Happy Birthday To Me

Oh hullo, it’s been a minute, hasn’t it? I always forget just how badly I struggle with mental health this time of year. Wasn’t this post supposed to have happened 7 days ago?


Tomorrow is my BIRTHDAY! I will be a ridiculous 55 years old! Plans for celebrating include parking in the “reserved for seniors 55 and older” parking spot at my pharmacy, and getting a discount at Michaels. Personally I think 55 is a bit young for special seniors discounts, but if the company is going to offer them then hell yeah I’ll use it!

On Ravelry, there will be a 4-day 55% off sale on all my individual patterns (ebooks are not included). The sale will run from February 12th (my actual birthday) until the end of Monday, February 15th, with the code 55YearsOfFabulous. Start making your shopping lists!

If you’re unable to use Ravelry for purchases, drop me a message and we’ll work something out.

The Hill We Climb

by Amanda Gorman

Amanda Gorman recites her poem “The Hill We Climb at the Inauguration of President Biden

When day comes we ask ourselves,
where can we find light in this never-ending shade?
The loss we carry,
a sea we must wade
We’ve braved the belly of the beast
We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace
And the norms and notions
of what just is
Isn’t always just-ice
And yet the dawn is ours
before we knew it
Somehow we do it
Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed
a nation that isn’t broken
but simply unfinished
We the successors of a country and a time
Where a skinny Black girl
descended from slaves and raised by a single mother
can dream of becoming president
only to find herself reciting for one
And yes we are far from polished
far from pristine
but that doesn’t mean we are
striving to form a union that is perfect
We are striving to forge a union with purpose
To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and
conditions of man
And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us
but what stands before us
We close the divide because we know, to put our future first,
we must first put our differences aside
We lay down our arms
so we can reach out our arms
to one another
We seek harm to none and harmony for all
Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true:
That even as we grieved, we grew
That even as we hurt, we hoped
That even as we tired, we tried
That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious
Not because we will never again know defeat
but because we will never again sow division
Scripture tells us to envision
that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree
And no one shall make them afraid
If we’re to live up to our own time
Then victory won’t lie in the blade
But in all the bridges we’ve made
That is the promised glade
The hill we climb
If only we dare
It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit,
it’s the past we step into
and how we repair it
We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation
rather than share it
Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy
And this effort very nearly succeeded
But while democracy can be periodically delayed
it can never be permanently defeated
In this truth
in this faith we trust
For while we have our eyes on the future
history has its eyes on us
This is the era of just redemption
We feared at its inception
We did not feel prepared to be the heirs
of such a terrifying hour
but within it we found the power
to author a new chapter
To offer hope and laughter to ourselves
So while once we asked,
how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?
Now we assert
How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?
We will not march back to what was
but move to what shall be
A country that is bruised but whole,
benevolent but bold,
fierce and free
We will not be turned around
or interrupted by intimidation
because we know our inaction and inertia
will be the inheritance of the next generation
Our blunders become their burdens
But one thing is certain:
If we merge mercy with might,
and might with right,
then love becomes our legacy
and change our children’s birthright
So let us leave behind a country
better than the one we were left with
Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest,
we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one
We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west,
we will rise from the windswept northeast
where our forefathers first realized revolution
We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states,
we will rise from the sunbaked south
We will rebuild, reconcile and recover
and every known nook of our nation and
every corner called our country,
our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,
battered and beautiful
When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid
The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it

Under Ice

Under Ice

A flowing river never fully freezes. There might be ice from bank to bank in very cold weather, but the thickness of the ice is uncertain, eroded from below by turbulent waters. Every day the patter of ice and open water changes, and the edges are broken as the water levels below rise and fall.

This stole shaped shawl mimics the changeable nature of river ice and the water flowing beneath. With five variations to choose from, the pattern itself is changeable according to the desire of the knitter. Whether a solid design or broken into floating sections, though, there are some things that remain unchanged, like the undulating shape of the river banks and the endless fall of water over a precipice.

This is the beginning of 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.

Under Ice is the name of both a customizable stole pattern and of the muted taupe and teal colourway chosen to represent the frozen Speed River. This soft hazy colour is an unexpected departure from the crisp whites and blues usually associated with January, but perfectly captures the murky overcast that is our normal weather here, and the blue-green quality of the ice itself.

