You win some, you lose some

Ah, knitting, she can be a fickle mistress, giving you so much hope and happiness, and then snatching it away, but sometimes she lets you hang on to it. Case in point: my son’s sweater (apologies for the blurry pic, I’ve been having issues, as they say, with downloading my camera pictures).


Looks pretty good, right? WRONG. The sleeves are WAY to wide at the top (I will rip back halfway and cease increasing). Too many buttons, it would take him 20 minutes to button up this beast. But the worst of it, which doesn’t show, is that the front (although in theory and by row-count is the same length as the back) actually measures 34″ from the shoulder while the back measures 30″. Why? WHY, you may ask, as I did, almost sobbing. Well, a number of factors. Back neck shaping. DON’T DO IT, when knitting a v-neck cardi with pockets. Not to mention that the back neck was way to wide. (I was following a pattern and should have listened to my gut – even if that is what George W. Bush recommends).

The pockets add weight, hands in pockets add even more. The v-neck is open and loosey-goosey compared to a crew neck, so that the back shaping slides up to the back of the neck, dropping the centre shoulder seam forward and the whole front slides down. Now I understand why for some sweaters you just cast off across the whole back or even add some shoulder shaping, RAISING the back neck (which is what I have done now). This way the back has no where to slide, because it is already snugly against the neck. In addition, I threw in a couple of short rows on the front to raise it, so when hands go in pockets, or the sweater starts to sag a bit from the weight of the pockets, it will all lie straight.

You have figured out by now that I am reknitting about half this sweater. Yes, I cut off the buttons, unraveled the collar, cut all the seams and ripped back as far as was needed. In addition to the changes mentioned above, I’m moving the v-neck higher, adding depth to the shawl collar and reducing the number of buttons. The knitting muses were conspiring against me this time, but I must say, I learned a lot from my mistakes. Even though it seems easy to just follow a pattern, it’s better to just use it as a suggestion and make the changes you think are necessary. As good ole George says, listen to your gut (except when deciding to wage war). I will take another pic when it is properly finished.

On to happier news, this! THIS!!!

31759904_unknownOMG, I am so happy with this shawl! It is called Find Your Fade, hugely popular on Ravelry (1450 projects so far). I knit it to showcase our yarn, Kathryn is picking her colours and I will knit another one – Kathryn does knit, but my fingers fly faster. Check out our Instagram feed for more colour suggestions.

img_3902I used a combo of yarns, singles, 3 ply sock, 8 ply sock, and MCN sock. It looks fine. Don’t be afraid to mix. The colours are (from right to left) Ghost, Sailor, Poppy Seed Cake, Scarab, Wicked, Twilight and Bewitched. I had a bit of crocking with Wicked and Bewitched (on all my right hand fingers too):


There is a lot of dye in these colours and a layer of black, but the dye did not bleed at all. The first colour only uses about 20 gm of yarn, so you could use a couple of minis. I did make some changes to the pattern, I only did single yarn overs, instead of doubles; I skipped a few rows (could have skipped more) and I knit tightly so when it was washed it wouldn’t stretch out too much. The shawl as written is HUGE. Mine is a nice size I think. I even threw it in the dryer! I did not want it to stretch out. And it looks fine.

I will include one more pic because I am so freaking pumped about it!


I also have some totally mindless knitting, also known as knitFlix:

img_3740This is the gorgeous pattern Helsinki (got the kit from Debbie Wilson at Sheeps Ahoy). It is a bottom-up sweater, but I have decided to do all my yoke sweaters, yoke first. I didn’t have the patience to recalculate to do this top-down so I cast on provisionally for the body and knit 3″, did the same for the sleeves, then joined them as per the pattern instructions and knit my yoke. This way I could try it on, make sure the armhole depth was good and now I just have to knit downwards and watch Netflix. I can easily decide how wide and how long I want it by trying it on as I go (I wasn’t sure if wanted to make the 37 or the 40, I knit a 37 yoke but might widen the body, we’ll see). I plan on doing all my Kate Davies sweaters this way too. I just love the colour choices, the yoke positively glows. Of course with all my other projects on the go, I should be finished just in time for summer, yay!

Because after reknitting my favourite son’s cardigan, I have to get going on this:

img_3917I am almost finished the lobster portion of this double-knit blanket, next, more fish, crabs, and sea shells. I have to get this done for March, when I go back down to see my grandkids, and it’s Oscar’s birthday. And I have to squeeze in a sweater for him too somewhere. I am having lots of fun knitting this blanket. I am using free pot holder charts on Ravelry, and Berroco Comfort DK. This yarn holds up very nicely after multiple washings and dryings. Even if wool is superwash, it will felt up after being thrown in the dryer a number of times (which I know will happen, I’m not judging my daughter, haha, so I use washable AND dryable yarn).

Speaking of yarn… we have some new colours, and more in the works. This is Jewel, I’m knitting up a sample shawl in it. A deep gold, with flecks of magenta, purple and blue.


We’ll have more popping up on Instagram as we dye them.

That’s all for now, I’ll leave you with Frankie and Shelma hoofing it down our road, well, Frankie is sauntering while Shelma is jogging.img_3755

What would you pay?

