No More Boring Knits!

I finished the massive (and extremely cozy) Gandeymitts last night. They're for Tom, of course. Now I just have to line them so I can send them on their way.I'll be releasing the pattern shortly - you are only a scant three balls of Brooklyn Tweed SHELTER away from a pair of these. No more boring knits for men - so says I; so it shall be!

Sneaky peeks + free things

I've got patterns coming out in all kinds of publications in the new year; as such I've been doing a lot of sample knitting lately. While it's nice to know that my work is going to be out there in some very fancy places very soon the short-term effect is that I can't show my new patterns (five, at last count) off online. Desperate to populate my Ravelry Projects page with something more than a bunch of blank squares, I made detail shots of (some of) my Super-Sekrit works in progress, and they look like this:...which I quite like, actually - both separately and as a grouping of four.

They act as a wee taster to the finished projects while not giving too much away (which, I must admit, I find as frustrating as the rest of you.) I find my (initially) unintentional inclusion of the tools of my trade a nice insight into the entire process of making (plus I just love the look and feel of my specially selected, beautiful tools.) They show a snippet of the pattern, project and object's life that is rarely seen by anyone but me - the "wrong" side, the inside, that unglamourous point in the proceedings when there are tangly bits of yarn exploding out in every which way. You know - all the messy stuff that I eliminate before I show you the thing and say "I made a thing! Here, look at the thing!"

So until I can show you the finished things, these will have to suffice. Again, my apologies - I am not very good at patience myself.

If you'd like some instant gratification, though, I think I may be able to help you out with that - I'm currently offering the pattern for my SpillyMitts for FREE.
I'm still undecided on how long this offer will stand, so grab them while you can!Back to it - there are lots of other things that I am supposed to be doing. More news as it becomes available, of course!

Two, erm, THREE New Mittens

A little something to make the inevitable transition into Winter that much nicer: I've just released two new mitten patterns in as many days.

The first is Thamesis, inspired by the River Thames him/herself.Wavy, twisty and watery allusions abound - from the undulating patterns of the palm to the twisted stitch cabling on the cuff:Here we see the Seven Springs that are sometimes cited as the River's Source.

The greenish colours I've chosen for these ones add to the River-y feel of the mittens, but please don't feel limited by my choice. I would love to see these ones in hot pink and orange; turquoise and red; yellow and grey; etc.

The other ones are the Illuminine Mittens, the third of my mittens to be named after a Thurston Moore song. It happens. (For the curious, the other two are Benediction and Psychic Hearts.)

The Illuminine Mittens are the official mitten pattern of National Knit Mittens Month (NaKniMitMo) 2012, which is right around the corner - it kicks off on 1st January 2012.

Which reminds me, you haven't seen Benediction yet, either (or have you?) Here they are:They made their exclusive debut at KnitCulture's kiosk at Vogue Knitting Live this past September, but now they're up and out for everyone to enjoy.

So yes, you have a wealth of new mitten patterns to choose from! As for me, I'll be continuing to work through my pattern backlog - the socks - including a free sock pattern - are up next. Look out.


Because I love the colours. Because this one is going to be flying off before I know it - Chris' Chelsea Hat:Because Chris loves Chelsea. Because making and giving and making happy makes me happy.

A Sneaking Feeling

Ever get that feeling that you're being watched?

You know - you're just going about your day, and everything seems fine......but there's this feeling that...something's lurking just out of view - possibly even...overhead?Yeah - me too.

The WereGandey/GandeyWolf has been Ravelled here. Learn more about his namesake - my friend Tom - here.

All Strung Up

There have been some especially fine types hanging around (ha) the DIA lately - I say hello to them whenever I am in.

Like yesterday, for example. There they were, waiting for me, as cordial and jovial as always. I am trying to be strong about the fact that yes, they shall be retiring to their dressing rooms in a mere handful of weeks.

They are American Royal Mationettes, and they're from the grand old days of Vaudevillian Theatre. As for me, I am hard-pressed to choose a favourite.

I can't help but think that one, in particular, has influenced me - or my output, rather - in a very deep and subtle way.

Just look at who's flown and slithered off my needles lately:

The sense of colour, the sense of play, the wide, bright eyes - they're all there. I think it's safe to say that my Vaudevillian friends have gotten into my head. When the curtain finally falls, I shall miss them.

