Monday, February 27, 2017

Testing, Testing...

The "Audrey Coat" is almost ready for test knitting. The pattern intro reads as follows:

Let’s face it, even with global warming, Canada is a cold place to live for much of the year. We need all the woolly help we can get. This almost knee-length coat is here to the rescue! Wear it indoors or out, in the city on your way to work, or in the country for spring or fall walks. The deep back pleat and wide collar give the coat a flattering silhouette. And because it’s knitted from the top down, you can easily customize the length. The Lopi wool has a surprising drape as well as a lovely halo after wet blocking. This is a quick knit with minimal finishing and echoes of early 1960s style.

Here are a few more teasers.

As usual, if you're interested in being a tester, write to me on Ravelry, username emccarten.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Exceeding Expectations

Some designs just fall off the needles. This one has, for sure, and it has completely exceeded my expectations. Here's a closeup of the pocket, with my handmade buttons off to the right.

This is going to be one of those knits that I'll be living in until the warm weather arrives--sooner than usual this year, if the migrating geese are any indication!

Friday, February 24, 2017

If You Can't Buy It, Make It

My coat, which is blocking (and might take a week to dry), needs buttons. You'd think that with my vast button collection, there'd be something that suits it, and there is--sort of. But I'm not charged up about the choices. The pocket linings are in a soft greeny/gold.

So, I decided to take matters into my own hands (literally) and have a go at making polymer clay buttons. Here's what came out of my oven earlier this aft.

The poison green mohair to the left is calling to me just now. It must be the premature arrival of spring (not that anyone's complaining!) New scarf?

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Even Bigger

My coat feels as if it is reaching elephantine proportions. Elizabeth Zimmermann famously said of turtlenecks that one should knit the collar "until you are sick of it--and then knit some more", or words to that effect. I'm at that stage with this coat, which is knitted from the top down. I'm past the pockets and down in the region of the thighs. I feel as if I've been knitting forever. I have two balls of wool left, and then I'll be forced to stop. In the meantime, the entire thing is like an unwieldy blanket. This is not a project to work on in the heat of summer. (I should add that although the coat is big, the portion that I blocked a few days ago has a beautiful drape as well as a gorgeous halo.)

While I'm slogging away, I'm keeping myself going with the audio version of Lucinda Brant's Alec Halsey mysteries, set in Georgian England. These are somewhat dark, character driven novels narrated by the brilliant Alex Wyndham. My hands are engaged in a numbingly repetitive process, but my imagination is fully engaged.
Eventually, I'll reach the point when this behemoth of a project will be ready for blocking, and at that point I'll have to make a decision about the buttons. And the pocket linings, which I just might make in a contrasting colour to provide a bit of "pop". Brick red? Mustard gold?
And for once, my timing is spot on with the season. We are having (so far) an amazingly early spring, with temps in the low teens (Celcius that is, for my American readers)!!!

Yes, snowdrops in February. We used to see these at this time of year when we lived in DC, but this is extraordinary for Kingston. The lake has not properly frozen all season. I might actually get to enjoy my knitted coat very soon.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Next BIG Thing

A few days ago winter tried to make a return in this neck of the woods (or perhaps I should say, this shore of the lake). All in all, it's been a remarkably mild winter and I see that Environment Canada is predicting a high of 8C this weekend. Spring-like. Nonetheless, I have a hankering for a knitted coat. A big knitted coat. Something voluminous, something to wear indoors on chilly days, or outdoors in spring or fall. I want a big shape, with big collar, big wool, and (probably) big buttons. I took a quick tour of Ravelry, looking for elements I liked in coats. There's the Pickles Fall Coat.

I love the neutral colour and the drape at the back of this. I don't love the fact that it doesn't have any buttons, although I notice that a bunch of Ravelers have added I-cord trim and buttonholes to it.

Then there's Regina Moessmer's Polar Coat, shown here as knitted by dreamsbythesea.

What do I love about this? The length and the pockets. Quite apart from their usefulness, pockets allow a coat to be worn with a certain casual slouchiness.

Final example: Drops Designs' Silver Haze.

This is actually more a jacket than a coat, but I really like the collar. It's reminiscent of my own Petrova. A big coat needs a big collar.

So, where does all of this take me? Here.

I've knitted about a third of the coat so far. It's blocking in the winter sunshine. If I like what emerges, expect to see the finished product fairly soon. Big needles + big wool = quick project.

Thursday, February 9, 2017


At long last here's "Fusion", the cardigan. Hope you have as much fun knitting this as I've had. And remember, if you don't fancy the colourways illustrated here, there are sooo many Chickadee colours that the options are almost limitless.

 The Ravelry link is here.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

My Love Affair Continues...

My fling with purple continues. The day before I went for my hysterectomy, I cast on for a pair of socks in some Opal I had hanging around in my stash. I did a few rounds of ribbing, then packed the work up with my things to go to the hospital, thinking I'd probably need some knitting to fight the inevitable boredom that would follow the surgery. (I also packed a pair of favourite striped socks to wear before, during, and after surgery, and it turned out that having warm feet really can make a difference in how you feel.) After the surgery, I alternated between reading a mystery novel and knitting until just before noon the next day, when I was permitted to return home. Once home, I continued to work on the socks. I felt pretty much back to normal, but knew I wasn't quite there until my interest in knitting plain vanilla socks (while watching David Attenborough documentaries on Netflix) waned a couple of days later. Yes, sock knitting turned out to be a good measure of my physical and mental state. At least now I have a new pair of socks.

Tops, toes, and heels are all beautifully matching. Hot tip: when knitting with self-striping wool, don't count rounds when working the second one; simply follow the stripes. That is, if you care about the socks matching. I do.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Sweet Anticipation

Discovered that BT yarns are now available at Rosehaven Yarns in nearby Picton, ON. These wools are difficult to come by in Canada, and with the exchange rate, not inexpensive. But--so exciting to see an entire wall of Shelter and Loft.

Both are lightly spun. I used Shelter for the first time when I knitted the Buttonbox Waistcoat for the Fall, 2013 issue of Knitty. The only negative: I'm concerned that the lack of twist could have a negative effect on the life of a garment with sleeves. It seems that the elbows on our sweaters are always the first bits to go. My solution is to use sturdier wools for anything with sleeves, and save my BT wools for vests, hats, etc.

"Hayloft", "Soot", and "Snowbound".
Anticipation is so sweet!
P.S. I was hoping to pick up some "Old World", but another knitter got to it before me.