Tag Archives: Madeline Tosh

Still winter


There was a brief moment last week when I thought the end was in sight. The temperatures crept up to the -9 to 0 range (15 to 32 F) and I spent the weekend in my pea coat instead of my parka for the first time in ages. But winter is back. It’s going to snow and snow this week, and although the temperatures aren’t going to drop horribly, it is definitely still winter.

I am such a fan of this colour.

I am such a fan of this colour.

The one up-side to all of this is that it means I didn’t knit these super-warm socks in vain. These are Rye, by tincanknits, one of the great (and free) patterns from their Simple Collection, knit up in Tosh Vintage in the Amber Trinket colourway.

I may not be totally over the thrill of how quickly worsted-weight socks knit up. These took a week. A week in which I worked six of seven days, and worked long days for about half that stretch. These socks took a week from start to finish without even trying. I swear, if you just hunkered down, you could probably knock out a pair of these in a weekend.


For some reason, when I first saw this pattern, I thought the garter stitch panel looked like it would be bulky, or uncomfortable to wear inside boots or shoes, but I was totally wrong. The texture is a great way to show off a fun colourway, but the garter nestles right in and doesn’t add any extra bulk. Plus, combine a two-row repeat and worsted-weight yarn and, well, I mentioned they were fast, right?

Weirdly, both cuffs/legs of the socks were knit from the same skein, despite looking totally different. The feet (top photo) are different dyelots, though.

Weirdly, both cuffs/legs of the socks were knit from the same skein, despite looking totally different. The feet (top photo) are different dyelots, though. (I should also say that the socks are in the same order in each photo. So, the right sock has a light leg and a dark foot, and the left sock as a dark leg and a light foot. The entire right sock  and the left leg are all knit from the same skein.)

I used just over one skein of yarn (you can definitely see the difference in the dyelots) and I’m already planning another pair, using these leftovers for contrast cuffs/heels/toes. I was predicting a long cold winter back in the fall, so if I find myself casting on another pair of these, I won’t beat myself up about it. It’s still winter, and another pair of warm socks won’t go amiss.


Pattern: Rye by tincanknits
Yarn: Tosh Vintage in Amber Trinket
Needles: 3.25mm
Notes: I used the small needles for the whole pattern, rather than changing after the ribbing. I also did my normal slip-stitch heel, rather than the stockinette heel in the pattern. I stopped the foot pattern 1/4-inch before indicated so the toe would be smooth, and if I go ahead with my contrast-toe plans I might stop the garter a few rows earlier still. Ravelled here.

I don’t know why I’m surprised


Every year – Every. Year. – at the end of October the same thing happens: the temperature falls, Rhinebeck happens (and I don’t go), and then what feels like a million gorgeous sweaters show up on Ravelry, making me want to knit sweaters, which is perfect, because it’s cold. This is also the time of year when I realize it’s almost NaKniSweMo (national knit a sweater month), and I get all excited about taking part.

Except. Except by now I’m starting to feel the weight (just a little) of my grand holiday knitting plans, so I can’t actually cast on for any sweaters, but I can probably justify swatching. When I realize this, every year, I vow to start my holiday knitting early next year (like, in-June early) so that I’m far enough ahead that I can take November off to knit myself a sweater. And then I feel a little guilty about wishing I was knitting for myself instead of for my family, who all really appreciate hand-knits and generally make requests months in advance.

You’d think I’d learn, right? But no. So instead of casting on immediately for a new sweater I am dreaming. My dream is that I finish my holiday knitting by the end of November so I can cast on for a sweater in early December. (It’s not a very profound dream, I realize that, but there it is.) I’m having a bit of an Amy Herzog moment, so she (or, her designs) feature rather prominently.

Four skeins of Falkland in Dusty Miller.

Four skeins of Falkland in Dusty Miller.

First, I got home last night to find this gorgeous, gorgeous yarn waiting for me. It’s Falkland (80% British Falkland merino, 20% bamboo) from Kettle Yarn Co. in Dusty Miller (do you read Linda’s blog? It’s great.) I requested a custom order, since she didn’t have enough of what I wanted available in her shop, and she didn’t even blink!


