Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Victoria: Sneak Peek

Why is it that I have so much trouble photographing blues? This prototype is knitted in Cascade Eco+ (yes, again, I have a little stash of it!), colour "Legion Blue", #3103. I'll let you look it up on your own, if you're so inclined, because it's a gorgeous shade of blue with a very slight greeny undertone that absolutely refuses to transfer to this screen. How can it suddenly be grey? Anyway, here's where "Victoria" is as of this afternoon.

FYI, it's a cropped boatneck style, front and back the same, knitted on 10 1/2 mm needles, lace pattern easily memorized, very quick, totally simple. And it's going to be perfect with my fall Wiksten (see a couple of posts back).

Friday, August 21, 2020

Bits and Pieces

I'm working on some odds and ends. As a mostly monogamous knitter/sewer, that's unusual. 

1. Mask production. COVID-19 is here for the fall/winter, so I'm making a push to ensure that everyone in the household has several washable masks. My favourite pattern is this one. I've tried others, but this is the one that fits well and is a breeze to make. I make it as a two-layer mask without a filter. Useful supplies include wide bread bag twist ties for a good fit over the nose, soft elastic for the ear loops, a safety pin to pull the elastic through the channels at the sides, and good quality batik quilting cotton (for its density). 

2. Joan of Purlin J's Roving Yarn Truck dropped off some teeny-weeny mini-balls of wool to be used in a semi-secret project to be revealed down the road. So cute!

3. Bill and I go walking each evening all summer, but with the days becoming noticeably shorter, our after-dinner walks will soon be at an end. This evening we walked down the street to the Tett Centre (on the left) and the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts (on the right). 

The international students are beginning to arrive at Queen's and go into quarantine. Although they are the only ones required by law to do so, given that Kingston has so far kept the virus under control, the University is recommending that all students from areas with virus activity do the same.  It has even suggested that they bring their own groceries to avoid having to enter Kingston shops when they arrive. I'll admit to skepticism about that actually happening. Meanwhile, it's the calm before the storm.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Wiksten 2.0

 About an hour ago I finished another Wiksten Shift dress, this time in rayon and with sleeves. 

The fabric is from Cotton+Steel. It's going to be part of my fall comfy-but-slightly-dressed-up outfit. Not sure why I feel I need this because, honestly, where do I think I'll be going? Probably just walking in the neighbourhood. I suspect that a vaccine won't make it our way until next spring, given that health care providers, first responders, etc. will have priority. Sigh.

I'm consoling myself by focusing on the beauty of the Limelight hydrangeas out front, which are just beginning to take on that pink tinge they get as they move toward fall.

I notice that currently, Willingdon is at the top of Ravelry's "hot right now" list. Its success is rubbing off on Hedgewood, a design that has been somewhat overlooked as I brought it out just as the pandemic was taking off. So happy to see it also now getting some love. This is one of the best times of the year for knitters, don't you think? The nights are getting cool, thoughts of woolly things are percolating in our brains, and soon I'll have a new sweater (I'm such a tease!) to wear with my fall Wiksten.

P.S. Not sure why my photos on the blog are coming out all elongated when I view the blog on my phone. Google has recently made changes to Blogger. I'll ask Isabel, the computer whiz kid.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Willingdon is Live!

 Yup, it's finally up on Ravelry, as of a few minutes ago.

I hope you enjoy making and wearing this. Thanks so much to my testers.

Willingdon Yoke Decrease Charts

I'm posting this today in advance of publishing Willingdon on Ravelry since I want to create a link in the pattern as a reference. These are my working charts used to crunch the numbers for Willingdon's five sizes. They're meant to be a reference guide for any knitter wanting a quick and easy way to check their stitch counts as the yoke is decreased. Please pay attention to the numbers for the Fronts. You will want to focus on the final column, "actual # sts with selvedge". 

Hope this is helpful!

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Home Economics

I'm a child of the 1960s. Back then, our local school board assumed that girls would need to grow up with home economics skills. In Grade 6 we learned embroidery and hand sewing with Miss Trollope, then in Grades 7 and 8 we had machine sewing and cooking with Mrs. Sidebottom. This was not a one-term dabbling kind of program. We were supposed to learn the basics of nutrition, budgeting, and dress-making. It was the era before fast fashion and if you wanted good quality fashionable clothes, you bought Vogue patterns and made them (there were still plenty of high quality fabric shops around then). I kept my very useful school cookbook for decades until it finally disintegrated.                                             

 What did the boys do? Shop class, of course -- woodworking and metal working. 

Of course, this sort of gender segregation wasn't at all helpful in terms of male/female attitudes, but at least all of us came away with more than just a surface knowledge of practical life skills.

This morning I put some of that to use and got to work on a bit of mending. Recently, mending has taken on a certain glamour, courtesy of the "visible mending" movement and Instagram. Check out Katrina Rodabaugh's work and that of Tom of Holland to see what I mean. I'm afraid my little project has little in common with their inspired repairs. I was merely saving some towels and bathmats from the rag pile (at least for another year, I hope).  

Frayed towel.
Overcast edge, using my Singer overcast foot.
Bathmat with two-sided patch over hole.

I repaired some washcloths too. Feeling very virtuous. Did I mention that I made homemade ice cream? Might need some as a reward..

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Short and Sweet

That's how Canadian summers are -- short and sweet. We're at that stage of summer when the end is starting to be in sight. The cicadas buzz during the afternoon, but the crickets have begun their late summer chirping by dinner time. The afternoons are hot (25C/ 78F), but the nights are cooling off (12C/ 54F). The goldenrod is coming into bloom, the sign during my childhood that school was not far off. Today is perfect. No humidity to speak of, a gentle breeze wafting up from the lake, the back deck's bounty ready for the soup pot.

Bill's birthday cake was out of the oven before noon (to keep the heat there at a bearable level). 

The recipe is at the end of this post.
My bit of chunky lace has had a first blocking and all is on target and back on the needles.

Carrot Cake

2 c grated carrots
1 1/2 c raisins
2 c water
1/2 c canola oil
1 1/4 c maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp clove
1/2 tsp salt
3 c spelt flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 c chopped walnuts (optional)

Combine carrots, raisins, and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 min, then remove from heat. Add oil, maple syrup, spices, and salt. COOL TO ROOM TEMPERATURE. The cake will not work out if you try to cheat on this step. 
Preheat oven to 350F. When the oven is hot, add the flour and soda to the wet mixture and mix thoroughly. Stir in walnuts if using.
Pour into a well greased or sprayed bundt pan and bake for about 40-45 min or until the edges pull away from the pan and a knitting needle stuck into the centre comes out clean.
Let sit in the pan for 10 min before turning out onto a plate. Cool before cutting. If you can wait.
We never ice spice cakes in this house. Personal preference. 

P.S.There are no known cases of COVID-19 in Kingston at this time, in spite of lots of testing. Doesn't mean it's not here, unfortunately. And of course things will change once the university students return next month.