Up From Garter Stitch

In need of some relaxing, as opposed to taxing, knitting, I'm working on a version of Madder's Uniform cardigan. I refer to  "a version", because I'm knitting the pockets into a deeper garter stitch border and making a few technical changes such as knitting the sleeves in the round, using my own preferred buttonhole method, and knitting the top down pockets following my own approach, among other things. I'm following the instructions to pick up 2 out of 3 stitches along the diagonal front edges, but I'm NOT doing that for the garter stitch portion of the body. For picking up stitches in general, see this blog post, in which I explicitly left the subject of garter stitch to a later time. That time is now.

First off, when you are working in garter stitch it is an excellent idea to slip the first stitch of each row KNITWISE. I learned about this decades ago from a now rather ancient video of Elizabeth Zimmermann's PBS knitting show. I hardly ever hear or read this advice from other sources, which surprises me because it is such a simple, neat, and elegant solution for three reasons.

1. It produces a lovely little nub at the edge of each garter stitch ridge (remember, in garter stitch two rows make one ridge) that makes for a very tidy stand alone finish. If you just knit the first stitch of each row as usual, you're in danger of a rather wonky, kindergartenish edge, even if you're an experienced knitter.

2. If you eventually intend to seam the edge, all you need do is draw a blunt sewing needle back and forth through the nubs on each side for a gorgeous, completely flat seam. The way the two sides interlock together is like magic, and the reason why I have no objection at all to working garter stitch pieces flat.

3. To pick up (really, knit up) for a border, all you need do is knit into the little nubs. An easy way to accomplish this is to thread a smaller size dpn through the nubs first (see the needle on the left),

then knit into the back of each of those stitches, like this.

 If you've made Harriet's Jacket (below), you'll have encountered these techniques before. 

Some news:

1. I put together Ikea's Norden table, so now I have an actual sewing table in an actual sewing room (courtesy of James moving out last December).

2. Spring is here.

3. I had my first Pfizer dose yesterday. Only a very slightly sore arm. Yay. Hoping that Canada's vaccine supply continues to improve so that we don't have to wait months for the second dose.

Friday, April 30, 2021

Same Old, Same Old

I wish I could write with exciting news, photos -- something, but it's same old, same old here. We're in a strict lockdown in Ontario, not that that means much given that Bill and I have been avoiding social interactions for over a year. I haven't been inside a shop of any kind since March 2020. Thankfully, Isabel is living within walking distance of us, at least temporarily until her big tech employer calls its employees back into the office in Kitchener/ Waterloo. She's "bubbling" with us, following identical restrictions. Not so for James, also within walking distance. I see him at a distance only, but we chat periodically by phone.

What's happening in my insular world of making? A relatively plain vanilla sweater, enjoyable rather than boring after all the chart following concentration of the aran cardigan project.

The yarn is Ultra Alpaca worsted in "blueberry mix", looking as usual with my camera, more grey than blue.

I finally plyed some singles that had been sitting on spindles into a nice DK weight, shown drying on my music stand. It's Ashford's Corriedale in "Grape Jelly".

Yesterday I cut out and began to sew a cotton dress for warm weather. The fabric is "Meet me in Ibiza" from Cotton + Steel. Love those Japanese prints.

Finally, I'm having my annual contest of wills with a robin determined to build a nest atop one of our porch pillars. I think the terracotta pot has succeeded in thwarting her ambitions. I feel slightly cruel, but the resulting mess from bird poop on the porch can be dreadful, and there are plenty of other nesting opportunities out there.

Note the mayflies (bird food) dotting the pillar. They should be over in the next week or so. It's the curse of living a stone's throw from Lake Ontario.

Going for my first dose of Pfizer on Tuesday. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Design Your Own Aran Cardigan, Part Fifteen: Wrap Up

Time for photos of the completed cardigan. Yarn: Topsy Farms Worsted, 4 skeins. Needles: 5 mm 32" circular for body and sleeves. 4.5 mm 32" circular for ribbing. Gauge in stocking stitch: 4 sts per inch. Buttons: 7/8" coffee-coloured wooden buttons from Darryl Thomas Textiles. Shown with this home sewn linen dress.

Some stats:

CO = 176 sts

body length to underarm = 11"

armhole depth = 7"

sts on hold at underarms = 18 

total sts involved at neck (same number for front and back) = 28

sts placed on hold before neck shaping (same for front and back) = 20

sts bound off at shoulders = 22

sts knitted up for sleeves = 60

sts after perpendicular join = 59

total sleeve decreases before ribbing = 11

rows between decreases = 6 

sts left after sleeve decreases = 37 

sts in cuff = 34 

OK, now it's your turn. Show me your projects on Ravelry by linking them here.  

Me in my new overalls. So comfy. I feel taller (always good when you're 5'1"). The grin is because I managed this morning to book my first and second vaccine appointments (May and August). Also because the sweater is #5 right now on Ravelry's "Hot Right Now" list and it seems to be inspiring a few knitters to venture into designing their own.