I wish there was a way for you to squish this yarn through the screen. There is so much spring to it, and it is so, so soft, with just the most subtle shine from the bamboo. The colour is subtle and warm and it’s exactly the sort of thing I would happily wear everyday. Thus, I want it to become the kind of sweater I can wear everyday. I did a lot of searching for a suitable pattern, but in the end, I think I’m going to use this to try out Amy’s new Custom Fit system to configure a pullover. For the first time in my life, I’m excited to swatch because it will allow me to figure out what fabric I like best, rather than try to fuss around and get a certain gauge. I can’t wait!

After that, I’m thinking I could use another warm and cozy cardigan, and Amy’s new Acorn Trail design is so me I can’t believe it isn’t in my closet already. I love the texture and the play between the cables and the lace, and yeah, I love it. My plan is to knit it up in Madelinetosh Vintage (which just arrived in the shop and, despite my efforts, I was unable to resist) in Tart.

Seven skeins of Tosh Vintage in Tart, more than enough for any sweater I want to knit.

Seven skeins of Tosh Vintage in Tart, more than enough for any sweater I want to knit.


I find reds tricky to photograph, but this is a sort of deep, smoky red. I worry a little that it’s too variegated for this pattern, but that’s another reason to spend some time swatching (either it’ll knit up more or less as a solid, or it’ll be more striated, we shall see.)

So, consider this a preview of what’s to come over the next few months. In the meantime, back to those socks. I’m hoping to be half-way through the second Saltburn by the end of the weekend – what are your weekend plans?

From the Frolic


I’ve been on a bit of an inadvertent stash stockpile in the last few months and I think I’ve discovered what’s up (besides and obvious love of yarn): this is stress stashing. I’ve never really been someone who bought into the idea of retail therapy (hah), but yarn and clothes are very different beasts. There have been big changes at the Post in the last few months and work has been crazy and the result has been a lot of yarn coming into this little apartment (and yes, L has noticed).

I, however, am not worried, because I have a plan. Or, many plans. I bought Rachel Coopey’s Coop Knits Socks last week and, although it has not yet arrived (yes, I bought the hardcopy; it comes with a code for a digital download, so it’s win-win), I am planning. At the Frolic last weekend I picked up:



Indigodragonfly Merino Sock in Safety Pin or Safety Pint: Discuss (explanation behind that colourway name here). This is destined to become Willowherb. (After the Frolic, in a fit of why-didn’t-I-buy-it remorse, I swept over to the Indigodragonfly site and picked up three more skeins of this yarn in various colourways. I am well stocked now.)


I also snagged a skein of Tosh Sock in Maple Leaf (it takes a Texan to see maple leafs as anything but red, I think, but this is exactly the colour of the maple leaves that are bursting forth right now, and I love it.) I’m going to turn it into Calamint. I’m not sure what the other skein, in Spectrum, will be – maybe another pair of these?


A skein of Tosh DK, in Cosmos, also snuck home with me, and while I’m not totally sure, I suspect it’ll be a pair of Stepping-Stones for me. Every winter I tell myself to knit some thick socks and every winter I don’t; this winter I’ll have no excuse.

So, that’s the yarn. I also picked up a Sweater Stone for de-pilling and a pair of sock blockers. These are just slightly smaller than my feet, which I think is good since it leaves the sock with a little stretch to ensure a snug fit. I got a pair (set?) of the metal ones and so far I like them just fine – they remind me of my grandparents’ bathroom, because every time we visited my grandmother always had several pairs of my grandpa’s socks hanging to dry over the radiator on giant sock blockers. (This is also why I call all thick and wooly socks “Grandpa Socks.”)

I will have an update on my Happy Street shawl soon (stripes are worthy of in-progress photos since they make for such delightfully visual progress). I am knitting away and have been monogamous since casting on. It’s driving me crazy, so if I can get the third repeat finished tomorrow, I’m taking the sock out with me for a few rounds at least.

New sock day!



