Today, I wore my new cardigan for the first time.  I finished sewing in the buttons just yesterday.  I have not even had a chance to photograph it yet.  And this happened:


I am so mad!

Maybe this cardigan is jinxed.

I have been using a backpack since I sprained my ankle, at first because of the cane, and then because it balanced the weight.  I was pulling the backpack up over my shoulders and the buckle caught on the back of the cardigan.  Argh!

This is remarkably similar to another recent sweater disaster, this time to my Acer cardigan:


In this case, I was rushing to an important meeting and trying to juggle a heavy briefcase and a shoulder bag.  The sweater got caught on the straps of my bag and I gave it a bit of a tug to free it, and rip!  Even worse, I didn’t notice it until after the meeting.

Doug says that the solution is for me to have a besotted young man who wants to carry my books for me.  I think this is unlikely.

I am feeling a bit down.  Perhaps a glass of wine and The Good Place will help?

Warm hands, warm heart

This time every year I write a post to showcase patterns for mittens, mitts, and gloves.  This weekend it has been cold and blustery and definitely feels like winter is in the air.  It’s a good time to be wearing (and knitting) warm, wooly mittens.  Here is my roundup of eight great patterns that will keep your hands warm and stylish.

Oak Hollow by Dianna Walla

Processed with VSCO with 6 preset

© Paper Tiger

Dianna released this pattern last week, and I love the way it makes you think of beautiful, crisp fall days, and trees burnished in gold.  It’s a really lovely pattern and I must admit that I have already been rummaging through my stash to try to find just the right shade of gold to knit up these beauties.

Prairie Star Gloves by Outi Cater


© The Knitter Magazine

I’ve yet to knit a pair of gloves, but this design is enough to tempt me.  The pattern is published in issue 143 of The Knitter magazine.   The Ravelry project page states that: “The stitch pattern echoes the designs of traditional 19th century American patchwork quilts.”  I love that she gets such a rich pattern with just four shades.

Jimi Hendrix by Lotta Lundin


© Lotta Lundin

I love these mittens.  The reverse side is cool too (with peace signs).  Doug saw Jimi live on September 7, 1968 at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver.  Somewhere there are photos of Doug and friends from that concert.   We saw Nigel Kennedy do a 40th anniversary tribute to Jimi at Ronny Scotts in September 2010 (Jimi played at Ronnie Scotts on the night he died).  I wish I’d had a chance to see Jimi live, but I can wear the mitts as a consolation prize.

Hafgufa Mittens by Heather Desserud


© Heather Desserud

This pattern is actually from 2018, but published in mid-December, after I did last year’s mitten round-up.  I think these are so cute, with the giant krakens lurking beneath the waves and the unsuspecting Viking ships sailing above.  I think Heather has made such a clever and whimsical design.  “Hafgufa” is apparently an Icelandic name for an ancient sea monster.

Skog Mitts by Claire Walls


© Claire Walls

Sometimes simple is best.  I really like the simple but elegant pattern and shape of these mitts.  This pattern is from Making Magazine Issue 8/ FOREST.  They would knit up really fast in DK yarn and be a great weekend project.  I can imagine a pair to match every coat.

Lakrits Mittens by Emilia Jensen


© Emilia Jensen

I have a thing for black and white geometrical designs (there are quite a few in these mitten posts).  I love this bold design and how it pops out at you.  I also love the bright colours at the cuffs.  There is a matching hat, too, with a fantastic crown so be sure to check it out.

Brackthaw Mittens by Faye Kennington


© Faye Kennington

I think these are completely lovely mittens.  They remind me so much of the Pacific Northwest, and long walks through the snow-covered forest.  The designer lives in a remote corner of Vancouver Island, and she has really captured that part of the world with this design.  Stay with me while I go turn on the fireplace and get some hot chocolate….

Chardon Mittens by Virginia Sattler-Reimer


© Virginia Sattler-Reimer

Virginia has been turning out some lovely mitten and hat patterns the past few years.  I love the colours in this – three shades of purple and three of green really make the pattern pop.  I think it would also look good in greys and yellows.  There is a matching hat as well, so you can keep your hands and your ears warm, and look great at the same time.

That’s all for this round-up, but if you want to go back and look at previous years’ mitten posts, you can find them here (not in order):

Here’s wishing you a happy weekend, good knitting, and warm hands.


Fifth time’s the charm?

I have finished my lovely Sparkling cardigan, except for weaving in the ends and sewing on the buttons.  I don’t have any modelled photos for you today, but I can tell you that it fits perfectly and is so comfortable.  I just love this one.


I had to re-do the front edging four (!) times, as follows:

1st attempt – picked up 307 stitches, US2 needle, buttonholes on row 5
2nd attempt – ripped back to row 2, buttonholes on row 3
3rd attempt – ripped back to row 1, changed to US3
4th attempt – ripped all the way back, picked up 371 stitches, US2

On the first attempt, I put the buttonholes on row 5 of the ribbing and this made the ribbed edge too wide; I wanted it narrow to match the ribbing at the sleeves.  Thus, the second attempt which merely ripped back to the beginning of Row 3 so that I could make the buttonholes on the correct row.  However, as I mentioned in a previous post, the edging was “bunched”, so I decided to rip back to the first row of edging and then change to a larger needle size (only because I was too lazy to pick up the stitches again).  This was a fail.  Thus, attempt 4, in which I ripped all the way back and re-picked up the stitches at a different rate, ending up with 64 more stitches on the needle, and then knitted the rib as intended with the smaller needle (US2).  So far, so good, one might think.