I’ve decided to make a few shawls to sell. We are constantly being asked at shows if the sample shawls are for sale. Now, I have no real idea what people are thinking when they ask this. I am sure if I said $200, they would say WHA? and if they offered me $60 I’d say WTF? Nevertheless, I’ve decided to knit up a few shawls and cowls. I’m using fingering- weight 100% silk, which I dyed and which I knit from my own patterns (which mostly reside in my head). The cowls will be knit from merino, and merino/cashmere. I am planning on charging between $80 and $170, depending on the complexity and size.IMG_1771

Notice the beaded bind off…IMG_1774

This one also has beads.




I’m quite proud of this one, a crescent shawl. I used a German lace pattern for the bottom half. (My camera needs to be recharged so these are from the iPad).IMG_2485


I think my prices are still a bargain. I am not counting the hours of knitting lest I stain these shawls with my tears in figuring out an hourly wage, haha. But I enjoy knitting them, and coming up with my own ideas, and I am curious to see if they will sell. If they sell like hot-cakes, I might up my prices, if they don’t, I won’t lower the prices, I’ll just prance around the house in all my silk-shawled glory, and if family and friends are really nice to me…

I have even managed to knit for myself. This tunic, Serenity, has been finished for quite a while. I used our fingering singles in the colour Dusk. I really love it, and I don’t look quite as fat in real life as I do in these pictures, although this IS an excellent sweater to hide all kinds of lumps and bumps.


(Frankie never worries about the size of HIS ass).

I also knit another cowl, which goes fabulously with my tunic. I used Mushroom and Damson & Denim in merino/cashmere/nylon lace. I have enough to knit another, which I might sell.


I still have another sweater to finish before the Twist Festival in our 8 ply sock, and a few more shawls, I hope.

(a wee update to the post – another sweater I knit!) I completely forgot to add this sweater to my post, Persimmon:

1aIMG_1744 I used Berroco’s Indigo, a yarn from recycled jeans. I really like the feel and love the colour (and I love matching my bag!) I changed the top pattern since the original just uses garter stitch. This yarn is not terribly bouncy and the garter stitch part was much wider, so I ripped back and substituted another pattern. I also knit an i-cord at the beginning of the garter stitch edges. It makes for a much neater edge.


Since I’ve already given you gratuitous Frankie butt shots, I’ll leave you with this cutie, can’t wait to see him again. He’s rocking that electro-static hair look!e

Lack of focus

Well, no surprise there. I know I have to finish some baby items, within a month. So what do I do? Knit a sweater for myself and start a hap blanket (for myself). This is not nearly as selfish as it sounds. Really. The sweater is totally justifiable. We (Riverside Studio) have a new yarn, a DK weight, 100% superwash Merino. Yum. So I had to dye some up and knit something. First up was a cowl:IMG_1240a

But I needed more! So I dyed up enough yarn (more than enough it turns out) for a sweater. For me, MOI, nobody else! One of my favourite colourways is Sundown, a blue and orange mix. I knit this in nine days, which includes the day I dyed it. Ha, stick that in your pipe and smoke it! (what does that even mean?) Warning, picture heavy:

IMG_1286aIMG_1288aIMG_1278a This last pic is not some smug selfie but to show you how freakingly matchy my earrings are, which I bought, I believe, in 1990? Sometimes fate takes a long time. The pattern is a Vogue Knitting one, #02 Bateau neck (always with the poetic names for their patterns). Vogue lost me for a few years, crazy expensive novelty yarn, over the top designs – wait, I don’t think six different stitch patterns in one sweater are enough, so let’s also make it in 100% Vicuña at $200 a skein! But lately I’ve been liking their patterns (still full of mistakes). I added quite a bit of length to both the body and the sleeves. No crop tops for this middle-aged survivor of the 1980’s!

But back to our yarn… This is a 4-ply yarn, squishy and bouncy with fantastic stitch definition. It didn’t grow too much, but I did wash and dry it mid-way through the back just to make sure. I always do that with superwash yarn since swatches are known to be evil little liars.

Next up is Darsham, a Rowan pattern (love their stuff lately too). I dyed this in our colourway Pond and am using our new 8-ply sock yarn. Another bouncy yarn, just a joy to knit.IMG_1296aI love the clever use of cables and this yarn is great with cables. Next up will be a sweater in some BFL sport weight that we are thinking of carrying. I dyed some up in Goldenrod.IMG_1303a

It is not quite as bright yellow as this appears, I’m having camera “challenges”. But nothing wrong with bright yellow.

My other distraction was spinning. A friend asked for some pointers, so I thought I had better spin a bit before offering up any wisdom on the subject. And then I got sucked down that black hole. I had some Shetland roving sitting around for a couple of years now and decided to make Hansel, a Shetland hap shawl/lap blanket (for MOI, since if I gave to somebody else, who might throw it in the washer, I might have to kill them). I spun it up as a gradient, then spun some other Moorit (brown) Shetland I had, but had to also use some Romney I had already spun (3 years ago?) and some deep dark delicious brown roving, mysteriously called 100% wool, to make sure I had enough (yay fibre stash!).IMG_1289a I am really loving it, even though I realize it might end up looking like a hippy-tastic 1970’s rustic shawl/blanket. I’ll take my chances and start wearing Berkinstocks if it does. I have one more brown rainbow repeat to knit. Woot!

