Solo adventures

September 20th, 2014 by swatchless

Today was supposed to be a group adventure, but at the last minute other deadlines got in the way for my other adventuring friends. I decided I’d go anyway and have an adventure on my own.

Stop 1: Lyndhurst for the Turkey Fair


I’ve never seen so many people in the village. There were vendors, and bouncy castles, and a guess the weight of the pumpkin booth.

There were quilts

And election posters

And Velma!

I visited the grounds of Camp Hyanto, and picked a few four leaf clovers, and then I set off once more…

Stop 2: rock dunder, near Morton

I walked the summit loop for the second time this summer. It was way less buggy this time!





I was alone at the top of the mountain, and it was lovely, windy, and peaceful.

I’m excited to go back when the colours change.
In the mean time, mark your calendars for the 3rd Saturday in September for the next Turkey Fair!




Mittens to Match…

September 19th, 2014 by swatchless

I knit a hat last year for a fellow who did quite a bit of camping. The hat was made from my early handspun, from fleece that was being tossed by a local farmer. I’d used some of the fleece as an experiment in dyeing, and the end result was a rustic hat that was quite suitable for the tough guy who would wear it.
(For some reason I cant find a picture of the hat…)

I came across the tail ends of the dyed handspun a few days ago, and decided that some matching mittens would be a good idea.

I divided up the ball of blue into two small balls, and did the same with the green, and then I set out to make up a pair of simple durable mittens. The natural yarn is not my own handspun, but it certainly is tough and rustic. I added a patterned cuff, and had enough left for stripes across the hand.

Sizing for a man’s hand is something that I’ve guessed at. These are very large for me. I had a friend try them on, and found that the original cuff was a bit on the short side, and also a bit loose. I had tried to avoid ribbing by using the Latvian braid, but decided that I should really make a cuff so they’re longer and cozier.

I picked up stitches from the inside of the mitten after the braid, and knit 14 rows of K1P1 ribbing to make a stretchy cuff. I’m thrilled by the result, and I hope they will be enjoyed and cherished for many years.

Handspun mitts

September 14th, 2014 by swatchless

I’m working on knitting up my stash of handspun scratchy yarn….the stuff that I made when I was first processing fleece right from the sheep. It’s not suitable for anything that will be close to the skin, except for mittens. It’s perfect for mittens.

Unfortunately, as you can probably see, my stash yarn doesn’t come in large quantities, so I’ve had to mix and match a few different greens to complete this pair. The thumbs are particularly green it seems.

I tried to dye up a batch to match the more turquoise colour, but it’s really hard to do (as I realized last night). My recipe includes vinegar and food colouring-blue and green straight out of the bottle- and a bit of time in a pot of simmering water.

This is as close as I got. We’ll see how light it gets when it is all dry.

I may end up redoing the thumbs if the colour is close.

Monster booties

September 4th, 2014 by swatchless

Here’s a cute application for novelty yarn!

I made basic sock shape booties out of eyelash yarn. To make them more monstery, I attached three i-cord claws.

These booties are a surprise gift for a little monster that was born this week.


August 27th, 2014 by swatchless

Moth is a four letter word to knitters and wool enthusiasts everywhere. I (knock on wood) haven’t had a case of moths, but as you saw in the last post, our family coronation blanket has been attacked. My goal is to repair the blanket, but in doing so I don’t want to expose my clothes stash to the nasty critters.

I brought the blanket home in a ziplock bag and put it immediately in the freezer while I researched online all about moth infestations. It suggested that freezing works to kill moths eggs and larvae, but it has to be done in a non cycling freezer like a chest freezer. Since I don’t have a chest freezer, keeping it cold enough for long enough would be tricky.

Another way is to heat it up to 120 F for at least 30 minutes. One suggestion was to put it in an oven on a low temperature setting (to me that spells disaster, so we’re not going to try that). Another suggestion is to use warm water. I know better than to put such a treasure in the washing machine- the agitation would tear it apart where it’s weak, and felt it in all the other places. I got out my candy thermometer to see how hot 120 F (50 C) is….it’s not that much hotter than the water coming out of the tap.

I’m being brave. The blanket’s on the stove now (the element’s off) and the temperature’s coasting down from 70 C. I’m not poking at it until the buzzer goes off in 40 minutes.

I’ll dry it flat after using a towel to get out the excess water. I use the jelly roll method, where I lay the damp knitted garment on the towel, fold in the towel sides and roll it up, and sometimes I stand on the roll to squeeze out more water. The method eliminates any wringing motion which can damage this delicate material.

