Dogwood and Willow

Dogwood and Willow

May is a season of leaves swelling, and a rushing green haze grows over the woods along the riverside. In the early rush of green two native species dominate the valley of the Speed River; the Black Willow, and the Grey Dogwood. The familiar drooping branch tips of the willow trail in the waters of the river, while in the underbrush of the woods, the dogwood bushes are sending up new leaves of brilliant burgundy that fade to green as they mature.

This shawl is a heart shaped triangle with a wide center panel of drooping willow leaves, framed by cabled twigs and the leaves of dogwood bushes. The bottom border of the shawl ripples like the river as it travels through the valley. This is an advanced skills pattern; each row travels across three charts, and there is lace shaping on both right side and wrong side rows in the dogwood leaf motif. Cables too are worked on both the right side and the wrong side of the fabric. The pattern requires patience, for a stunning result.

This pattern is part of an ongoing collaboration with A Hundred Ravens, and the colour was chosen deliberately. Y’see, not all new leaves are green. The leaves of the walnuts native to the region where Becca of A Hundred Ravens lives, and the leaves of the dogwood bushes where I live, begin life a beautiful burgundy colour. We chose that colour, titled by Becca “New Growth,” for the beautiful colour of the shawl shown above. The yarn is Tyche, by the way, a lovely soft single spun fingering weight base in the A Hundred Ravens line up.

The pattern is now available through my Ravelry or Payhip shops. Happy knitting!

Grey’s Dogwood new growth

Returning from the depths…

Briggs and Little Heritage yarn


I guess I don’t have to tell you it’s been a super stressful spring. I feel like we’re all hitting a wall this year, and I hit mine last month. This week has been a series of “come to Jesus” meetings between myself and my schedule, and I finally feel like I have a workable plan going forward, rather than a highly aspriational plan. Aspirational plans are fine, but not if they add so much stress that one can not move.

So the major plan is to publish on a predictable month to month schedule (every 2nd Thursday of the month) and to take more time off for personal projects (a week off every time the month holds a 5th Thursday). This will hopefully create the kind of stable schedule that my Autistic brain craves, and prevent future burn out periods like the one I struggled through last month. It’ll take a few months to transition into this new schedule, but I should be there by the end of the year.

So, what this means for this month is that the release of Dogwood and Willow will happen next Thursday, the 13th of May. I’m really excited by the projects my testers have been showing me, and hope this pattern excites you, too! This will be the 3rd pattern of the Riverside Park ebook, and with its release the price of the ebook will go up, so grab a copy now at the intro price and you’ll get Dogwood and Willow (and the three future patterns) as soon as it is released.

This year’s MKAL pre-release will happen on the 10th of June. Titled The Lonely Heart is a Hunter, the mystery explores the stories of animal wives in Celtic and Japanese legends, and in modern retellings. The pattern name is also the title of an episode of Disenchanted, wherein King Zog takes an animal bride. The pattern itself will be a lace-weight arc-shaped capelet with several related motifs. As is usual, there will be seven “clues” using @100 yards of yarn each, for a total yardage of approximately 700 yards. This particular pattern can be adjusted for length if you’re running short or have extra yarn. The first clue will be released on the 2nd of July. Testing is already under way!

The next pattern release is scheduled for the 5th Thursday of July (July 29th); the big pi shawl of the Riverbanks collection entitled Carrousel Ride. Unfortunately there was a misunderstanding between myself and my dyer, so the sample got started late and the release date is therefor pushed back pretty much as far as it could go and still be released in July as promised. Ah well. The test for this project will begin next week; it is a pi shawl using a lot of mesh lace, some lace cables, some filet picture lace (that was a mind bender to chart), and the variation on Old Shale that has been the finishing motif of all the patterns in the collection so far. Carrousel Ride will use between 1200 and 1600 yards of yarn; the final motif lends itself well to increasing the size of the shawl.

My next cast ons don’t occur until June, when I’ll be casting on for both of the final Riverside patterns at once (Of Ducks and Geese, and Autumn on the River). That’s good; it gives me this month to catch up on the samples for the MKAL and Carrousel. I am woefully behind in my knitting on both of those. Best go get those needles moving!

It feels good to be back on track…

Elk Island Cowl

Elk Island Cowl

Elk Island National Park is situated in the Beaverhills area of Alberta, which with its aspen thickets and easy access to water, has provided shelter for wintering herds of elk, bison and moose since times immemorial. Though there was never any permanent First Nations settlement in the area, there are over 200 archaeological remains of campsites and stone tool-making sites. The land has been influenced by the Blackfoot, Sarcee and Cree Indigenous nations. The park is representative of the northern prairies plateau ecosystem and as such, the knob and kettle landscape is mixed with native fescue grassland that plays host to both the largest and the smallest terrestrial mammals in North America; the wood bison and pygmy shrew.