The pattern is written to use @870 yards of A Hundred Ravens Aesir, a light DK weight yarn that works well at sport weight gauges. Any heavy sport or light DK yarn may be substituted, but I recommend giving Aesir a try; it’s a lovey yarn to work with.

Under Ice 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 5 patterns as they are released at no additional charge.

Happy Knitting!

The Speed River under ice, looking south toward Riverside Park bridge.

January Plans

work in progress

Happy New Year, everyone!

What an …interesting… end of year; the health issues I endured through December didn’t seem to be that great in the moment, but looking back I see that the constant dizziness affected my ability to focus more severely than I had realized. I am immensely grateful to the skilled hands of my physiotherapist who knocked all the errant ear “crystals” back into alignment. Who knew you had to be able to stand straight in order to be able to think straight.

So I’m back. I have some exciting plans for 2021, the first of which will start in motion next week when I release Under Ice, the first of a six shawl subscription ebook inspired by the Speed River as it flows through Riverside Park in Guelph ON. These six shawls will feature a combination of cables and lace in various yarn weights, yardages, and shapes, with two of them being two-colour shawls as well. This ebook is supported by A Hundred Ravens Yarn, and all suggested yarns on the pattern pages will come from that company.

The first, Under Ice, will be released on the 14th of January. This 830y sport weight/light DK weight stole represents the changing shape of ice as it forms over moving water, and has five different options for combining the three body charts. The matching ends of the shawl represent the ever present waterfall under the walking bridge in the middle of the park. This pattern uses A Hundred Ravens Aesir which is listed as a DK weight in the database, but in my experience works well at a sport weight gauge. The pattern calls for 830y which is just over three skeins of Aesir.

The second major plan for 2021 is organizing some of my earliest patterns into an ebook entitled In My Father’s Garden. 2021 is my 10th anniversary year as a designer, and the first year that one of my patterns will be retiring from individual purchase availability. Rosa Acicularis will no longer be available for individual sale after December 31st of this year, but will be included in the ebook along with five other shawl patterns inspired by the gardens my father kept through my childhood.

The other five shawls that will be included in the upcoming ebook are Viola SororiaTiliacaeaAnemone CanadensisRanunculus Shawlette, and the newcomer Monarda Didyma. Tilia, Anemone, and Ranunculus will all be getting a re-write this year so that the patterns in the ebook are updated to my current style sheet.

So that’s the big news for this year. For those looking for upcoming test information, there will be a test starting in the last week of January for the second Riverside Park shawl; Floodwater Rising is a 600y two colour DK/light worsted weight shawl using 400y of a main colour and 200y of a contrasting colour. This is a crescent shaped shawl with a pinhole cast on and repeating lace cables between wide garter ribs, falling into a frothy lace border, and represents the waterfall as it is at full flood levels. The sample is being knitted in A Hundred Ravens Vanir.

2021 will be a year of many shawls…

(All links in this post will take you to Ravelry pattern or yarn information pages.)

And now for something completely different…

Dogwalker’s Companion Coat

This is the pattern I never thought I would write.

Y’see, I don’t hold with clothing for animals. …and certainly not for my animal, with her thick double coat and absolute love of splaying out in a snow bank panting. Amber does not need a coat.

But whimsy struck me, and I thought, why not. Just because MY dog won’t ever wear a garment doesn’t mean other people’s dogs shouldn’t. And if folks want to knit their pup a sweater that matches the rest of the Dogwalker’s patterns, why don’t I try to make that pattern?

So here it is. It’s completely different from anything I’ve ever written, being a recipe rather than a line by line pattern. You’ll need to know your gauge in your yarn on your needles, and you’ll need to measure your dog in five places, and you’ll need to do some maths. But after that, it’s pretty simple knitting and counting.

Where to measure your dog for a custom fit.

I had great fun building this pattern, and the photo shoot was hilarious. Amber will probably never wear the sweater again, but who knows. Maybe some day when the temperatures drop down to -30C she’ll tolerate it.

…and that’s a wrap on the year, folks. I’ll be on vacation now until the 4th of January, when I’ll be back with plans for a great new ebook of shawls to be released through 2021, and some other announcements as well. Happy holidays to one and all, and may the closure of the year bring you some measure of hope and peace.

With love, Raven.