It’s all coming together



I have been working on that pile of pieces since March (!) and I am so, so excited to be bringing them all together. This is Epistrophy, which I did indeed cast on for about six months ago. In all fairness, I really haven’t been working on this for six months. I knit the body in a blitz back in the spring, and then put it aside in favour of various other projects (some socks, Balta, etc.). I cast on for the first sleeve two weeks ago, and now I’m finished both! The minute I’m done writing this I’m going to join everything together and get through the first few long, pre-yoke rows.

I am, right now, 15 rounds from the colour work, and I seriously can’t wait. I’ve read through the next portion of the pattern a few times (a combination of due diligence and excitement), so I’m reasonably confident that there are no surprises coming to trip me up as I plough ahead. I realize that for a lot of people, devoting several hours on a bright and sunny (but chilly) Sunday to knitting stockinette in purple-brown yarn wouldn’t be thrilling, but truly, I can’t imagine a better way to spend my early afternoon.

Fall is truly on our doorstep now, and if I buckle down, I can welcome it wearing a brand new sweater.

Here & There, Autumn edition

A basic of WIPs. That's the first of L's Christmas socks on the side there (nearly finished!) and the bag at the top of the basked holds the first finished sleeve of my Epistrophy cardigan. I am back at work on that sucker because if it feels like fall already, I am for sure going to want that finished by mid-October.

A basic of WIPs. That’s the first of L’s Christmas socks on the side there (nearly finished!) and the bag at the top of the basket holds the first finished sleeve of my Epistrophy cardigan. I am back at work on that sucker because if it feels like fall already, I am for sure going to want that finished by mid-October. (Also, can you believe that orchid is still blooming!? What a trooper.)

I don’t know how long it will last, but right now there’s just a touch of fall in the air. This week is supposed to get warmer again, but I wore hand-knit socks both days this weekend after months of not needing socks at all, and today I wore both my Grace cardigan (first time since the spring) and my Shaelyn on the walk to work. Really, if Me-Made-May was a September thing, I would have been killing it, because I was wearing my double-gauze Scout Tee (so, basically this outfit) too.

Anyway, suffice to say that fall feels very like it has arrived, and though I always mourn the end of summer, there are worse ways for it to end than with the crisp air and great light of fall. In the spirit of this wonderful season that is far too short, I am in a mad dash to knit all the things and make all soups and basically set myself up for an excellent season. To that end, here are some of the things I’m planning (and reading) at the moment.

  • I have a lot of knitting planned (of course) but I am especially excited by my recent plan to knit myself a Dala horse hat and mitts set, using the excellent Karusellen hat pattern from the new Pom Pom (my issue just arrived!) and the free Dala Selbu Hybrid mittens pattern.
  • Button-down shirts always feel very fall to me — something about back to school I guess — and I have both the Aster and the Archer patterns to try. This is a big step forward in my sewing, but I successfully executed a (never blogged, for various reasons) Southport Dress, so I’m feeling okay about the whole endeavour. Really, it will be finding the time that’s the real challenge — sewing requires so much more set up than knitting.
  • And speaking of sewing, I also snagged Grainline’s new Lark Tee pattern because fall means layering, and this is tee designed with that express purpose in mind! (Also, there are a ton of variations included, so if I can nail the fit, I can start churning out t-shirts, which are a definite wardrobe staple for me.)
  • Clearly, all this making will make me hungry, and soup and grilled cheese is just about my favourite meal pairing (ask just about anyone who knows me). After years of searching (not exaggerating) this is probably the best and more reliable tomato bisque recipe I’ve ever found, and this is the absolute right time to be making it because fresh tomatoes take this to another level.
  • Another soup I am dying to try (but, full disclosure, have not yet made) is this vegan pho. I love pho, but it’s very hard to find one that doesn’t have fish broth. Clearly making it at home is the answer, and I like that this recipe is for a small quantity. Leftovers are great, but sometimes you just want to make dinner (and it’s so much easier to scale up than down).
  • Did you see Knitty’s call for patrons? When I first started knitting (before I knew about Ravelry) Knitty was my first major resource. I found it during a bout of blind googling and it felt like I’d landed on buried treasure. Now that I’ve come to better understand its place in knitting’s web-culture and its fantastic attitude toward designers, I like it even more. I’m not sure I’ve ever knit a pattern, but I’ve definitely read through instructions to learn about techniques and the trove of tutorials is really excellent. (Edited to add: This is total nonsense on my part. Monkey is a Knitty pattern! The more I look at their archive, the more I realize how many “classic” patterns were published by Knitty.) Basically, I did the math, and realized that I could support this excellent resource and publication for less than a skein of sock yarn a year, and signed up to be a patron. This is not meant to be a directive, but if you didn’t hear about this initiative and are interested, it’s definitely worth checking out the ways you can support Knitty.
  • And, last but not least, L and I are in the art-hanging stage of our move-in (this is when it’s serious, because your furniture better be pretty much arranged) and we’ve been re-evaluating some of our previous frame choices. I found this tutorial today for a kind of floating-non-frame look and I think we’re going to try it in the living room.

