Barbara is having a watered down Christmas in July…

Heather does not like this post’s colours…to her they look like watered down Christmas, hence the name of the post.  I was going to do these mittens with the cuff as is and the main part in the green. I made the mistake of asking her opinion in the car and got her honest answer, so I followed her advice and stayed with two colours.  To do otherwise in front of her would have seemed rude.  The stitches are Windowpane Stripes, pg 58 for the cuff and Little Check, pg 21 for the main part of the mitts.  (The beige is not reading correctly in this photo…see the last two hats below for the actual colours)

… I am not all over the colours either, they are just making the best of a bad job these days, but  I almost always actually prefer doing three colours together.  I usually  find it more visually interesting.   I often have a problem when I try to put in a fourth.  Inevitably the fourth will throw off the balance of the first three, or wash out one of them, or make them seem muddy,..the problems quickly mount insurmountably…
The first hat I did was with a ball of brown that I now have a couple of meters left of (and no longer seems to exist), so I went with a beige for the other two hats. I cast on 100 stitches on 4 1/2mm needles using Patons Classic Wool worsted.  I started with the wine colour and did 12 rows of  Twisted Check, pg 20, then joined back into the cast on edge.  I switched to brown and green and used Honeycomb Tweed, pg. 57 for two inches, then switched back to wine and the first stitch for 4 rows.  The main body of the hat is done in brown using Block Stitch or Dice Pattern, pg 19-20 using the seed block stitch, the garter block stitch, the knit/purl block stitch for one repeat each then using Garter and Rib Check, pg 21 before I switched back to  garter block stitch for the

This next hat uses Zig Zag Knotted Rib, pg 43 and Van Dyke Check Pattern, pg 222.  I cast on 97 stitches with straight needles to do the ribbing (4 1/2 mm needles and Patons Classic wool, worsted).  I used the straight needles because I wasn’t sure I could recreate the stitch correctly on a round needle.  I switched onto a round needle and decreased one stitch at the beginning/end of the round before starting the main part of the hat.  I. tried to decrease in pattern but the top was not great, so I put the i-cord rose on the top in the wine and green

This is the last hat I am doing in this colourway, at least for now.  It is a bit of a sampler again.  I cast on 100 stitches with same needle and wool as before and did 6 rows of garter stitch before changing to Tricolor Stripe Pattern – woven version first for one repeat, then two rows of garter stitch and one repeat of the stranded version.  After another two rows of garter stitch I did one repeat of Three Color Tweed, pg 61, then two rows of garter stitch and 12 rows of Semi Woven Tweed, pg 60.

I did the top in just garter stitch, changing the colour after each row.  I used 10 points of decrease and decreased with a purl two together at each on the purl rows (p8, p2tog, etc…).     After the row that gave me 10 stitches left, I did the knit row, then did p2tog around and finished off.  I actually quite like the effect, if I do say so myself.



Village life… babies

gillianknits.comMany of the animals are reproducing.. this colt was born a couple of weeks ago.  His name will start with a C.  The foals are named like hurricanes…one letter at a time and this year is a C year.  We have Canadian horses at the village, a breed that recently celebrated 350 years.  They are hard working and efficient animals. They pull the carryalls as well as all the working wagons at the

This little guy is resting up…he will be creating havoc in a few weeks.  They have just started letting the piglets out during visiting hours.  They are always a huge hit with the young visitors.  When my kids were little, it was the highlight of their day to visit the farm and play with the piglets.  They will be allowed free range until they range too far afield and start destroying things… then they will have to stay in the pig pen.  Last year’s piglets tore up the flower beds at Chrysler Hall the day before they were

This is Princess Charlotte (UCV edition).  She was born just after her royal namesake.  Some Brownies watched her birth and were told they could name her if they could come up with an appropriate name.

