Monthly Archives: November 2014

Sad story about the cotton crop

I attended a workshop in October 2013 about spinning cotton – on your wheels. It was great fun and I came away with a new passion and respect for cotton as a fibre. We were each given a couple of seeds of Heritage Bush Cotton in our workshop kits. I got a few more seeds from other participants for a total of 6 seeds. I planted then on May 20th and 5 came up. 
They grew nicely and in a short while I transplanted them to a sunny hot corner of the garden. 
They grew slowly and steadily — reaching about 24 – 30 inches in height. 
And then the magic happened. This thing that looks like a folded over leaf is actually the beginning of the blossom. 
See, when I gently fold back the greenery, inside is the beginning of a blossom.

And here it is when it finally bloomed. What is sad is that it took so long to get to the blooming phase that there wasn’t time and heat for the rest of the process. In the rest of the process, the flower gets pollinated, closes up and makes the cotton boll. That didn’t happen. What happened was the cold rains came. The plants valiantly flowered on, but the blossoms just folded up and rotted. 

A few weeks ago we had Arctic outflow winds for several days. In fear that the cotton plants wouldn’t survive the sub-zeros nights and the windchill, I dug them up and brought them in the house. Where they promptly died or went into dramatic dormancy – I am eternally optimistic.

I can’t show photos of that as it is far too upsetting. We’ll see what happens in the spring if they come back. In the meantime, I’m getting more seeds and I’ll plant them in February so they are well on their way by the time the summer heat comes. They really needed another couple of months, I’ll keep trying.

Two new half-mitt patterns

I finally finished writing up the patterns for these half-mitts and finalizing the feedback from the test knitting. There are two of them and they are available for free on Ravelry.

They are first cousins, having a lot of similarity. They have the same thumb gusset, the same 3 x 1 rib set up and coin lace. There are tiny differences which make for slightly different looks, but they are equally difficult/easy.

This one is called Coin Lace Half-Mitt. The coin lace pattern happens every seventh round which makes it look at bit like a cable pattern. It also has a slightly different treatment at the cuff when you get started. Here’s the link: Coin Lace Half-Mitt


This one is called Sitka Spruce Half Mitts – named after the colourway by Sweet Georgia Yarns. The coin lace pattern for this one happens every fifth round making the coin lace look rounder, more like a coin. This pattern also comes with a chart, so if you are new to knitting half-mitts with a pattern and thumb gusset, the chart with help you find your way. Here’s the link for this one Sitka Spruce Half Mitts.

They are so easy to make and only take a 50g skein of fingering or DK yarn. You can easily make several in a week. Thanks to Tina for the test knitting and for all these lovely samples.

I have another pattern under development. So let me know what you think of these and the way I explain things. Happy knitting!

A Fibre & Colour Challenge

At the Langley Weavers and Spinners Guild Annual Artisan Sale I sold my Candygram socks to a fellow artisan. Similarly inspired by the colours in the socks she bought, she asked me if I ever worked on commission.

My answer, “It depends. What are you looking for? Tell me more.”

So she showed me this photo of Turkey Tail Fungus that caught her attention.

It’s pretty amazing stuff in terms of colors and shapes. So I agreed to try to recreate this look and feel into a pair of socks. Crazy challenge in some ways, but so weird and wonderful why not try?

I have a few strategies at hand.

Plan A: easiest one is to over dye a pair a pair of socks that I have on hand. They are pink, orange and yellow – with an over dye of indigo they may just give me the look I’m after.

Plan B: spin a braid of  Sweet Georgia Yarns “Bourbon” but add some burgundy and white bits. Lots of work to spin, ply and knit. But will certainly do the trick.

Plan C: . . . hasn’t been thought through yet. That will involve space dyeing a skein of sock yarn that will do wonderful striping. But that’s Plan C. And we hardly ever get to Plan C right?

But then as I write this and think it through, there is also the wonderful curly element that needs to be considered. I must hit the pattern books to find the right way to describe this. I may even need a Plan D for this project.

Thanks Dawn for the challenge!