The Elk Island Cowl is an easy to wear mid-weight accessory that uses a single skein of dk weight yarn. It is suitable for wearing for cross country rambling in early spring or late autumn when a guard against chill winds is appreciated but a heavy scarf would be overly warm. The subtle textured pattern is achieved by simple knit and purl stitches, and is vaguely reminiscent of seersucker fabric, or of a field of fescue grass gone to seed. With a couple of clever folds, the larger size may be styled as a shawl collared dickie.

The pattern is both fully written and fully charted, and available on Ravelry and Payhip. You do not need to be a member of either Ravelry or Payhip to make purchases from these sites; you will need a PayPal account to make purchases from Ravlery.

Elk Island National Park, Alberta, Canada

Floodwater Rising

Floodwater Rising

March is a season of flooding. Between the melting accumulated snow pack of winter, and the blustery spring rain on still-frozen ground, the water levels of creeks and streams and rivers rise. Above the Riverside Park waterfall, the trail through the woods is cut off and ducks paddle where people walked just days before. Below the waterfall, turbulent water foams and froths over the weirs that protect houses downstream from the annual floods.

Floodwater Rising is a crescent shaped shawl worked in two colours of heavy weight yarn. Inspired by the water falling over dams and weirs, the shawl features ribbons of cabled bubbles racing down the width of the shawl to break and foam into a border of rippling lace.

This is the second project in a year long collaboration between myself and A Hundred Ravens Yarn, where Becca and I explored colours that are unexpected, and shapes that incorporate lace with cables in interesting intersections. From heavy worsted weight capelets to delicate lace weight wraps, this year long exploration of the beautiful park near my home will be captured in an eBook entitled Riverside Park.

The pattern is written to use @645 yards of A Hundred Ravens Vanir, a springy true DK weight yarn. Two colours are used; @435 yards of Freshet, the dramatic teal on teal variegated colourway chosen to represent the flooding Speed River, and @210 yards of Polar Bare, the foamy accent colour. Any DK or light worsted yarn may be substituted, but I recommend giving Vanir a try; it’s a lovey yarn to work with, soft but with excellent stitch definition.

Floodwater Rising is available for purchase on Ravelry and on Payhip. Additionally, the eBook Riverside Park is available exclusively on Ravelry as a subscription; purchase the book now at an introductory price, and receive the following 4 patterns as they are released at no additional charge.

Happy Knitting!

Speed River flooding below the main dam as the river flows through Riverside Park

Marching Into Spring

So here we are in March already. So many “one year ago I was doing X” posts on my SM sites. It’s weird thinking about it; I look back and think of it as being a very carefree time, but that wasn’t really so, was it? I also remember being so worried about my DiL flying back to Montana at the start of February, and my man watching the news and telling me to stock up on staples.

We’re still working through the whole grain bread flour I bought in panic because I couldn’t find regular bread flour…

…but what’s happening this March!? Floodwater Rising will be released on the 11th, the second of the Riverside Park ebook shawls. The test is coming along nicely, and I have only a few finishing touches left for the pattern itself, and then the ad graphics to create. It’s hard juggling all the hats required for an indie release sometimes…

There will be two test calls this month. The first is for a light weight loose cowl in a simple textured pattern of knits and purls that creates a seersucker effect. The Elk Island Cowl is part of the Parks Canada collection, representing Alberta’s Elk Island National Park. This cowl will have a pair of companion legwarmers later in the year, but I think it would work well as a stand alone piece. The pattern calls for @250 yards of dk weight yarn; the yarn I used for the sample is a tonal variegated BFL, 252y/115g. The test will begin on the 10th and run until the 6th of April.

Elk Island Cowl - Rule of Thumb

The second test call is for the third Riverside Park shawl. Dogwood and Willow is a fingering weight shawl of @700-800y (final yardage pending). It’s a more complicated knit, with wrong-side lace rows and a central panel motif with a different row count than the wing motifs. Somewhat less complicated than Born Of Spirit, but similar in construction and shape. I am using a single spun merino in a solid colour for this sample; a gradient would be pretty, too, but busy yarn is not the best choice for the pattern. The test for this shawl begins on the 17th, and will run until the 4th of May. Sample still in progress…

Dogwood and Willow - New Growth

Meanwhile on the needles, I’m plugging away at the blanket due for release in August, the big circle shawl that is the third shawl of the ebook and due for testing in early May, and the MKAL shawl that is due for testing on the 14th of April. Hard to believe it’s time to think about this summer’s MKAL again already! This year’s theme is shape shifter wives, like the Swan Wife, or selkies, or fox wives in Japan. The pattern name is The Lonely Heart is a Hunter, a name taken from an episode of Disenchanted, when the king falls in love with a bear woman.

…and that’s all the news for the moment. I’m behind on too many deadlines, so had better get those needles clicking!