What are you enjoying these days? Is it fall where you live?

Pink spark



That is really what I should have called these socks. I finished them the day after my last post and, like a spark in dry leaves, they have ignited my knitting. The black shrug I’m knitting for my mum is almost done and, even better, I discovered that it was interesting and fun (discovering this while knitting, and re-knitting black stockinette sleeves is no small feat), and I’ve just cast on for a pair of striped socks for L.

And really, that’s just the beginning. I have plans brewing for fall, starting with finishing my Epistrophy, which I put aside after finishing the body because I wanted to knit Balta. I have no regrets about that decision, but I’m excited to pick it back up: it needs two quick sleeves and then I get to join it all and knit that fantastic yoke. I can’t wait. The timing, I think, will have me finishing it just as the weather turns cold enough to wear it, and it’s hard to beat that.

In more ephemeral, sometime-soon plans, I have a shawl (and, before that, I hope to finish my long lingering Halligarth) and then I’ll be into the holiday knitting and all the momentum that brings with it.


Where I think I’ll be finding the time to knit all these things I’m not sure, but I can’t help but believe things have to settle down eventually. We’re getting more and more moved-in and settled in our new place, and though work will probably just stay steadily busy, I think I’ll be able to build a bit of knitting time into my routine each day.

Anyway, these socks. I noticed last winter that I’d worn right through both heels of my first pair of Hermione’s Everyday Socks, and though I darned them pretty effectively, looking at them made me want another pair. It was a pattern I’d always meant to return to, but you know how that goes. There are so many great patterns out there, and I just never quite made it back around.


I got this yarn for my birthday and thought it would be a good match. The colours are fun and the self-patterning was speckled enough that it wasn’t interrupted by the stitches. (Some self-patterning yarn creates real images, but this was more stripes and specks — I double-checked on Ravelry before starting. I love that feature of the stash page.) I purposefully didn’t bother matching them, though I could have pretty easily I think. I like how the casual almost-matching echoes the uneven stripes and semi-solid colours, and I love the effect. This probably isn’t a colourway I would have picked for myself, but that’s the best thing about being yarn, and this was a gift from very good friends who clearly have a good sense of my taste (even when I don’t!) The best part, though, is that I have more than enough yarn left over to knit some matching socks for Amber.

Pattern: Hermione’s Everyday Socks by Erica Lueder
Yarn: ONline Supersocke Canaria Colour #1448
Needles: 2.25mm
Notes: I basically just plugged the stitch pattern into my basic sock pattern and then knit on autopilot. The result is socks that fit exactly the way I like, but ribbing that doesn’t quite flow. I forgot to use 1×1 rib, which makes for nice columns of unbroken knit stitches all the way down. It’s fine, but if I knit these again (likely), I’ll have to remember that. I also rushed a bit through the top of the first sock, so the leg part is about an inch shorter than I’d usually prefer. It’s still fine and will be great all fall, though maybe a little short to wear with boots in the winter. We’ll see. Ravelled here.


