Knitting without a pattern

I have to say, I’m rather proud of my latest project, not only with how fast I was able to get it finished – a cowl in less than a week – but also with the fact that I set out a challenge for myself and was successful.

There was a bandana cowl I favourited on Ravelry, a paid pattern, and I thought the general structure of this cowl could work well for my Leo and Roxy March Yarn Club.

Wait, let me back up. Have I showed how pretty this yarn is?

Leo and Roxy is a Canadian yarn company, and in December 2020, they announced the themes for their quarterly yarn club. March was Doctor Who themed, so of course I had to order myself a kit. Merry Christmas to me, amirite?

The main colour and its blues are very reminiscent of the TARDIS, although it has greens and greys as well. Those greens and greys, when paired with the purple and red mini skeins, are four of the colours in the Fourth Doctor’s scarf. Basically, I got the yarn and was in love.

So, back to the story of the cowl. I loved the way the cowl I favourited used a main colour and minis in different sections throughout. I set out to use this design as inspiration and simply make my own cowl in a similar manner. I had my pretty main colour, the two minis from the kit, and I had another mini from Leo and Roxy in a mustardy yellow/gold colour in my stash (and wouldn’t you know, that is ANOTHER colour in the Doctor’s scarf). I was ready to start forging my own path.

I’ve made countless bandana cowls. I don’t really need a pattern for these any more. They start just like triangular shawls, although, you get to a point where you want to stop knitting flat and start knitting in the round. Easy peasy.

I got to the sections for the contrast colours; the first section was simple to reverse engineer, and the second took some brain power, but again, a very simple stitch structure to replicate. I then got to a lace section and was CONVINCED this was the point where I would simply make it my own. A bit of time looking at lace patterns and plugging it into Stitch Fiddle later, and that section was reverse engineered as well. Now it was a challenge. There was one particularly tricky section of the cowl, but I have a stitch dictionary boasting a very similar pattern, so the differences are negligible. I was able to essentially recreate this beautiful pattern without a pattern. Me five years ago couldn’t do that. Heck, I wonder if pre-pandemic Me could have (because I’ve spent a LOT of time over these last however months knitting, honing my skills, if you will).

I do have some guilt, that I’ve made this designer’s lovely pattern without actually purchasing it. I have no intentions of recreating this cowl for anyone other than myself. I also read other knitters comparing patterns to recipes. If you want to make Chocolate Chip Cookies, would you need to pay money for a recipe if you have the ingredients and know how to make your own without it? I’ve bought patterns from this designer in the past and likely will again in the future. I will support them.

But this time, I didn’t need the recipe.

Knitspiration has returned

Over the last week, I’be been keeping busy by alternating between knitting, cross stitch, and reading when the weather is nice enough to enjoy my back yard. 

One of the projects I’ve been working on is a Mount Pleasant crop top. I LOVE this pattern and the simple lace detail it features along the bottom, but I’ve chosen to make it with two skeins of hand dyed yarn. The yarn is a local dyer called Lake Knit Yarns. Because my yarn is hand dyed, it means alternating the skeins, and knitting this project has become a bit of a slog. Nevertheless, I’ve already separated the front from the back, and it’s now a lot of stockinette until it’s finished.

I’ve also started a pair of socks for my sister – I’m glad she liked this yarn, another skein from Lake Knit, the colour way aptly named After the Storm. 

While this pandemic is helping me with my 2020 goal to knit down my stash, I took advantage of a promotion one of my LYSs is offering called ‘Quarenskein.’ You pick a price ($45, $65, or $95), and the shop picks out a package of yarn and notions for you. It was a lot of fun picking it up and being very happily surprised with two skies of Sweetgeorgia, two stitch markers, and a project bag from the shop. I THINK they yarn will be destined for a Waiting for Rain shawl, but I very well might change my mind by the time I’m ready to cast on.

