Picturesque

old wooden house

To Autumn – John Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
   Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
   With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
   And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
      To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
   With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
      For summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

 

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
   Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
   Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
   Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
      Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
   Steady thy laden head across a brook;
   Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
      Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

petting a cat

Where are the songs of spring? Ay, Where are they?
   Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
   And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
   Among the river sallows, borne aloft
      Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
   Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
   The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
      And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

old wooden barn with rusted car

Advent Knitting

‘Tis the season for Christmas knitting! As I was reading through my blog subscriptions I was inspired by Glenna of Glenna knits to knit an Advent bunting. I had a quick rummage through Ravelry, and came up with this lovely (and free) pattern collection (the author simply asks that you donate to the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation in lieu of buying the pattern). Since I am me, I am making a few tweaks to the designs by switching out some of the ornaments that are not really my style, and I plan to join them all together with a simple crochet chain.

Here are my plans by day (photos courtesy of Frankie Brown):

Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4

Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8

Day 9, Day 10, Day 11, Day 12

Day 13, Day 14, Day 15, Day 16

Day 17, Day 18, Day 19, Day 20

Day 21, Day 22, Day 23, Day 24

The last day is Christmas day, when I will assemble all my tiny ornaments into a grand holiday bunting!

The patterns use fingering weight yarn and very small needles. Since they are tiny they only use a little bit of yarn – great for stashbusting and sock yarn scraps.

Would you like to join me on this adventure?

Twice a Bridesmaid, Already a Bride

I have the most wonderful story to share with you! A few weeks ago my best friend called me to say that her boyfriend had finally asked her to marry him. I squealed and congratulated her and she told me all about the proposal. They are just such a sweet couple. She didn’t say anything at the time about her wedding party. I desperately wanted to be a bridesmaid, but I live 2,000 miles away, so I thought maybe she had decided to ask someone closer to her.

About a week later she sent me this text:

This is the reason we are best friends. Who else would think to propose to a bridesmaid this way? I should add that she is also a knitter, and she is the one who taught me how to tat. Of course, I said yes.

So in May I will be putting on a blue dress to help her with her white dress. I can’t wait!

I Wove a Scarf in One Day!

I have been coveting the Schacht Cricket looms at my local yarn store for months now. So when they offered a coupon good for any one item, I took the plunge and bought my loom!

schacht cricket loom

Happiness! Joy! Excitement! I took my loom home and immediately set it up. The instructions were clear and the pieces all fit together quite well with the exception of one hole that Schacht forgot to drill. Hubby fixed that with no questions asked.

schacht cricket loom

I wanted to warp my loom and start weaving on the spot, but I was afraid I would completely mess it up, so I settled for reading the book I bought with it: Inventive Weaving on a Little Loom. Wow is this book comprehensive! If you have a small loom or if you are thinking about getting one, you need this book! It starts with the basics of weaving and gets progressively more complicated until you are weaving with 3 heddles that act like 4!

A few days after I got my loom I had a lesson on how to use it. We warped it using the direct peg method.

warping a rigid heddle loom

Then we threaded the heddles and adjusted the tension.

warping a rigid heddle loom

Finally I got to start weaving!

weaving on a rigid heddle loom

I wove and wove and wove some more.

And finally I had a finished scarf! Start to finish it only took me a day!

When I first took it off the loom my scarf was stiff and not at all drapey, but after a wash it softened right up. I am never knitting a scarf again.

Do you have a loom? What is your favourite thing to weave with it? Do you have any tips or tricks on how to weave better?

My Brioche Bandana Cowl

I just told you about what I crocheted on vacation, but I knitted while I was on vacation, too.

I’ve been eyeing the Fingering Brioche Bandana Cowl by Lavanya Patricella ever since it came out last year. Early last month I finally took the plunge and bought the pattern. I wanted clear but moody colours, so I used Hedgehog Fibers Sock in Nutmeg and Knit Picks Stroll in Midnight Heather. The beginning of the cowl was a challenge as I re-learned how to work brioche and how to fix mistakes. Once I figured it out, though, I brioched night and day!

The pattern directs you to knit the top of the cowl 5″ long, but I wanted mine extra warm and snuggly, so I knit mine 8″ long before starting to decrease for the bandana. I’ve never worked decreases in brioche before, so that was a learning experience. All in all, I very much enjoyed this knit and I want to knit more brioche. All the Brioche!! It’s so squishy and snuggly!