Next I’ll see what I can do as far as repairs go. Lucky for me, the yarn I bought lots of in Toronto is a pretty good match.


How would you go about the repair?

A family Heirloom: the coronation blanket

August 27th, 2014 by swatchless

Here’s a family treasure that has been spoken about for as long as I can remember, but I don’t know that I’d seen it before today. It’s called, in our circle, the “coronation blanket” because it was being knit while Queen Elizabeth was being crowned (in 1953, I looked it up).

It’s a very sweet checkerboard pattern, and edged in delicate crochet. You may notice the moths have taken a good chunk of it, and I hope to repair it over the next little while, but that’s not what this picture is here to show you. The eagle eyed might notice that this blanket has a mistake in it. And whether it’s a genuine mistake, or a deliberate pattern change, there is a section without the checkerboard pattern. This marks the broadcast of the coronation of the Queen, that my ancestor (we’re seeking clarification on just who knit it) listened to on the radio as they knit this blanket.

It’s a neat idea…knitting history or events into your garments. My mom knit an “Obama row” into the socks she was knitting when he became the president of the USA. I knit a garter stitch stripe onto a pair of socks to indicate when the rapture was supposed to have happened and the world was to end. I’ve heard of others changing colours when they crossed state lines on a long road trip.

This could have been just another blanket, made by one of the many ancestors who have kept our family warm and wooly for years, but the “mistake” has made it something to treasure a little bit more as it has a story to tell.

Knitting Feverishly

August 26th, 2014 by swatchless

For the last few days I’ve been fighting off a bad cold. Lucky for me, it’s still holidays so I can sleep when I need to, and I’ve been getting better pretty quickly, and except for a feverish trip to the grocery store to get lemon juice, ginger, and kleenex, I’ve been avoiding contact with the world.

Knitting while feverish leads to some interesting choices. First of all, I was limited to my stash yarn, which is not all that limiting in reality, but when you get to the cast off edge and run out of the grey yarn you used through the entire sweater, some “design features” develop out of necessity.

Can you tell that I added a darker grey to finish the edging on the bottom and the sleeves?

Once I had pulled out the stash and found the quantity of grey yarn, I kept going on the theme of grey and yellow. I made a little hat. It’s a hard one to photograph without a baby to put it on, there’s a point in the middle of the forehead and also over each ear.


In the process of making the hat, I just about ran out of yellow yarn! Luckily I have a big bag of sock yarn stash, and found lots of yellow. So then, with the wealth of yellow and grey, I kept going and made another hat

And a pair of booties.


So there’s the set….that don’t match, and each fits a different size baby!

With my logic, it will just keep the baby in handknit love for a longer time! But what do I know, I have a fever…
The next part of my knitting seemed to flow from the bootie pattern, but merged with fairisle motifs, and turned out pretty good so far– don’t look too closely, there are three different greys at play!

This is the kind of knitting that needs to get finished quickly so you can remember what you did! Flying without a pattern here.
The next thing I made stemmed from the fairisle motifs I’d looked up and the stash of worsted acrylic I had uncovered. Soakers! I have no idea if they are useful, or how to size them, so I aimed for a medium size and gave it a shot. I followed the CurlyPurly soaker pattern and improvised a bit here and there.

I am pleased with how well they turned out. I have lots of ends to sew in still. While I’m at it, I’ll be sewing ends in on the pair I made pre fever

I’m pretty excited to get feeling better so I can get out and deliver some of these things!

Puerperium the second

August 22nd, 2014 by swatchless

We’re waiting for another baby to join our family in the next week or two. I’m busy making some little things, and my favourite pattern is puerperium
My new niece or nephew will look pretty sweet in this outfit!

IMG_8562.JPG The yarn is random superwash sock yarn from my stash, with buttons from my jar. The colours are chosen to match the nursery.

Spinning on the road

August 17th, 2014 by swatchless

I’ve been spending a few days a week at summer camp, and this week I brought my spindle, rather than my knitting. I had a few minutes to spin a bit while the campers played a few rounds of capture the flag.

As the sun was setting we were treated to the most spectacular double rainbow I’ve ever seen.

Many of the campers and staff wondered what I was doing as I dangled my drop spindle and kept wrapping more and more string onto it. A few gave it a try, and found that it’s not too hard to learn.


August 17th, 2014 by swatchless

I was inspired to use up my fluorescent pink yarn and knit a puerperium cardigan. To jazz it up a bit I added a teal border, and a parade of elephants walking around the base.

It was such fun to knit, and such a small sweater that it was done before I had the chance to take any progress pictures! I think I’ll be making more of these in the future!