Bogged Down

After years of searching - and then a several very intense months of coveting - I have finally acquired a Bog Oak spindle - and a very finely made one, too.Well ok, only the very top bit of the whorl - the dark bit - is the Bog Oak, but that is enough for me. To think that this specimen has been carbon dated to 3300 BC - and is therefore over 5000 years old - is simply amazing.

Prior to this acquisition I had only had the briefest encounters with bogs and the things that have ended up in them. Years ago, when I lived in London, ON the Byron Bog was a favourite destination to...attempt on the weekend. I say "attempt," since it was often so water-logged that merely entering was impossible, unless one was keen on getting seriously bogged (ha) down in the muck. I always wanted to go deeper in, hunting for rare orchids and carnivorous plants - I think I may finally attempt this next Spring/Summer.

I can't help but wonder what has sunken into that particular bog, and I'm sure that something has, sooner or later. Perhaps some lovely wooden bits such as my piece of Bog Oak lie in its depths? Or maybe something - or someone - else lurks within? I had the chance to meet Lindow Man this past March which was quite a thrill, to say the least. I am pleased to report that we have another date scheduled for the end of the month.

And of course one should not forget the objects dropped into bogs (either accidentally or on purpose) that have made their way down the ages to us. Though it was a decade ago, I recall standing in front of a couple of fine bronze Scythian cauldrons - a rare opportunity that would never had happened had they not made their way into the belly of a bog all those centuries ago. They were handsome pieces - very sturdy and fine in their simple lines - and bore a patina that was quite unusual for bronze. My two companions wondered out-loud (and loudly) as to what could have caused this - but turned a deaf ear when I suggested that perhaps it was a by-product of dwelling at the bottom of a very acidic bog for centuries. To this day I can't help believe that I was on to something there.

I myself am not entirely familiar with the finer points of the chemistry of peat bogs but it seems to me that nothing short of a kind of magic occurs within their depths. Pots, plants and people go in - and then come out in the far-flung future. They are all the truest of time-travellers and we are fortunate to be able to make their acquaintance.

And while I'm on the topic of Scythians, here is Andrew Bird's song about them. I can't help but wonder if he saw the same travelling exhibit that I had back way in 2001. I will even forgive his mispronounciation of their name, but only because he is so cute.

The Day before December

Today I woke up to the lightest dusting of snow - so light, in fact, that the term "icing sugar" sprang to mind. It was quite pretty - and all the prettier since it is exactly the kind of snow that will be gone by mid-afternoon.

I took this chance to nip out to the back garden to rescue a couple of ladies-in-distress that I had been keeping an eye on for the past little while. Some thyme just had to come with, since it smelled incredible when I stepped on it to save the ladies in question.And here they are together, all happily snuggled up in their new home - one of my collection of old caper jars. I realize that I have probably violated several basic tenets of flower arranging, of which I am acutely aware. Luckily I belong to the "fill an old caper jar with water and insert the snippings" school of floral design, so I can't say that I care too much. I like my arrangements like I like my gardens and that is wild.

My lovely ladies are hardly themselves in these frigid temperatures. Heritage is normally a beautiful blush, but out in the cold she has deepened to something closer to a lipstick pink......and the usual creamy white petals of Evening Star have developed blush and greenish tones.Now the jury is still out on whether or not they will properly open, but I am hoping that the warmth of the house will help out a bit. Still, they are exceedingly pretty in their budded state and I will enjoy them regardless.

The Wolf Pack

Yes, an entire week later and I am still very much in the clutches of my three handsome English werewolves. It seems that, while I thought that I might make my escape more swiftly, they had other plans in the meantime. Still, I managed to elude the first of them last night, and today? Both the wer and the wulf aspects of Number Two are both fully complete. Here he is, The Clerkenwell Kid in woollen form, alongside his woolly lupine alter ego.This, of course, was taken prior to their Joining - a messy undertaking much like any other surgical procedure - hence the lack of photographic documentation. Still, together or apart, I daresay that both halves turned out quite cute, and I am truly hard-pressed to decide which of the two I favour more. Perhaps the wulf? I always did have a thing for chest hair and he is sporting quite the pelt indeed!

