Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Trials and Tribulations of the Hat for the Mr.

The two photographs below present Hat Version 1 and Hat Version 2. At first glance they look identical and for the most part they are identical. I used the same width of ribbing, the same open staggered increases and decreases and the same bottom up construction. The key difference is the size. This is not a lesson in the importance of checking your gauge (I think sometimes you need to and sometimes you don't!) but in the possibility for a well-considered knitting project to still turn up something unexpected.

For this project I did check my gauge and I calculated the amount of stitches per inch and worked out the size accordingly. I even calculated for the stretch of the knitting at about 10% and so made the hat 10% smaller than the measurements indicated.

This is where I went wrong because the knitting was much stretchier than I calculated it at. I did think at first that this was due to the difference between a relaxed and a tight tension. But after thinking it over for a while I don't think this would account for such a great difference in measurements. The lesson here is the difference between gauge measured flat and when measured stretched. Unfortunately this little issue did not present itself during the making of the hat.

The hat was tried on many times during construction (with a patient Mr' wearing knitting needles on his head) and it fit just nice. But when I took it off the needles and bound off, it turned out about 4 inches too big! So after a couple of heartbreaking moments I resolved to undo the hat and start again. Because I chose bottom up construction I had to go back right to the beginning. I also discovered I finish things too well, as it took ages to find the ends I had so nicely woven in!

Remaking the second time was much faster because I: a) knew what I was doing and b) the hat was 4 inches smaller. This time the hat fits perfectly and does not make the Mr. look silly. Since I was remaking, I also took the liberty of curving the decreases at the top in a slightly more so as to reduce the bulk of fabric at the top of the head.

Hat Version 1. Sad Hat.

Hat Version 2. Happy Hat.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


It's been cold here, but not too cold as long as you have plenty of knitwear (which, surprise surprise, I do!)

There have been a couple of good snowflake falls but my camera doesn't like to photograph very small white things

But you can see how delicate and lovely the snowflakes have been

We've had some magnificent ice-formations on our windows too

And a very cold door-handle to the balcony

I love the early mornings on cold days how the air hangs over the St Laurence River and all the building thermostats are working very hard to keep it lovely and warm indoors

Sunset through foggy windows reflecting off the building opposite made it glow and amazing orange colour

Clear blue skies in winter makes it seem so much better. This was the moon in the daytime a week ago

What happens when the snowflakes don't fall on my windowsill where I can photograph them...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Bird Watching

We finally got some interesting bird action here last month when what looked like a Hawk came and sat on the opposite building at sunset. Unfortunately the light was fading and it was starting to snow, so we didn't get a clear look.

But from the photo you can see the bird has a short probably hooked beak and a white breast and underside of tail.

Then about a month later I looked out the window to see another big brown bird sitting on another building, surveying the terrain. Not a pigeon was to be seen.

I managed to snap this photo just as it was taking flight. It has a huge wingspan and is really amazing to see in flight. It flew almost past my window :)

Then today I looked up and saw the bird again!

Today we had plenty of action as a Crow tried to scare it off by dive bombing and sweeping past really close.

But the Hawk didn't care. He just watched the crow nonchalantly fly past. The Hawk sat there happily looking around for at least 45 minutes before he flew off. A few minutes later I saw a large number of crows flying really sporadically much further down the street. I think it must have been the Hawk causing a ruckus.

I wonder if it is the same bird. I've read though this list at the Hawk Migration Association of North America and can't work out what it is. It looks like the Red-tailed Hawk, apparently the most common one in North America.

Monday, February 7, 2011


I've got some new books in recent months so I thought I'd share them with you.

The Black Apple's Paper Doll Primer by Emily Winfield Martin:
I brought this book for myself for my Christmas present. Its lovely. There is a few customisable paper people in the back where you can paper doll yourself. This I want to try. I think I'll have to make myself wearing a grey cardigan and red shoes with bows on them. Then I'm going to make a paper doll of the Mr and possibly the pet rabbit I want to have but don't. Then maybe I'll keep going and make a small village with a grocery store and a pet shop...

Jane Austen's Sewing Box: Craft Projects & Stories from Jane Austen's Novels by Jennifer Forest:
I got this book for myself for Christmas too. It has interesting history, contemporary illustrations and projects from the novels. Like who knew what a 'huswife' was? Now you can make one... I was very inspired by the little handbags.

Handmade Living: A Fresh Take on Scandinavian Style by Lotta Jansdotter:
This is for inspiration for my own apartment when I finally get to live in it. The Mr. and I are very particular, having several degrees in architecture between us but can agree that this is a very nice table. The Swedish meatballs in this book are also highly recommended to carnivorous friends.

Eat Love: Food Concepts by Eating Designer Marije Vogelzang
This is for school but its a fun book to look at. You will never see eating quite the same way again. You can check out her website which has lots of interesting stuff and a link to a talk she gave on her philosophy. Its good stuff.

Creative Paper Cutting: Basic Techniques & Fresh Designs for Stencils, Mobiles, Cards & More edited by Shufunotomo:
And this book which was also a Merry Christmas to me present. It has really lovely photographs of the paper cuts. I haven't made any yet, but the deer are very inspiring.

The Artful Bird: Feathered Friends to Make + Sew by Abigail Patner Glassenberg:
I also brought this book for my happiness present (the present you buy for yourself cause it makes you happy). Its nice. I think I need to make the wren or the lark with its nice tail. I think a peacock would be great or maybe an elegant grey dove. The penguin was love at first sight.

The Art of The Table: A Complete Guide to Table Setting, Table Manners, and Tableware by Suzanne von Drachenfels.
They weren't joking when they called this a complete guide. I never knew there were so many different types of forks! This one is for school too (i'll tell you what for later on!)...