sunny start to spring

It’s the equinox, so spring is just around the corner! This being Canada though, I hear we might get some more snow before it’s truly warm. But the sun’s been out, and I got some seeds from West Coast Seeds, so things are moving in the right direction. I’d better get some seedlings going – we’re going to be changing up the back garden this year based on what we learned last year.

tomato and vegetable seeds

New Pattern: Leuty Hat

It’s still chilly and windy on our beach walks, so I worked up a new hat pattern to keep my ears warm – Leuty Hat.

Leuty is a quick worsted weight hat, shown in Malabrigo Rios “Teal Feather”. I love this yarn so, so much. It’s one of my desert island yarns, for sure. The ribbed brim is knit nice and long so it can be folded up, but of course you can shorten the brim to an inch or so if you’d prefer more of a beanie. It would also be great in a cotton blend for a lighter fabric!

The main pattern is an easy knit and purl pattern that creates a pretty diamond effect. Leuty is a great hat project for beginning knitters! The crown decreases are worked over just a few rounds for a gathered top.

The pompom is my favourite part – it’s made out of Drops Air, a very lightweight alpaca blend. I was a bit worried it would come apart when trimmed, but I used sewing thread to tie it up and it seems secure. It’s so soft and light, and doesn’t drag down the top of the hat.

Queue, fave, and buy Leuty Hat on Ravelry!

New Pattern: Lock & Key Cardigan

On the springier side of things, I have a new pattern out with Miss Babs, worked in a beautiful wool/silk blend called Woodbury.

lock and key cardigan knitting pattern

This fingering weight cardigan is worked from the bottom up in one piece, with the body worked flat and the sleeves in the round to the underarms. The yoke is joined for the seamless raglan, and then the button bands are worked vertically. I really like the look of the garter stitch bands, and you only have to pick up one stitch from the body at a time.

lock and key cardigan knitting pattern

The body is hip length, with a larger hip circumference and lots of decreases to the waist.

lock and key cardigan knitting pattern

Queue, fave, and buy Lock & Key Cardigan on Ravelry!

autumn crafting

It’s been so warm, it doesn’t feel like autumn at all! But the leaves are still slowly changing, the gardening is almost done, and I’m looking forward to pulling a few sweaters out.

The tomato plants got very, very tall – way over my head! But we put them in late, the weather was crappy, and I think our yard just isn’t sunny enough for them. We’ve gotten a few cherry tomatoes, enough for snacking and a couple of salads, but not nearly what I was hoping. There are still quite a few green ones on the plants, but at this point it might be a batch of green tomato relish.

We had a fair harvest of green/purple/yellow beans, and a couple of cucumbers. Everything else either didn’t grow or was eaten by bugs. They ate the marigolds down to nothing! What the heck. No basil, leafy veg, or eggplant survived.

I’m not sure what we’ll do for next summer – maybe relocate the tomatoes to a different part of the yard and try a smaller, deeper bed. Maybe growing in containers in the yard? I’d be afraid that the raccoons will just come and dig them up or knock them over, like they did with our patio containers this year.

The nasturtiums didn’t do anything until about the end of August, but at least we got a couple of pretty flowers.

I’ve been having elbow issues so I’m trying to limit my knitting to work, but I still need something to make as a hobby! I definitely want to sew a few things for winter but I don’t have a lot of room to work in at the moment.

With the weather (kinda, sorta) turning, I wanted to replenish my candle supply for the winter. I’ve never made them before but why not try? I ordered beeswax and wicks and poured just a few jars to try it out.

Glad I did, because these wicks were clearly not thick enough for this size of container! When I burned it, the wax pool was only about 1″ across and it melted straight down. I also knew they were going to crack because I didn’t let them cool slowly enough. But I learned a lot and promptly ordered more wicks to test. I’m not much for scented candles, but I might add a bit of essential oil to the mix next time, probably lavender and peppermint.

I went looking on Etsy for some not too expensive, natural stone and non-metal necklaces without clasps (my skin gets angry quickly) to jazz up my rather boring t-shirt-dress wardrobe, but couldn’t really find what I was envisioning in my head.

So – you guessed it – I had to make it myself!

I wanted to use silk thread but the ones I ordered were too small for the bead hole size (oops). Waxed cotton worked great though! It also comes in lots of colours and is pretty inexpensive. This one is black onyx and it is heavy, but I like that!