Imagine my surprise at discovering that I had knitted the buttonholes on the wrong side!  (I even knitted them on the wrong side FOUR TIMES)!  I spent a few days cogitating on this debacle and trying to convince myself that I didn’t care what side the buttons were on.

I finally decided to mention the problem to Doug, knowing that he would tell me how silly this was and that I should just sew on the buttons and wear the thing! But Doug said: “Oh no!  You put the buttonholes on the wrong side? How did you manage that?”  Epic fail.  If Doug thinks I should rip, when he is always in favor of not ripping, this is bad.

At just that point in the conversation, Emma calls, and I tell her that I have put the buttonholes on the wrong side.  And Emma says: “Do you mean to tell me that you care about some antiquated prescriptive clothing rules?  Do you mean to perpetuate non-essential gendering of clothing?”  Uh-oh.  EMMA, the queen of “rip it all out Mom” is telling me to let it be, while DOUG, “Mr. let it ride” is telling me to fix it.  Not only that, but I have strayed into political hot water.

We then have the following conversation:

Emma: “Historically, women’s shirts have the buttons on the wrong side, because it was assumed that women would not be dressing themselves.  And that doesn’t mean a man, but rather that a maid would be un-dressing her. It was a class thing.”

Kelly (doggedly sticking to her dilemma): “So, does that mean that you think I should re-do it?”

Doug: “No, that means that you should get a maid.”

Argh!  I’m left-handed anyway!  If things made sense, the buttons would alternate sides depending on handedness and not gender.

What do you think?  Fifth’s time the charm?


Sweater design: A cautionary tale

A humorous piece in the Guardian today is about an unfortunate sweater design being sold at the retailer FatFace.  As the tag line on the article says: “Shoppers have spotted an image that ‘cannot be unseen’ in the design of this FatFace sweater – much to their amusement”.

a cautionary tale

Photo: Publicity Image, from Guardian, “What a boob! Why this fair isle jumper is turning heads”, October 28, 2019

I looked at the sweater for a few minutes without seeing anything off; however, I can truthfully testify that once you see it, it cannot be unseen.

I asked Emma and Doug what I should name this post.  Emma, ever the smart alec and word pundit, came up with the following options within seconds:

  • Breast in show
  • Breast laid plans
  • Man’s breast friend
  • No breast for the wicked
  • Breast seller
  • Get it now before it’s laid to breast
  • Breast Buy

Doug, not to be outdone, provided the following (with help from Emma and Kelly):

There once was a girl from St. Jude
Whose sweater was terribly rude
With boobs by the row
It made quite the show;
Fair Isle's not meant to be lewd.

(Perhaps, as a family, we need to find a hobby?)

To all of you budding sweater designers, take this as a precautionary tale.  This could have been avoided with a change in colour scheme or pattern placement.  A test drive might be in order for your next design.

Gorgeous quilts by textile artist Bisa Butler

I was completely blown away when I saw Bisa Butler’s latest works in a photo article in the Guardian last weekend.  These quilts, with the subjects drawn from old black-and-white photos of African-Americans, are gorgeous – so completely full of life and colour.  The artistry is amazing and the fabrics are fantastic.

Here is the piece called Broom Jumpers:

Bisa Butler 1

photo copyright Bisa Butler; from Guardian article 19th October 2019

If you check out Ms. Butler’s Instagram account, you can see that these quilts are very large, and totally stunning.  I am taken with their vibrancy, with the skill of the artist, with the exuberant fabric, and with the subjects.

Here is one called Dear Mama:

Bisa Butler 4

photo copyright Bisa Butler; from Guardian article 19th October 2019

According to the article, Ms. Butler is currently exhibiting at the Claire Oliver Gallery in New York.  If I was anywhere near New York, wild horses couldn’t keep me away from this exhibit.

Cool Boots Redux

Last week, I flew to Johannesburg on business.  This meant two very long flights and a week by myself in the hotel.  This meant that I needed some travel knitting – something that is easy to carry, easy to knit, lightweight, and fairly mindless.

I had some very beautiful skeins of Blue Sky Metalico, three skeins each in the three shades Opal, Silver, and Gold Dust.


This is fantastic yarn, so incredibly soft and shimmery.  I bought it at Tribe Yarns in Richmond, London, on my first visit there over the summer.  It is a great shop, and one I plan to re-visit.  (I just received a newsletter from the owner, Milli, saying that they have moved into bigger premises – right next door.)

For a while, I have been thinking about knitting another Cool Boots Shawl:


I designed and knitted this shawl to celebrate my 300th post on this blog.  The original was knitted with Isager fingering weight yarn in very bright shades of red, coral, and fuschia.


I thought it would be fun to make one in neutrals.


This is a sportweight yarn, so the knitting is much faster.  I have almost finished the third of three, long, asymmetrical stripes.  Here is one end, as it stands now (the gold stripe is half-finished):


And here is the other end:


The shawl takes on a whole new look in the neutral tones, I think.  The Metalico is 50% Baby Alpaca and 50% Silk,  and is all natural – no dyes.  I love that it comes naturally in these soft, glimmery, metallic shades.


I’m still recovering from my sprained ankle, although I can see some progress.  A big thank you to everyone who is marching today in support of our wonderful, safe, strong, multicultural European Union!