Finally Underway

At last Hawser is underway. The 13, simple, post-ribbing set up rows are complete, a correct stitch count of 252 is on the circ. and the knitting is relaxed (and relaxing!) Amazing what happens by just paying a wee bit of attention!

My many stupid errors made for delays, but they allowed me (by necessitating so many repetitions) to appreciate the BT attention to detail in these important establishing rounds.

By this I don't mean knitting tricks and expansive displays of technique. I mean the inclusion, within
those 13 rows, of thoughtful little details making the design shine without having the elements dominate the garment and ultimately the wearer thereof (aka Me!).

Among these some of my favourites...
  • Single rounds/stitches of stockinette providing breathing room around design elements.
  • Yarn overs, dropped on the following round to ease bunching and so, bulk, of the wide cables.
  • Clever increases to build the cables gracefully out from the ribbing.
  • And looking ahead to giving this pullover its A-line shape, narrow ribbed sections running up each side to hide decreases/minimize odd looking breaks in the rhythmic moss stitch pattern.
This is what I'm looking for in patterns now. I'm still entertained by the ideas behind expansive knitting techniques and garments built to support them but I'm inclined to keep them in my vicarious knitting queue and out of my actual knitting basket. Truth be told, a few years ago things were the other way around!

So things are feeling pretty great knitting-wise this morning. The wind chill for our walk may be -18C this morning and the first snow shovelling of the season happened yesterday but I've got a basket full of rich, vibrant blue-red yarn to knit up and high hopes of a cozy wardrobe staple to wear in the fast approaching holiday season ahead.

Beyond that I just noticed the newest BT lookbook is up! Will I be able to hold off looking until after the walk? Hard to say! Thanks for dropping by!


"Devlan" from Remnants

The backstory...

When purchasers of Juniper Moon Farm's first "Shepherd and Shearer" project received our kits the quantity of yarn included in each was determined by submitting the size we wished our finished sweaters to be.

Weeks later, an error at the mill where the wool had been spun was discovered. Many, but not all, skeins, and it was hard to say which ones, were short on yardage compared to what had been ordered and then shipped out by Juniper Moon so we subsequently received additional skeins in case ours were among the ones that were short on yardage. There was no way to know whether those skeins were accurately labelled for weight or yardage either. We just got "more" so we'd have "enough".

So when deciding to knit Devlan using those remnant skeins I was, at best, guessing how much yarn I had to work with and even that best guess suggested I'd have only yards to spare.

And of course there'd be no more yarn available should I run out. I was prepared to get into it, run out and have to abandon the project.

Sure enough, done knitting the body and shoulders I was working the first narrow sleeve when I knew I needed more yarn but it didn't feel like I'd need a lot. Where could I source just a little more?

There's was none for sale on Ravelry, my swatches were already knit into Devlan but I kept knitting, kept thinking and then remembered My Beloved had been wanting modifications to Shearer's collar and cuffs. He wanted them smaller and tighter! He wanted shorter sleeves! He'd mentioned this last winter but I'd shut him down saying I was not going to be renovating that finished knit.

Needing yarn for Devlan though changed everything! Now I happily ripped back the sleeves, shortening them by 2 1/2"each. Then I knit narrower cuffs, changing the 2x2 rib to 1x2 with a snug rather than square fit.

Before on the left - "after" on the right
Both cuffs reworked

Next I ripped out and re-knit the collar picking up fewer stitches around. The ribbed section before the turn was 1 1/2" high rather than 2"...


After the turn I switched to straight stockinette using remnant white yarn that I also pressed into service when sewing dowsn the live collar stitches to the inside...


With the precious yarn "harvested" I turned my attention back to Devlan where the plan was to maximize its use by...
  • Knitting Devlan's collar on fewer picked up stitches than called for.
  • Picking up and knitting the first round of Devlan's collar using more of that white wool yarn I'd used on the Shearer collar.
  • Splicing all ends (of which there were many) to avoid waste.
  • Using standard rather than the tubular bind off called for in the pattern.
It got the job done, complete with full length sleeves including ridged details and less than 2 feet of yarn to spare. (And Beloved is also very happy with his renovated Shearer.)

It's all been a bit of a nail biter but was also pretty fun and altogether satisfying. Not unlike reading a fantastic novel wherein the story is so satisfying you don't want the book to end while you also can't wait to get through it to see how everything turns out.

A true knitting adventure that's ended being able to enjoy Devlan's arrival into the sweater rotation as our first blast of winterish chill arrives.

We'll head out in the morning to get the snow tires put on the all season tires put away for the winter in My Beloved's home town. It will take several hours of driving round trip and since Darling Daughter has agreed to drive one of the vehicles this time I can go along as a knitting passenger!

Hawser continues to be trouble - now working on version 7 of the bottom band - stitch count issues for the set up rounds. No errata or problems reported on Ravelry or the BT web site so it must be "me". 'Beyond frustrating!

'Have a great weekend - thanks for dropping by!



Long before he was my "Papa" or even my Dad's "Father", before he was even married, he was a young lieutenant in the Sixth Battalion of Canadian Engineers. He had a horse named Lady Bird for transport and his job was to sort out the building and demolition of bridges as well as the design of all manner of war-related structures. He was fresh out of University. He was 22.

He shipped out to England, spent time in Belgium and Germany but like many Canadian service men served most of his time in France. There he was gassed in the trenches but was lucky to lose only his sense of taste and smell. On another occasion he was rescued after an explosion collapsed the trench he was walking through, burying him alive.