It’s back


You know how sometimes you don’t want to say something, even though you feel it, because somehow saying it out loud (or writing it down in public) makes it true? Well, I kind of lost my knitting excitement for a little while there, and now that it’s back, I feel like I can talk about it.

After finishing Balta, a project I was so happy with, I had a little cooling off period. That’s pretty normal for me after finishing a big project, and I was happy to work away on my Halligarth, but then between extra-long hours at work, the weeks of packing, and working on a project that was, frankly, boring (though going fine, and intended for someone who will love it), I just kind of lost it. I lost that drive to pick up my needles during downtime, and I didn’t have the compulsion to plan my next project — I was just kind of stuck, and I didn’t want to talk about it because it scared me. Since I started knitting, it has been a constant source of, well, comfort. It’s a creative, productive, de-stressing outlet, and something I love, and to suddenly not be inspired by it was a shock. (I still tried to get in a few rows everyday, but they were boring rows, and in a way more like practicing piano scales than working on a song, if that makes sense.)


I can talk about that now because the doldrums are over. We moved on the weekend and somehow amid the chaos of the half-unpacked boxes and the fun of setting up a new home, I found my knitting joy again. I had planned to do a bunch of sewing this week (I’m on holiday from work, and since my knitting wasn’t inspiring me, I made other plans), but aside from washing my fabric I haven’t made a single move toward my machine. Instead, in every free moment, I’ve been knitting away on these socks, which have been on my needles since May. May.

Our very dear friends (and parents of the adorable, adorable Amber) gave me two skeins of sock yarn for my birthday, and I cast on for a pair of Hermione’s Everyday Socks almost immediately, knit through the leg, heel and gusset of the first one, and then got caught up in other things. I picked them up on Monday and am now nearly finished the pair. They’re exactly the right kind of simple project I need right now, plus, the colours are fun and the yarn is from good friends I already miss.

Has this ever happened to you? I’ve definitely done through periods where I was less excited about what was on my needles and more excited about planning and stashing, but I’m not sure I’ve ever gone through a period where none of it seemed exciting. Thank goodness it’s over!

So, this is happening


I apologize for my extended absence, but there’s a whole other project on the go over here, and it’s not much fun to look at it. After six fantastic years in Toronto (during which time, L and I met — just weeks after we each moved here — fell in love, moved in together, and, while in Switzerland, got engaged!) we are moving. And not just apartments, but cities.


L was offered a great job in Ottawa, so off we go. My job, which continues to grow and get more time consuming (but also more interesting), has made it possible for me to just take everything I do in Toronto and move it to Ottawa with me (there’s a bureau there I’ll work out of), which removed the only real impediment we had. I’m very excited to see our new place (L was there to see it — don’t worry, we aren’t moving in based solely on photos) and get to know our new neighbourbood, and city, but there are a lot things I’ll miss about Toronto. That’s going to have to wait for a whole other post, though, because our moving date is mere days away and there is still so, so much packing to do.


Thank goodness my stash is pretty well packed all the time. I just had bit and pieces to box up, and as you can see, I made sure to do that first. (I also set aside lots of project-ready yarn, in case unpacking takes longer than anticipated. I don’t want to have to go looking around fr something to work on.) Priorities, right?

It’s a start


So, this happened.


Last weekend I did a tapestry weaving workshop (taught by the woman behind Roving Handmade Textiles) and while this may not be the most beautiful piece of weaving, it is my first one, and it has given me so many ideas! Ever since the Woolful episode where Maryanne Moodie was interviewed, I’ve been growing increasingly interested in tapestry weaving, so when I saw workshops posted that I could actually go to (yay for Saturday classes!) I signed up without hesitation. I am so glad I did!

This piece is really just a sampler of sorts, which is why it’s mounted on a knitting needle (I just needed to find something for the photos). Basically, I started without much of a plan, and then then each time Michelle taught us something new, I’d try it out (and then usually repeat it so I didn’t immediately forget). This piece isn’t really destined for our wall, but I’m proud of it nonetheless. Learning something new is fun and challenging and not always immediately beautiful, and that’s okay.