Today I saw a mother swallow sitting on her second brood nest in the woolen mill…

..and this little girl is being raffled off in the staffroom to raise money for the staff

Even Barbara gets the blues…

I seem to have entered my blue period the last couple of weeks.  I have just moved from one hat to another on the same three balls of wool (Patons Classic Wool worsted, as usual), replacing them as they run out, making sure that if I change balls, I do it where it is unlikely to show any potential dye lot change.  I am becoming increasingly unhappy with the limited colour palatte that I have available at the place I buy this yarn.  I may be in the market for another brand of wool soon if things don’t pick up.  I think I will stick with worsted weight for the hats though..any suggestions?   I hate fashion,.. my kind of  colours are only “in” once in a while and I have to wade through times where I don’t “get”or “feel” the current colours.  Now seems to be one of those times.  Give me back my pure hues, please, these shades are killing me!

Ok, here we go.  Heather, aka my harsh little critic, was pretty scathing about the concept of this first hat.  When I explained what I was going to do I got “don’t worry, this one will stay in the freezer forever because no one will ever want it”.  When I was photographing them today, she actually put it on…something she rarely does any more and actually came close to admitting it wasn’t terrible…it accommodated her high ponytail completely.  She did say she liked the pattern, which is Stripe and Spot pattern, pg 56 above Basket Rib, pg 17.

spot and stripe pattern

spot and stripe pattern

I completely did not understand these next two colour change patterns when I read the instructions.  The 50 year old black and white photography does not do them justice in the book. I charted them out just to make sure before I started knitting, something I rarely do any more.  For the first one, I used Tricolor Fabric Stitch, pg 56, I also used Basket Welt, pg 17 at the bottom of the hat and Double Basket Pattern, pg 18 at the top of the

The next hat, I used 4 garter stitch rows at the bottom of the hat then did the Double Tricolor Fabric Stitch, pg 57.  I put four more rows of garter stitch, then Elongated Rib Check, pg 18. I was unhappy with the way the decreasing looked at the top so I put one of my I-cord roses on the top (for instructions, click here).

Double Tricolor Fabric Stitch

Double Tricolor Fabric Stitch

For the next hat, I actually started thinking the Squared Check Pattern would stand alone at the bottom of the hat, but it just didn’t look right so I picked up on the cast on edge and knitted four rows of garter stitch in dark blue to set it off, this way I had a live round needle at both edges of the hat:

picking up the cast on edge...

picking up the cast on edge…

still unhappy, and in an i-cord kind of mood from the last hat,  I added an i-cord rope at the bottom edge, then I did four garter stitch rows on the other needle to continue up the hat and firnished off with Swedish Check, pg 20.

My last hat is a pretty simple one with Swedish Block Pattern, pg 19 below Ripple Stripes, pg 55.

ripple stripes

ripple stripes

Just to round things out, I did another baby sweater, using Tamerna Stitch, pg 115 for the ribbing, and Mrs Hunters Pattern, pg 150.  I also used Horseshoe Cable, pg 243 on the

I must say, I am still finding this project endlessly fascinating and I think the stuff I am making isn’t terrible.

Village life….special visitors

Last weekend was spring planting weekend at the village, we had 10 extra teams of horses to help prepare and plant the fields.  Some were retired employees, some international ploughing match entrants.  We are having the ploughing match really near here this fall and the teams are getting in practice.  Luckily Alan came down to the village so he could take some pictures for me as he doesn’t wear a costume.

My favourite visiting horse team was the Wensink twin’s Belgians.

Beautiful Belgians

Beautiful Belgians

I was working in the Louck’s kitchen last Saturday with Barb.  Her 5 year old granddaughter, Hadley, got into costume and spent the day with us.  For obvious reasons she was a huge hit with the visitors.

Churning butter

Churning butter

On Sunday we had a visit from Justin Trudeau, the leader of the Federal Liberal Party, and his family.  They spent the day at the village and apparently enjoyed themselves.  Heather had no idea who he was when he purchased his ticket and rode on the train.

from Justin Trudeau's facebook page...

from Justin Trudeau’s facebook page…

Village life…looking out my windows

I have been in a few different buildings in the last couple of weeks.  A couple of weeks ago we had the Queen’s birthday celebrations.  This picture was taken out of an upstairs window at Cooks Tavern where our village sedentary militia was assembled behind some visiting members of the Brockville Infantry and the Brockville Rifles.

