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.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Pompon Transplant

With three weeks to go to KnitEast, I'm prepping my class samples and fashion show pieces. It's what I would do anyway to prepare for the cooler weather already here. My Yule Tam is something I pass around when I teach stranded (fairisle) knitting (FYI, the class is sold out). This original version of the Tam needs a pompon replacement. The old pompon is looking a little bedraggled and tired. Dare I say ratty? So, this afternoon it was out with the Clover pompon maker and some bright teal Galway worsted. It's a different yarn, but due to the nature of the tam, it fits right in.

After the pompon transplant, I gave the hat a bath in Eucalan, blocked it on a dinner plate propped up on a mug, and blow-dried the new pompon to fluff it up.
Next up, Audrey's Coat in "Gloxinia" Lopi. Here it is after a thorough de-pilling with my trusty little Knitpicks lint shaver (same as the one that used to be made by Dritz). It's going for a soak and spin in my top loader, but not before I baste the back pleat closed. This one is for the fashion show, although I'll probably wear it on the plane both for warmth and to reduce the weight of my carry-on bag.

The coat takes a few days to dry thoroughly, so there's time to do a few repairs on the other knits I plan to take. Will I see you in St. Andrews?