Dolce Far Niente Due

This is a throwback post published on February 4, 2009.


on Ravelry

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlign CenterPatternDolce far Niente
Yarn: two hanks of Cascade 220 (for the Main Colour) and part-hank of another shade of Cascade 220 (for the Contrasting Colour)
Needles: 4mm circulars and dpns

Way back when I made my first Dolce far Niente sweater I said I wanted to do another one, only better this time.

I’m happy with how it turned out – the first one is cute, but something about this one (probably the more subdued colours) makes it a bit more “wearable” and less “look at me! look at me! I’m a child of the 80s!”
Other slight differences are the weight of the yarn (slightly finer) and the fair isle design (this time actual herringbone instead of what I thought would give me herringbone in the first sweater).

Witness the blanket of snow surrounding me. Also witness the slight blurriness to the photo – that’s from my hand shaking. I think I may have lost some of my gloated-about hardiness with the winter.

I’m sure the numerous car whizzing by and people crunching through the snow were wondering why that crazy woman was photoging herself sans coat.

A fast and fun knit, this one was on and off the needles in less than 2 weeks. I want to squeeze as many knits into winter as possible.

Next up: my 70s sweater.
Uh, maybe… truth be telt, it’s sittingly grumpily under my futon, multitudinous ends not woven-in and neckline not even begun.Hope the rising temperatures are echoed by a rise in knitting.

Me and winter are in a race, and I do intend to win.

Dolce Far Niente Due

Dolce far Niente: The Voracious Manos Edition

This is a throwback post published on April 5, 2008.


on Ravelry

This is what happens when you see pretty yarn and can’t put the accursed thing down:


Pattern: Dolce far Niente (by me)
Yarn: approx. 2.5 hanks of brown Manos wool
.5 hank of orange Manos wool

This project was inspired by a D&G sweater from Fall 2006. I didn’t do it justice! (I will most likely be doing another version, in a much lighter gauge, with more intricate fair isle.

This was the softest Manos I’ve ever played with. Two issues arose, stemming from the yarn itself:
1 – the brown Manos was spun with what is an obvious slubby texture. Throughout the body of the garment it blends in decently. But woe to the cast-off edge on the neckline. It bumps in and out rather unpleasently.
2 – less significantly, the orange Manos was bleeding dye on to my hands.
Overall I remain a Manos devotee, though perhaps will be more vigilant in my purchasing in the future (re: slub factor).


I do realize that it’s April. I do realize that Spring is on the verge of flouncing in and warming up the world. But when a knitter’s got an itch, it’s real hard not to scratch! I churned this puppy out in about one week.

Why, you may wonder, did I introduce it as accursed?
In most cases when I knit, I’m extremely stubborn, and thus go out of my way to either
avoid making any large/noticeable mistakes
learn to live with it (the much more frequent route).
I hate frogging, and I possibly hate tinking even more.
For this project, I had to do both those, about 3 times over.


Gladly, the finished project has come out satisfactory.
I do have one wonder: do you prefer it with a dark shirt beneath, or a lighter one (thus emphasizing the shortness of the sweater by contrast)?
I think, after being christened Dolce far Niente, the project decided simple, it would not be.

Dolce far Niente: The Voracious Manos Edition

Alauda; or, Elaborate Names and the Year of the Stash

This is a throwback post published on June 20, 2008.

I’ll have to fess up and say that a rather disproportionate amount of joy for me comes from naming knits for designing.
This is a case in point.

Pattern: Alauda
Yarn: oh, a few scraps. Methinks it was
1) Brown Louisa Harding “Grace”
2) Orange Manos Silk Blend
3) a couple different yellow/golden shades of Handmaiden’s “Silk Maiden”
4) white Elsebeth Lavold “ClassicAL”

Why I made it:
My hands were unbelievably cold at work.
Why it’s got such a highfalutin name?
I love the naming. I love the organizing and labelling and making odd and rather twitsy-turny connections. In this instance, I knew I wanted to use some pretty stash scraps, hence the idea of a “legion”, expand that to a particular legion (one of Caesar’s Gaulish legions, see here)
and to top it all off, this particular Alauda word morphed into the modern French word Alouette, which is denotative of a small bird.

