April 30, 2014


I love working with Gabrielle Danskknit. She is my neverbeforeseen friend to the east and north in Montreal, Canada. She is a knitwear designer there who is about to enter medical school. She designs cute and simple patterns that are easy to follow and are friendly to read. That is, her very agreeable personality comes out in them, even in abbreviated fashion. How she does that, I don't know.

Currently, I am doing another test knit for her, and here is my swatch to intrigue you:

"RUST" is a cowl with her signature simple construction and fun feel. I will keep you updated as to its progession and release. If you are interested in her other patterns, you can find them here in her Ravelry store.

And even as spring threatens warmer weather, don't forget to get your cozy on once in a while.

After all, cozy is a state of mind, not a temperature.

April 29, 2014

Testy Knitting

Lacy&The Leaves Baby Blanket, Gabrielle Danskknit
One of the things I have tried out over the last several months was test knitting.  I joined the group "Free Pattern Testers" on Ravelry back in the late fall of last year and promptly spent too much time looking in from the outside, believing that I would probably not be of very much help to anyone writing new patterns.

Once I got over my irrational fear of failure, I grabbed a pattern from the long list in the group called "Lacy& the Leaves" baby blanket. I took a deep breath and dove in. After all, how hard could a baby blanket be? While the pattern was not hard to knit (and the instructions were just fine, even though it was a test knit), I did not do a good job managing my time on the project. We had planned a camping trip not long after I accepted the test knit and I wound up knitting madly most of the trip, to my family's chagrin, since I am the one who cooks all the camping meals.

After several family meals of granola bars and Capri Suns, I finally finished the blanket at Fort Stevens in Warrenton, Oregon and took some photos of it. My family, who had no pictures of their own from that trip, looked on during the test knit photo shoot, munching on the now barley palatable Nature Valley Oats n' Honey bars in silence and dreaming of a breakfast of scrambled eggs and bacon that may yet come even if only on the last day of the trip.

The camp ground had wi-fi, which I had mostly been using to apologize to the designer, whose test this was,
for my tardiness in finishing the test. I finally was able to finish up and post photos and fill out the paperwork for the project and head out with my family on my bicycle and into the camping activities sunset.

Since then, I have test knitted a few more projects, including some hats and socks, seen here in this blog post. (Links to my project pages and to the patterns are provided under each photo where available)

Test knitting is a really good learning experience for anyone wanting to know more about design, or even just about knitting. It can be eye opening and even affirming; like in school when you are asked to "grade" another person's paper and you realize just how much you know about commas after all.

I currently am about to test another pattern for a lovely cowl for Gabrielle Danskknit of Montreal, Canada. Look out for another new pattern soon and I will keep looking for fun ways to learn more about knitting!

John's Aviator Hat, Gabrielle Danskknit

Jules for Aviators and Explorers

Embrace the Socks, Gabrielle Danskknit

Alpine Flowers Fair Isle Hat

Tiptoe Slippers, Hanna Tjukanov

April 27, 2014

Third Annual Homesteading Fair in Lyle, Washington....yes it has been THAT long since I last posted....

Hello again!

I, like so many other bloggers, have been quite remiss in my posting frequency.  I will not say that I am making a New Year's resolution to remedy this ( I also get out of that since it's April and nearly, really, May, right?) but I do have a recently created "to do" list for the blog down on actual paper (does anybody use that stuff anymore? I love it....am I the last one?) in pencil (so as to account for changes) and have the best of intentions to provide you, the reader (and I realize there really may be only, literally one reader...I am okay with that) with hours and hours of upcoming semi-riveting reading and amusement.

And no, I have not--for a single moment--stopped knitting, sewing, cooking and otherwise crafting for one second. I do love it all so :)

Since I last visited you, I had completed my first for sale pattern, which I developed for a class I was asked to teach last fall in Lyle, Washington at the Homesteading Fair. Well, they have called upon me again for this upcoming September and I have been thinking about what to teach this time.

Last year, I taught an all day class on toe-up socks which was fun and informative for me as well as I hope it was for the participants.

This year, I am thinking of something a little less difficult skill-wise, but still at a sort of intermediate level. I am thinking right now of teaching how to knit a hat with simple stranded color work on bulky weight yarn. After all, most knitters have at least tried knitting a hat and, with Christmas not all that distant following the fair, it might be nice for people to have a quick pattern with a new twist (the colorwork) to make simple, fun and what will be well loved gifts.

I will keep you informed as this notion develops!

Anyone interested in the fair here in Washington State can follow their blog here, or their facebook page here. Anyone interested in finding out what homesteading is, can google it or start here. You will be surprised at what you find!