Saturday, September 29, 2012


Drove up to Janie H.'s for the last time this morning. The shop officially closed today, for good. Sad, because I've made some of my best knitting friends there, and Janie has been super about supporting local designers, as well as hosting workshops with big names like Kaffe Fassett and the Yarn Harlot. Happy, because I know Janie wants to re-claim her house and her life.
The day was as perfect as an autumn day can be. I drove up Highway 10, the "Old Perth Road", past pink granite outcroppings, lakes, pine trees, and cottages in their last few weeks of use this season.

At Janie's I had trouble finding a parking place. The shop was filled with customers looking for bargains and by the time I arrived, most of the shelves were empty.

Bye, Heather. You worked overtime to please everyone--successfully.

 Adieu, Janie. We're all wondering what's coming next. You're a non-stop ball of energy.

Enjoy your view of the Tay River while you knit to your heart's content!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Irish Moss

In my last post I said I would enumerate the changes I'm making to my Wakefield Jacket. FYI, the Ravelry pattern is temporarily unavailable while the changes are in progress. I'm hoping to have the updated version back in my Ravelry store before I head off to Rhinebeck. One of the nice things about the internet age, and Ravelry in particular, is that designers have the opportunity to revisit their work, not just to correct out and out errors, but also to make design alterations. Here's what's in the works:
1. clean up typos (and yes, unfortunately there are a few),
2. build a better bobble (after MUCH experimentation, I have a lovely one to show in a future post),
3. make the armhole depth a little more shallow for an updated silhouette,
4. lower the back neck for a better fit,
5. re-write the shawl collar to allow it to lie flat, and
6. work buttonholes into the front borders.
Here's where things stand after a couple of days of knitting:

You can see how difficult it is to capture the true shade of this green. None of these photos is like any of the others.
The fall garden is showing off its slightly faded colours.

Now, back to more bobbling.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Secret Garden

This morning I knocked on the door of The Secret Garden, an inn up the street from my front door, and asked for "official permission" to take photos of my latest Fibonacci on the inn's fence. Since I took photos there last week without asking, it was a little late to be doing this, but I reckon better late than never. The sun was out, the air was slightly chilly, the breeze was light, and here are the pics:

Now, I'm ready to move on to my next project, the revamped Wakefield. The Shelter from BT hasn't arrived, so I've cast on with this green heather instead.

Next post, I'll detail all the changes I intend to make in this jacket. Only four weeks to Rhinebeck, so I'd better get moving!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Even Better

Finished Fibonacci, v.2, this morning. I like this hand-dyed sock yarn version even better than the first. I love the rich shades of teal that go with so many things in my wardrobe, including denim, I love the slightly smaller size, and I love the cushiness of the superwash merino (this from the person who supposedly hates superwash yarns). Come to think of it, perhaps I shouldn't have unloaded my Madelinetosh Lightweight last August after all...
Here's the new version drying on a towel. Wingspan of 38", depth of 15".

Fall arrived right on schedule this weekend. It's chilly today, but mostly sunny. A good day for cooking something warming, so I'm making Mark Bittman's White Bean Soup (a double quantity with cannellini beans) from here. It'll be ready to go when the kids rush home from classes to grab something to eat.
Yesterday I walked to the market, an activity that's hard to beat on a fall day. Lots of apples, of course, in many more varieties than are available at the supermarket.

The last of the season's yellow wax beans were on display. They're so much more popular here than green beans, and I could hardly ever find them when we lived in DC--I suspect they don't grow well in the hot humidity of the mid-Atlantic.

There were the largest puffballs I've ever seen--like basketballs!

Happy autumnal equinox!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fibonacci, v.2

Back to bright sunshine, but windy and quite cool, 17C (61F). Without the heat on, the house is starting to feel cool enough that I'm thinking of dragging wool socks out of my drawer. I'm sitting here wearing my burgundy Perth Cardi and a down vest. Come to think of it, if I wear socks, I probably won't need the vest. You know how when your feet are warm, the rest of you is so much warmer too? I'm waiting for a workman to arrive and knitting up a second Fibonacci, this time in a sock yarn with a size US # 4/ 3.5mm needle. Not sure what the finished size will turn out to be.