This is how much I managed to get done in the workshop. (Photo by Michelle)

This is how much I managed to get done in the workshop. (Photo by Michelle)

Weaving has a very different rhythm than knitting or sewing, and I like that it lets me think about colour and form in a totally different way. Also, it is a great way to use up stash yarn that I either don’t have enough of to knit anything useful with, or bought a while ago and no longer love for a garment. L was initially a bit concerned about the idea of me picking up yet another craft, but the loom comes apart without any screws (such a smart design — you can but the same one here, if you’re so inclined) and since weaving and knitting laregly overlap in the supplies department, I think it will be okay.

I haven’t started my next project yet, but I am thinking about it, and once I find a good warping string, I’ll be ready to go. Yay for learning new things!




Oh my gosh, you guys, I actually finished something. It feels like it has been ages (and, according to Ravelry, it has been nearly two months!) since I finished anything, and it feels fantastic. That the finished knit is Balta, my dream summer top, makes it feel that much better.

Normally, I would wait for some proper photos before posting about an FO, but honestly, I have no idea when we’ll be able to take those. I’m working much longer days now, and that plus the unseasonable coolness and general mayhem of summer is making it hard to squeeze in photoshoots (I have a couple of sewn things to post about too, if I ever get photos). All of which is to say, I’m sorry that these are boring on-a-hanger shots, but they’re the best I could do, and at least my hair isn’t covering up any of the pretty details.


I haven’t really posted about Balta (I haven’t really posted about much, have I?), but I cast on at the end of April and, what with one thing and another, cast off at the beginning of July. I had originally thought I’d squeak this in under the TTTKAL deadline, but that was definitely a faint hope. I’m glad I didn’t rush things though, because giving up on the deadline gave me time to make a few little changes and think about what I was doing, which served me well in the long run.

Gudrun’s design is really fantastic, and the instructions are clear and concise. The front and back are knit exactly the same until the lace, so I knit each piece that far and then decided which one I thought was better and used that for the front. My gauge was a little uneven on the first piece I knit (it always takes me a while to get used to linen), so that became the back, and actually, everything blocked out nicely. For the front, I knit the lace as written, but I was worried about the depth of the neck — it looked … shallow, so I left the shoulders on waste yarn and knit up the back lace, then pinned the two sets of shoulders together and tried it on. And yes, it was too snug (for me) at the neck. I suspect my row gauge was off, so I just knit anther repeat on each side (this isn’t specifically worked into the pattern, but is easy to figure out), omitting the decreases, and perfect!


Of course, that extra repeat added depth to the armholes and when I finished the shoulders and tried everything on I was convinced I’d made a hideous error. The armholes were enormous, showing, frankly, almost my whole bra from the side (and a bit from the front), and the lace section at the front seemed too narrow and I really thought all was lost. I considered ripping all the way back and reknitting, but instead I did something sensible: I seamed the sides and followed the instructions for finishing the armholes. I just did one side, since it seemed like a lot less work to rip that out than to rip and reknit the whole top of the front, and wouldn’t you know it, they’re just fine. I always forget about the way picking up stitches changes the drape and shape of fabric, and in this case it changed a drooping hole into a nice, tailored armhole. What a relief (and thank goodness I didn’t rip everything out!).

I did add a couple of garter ridges to the armhole, just to ensure there was enough width to cover my bra straps, but other than that I didn’t change anything about them. (I had contemplated adding a couple of short rows to the bottom, to fill in some of the depth, but it wasn’t necessary.)


I found the perfect little mother of pearl button in my stash to finish the back (and it was a single, so I didn’t have to break up a set), and that’s that. I am really pleased with this top, which is loose and breezy, without being shapeless, and will add some proper modelled shots when I get them.

Pattern: Balta by Gudrun Johnston (from the Shetland Trader Book 2, but also available as a single pattern)
Yarn: Quince & Co. Sparrow in Blue Spruce
Notes: As noted above, I changed the order of construction (knitting both pieces up to the lace, rather than knitting each one to completion). I also added an extra repeat to the lace front after the neck decreases were complete, and added an extra garter ridge to the armhole. Ravelled here.


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