Off the Needles

Wheel house Button from the top C.C. Slight.
Wheel house Button from the top C.C. Slight.
Meet Flo the flirty llama from the top of the Andean Dreams Tea-cozy.
Meet Flo the flirty llama from the top of the Andean Dreams Tea-cozy.

It is the New Year and now halfway into January – what are your plans and or resolutions for 2016!  I have been asked this several times in the last week or so.  Here is my answer.  I would love to hear yours as well.

Like always I am knitting like crazy – it is what I do for fun, entertainment, and even for income!  By most definitions I am retired – everyday I do what I love – the classic definition of retirement!

And what is best is that I am allowed, nay, encouraged to share my love of knitting with any one who will listen – including you!!  LOL!  I am so happy that you keep on listening.

Tulip Fields Fore-ever!
Tulip Fields Fore-ever!

I have plans for 4 shawls;

  • Tulip Fields Fore-ever, I am hoping to have a KAL for it starting in mid-Februray – knitting is done, pattern writing has commenced, test knitting will start soon.
  • Cloisonné Shetland – a Shetland Lace Moebius – sample for a class and then a pattern for sale.  This one is knit in Kettle Tweed, by KnitOne CrochetToo.  The colour is called Cloisonné, a rich turquoise/green and gold kettle dyed colourway.  Like Tulip the knitting is done and the pattern writing will now commence.
  • Hello Dolly – a Crescent shawl edged with a mosaic butterfly pattern and embellished with butterflies – class sample and then a pattern for sale.  This one is now delayed a little.  I, umm, felt the need to create a new Cozy – Andean Dreams – sprang fully formed into my mind.
  • Rhiannon`s Wrap – a smaller version of Rhiannon`s Cloak, incorporating many of the patterns and elements of the first – with the 24K gold delicas and all the attitude of the original!  This one will be ready for a Summer KAL!  Starting this one this evening!

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Andean Dreams Tea-Cozy
Andean Dreams Tea-Cozy

I had no plans for a tea-cozy, but I have one fully knit none the less!  The cozy is called Andean Dreams and is topped by Flo, a very flirty llama!

C.C. Snugs Fingerless Mittens.
C.C. Snugs Fingerless Mittens.

I had been wanting to design a hat to go with the C.C. Snugs fingerless mitten pattern.

The designing is done and the test knit is done and the pattern is almost ready to go!

Samples are knit in Buffalo Wool Co Skies, natural and Extra Fine Merino 120, soft green.

Wheel house button under construction.
Wheel house button under construction.

What I really like about this pattern is the button finishing the crown – it is called a Wheelhouse Button and you can find the instructions on Kate Davies Blog.  I had so much fun making these buttons – but I do recommend a lid from a yogurt container for the form – the cardboard one started to fall apart before I finished the button!  The plastic lid worked great!

First mitten is well underway!
First mitten is well underway!

The MAE Retreat project is well underway and the pattern has even been started – and it is still over a month away!  We will be working on mittens.  Simple mittens for those who want them or lace mittens, lined in contrasting colours!  I am so excited.

I love years that start like this!  Touch wood that nothing will get “mucked” up.

I did knit a few Christmas projects as well – a couple of hats for family and some baby mittens.  I think that being a Grandmother is going to be a lot of fun!

I did knit one new hat for a pattern – Snowy Day Firs!  A quick chunky hat!  Perfect for next Christmas Giving!

Happy New Year and Happy Knitting




Cold Weather on The Wet Coast

Even the Sun looks cold - trying to burn through the overcast sky.
Even the Sun looks cold – trying to burn through the overcast sky.


IMG_5065 (1024x989)Cold and clear or cold and overcast – it was cold enough to freeze water on any surface.  From the ground on up, dripping from branches, coating mosses, rose hips or ozing from broken tree limbs.

Gone to the birds.

Birds were everywhere today – on the branches, floating across the water and in the air.

Calm and Cold

Reflections on life.  Everything was being perfectly reflected on the waters around our walks.

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Happy Viewing


It Never Fails to Amaze….