I have not forgotten the babies. One already born (almost finished the blankie) and one on the way. I have finished one little sweater, with another in the works, and a blankie. IMG_1293a

Kathryn has also been trying out new colours. Fantastic colours! Hard to photograph colours.

The reds on both ends are actually the same colour, just different lighting. See what I mean? Anyways, the colours are complex and scrumptious, and there will be more.

Well, I will leave you with some cuteness, as always. Shelma, our ward for 3 months, who I couldn’t find and after panicking a bit, discovered her in a carry-on bag. Small dogs, you never know where they will turn up.IMG_1649a

While Frankie observed from our psychedelic Giant Tiger (if you are from the Outaouais you’ll know what I mean) cheapo fleece blanket protecting the daybed, thinking, small dogs, you never know where they’ll turn up.IMG_1648a


Is knitting killing me?

I don’t mean in some crazed and frenzied knitting needle death-by-a-thousand pokes kind of murder, but rather a slow sedentary death (“NO, don’t get up and go for a walk, you just have 20 rows left!”)  If you have read a newspaper, listened to the radio or gone on the internet, you must have heard that sitting is KILLING us. You sit a lot when you knit, almost all the time in fact. Plus, my other favourite hobby doesn’t help at all. I love spinning. When I sheepishly (haha, couldn’t resist) told my doctor that, she said, “that’s great!”. She was thinking this 🙂


(no, that’s not me)

When I meant this 😦


(no that’s not me, and I like to think that I look a tad hipper)

However, what I would like to know is how did they come to their conclusion? They being that nebulous cloud of researchers, doctors and the “journalists” who either misinterpret and/or dumb-down and then sensationalize EVERYTHING!

Both my parents lived to about 84. My dad smoked and drank, my mom had her chubby moments. I never in my life saw them exercise. My dad worked mostly as a construction supervisor, only heavy lifting there was the odd blueprint and thermos (topped up with vodka.) When he retired he walked once a day for about an hour and then spent the rest of the day on the couch reading or watching TV or sleeping or farting. My mother worked as – what was then quaintly referred to – a “key-punch operator” (now called data-entry clerk, unless they have a new euphemism like “information orientating associate”). Key strokes were even counted  and the workers had to meet quotas. So you didn’t take too many bathroom breaks. She had a half hour lunch and walked 15 min one way and 15 min back. At home she did housework on the weekends – sometimes I helped out.  No, I’m not proud of my surly teenage attitude toward dusting 😦  (I still hate housework, especially dusting, just ask the sand dunes on our bookshelves.) But according to the latest health news, this lifestyle should have KILLED them. Which I suppose you could argue did, but if that means living to 84, bring it on!
So why do I feel like I’m slowly killing myself when I sit and knit? They say even if you do a workout but then sit a lot, you are still DOOMED!!
 So every so often, I hop on this thing:
 (No that’s not me).
Hubby got it for me for my bad lower back (too much sitting??) You’d be surprised how quickly it gets your heart rate going. I don’t have a six-pack yet (unlike the fridge which has several) but it makes me move a bit. I walk at lunch (I am a desk jockey slowly hurtling to my death), I drink a few gallons of tea and water at work and so have bathroom breaks every 20 mins or so. At home I walk the dog and I do my back exercises but mostly I SIT. I am DOOMED!!
I might as well document my slow demise, so here’s some knitting.
I am just about finished a thick sweater for the grandson (and working on a thinner stripey one too. About less than 2 weeks till I’m off to Cape Cod!!) Almost finished the second sleeve and then sew it all together.
I’ve been working a bit on one of my other double-knit cowl designs, and have so many ideas for others, using textured stitches and bobbles??
I am going to come up with an ombre shawl for Kathryn’s singles lace yarn, holding two strands together of one colour, then one each, and then two of the second colour:
We might come up with some kits for that too since the yardage would be different from the usual singles.
AND I started another project (how many WIPs is that, 126? maybe I should have contest some day, bet you’d all be wrong!) I am going to knit another fab design from Rililie, called RhombingAround.  After such a long winter, I went with eye-popping colour.
Super bright green for the body and blue and grey for the sleeves (which I dyed myself with Kathryn’s guidance). I have actually been debating whether it is too bright, but in the end I don’t care because it makes me smile every time I look at it, and you will never lose me in a crowd.
Now back to the scourge of inactivity. Frankie doesn’t seem to be too concerned:
And I’m starting to think that maybe subtly moving your wrists while sitting cancels out all the bad stuff about sitting, maybe those researchers should have studied how long knitters live. Maybe I’ll go move my ass from this chair in front of the computer to the chair under the good light in the living room and knit a bit.