One of the reasons being a knitter is so awesome is because it offers the opportunity for fairly frequent joy. Oh yes, there’s usually an equal measure of frustration, but it’s those little joys that stand out. Today, that joy is putting on the brand new socks I finished yesterday. (Also, that joy is getting to cast on for another pair, which I obviously did, but that’s for another post.)


These are pretty simple socks, and I will knit them again because they’re just a little bit more interesting to knit than plain stockinette without really requiring much more focus. I knit these in the car, on the subway, and during many episodes of The Wire. Basically, they were just what I wanted them to be, and even though I was starting to dream of other socks by the end there, this pretty flickering green kept my attention from wandering too much. And, speaking of the colour, this is a great one for winter knitting. It has been pretty wintry in Toronto in the past few weeks, and getting to look at this bright colour on a regular basis was very nice indeed.

Pattern: Hermione’s Everyday Socks by Erica Lueder (it’s a free one)
Yarn: Tosh Sock in Jade
Needles: 2.25mm
Modifications: Very few (and detailed here). I opted to do my normal slip-stitch heel instead of the garter-stitch edged one in the pattern. I also opted to do twisted ribbing at the top, which looks nice and is very elastic, but also annoyingly time consuming (I swear the ribbing took me almost as long as the entire leg.)


Now, I know the responsible thing to do would be to go finish the second sock from this pair, and I really was going to do that, but then this other yarn caught my eye and before I knew what was happening I was finished the ribbing and into the leg on new socks. I couldn’t help it. I mean, look at this yarn! Sigh.

Zitron Unisono sport weight in colourway 1220. This yarn is so springy and soft it is not to be believed. Also, it has aloe and jojoba in it. And it's going to stripe. How was I supposed to resist that?

Zitron Unisono sport weight in colourway 1220. This yarn is so springy and soft it is not to be believed. Also, it has aloe and jojoba in it. And it’s going to stripe. How was I supposed to resist that?

Lots of snow means lots of knitting


I grew up in rural Nova Scotia, which meant that every winter we’d get close to a dozen snow days (one year, we had so many school was almost extended into the summer to make up for it). Snow days were, of course, the best, and usually an excuse to sleep late and be lazy all day (except when we were little and then they were an excuse for a lot of playing). Living in Toronto, we don’t tend to get much snow, and working at a newspaper, my workplace is never closed because of weather.

Last week, though, Toronto got hit. That same big storm that barrelled through the the East Coast hit us first, and although we didn’t get quite as much snow, we got a lot (over a foot!). It mostly came on Friday and, yes, I had to work, but waking up on Saturday to a city that was still digging out meant that everything was quite and beautiful and wintry. If that combination doesn’t fill you with the desire to knit, well, I don’t know what does.

After long grey days, snow really brightens everything up.

After long grey days, snow really brightens everything up.

L was busy marking assignments, so while we did go walking around in the snow and admiring how much prettier the city is in the snow – it was one of those perfect winter weekends, with a bright blue sky and no wind and snow everywhere – I spent the majority of the weekend happily knitting and listening to Tina Fey read Bossypants.


I was was a little all over the place knitting-wise, but here’s what I occupied my needles most:

I wish I'd taken a photo on Saturday morning, because I just about doubled the size of my Woodstove cardigan.

I wish I’d taken a photo on Saturday morning, because I just about doubled the size of my Woodstove Season cardigan.

I can sometimes be a reactionary knitter, thus, a new hat. This is Scrollwork by Irini Dmitrieva and I'm knitting it out of Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in Plume.

I can sometimes be a reactionary knitter, thus, a new hat. This is Scrollwork by Irini Dmitrieva and I’m knitting it out of Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in Plume.

And, last but not least, I'm making good progress on my Everyday Socks. They're good TV knitting, and with the cold, I'm extra motivated to get another pair of socks finished.

And, last but not least, I’m making good progress on my Everyday Socks. They’re good TV knitting, and with the cold, I’m extra motivated to get another pair of socks finished.

A little all over the place maybe, but I like variety; it keeps me interested and helps ensure my hands don’t get tired or sore. Those cables are addictive, though, and if it’s still cold out when I finish that hat I will probably cast on right away for the matching cowl!