Painted Leaves.
Painted Leaves.
Lichens and mosses grow furiously right now - they add texture and colour to the bare branches areound us.
Lichens and mosses grow furiously right now – they add texture and colour to the bare branches areound us.

Our beautiful Island never fails to amaze and thrill me!  On our weekly walks I always find something new and wonderful to admire and photograph.  No matter how familliar the path.

Leaves, bushes, trees all have something new to offer.

The walk on the Sunday of the last weekend of December was particularly thrilling.

Looking down the River
Looking down the River

We went to the Nanaimo River Canyon.   It is always a pleasant walk, lots of scenic changes and usually quite a few bird sitings.  This walk was no exception.

Fresh snow on Mount Benson.
Fresh snow on Mount Benson.

It had rained heavily the night before.  But now the air was clear and the skies were blue with a few low hanging clouds.  Rain last night meant that there was fresh snow on top of Mount Benson.  It was a beautiful morning for a walk.

Raindrops like diamonds covered the bare branches of the bushes around us.
Raindrops like diamonds covered the bare branches of the bushes around us.

I could hear eagles in the distance and could see one perched high up on a bare tree branch surveyings its world.

As we moved away from the main river stream turned down the path to the SideBar Channel (my name for it), and re-entered the forest the sounds of the Eagles got louder.

Just hanging around as we walked on by.
Just hanging around as we walked on by.

There was a loud swoosh overhead and we looked up to see a large young eagle flying close overhead – it landed on a branch not to far away and remained quietly posed long enough for me to take a picture.  As we continued along the path there was another swoosh and another eagle flew overhead.  The kyrie crys of the eagles were getting louder as well;  another swoosh overhead – this was more activity by eagles than I had ever encountered before.  And much closer to my head than every before.  I was awed, amazed and not entirely comfortable with so much movement going on so close overhead!

Three right above my head!!
Four right above my head!!
7 Eagles were perched on the branches above the stream.
7 Eagles were perched on the branches above the stream.

A few steps further and we were at the Sidebar.  As I looked down the stream I counted 7 more eagles lining the trees down stream!  Four almost directly above my head.  Eleven eagles in one day, in one walk, in one location – I was literally awestruck!

The reason for the congregation wasn’t hard to understand – there were several large salmon carcasses on the ground and a few more in the stream.  It was feeding time at the River.

I had never seen so many of the large birds in one place – and will not ever forget this experience.

Happy Walking




Sugar Coated Morning

Sugar Coated Rose Hips
Sugar Coated Rose Hips

It was a glorious clear morning at Neck Point Park.  The air was crisp and fresh.  The light was bright and beautiful.  That cold, clear Winter light that casts shadows and high lights every shape!

Clear and Calm morning waters.
Clear and Calm morning waters.

There was no wind and the Ocean waters were calm and quiet – perfectly flat.  The horizon stretch out and on forever.  This is my favourite kind of morning.

The frost was thick around the waters’ edge and coated the field grasses.  There were rainbows on the edges of the pathways across the meadow in the park.  The hoar frost softened all of the edges of the driftwood and dried grasses alike – it was a shimmering kind of morning.

The Rose hips were particularly beautiful.  I kept finding more and more.  Some red and plump, some black and shrivelled, all with a thick coat of sugary frosting.  They were highlighted by sun at some points and hidden in shade at others.  Each presented its own beauty.

Such wonderful light and such clear air – a glorious day for photography.  From the ice on the pond and the fungus amongst the leaves every detail was outlined and sharp to the eye.

IMG_4731It was cold enough to force the water from the downed branches – candy cotton ice reaching out to the sun!

Happy New Year


Time vs. Speed

I have run straight, smack dab, face planted in fact, into the phenomenon of time vs. speed.  It is almost Christmas – less than two weeks away – and I am stunned by the speed with which this last year has passed!

My intentions for the year were good – blog regularly, design a few patterns, and knit every day.  Well, as the song says “two out of three, ain’t bad”!  LOL!

I am working on two new patterns for the New Year – Tulip Fields Forever, a lacy half-pi shaped shawl knit with Maryanne’s Socks.  This one is slated to be a KAL starting in Mid February.  The KAL will be called Dreaming of Spring.  And the Furrowed Skies Blanket Vest, knit with Buffalo Wool Co, Buffalo Skies DK.  I need one of those vests for myself!  Both are looking great and I will keep you updated.  Just finished – Makin’ Mittens.