Some of you have been asking if the pattern is one of mine and (unfortunately) it is not - though I wish it was as it is completely, utterly brilliant! It's by Annie Watts and you can find it on Ravelry here. Simple in its complexity and complex in its simplicity both at the same time - I can't say enough about this one. LOVE.

Me + Mr. Wolf

I am in high production mode today - polishing off the first of three handsome knitted werewolves. At present he is still very much a work in progress, but I am, erm, over the moon about how he's coming along.Soon I'll be joining the two halves together - now that shall be a proper mad scientist moment!

No, the fact that I am producing (were)wolves out of sheep's clothing is not lost on me. Nor is the fact that the wool in question is Shetland wool - which will be returning to the UK shortly, but in wolf-form.

If you'd like another taster of the lupine persuasion, allow me to offer up this delicious morsel - it's the brilliant new animated film made to accompany The Real Tuesday Weld's equally brilliant song, "Me. + Mr. Wolf" - and it's even better than I thought it would be.
Sexy, violent and violently sexy - call it Red Riding Hood Noire.

Get Persnickety!

Hey, Nice People! Did you know that the pattern for my Persnickety mittens is currently FREE on Ravelry until tomorrow night? Yes, FREE - no tricks, treats or strings attached.Grab it while you can! Knit Persnickety and have Fun!There are more FREE surprises yet to come - please consider yourselves warned!

George the Toad + Wovember

This is George. He's a toad.He likes slugs, long hops on dark rainy nights, and...hanging about in people's studios.

George turned up in my studio late last July, just in time to help me bang out a new pattern (using LOFT, no less!) for Brooklyn Tweed's forthcoming publication Wool People 2.

And yes, it is quite diffcult to work when someone won't get off the book that one is trying use...George.Luckily I knew of someone else who has a couple of lovely studios that I knew George would absolutely love. Besides, George shares Tom's predilection for flamboyant headgear.From what I understand they are now getting on quite well together, which makes me happy. I hope you're behaving yourself, George!

Another thing that makes me particularly happy (happy? More like ecstatic as a raving crazypants LOON,) is WOVEMBER - the month-long celebration of REAL SHEEP and REAL WOOL that has been organized and executed by Kate and Felicity. In a burst of utter JOY and LUST to celebrate WOVEMBER I promptly swooped down upon Felicity's Etsy Shop and picked up a couple of her limited edition WOVEMBER 2011 tweed-covered badges. They turned up in the post just the other day......accompanied by the sweetest note. Thank you, Felicity - I will now be properly decked out for the rest of this WONDERFUL, WOOLLY WOVEMBER. Baaa!

This is Happening

This may be news to some of you, but to others not - in any event I will cut to the chase - yes, there is a book in the works. My own book, full of my own patterns, that you will be able to buy wherever it is that you like to buy books.I don't think I ever properly announced this impending bookdom, as it began humbly as a couple of idle tweets between Shannon and myself on a sultry morning this past July. Which is why I found myself speeding down to Cleveland on a similarly sultry morning this past August.Once I found my way into knitgrrl studios, Shannon and I sat down and started talking BOOK. Imagine my surprise when I noticed that this conversation was taking place almost ten years to the day that I had similarly sat across from a woman behind a desk and had...well, the exact opposite of this conversation. It's funny how history twists, turns, repeats itself...and provides. Had you told me ten years ago about where I'd be now I wouldn't believe you.And, you know, while I want to say "I wouldn't change a thing," that's not exactly true. What I do know is that I like where I'm at and I like Shannon A LOT better than that other lady - we share a comparably inappropriate sense of humour, for instance......and the sarcasm. Mustn't forget the sarcasm.

But yes, BOOK! My BOOK! Will keep you all posted as details become available that I am able to share.

The Bulb-bening, 2011

Well, this year's batch of bulbs has been planted - I even have the sore back (from improper bending) to prove it.The usual suspects are out in full force; weirdo tulips abound - odd blends, some frilly, some splotchy, some ruffley - but we have some new offenders on the roster as well this year. Swathes of daffodils, drifts of crocus - some commonplace, others not. I look forward to meeting them all in the Spring.Black Passion Blend tulips? Yes, please!

And just in case anyone of the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed persuasion even considers helping him- or herself to a bulb-snack, I have added a little something extra to the mix:I hope you squirrels are in the mood for Indian tonight!