Gratuitous Butters photo:

If you want to make a pair:
step 1 – get scrap (all same gauge)
step 2 – measure around knuckles to get # of sts cast on (1” neg ease)
step 3 – cast on and knit knit knit in a rectangle til the piece measures to your wrist (if you want to add the YO row, just work one YO, k2tog across the fourth row).
step 4 – cast off and stitch together edge, leaving thumb holes!


This post has been brought to you by procrastiknitting.

Alauda; or, Elaborate Names and the Year of the Stash

Wee Spencer Christened the Anne Elliot

This is a throwback post published on May 3, 2007.

Introducing my Anne Elliot
on Ravelry



Yarn: Wendy Yarn – Peter Pan 2 ply
Needles: 2.25 mm
Pattern: My own, after the Guess Spencer (sketchy notes to be added if by popular demand)
Things I’d change:
More careful with buttonholes – they don’t all match up.
Sleeves should be smaller – they’re a bit baggy as is. When I inevitably make a second Spencer, this will be more carefully calculated (instead of just “well, it took 90 stitches across the back…)
Also along button edge – I’ve been knitting for years now and so have no excuse for this mistake, but instead of making the under-button edge garter, I made it stockinette, which of course leads to the wonderful curling-under that is quite visible in the photo.

The yarn itself is very stretchy, and blocked out quite nicely (except for the rust-stains caused by evil pins).

What colour should I make next? I’m digging the golds and greys as of late.




Please let me know if you see any glaring errors. I didn’t keep the best notes going along. I hope this isn’t too convoluted.

Sized for a 36″ bust. You can read my suggestions for pattern-improvement.
Gauge: 7 sts/inch
Yarn: Wendy – Peter Pan 4 ply
Needles: 2.5 mm
Extras: seven 1 cm buttons, tapestry needle.
Warning: crochet ahead!
Hook: 3 mm

You can block the Spencer to make the lace look nicer. Just don’t use pins that will rust! (yes, I did).

Double Seed Stitch:

Row 1 – *K2, p2. Repeat from * to end of row.
Row 2 – As row 1.
Row 3 – *P2, k2. Repeat from * to end of row.
Row 4 – As row 3.

Clover Lace:

Rows 1 and 7 – K
Row 2 and all Wrong side rows – P
Row 3 – K2, yo, sk1, k2tog, psso, yo, *k5, yo, sl1, k2tog, psso, yo*, rep from * to *.
Row 5 – K3, yo, ssk, *k6, yo, ssk*, rep from * to *.
Row 9 – K1, *k5, yo, sl1, k2tog, psso, yo*, rep from * to *.
Row 11 – K7, *yo, ssk, k6*, rep from * to *.


CO 82 sts
work 1×1 ribbing for 1 cm (0.5 inch)
work double seed stitch for 6 cm (2.5 inches)

Begin clover pattern, and begin increases. Increase 1 st on each side on the Front Side of the work until piece measures 23 cm (9 inches) long.

(I had to fudge the pattern for the increases. What I did was placed markers at the beginning stitches, and continued the pattern as normal within the markers. When there was enough stitches outside the markers – which is seven, I believe – I worked those in pattern).

Shaping armholes:

When piece measures 21 cm (8 inches) long, begin shaping armhole by dec 2 sts on each side of Front of work for six rows. Then dec 1 st each side until piece measures 28 cm (11 inches). Arm holes are now shaped.

Continue in clover pattern until piece is 36 cm (14 inches) long.

Front Panels:

Work two. Just remember to reverse the neckline and arm hole shaping!
At this point, choose which side you want the buttons on, and which side the button holes.
CO 38 sts (this is what I did, but I recommend casting on a few more. I found the front panels to be a bit small).

Do the same shaping for the front panels as you did for the back, save for the 6 sts along what will be the buttonhole edge. Here I just kept the knitting in sockinette.

Button holes:

You create the first buttonhole on the first row of double seed stitch, and from then on place the buttonholes at approximately 2.5 cm (1 inch) intervals.
All I did was work 2 sts on buttonhole edge, cast off 2, and continue in pattern. Then on the next row, you just CO 2 sts over the space created by the 2 you cast off.

Begin neckline shaping. (this is also when you begin armhole shaping!)

