Canadian Red Cross Toque

Apparently, Victorians didn’t really wear toques.

At my work, as an outreach event, we participate in a local maple syrup festival, dressed in our Victorian finest. We have warm dresses, bonnets, capes, sontags, and undersleeves a plenty for staying warm, but this is the first year where we’ll have a man representing the museum, and I wanted to make sure his ears were going to stay warm for the three hour shift.

I searched and searched and didn’t really find any Victorian toque patterns. There was one historical text from the turn of the 20th century which remarked on the weather in our area, and the author tried to insist that it was warm enough where we are not to need a toque. I’d love to have a word with him on days that it’s below freezing, but I digress.

So, rather than make our guide a Victorian toque, I made him one from World War II. The pattern was from the Canadian Red Cross Knitting Instructions for War Work, Number 1 For the Services, and this pamphlet was published in November, 1940. It is the Toque Useful for a Sleeping Cap (RAV LINK).

All in all, it’s a basic toque. That said, I really have to question the instructions. You cast on your stitches, work ribbing for 3.5 inches, purl a row, then rib another inch. Then, you turn the work inside out and knit plain for 3 inches before the crown decreases.

Why do you turn it inside out? No idea. It never says to turn it back right-side out. The row of purling creates a brim turn, a nice place for the brim to fold at, but, if it’s meant to be work with the knit stitches out, why purl the row then turn inside out? Why not knit that row, and then knit the main part of the head? Like said, I have questions.

I followed the pattern as written, turning inside out and all. I used Berroco Ultra Wool for the project, a nice, superwash, worsted weight yarn. I got the recommended gauge of 5sts/inch with this yarn while using the recommended ‘No 8 Knitting Needles,’ which I took to mean 4mm (or US6).

It was also a fast knit. I needed to move up the timeline for when the hat was ready, and I was able to dedicate about two evenings to getting it finished.

I’m not going to leave the pattern directly here as I’m sure the status of copyright for the pattern, but I will leave a link for the pamphlet which I accessed via Ravelry. You can find this instruction booklet here:

Icefall Update

I didn’t think this could happen, but I found myself enjoying colour work!

I’ve made really good progress on my Icefall sweater which, Ravelry reminds me, I started over a year ago. After working on it on and off throughout the year, I finally got to a point where the sleeves were joined on the body and the colour work on the yoke began. It was a simple 12 stitch pattern repeat, and I used a colour changing yarn as my contrast colour, so with absolutely no effort on my part, it looks like I’ve slightly changed colours throughout.

I did run into a few, let’s say, challenges while working on the sweater, namely my dog who thought the best time to crawl into my lap for some attention was while I was in the groove of colour work knitting.

Since taking these photos last week, I’ve finished the colourwork rounds and am starting the decreases for the yoke. If I have some dedicated time and, well, a dog free lap, I might have this finished in a week or so. Only 13 months for a sweater to get finished. That’s nothing at all.

And here’s when I blogged about this sweater for the first time, last July

The art of using two yarns at once

I am incredibly impressed with continental knitters. I’m right handed, so when I taught myself how to knit all those years ago, I never would have thought to try a technique using my non-dominant hand. I’m right handed. I should hold the yarn in my right hand. That’s how I knit. I never thought twice…

Sock Stories – The Weasley Homestead

Erica Lueder designs some simple, yet lovely, socks. You might know her most popular pattern, Hermoine’s Everyday Sock. Also by her, I’ve made Petunia Dursley’s Double Eyelet Socks, Dumbledore’s Christmas Stockings (RAV LINK), Socks for the Deputy Headmistress, Devil’s Snare Socks, and the Weasley Rib. Yeah, safe to say I like her patterns. They usually feature a simple repeating stitch to give the sock itself some texture and the knitter some interest while making it. With many of the pattern repeats often happening over a small amount of stitches, it makes the socks fairly adaptable as well.

I just finished The Weasley Homestead for a pair for my dad. It’s a 2×2 ribbing pattern along the leg and instep.

If I have to rib, 2×2 is my preferred way to go. In my mind, it feels less tedious than 1×1, but, getting towards the end of a 80 row sock, the ribbing was starting to lose its appeal altogether! That said, the sock yarn and its fading and colour changes kept me interested.

Feel the Bern Sweater

If you’re looking for a quick knit that will use up a decent amount of stashed worsted/Aran weight yarn, look no further than Feel the Bern (RAV LINK) by Caitlin Hunter. In a month of passive knitting, I went from playing with colour combinations to a finished, blocked and worn sweater.

I was drawn to this pattern because it used four different colours, and I had enough yardage in similar yarns to make it. This is part of my 2022 endeavour to try to knit more from my stash. All yarn is Cascade 220 Heathers, except for the light grey, which is Briggs & Little Heritage. All together, Ravelry is telling me I used 635 metres to make this sweater, and I made the Size 4 (44″ bust). That said, I don’t think I ended up with the ease that this size was supposed to have. That is very likely a knitter’s error and not a pattern error. I did the thing that a knitter is not supposed to do: I knit without doing a gauge swatch (Gasp! Shock! Horror!). I also know that my tensions varied GREATLY between the single colour knitting and the colourwork – I was MUCH tenser knitting the colourwork, and it shows. I’m sure more practice will eventually help me with this.

I also could have knit the body longer, if I wanted to, because I didn’t use nearly as much yarn as the pattern called for and I had enough yarn to do so, but I like the length of the crop. It looks good when worn with my high rise jeans or with a skirt/dress.

All in all, a lovely, FREE pattern and a great way to use up some left over yarn in your stash!

The little things that spark knitting joy

I have no explanation. Perhaps, things like this don’t need explanations. All I know is that I get an extreme amount of joy from a new ball of crunchy, cotton dishcloth yarn.

It makes no sense. It is the strangest thing to spark a little joy, and yet it does.

There’s also nothing quite like getting the stripes to match on a pair of socks, or when you’re able to join two balls of wool by felting two plies together (commonly known as the spit splicing method, but the spit idea grosses me out, so I just use hot water). When you’re able to get the centre pull of a ball of yarn started without the almost inevitable ‘yarn barf,’ you can’t help but feel like some kind of knitting magician, or the magic that MUST be involved when you are casting on using the long tail method, and you’ve chosen the length of your tail just right.

It’s the little things, really…