I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t one day get caught in a necklace-falling-apart-and-beads-going-everywhere situation (why yes, this has happened to me), so I decided to knot between the beads. It’s harder than it appears, but I think I’ve gotten the hang of it. The waxed cotton is WAY easier than silk for these knots.

Dale got a necklace well – we made it from a piece of beach glass we picked up on our lake excursions.

Knitting? Well yes, I couldn’t completely stay away from it! After sending off a work sample sweater last week I cast on with a skein of Lichen and Lace worsted in ‘pressed flowers’ – this skein is especially green and vibrant!

I worked up a really quick triangular shawlette, it was loads of fun.

So now I’m knitting another, but with a different final shape in mind. I’ll definitely write up this pattern as soon as I can, so keep an eye out!

One last thing, my pattern Habanero came out in the 15th anniversary deep fall issue of Knitty a couple weeks ago! This long cardigan is worked seamlessly from the top down in chunky Lorna’s Laces yarn, with triangular lace insets on the sides paired with a flared shape.

I’m going to be living in this one this winter!

summer days, drifting away

First off, I’m running a birthday sale on Ravelry – 30% off all my self-published individual patterns (excludes third party publications and ebooks). Ends tonight, August 2, at midnight so hurry on over to my Ravelry page!

birthday-sale-on-ravelry

This summer has been flying by! We’re staying in town this year instead of travelling, so it’s been pretty quiet. Super glad we were able to get air conditioning installed before the weather really heated up since we’re spending lots of time at home.

We went strawberry picking (along with everyone else) on Canada Day weekend. Super crowded but it wasn’t too hot that day, and we came away with about 14 pounds of berries. I made 5 pints of freezer jam – I love the fresh taste since it’s not cooked, but it does take up a lot of room in the bottom-drawer freezer. I also made a batch of cooked, canned jam, and some strawberry buttermilk ice cream from that batch.

picking-strawberries

We’ve gone down to the beach a few times. The eastern end is off-leash, so there’s always a lot of cute dogs to pet there (and it’s less busy). The water levels are super high this year and sections are closed – it’s crazy to see the water over walkways that are usually several feet above!

Can you see the CN Tower?

Cherries went on super sale in July ($1.67/lb!) so I bought three bags and made some cherries in syrup and a bit of cherry compote.

Dale’s birthday was in July, and we decided to go out to the Aga Khan museum since we hadn’t been yet. Unfortunately I should have made a reservation for the restaurant as it was full up when we got there. Oh well. It’s a small museum but really interesting.

I made a cake to take up to the farm for his family party – it’s funfetti (vanilla with sprinkles) with raspberry frosting. I, um, didn’t measure or stencil so the 30 is a bit off centre, whoops!

I’ve been sewing a little bit: I finished a Dress No. 1 from the awesome Sonya Philip in some cotton that I got at the Textile Museum sale a few years ago – the print matches well on one side but not the other! I added in-seam pockets as well. The fabric isn’t great for this, it rides up a bit, but at least I know what to fix for next time.

I also finally finished up a dress I started last summer, Alabama Chanin’s corset dress. The front and back each have 3 pieces, and I added in-seam pockets here as well. The whole thing is hand-stitched, including felling all the seams. I’m really happy with this one! It’s in a very light t-shirt jersey that feels like cotton to me (it was unlabeled).

Knitting-wise I’ve mostly been working on secret stuff, but I found some time to play around with a new idea. Yarn is Lichen and Lace worsted.

I also just finished up a nice light pullover out of Quince & Co’s fingering weight linen, just needs the ends woven in and a good blocking.

The garden is going bonkers – it’s the first year we’re not gardening on a balcony and it’s great! The raised beds are from (several) kits that just slide together, and we made sure to put up a lot of protection from critters. We were pretty late getting everything in the ground but things have really come along nicely. There’s some tiny little beans, peas, zucchini, cucumber, and tomatoes!

June 20:

August 2:

We had to add extra stakes to the tomatoes – they’re 8 feet tall! At this rate we’re going to need stepladders to harvest.

For my birthday we went out to the Ontario Science Centre and saw an Imax movie, then went out to sushi. We usually go to a lot of museums on vacation, so going to 2 museums in a week definitely had that vacation feel!

My cake was a hilarious half-cake made by cutting one layer in half and stacking. Black Forest, yum.

How’s your summer going?