Well, we are gearing up for out little retreat at the end of May (29-31) here in Wakefield. Maureen is deciding on the menu, Kathryn is mixing her colours and I’m writing up my classes and knitting samples. This year I am teaching double knitting (as colourwork) and mending your knitting with the Swiss darning method (or over-stitching). Friday is meet-and-greet and show-and-tell after stuffing our faces over a fantastic dinner. Saturday will be the double-knitting class and dyeing (and more gorging), Sunday you’ll poke a biggish hole in your knitted homework and then mend it (just pretend Frankie put a claw through your sweater like he’s done to me more than once.) (Oh, and one last food-fest at noon).

I will have patterns available, and Kathryn is putting together kits, and participants can dye their own yarn for their future double-knit projects (or for anything they like, I wouldn’t force anyone to double knit, except in my class).

This is what I have been working on:aDSCF4488The yarn in this picture will all end up as samples, and then kits made by Kathryn. The leaf cowl will be written up for the retreat. I am also working on a scarf (with cowl option) and a flowery cowl. All these patterns are based on my grandmother’s Hungarian embroidery.DSCF4492

We have many cushion covers from her and table cloths, but they are slowly disintegrating. So I mostly keep them wrapped up, but thought it would be nice to translate them into knitting. Some of them will only be for double knitting, others I’ll do as stranded knitting also.

Here are the pieces showing the other side. It makes a nice squishy, warm fabric (especially with Kathryn’s yarn!)aDSCF4490I’ve been wearing my proto-type all winter, and it has kept me warm in the piercing winter wind.aDSCF4437We still have some spots available, so if you are interested, let us know and Maureen can send you the information.

Kathryn has been dyeing up a storm. Her yarn went to fibre festivals in Paris and then Edinburgh with La Maison Tricotée, it can also be found locally at Wabi Sabi and at her studio, just give her a shout if you want to come out.aDSCF4410Here is some drying, some waiting to labelled and some bagged and ready to go.aDSCF4403


In other news, our little Corgi is going home tomorrow. We will miss her, although I suspect Frankie might be relieved to be an only child again. And he can stop eating fruits and vegetables, which he eats now ONLY because she does.aDSCF4435(Notice the bags of knitting peeking out – I have them stashed all over the house. Except in the oven – I still use the oven).

And one last romp in the snow.aDSCF4485 Although I appreciate that I am not in the Maritimes under another 45 cm of snow, I still felt like weeping when I woke up to this. And although I love knitting in the winter, by a cozy fire, it is mid-March and I am heartily sick of it. Hopefully by the time we have our retreat, all this will have melted, but I won’t hold my breath!

Knitter’s folly

This post will again go backwards in time. Mostly so I can keep the cutest pictures for last (hint: not furry and four-legged).

I just got back from the Eastern Ontario Needlers’ Retreat in the Gananoque (their 25th Anniversary!), held at the Glen House Resort. This was my fifth or sixth year, I’m not sure, it’s all a blur. There are almost 70 of us, so it is a pretty raucous time. Many of us only see each other once a year at this event. The poor sole (non-knitting) male at the bar didn’t know what hit him when we all congregated in the pub to sign up for our classes, have a few beverages and pet each other’s knits (which we were wearing at the time but that is sooo allowed). People imagine us knitters to be quiet types, grannies-in-training, but we are a naughty, naughty bunch. I go with three other friends, and shared a room with one of them. We even had a little sitting area in our room (which quickly became a knitting/wine drinking nook):


and this was the view from our room:


Friday night, after dinner and a few drinks (we are very naughty and I am very stupid, knocking over my red wine and splattering some on my WHITE sweater), we have show-and-tell. It is great fun and very inspirational to see everyone’s work. Here is a gaggle of knitters who all knit Natalie Servant’s Peloton pattern.DSCF4150Now, this is a knitting retreat, so yes, you guessed it, we knit. All the time. At breakfast, lunch and supper (we had to ask the staff in the dining area to turn up the lights since we weren’t there to date each other but to KNIT, so none of this romantic mood lighting for us). Notice the clever use of coffee cups:


So what did I end up doing the day BEFORE the retreat? (Hence the title of this post). Knit, knit, knit. I had to finish my sweater. I promised my friend Robin that I would come with the sweater I made from her yarn (from her sheep and which you can buy here.) I used Elderberry Pie, spun from Polwarth sheep. Here I am talking about it (before the red wine incident).IMG_8004_medium2I spent the rest of the evening washing out the spots, first with white wine (between a few gulps) and then seltzer water and then a full bath in shampoo and conditioner and it worked! Post-wine proof (and post-tea-dribble proof – maybe I shouldn’t wear white or only drink white wine, even for breakfast):DSCF4156I took the textured stitch pattern from Winnipeg Pullover in Interweave Winter 2014, and used a cable from another sweater in that issue and then knit it top-down.

I also finished my Betty Mouat cowl. I wasn’t expecting to finish before the retreat but in a moment of madness decided I could do it. I grafted 399 stitches the night before the retreat, until just past midnight. Then I had to soak it and block it. It was still slightly damp when I headed out with it. But that’s what knitters do.