Neckline Shaping:
Cast off 18 sts to create beginning of neckline. You should have about 30 sts left.
Now you continue to shape the neckline edge by dec 1 st along neck edge every Front side row. Continue dec in this manner until you have 12 sts left. Work until front panels are same length as Back.


Make two.

CO 70 sts.
Work 1×1 ribbing for 1 cm (0.5 inches).
Begin clover pattern.
Work in pattern until piece measures 4 cm (1.5 inches).

Begin shaping sleeve.
Dec. 1 st each side of Front of work until you have 2 sts left (my sleeves ended up being 16 cm/6.5 inches long).


Sew up side seams, shoulders and sleeves. Place and sew buttons.
Pick up sts along neckline (sorry, I didn’t count them), and knit two rows in stockinette. This makes a nice edge for you to create the crochet trim upon.

Neckline crochet:
Starting at one edge of neckline, make 1 sc.
Skip 2 sts.
Make five dc in next st.
Skip 2 sts.
Slip-stitch this down.

There you have the mini-shell that I used all the way around the neckline. Just continue the pattern til you get all the way around the neckline. I consciously kept my crocheting a little looser, because I was afraid it would pucker the knitting and look funny.

Suggestions for improvements to pattern:

If I were making this pattern again, I would add an inch-worth of extra stitches to the bust area (I would spread this out across the front panels, so I’d add 0.5 inches to one side and 0.5 stitches to the other).

I would also attempt to do it in the round, at least for the bottom half. I only suggest this because I dislike sewing seams.

I suggest creating a row of garter stitch on the edge of the front panel where the buttons will be sewn. This will make the fabric want to lay flat, rather than curl under like the original does.

Here is a pathetic Paint diagram of the measurement I took of the Spencer. If you can measure your own gauge, you can fit the pattern to you and your own yarn/needles/tension.

Wee Spencer Christened the Anne Elliot

Malassada Day; Or, Dough-Frying Good Times

This is a throwback post published on March 8, 2011.

Today is Malassada Day!malassada
Amongst the many labels applied to the day before Lent begins, Malassada Day stems from the same gorge-yourself-crazy spirit of Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, Pancake Tuesday and the like.

Things like sugar and lard were meant to be used up before the fasting of Lent began, and what better way to do this, so the São Miguel islanders thought, than to make copious amounts of delicious, delicious fried dough.

Malasadas1 are basically doughnuts, and hoo boy, are they good when fresh out of the pan!

My grandmother’s always made them with a hole in the centre, but apparently the “traditional” way is to simply form a ball of dough, sans hole.

Want to fry up some of your own?
Here’s my grandmother’s recipe

Vavo’s2 Malassadas

2 tbsp soft butter
1 tsp salt
12 eggs 1 cup sugar
sliced lemon rind
2 lbs flour (6 cups)
jar of Mazola oil


Put 2 packets of Fleischmann’s yeast in 1/2 cup lukewarm water, for about 5 minutes
Stir yeast. Put in a big bowl.
Add everything, except flour, and mix with electric mixer. When soft and blended, add flour and mix by hand.

Let rise for around 4-5 hours.

Take small amounts, shaping them into doughnuts, and carefully putting them in a frying pan, filled with boiling oil.

Let both sides get golden brown (this doesn’t take long at all!)

Remove, and coat with sugar.

Oh yes, and consume immediately.

1 Here’s some info about Malassadas.
2 Vavo means grandma in Portuguese.
3 Image sourced from this site.

Malassada Day; Or, Dough-Frying Good Times

Cinnamon Bun Deliciousness

This is a throwback post published on March 5, 2011

There are few things in this world I believe I do well. I’m no horn-tooter, but I can bake a pretty mean cinnamon bun.

On more than one occasion, people have requested the recipe, so I thought I’d share it here.

Hope you have a very sweet and cinnamony day!
Preheat oven to 425 F.

2 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup milk

1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 tbs cinnamon

Combine all ingredients for dough (except milk). Mix until a crumbly texture forms, then add the milk and knead.
Lay out dough on flat surface, and spread the filling mixture on top.
Roll up dough (the tighter you can roll it the cuter they end up looking, I find). Pop them into lightly greased muffin tins and bake for about 14-18 mins. I usually keep them in a bit less, but that’s personal preference.
And of course, icing is always good on top!