Not quite a pair


I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but it would seem that the last pair of socks I knit doesn’t match. At all.


I am not chalking this up to second sock syndrome, though, because there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for all of this. Let’s start with the sock on the left. I started these, according to Ravelry, on Oct. 30. It was background knitting in November and themn, after finishing the first one, shit got real with my Christmas knitting and the socks were put aside.  (A noble sacrifice, really, and nothing to do with how much I wished they were Jaywalkers like my other ones or how tedious I find ribbing.)

A basic 3x1 ribbed sock in Fleece Artist BFL sock, colourway Seafoam.

A basic 3×1 ribbed sock in Fleece Artist BFL sock, colourway Seafoam.

After my Christmas knitting was done, I was determined to knit myself Christmas socks, and since this pair was half-finished it would have been cheating to pick them back up. So, I packed the yarn for my Biscotti socks and left these in Toronto when I went home for Christmas. I didn’t want the distraction of the easy gratification of just finishing one sock and calling it a pair, and I truly didn’t think the Biscotti socks would only take a week.

Hermione's Everyday Socks, knit in Tosh Sock colourway Jade. It turns out this particular combination is impossible to properly photograph on a cloudy day (the colour is more accurate on Ravelry).

Hermione’s Everyday Socks, knit in Tosh Sock colourway Jade. It turns out this particular combination is impossible to properly photograph on a cloudy day (the colour is more accurate on Ravelry).

But, they did. And that quick knit combined with potential travel delays forced me to ball up a skein of Tosh Sock I bought at a Boxing Day sale. Nevermind that I didn’t actually need to cast on for new socks in this yarn until after I got home, where the Seafoam socks were waiting. That’s irrelevant. In my mind, I’d already planned new socks in this yarn and so, to scratch that itch, I cast on. They were background knitting in January and now, here I am almost in February, with an entirely mismatched pair.

To solve this problem, I’ve decided to keep trucking away on the green socks and get them finished, and then finish the Seafoam ones, which are in a very spring-ish colourway and thus won’t hurt for the wait. In the meantime, though, I’m half considering wearing them as a pair (even though they would look ridiculous and feel very different on my feet) just because I could really have used another pair of socks right about now.

Looking ahead to 2013


It never really feels like a new year has begun until I have a new day planner. It probably sounds really quaint that I still use paper, but I have tried iCal and Google Calendar and the calendar on my phone and, frankly, I hate them all. I like writing things down and being able to map things out and add Post-It lists, and I really like having them as a record of my year. I don’t keep a diary anymore, so instead I use my day planner to keep track of things and while most of it is boring work stuff, it’s also a record of plans with friends, holidays, and all the fun stuff in my life.

Anyway, now that the organizational side of my brain has the whole year laid out in paper-form, I thought maybe my creative side should try to do a little goal-setting too. I’m not big on resolutions (it seems the point is more to make them than to work toward them), but I like goals (they’re more active and less lofty, it seems to me), so here are a few of mine, in no particular order:

1. Complete a sweater. I came so close with Buckwheat, but the endless stockinette killed me. This year, I want to get past that. I wear a lot of sweaters (pullovers and cardigans) in the winter, fall, and spring, so besides being a milestone in knitting, they’re a super practical addition to my wardrobe.

2. Learn to knit toe-up socks. I knit a lot of socks and generally don’t feel limited by my top-down style. Still, I learned a bunch of skills last year, and I don’t want to stagnate (as if that’s even possible with knitting.)

3. Consider the stash first. Deciding to go on a yarn diet would be pointless, because as soon as I said it I’d itch to buy something. Instead, when starting something new or eyeing a new pattern, I will look to my stash first. I have a lot of awesome yarn there, and it’s easy to forget that when the lure of a new project is dangling in front of me; however, I am running out of space, and want to use the yarn I bought, so it gets first priority. If, though, I don’t have what I need, or there’s a good reason to buy more yarn (I’m on a trip, it’s crazy on sale, whatever) I give myself permission to do so.

4. Be a more creative cook. Our New Year’s Eve dinner party went really well, and I want to have more of them (although maybe with fewer people – cooking for 11 is a lot of work). I don’t cook as much as I used to, and when I do I often make the same things. This year I want to try and branch out, both in terms of what I cook and who I cook for.