Excuse my expression, I was caught mid-whine about grafting 399 stitches. Which by the way is a few repeats less than the pattern calls for. I’m glad I made it shorter, it is plenty long and fits very well this way. Besides then I would have had to graft 504 stitches and that is just crazy!IMG_8005_medium2

This is how it looks on, twisted double around my neck:


and three times:


and notice my fantastically matching Hermaness tam! I am currently making the slouchy version of the Hermaness hat, in Brooklyn Tweed Loft, in the colour Camper. It matches the mid-red Jamieson & Smith almost perfectly. Although my attempt at actually capturing the colour has failed again.


I was also a vendor at the retreat for Kathryn’s yarn, and I did very well indeed. I kept myself under control and the only yarn I bought was again from my friend Robin (I did however win 7 skeins of Briggs & Little Heritage!!! in blue!!!! enough to make a sweater/coat!!!! which I have already started!!!) This time I bought her fingering weight Elderberry Wine which is wool, alpaca, silk and nylon. It is delicious. I’ll do some kind of colourwork sweater with it. Again, the blue is much richer than my pathetic photo would have you think.


I also ended up with some silk hankies ( I had to, they were for a class taught by the lovely Francine). You draft a hankie and then knit straight from it. We were making chunky cowls, but you can draft it thinner and make fingerless gloves or whatever you like! The hankies were dyed by Yvonne of Yvieknits Yarns. I picked an acid yellow/green to go with my bright royal blue coat.


So now that I am back home I am full of inspiration and have even more projects on the go. I started another Moroccan Nights in Kathryn’s Riverside Studio Merino Singles (a rich brown/rust colour):


and Such a Winter’s Day in Brooklyn Tweed Shelter:


I am knitting it in three big blocks of colour, grey, grey/blue, and blue. Can you tell I’m into blue lately??

But before all this knitterly excitement, I was in Cape Cod to visit a certain someone…aP1160102A happy little fellow (yes I knit that sweater, this is a knitting blog). The yarn is discontinued, Knitpicks Felici Sport and the pattern is Boatneck Pullover from 60 More Quick Baby Knits. He was also edible adorable in his new hoodie:DSCF4063It fit him perfectly! with room to grow. (Of course I bored everyone to death at the retreat with pictures of my cutie, but it was just to show the sweaters, I swear!)

Well that was my month and a half, hope yours was good!

Kathryn and I will be at the Idle Hands Craft Fair on 23 November at St. Anthony’s Banquet Hall, 523 St. Anthony Street, Ottawa (just off Preston) with loads of yarn.

Hope to see you there! (I don’t abuse exclamation marks, do I?!)








Busy days

We have been very busy lately. This will be a long post about our retreat, upcoming events, vintage purchases and more! Warning: picture heavy.

First off, Kathryn will be at the Montreal Knitting Guild tonight (October 14th) giving a talk and selling her wares. Then she will be at the Ottawa Knitting Guild’s vendors’ night on the 27th, at the Christmas craft fair at Vorlage (in Wakefield) on November 8 and 9, and at the Idle Hands fair in Ottawa on November 23. Then I think she should put her feet up for a little while.

We had our little knitting retreat at the end of September, the weather was fabulous! So were the participants!

IMG_2064We  hold the retreat at “The Barn”, sort of literally, it once was a barn…

IMG_2065 But it doesn’t look like a barn on the inside. Here are some hard-working knitters:DSC_1784



Maureen cooked up fabulous meals:

IMG_2069 That was just lunch, I didn’t even get dinner shots because excessive drooling was hindering the operation of a camera.

And there was dyeing! Always a very popular activity and this year’s yarn was particularly beautiful:

DSC_1780 IMG_2075 IMG_2066 We even had this participant who came with her 5 month old baby! Who was a doll and was happily passed around and initiated into the obsessive world of knitting. She should be casting on by 9 months.

DSC_1779 And drooling over checking out the yarn…

IMG_8337 (2)Kathryn and I are enjoying a little downtime. There was a baby just off screen, hence the smiles.

I also had a surprise for our knitters, bracelets!


Made from old knitting needles that I scored at Value Village!


You just drop them into a pot of simmering water, push them down as they become soft (like spaghetti), after about 5 minutes take one out with tongs and with heat-resistant gloves, twist them into a bracelet. Hold until cool (which is very quick – so just do one at  a time). If it is too big or too small, drop back into the pot. Voila. Crazy knitters’ jewelry!  I just picked up another 40 or so knitting needles and plan on making a pile for the next retreat that I’m attending. I even bent a 10 mm one, I kept that one for myself, it’s so hardcore! Not all old plastic needles work, one broke, another just sort of melted at the tip but 98% of them worked.

Next year we will be holding our retreat in the spring again, it seems to work out better for everyone. I’m thinking of teaching double knitting again, that was a fun class and I plan on writing up a cowl and hat pattern to hand out (based on some Hungarian embroidery work from my grandmother).

This past weekend, we celebrated Wool Day at the Saturday farmers’ market. We brought spinning wheels and spindles and Kathryn’s yarn, of course! By chance, the owner of Wool Is Not Enough (Vancouver) stopped by and bought bags of Kathryn’s yarn. So keep an eye out for it in Vancouver!


