Mid Life Colour

The May lecturer at the DKC was local Twisted Traditions designer Lorraine Condotta aka blogger The Sherriff of Knittingham.

Lorraine talked about her experience discovering and then designing Fair Isle that had the audience in rapt attention. (Rapt attention changing to gasps when she casually walked over to the dress form adorned with one of her creations and cut unreinforced collar and sleeve steeks to demonstrate her confidence in the stickiness of Shetland Wool!)

In talking about colour she referenced the notion of having a "mid life colour" - one that she previously hadn't considered that suddenly grabbed her attention, demanding use. In Lorraine's case it was yellow.

I've been thinking about that ever since, wondering what mine might be and I think my mid life colour seems to be an absence of colour per se. Natural, undyed, white through vaying shades of grey seem to be my current thing after decades of bold colour choices in everything from home decor to my clothing.

Its certainly coming out in my knitting...

Over the winter the painting I did around the house was all from the "whites" section of the colour deck...

After a decade of driving a cherry red car, the best part of which was the cherry-red dash that matched the exterior, I pushed for the replacement vehicle to be "Pearl White".

The question is when, four years ago this week, I went out in search of a Brown Poodle and instead came home with this...

...was that an early manifestation of my mid life colour change or the trigger that prompted it? Something to ponder as I head off to Ikea to get a pair of basic white curtain panels and a white picture frame for the cottage...hmmmmm

Not that anyone stopping by here might be old enough for such a question but just in the event someone is... do you have a mid life colour? 



From my earliest memories "Viyella" was a word my mother and the women in her family used when referring to wool and/or plaid clothing. I didn't understand why but I got it that this Viyella stuff was primo quality.
So its not surprising that decades ago when I found a cast off Viyella robe my mother had worn out at the elbows I harvested the generous bias cut, floor length skirt from it.

Yesterday I re-purposed the fabric which is by now easily 50 years old or so into"new" throw pillow covers for our bed at the cottage.

With a little fiddling I managed to get the selvage edge, complete with what looks like hand stitching to run up the open ends of both pillow cases.

Its a bit worn in places - I might work a duplicate stitch over it to stabilize things. I'll decide when I get them back up north.

I find this kind of thing so satisfying - much more than buying new. Probably not surprising when the matching robe my mother's sister had she re-purposed into matching pants with suspenders for her then toddling baby boys in the 60's. What's that saying about where the proverbial apple falls in relation to the tree?

Thanks for dropping by!


Deco Progress

The short row shoulder is complete on sleeve one and I've been heading down through the decreases towards the the first cuff.

Initially it was nice to just knit in the round with the short row business behind me but honestly I cannot stand working sleeves top down. The serpentine choke hold of the yarn around the whole rest of the knit as I twirl the sleeve around is so tiresome. I keep thinking that mattress stitching between cuff and elbow would have taken maybe 15 minutes to do and I would have been able to knit on something flat and relatively small to create the sleeve itself.

That, however,  is not the way with Deco and I must remind myself that's one of the reasons I chose to make this cardi way back when.  I wanted the experience of working the sleeve this way so better sit down, shut up and get on with it!

That said, at the end of the decreases I'm putting sleeve one on hold and moving over to the button bands. 'Quite substantial at 27 rows deep. Ditto the collar.  I want to see how the addition of those elements affects how I feel about sleeve length.  There are very cute versions of this on Ravelry where knitters have chosen 3/4 sleeves and I'm thinking maybe that's the way I'll go too.

I am also now in possession of the buttons I needed for this...

I love them!  'Totally unlike what I'd usually select but I think they work really well with the sweater...

...the little "v"'s radiating out from the centre echo the slipped stitches as well as the deep "v" of slipped stitch columns down the front.

On this short, boxy little piece big buttons are maybe unexpected but I stole the idea from Kate Davie's choice of buttons on the original so it must be something that'll work.

They 're mother of pearl - nice to have a natural material beside the wooliness of the Tove - and I think the depth of their appearance adds nice dimension.

In short, where this started out as a "Process" piece I'm choosing right now to focus more on the features I can look forward to on the "Product". Whatever gets the job done right?

Thanks for dropping by!


Fast, Easy, Portable and Cheap?