I am now knitting Christmas Presents – and the push is on!  How about you?   Are you knitting gifts for Christmas?  If so, what?  There is still time – I mean – almost two weeks – that could be a pair of mittens, a hat, a scarf – maybe all three!  Where is the Magnum when you need it!  LOL!  A couple of Chunky hats are in my near future!

I am also baking this year – well I have added Christmas Cake, both light and dark to the list and what’s more I actually baked them!  Today I baked the walnut shortbread (my favorite), it is cooling on the racks; and we still need more regular shortbread – some one seems to be eating it!

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Decorating is next – looking forward to the house being ready for Christmas.  We bought the tree today, a noble fir.  It smells so good!

It isn’t raining right now – but it has for most of the last few weeks.  Today was the first day I had really walked!  We hadn’t done much real walking for the last two weekends – I missed it – I missed the pictures and the time outside.

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Today we went to Piper’s Lagoon.  I revelled in the wind, with just a touch of rain.  My ears and fingers were cold, but it was great!  We watched and admired a couple of Kayakers that braved the waves – it would have been hard work to stay upright and moving forward over that surf.


There was no beach this morning – just waves rolling right up to the logs that lined the shore.

No pretty flowers, just interesting leaves and struggling weeds to photograph today!

Happy Planning, Knitting and Decorating



Makin' Mittens

IMG_4116Mittens have a long and storied history.  Every cold culture has a  mitten story, has a mitten style and knows that mittens are important!  We, as knitters, know how much fun a mitten can be to knit.  Have you tried knitting a Thrummed mitten from Newfoundland; or some Twined knit mittens from Sweden; Or some Estonian Braids on a current mitten project for embellishment?  My favorite mittens to knit are the fair-isle style of mitten – thought any mitten with colourwork can tempt me.

Mittens keep your hands warm on cold days – “Warm hands, warm heart”.

Mittens can showcase a knitters skill – right where your eyes can see it!

Mittens take little material and fair-isle mittens use up scraps.

Mittens are perfect for honing a new skill before a big project!

Over the years there have been many books written on the subject of mittens.  They discuss the history and culture behind each style of mitten and there are always many pictures to illustrate the information.  I love to look at the pictures of the mittens and the people wearing them, because these books mostly show how little has changed.  My favorite pattern book is an older book, Knitting Fair Isle Mittens and Gloves, by Carol Rasmussen Noble.

A perfect example of the continuing importance of mittens would be the Red Canadian Mitten from the 2010 Olympic games in Vancouver – those mittens became a nations symbol of solidarity behind “their” Athletes!

Luckily we no longer need to knit 50 pairs of mittens as wedding gifts – as in Estonia in the past.  But the skills and the patterns of that past still fascinate us today and we still knit the mittens and gloves with love in our hearts. Seasons Greetings

Here is my gift of warmth and love for the Christmas Season – the Making Mittens pattern – free from Dec 13th, 2015 to Jan 2, 2016.  Update – It is now Jan 3rd – here is the link to the pattern on Ravelry.  Makin’ Mittens is now $6.00.

Makin’ Mittens Pattern ← Click here for pattern

Makin’ Mittens came out of the Year of Making – a project by The Buffalo Wool Co, a year of colours in their Tracks sock yarn.  A colour a month for the full year – the orange sample uses 11 of those colours – but you can use any of the fingering; 4-ply; or sock yarns in your stash.

Happy Knitting



On A Few Cold November Days

It has been a very grey November.  Lots of rain and not much sun.  The weekdays have grey and rainy but the weekends have been mostly spectacular – clear and cold.  And it looks like this next weekend will be the same – but even colder!

Sophie loves this time of year.  She is allowed on the beaches and can run and jump and play!  She is always up for our weekend walks.

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We have been to Neck Point, Piper’s Lagoon and Morrel Sanctuary – all beautiful!  The Strait goes from being calm to wild, depending on the day.  The air is so clear that the Coastal Ranges are fully detailed and etched into the horizon!