DSCF3965 This was the tent next to ours, felting with Hannah Ranger, a very talented local felter. I bought something from her for my daughter’s birthday, but I’m not telling. And this picture segues perfectly into my next series of pictures…

In preparation for all these upcoming events, I helped Kathryn for a day in her studio (hopefully someday soon it will be more than just a day here or there, still working on the logistics of that…) And who should greet us at the studio but this little guy:

DSCF3938 Hannah’s new Australian shepherd puppy, Django! Of course I cheated on Frankie, what’s a dog lover to do??

DSCF3940 When a puppy offers up his belly to rub, you’ve got to go for it!

DSCF3945 He also came for a little visit every once in a while (after this very proper and staid picture he threw himself on that bag of roving, good sheep dog that he is). And then on me, melt…

DSCF3947 Although he might have just been confused by my cow-print apron.

I did do a little dyeing for myself. I had some alpaca/wool in an ugly beige (well ugly for me) so I over-dyed it blue and less-ugly-taupe for this sweater: Laszlo cardigan.

My colours are more subdued. It went from this:

DSCF3943  Which doesn’t show it’s truly ugly beigy-ness. To this:

DSCF3949 And it is knitting up fabulously:

DSCF4004 Everything I knit lately has to go with with jeans, hmmmm, I think I have “retirement” on the brain, well semi-retirement since I do plan on doing other things. And in addition to this wondrous dye-job, Kathryn gave me this freakingly beautiful yarn!!!

DSCF4012 (2) I’ve played around trying to capture the colour, close…

I plan on making another Moroccan Nights with it. I just finished this version, in Wellington Fibres mohair/wool fingering weight. It was a bit of a slog, one skein was darker and had a tighter twist than the others. I was alternating skeins and then switched to just that last skein. But after a hot bath (the sweater not me), it still looked pretty crappy on the bottom, that part didn’t bloom like the rest of the sweater. So I frogged the whole body! And started again, alternating every other row with the two different skeins. It worked out that way, and I am quite pleased. It has a beautiful sheen and is pretty soft for mohair (but I have a high itch threshold).

DSC_1765DSC_1767 This pattern has all kinds of lovely details. Kathryn made one from her yarn and it looks gorgeous. (But she is a bad, bad poster and picture-taker of her own stuff, so you have to take my word). I don’t usually knit the same pattern twice but this is such a fun knit (all of Rililie’s patterns are fun).

When I scored those old plastic knitting needles, I also scored a pile of old knitting magazines! Some from the 60’s/70’s (fantastic) and the 90’s (mostly hideous and hilarious). Here are a few of my faves:

DSCF3985 Yeah, cause nothing says He-Man like bobbles.

And hey, aren’t those guys the Kennedys???


I dare you to knit this one:

DSCF3987 In baby-blue and olive green, cause those colours go so well together. I don’t understand what the hell is going on with that monstrosity, it looks like some kind of weird moss is taking over and will strangle the poor guy.

DSCF3986 Well, they are just a bunch of scamps, aren’t they? Why do all men from the 60’s have furrowed brows? Worrying about Communists and nuclear war, no doubt. He could save this poor Stepford wife, I think her fake eyelashes weigh about a pound each! Oh my!


This knitting magazine should have been called Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown:

DSCF3993 Oh my god! the migraine! the migraine from these eyelashes!

And who knew that Mary Maxim was ever this mod!!! Agent 99!

DSCF3988 Except that it goes totally downhill on the inside:

DSCF3989 Wow. I’m kind of speechless.

I kind of like these, from a Danish magazine, where the women seem much happier. I would feel like a pyrex dish though.

DSCF3992And then there were the 90’s. You remember the 90’s don’t you?

DSCF3977 Think I might have to use some of my plastic needles to poke my eyes out.

I actually found a few nice patterns in these 90’s Vogue knitting mags:

DSCF3978 This is pretty adorable. And this is quite elegant:

DSCF3981 But they were few and far between. Outnumbered by the likes of these:

DSCF3979 Ugh.

Well, I will leave you with more pleasing images of fall and Frankie (I did stay true in the end):


And checking out a highly suspicious looking pumpkin. What kind of a soccer ball is that?

DSCF3969I’m off to Cape Cod soon to frolic with my grandson, so will post again upon my return, with pictures of his new sweaters knit by MOI.




Almost there…

Next weekend is our little retreat! I’ve written up the classes and am just finishing off some swatches. Kathryn is preparing the dyes and Maureen is  finalizing the menu. It will be a lot of fun. I will even have door prizes, for like, everyone! That’s one way to cull the books and stash. We have a few spots left, so if you are interested, contact us. It starts Friday night with a fabulous dinner and show and tell, or just knitting if you have nothing to tell. But a glass of wine (or two) might loosen you up. We are usually booked up when we hold it in the spring (but it just couldn’t happen this year). The fall seems to be a busy time of year for everyone but the weekend so far looks like it will be beautiful,  because you know, seven day weather forecasting never lies. Next year, however,  we will hold it again in the spring (hopefully we can get the venue).

I am just about finished my grandson’s hoodie. I have not knit the band around the hood, I want to make sure it fits first, so I’ll do that “in situ”. I just have to find some buttons, and maybe finish that second sleeve…IMG_2060I just love those fish. I’m going to make him a new blanket with those fishes swimming up and down it.