Queen's Birthday

Queen’s Birthday

One thing that is GREAT for me this year is that my daughter, Heather got a summer student’s job at the village.  It is an hour drive in each direction and it is wonderful to have company and someone to drive half the time. She is regularly on the miniature train, but about once a week she is being put in my old building, the woollen mill.  She is obviously comfortable in there as she has known the guys for many years.  My best friend at the village, Lynda has also just replaced me for the summer in the mill. Here is Heather dressed for a day in the mill.  Her dad took these pictures as it would have been much too public for me to.

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Last fall I did a temporary placement in the McDiarmid House, which is hand spinning and weaving.  I am now going to be doing a day in there now and then when the regular artisan is on her days off.  I was in there last week and I couldn’t resist going into the bedroom to take a picture of the young Brownies and Girl Guides as they trooped past.  No pun intended.  Really.

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I made my first (totally passable) rhubarb pie in the bake kettle with no one else around to help me.  I have used bake kettles before, but never without supervision.  I was surprised how well it went and how straightforward it seems to be.  Hopefully it wasn’t just beginners luck.

My first rhubarb pie

My first rhubarb pie…yeah!!!

The bake kettle

The bake kettle after use

Barbara Walker catch up…dolls bed

A while ago I made the coverings for my doll’s bed.  I made them very early on in the project.  I actually stopped because I realized that I wasn’t really making anything but tension squares.

Here is the doll’s bed with all its bits and pieces:

Dolls bed and cradle

Dolls bed and cradle

I have already talked about the blankets in a previous post.  The two bed pillows and the blanket for the cradle were all done using dmc pearl cotton and 1mm needles.  The cradle blanket is Dewdrop Pattern, pg 149.

doll's pillows

doll’s pillows

The white pillow was made of Roman Rib Stitch, and the red one Roman Stitch, from pg 13.

The cradle pillow was made using Ripple Stitch, pg 13, Mettler Quilting thread and 0.75mm needles.

Knitting with sewing thread and 0.75 mm knitting needles

Knitting with sewing thread and 0.75 mm knitting needles

A week in the life of the village-in drag

In drag for a day in the Grist mill

In drag for a day in the Grist mill

I have been moving around the village a bit, things are unsettled in the first couple of weeks as staff shifts around and new people get incorporated.  I had a visit to costuming so I could go into the flour mill in drag.  They had me outfitted in less than five minutes.  There is no real way to interpret around some positions as a woman, so we have to dress in men’s clothes once in a while and I spent that particular day in the grist mill.

costuming department

costuming department

Costuming is always busy in the mornings just before work.  They are standing by for mending, supplying hairpins, last minute re assignments that require special outfits, etc.  Later in the day they often have to outfit large groups of visitors that will be spending time on site in costume as part of their programs-overnight groups of school children and their teachers or girl guide troupes.  Later in the season they have to outfit the kids from the overnight camps.  Thirty kids a week with two complete outfits per child.  They also have a lot of work to do on special event weekends where regular staff need clothes representing people of a higher social class than they usually portray, and visiting extras need to be clothed in period costumes.

I enjoyed my day in the grist mill where they grind a hard, red Ontario spring wheat that is high in gluten and protein.  They produce flour for our on-site bakery and our gift shop as well as a few local bakeries who like the authentic stone ground flour our grist mill produces.  It makes REALLY good bread that usually sells out at our gift shop, sometimes within minutes.

Grist mill interior

Grist mill interior

I spent 4 days in my old job in the woollen mill, then moved into my new position in the cooking unit.  I am at the completely opposite end of the village this summer in the kitchens down on the farms.  I baked my first cake in the wood cook stove and thankfully, it turned out fine..nice and moist and not burned, which had been my fear.  This picture is before I added a brown sugar icing.

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