I dropped by Americo recently after a friend new to knitting went there on my recommendation and came away with her first sweater's worth of charcoal thick and thin yarn and gushing good things about the shop. I've been before but don't visit often - I just haven't been into Americo's singular style.

Anyway on this trip the very engaging owner showed me yarn/pattern combinations saying things like

 "this would be a really portable project - you could just tuck it in your purse and go!"
 "this is an easy one"
"only one skein and you're done"

I said I was okay with something tricky and was happy to undertake difficult/expansive projects. 

Her sales pitch remained unchanged - Fast, Easy, Portable and Cheap.

I found this to be so interesting.

First because "Cheap" of course was only in the "pitch" via single-skein projects. For anything demanding more yarn,  I bet most projects from there would come in on the pricey side.

Second in that Americo has been savvy side stepping the challenge of getting good fit without defaulting to socks and shawls. Instead their sweaters feature drop shoulders and boxy shapes, their cardigans are flowing and button-free, arm warmers outnumber mitts and cowls are ribbed, seed or moss stitched in bulky yarns. Fast, easy rectangles all.

So it dawned on me Americo does offer the avid knitter luxurious and on-trend neutral yarns but the shop isn't so much about the knitting, or how beautiful the yarn is in the skein or how lovely it will feel to slip through your hands as you work with it (all thoughts I generally have when cruising through an LYS) but rather how great it will be to soon wear something you're proud of and be able to tell people you made it! For the new or occasional knitter those are compelling prospects are they not? 

How clever you are Americo! I'm glad I went by there to look around. How fun to consider things from a fresh perspective!

I should maybe also add, "considering" aside, I didn't buy anything!


Flip Side

We arrived back in town from the cottage last night. Son gone (sniff). Replacement vehicle here (phew) and an extra long weekend at the cottage under our belts.

Sunday was a gorgeous day on the dock working on my double knit mat to the point of exhausting the 4 skeins of yarn I bought as a start for the project. Tomorrow I'm back in the neighbourhood of Romni for a hair cut so I'll be picking up another 4 to yield a mat about 26" x 41" (maybe 5 skeins just to be sure).

Having taken that project as far as I could I picked up Deco again after a year's hiatus. As of this morning the first short row shoulder is done and I'm moving down the sleeve. Maybe.

Its a bit wrinkly where the short rows join the shoulder.  Steam blocking will tell me if I'll be able to get it to lay flat. Oh my goodness I hope I can get it to lay flat!!! I do not want to rip and re-do it again!

I must say I am in love with this yarn - "Tove" by Sandnesgarn sport weight wool. When I bought it at Romni the girl at the cash said Tove was her favourite yarn.

Given the massive selection she sees every day that is saying something. I now know what she meant...nice and sticky with a bit of a halo, a gorgeous fabric knit up but relatively easy to break a single strand..working with it again had me cruising Ravelry and the Brooklyn Tweed website last night for projects calling for "Loft" because it seems like they share similar qualities but the price for "Tove" is vastly better and there's no where in Canada to buy Brooklyn Tweed Yarns.

All this knitting fun over the weekend but the best part was cool nights and chilly mornings saw me keeping warm WEARING TINDER!!!

A scant three years since falling in love with the pattern, taking a while to find a yarn I liked, working Deco (a couple of times) and doing two big knits for My Beloved, now after only about 3 week's dedicated knitting, its just 7 buttons short of an FO post!

A bit ironic, I wanted this long, cozy cardi for cold mornings and evenings taking Number One Son water skiing and we won't be doing any of that this summer. I'm not worried though - skiing will no doubt re-commence once he's back next summer and this sweater will be a wardrobe staple for years to come.

It fits perfectly!!! I wasn't sure I would ever say that about a cardigan for myself but it really does. I have to get Darling Daughter to help with some modeled FO shots.

So tomorrow, after hitting Romni for more Briggs and Little "Super" I'll see about buttons for Tinder and also Deco from one of the many button/textile shops on Queen Street West.

My Beloved's idea for me to have my hair cut next to Romni was brilliant. Two birds with one stone! Without the need to do both I'd likely get around to neither this very short week!

Btw a special thank you to those who left comments on my last post!. I wasn't sure anyone would even see it!

Thanks for dropping by today!