5. Publish a couple of patterns. I have a few designs kicking around that I’ve been too lazy to publish, and that’s dumb. This isn’t so much a pride thing as it is about creativity and being part of the larger community, and I want to dive in there.

Alright, that out of the way, here’s what’s on my needles to start 2012:

First up, my Woodstove Season cardigan. This may well be what accomplishes Goal 1, and I really hope it is because I love the design and the wool, and I really want to wear it.

The chevrons are just starting to be visible. (I'm knitting this in SweetGeorgia Superwash Worsted in Cyprus)

The chevrons are just starting to be visible. (I’m knitting this in SweetGeorgia Superwash Worsted in Cyprus)

I picked up some Tosh Sock at Gaspereau Valley Fibres when I was at home over the holidays (I did a bit of yarn shopping, actually, but we can talk about that later) and after I finished my Cranberry Biscotti Socks, I cast on for new ones. I hemmed and hawed about the pattern, but after casting on for three different ones, I settled on Hermione’s Everyday Socks since they were simple and pretty. I like them a lot.

Tosh Sock in Jade.

Tosh Sock in Jade.

Lastly, this clearly isn’t quite on my needles yet, but this yarn will become the Moose Gloves you see in the photo (no one on Ravelry has made this pattern, so there’s no link).

This is more yarn purchased at Gaspereau – this time New England Shetland in Red and Charcoal. The gloves will be grey with red moose.

This is more yarn purchased at Gaspereau – this time New England Shetland in Red and Charcoal. The gloves will be grey with red moose and patterning. (The red is only slightly less vibrant in person.)

L has wanted these gloves since before he bought me Norwegian Mittens and Gloves (they are why he bought it) and his birthday is coming up, so I’m going to buckle down and knit them up. The pattern calls for sport-weight, but since they all run a little small, I’m going to hold this fingering weight Shetland double. In my head, this is a perfect solution – what do you think?

So, that’s three projects on the go, plus five goals – not a bad start to the year. How’s your 2013 outlook?

August? Paging August.


I don’t know how it is where you are, but over here I’m a little disoriented. I mean, it was just July wasn’t it? What the heck happened to the last month? This was how I felt about November and March when I was at university – two months that were so jam-packed that they sucked up your life and didn’t spit it out again until you were already on the other side.

That’s when I realized where August went: work. All month, I’ve been working two jobs. I’ve been in the shop or doing shop stuff in the morning, and then come early afternoon I get ready and head off to the Post, where I stay until it’s too late to do anything but go to sleep when I get home. My weekends, while mostly work-free, have also been full. It has been a month of fun and learning and newness, but definitely not a month I would describe as restful. Clearly, this calls for a holiday, and lucky me, tomorrow L and I are getting on a plane and heading east: Nine days in Nova Scotia. Oh heck yes.

We’re going to spend the first four days in Cape Breton, hiking and camping and (hopefully) visiting Baadeck Yarns (I’ve already planted this seed in L’s ear, so he’s prepared). After that, it’s back to the Annapolis Valley for five days of hanging out at my parents’, visiting friends, and being relaxed. There will be sight-seeing, there will be friend-visiting and shopping and all that, but there will also be free time, and unscheduled hours, and oh my gosh, I cannot wait! (Yes, yes, there will be blogging too.)

Because of the camping portion of the trip, packing is a little trickier this time than it was the last time I went. Nonetheless, there will be room to bring some knitting with me, and also to bring some wool home with (we all know what happened last time I went home, after all).

This is a very accurate depiction of the colours in these socks. I love them. I wouldn’t even rip this back (despite my Jaywalker desire) if I wasn’t already feeling they were going to be to big. Sort of serendipitous really.

I am bringing my Fleece Artist Spruce Socks – which I cast on as regular socks and, despite being three inches in, have ripped back so they can become the Jaywalkers they want to be – and something else as-yet undecided. I can’t bring the Christmas socks, because my sister will be visiting home at the same time we’re there. I was planning to bring the wedding mitts, but the yarn still looks like this and I’m not sure I’ll have time to wind to before we leave.