Throughout it all he kept a diary, the contents of which are largely deceptively light in tone and content noting the weather and friends he'd encountered as he went about his activities only rarely mentioning details of the horrors of the Western Front. On that 11th day in November, the day the war ended he wrote...

11-11-18 Monday

Cool and drizzling. The good old war is no more. Hostilities ceased at 11:00 a.m. We don't seem able to realize it. Everyone standing fast and consolidating on line at 11:00 o'clock....worked the old gramophone to a fare-you-well to-night. To bed at 10:00 p.m. Feeling better today.

By the time of the Armistice he was approaching his 25th birthday. He was lucky. He came home.

When I look through the pages of those Diaries and read the names of the many men he knew I wonder how many came home as he did. I recognize they must have all suffered greatly and that likely many still lie, as The Poem says, in Flander's fields.

I'm going down to the Remembrance Day Ceremony at Old City Hall this morning. It will be crowded and sad and I'd honestly rather not go but its really a rather puny sacrifice in comparison. I'll have this pinned inside my pocket...
But as the events of recent weeks have shown, "The front" is not so well defined today. I'll have Papa's pin in my pocket and a poppy on my coat and in my mind, the families of Nathan Cirillo and Patrice Vincent. They made the ultimate sacrifice for us right here at home.


"Devlan" by Bristol Ivy FO

Pattern: Devlan by Bristol Ivy
Yarn: Shepherd and Shearer 2013 Remnants
Source: Juniper Moon Farm Website
Needles: 4mm, 4.5mm and 5mm circular and dpn's
Start: August 23 Finish: October 26, 2014
Modifications: Worked fewer picked up stitches around collar, used smaller needles than called for on ridged sections of front and back.

I love this sweet, swingy little sweater! The narrow sleeves and close fitting shoulders (made a bit more snug going down a needle size when working the garter ridged sections) keep its' generous a-line cut from swamping me. (I also knit the collar on fewer stitches than called for to keep it neat and trim.)

Devlan is trendy but I think still works well in this traditional, minimally processed, yarn.

As ever, the BT pattern is detailed and a pleasure to work with, easily yielding a well appointed garment. Specifically Devlan's features lie in its shaping. At no point in time are you ever not counting rows or working to a marker of some description - kind of a surprise in what looks, at first glance, like a straightforward stockinette sweater.

There's extra length across lower back edge...
The close fit across the shoulders via shaping front and back south of the ridged detail...
Paired decreases running up either side of the front...
And importantly, decreases almost the full length of the sleeves to keep them trim enough so as not to compete with the soft folds of the sweater's body...
Once again I worked the third size on a BT pattern...
It seems to be working for me and my figure! (Cue the Hallelujah Chorus!)
Hudson's "working" for me too...up at 5:00 a.m. to go to an out of town Obedience Trial then home to a photo shoot...
It all makes a poodle sleepy!

Next up, the back story on squeeking this knit out of remnant yarn and the renovations to My Beloved's "Shearer" sweater that made it possible. ('Too much information to cram into one post today!)

Thanks for dropping by!


A Week's Worth of Knitting

After being out two evenings this week my knitting time was limited but then so was my "to do" list - just get the tubular cast on done for Hawser's 218 stitch bottom edge.

I'd worked out my approach while knitting my flat swatch using Eunny Jang's recommended technique but I didn't like the way it transitioned to knitting in the round when I actually started on the sweater.

 So I went instead with the recommended technique included with the pattern. The first try I was careful not to twist stitches when joining for working in the round but then stupidly did twist on the second round, only noticing the error after knitting a couple of inches up the band.

Attempts #2 and 3 I got a bottom edge wasn't gaping or looking loose - as tubular edges are inclined to be but also didn't yield sufficient circumference.
This swingy A-line pullover will be completely ruined if everything pulls in at the bottom edge.

So I tried one more time with a 4mm rather than 3.5 or 3.75mm and moved up to a 4.5 on the round in which straight 1x1 rib begins.

4th time's a charm!
Looking forward to establishing the set up round tonight so I can knit without too much to think about over the weekend. (Hudson and I are in another Obedience Trial - this one an hour and a half from here and My Beloved has offered to come along. That will leave me free to knit en route and back.)
In the end I guess its worth the effort to get it right although it is a bitter pill to swallow that it took so long to get here. Serves me right I guess for swatching flat when the knit is in the round!
Have a great weekend everybody! Thanks for dropping by today!


Its Here!

Time to really wear the wool! Mother Nature told us so herself over the weekend with a clear message that its time to reorganize our brains and wardrobes around here. Winter is comin'!

With the house decked out for Halloween, Friday may have felt like the essence of Autumn. But toss some snow over those, still waiting to be raked up, leaves...
...drive through some fairly intense flurries...
...past a wintry landscape...
To find the ropes connecting the boat to the dock frozen solid...
...and the whole "summer cottage" thing really feels "done" for the season. (FYI re those frozen ropes, Beloved had to pry them open with a screwdriver but some people carry knives this time of year to cut their boats loose when prying won't work!
Hence we quite happily did the last few tasks of draping the windows and furniture to get the place ready for its winter-long, frozen nap...

Then, without ever lighting a fire or taking off our coats (it was zero degrees celsius inside and out after all) back across the lake to the marina to winterize the boat and put it into storage.
Back home, the To Do list for the house looms large but without the cottage to draw our time and attention away I'm kind of looking forward to getting some stuff done around HERE!

Not the least of which - knitting - like I said, its wool season!