Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Fall Colours

I love burgundy for fall. Especially this version that has a slight grape undertone. The shade is rich, and over time will get that lovely faded look that linen gets with multiple washings. Here I am about to head out for my daily walk. Burgundy glasses, and I have a burgundy batik print mask in my pocket. No lipstick. The NYT had an article on lipstick wearing during pandemic times, and I lapped it up. I'm not a big, bold lips kind of girl -- my colouring and age don't lend themselves to it, but I love the way a bit of soft lipstick colour (maybe also used as blush) can give my aging face a lift. However, unlike the author of the article, I have no intention of wearing colourfast lipstick under my mask. Au naturel feels more comfortable to me just now. Guess it goes with the grey hair, ha, ha.

Now that this latest York Pinafore is done, I'm looking forward to this, which arrived this morning in the mail.

Now to my fabric stash to see if I have enough yardage in yarn-dyed black Brussels Washer. Maybe I'll need to design a sweater to go with it... Anticipation is as much fun as the making!

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

A Beginning and Some Ends

 Let's start with some "ends". My new Ellerbeck with my new burgundy York Pinafore.

I know I said I would get a photo of myself wearing Ellerbeck, but try as I would, I couldn't get a good take of the hemline, so I resorted to The Mannequin. And I couldn't resist positioning it next to some art by local fibre artist Robin Fields. 

Now, to a beginning. I started a new Wheatsheaves yesterday. Here's my crochet chain in preparation for the provisional cast on. Notice the knot at the end on the right hand side to alert me where to "unzip" the waste yarn when the time comes. Don't worry if you've never done this; there are links in the pattern to my tutorials for this and other necessary skills, and knitters tell me that the instructions are clear, easy to follow, and all you need to get through the opening steps to this no-sew cardigan. My best advice is to set aside an hour of uninterrupted time to get launched into the provisional cast on and shoulder short rows. It's the most technically demanding part of the entire sweater, but don't be intimidated. Once you're past the shoulders it's clear sailing.

This time around I decided to switch things up and do German short rows instead of the wrap and turn method in the pattern. These days I generally prefer the former. They're easier and more invisible, at least for me. If you decide to go this route, you'll need to knit an extra stitch before each turn. I highly recommend this little tutorial on German short rows from Tin Can Knits. 

Here's how the back looks today. The yarn is good old Cascade Eco+ in Silver (because I want the lace borders to really show).

Fall has arrived. The furnace kicked on in the night. It was time to rescue some of my Annabelle hydrangeas to let them dry indoors so they retain some of their late summer green colour. Why pay for dried flowers when you can pick them for free?

Sunday, September 26, 2021

New Skills and a Bit of Rule Breaking

I'm sure I'm not the only one with pandemic-driven new skills. There's nothing like being stuck at/near home for a year and a half to create motivation to make changes to the home environment. Thus is it that I've acquired painting skills. Not watercolour painting, but home decorating. Thanks to YouTube DIY videos and the fact that for the first time in my life there are no children, dogs, or other impediments, I've learned to scrape, patch, caulk, sand, and paint my way to a more serene place. The sickly yellow that we inherited from the previous owners of our house is finally gone. Yay.

So are the venetian blinds facing the back deck. Because the long windows were more or less flush with the wall (no inset), the blinds we inherited jutted out just enough to allow gaps at the sides which always left me feeling vulnerable at night when the lights were on. Also, since blinds are really meant to stay down even when open, the slats impeded the view of the beautiful mature trees in back of the house. I took down the blinds and began scraping the peeling paint around them only to discover that the underlying material was metal, not wood. It had obviously not been properly primed since the paint came off in sheets. After some research I caulked the windows, primed them with a water-based product meant to create an adhesive surface (2 coats), then painted them in Benjamin Moore's Distant Gray (actually a cool white) in a satin finish (2 more coats). By then I was committed to re-painting all the other wood-framed windows in the same colour. All in all, painting the trim in the room occupied about 80% of the job's time. 

After rolling out the walls in BM's Constellation, I tackled the window issue. I decided on unlined drapes in heavy white cotton twill. I purchased a set of IKEA's Merete curtains, which fortuitously I had noticed on a BP (Before Pandemic) trip to IKEA in Ottawa. I washed and shrank the fabric, cut off the grommets, and hemmed them at both ends so that they would barely skim the floor. Conventional decorating taste dictates that drapes should be hung as close to the ceiling as possible. Conventional approaches were thrown out the window (pardon the pun) when I attempted to drill an anchor into the outer wall to support the curtain rod. The resulting cavity in the wall was rather shocking after all my efforts, but I knew right away that I had the skills to make it disappear. No handyman required. I ended up attaching the rod to the wood trim. Voila. 


Now when the curtains are drawn at night, not only do I have privacy, but also a cocooned atmosphere in a tent-like environment. A total win!

I'm not knitting today after a minor kitchen accident has left me with a clumsy bandaid-covered left forefinger. So, I'm getting a move on with another York Pinafore. Can a girl ever have too many of these? They are my uniform in all seasons. Being low on washi tape, I followed Karen Brown's useful suggestion to use painter's tape to mark my seam allowance. That lady is so resourceful!