Contrary to what my posting rate infers I have been knitting and scheming about knitting and reading about knitting on line and even finishing things. I've even been writing posts about it - both in my head and at the keyboard. I just haven't been hitting the "Publish" button.

So here we go with a big post to catch everything up then I can delete all the unused "Drafts" and start fresh...

This week I'm in town as Number One Son prepares to head off to London for the next six months. (I'll admit to a mild panic about this but also know in my heart that the late teen/early twenties are not years when guys typically hang around with their mothers all the time and judging from his Instagram feed - its probably just as well!)

Without him working at the cottage all summer there'll be no reason I can't travel back and forth to the city with My Beloved between weeks when he's on holiday. It'll be the first time I've had a summer like that in 15 years or so. I'm looking forward to it in many ways - it'll be such a novelty to just be the two of us (with a big poodle of course!).

This week we are also having to arrange for a new vehicle. Mine "got all wrinkled" as My Beloved likes to put it, through no fault of ours and with no injuries incurred, so many thanks for that to the Powers that Be!

A week and a half ago Hudson and I got the most basic of Obedience Titles - PCD) and the first of three "legs" on the next (CD). I set my sights on this stuff as a kid 'so its very gratifying to finally be on our way beyond the uber-basic CGN designation he earned last year! (There are many, progressively more difficult levels in Obedience - we'll see how far we go but practising for the ring yields a better quality of life for the Dog and all of us and for an amazing bond between Hudson and I so I don't plan to quit any time soon.)

May/June also saw me re-activate my epic framing and photo cataloguing project wherein I'm looking to the images/artwork/items we've amassed over the years, organizing them and arranging them to best be part of our home/decor/daily life instead of being stored in boxes out of sight and mind.

And knitting? I am a button band away from finishing "Tinder". I started scheming this knit back in 2011!

I cast on some socks, revived a long neglected half finished pair and made up a little packet to leave in the car so when we travel back and forth to the cottage I can knit instead of being a crazed nervous passenger.

I finished the Maplewood Mitts that I have no memory of either starting or almost finishing back in February.

The cottage floor can get cold at night and EZ's double knit pad from Knitter's Almanac has long intrigued me as an insulating mat to replace the stack of old folded blankets we currently use to address this with Hudson. So I started one using Briggs and Little "Super" in "Khaki" that I picked up at Romni last month.

EZ's method for achieving a nice flat garter border is very slick and of course working with such big yarn always feels like a novelty so I'm enjoying working on it and I feel good about the results so far.

I'm looking forward to soon finishing off "Deco" once and for all. After knitting the body and shoulders twice in four months last year I've only got a couple of sleeves and some button band work for that one to be wearable.

Similarly close to the finish line are my Olympic Leggings. I've taken a few runs at the waist band but I've yet to create anything satisfactory in the way of fit/rise so once Deco is done I'll likely turn my attention to those.

I've also taken a bunch of socks and a pair of knit gloves needing darning to the cottage and added them to my knitting project pile. They will be good to work on when having a heavy piece of wool knitting on my lap doesn't suit the weather.

My most anticipated project for the summer will be "Devlan" by Bristol Ivy using remnant Shepherd and Shearer yarn. I've been swatching carefully as the yarn's limited but with narrow sleeves, a cropped design and a drapey stockinette fabric I should be able to squeek one out with about 50 yards to spare. Many of the smaller projects for this on Ravely cite a tendency for this to come out on the large side so I may even risk making it a size smaller than I would otherwise try but will give me even more latitude on the yardage. Knit in one piece and from the top down I'll know pretty quickly if it isn't going to work.

It'll be a great treat if I can be knitting this in late August as the weather gets cooler and I peruse the new fall offerings without any lingering projects, project requirements or stash beyond a few remnants and one lonely ball of sock yarn. (BTW do remnants count as stash? I'm never sure about that.)

So now here we are, with Canada Day behind us looking forward into July. By late Saturday morning we should have word that our "wee boy" is safely over the pond, as they say, we'll have picked up our new vehicle en route to the cottage and I'll be knitting away on my socks as we head north among the trees, rocks and lakes of Ontario cottage country.

Once we arrive and unpack I'm looking forward to a Gin and Tonic lakeside and diving into all those projects!

So there! Summer 2014 is officially underway and this blog is all caught up!