As for cross stitch, my Fourth Doctor Scarf is coming along nicely, as is a small project I’ve started for my mum – more attention has been devoted to that pattern so to have it finished in tie for Mother’s Day. If I meet my goal, I’ll share a picture next week.

Stay well!

When your escape starts to feel like a chore

It happened last week. I was knitting, and it felt more like a chore than an escape. With little else to do other than read, watch tv, clean and knit, the knitting felt more methodical than enjoyable. It was a strange thing, when ‘your thing’ feels cumbersome.

So what did I do? I dug through my basement and found my cross stitch.  I first started cross stitching in high school and have picked up this craft every now and again. There are some things I’ve made that I’m quite pleased about, like the Supernatural piece I made for my sister, or the in depth dog piece I made for my mum, but cross stitching involves more attention than the muscle memory actions of knitting, and knitting feels faster in many regards, so impatience  usually wins out and knitting is my go to.


I bought two Doctor Who related patterns from etsy: one will be a silly gift for my mum, and one is inspired by the Fourth Doctor’s scarf. I started that patern this weekend and LOVE how it’s progressing so far! It seemed like a good gateway between knitting and cross stitch!  More importantly, it’s giving me another creative outlet, other than knitting (which I do not want to get bored of) or cooking (because, really, I did NOT need to make four dozen chocolate chip cookie which I will inevitably eat all by myself…)


Stay well!

The easy way, then there’s what I did

I finished my 13th Doctor Socks yesterday, and I am very happy with them!  These were the socks I started in late August with yarn I over dyed. First, here are the socks after blocking.

Yesterday was a bit of a journey to get them finished because I couldn’t have made them the easy way.  I wanted the toes and heels to be the light blue colour and didn’t dye extra white yarn at the time of dyeing, so I had to keep cutting between the stripes to get just the light blue. Yay extra ends to weave in.

I was basing my socks off the ones that are available from the BBC Shop:


As you can see, the cuff is all dark blue. I finished the afterthought heel and obviously wanted a challenge. I’ve never reknit a cuff before but besides the finicky part of picking out the first cuff, it wasn’t a bad process and I’m really happy with the final result.

Happy thanksgiving!

Travels Through Space, Time, and Along the I90

How far have you travelled to see a concert? A few weeks back, my best friend and I, who love seeing live shows, travelled from the east end of the GTA to Cleveland, Ohio to see the ’90s band Crash Test Dummies. It may not be the ’90s anymore, but CTD are still playing and put on a great show! When the show was announced, it was being opened by another Canadian band, an alt-indy group from the East Coast called Port Cities, but due to some shifts in the band, they had to cancel (another East Coast musician opened and was amazing). Despite half of our reason for the travels not being there, we still had our four days in Cleveland and had a blast.

BFF did the driving, and as I sat in the passenger seat, helping the Maps app with navigating, I kept my hands busy with knitting.  My 4th Doctor Sock Yarn had been sitting in my stash since this year’s frolic, and I wanted something simple to work on while road tripping.

After over 10 hours in the car and extra time at home afterwards, my lovely cowl was finished just last week.

Can you tell I really love these bandanna cowls?

The pattern I used was kind of ‘by the seat of my pants.’  One of my favourite ‘back to basics’ knitting books is Knitting Rules by the Yarn Harlot, because she has a number of ‘recipes’ contained within, the basic steps needed to create a thing.  I followed her Triangular Shawl Recipe #2: Increasing Triangular Shawl until the cowl was 20″ across the top, joined in the round, and continued the increase at the centre spine but ceased the side/now back increases. It was a wonderful plain stockinette project until the bottom rounds, where I switched to the contrasting skein (intended as heel/toe contrasts) and used the brown to work 10 rows of garter.

Before we left Cleveland, BFF and I did some shopping, and naturally, I asked to stop at a yarn shop.  We ended up at Around the Table Yarns, a fairly new shop in Shaker Heights.  My budget was basically blown by this point, so I was good and only bought a skein of worsted for my travel afghan, but I couldn’t resist this branded stitch marker.