And brioche is reversible! I prefer the Hedgehog side because it is more colourful, but the navy blue side is quite pretty as well. You see it a little in the bottom of the second picture.

There are so many pretty brioche patterns out there. Do you have a favourite? What do you think of brioche knitting?

How to Crochet a Broomstick Lace Bracelet in 9 Easy Steps!

My husband’s grandma is a crocheter. When we visited them recently I showed her a picture I found on Instagram of a bracelet made of broomstick lace. We realized that we could totally make that, and before I knew it we were in her yarn closet (She has a yarn closet! I knew I married into the right family!!) picking yarn and finding a dowel to make broomstick lace with. She rooted out her crochet notebook from when she taught Home Ec. in the 80s and found the directions for Broomstick Lace:

broomstick lace

She guided me as I awkwardly made a chain and single crocheted a few rows before starting.

broomstick

The bracelet was a rousing success! So fast! So easy! The hardest thing was picking out buttons. I decided to go with blue, since my wardrobe has been skewing toward blue recently.

crochet lace bracelet

It would be super easy to make up a whole set of bracelets in different colours – something for every occasion!

If you want to make a bracelet just like mine, here is what I did:

Materials: 

  • Yarn: 10 yds fingering weight yarn
  • Hook: 3mm
  • 4 buttons, sized 1/2″-3/4″
  • Dowel: 1″ wide and at least 6″ long – it helps to have a very smooth dowel with a rounded end, so take the time to sand your dowel down if it’s not already smooth

Method:

  1. Ch 21, turn work
  2. Skip 1 ch, sc 19, turn work
  3. Ch 1, sc 19, turn work
  4. Ch 1, sc 19, do not turn work
  5. With crochet hook pull up last loop and place on dowel held in left hand. Insert crochet hook in each st of ch, pull yarn through and place on dowel (20 sts).
  6. Insert hook in center of first 5 loops, holding these loops together as one, yarn over and pull off needle, ch 1, and work 5 sc in first set of loops. Work 5 sc in each set of 5 loops until no sts remain.
  7. Repeat rows 4 and 5 six more times, or until the bracelet is just long enough to go around your wrist. Cut yarn and hide the end.
  8. Sew 4 buttons to the foundation rows.
  9. Wear your new bracelet with pride!

Have you ever crocheted Broomstick Lace? What do you think of it?

Happy hooking!

My Vacation Part 3: Colonial Williamsburg and my 25th Birthday

Last week my husband and I went on vacation. We split our trip up into several stages so we could see and do more things (read Part 1 and Part 2).

I have wanted to visit Colonial Williamsburg for years, so this year when we planned our vacation I asked if we could go. We stayed at one of the inns right in Williamsburg, which made coming and going so easy!

We had so much fun walking down the streets, seeing carriages and wigmakers and people in historic dress. We went to a talk about the heritage animals kept in the stables. I somehow didn’t manage to get a picture of the Longwool Leicester sheep they had, but Longwool Leicesters are the ancestors of modern day Blue Faced Leicesters, Border Leicesters, and Corriedale, as well as several other breeds.

We visited several woodworking shops, all with different skills and purposes.

I loved visiting the tailor’s shop and talking with a very knowledgeable tailor about the materials and fashions and methods of making clothes. This hand sewn corset was hanging in the corner. Isn’t it just incredible!

corset

We saw a few famous people in Williamsburg, too: The Marquis de Lafayette spoke about his part in the American Revolution and Thomas Jefferson told about his belief in personal liberty and his work in founding the United States as we know it.

In the evening we watched the militia practice their military drills.

October 24th was my 25th birthday. We spent the day in Williamsburg, then went to a cute little cafe for dinner. After dinner, my husband disappeared for a few minutes and came back bearing a tea light, which was the only candle the cafe had. He sang Happy Birthday to me, and then we devoured a pumpkin cupcake. Later that evening we went to a strings recital at Bruton Parish Church. All in all, it was a lovely vacation and a great birthday.

Well, that concludes our vacation. Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed it.

Have you ever been to Colonial Williamsburg? What did you enjoy most?