Beth and Logan visited with us twice over the last 3 weeks.  I am going through withdrawal right now – but I have lots of pictures to keep me happy!

My favorite walk was last weekend.  We walked the back roads of Richards Marsh and across the marsh on the boardwalk.  It was a beautiful day.  The sun kept trying to peak through the clouds and the air was still and warm.

But the best part were the swans.  Six of them gliding serenely across an opening in the marsh!

It is amazing to me how beautiful it can be around here.  We have so many placing to walk!  And all within such short drives!  I hope that you have had time to try some of them out!

Even a simple piece of driftwood can carry a whole world on its branches!

Sometimes we don’t even need to leave home to see something incredible!  Did you see the sunrise on Sunday!  Amazing colours!

Happy Walking


Buttons and Furbelows

Scrappy Vest for Logan, with the "furbelow" details!
Scrappy Vest for Logan, with the “furbelow” details!
Natures Furbelow - a pine needle tassel decorated with beads of rain.
Natures Furbelow – a pine needle tassel decorated with beads of rain.

Did you know that a “furbelow” was

  • 1) a fringe or piece of trim
  • 2) an ornamental addition to a garment.

Who knew!

I love furbelows!  I seldom knit anything without an addition of some kind!

Snakes, Snails and Puppy Dog Tails, that is what little boys are made of!  Well my little grandson is going to be made of knits as well.  Logan will be here for a visit next week.  I can hardly wait – you see I have been knitting a couple of things for him!

T'woot Cute - hat for Logan.
T’woot Cute – hat for Logan.

This week I finished off two little items for him – T’woot Cute Hat – a Cowichan style knit; and a little scrap vest – 23 colours – each approx. 8 yds and 13 vintage shell buttons.  I want to see how they fit! – and how he looks in them!

Spirit Toques.
Spirit Toques – furbelows for these as well!

It is has been a busy knitting season for me.  I have finished off the pattern for the Spirit Toques – it is now up on Ravelry.  I have also knit up a headband – Plaid Spirit Headband – it is now a free pattern on Ravelry – it will be free until November 12th.

I am currently working on the pattern for T’woot Cute, it will be sized for Baby, Toddler and Child.  An adult version has been requested – we will see!

Plaid Spirit Headband
Plaid Spirit Headband
Third Sweater Back is finished and charted - Wolf Song.
Third Sweater Back is finished and charted – Wolf Song.

Right now the class for the Cowichan Style Sweater is running at Mad About Ewe.  After that there will be three adult sweater patterns; Wolf Song, A Whale of a Tale, and Spirit Bear.  The backs of all three sweaters have all been charted and knit – time to start on the fronts!

Rhiannon’s Cloak was seen in the wild last weekend and has been included in two blogs this week… Clara Parkes Knitters Review and Stephanie Pearl Mcphee’s blog.

Beautiful Bag made by Fiona!
Beautiful Bag made by Fiona!

Fiona, Pip’n’Milly Creations, has just finished a new bag for me.  It was a special creation, a unique size just to fit the piece of needle work out of my stash of “stuff”!

The embroidery had been in the trunk for about 35 years  – it was about time that it saw the light of day!

It has been a grey week here.  The Sun is coming up later and later each morning and the clouds have been low all week.  The rain has been falling steadily for most of the night as well!

The grey skies are wonderful for photography though!  Colours pop against all the dreary backgrounds and the everything sparkles with the rain.

Black and White
Black and White

I did a little playing with the filters on my editing program.  Black and White or Orange Filter – similar results – though the black and white is crisper – it could be the photograph though, not the filter.

Orange Filter
Orange Filter

I don’t know where we will be walking this weekend – the water is just pouring from the skies.

Happy Knitting






Serene Moments – Blazing Colours and Sudden Movement!

Serene and cool - but incredible movement hidden below!
Serene and cool – but incredible movement hidden below!

Wildly coloured leaves falling, tumbling through the air to the ground.

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Salmon battling up stream!

Working through the water!
Working through the water!

Water moving, swirling below and serene above!

Serene above and swirling below!
Serene above and swirling below!

