Thursday, December 30, 2021

End of year summary…

Our end of year has alternated between shoveling huge amounts of snow and resting and playing a lot indoors. There's a big COVID surge in Manitoba so we're doing a lot of hibernating and no one seems to mind. I am thrilled by the snowfall as we are in a drought and every bit of moisture matters.  Still it requires a lot of work to shovel out several houses and that's most of what we've been doing these days.  (It was maybe 10" or 25 cm of snow or maybe 12"/30 cm, and we helped out some 80 year old family friends, too.) Needless to say, we all like a rest afterwards, as you can see from Sadie the dog's photo.

We seem to also take part in a lot of toy sorting and match box car demolition derby.

I've also been doing some occasional making, spinning, knitting and sewing.  I've just washed all these skeins of handspun and tucked them away for the future.
I got an email from Yarncanada asking me to let people know about a charity knitting project giveaway. 
Here's an opportunity to get yarn for free to make things for charity.  Please apply soon if you're interested!

I'm continuing efforts to improve my "me made wardrobe."  This is a wool tweed tunic, based on the 100 acts of sewing dress no. 1.  It's a great warm layer with pockets, which is always good. I got this fabric for $4 as part of the MB fibre festival fibre trail and Costume Museum's sale in September. It's an amazing tweed, it looks very serious at a distance but up close, is full of bits of very bright colour.  Hot pink, neon yellow and green, electric blue.  Very cheerful, and of course, only very special people are allowed "up close" these days.  (Basically, the professor, twins, and a dog!)  
I'm continuing to spin up some well-aged brown Polwarth wool on my Quebec wheel, and I'm also working on a simple sewing project...but a sweet housewarming project.  Six napkins in a linen/cotton fabric - the gorgeous pattern matches the new owners' future dining room to a tee.  I could not resist the fabric when I saw it, and I'm rooting for things to go smoothly so that these napkins end up in use on a dining room table soon.

I've also been working (as I can) behind the scenes. I've had op-ed articles run in the Winnipeg Free Press and the Vancouver Independent.  Another article ran in PLY magazine, and I'm still very proud of that Winter 21/22 Vogue Knitting article that ran on moths and how to avoid them.  It's not been world's best year in terms of my freelance life, but considering how complicated the pandemic has been, remote schooling, not seeing family, and construction disruptions to our home life, well, I'll take what I can get. In just a few moments, I'll be bundling up twins.  It's -14F (-26C) right now, and that's the warmest it's been all day!  I'm looking forward to getting out in it so we can walk over to a medical clinic to go get their second vaccine dose, and I couldn't be happier or more relieved to have access to this opportunity.  Thank you, science.
Wishing you a peaceful, healthy, and happy 2022. 

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Tuesday, November 30, 2021


 Big sale!  All my patterns on  Ravelry and on Payhip are on sale!

The sale starts today, November 30th, at 9pm ET and ends at midnight ET on December 6th.  Use this coupon code to get 25% off!
Also, please feel free to join in with the Fasten Off YAL to chat on discord, earn prizes, and more!  This is an accessible event, which is why you can gain access to the whole sale and event without using Ravelry, it offers lots of accessible patterns and web options, too.
Enjoy! (And I would be so grateful if you wanted to check out my designs, we just replaced our boiler cause uhh, the old one died, we needed heat and winter is here!  Every download counts!)

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Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Lattice Embrace

I'm excited to report -- I'm finally getting back to publishing knitting designs.  Or maybe, to be clear, two designs. The first has been launched today and is an asymmetrical cardigan called “Lattice Embrace.” It's a bulky, easy knit, and yes, it's a way for me to send 'a hug' to knitters!  That's how this sweater feels to me. I knit it and took notes while remote schooling twins last year, and now that they are back in school in person, I've been able to focus on writing it up.

This design’s now available for download on RavelryPayhip and  

Note: If you’re looking for a Low Vision Accessible version of the pattern, that's available on Payhip and Ravelry.