In November, I go to a knitting retreat in the Gananoque. I have yarn from sheep from a friend of mine and promised to have it finished for show and tell. I will definitely get it done on time.IMG_2055I really like the yarn, it is super squishy (yes that is an official yarn term), with lots of lanolin in it still but washes up beautifully. I also plan on finishing my Betty Mouat Cowl, I am using darker shades than the original, in Jamieson & Smith yarn. I knit a matching tam from Gudrun Johnston’s upcoming release, Shetland Trader – Book 2 (lots of great patterns), Hermaness Hats, I was apparently the first one to finish! Yay me! I plan on making the slouchy version too in a reddish colour. One can never have too many hats. Or scarves, or sweaters, or yarn…IMG_2051(Gawd, I just realized I sort of match my couch).

I also bought some Shelter, love the colour and the yarn. I plan on making a leafy top-down pullover so I can use every last drop. The colours are all incredible. Will post pics as  soon as I have something to show for it.

IMG_2054Well, back to work, I have a few buttonband swatches to finish. It is a rainy, albeit warm, day and Frankie is quite enjoying it. Who ever said we spoil our dog?IMG_2050







Need. More. Hands.

I’ll have all kinds of things in this post, dyeing, knitted presents, future knitted presents, current knitting, even some future sewing (don’t worry I’m not one of those knitters who will go down the quilting black hole).

First up, the presents I made for my grand-son’s first birthday. I made a much larger version, in thinner yarn (Berroco Comfort DK) than the pattern here. I also knitted the back in large stripes  (which I of course forgot to photograph) and made a different a border. I basically just used the graph. This was knit in the round and steeked. Since the yarn was very slippery, I used a sewing machine to reinforce the steeks. Then I picked up stitches around the entire blanket and knit the border, bound off on three sides and then knit my way down the back and sewed up all the sides.IMG_1653(By the way, the pottery statue on the shelf – a sleeping figure with an overturned book – is from sculptor Raymond Warren.  I gave it to my fairly recently retired hubby since I imagine that is what he does most of the day, read and snooze, snooze and read, repeat. I am exaggerating of course but can’t a working girl be bitter?)

But back to my cutie-pie sleeping with his blanket (and it even matches the sweater I made him!):image (18)I also gave him an old toy that used to belong to my sister and me, it is a bit hideous, but kids these days have too many cute things:

photo (56)My mother reknit him a body long ago and sewed pants and crocheted feet because otherwise all that would have remained of him would have been his head and his hands, which would have been way more creepy, don’t you think? Finn actually makes faces at it, sticks his tongue out at it. I think he is trying to imitate the expression on the toy’s face, but I could be wrong and maybe he’s trying to tell us to get this thing away from him. Have I traumatized him? Somebody’s got to. At least it’s not a monkey dressed as a clown. That would be traumatic.

Since I love colourwork, and love knitting for this little guy, I bought this pattern, Walking on Dinosaurs, which is a sock pattern but I plan on knitting it as a pullover for him.

Last week I went to Kathryn’s studio to dye up some roving for myself, superwash merino and 20% nylon, and to help with other dyeing. Here is Kathryn hard at work.IMG_1676Kathryn has piles of fingering weight silk (that is just what she has skeined, there are piles more), and it dyes up beautifully! IMG_1685

IMG_1674And here is a mix of yarns drying, some silk, some merino:IMG_1688I really like this yarn that she had already dyed, the colour reminds me of copper when it is turning green, which needless to say my camera did NOT capture:IMG_1673I dyed roving which  I am spinning up for socks. I am using a spindle and will spin three plies and then ply them on another spindle. The strongest socks I have are from yarn I spun in this way. I tend to overspin on the spindle and am better at spinning very thin yarn, so the resulting 3 ply is super strong and hardly wears out at all. Then I will knit my hubby some socks which should last longer than the other pair he wore to death (no picture, but his entire heel was sticking out, ersatz yoga socks?) I am spinning the blue/grey and gold, the green and gold roving will also be for socks, for the both of us. I figure it’s not too crazy to have matching socks, sweaters would be to cutesy, and we don’t do cutesy.IMG_1686IMG_1691I am also working on 3 sweaters, one for a friend, the pattern is Reverb, in merino from Colourmart. I’m holding one strand of the merino (dk weight) with a strand of laceweight to get a worsted gauge:IMG_1695And two for me! (Because the ratio should always be, 1 to give away, 2, or even 3, for me). I am knitting with my friend Robin’s yarn, Polwarth, super squishy beautiful yarn:IMG_1693And I am using up stash yarn (from at least 5 years ago) for a casual cardigan called BlueSand: (the brown is more grey than this picture suggests – bad, bad camera)IMG_1696So I am lugging some of this to Guelph next week, where I will be visiting my mom. And much to my delight I have discovered another yarn source in Guelph. It is actually a quilting shop, but carries Jamieson & Smith, among other brands. But it also has canvas fabric with Charley Harper prints, my absolute favourite illustrator. There is a tutorial on another fabric website for sewing a tote bag, which I have decided to make. I am thinking of using these two prints:


Lastly, while I am romping in my new sweater (Green Mountain Spinnery Wonderfully Wooly, pattern – Pippin – a fantastic pattern, interesting construction, love the cowl, finished in about 2 weeks!!):IMG_1680Frankie and his buddy are romping in the piles of snow we have – with more to come I’m sure  😦IMG_1668aAnd Henry says, you have got to be kidding, I am not getting out of bed:DSCF3878

To Twist and Back

Who knew yarn could be so exhausting! Kathryn, Maureen and I spent the weekend in St-André-Avellin at the Twist Fibre Festival. There were all kinds of knitting, spinning and felting workshops and about 68 vendors with yarn, roving, fleece, pottery, clothing and various hand-made items. Here we are enjoying a beer (as you can see I’ve already “enjoyed” mine) before the insanity began.1Our friend Francine was already there (with the scarf), and we met Stephanie, she writes patterns for children’s clothing and sells knitted items.  2And we met Yvonne, of Yvieknits, she and Francine shared a booth.23They were knitting, we opted to just quaff our beer, knitting would have got in the way! We were all staying at Auberge Petite-Nation, good prices, good beer (but you know that already), clean and simple rooms. Just one drawback… the shower from hell, death by a thousand needles.12I guess this keeps water usage to a minimum, nobody can stand more than about 3 minutes in there, wash your hair, and anything you can stand having the needle-spray hit on your body and get the hell out! I believe this shower head not so secretly desires to be a mechanical meat tenderizer, like this:


Now back to happier thoughts… We set up on Friday and headed over to the arena before the 9 am start of festivities on Saturday. 9 am to 6 pm. A looooong day. Well worth it but exhausting. Sunday was marginally better, we got to quit at 5 pm. But I did make a sale at 4:55, so who’s complaining.3How pretty is that? All of Kathryn’s batts were gone by 1 pm! She will have loads more for Almonte (more info at end of post). Hopeful Shetlands was next door to us, like last year, with an old sock knitting machine that kept the crowd fascinated.4Kathryn wore the lace-weight tee I knit to showcase her yarn. I will write up some sort of pattern since people are bugging me for it. But since I am not an overly enthusiastic pattern-writer, it will be a guideline of sorts, with advice on how to make it fit (it’s really a pretty simple top-down piece) and I will get it done soon. Promise. Really. Well maybe.22We also inadvertently brought exactly the same skirt, in exactly the same colour. Guess having similar taste helps keep the peace when deciding on what to knit for samples. My dummy was a big hit too. Everyone seemed to really like the shawl (cashmere merino lace) and the pattern (not mine, but Boxleaf Triangle from Anne Hanson) and the top was knitted in Kathryn’s merino singles (just over 2 skeins!), the pattern is Folded.14The woman in the  background was knitting super thick but super soft wool on needles the size of broom handles!

By Sunday afternoon, the booth was getting a bit sparse… Yay!13Since we all know that my yarn somehow miraculously reproduces, filling my formerly-known-as-guest-now-yarn room, I was fairly well-behaved in the purchasing department, looking for yarn I don’t actually have (I know, how is that possible??? yarn I don’t have???)

I got loads of silk (my plan, down the road, soonish, is to knit fingering/dk silk shawls – my design, so no copyright infringement, to sell as a finished product, for a fair amount of $$, and see it they sell. If not, I’ll just look fabulous for years to come, or give them as Christmas presents that can never really be fully reciprocated, haha). Anyway, my silk dealer was Daf at Farmable Fibres, and I bought this:20

Kathryn and Maureen also grabbed some of that silk, who could resist? The silk roving on the side, I plan to spin for myself and I got that from The Roving Spinners booth, she packaged her silk to look like candy, very clever and really, isn’t silk the candy of spinning?6Such beautiful colours:7I also splurged on a sheep mug! Everyone needs a sheep mug! And some ceramic buttons from Laura Sheppard (I know she should change the spelling of her last name, I’ll suggest it next time).8I really liked her yarn bowls too, maybe next year…10I also got some beautiful mohair blend yarn from Wellington Fibres, lace weight in teal/peacock and fingering in a mustardy shade for a sweater. Maureen got a skein of the lace weight in a beautiful shade of purple and Kathryn bought a few boxes of dyed locks. We saw lots of people walking around with Wellington Fibre boxes. Again great value for your $. 

21The picture does not show the true colour. The yarn cake on the side (how perfect is that, yarn and cake??) is cotton fingering Wolle’s colour changing yarn, which I’ve been wanting to try out. Lastly, I did actually buy something for someone other than myself, hard to believe, I know. I couldn’t resist another felted animal head from FeltFactory. For my grandson, in Cape Cod where nary a moose is to be seen. (I myself have actually seen one on our highway, not hit, but freaking out and he did make it to safety).19My mother was worried that it might frighten the little guy, but I figure if you grow up with felted animal heads on your wall, why would they frighten you? Better than clown heads, which are just evil.

Back to Kathryn’s yarn, these lovely ladies carry her yarn in Montreal and they had a booth at Twist, La Maison Tricotée:16And Kathryn will be at the Mississipi Valley Fibre Festival in Almonte (in the Almonte Arena) on September 7 and 8. Hope to see you there!