There’s a Squirrel on My Bed!

My husband and a red squirrel have an on-going battle for dominance in our back yard.  Invariably, the red squirrel chatters his displeasure when anyone enters his domaine.

There’s a pathway that runs from a nearby walnut tree. Said squirrel uses it as his/her main transport route to secret places in Brian’s wood cribs. We heat with a wood stove – my site is called Knits From The Woodlot for good reason. Wood cribs are essential to protect the gathered, cut, split, and stacked bounty of maple, ash, and apple to allow it to dry before burning.

Someone loves to chew holes in those wood cribs and find unique and secret ways to store walnuts for a long hard cold winter.

His arch enemy, the man, rails against this practice, destroys the caches, and limits the opportunities. Well, tries to limit the opportunities.

The score so far, several years in – red squirrel 1, man 0.

The husband needed a duvet cover and I found fantastic cotton material. While on this shopping venture with a friend, and after telling her about the on-going battle with said red squirrel, she spotted this wee cushion. Perfect. I bought it. We made a plan – I would make the duvet cover and place the squirrel just so for a surprise.

What you see at the top of this post is what he saw when he flipped on the light. Great trick. He laughed; he shouted, ‘There’s a squirrel on my bed!” I laughed. He shouted again, outraged, “There’s a squirrel on my bed!” We both laughed.

So much fun. The cushion wasn’t banished. It was last seen squished under the man’s head.

The score last night –  man 1, red squirrel cushion 0.

Gasp-Worthy Knit and Crochet

I just love fibre creations that make me gasp!

Machine Knit Constellations

On Stargazing: A Knitted Tapestry, you’ll see constellations from the entire sky, machine knit by Australian software engineer, Sarah Spencer. Simply miraculous. Her last project was a baby blanket.

Tapestry stats – 9′ (2.8m) tall/15′(4.6m) wide/33 pounds/100 hours/  Click the link to appreciate the scale of this project.

Sarah designed an algorithm that could translate pixels into stitches in one of three colours – blue, grey, and white. “It wasn’t a perfect science” she said. I’m sure she knows best, but it looks pretty perfect to me! The inherent fuzziness of yarns throws off the perfection.

Stargazing: A Knitted Tapestry consists of locally sourced Australian wool that matches the blue color of the outfits of the accomplished Australian women depicted in portraits… Sarah Spencer wanted her universe to be “dressed in a similar ultramarine blue to celebrate the achievements of all women in the fields of science.” Brava!

Crocheted Food

Also from Australia is crocheter and artist Trevor Smith. Smith crochets platters of food – lobster, cheese platter, ham, cakes, fruit, all just glorious. Trevor comes to this through a circuitous route familiar to all fibre artists. His mother taught him to crochet as a child. A degree in sculpture followed by quilting and patchwork lead to three dimensional crochet.

It’s not just food – check out this page to see a mixmaster, sewing machine, and a retro record player.

It’s too bad I can’t use the images, but follow the links and you may gasp, too.

Humans of Basic Income

This blog is definitely off the topic of knitting, although there is a picture of the yarn eating poodle’s manipulations with a previously tidy ball of alpaca. Doesn’t he show impeccable colour sense in coordinating with my play-around-art?

The topic is a Humans of Basic Income GoFundMe campaign that I started. Here’s some background for those of you in other countries and provinces.

A year or so ago our Ontario government launched a Basic Income pilot program with the goals of determining “whether a basic income can better support vulnerable workers, improve health and education outcomes for people on low incomes, and help ensure that everyone shares in Ontario’s economic growth.” 4000 participants were committed to this program and invested time and money into their lives, homes, and education based on the 3 year time frame.

We had an election. The party that won had promised they would retain the program but cancelled it as soon as they took office.

I was outraged. Many people were.

A young woman, Jessie Golem, a photographer who was a participant in the program and benefited from it, started Humans Of Basic Income. She thinks it’s important to tell the stories and ensure that the program is completed through to the evaluation stage. I agree with her. Her photos are compelling, succinct, and human.