Just making this leap back into focused work has been exciting. I found I lost concentration when it came to helping 4th graders and couldn't do the math needed to grade sizes while juggling everything during the pandemic. This sweater includes sizing from 36-64” and that is a lot of spreadsheet work!  I'm looking forward to seeing how this design makes its way into the world. I love seeing knitters’ work and interpretations of these designs.

I'll also be participating again in the Fasten Off Yarn-Along this year.  This event starts at the end of November and includes a hefty discount for the first week for those buying patterns.  I will pass along the secret code closer to the time.  

If you happen to worry about wool moths, my article on that appears in the Winter 21/22 issue of Vogue Knitting! (I was pretty stoked to be included in an issue with such a famous knitter on the cover.) I also continue to write a column here for the Vancouver Jewish Independent as well…but it’s not always on knitting or fibre arts topics… That’s most of the news for now!  

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Thursday, November 04, 2021


 Note, I am posting from a different device, format may be wonky!

What’s happening here? We had a longer warm period than usual, but alas, all good things come to an end.  We harvested our last herbs and greens, and the frost came.  All of us got used to life spent indoors, although we are still outside a lot.  Temperatures below freezing do not keep us home bound! Sadie the dog is here, on the steps, asking about her walk.

I continue to spin through deep stash.  This is some Polwarth that came originally from Australia, but I bought it in a fiber arts business retirement sale.  It is well aged!  That said, it is spinning up beautifully on my Quebec wheel.

Every fall, a kid or two gets a sweater.  This year, I made another one out of Icelandic plotulopi (unspun.). It is light and warm, if not the hardest wearing.  We were aiming for colour blocking here, but then my kid asked if I could knit the original early 20th century tile pattern from our bathroom into his sweater.  Of course!  I sent him into the bathroom with his iPad and then I knit it from the photo.  I did imagine doing those rows in the bathroom, just to see the tile in person, but thought better of it!
To keep cheerful clothing around, I also made myself another jumper using the 100 acts of sewing pattern and Rifle Paper Company print.  My biology professor husband (currently on strike at the U of Manitoba, but that is another story) suggests I am now dressing like a herbaceous border. I ignored him. I like it!

Last, but not least, our heroic boiler had finally died and we are in the process of getting a new one installed.  So, for now, no central heat, and a lot of toys to tidy in the basement so the new one can be put in.  I am excited about this, although it is an expensive home repair while my professor is on strike…because, well, in Canada, heat is life!  We are doing ok with running two gas fireplaces, a little radiator space heater, and of course, I am wearing a lot of wool…

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Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Still here

I recently got an email asking me if someone could monetize my blog and post homesteading articles.  Obviously time to get back to writing on the blog!  (and --just no-- unless you consider twins and a dog on a city street homesteading?  Huh?)  
So where have I been?  I've been supervising kids' summer time play while I spin and knit.  This is destined to be a kid sweater made out of plotulopi yarn from Icelandic.  Lightweight, warm, but a little delicate to knit.  Ideal for sitting still and knitting, but not for carrying around too much, in my experience.
Kids went back to school this past week and I was tasked with making more exciting, new masks.  Unicorn, horse, octopus, and soda pop patterns seem to be a hit...we have plenty of masks, of course, but these are the fancy new "back to school" ones.  We're grateful for the mask mandate but since our kids aren't old enough yet to be vaccinated, a bit wary about how long this 'in-school' stuff will last.  Delta variant is real. Making a masks is a good way to cope with the mom worry!  
I've also been busy putting up food.  Plum apple chutney, apple chips for school lunches, applesauce, and more. Having food on the shelf in the winter is great, but I don't think it makes me a homesteader?  (Please, give me more land for gardening and some sheep, as well as access to take out food options...that would be a heck of a farm.)