This will be mittens. It will. I’ll wind it just as soon as I’m home.

I feel fairly confident that the Spruce Socks will take more than a week, but there’s a lot of driving and flying built into this trip (L and I will split the driving though) and I don’t want to run out. Considering my yarn-buying plans, this seems like a silly worry, but still, I think I’ll pack an emergency skein just in case. The only question is, where to put it?

One thing I will definitely find room for (and, let’s be honest, I will definitely fit in that extra wool) is my finished Georgian Bay shawl. I cast on in the car on the way to Tobermory the first time we went this summer, knit on it for four days, got home, and promptly got distracted (we talked about busyness, yes?). The weekend of the baby shower, though, I was so filled with productive glee (read: caffeine) that I stayed up and finished it. That was two weeks ago, but since we were going back to Tobermory, it seemed only right to take pictures in the place it was meant for.

This is kind of a little shawl, I admit, but under a light sweater or jacket it’s perfect. I already want to make another one (though maybe slightly larger).

While it’s slightly smaller than I’d choose (dear self: go up a needle size; just figure it out already), I love it. I love the colour, I love how soft the wool is, I love the eyelets, I love it. I was convinced I wasn’t a triangle-shawl person, but I take it back.

Pattern: Doublish, by Alex Tinsley
Yarn: Madeline Tosh Merino Light in Nebula
Needles: 3.25 mm Addi lace circulars
Modifications: None! I can hardly believe it either. It’s ravelled here if you’re into that sort of thing.

I bought two skeins of Nebula because I was worried about yardage (I am always worried about yardage, but the pattern was pretty specific on this point) and have an entire unwound skein leftover. I was thinking about exchanging it for another colour – unless you have a better idea?

The perils of the best laid plans


Sometimes I guess it’s possible to both plan too well and not quite well enough. This was the case of the Leftover Socks, which were originally intended (as the name suggests) to use up some of the leftovers from my Colour Affection shawl. That was the original plan. I weighed a pair of socks I had recently knit and then weighed the wool I had left, and happily discovered that I had enough to knit proper socks (that is, not short socks, which I don’t like to wear).

I then weighed the two colours of wool separately and found that I had a bit more of the green than the grey, so I decided to knit green socks with grey cuffs, heels, and toes. Very cute, I thought. And the first one was, see:

Leftover sock 1 all finished and nice looking, and leftover sock 2 just before the heel with a deceptive amount of yarn still in the ball.

The thing is, I should have actually thought about the math a little. The amounts of yarn I had in green and grey were only different by about 20 grams, and together equaled a pair of socks. If I had thought about what this meant, I might have been able to foresee what would happen if I tried to actually knit socks that were almost entirely in one colour. You can see where this is going can’t you?


I got just past the heel in sock number 2 (not even entirely through the gusset! but I will say that knitting on a dock in Tobermory made me feel a little better) when I realized I was in trouble. I switched to grey, hoping to save enough of the green to the toe. I figured that this way, at least, the tops would match when I was wearing shoes/boots, and the feet would just look reversed if I was wearing pants and sock feet. Sadly, it just wasn’t meant to be.

These are perhaps the most ridiculous socks I have ever knit. What was I thinking? Why didn’t I stripe them? Clearly I knit with the philosophy that if I don’t acknowledge the yarn is running out, it won’t run out. That belief was dashed this weekend. Don’t get me wrong, these are warm socks knit in lovely wool, and they will keep my feet warm even if they are unforgivingly fraternal and clearly knit on the fly. I know this, but would it have been too much to ask for a little symmetry? It’s the stupid toe that really kills me.

Leftovers of the leftovers.

To take the edge off the disappointment I’m sure you’re all feeling on my behalf, enjoy some Tobermory photos. It was a glorious weekend with good friends, nonsense socks (which are ravelled here, if you’re interested) notwithstanding.

We stayed in a different cottage this time around. Here’s the view from the deck (I spent some lovely time knitting on that dock.)

It was overcast and grey on the second night, but as you can see, the first night more than made up for it. Spectacular, it was.