I thought someone would start a GoFundMe page when news about Jessie’s work appeared. My husband said, “Why don’t you do it?” So I did.

Check out the  GoFundMe Humans of Basic Income page for all the info. Please contribute if you are able. And please forward to friends and acquaintances who you think may interested.

We will be grateful.

Another New Pattern – The Fascina Cowl

Hot on the heels of last week’s Marksbury Wrap is the pretty and feminine  Fascina Cowl.

To celebrate Labour Day or Labor Day, the Fascina Cowl is free, until midnight September 3rd.

It was inspired by the Fascine Braid slip stitch from Barbara Walker’s A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns. The stitch looked like ice crystals to me, but I discovered that the word fascine comes, via French, from the Latin fascina, and is commonly used to describe a bundle of sticks tied together. That makes sense, too.

Every pattern I’ve designed is reversible, until this one. The stitch pattern was just so compelling that I’ve allowed myself to veer off course.

Continue reading “Another New Pattern – The Fascina Cowl”

8 Reasons to Knit This Wrap For Fall

1. The  Marksbury Wrap is big – 18″ wide by 75″ long – Fall and Winter knitworthy.

2. It’s fast to knit in bulky weight yarn.

3. There’s no right or wrong side.

4. Reversible cables, different on each side, dominate the design.

5. The wrap is framed by 4 stitch i-cord: cast-on, bind-off, and selvedges.

6. You work from one big chart.

7. When the knitting is done, you are done. Just weave in the ends and block to enhance the cables.

8. I’m offering the Marksbury Wrap on Ravelry at 50% off until midnight Sunday, August 26th. There’s no coupon code. 50% is automatically deducted from the price when you click Buy It Now.

My Reversible Cable Class needed a pattern to demonstrate this dramatic, highly satisfying technique. The Marksbury Wrap is it.

Take a close look at the two different cables in the photo up top. They are not hard to do; just follow the chart. Trust me.

The gorgeous yarn is Shelridge Yarn’s Windmere in Maroon colour way. It was such a pleasure to work with.


Don’t Think About the Audience – Whether Writing or Designing

I’ve been having fun, writing every morning in response to a word. My writing partner and I choose words on alternate days and see what comes up. We share what we write. I am having such a good time. I feel like this is what I’ve been waiting for, forever.  A purpose.  It’s revealing. I love the differences, the revelations of each of our selves prompted by the same word.

My husband, the only other reader of my outpourings, a teacher in his soul, had this advice –  don’t think about the audience. I don’t. But because creativity in one place seems to spur creativity in other places, I have been designing and I started to wonder about that territory. How much do I think about the audience when I’m designing?

Continue reading “Don’t Think About the Audience – Whether Writing or Designing”

This Is For Lyn

Guest Blog for Lyn Gemmell, Shelridge Yarns

If you read my last blog post, you know that for me, walking with ease, even walking with both feet flat on the ground, is not likely for some time. My friend Lyn is moving and I’ve struggled with how to help until an idea hit – I can write a guest blog for her website. It’s right here, too.

Lyn is the proprietor of Shelridge Yarns. She has been kettle dyeing 72 glorious shades of yarn in her barn, behind her house in Woodville, Ontario, for nearly 7 years.


Lives change, sometimes in good ways, sometimes in bad. Most times we have no idea whether a change is a good one or a bad one until way past the inciting event.

Because of a life change, Lyn and her husband have sold their house, their land, and the kettle dyeing yarn barn. Visiting her office/storeroom stacked almost to the ceiling with yarn in just about every colour and weight imaginable was such a delight, not just for the yarn, but also because of Lyn’s pleasure, passion, and excitement.

Lyn hand paints yarn, too. I think that’s her favourite process. I think those yarns tell a story about her and I like that story very much.

The photo below is a wild selection of hand paints and at the beginning of this post is a colourway named Loons on the Lake, inspired by those magnificent birds off the shore at her Camp .

