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.

image (40)

A week in the life of the village–opening week

A few weeks ago, we set up the houses at work for the season.  Every year all the antiques are taken out of the buildings and stored for the winter.  The houses are cleaned top to bottom, the carpets rolled up and the furniture draped in protective tyvek.  We come back in the spring, clean again, return the antiques to their places and set everything up for the season.  I took a before and after shot of one room, sorry the after shot is a little overexposed.  This is the sitting room at the Loucks farmhouse.

....before

….before

...after

…after

On that same day a few weeks ago, I snapped a shot of the back street of the village just as everyone was leaving work.  It does NOT look like your typical 1860’s street scene!

...before

…before

Today, I left my building a few minutes early so I could get a shot from pretty much the same place of a few of the same people leaving work.  It looks a little different (as well it should!)

....after

….after

For this shot, I was standing just beside the rock in the picture above.  I remember once a few years ago when Alan drove me to work and I had stuff to move between buildings.  He was horrified when I made him drive through the village in a car.  I must admit, I like to walk round the village before work sometimes and the bucket lifts and pickup trucks do nothing to enhance the experience, let me tell you.  Luckily for the visitors, we do everything we can to help them have an authentic 1860’s experience during opening hours.

Barbara Walker…week 10

Wow, it is a big book…but I am not going to cave…yet.  I am learning a lot while I do this project.  I thought, after 50 years of knitting, 40 of which I would call myself a fairly active knitter, that I would have pretty much covered knitting.  I was wrong.  I guess sometimes before, I would just reject stitches willy nilly.  Now, with this project, I am not allowed to.  For those of you that don’t know, I am trying to design (ooo.. did I just call myself a designer?) knitted items using the stitches as they present themselves in a book that was published a couple of years after I started knitting, A Treasury of Knitting Patterns by Barbara Walker, 1968.  It has 500+ stitches in it.  My ‘rule’ is that I can use one or more stitches from any chapter or combination of chapters, but it must be the next stitch after the previous one I used in that chapter. I can, of course, throw in stockinette stitch and/or garter stitch whenever I feel the design requires it, otherwise things may get a little busy.  Not that I am usually averse to busy.  I am sure no one is keeping track, but there are some UFO’s (say it ain’t so, gill) and a couple of things I put in my knitting guild’s annual challenge, which I will show you next week when I get them back that represent some in between stitches.

first attempt

first attempt

back of first slouch

back of first attempt

This week was not a very productive week, partly because I have another baby sweater almost finished and the two hats I did finish have patterns that eat stitches for breakfast.  I hope it is obvious I was going for rasta-style hats here.  Last time, I did the colours, this time the shape.  I can’t say Barbara didn’t warn me that these stitches (Waffle stitch or Rose Fabric, pg 129 – purl version on the first hat and seed stitch version on the second hat) spread laterally, making a wider piece than you would expect.  She wasn’t kidding.  The first one is large and you would need a major set of dreds to fill it out.  I reduced the number of stitches by 10% (from 110 to 100) on the second one and it doesn’t seem to be that much smaller.  It took me a LONG time to get used to this stitch and, like lace, you have to go back stitch by stitch for a couple of rows before you recover your place if you have to rip back.  Which I did.  Several times.  The decreasing is weird because you keep knitting into the row below and collapsing the fabric, so the decreases become compressed.

second attempt

second attempt

back of second attempt

back of second attempt

I also used Mock Wave Cable, pg 115 on the first hat and Figure Eight Twisted Ribbing, pg 43 on the second hat.  Back to work today.  I am in the mills this week but next week I am joining the cooking unit, a change is a good as a rest as they say.  I will miss the guys, but I love new challenges.

Barbara Walker…week 9

Only two items this week…I haven’t really made baby sweaters since my kids were babies.  And we all know they are not that any more.  There are only two kids in the next generation so far and my sister Jane is a knitter herself, so there was no real point.  Gotta say, hats are WAY easier….there are so many more stitches in this sucker than any hat.  Also way more design choices, potential problems.  Having to rip back a few times only adds to the psychological issues.  I probably should have aimed for newborn size instead of the second size, less knitting….BUT, I used three whole stitches from “THE BOOK” (A Treasury of Knitting Patterns. Barbara Walker. 1968).  Wheat Ear Rib, pg 43, Cloverleaf Eyelet Pattern, pg 169, and Eccentric Cables, pg 241.  I thought I had been making too many hats, and I needed to leave my wheelhouse for a bit.  I have made over 200 hats without patterns now and I make design choices almost automatically, for good or ill.  It almost never takes longer than walking to the kitchen to make a coffee to get me unstuck anymore.  Also, I couldn’t figure out how the wheat ear rib would be done in the round.  I think I have figured it out, but I thought it was cheating if I wasn’t sure it was the same stitch exactly.  I have to follow my own arbitrary, fictitious rules on this project, after all.  gillianknits.com

I have an issue at the back of the collar.  We are going to Toronto this week to pick the kids up from university, so I will try to visit the only grandniece I have and see how bad the problem is.  I am pretty sure I can jury rig it easily enough.  I am pretty vigilant these days about writing down the hat patterns, but I figured this was a dead loss and I quit writing it down somewhere near the middle of the raglans.  I am not really fussed about the look of the raglan edge, but better done than perfect as someone used to say.  A lot.