As you can see, the colour is a rich mix of teals. I picked it up on my yarn crawl last week and it's from here.

Wakefield, a village in Quebec, just north of Ottawa, is unfortunately suffering the fate of many other quaint towns in the U.S. and Canada as it finds itself within the reach of urban sprawl. In the last few years, there's been clear cutting of old growth forest to make way for an enlarged highway and development that threatens a community spring. I have happy memories of visiting Orme's bakery there as a child and munching on raisin buns on the way back to our summer cottage. It's good to see a small studio like this taking off and I'm happy to support it. I'm about to embark on a revamped version of the Wakefield Jacket, as soon as an order of Shelter arrives. (There was a little snafu at Brooklyn Tweed regarding its shipment, but it's been straightened out.) Do you think I have time to finish it in time for Rhinebeck?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fibonacci Neckerchief

Two posts in one day--I've never done this before! We had a couple of hours this afternoon when the weather cleared enough to take photos, so here's what I managed.

This is such a useful shape I can see myself making it in several different yarns and then living in it all fall/winter. Mindless knitting, but fun too!

Not Cooperating

So much for clear blue skies and warm sunshine. It's been raining as hard as it can since this morning and it's not supposed to let up until this evening. No hope for some nice photos of my Fibonacci Neckerchief. The weather is definitely not cooperating. The pattern is written up and all I need are some nice photos before I can post it on Ravelry. Here's the blurb from the introduction:

This simple scarf/shawlette is not named after a contemporary Italian designer, but rather after a 13th century mathematician, in whose book a particular sequence of numbers appeared for the first time in the West (the origin of the sequence was earlier in India). The first two numbers in the Fibonacci sequence are 0 and 1, and each subsequent number is the sum of the previous two. In this scarf, the garter stitch ridges appear in the same order: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13. One could keep going, if a larger shawl were desired.
This is a piece both easy to knit, and useful as a head covering, neckerchief, or shawl. The crescent shape allows it to drape attractively around the shoulders, while the Shetland lace bind off (similar to a 2-stitch I-cord) gives the long outer edge just enough heft. I used a hand-dyed merino/mohair blend, but you could try it out in a Shetland-type wool such as Kauni or Brooklyn Tweed’s Loft, or a handspun luxury fibre.

I did manage to get a few close-up indoor photos to whet your appetite.

Until the sun shines, that's all there is.

Monday, September 17, 2012

That Time of Year

The mornings are chilly, the sky is a bright, clear blue, the afternoons are warm in the sun, the scent of ripe apples is in the air, and it's a knitter's favourite time of year. Fibre festivals abound. There's the big New York Sheep and Wool Festival at Rhinebeck coming up, of course, but also this little local one:

Wolfe Island Fibre Fest. Sat. September 29th, 10 am-4pm

 I plan to take my bike over on the ferry and then putter around on the island for the day, assuming the weather is good. In anticipation, I'm doing a little spinning with some merino and silk.

I might be ready to try my hand at dyeing when this is all spun up. My Fibonacci Neckerchief is almost done.

Just the border left to do, then the bind off, and blocking. Hope to show it off tomorrow and have the instructions up the day after that for anyone interested.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Spur of the Moment

After I mentioned in my last post that I was toying with the idea of making a scarf, my brain just wouldn't let that thought go. I've been thinking over the summer of making an elongated triangle scarf/shawl, with a slight crescent shape, that would fit nicely into the neckline of various other things I own, so this morning I got around to starting. First I looked at some of my favourite scarf/shawl patterns on Ravelry, like Stephen West's Boneyard Shawl, The Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief, Miss Potter by Laura Aylor, and BT's Romney Kerchief. None of these, however, was quite what I wanted, so I did what I usually do in such circumstances and devised something of my own.
I wanted garter stitch ridges, but not too many. I wanted a stitch pattern that would be evolving, not static. I realized that I wanted to base the pattern on a Fibonacci sequence in this lovely pale mohair from Fleece Artist (not the pink from yesterday, but this instead).

So, after some mucking around with different sized needles, I got going.

