humble beginnings

the designed in canada group in ravelry is having a knit-a-long (details here), so i am finally casting on something i was going to start years ago: a red cotton cardigan.

i have a sad scrap of twisty mesh that i had started working on, before the entire thing was abandoned a million years ago. seriously i think i bought this yarn almost fifteen years ago. it was one of early trips to romni wools not too long after i moved to toronto. the idea was to make a feminine, maybe even lacy but not grandmother-lacy red cardigan, like something amélie would wear. it was that long ago.

anyway, i goofed around with thinking i was going to improvise something but i could never quite settle on what it was i wanted, so when this kal came up i thought it was a good opportunity to search through the canadian designers on ravelry and see if any of them had the answer.

and laura chau did! the cardigan is markdale.

so now, after more than six months of not buying yarn, and working on old yarn and old projects, i'm digging into another oldie from the stash. about time, too. i also managed to get two prize-winners from previous years at the fair sent off to deserving recipients. o happy day! maybe i am not a hoarder after all.


summer cherry picking & picnic mini pies!

summertime! everything is so lush and lovely right now, including the fruit trees. it's hard to get excited about buying groceries when there is fresh fruit all around for the taking, if you have access to a tree.

fortunately, we have a local organisation called not far from the tree which connects tree owners with fruit pickers. the spoils get dividing between the owners, the pickers, and various charities.

i had been "wait-listed" for a bunch of picks, but finally got a chance to pick some cherries the other day. woohoo! it wasn't a giant haul - you never know what you're going to get, harvest might be anywhere from 5 to 50 pounds - but it was enough to make something. and with a planned picnic on the island with some friends, i wanted something portable.

and so: mini pies!

the great thing about these is that since i baked them in a muffin tin, they fit perfectly into a cupcake carrier for taking to the beach.

i used smitten kitchen's all-butter flaky pastry, and mixed the cherries with a bit of sugar and cornstarch.

the key to making this a weensy bit easier: waxed paper. strips of waxed paper (along with buttering and flouring the muffin tin) allowed me to lift the tarts out easily. and it was also the easy way to transport the woven lattice tops onto the top of the fruit.

once again, i overfilled them. sigh. a lesson i will never learn.

they look a little messy, but wow, do they taste of summer!


pyjama party

boy, long while since i updated, work, sick kid, sick me, on and on. anyway.

all of a sudden, summer is almost here! and that means the kid's first time at sleepaway camp! he is pretty excited, and i am pretty anxious about getting him ready - remembering to take the batteries out of his hearing aids, mainly. and i have to label all of his clothes. and of course he needs new pyjamas, to celebrate.

a friend of mine told me about this campfire fabric after she saw it in california, and i knew i had to hunt it down. campfires! roasting marshmallows! what could be better for camp! kiddo is so excited to have new pyjamas, and doubly so because of the campfires and marshmallows. all that's left is to find the perfect buttons.

i've also cut & pinned the fabric for his xmas pyjamas. after the one horrible xmas when i was up till 4 o'clock in the morning sewing frantically, i make a point about getting them done early. also, the fenelon fair will be here soon!


prince george's sweater - a knitting chart!

oh procrastination!

i ought to be getting the kiddo ready for school, but instead i did a quick alphabet chart for knitting prince george's sweater. i just love the way he is looking at the dog lupo in this picture!

here's a closer look at the sweater:

and here's a simple chart of his name:

if i get my real work done, i'll chart the rest of the alphabet later.


more progress

feeling pretty good about this!

after the interminable picking-up of stitches and short-row shaping, i am finally on the straightaway for the first sleeve on the maple leaf forever cardigan.

but before i even got there, i had to re-think the shoulder seam. i was going to do something similar to what i did for the argylette cardigan - fronts & backs the same, three-needle bind-off to join. but! because the shape of the fronts was dictated by the width of the maple leaf pattern, that wouldn't work. so i had to rip out some of the back, and re-do it in a style often seen in commercial machine knits, where all the shoulder decreases are worked on the back, and the front piece wraps around to the back.

i've done that on top-down sweaters before, but not on a bottom-up. so this was a first for me, and involved seaming (which is annoying, but whatever), but it worked!

can't wait to get this done and blocked. goal is to get this done by the end of march. i don't think i've ever knit a full-size sweater in fingering in such a short time - well, maybe the kid's cobain sweater? i got that done in three weeks... would be hard-pressed to beat that record. anyway, i'm feeling pretty good about how quickly this is going. just hope i haven't jinxed myself by being too cocky.


the maple leaf forever!

i am pleased with my progress on this cardigan! the other day, a non-knitting neighbour was over, and i, excited, said, "look, you can see the pattern now! can you tell what it's supposed to be?" and he said,

"um, ah, oh, it's - it's a maple leaf! you are a knitting sorceress!"

which was pretty nice.

i've just joined the third skein of alpaca (the second one had a million breaks, hope this one is solid like the first) and finished the third leaf. about to start the neckline shaping and then the armscye shaping. i'm really quite surprised at how quickly this is going. when i was at the endless swatching and charting stage, it seemed like it would never get done. but now that i'm doing the actual knitting, it's pretty smooth sailing. and since i've got two other fingering-weight cardigans under my belt, it doesn't seem as daunting.


stashdown progress!

in keeping with this year's resolution of buying no new yarn & finishing off old projects, i've cast on with some yarn i've had for close to 20 years. i got it with the intention of making a twinset. i got as far as knitting a turtleneck shell, which i loved and wore to death. but i never cast on for the cardigan - until now.

that ribbing took forever! the idea is to have two panels of maple leaves going up the front. i thought i'd find a lace panel charted up eons ago for that - there are loads of antique lace panels floating around the internet, surely i'd find my maple leaves? strangely, it seems no one has ever done maples before, probably because they're a bit more complex (i.e. annoying) than the standard elm. anyway, i was on my own charting the leaves.

it took a few tries, but i think i've got it?

i used up most of a partial skein of patons dk superwash on the swatch. each leaf is a little different. i also toyed with purling the wrong-side rows, vs. reverse stockinette for the background.

after much futzing about and numerous obscurely-coded spreadsheets, i got back to real knitting. half-a-leaf done, not sure how many more to go.