Happy Day -“Listen to the rhythm of the Falling Rain”!  As we are warm inside!



Fall Knitting

Blue Monday Lace.
Blue Monday Lace.
First swatch - not the right yarn - but the idea will work!
First swatch for the Retreat – not the right yarn – but the idea will work!

Well really, Fall knitting is no different from knitting at any other time of year!  It just seems different because it is “Fall”.  It means we can wear our new knits immediately – no waiting for the season to change – the time is now!

For me Fall is all about knitting and designing – many projects, both knit and design start at this time of year – usually more projects than I finish.

And in no particular order!

Whales Tale - Sweater Back is complete!
Whales Tale – Sweater Back is complete!

First off – I have finally finished Blue Monday Lace.  This shawl is for me and is knit from yarn from the Great White Bale – the third lot – the Kraemer Experiment!  I love it!  The yarn feels like silk velvet and the Delica beads are the perfect accent.  I know only have one batch of Bale yarn left, enough for a short sleeve sweater! – but there are rumours of a new Bale project – I want to participate!

The Retreat – the design has been decided – the yarn as well.  Those of you waiting for the e-mail it won’t be long now!

Salish Sea Collection – Cowichan Inspired Sweaters – I have finished 2 backs now and will have the third done by Tuesday this week!  Then I will need to finish all three sweaters – small, medium and large!

Poster Bison Cap - this sample has been knit with Buffalo Skies - but the sample in the store has been knit with Rimu - both are fabulous!
Poster Bison Cap – this sample has been knit with Buffalo Skies – but the sample in the store has been knit with Rimu – both are fabulous!

I am very happy with the results – I think that you will be too!  Back number 2 is “Whales Tale”.  And that sweater when it is done will be for me!

Poster Bison Cap – the pattern is done and is sized for baby to adult!  The response to this pattern when friends and customers saw the baby set  really surprized and please me – I am already working on a couple of other ideas along the same line!

Scrap Vest for Logan – is more than half done – It will go into the Christmas Box!  What fun just letting the colours flow from one to the other without worrying about matching – luckily Beth doesn’t

Logan's Scrap Vest.
Logan’s Scrap Vest.

worry about colours for boys or girls – just colours are all about fun!

I am working on a couple of ideas for the Buffalo Wool Co. right now – a dressy little sweater with a lace yoke – knit with Sexy and Sexy With a Silver Lining.  This will be a fitted number with no or negative ease and knit from the top down.

I am really loving the way this is coming out – the contrast between the glittery lace yoke, knit with Sexy with a Silver Lining and the solid stockinet body in Sexy – the possibilities are intriguing!

Top Down Sexy
Top Down Sexy
Not enough yet!
Year of Making Squares – my squares to date. Not enough for my blanket yet!

The Year of Making only has a couple of months left in it – we have over 24 squares published and still more on the way!  Have you checked them out yet?

I have a couple of other projects on the way for the Buffalo Wool Co – I will keep you informed!

Koigu 7 has just been releases this last week.  Have you seen it yet?  We have it at Mad About Ewe.  I have a couple of designs in it!

Emily and I went to Knit City this year – to hear Clara Parkes speak on the Friday Night – she was talking about the Great White Bale.  Clara is a wonderful speaker, very engaging.  I felt like I was listening to a friend speak.  I had a wonderful time and got one of my books signed.

Undyed Silks from SanJoSilk
Undyed Silks from SanJoSilk

Saturday morning we went to the market!  I scored some yarn at the market – some truly incredible silks, from SanJoSilk.  All undyed – some for painting and a deep, dark laceweight that is strictly for knitting!  I was avery happy woman!

And then we went to Granville Market – to Maiwa!  A supply store of intriguing bits and bobs, information on knitting, dyeing and other needle works.  What an experience!

Amzing Silk/Linen Blend.
Amazing Silk/Linen Blend.


What a Day!

What a start to the Fall!  There are still two months to come!

I think that I am tired just looking at my plans for the Fall!  Are you like me – to many projects, not enough time – but loving every minute of the chaos?!

Happy Knitting


Below are some Details from Blue Monday Lace Shawl.