...a wam hug

…a wam hug

On our way home from Quebec City, we stopped in Plessisville at the Brassard et Fils weaving supply store  Near the cash they had this (sadly discontinued) Misti Cotton which is a blend of pima cotton and silk.  It felt so soft I couldn’t leave it there, so I bought three skeins.  I immediately knew that I wanted to make neck warmers with it.  I also knew that I had to break into the cable chapter, so I did this to use up a whole bunch of different cables.  I started at the bottom of the collar part with Classic Mock Cable, pg 115 and Four Stitch Cable Crossed Every Fourth Row, pg. 241.  Just before the collar part finished, I turned around as if to do a short row so that I flipped back and front.  I continued down the yoke part turning the mock cable into 4 x 4 cable then 6 x 6 cable.  I turned the 4 x 4 cable into 6 x 8 cable then 8 x 10 cable.  I was just trying to constantly increase as I went along.  I had measured and knew that I had to end up with about 2 1/2 times as many stitches at the bottom of the yoke as I had on the collar part.  I created new cables between the old ones which started as mock cables and transitioned into 4 x 4’s. At some point I was REALLY glad I wasn’t trying to follow someone else’s pattern instructions because I would have had to think too much.   With the baby sweater, this takes care of all the simple cables….yeah!  And it feels like a warm hug so, double bonus points.

Barbara Walker… week 8

Jah Rastafari

Jah Rastafari

Heather was home last week between classes and exams.  She mentioned that she will be going to a scout moot next weekend with the theme “Reggae vs DIsco”.  I immediately thought “do I have a stitch for you!”.  I knew this, Tricolor Wave Stripes, was the next stitch in Chapter Four, Color-Change Patterns.  It may have been good  to do another slouch, but it is difficult to get slouchy with such a dense stitch.

My next hat went from COLOUR! back to white, It uses Basketweave from Chapter Two, simple Knit-Purl Combinations and Braided Rib from Chapter Three, Ribbings.

Braided Rib and Basketweave

Braided Rib and Basketweave

I tried my best to stay in the pattern as I decreases at the top, but it was difficult to maintain the integrity of the stitch whilst decreasing the number of stitches per pattern repeat.  I don’t mind the top, but I think the basketweave got lost.

disappearing the basketweave

disappearing the basketweave

My last hat of the week uses Reverse Cross-Stitch Ribbing in combination with Mock Cable Rib (as suggested in the book).  I also broke into Chapter Nine, Eyelet Patterns with Zigzag Eyelet Pattern below the Simple Eyelet Pattern.

gillianknits.com

I played a bit with the top from last week.  Disappearing 14 stitches toward each other in four sections.  This time when I got to the top of this part, I continued up with slip 1, knit 2 together, psso to the top.  Not actually that much different than the top last week’s hat.

disappearing eyelets

disappearing eyelets

I didn’t get too far this week because my knitting guild challenge is due tonight and I had to finish up my entries on the weekend. My entries are very much also-rans this year, but someone has to lose, right?

 

 

Barbara Walker….week 7

Black and white sampler-side view

Black and white sampler-side view

For these first two hats, I cast on 108 stitches using Patons Classic (worsted weight) wool and 4 1/2 mm needles.  I like 108 stitches if I am doing something that pulls in a bit, like cables or colour work.  108 has a lot of ways to be divisible 3 x 36, 4 x 27, 6 x 18, 9 x 12. For more ordinary tension stitches, I usually cast on about 100 stitches, which covers stitch repeats of 4 or 5 nicely. or 98 or 105 for a stitch repeat of 7, 102 for stitch repeats of 6..  These first two hats used 9 different stitches, all from Chapter 4, Color-Change Patterns.  For the first hat I started at the bottom with Pin Stripe Pattern.  I did a total of 14 rows of each colour, then joined back in to the cast on edge.  I continued up the hat with Three-and-One Tweed, Corn on the Cob Stitch, Pin Check, Pin Check Variation, and finished with Waffle Check. I separated each section with a knit row, then a purl row of black.  I like how the hat fits and it is really cozy and warm…not that we need THAT any more this year, YEAH!!.  Here is the top of that first one:

Black and White sampler-top view

Black and White sampler-top view

I liked how the pinstripe looked, but I felt the band could be less puffy.   I experimented on the second hat and did 7 rows of knit 1, purl 1 ribbing before doing 8 rounds of each colour in the pinstripe pattern and joining back to the cast on edge.

Another black and white sampler

Another black and white sampler

I continued up this hat with Maltese Cross Stitch, Waffle Check Variation, and finished with Dotted Ladder Pattern.  I did a two stage decrease at the top, and I liked the effect (for each quarter of the hat, I decreased on 2/3 of the stitches with the decreases heading toward each other, then when these stitches were gone, did the same thing on the remaining stitches).

Another black and white sampler...top view

Another black and white sampler…top view

I was pleased with how that looked, so decided to do the same basic thing on my next hat, this time doing half the stitches first, then the rest, but without the visual distraction of the colours.

Quaker ridging slouch hat-back view

Quaker ridging slouch hat-back view

I like how this top looks, but unfortunately maybe not on the hat I did.  I used Little Hourglass Ribbing from Chapter 3, Ribbings for 14 rows, then switched to Quaker Ridging from Chapter 2, Simple Knit-Purl Combinations.  As I was knitting this hat, it struck me that it was a pretty flexible stitch and the purl sections might roll up like my socks from a couple of weeks ago, so I thought it might work well as a slouch hat, which I did.

Quaker Ridging slouch hat-side view

Quaker Ridging slouch hat-side view

Heather and my friend Jen both liked the slouch thing, so I decided to do another using Cross-Stitch ribbing and Banded Insertion Pattern.

Banded Insertion Pattern-side view

Banded Insertion Pattern-side view

J decided for this one to just let the stitch itself tell me how to reduce it, even though I still have some ideas related to the last cast off.  I will save them for the future.  I have made notes so I don’t forget.  I quite like how the back turned out.

Banded Insertion Pattern-back view

Banded Insertion Pattern-back view