Icing: a random mix of butter, icing sugar and a very little bit of milk.

Sometimes I’ll use cream cheese with, or instead of, butter. They’re both very good.

Cinnamon Bun Deliciousness

Garden-Given Great Gastronomy

This is a throwback post published on September 10, 2013.

This year my garden focus was mainly on tomatoes.
And whoo boy, do I have tomatoes!


I’ve made a few batches of sauce so far, and the most delicious tomato jam evar.


Here be the recipe:

Tomato Jam

3 lbs fresh tomatoes
9 cups (but I only use 4!) sugar
2 lemons
fresh ginger (1″ thinly sliced)

In a large pot on medium heat place the tomatoes, cut roughly into chunks, lemon juice and ginger.
Bring to a boil and reduce the heat.
Cook slowly for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Add sugar and stir until dissolved.
Boil slowly for 30 minutes more or until desired thickness is reached.

And, to go with that jam, the worlds greatest Cheese Crackers:

1 cup butter
1/3 tsp salt
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1/3 tsp cayenne pepper (more if you prefer spicy!)
2 1/2 sups flour
1 tbs water (approximate)

Blend all ingredients together to make dough. Roll out to approx. 1 cm width and cut with cookies cutters (alternatively, you can roll it into a log and just slice “coins” of dough that are about 1 cm wide).
Bake at 375 degrees F for about 12 minutes.
Best served hot!

Spotty apples

I’ve also been gifted loads of pears and apples from my parent’s place, with the promise of yet another year of apple butter making ahead!

Garden-Given Great Gastronomy

Knit-Strology; Or, Extrapolations Based on General and Specific Nonsense – Gemini

Once every month, I’ll be re-posting from the old blog all the Knitstrology posts

This one was originally posted on January 14, 2012.

Sketching a Personality; Or, How I Have fun with Knitting and Astrology

Gemini: The Sign of the Twins Photobucket
May 22 – June 21

Howdy Gemini!

Are you a process or a product knitter? Do you have a love/hate relationship with your stash?
Does your clever wit uplift a possibly downbeat knit night?

You might be a Gemini!

This sun sign says you’re meant to be dualistic; possessing traits, likes and dislikes that are, apparently, contradictory. Now, for this author, that seems like I could say anything about you, and it’d adhere to the “Gemini” personality sketch.

But lo, this may not be so!

Gemini love change, freedom, independence and communication. When you do show up for knit nights (sorry, you can be flighty! things don’t always hold your attention for very long), you’re the one to ask for advice. What should I knit for my impossible-to-knit-for brother? Will this variegated yarn compliment my hair colour?

Your restlessness might lead you to be one of those knitters who has, say, 30 WIPs and perhaps only a handful of FOs. Your voracious appetite for knowledge and learning may lead you to be attracted to projects because they’ll teach you something new.

Remember how I said you rule in communication? That applies to more than just chatting with your friends. You might make a great knit blogger, too! Try setting down some of your clever ruminations on knitting and sharing them with the cyber-public.

Gemini rules the hands and arms. Mitts, gloves, and armwarmers will all be welcome gifts for a Gemini!
Your lucky day is Wednesday, so starting projects then is a good idea.
Lucky colours for Gemini are lemon yellow and orange. I’m jealous! Such lively and happy colours. Pick up some sunny skeins for yourself or other Geminis you know.

Want to knit your own personalized astrological sign pillow? Check out my “What’s Your Sign?” design!

What’s Your Sign?


Knit-Strology; Or, Extrapolations Based on General and Specific Nonsense – Gemini

How To: Deal with Negative Ease

This is a throwback to a post published on February 6, 2012.

What is ease?

In a knitting pattern, ease refers to how loose or tight a garment is. Designers write their patterns with a particular “fit” in mind, and will base their numbers for each size on whether they want their garment to be loose, tight, or otherwise.

How do you know what ease a pattern is written in?

Any good pattern will have a garment schematic. Referring to this garment schematic will show you the numbers the designer has calculated for the finished size of the garment, not the human (or dog, cat, bird, reptile, and so on!) who will be wearing the garment.
A designer may also choose to add notes or suggestions to the pattern. Check these as well for any ease information.