This might be one of those things you don't put down until it's done. Hope to have it done by the end of the weekend. Yippee!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Trellis: Decreasing in Fair Isle

It looks as though I'll be able to wear this at Rhinebeck. For once I'm done with a project ahead of schedule!

In the first version of Trellis, I followed Eunny Jang's suggestion for decreasing in fair isle from her Steeking Chronicles. In other words, I reversed what one would normally do; when arriving at the armhole steek, I worked a SSK, then the steek, then a k2tog. However, I found that when I-cord abutts this type of decrease, it creates a little ditch--fine, so long as the method is followed consistently throughout the garment. This time, I changed to the usual method--a k2tog right-leaning decrease on the right-hand side of the steek, followed by SSK on the other side, both decreases worked in whichever colour came next in the colour pattern (I could have done same in the background colour if I'd wanted the decrease to be more visible as a design feature). Here's the result,

and I like it a lot. Those of you who have purchased the pattern will have received a notice of an updated version reflecting this change.
The waist shaping turned out very well, I think, with minimal interruption of the design.

The only real challenge was finding buttons I loved. Yesterday I drove (a rented car) on a little yarn crawl up to Just Knitting in Carleton Place, and Janie H. Knits in Perth (sadly closing at the end of the month), and winding up at Knit Traders here in Kingston. Alas, no pewter buttons of the right design or size. Then this morning, only a five minute walk from my front door, there they were at Gwin Gryffon.

Don't you love the way they echo the floral colour pattern?

Yesterday's trip wasn't a total loss, though. I found this yummy pink mohair from Fleece Artist.

Now, I'm thinking what a fun scarf I could design/knit to wear with my new Trellis...

Monday, September 10, 2012

Trellis: Steek and I-Cord Tutorial

This is an attempt to document the steps involved in sewing, cutting open, and finishing the steeks in my Tellis Waistcoat. I'll begin by apologizing for the quality of the photos. Like a lot of knitters, I work a lot either at night or early in the morning, so I'm stuck trying to take photos in poor light. That said, I think this post might be useful to anyone having their first shot at steeking and I-cording.
I began by hauling my Bernina down from the attic. I don't have a computerized sewing machine. I have the most basic Bernina. It sews backwards and forwards and zigzags when I want to get fancy. I bought it at a floor model sale at G-Street Fabrics in Rockville, Maryland years ago for the express purpose of having something decent to use for sewing open sweaters. I'd been spending more time unjamming my old Singer than sewing, so I wanted something better. My Bernina may not be a top-of-the-line model, but the little motor purrs and it does what I want it to.
I set it for small stitches (less than 2 on the dial) and sewed right down the centre of each of the two steek stitches on the front, being careful to anchor the top and bottom edges with some back and forth sewing.

Then, with small sharp scissors, I carefully snipped between the two lines of stitches. If you do this from the WRONG SIDE, you can see the lines clearly. I repeated the operation on all the other steeks, and this is what I ended up with.

Even though the steeks were sewn, I was careful to handle everything gently while I joined the shoulders with a 3-needle bind-off.
Next, I cast on 3 sts using the longtail method and dpns 2 sizes smaller than the body. I chose to use the darkest burgundy (contrast colour) for the I-cord border.


Notice that the working (long) end of the wool is at the rear of the needle. Next, I slipped the left-hand end of the dpn into the half of the border stitch (the outermost steek stitch) closest to the body. You'll see that I was working from the wrong side of the waistcoat, starting at the bottom of the left front. Remember, when working I-cord in a contrast colour, work from the wrong side to avoid colour blips showing through. (Remind me to have a manicure next time before taking closeups of my hands!)

Then, I took the wool across the back of the needle and knitted the first stitch on the needle, pulling the stitch snug. I knitted the second stitch, then knitted the last burgundy stitch together with the blue border stitch THROUGH THE BACK LOOPS.

The I-cord border and the waistcoat are married! Then, I simply slipped the left-hand end of the dpn into the next border stitch, as before, and repeated the entire procedure.

As I worked, the steek folded itself naturally to the inside, creating a useful facing. In case you're wondering, that's why I chose to knit a wide steek (8 stitches). 

So tidy! See here for instructions for finishing the cut edges.