If you are a sewer, I hope you will check out her fantastic YouTube channel.

P.S. You can see that for the time being I'm stuck with the hideous bone-coloured outlet covers. Need to do something about that soon.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Two Favourites and a KAL (sort of)

 Wheatsheaves and Frostfern are back in my Ravelry shop.

I'm getting ready to knit a new Wheatsheaves for myself and intend to document the process here on the blog, so you're invited to follow along. You can comment, ask questions, or post photos of your own Wheatsheaves-in-progress on the Wheatsheaves Ravelry project page. It's not a formal KAL, just a knit-along-with-me-if-you-feel-like-it sort of thing.While I finish up my bedroom painting project (one more day?), you can select your wool. I've already wound some Cascade Eco+ in Silver, and as soon as my painting is done, I'll be hauling out the pattern and casting on. 

Sunday, September 19, 2021

A New Ellerbeck

I noticed last winter that I wasn't wearing Ellerbeck much, and after some thought realized it was because the fullness in the body felt a little too exaggerated. So, over the last couple of weeks I re-drafted and re-knitted the lower body. Instead of 10 sets of 4 increases over 28 rows, the new version has 7 sets of 4 increases over 25 rows. While I was at it, I added an extra set of short rows to the lower back of the sweater and cleaned up a few typos. The pattern is now available again on Ravelry. I still need to weave in the ends on my new sweater, but as soon as that is done and everything blocked, I promise photos of me in the new version. 

Fall is a season for changes. Goodbye sickly yellow, hello to Benjamin Moore's Constellation in my bedroom.

I was worried that I might not be able to reach the top of our 10' walls, but even someone who is 5'1" can manage it with a tall enough ladder. High of 23C today, very low humidity. September is perfect painting weather! 

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Some Small Things

It's almost wool socks weather, so I thought it an appropriate time to re-activate the Brookline Socks as well as the Snakes and Ladders Socks. I really love browsing through the project pages for these to see what amazing socks Ravelers have turned out from these relatively modest designs. I hope you'll take time to do the same and be inspired. 

And while I had my Ravelry shop page open, I decided to add the Bellevue Mittens to the active list. I've been careful to price these items in line with similar designs on Ravelry at $6.50 Canadian dollars, which works out to about $5.00 US, depending on the exchange rate on any given day. I will be keeping a few very simple designs (like Pembroke) free, but in those cases the pattern will be published on my blog with a link from the Ravelry page.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

The Modern Gansey Returns


The Modern Gansey is something of a stealth success story. It quietly went up on Ravelry back in 2015 after I had knitted a version for James' birthday. It's a unisex pullover (sort of). To read about the development of the feminine version see here. The pattern very slowly began to grow in popularity with knitters looking for just the right male sweater and also with knitters like me who love to have recipe style instructions that let them personalize their work. By last year it had become one of the most popular men's patterns on Ravelry, and it's the one that has been most requested since I hit pause on offering my patterns to the public. 



Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Audrey Is Back!

It must be the cooler late summer/early fall weather that's driving requests for Audrey's Coat. As of today, it's available again on Ravelry. Note that I've added the suggestion that some knitters may want to add a few short rows to the back after the underarm division to enable the back to drape just a little longer than the front. 

Happy fall knitting!

Friday, September 3, 2021

Willingdon Re-launched

I've had a lot of pressure from knitters to make my designs available again, so today I'm beginning slowly by re-launching Willingdon. This time, I've set up a paywall, which is a double-edged sword. It definitely discourages copyright abuse, but at the same time it creates a ton of tax reporting. But, with the cooler weather upon us (down to 11C last night), I want to allow people to share in the pleasure of knitting what I consider to be the ultimate fall cardigan.

Here are some helpful hints:

1. The forearms are purposely on the close-fitting side. Consider starting with a larger number of stitches than indicated if you feel that would be more appropriate for you, or especially if knitting this for someone of the male gender.

2. Try to choose a yarn that is "chunky", like Cascade Eco or Eco+, as opposed to "bulky". Ravelry, being based in the USA, does not make that distinction in its yarn weight choices, but here in Canada and in the UK, that distinction exists. You can check your gauge by starting a sleeve, then wet blocking it after a few inches.

3. Check out the link in the pattern to my raglan and neck decrease charts. Most knitters find them super useful.

For the first time since the start of the pandemic I drove to Picton in Prince Edward County yesterday. It seems that the real estate developers are having a field day there with so many big city dwellers looking for small town/rural properties. I barely recognized parts of town. I brought home a good sized haul of produce from Hagerman's, the best farm stand in the world. 

We could never find yellow beans when we lived in Washington, DC, and ever since I can never pass up the opportunity to indulge. This morning I made our favourite roasted tomato and garlic soup and now I have these to share with the kids (at some point those inherited kitchen countertops have to go!)

What else is new? The cooler weather has gifted me with a burst of energy so I put it to good use and painted the floor of our front porch.

So fresh looking!