How do you choose your preferred ease?

Each pattern and person will be a different case, but as a general rule, ask yourself these questions:
-Do I like the way the garment is fitting the model in the pattern photograph?
-Do I want the garment to fit me in the same way that it fits the model in the pattern photograph?
-What information does the designer provide/suggest in any pattern notes?
-What do the garment schematic numbers tell me?

What does negative ease look like?

A negatively eased pattern is a garment that is designed with dimensions that are smaller than the intended wearers’ actual body size. Negatively eased garments can, of course, run the gamut from body skimming (just an inch or so less than your actual measurement), to snug (up to around 5″ smaller than your actual measurements) to really rather tight! (generally, 6″ or more smaller than your actual measurements).
The number of inches of negative ease will also, in some cases, be effected by the gauge of yarn being used (for example, extremely bulky yarn, in a elastically-inclined fibre, will want even up to 10″ of negative ease in order to fit snugly).

For illustrative purposes, here are a few images of the same sweater pattern, Corona, in a variety of negative ease sizings:

astrahl and her very slightly negatively-eased sweater.
luvnary and her moreso negatively eased Corona.


impostinator‘s negatively eased Corona.


LonghornDiva‘s negatively eased Corona.

What does zero ease look like?

Zero ease is a garment that has the same numbers as your actual measurements.
If the schematic shows that the cross-bust measurement is 16”, and you happen to be a 32” bust, then the finished garment will be the very same size that you are (that is, it will have zero ease).
Zero ease garments hang close to your body, without being snug or tight.

See examples of the same Corona pattern, but knit with zero ease.

bamboonumner1 and her zero-eased hoodie.


SophieAnn‘s no-eased Corona.

What does positive ease look like?

A positively eased pattern is a garment that is designed with dimensions that are larger than the intended wearers’ actual body size. Positively eased garments can range from almost-body skimming, to loose and comfy, to definitely over-sized.

Here, a selection of the same sweater to demonstrate a variety of positive ease.

AshleighPie and her hoodie.


WorstedKnitt‘s positively-eased Corona (blog here: WorstedKnitt).

2muchfun‘s positively eased sweater.



jiva‘s positively-eased Corona.

What if a pattern is written with negative ease, and I want zero/positive ease?

This can be an easy fix.
Firstly, check the garment schematic. Sometimes it’s as simple as going up a size or two. You can do this by checking the numbers you see on the schematic, and comparing them to your own body measurements.
If this solution isn’t a possibility, you have other options:
-going up a needle size/yarn weight
-doing some math (any good pattern has the basic tools you need to do this, including gauge and the garment schematic)
-and, the always fantastic and helpful Ravelry. If you’re lucky, there’s another knitter out there who’s posted their modification notes – perhaps you can even ask them yourself!
-and certainly, the designer can be of help her/himself.

Any other questions about negative ease?
Please check out CanaryKnits on Facebook, or ask here. I’m always happy to help!

How To: Deal with Negative Ease

Corona: Memory Lane

This is a throwback to a post published on June 16, 2015.

It was seven years ago today that I posted my completed Corona.

2008 on the left, 2015 on the right.

This pattern holds special significance for me. I had already done a bit of knitting and designing. I’d even published a pattern or two. But Corona was my first major foray into design, with my first attempts at grading and real concerted efforts to be A Knitwear Designer.

I’ve knit it twice for myself, and once for my sister. It’s served as a fantastic illustrative tool for ease in knitting, and has been modified in many wonderful ways by many knitters. And ultimately I’d like to think it stands in as an example of my own design philosophy. That is: I want people wearing my designs to feel happy and powerful. Like they can create exactly what they want for their own body no matter their age, shape, or size.

Right now on Ravelry there’s over 700 Coronas listed.
Any time I see this, it make me so pleased that I could create something that many knitters have chosen to spend their precious knitting time, energy, and yarn on.

Thanks to everyone; thanks for reading this blog. Thanks for commenting, tweeting at me, interacting on Facebook, purchasing my designs, knitting any of the free ones. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and ideas and projects with me. I appreciate every single one.

And it all started with Corona.

Here’s to seven more years with you all.

Corona: Memory Lane