Monthly Archives: November 2013

My day job (during tourist season)…

Asselstine Woolen Factory- Upper Canada Village

Asselstine Woollen Factory- Upper Canada Village

I work in the Asselstine Woollen Factory at Upper Canada Village.  I have been working at the village for 7 years, and in the Woollen Mill for 4.  We are a fully operational, water turbine driven woollen mill.  We have all the machinery necessary to make blankets and knitting yarn.  Our spinning jack and our set of 3 carding machines were manufactured in Massachusetts in 1867 and we also have a blanket loom from the 1840’s.

I work with two men, Mark and Ron who maintain (read constantly have to troubleshoot) and run the machinery.  I do the handwork…mending the blankets, tying the fringe on the ends of blankets, etc.  I also run the doubling frame (plying machine) to make the knitting yarn over the lunch hour most days.

Ron in front of a carding machine

Ron in front of a carding machine

Mark at the spinning jack

Mark at the spinning jack

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Some of the things I like about my job:

1) I am paid to talk to people about wool

2) Sometimes I get to knit at work, if I have no blankets to mend or fringe

3) As I mend the blankets, I hear people hit the top of the stairs and say ‘wow’

4) I have not given up hope that Ryan Gosling will visit his family in nearby Cornwall and come for a day trip to the village.  Then he would stand in front of me and say ‘hey girl, would you explain 19th century textile production to me?’

Happy (American) Thanksgiving

oops...there's a turkey on my head

oops…there’s a turkey on my head

We had ours six weeks ago, but I have often thought it must be good to have a holiday to slow down the advance of Christmas.  We are already starting to have Christmas music in the stores.

Heather was trying to stop me from making this hat for ages… ‘It is going to be DUMB, it is the WORST idea you have EVER had…’  She finally decided she wanted to model it so she could instagram a picture of it with ‘my mother has finally gone crazy’ as the caption.

I assembled the bits then put it together.  So far the pieces are only pinned into place because the base hat is too flimsy.  I have decided to make a felted base so it will be more solid.  I didn’t have time to finish it yet.

crocheting the tail onto a coat hanger

crocheting the tail onto a coat hanger

I knitted the tail then crocheted it onto a cut and bent coat hanger.

For the head, I started with 30 stitches for the base, then reduced to 15 for the neck.  I increased to 22 stitches for the head.  To turn the corner, I did 3 sets of 8 short rows across the back of the head which took me up and around.  I finished the head with the beak, which was only 6 stitches.  I then crocheted a waddle under the chin.

make 2 wings and put quilt batting between

make 2 wings and put quilt batting between

For the wing, I made two wings then stuffed them with quilt batting and sewed them together.

I will retake the picture of the finished hat when I have the felted base ready.

Let it snow…

Jane with snowflakes

Jane with snowflakes

We had a LOT of snow overnight and all of a sudden we are living in a winter wonderland again,,,until the snow gets dirty anyway.  I love seasons.

This is a hat I always thought worked out OK.  I was waiting for snow to show it.  I like how the variegated adds a bit of interest.  I also think the i-cord rose is nice in the variegated.  See instructions for rose.  And of course you can’t go wrong with off white to show off the cabling…

Top view

Top view

Elegant fireworks…i-cord ropes

Heather in Elegant Fireworks...i-cord edition

Heather in Elegant Fireworks…i-cord edition

This, the 3rd edition of the elegant fireworks series. (see the first and second) (and I STILL haven’t finished the balls of eyelash yarn!).  This one uses i-cord to make a rope effect around the bottom and top.

I knit the basic hat casting on 104 stitches and doing a k2, p2 with a fake cable every 4th row (k2tog then knit first stitch again on each of the k2’s).  I stopped when I had decreased to 18 stitches to make the top

To make the i-cord rope along the cast on edge, I used the eyelash yarn and with the first colour, I picked up and knit into the first 3 stitches along the cast on edge, then used them to make a 3 stitch i-cord for 12 rows.  I reduced to one stitch with a  slip one, k2tog psso. I left this while I worked with the other two colours.  I used the next 3 cast on stitches to make an i-cord with the second colour, then reduced to one stitch and left it too.  I used only 2 stitches from the cast on edge and picked a stitch up between them for the third colour and made a third 12 row i-cord

attach third colour into place

attach third colour into place

I then took the first i-cord and brought it in front of the other two and picked up into the next two cast on stitches and made a new I-cord.  I then brought the second colour over and in front and picked up two stitches…I continued until I had gone around and joined into the beginning,

For the top, I did the same technique, using live stitches instead of picking up from the cast on edge.  For the first i-cord of each colour, i used two live stitches and picked up a third between them.

More twisting and twirling

Meg in one with frost flowers

Meg in one with frost flowers

Here are two more hats I made with Bernat Twist and Twirl.  My mum saw me making the other hats.  She thought this meant I really liked the yarn, so she bought me two more balls…gee, thanks mum.  I made these hats then I made a scarf to use up the rest and wear with the hats.  The nice part…hardly any frills! …lol

Sarah in the other hat

Sarah in the other hat

Flags

Meg had the right t-shirt to go with this one...

Meg had the right t-shirt to go with this one…

I had a very short-lived phase where I was going to do flags.  I did the Union Jack first.  I then did the Quebec fleur-de-lis.  I had big plans to go on to other ones, but I got sidetracked after these two.

Jay with the fleur-de-lis

Jay with the fleur-de-lis

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Just the hat…union jack

Here comes Peter Cottontail

Sarah in a fluffball hat

Sarah in a Bunny Tails hat

This yarn is called Bunny tails by Loops and Threads.  I couldn’t resist its weirdness…and it was on supersale … it may be discontinued…go figure!  This is the best I could do with it and I couldn’t really think of anything else to try. I remember that I did try putting them closer together, but it didn’t look any good either so I ripped it out to get my normal yarn back.   I used virtually none of the ball, so I have lots left  if I ever want to try again.  These novelty yarns often go on for hat after hat.  I remember a spinning instructor saying “really good knitting can sometimes hide really bad spinning”.  I think that bad hats can sometimes appear not so bad with a good model like my niece Sarah.