Riding Mountain Cabin Blanket

Riding Mountain Cabin Blanket

Looking to explore Canada’s wilderness, but you don’t have time to hop from province to province? The nature found in Riding Mountain National Park represents three distinct ecosystems (grasslands, mixed wood forest, and eastern deciduous forest) all protected within the Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve. Spend your morning among the trees, then head out onto the plains for an afternoon of sun.

And what better way to end a winter’s day of ice fishing on Clear Lake than to curl up in front of a fire with a cozy blanket? Or in summer, whether spread out on the beach for a picnic or wrapped around little ones on the drive home after a day at the beach, the Riding Mountain Cabin Blanket is the cozy utility blanket for all your adventure needs.

Worked corner to corner, this @5’ square blanket incorporates garter stitch, slipped stitches, and intarsia techniques.  The pattern uses aran weight yarn in four colours: @600y each in colours A and B, @1200y of colour C, and @800y of colour D. The sample shown was knitted using Briggs & Little Heritage yarn, which is a lovely Canadian sourced, spun, and dyed, slightly rustic wool yarn.

The pattern is fully written, and includes a colour placement schematic. Available now on Ravelry and Payhip!

Clear Lake, Riding Mountain National Park, Manitoba, Canada

A new start?

Does anyone else find that September often feels more like the start of a new year than January? I think it must be the many years I spent in school training my brain to be ready for New Adventures in September every year. After a particularly difficult summer, I’m really looking forward to the Start Fresh feelings of September!

One of the Start Fresh things I have planned for this month is a rebranding of my marketing graphics. This isn’t a total change, but a refresh with a new raven head logo, font, and text colours. This change brought about courtesy of a new desktop monitor with much higher resolution that makes my current marketing templates look embarrassingly pixelated. Oh dear, was that really what everyone else could see??? Yikes!

Another Start Fresh plan is to reboot my blog (again?), and work on keeping to an actual posting schedule (weekly on Thursdays). I’m not sure how many times one is allowed to reboot a blog before one starts losing followers, so hopefully this time the schedule sticks…

Coming up on Thursday next week, the release of the Riding Mountain Cabin Blanket! I’m throwing the sample into the blocking bath today, but you can get a sneak peek at what the blanket will look like here, and here. This has been a long long process with much frogging, and the patience and sheer endurance of my test team is greatly appreciated. I am humbled by their dedication. I’m so excited to send this blanket out into the world!

Also coming next week, not one but two testing calls. The first is for a pair of boot cuffs/leg warmers to match the Elk Island Cowl released last spring. I have a passion for leg warmers, they’re just the ticket for keeping snow out of my boots when I’m walking through drifts with my cross country dog, so I do insist on designing new ones regularly. These will use dk weight yarn, approximately 250 yards for the pair. The deadline for the test is the 12th of October, with the release date of the Elk Island Boot Cuffs set for the 14th of October. As with all tests of paired things, one boot cuff/leg warmer finished by the deadline is sufficient.

The second test is for a lace weight stole of @900 yards, worked long edge to longer edge in a flat-bottomed shallow V shape. Yet another attempt in my long obsession with knitting a pair of wings. The pattern uses two simple lace motifs, plus a cabled lace motif in the wedge panels that create the shape of the stole. It is not difficult knitting, but it does require the ability to juggle multiple charts across one row. Written row-by-row instructions with stitch counts are included. The deadline of this test is the 9th of November, with the release date of Of Ducks And Geese set for the 11th of November. This will be the fifth pattern in my Riverside Park collection.

The sixth and final pattern of the collection will go into testing in the last week of this month; Autumn on the River will be a Faroese shaped shawl/capelet of worsted weight yarn, @1000 yards in two colours (@600 yards and @400 yards respectively), to be released in December. More details in a few weeks P)

One more thing; for anyone within driving distance of Port Perry Ontario, I have been invited to share my work in person at Never Enough Wool as part of their 15th anniversary celebrations on Sunday, September 26th. I am so excited! I will be bringing several samples, and demonstrating how to fold the Elk Island Cowl as well as offering shawl styling tips. All of my patterns will of course be available through Ravelry’s LYS purchase program (sorry, no print patterns available). This will be an indoor/outdoor event, weather permitting. I am so looking forward to meeting with knitters in person again! I hope I will see some of you there.

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

So…

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