Tuesday, October 28, 2014

That Feeling

Rhinebeck is over, the leaves are disappearing from the trees, and even though today it's 15C, the forecast is for snow on the weekend. I have that melancholy feeling that comes at this time of the year when I know I'm saying goodbye to warmth and brightness for a long, long time.

Dark days are coming as we roll toward the winter solstice, but I have a few things to brighten the dreaded November days to come. Over the next few days I'll be getting ready to teach at the Wool and Wine Retreat in Prince Edward County. Off there tomorrow to drop off some items for the attendees' goodie bags.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Sneak Peek

It seems I only ever get around to taking photos of this project by lamplight.

A nice, clean pickup for the collar.
The reverse side showing the unfinished, cut edge of the steek.
In spite of all the knitting activity over the last week, I have managed to enjoy some splendid fall walks. We're past the peak of the colours, but our Boston ivy is still looking magnificent.

That top floor window on the right is my library/studio. Afternoon sunshine galore today. Too bad the little cardi wasn't ready for photos until this evening.

Sunday, October 26, 2014


This was earlier this morning. The collar is now done. Off to do a bit of weaving in and blocking.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

"Bisy Backson"

Since returning from Rhinebeck, I've been very, very "bisy". This morning I sewed and cut steeks, worked a perpendicular join, and discovered that I'm exceedingly happy with how everything is turning out.

There was a moment just after the steeks were cut when I almost lost faith, but that always happens (imagine how a piece of cut knitting curls and stretches), so I ignored the feeling and forged ahead--with the above results. Sleeves tonight, front band and collar tomorrow. "Backson".

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Rhinebeck Anticipation

Over the years I've come to realize that my time spent in Rhinebeck village is as important as time spent at the Sheep and Wool Festival. To see why, here's my post from two years ago, Two Solitudes.
Take time for a walk down Mulberry Street (while wearing wool, of course). It's an essential part of the fall experience.

Monday, October 13, 2014

My Rhinebeck Sweater

Now that Thanksgiving dinner is behind us, I've had time to weave in the ends of my latest version of Frostfern. It had a little soak in my top-loading washer, and now it's blocked and drying on a towel.

Before washing, I tried to get a decent photo (unsuccessfully) to show off the beautifully seamless shoulders, but it turns out to be tough to take shoulder photos of a garment when it's not actually on a body.

Below is a pic of the Shelridge version (which I admit has much nicer drape) being weighed for yardage calculation purposes. A reminder: always purchase a bit extra for swatching and in case you decide to lengthen a garment.

The grey test knit, in Kenzie, is this year's Rhinebeck sweater, assuming it will be cool enough for wearing wool. Having glanced at the five-day forecast, the wool wearing is in doubt, except perhaps for early mornings and evenings. Check out my personal Rhinebeck Rules, from last year.
In case anyone would like to purchase Frostfern and give the pattern a whirl, it's now available on Ravelry here.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Light and Shadow

Texture turns me on, probably more than colour. I can remember back in 1993, when "Knitting Ganseys" came out, how smitten I was with the black and white photography in the book. (The book remains a favourite for both the photos and the technique--a classic and, I think, an essential text for any knitter.)
So, this morning I couldn't resist taking a pic of the front border of Frostfern. FYI, the cardigan is folded here, with the lace border tucked underneath (just so no one panics over the thought that the fern lace has somehow been edited from the pattern!)

And to prove that I'm making progress, here's the underside of the sleeve as it joins up with the body.

The most important news of the day is that I've re-written both Frostfern and Wheatsheaves to give knitters the option of working the shoulders either seamlessly, or with a 3-needle bound-off seam. Choices are good!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


This afternoon I walked out the front door to say goodbye to Steve, our handyman, looked down toward the lake--and wondered if I was seeing things.

Yes, that's right, it's a ginormous cruise ship! It was anchored between the entrance to the harbour and Wolfe Island, in the midst of something of a gale (check out those waves), and passengers were being ferried ashore in little boats. Who would have guessed?
I, myself, am cruising along with my test knit of Frostfern.

Body completed.
Loving the angora/alpaca halo.
Front and neck border underway.

Lots of fairly boring knitting for this evening. With Outlander done for this season, perhaps I'll do a recap of Anno 1790. After all, it's set in the same century, right?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Oversized (on Purpose)

Over the weekend I read with interest the latest post on the Brooklyn Tweed website. A knitter wrote in asking how to wear oversized knits. The answer? Pair oversized sweaters and cardigans with fitted bottoms.
I, too, have been exploring the oversized world with both "Wheatsheaves" and the upcoming "Frostfern".

Even petite women can look stunning in oversized garments. Isabel is only 5'2" and weighs under 100 lbs. Brooklyn Tweed's suggestion is to wear an oversized cardigan open so that one's slim figure is revealed underneath. To that, I would add that it helps to choose a design and yarn with good drape.

These two cardigans of mine have 10-12 inches of ease. Admittedly, this makes for a lot of knitting, but I think it's worth the effort!

Friday, October 3, 2014

A Room with a View

Next to our early Victorian limestone row house stands a mid-Victorian schoolhouse, now apartments. The wall facing us is covered with Boston ivy, forming a sort of vertical garden that ripples and shivers in the wind. It is most delightful,though, in October, viewed from one of our third-floor windows in the glow of the late afternoon sun.

One week to Thanksgiving.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Shades of Tweedy Grey

I'm in the midst of test knitting the written pattern for Frostfern. I'm making a larger size than Isabel wore in her photos for me last weekend--in part to test out the pattern, and in part so that I'll have a cardigan for myself. Instead of the drapey moss green Shelridge yarn shown in the weekend photos,

I'm making a version in luciously soft "Kenzie", a merino, angora, alpaca, and nylon mix, with silk noils. Unfortunately, it seems as though I'm knitting acres and acres of nothing but stocking stitch.

I think this photo, taken a few minutes ago, gives a nice glimpse of the new version of the pattern with no shoulder seams. The fronts are knitted down from the provisionally cast-on back shoulders to make for a smooth swathe of tweedy grey with a slight halo of angora and alpaca (can't you just envision this with pearls?) To power through all this admittedly boring stocking stitch I'm re-listening to Georgette Heyer's  "Venetia", a more serious and bittersweet regency romance than her usual romp-through-the-countryside tales. It's a favourite of mine, especially as narrated by Phyllida Nash.
At last, I'm only two rows from moving on to this.