I've also continued to work as I can.  Part of the reason why there have been fewer blog posts is that I decided this past year to narrow my focus.  It was very important but also a lot to manage, having my kids home to do remote schooling/home learning for 11 months.
I optimized my time...I kept writing a regular column for this Vancouver paper.  I also have had occasional pieces run in other publications.  All my knitting patterns (around 80!) are still available on and Payhip.  
However, I realized that if a gig wasn't paying much, or might take a lot of time or risk exposing kids to COVID?  It just wasn't worth it. I'm considering my options now about what work will look like for me in the future. I miss the teaching I used to do, and the collegiality of editing for someone on a daily basis, too...but for now, I want to find ways to ensure I'm both available if kids need me and earning something for my writing, editing, designing and teaching.  People talk about work being satisfying (and that's important to me!) but work is also valuable.  My experience, skills and time should be worth something, too. 
In the meanwhile, we'll be exploring outside while the weather holds and eating lots of delicious stuff as we cruise through the fall holidays. That's an apple cinnamon challah I made.  It was a hit!

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Thursday, July 29, 2021

weaving-a new article!

Exciting news!  I've just had an article come out in Digits & Threads magazine on the tradition of weaving tallitot (Jewish prayer shawls) in Winnipeg.  It was a tradition in my family in Virginia too...shown here is a photo of my dad, weaving my youngest brother's tallit for his bar mitzvah. Also-clear proof of my family's maker/DIY history: this black and white photo was likely developed in my dad's dark room, and the Winnie the Pooh play room curtains behind my father were sewn by my mom. In later years, (cough cough) I ...may...have cut up some of that Winnie the Pooh fabric to make myself a pair of shorts--Which I then wore out and about in junior high and high school. Yes, I have always had a quirky fashion sense, excluding my handwoven tallit, of course! 

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Wednesday, July 28, 2021


I recently had an article run that explained more about where I've been.  As the pandemic has been a constant, (nothing's back to "normal" for us yet)  I've worked and written at night when I can, but there's been a lot of time spent on other things.  Here is a link to the article: Recalibrating our life route 
This summer is another freeform one, where twins spend a lot of time on creative play in the yard, reading, making stuff and even doing a little learning...with outings to pick berries, swim at a lake for a day trip, etc. I mostly have stayed home with Sadie the dog while the professor does the out of town offerings.  I seem to be Mom in charge of playgrounds, farmer's market, wading pools, and long dog walks.
I've done some spinning, knitting, and lots of sewing....made my own version of MC Hammer pants...and even a brand new bag, with zippers... for taking care of business on those dog walks.
I've canned some jam (natural outcome after all that berry picking!) and, despite our hot summer, managed to make a pie recently after a kind neighbour gifted us with an entire quart bag of pitted sour cherries.  She pitted them for us!  This, of course, is neighbourliness and treasure beyond measure in our household...local fresh fruit and the gift of her time!
The tricky bit? We love many of our longtime neighbours but the infill and a recent construction in our area - also more generally targeted as part of Winnipeg's densification efforts- has caused our house's walls to be damaged. The noise and construction is hard to live through.  We also live along a very busy road. The increased traffic that returns, post-pandemic, from the nearby restaurant patios and their drunk clientele, the high schoolers going out for lunch, increased bus traffic, etc. - it gets to be a lot of noise. 

Anyway, due to the disruptions near us and the third wave of the pandemic in Manitoba... (and likely, a fourth wave coming for those who aren't vaccinated...)
--this summer has been different than planned. Whew.  Now, the professor has a grant due, our kids are too young to get vaccinated yet, and we still can't see any of our relatives across the border.  (They're vaccinated, we're vaccinated, but the delta variant, the travelling, health issues, and kids too young to be vaccinated yet--make this too complicated at present.)
So, in the meanwhile, here are some lightweight organic crinkle cotton pants that I made!  Here are some jars of jam!
Here's to the summer that got away from me.  Now, like those GPS things in the car, we're recalibrating--and readjusting our summer route.

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