At the end of this month, Lyn is moving to Gravenhurst to a cottage, a new place to live. There’s no room for the business but Lyn will be searching out a new kettle dyeing space when she arrives in town. We will not be deprived.

Meanwhile, Lyn tells me that website orders will continue although her Etsy store will be on vacation for a while. Yarn packages from Lyn will not likely arrive with the usual break-neck speed, but arrive they will. 

This is one determined woman. You can find Lyn at two shows, a very exciting new one, the Fibre Spirit Festival, in Barrie, Ontario on August 25th and the Kitchener Waterloo Knitter’s Fair on September 8th.

Be sure to check out the Fibre Spirit Festival Instagram feed. The photos are so fabulous you will feel like you must go if you live any where near Barrie. With apologies to my subscribers who live elsewhere.

Screen Time Rehab

I have been increasingly consumed by Twitter. It started innocently enough, wanting to know what Donald Trump was saying right after his election, but it’s turned into an addiction. It’s so unhealthy. There’s a part of me that knows that screen time sucks me in and wastes my time but I still have been doing it. Twitter, lots of knitting designer posts, Ravelry, Instagram, Cook’s Illustrated, Knitty, Quince, Twist, the Guardian, the New Yorker. It goes on and on. Very little Facebook. I’m happy for that. You may notice that I haven’t added links because I likely would just be sucked in and stay there, and not write this.

Continue reading “Screen Time Rehab”

It’s Summer – Some Bits and Pieces – We Have a Winner & Socks & Swatching

The Winner!

We have a winner of the Knits From The Woodlot project bag! When Melissa from Oswego, New York, won the Knits From The Woodlot project bag she said, “A new project bag means I can start a new WIP, right? 😉”

Yes! Don’t projects always outnumber project bags? Certainly for me, but maybe not for those disciplined knitters whom I admire – buy yarn, make the project, buy yarn, make the project, buy yarn, make the project, repeat.

This little giveaway was fun; maybe I’ll give away some yarn next time – yarn from a project that didn’t quite make it on to the needles.

Swatching According to Designer Dana Gervais

Dana Gervais is a sock designer. But not just a sock designer. Be surprised by her creations at Dana Gervais Designs where “Not Socks” is the delightful, smallest category of her design collections. Here’s Dana’s charming mantra – “Inside every skein of sock yarn is a pair of socks begging to be set free.”

Continue reading “It’s Summer – Some Bits and Pieces – We Have a Winner & Socks & Swatching”

Want a Project Bag?

One day after my husband came up with the name, Knits From The Woodlot, for my design label,  I drew this little logo.   

I just drew it. I am not an artist by any means.                                                                           It came out of pure inspiration. Straight from brain to Sharpie.

I love it. It works in all kinds of places. A friend had it applied to a mug for my birthday. I’ve had a few bags made & I want to give one away to one of you. It’s smallish, definitely a project bag. It’s lined and has nice long handles. Giving one away is my small, public celebration of Canada Day.

If the bag appeals to you, send me an email with Send Me the Bag in the subject line to by the end of Canada Day, July 1, 2018. I’ll put the names in a  random generator and pick one. You do not have to be Canadian to receive this bag!

A company called Red Bubble creates the bags and you can find them for sale here  along with an astonishing array of art from all over the world. You’ll find thousands of images displayed on everything from i-Phone cases to t-shirts to pillows to water bottles and on and on.  I found out about Red Bubble in a post from Marsha White, proprietor of the NeedleArts Bookshop. She’s offering her textured and cabled stitches on lots of Red Bubble products. I love the inspiration of her beautiful knitted swatch images appearing in unusual places.

If you happen to be a fan of dogs, there are lots of options on Red Bubble. My first purchase was this tote bag, poodle of course.

Anyone can be a Red Bubble artist. Go for it! I thought it would be excellent to see Brioche on totes and t-shirts and water bottles and note books, but only the food is displayed, not the stitch. Let’s fix that!