Thursday, January 28, 2021

Danish Translations

As of today, Bellevue Mittens joins Audrey's Coat and Zora in being available in Danish. 


Click on the links in the sidebar of the blog (you have to be viewing the web version) to get to the Ravelry pages for these designs for more info. 

On a personal note, Isabel is in transit today from California back home to Canada, where she will continue working as a software engineer for the same tech company. For now she'll be back in Kingston, although not with us because of the need to quarantine, not to mention the difficulty of working with her parents shouting at each other in the background. I'll admit to feeling anxious about the dangers of travel at this time. A few hours ago she texted to say that she had passed through security at San Francisco airport. Fingers crossed that she makes it here sometime in the early hours of tomorrow. 

Wind chill to be minus 24C tonight. Our coldest night of the year, I think, in what has been a mild winter. Stay warm.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Top Ten

As I prepare to give a Zoom talk to a Chicago-area knitting guild, I've put together a list of some of my more popular blog posts -- a place for new readers of the blog to get a taste of what this blog is about.

1. Ravelry: a Double-Edged Sword

2. The Passing of the Blog

3. Fear and Clothing: Required Reading

4. Free, But Not Free for All

5. Size Inclusiveness: a Hot Topic

6. Handmade Wardrobe: Knitting + Sewing

7. Framing

8. Ganseys Galore

9. Rhinebeck 

10. Never Too Old

Friday, January 15, 2021


Put simply, these are utility mitts. They’re unfussy, quick to knit, and are meant for “working”, i.e. shoveling snow, cleaning off the car, etc. Over time, they will tend to felt slightly. They’re thick enough to wear on their own when it’s not very cold. I like to layer mine for maximum warmth and versatility.

The thumb is placed slightly toward the palm to prevent torquing of the hand. A link to my method for a gapless thumb join is included. Only one size is shown; feel free to experiment with gauge and yarn to extend the range of sizes.

The pattern can now be downloaded here. Less than one skein of Puffin is required, but keep in mind that the very nature of utility knitting begs for the use of scraps and leftovers. Have fun!  

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Purple Pembroke

And now for the second make of 2021 -- sort of. I started this Pembroke so long ago I can't even remember whether it was last winter or summer. I'd knit a few rows while watching something on my computer in the evenings, then put it aside because a) whatever I was watching demanded my full attention (I'm not one of those knitters able to knit in the dark), or b) I was too tired at the end of the day.

Here's my new Pembroke in a Malabrigo merino sock yarn, shown with my purple Wiksten tunic. The scarf is squishably soft and long enough to go around my neck twice. And yes, if you look closely in the background you'll notice chipping paint around the window frame. It's one of those jobs that's waiting for next spring when I can open up the windows again. 

I encourage you to have a look here at all the gorgeous and imaginative Pembrokes that knitters have posted onto Ravelry. The best part of designing something simple is seeing how it takes off in so many interesting directions.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

First Make of 2021

I love linen for sewing. It's tough, soft, and drapey. I wear it year round, and I try to make 4-season garments as much as possible. For instance, this new dress can be worn on hot summer days as is, or layered with leggings, sweaters, and scarves for cooler times of the year.

The fabric is Merchant and Mills laundered linen. I cut the bodice from size 0 of the Wiksten Shift Dress, than self-drafted some darts in both the front and back. They are actually much better pressed than they look in the photo with no puckering.

I cut the bodice so that the waist is just very slightly higher than my natural waist and then cut out two rectangles for the skirt portion, allowing enough width for the gathers. I also added in-seam pockets. The finished length is just (barely just) below the knee. The waist is still quite loose, but not ridiculously so. 

I'll start wearing this dress now with a cotton tee underneath, a warm sweater on top, a scarf, and leggings. Which of my sweaters do you think will go best with it?

Monday, January 4, 2021

That January Feeling

That dreaded post-Christmas feeling of let-down has settled in -- magnified by the doomy news that British scientists think that the COVID vaccines may not work on the newish South African variant. I'm trying not to think about that for the rest of today.

Instead, I'm focusing on completing a new Pembroke. I've been working away at this at a shockingly slow pace, mostly in the evenings when I want to zone out. It's what I invented this pattern for, and it works, especially when accompanied by escapist viewing such as Bridgerton. Yes, I've read all the novels, and although there are issues with the Netflix series, it's perfect for this moment in time.

Winter has arrived (sort of). Warm temps for Canada in January, hovering around the freezing point. Enough snow, but not too much.

So nice to be back in a house with radiators. After shoveling, the mitts go straight onto them for a good drying and toasting.

Same treatment for leg warmers. I wear these with the lower cuffs overlapping the tops of my mid-calf Sorels and the tops over the knees. There are photos of me as a small child wearing a version of these while out playing in the snow. I really ought to design a special pair to share. Like my popular Neck Thingum, they are a utility knit that rewards your efforts every time you head out into the snow. Not all knitting needs to have a wow factor.

Our boiler sprang a leak in its exit duct over the holidays. Two guys showed up this morning (masked, of course) to repair it (thankfully only a minor tweak) and then I worked for a while on my new self-drafted dress. Here are the darts I added in water soluble pencil. The fabric is actually Merchant and Mills laundered linen in a rich dark teal. Why does it look like washed out grey?

Bill accidentally dipped his laptop in a tub of water in the middle of the night (don't ask!) Now we're waiting while it dries out to see whether it's destroyed. To cheer him up, I've made a batch of brown sugar shortbread to have with our afternoon tea.

Caffeine and sugar might not be the healthiest choices, but it's the first week of January and a long winter lies ahead, so let's do what it takes to get through.