The rocks at Half-Way Log Dump (in the Bruce Peninsula National Park) are pretty fantastic.

You can’t quite tell, but the water is tropical to look at. Even though it was cold, because you can jump in I did a lot swimming. I love swimming.

Stripes on stripes: Colour Affection is finished


I was going to wait, and blog about Baku before anything else (it was the last stop on my trip and I swear I’ll get something up about it in the next couple of days – it was gorgeous), but then I finished Colour Affection on the weekend and I’m just too pleased to wait.


So summery. So soft. So stripy.

It really worked out so much better than I ever thought it would. As I mentioned, I started it just before I left because I hate casting on in public. I was only a few rows in, though, when I left for the airport. It was about 24 hours door-to-door on the way to Tbilisi, and although that included switching planes several times (and this lots of security lines), as well as, in theory, some sleeping, I still had lots of knitting time. By the time we got into Tbilisi, I was only a couple of rows shy of having the first two pattern sections finished.

I finished the two-stripe section in Tbilisi and began the three-stripe short-rows in the car to Yerevan, but then, I got sick and couldn’t do anything but sit with my eyes closed and try to sleep. I got through a couple of pattern repeats in the short-rows before I realized I’d made a mistake. Each repeat is six bands of colour (12 rows), and I had knit 24 rows before I decided my short rows were really looking too short and something must be up. I went back to the pattern and, sure enough, I was one stitch short. For the next 12 rows I knit the way Veera intended, and then I added another stitch to my short rows and carried on that way for the rest of the section, which I finished on the flight from London to Halifax. (From Halifax to Toronto, 24-hours into travelling, I couldn’t knit any more and instead just slept. It was glorious.) It then took me a week to finish the two-inch border, which I attribute to the fact that a) those border rows are stupidly long, and b) I was back in my real life, and had other things to do.

I bound off (using a 5 mm needle) on Saturday and then blocked it (I bought blocking wires for the occasion), and on Sunday, after going for a photo shoot/walk with L, I brought it to work, because my office is a fridge. I am quite pleased.


I have to say, though, that I am surprised by how much I like it. I was really worried there for a while. The thing is, when you start with dark colours, you get used to how that palette looks. I like the grey, I like the green, and together, they played of each other nicely. Then, when I got to the short rows and introduced the yellow, I felt like everything was suddenly off. Somehow, the nice greyish tones in the yellow disappeared, the subtly colour changes in the green were gone, and what I was left with was garish and, I thought, a little too tropical for my wardrobe. I was seriously afraid that after hours and hours and hours of knitting, I was never going to wear the thing. I couldn’t figure out how I’d gone so wrong – I mean, the colours had looked so nice all stacked up.

Thank goodness I persevered. That two-inch border at the bottom saved it for me. The trouble is, when you’re knitting top-down, it’s hard to see how it will all come together, and for most of the knitting, the dominant colour seems to be the one you started with (in my case, grey). In the end, though, the short-row stripes are stronger than the other sections, and the band of colour along the bottom balances everything out.

It was really hard to get the whole thing in, but here it is (can you imagine it with an extra 40-inches of length? It was be huge!).

Pattern: Colour Affection by Veera Välimäki
Yarn: Tosh Sock in Charcoal and Candlewick, and Tanis Fiber Arts blue label fingering weight in Mallard (Aside: Tosh Sock is like butter, and I would knit with it forever is that was practical.)
Needles: 4mm addi turbos
Modifications: I listed them above, and it’s ravelled here (if you’re into that sort of thing). I’ll say also that I didn’t check my gauge because, well, how is a shawl not going to fit? Somehow, though, this means I’m about 40 inches shorter than I should be, according to the pattern (only 2 inches shallow, though). I have no idea how that’s possible, but there you go.

This was perfect, perfect travel knitting. The next time I have a big trip, I would absolutely consider knitting another one, or at least something similar. As a bonus, I have enough wool left over for a pair of multi-coloured socks, which might be fun to knit up in the winter, when I could use some bursts of bold colour. (Full disclosure: I never did start those Monkeys. I will soon, though.)