And though my bulbs are currently napping under their chili-seasoned soil duvet, I clearly still have tulips on the brain - just look at what I picked up from Meadowview Alpacas:There was no way that I could've said no to saturated colours like that! This palette will surely help tide me over under the tiny wee bulb-noses appear in the garden.

Full Circle

Nice People, you may have noticed that I both love - and have - a lot of Things. Usually these Things call me from afar, tell me that they Need to come Live with me and then proceed to seduce me into taking them home (with me.) And sometimes - certain Things tell me that, while it has been Nice, and No Hard Feelings,'s time for them to leave me. It was fun while it lasted, but the spark is gone's over.I have recently undergone one such parting this past weekend, when I said adieu to a decade's worth of meticulously hoarded - erm, collected - video games. Before you decide that this sounds silly, I must warn you that said collection consisted of only the most heart-warming (and -rending) bits of melodramatic escapism that money could buy. Longer than movies, more involving than books, for the past ten years - before knitting - these games were my substance of choice to abuse.

A chance exploratory tweet caught the attention of Rebecca, who had the made the most brilliant of suggestions - she would take them all off my hands in exchange for - you are sitting down, yes? - handspun. Piles and piles of her glorious, glorious handspun. Well; what would you have done?Which is why Saturday morning found me up and out before the sun was even up, bouncing around like a chipmunk on speed before that first drop of tea passed my lips. Up the 401 I sped under a brooding sky, completed the happiest, most-satisfying trade in the history of all trades and spent a lovely afternoon in Guelph and environs. The sun came out to greet me just as the Detroit skyline appeared on the horizon. Home. Having parted with Things that no longer suited me; having made someone happy by giving them to her. Having acquired a great deal of precious handspun yarn; having made a couple of new friends - the happiest of ends to one of the happiest of days.One can't really ask for more.

Earth + Sky

Fresh from the back garden - this morning's pepper harvest.And now I shall return to a pursuit more celestial than earthly - for you, Nice People, I would knit the Moon.

The Enthusiastic Origamist

In one of my past lives - before I took up knitting - I was an origami enthusiast. Origami was not only my habit and hobby of choice, it was something of a lifestyle. It kept my hands busy through the last days of my second post-graduate degree - a Master's in Library and Information Science. I would fold birds and butterflies all lecture long. The year was 2004.

I left a trail of origami wherever I went - at my seat in the classroom, on the table in the pub, around where I was sat outside. I grew used to the calls of "Wait - don't you want these?" from lecturers, friends and servers alike. Of course I didn't - they were a renewable resource. I could always make more.Sometimes I would save up a bunch of them and purposefully place them en masse in some poor, unsuspecting corner of the building or grounds. from what I understand, people loved it - it made them happy to turn a corner and find a railing or a shrub alive with paper birds and bugs - which in turn made me happy. If a few folds of a fancy piece of paper brought this much joy, how could I say no?

At night, when I'd return to my lair in London - Ontario, of course - I would sit down and work on the ultimate origamist's project - folding 1000 cranes. I had bought a special box of paper just for this purpose.It took me a while, but I eventually did it. At which point I started working on my second thousand cranes, which never completely panned out. I think I stopped somewhere around 1100 or so - I haven't counted them in a while.

My point, though is this - I've been living with my thousand cranes for quite some time now, and it's time for them to fly off to live with one of you. My offer is simple - pay only the shipping to get the 1000+ cranes from here to where you live and they are yours. If you are interested, please comment below - first come, first served.


Where did the day - erm, the weekend - go? I have no idea.I'll say this though - it was very, very full - as am I. And tomorrow - another day. Let's go.

Loose ends

A few things that deserve a proper mention:

Firstly, I was the Vogue Knitting Live Designer of the Day on KnitCulture's blog yesterday. They'll be debuting my latest mitten pattern - Benediction - at Vogue Knitting Live in LA later this month. They'll also be selling kits to make the mittens, so if you are going, please drop by and say hello! I wouldn't want my mitts to get lonely so far away from home.

Click here to read the article.

Next, another pair of socks for Tom dropped off my needles the other day - this time made from my own handspun. I may have gotten a little carried away with these!

And finally, the mittens with squirrels on - tentatively titled "Brown-eyed Squirrel" - are finished. More info on these, soon!