Moving Day–Round 1

My favorite perch on the beach
My favorite perch at West Beach

I came into work this morning to find boxes. This after having to unpack boxes this weekend at the new place on Orcas. I had a lovely time on the island and I think that what I really wanted was just to stay there—not come back to “reality” of work, politics, life in the city.

It’s a funny thing, I’ve always loved living on the urban side of the pond. Though I feel a change taking place now that I have a home on the island. I feel a bit “displaced” in my city home.

As I stared at the pile of boxes–that were not going to unpack themselves–and the dirty desk (courtesy of the office movers), I knew it was stiff upper lip time, despite not feeling that way. In fact, the only things stiff were my back and shoulders from lifting boxes and weeding the garden. 

That's my buoy!
That’s my buoy! Atta buoy!! It’s a buoy!!! The one far right is the one for my house.
Mount Baker catching the last rays of sunlight after the rest of the hills are in twilight
Mount Baker catching the last rays of sunlight after the rest of the hills are in twilight

I found it a bit lonely out there, but connected with a couple of friends who I will hopefully get to know better as I spend more time at my little slice of heaven at West Beach.

There was not much time for knitting at the house. I did get some done on the ferry and I was thankful for the plentiful natural light on the ferry rides–both ways. I’d been struggling with a Kitchner stitched shoulder seam–seven tries with no success, though I’ve done it several times before–including the other shoulder! Thankfully, on the way over from Anacortes I had it in the bag first (re)try.

A bit of "cancer" on the Hyak ferry between Orcas Island and Anacortes
A bit of “cancer” on the Hyak ferry between Orcas Island and Anacortes

Though the weather and time was lovely, it was tiring too—all the cleaning, packing, unpacking, weeding, etc. only then to have to turn around, come back, go to work and unpack my office after an unnecessary office move which will, in turn, make my job harder.

Water, bars and decking aboard the Hyak on the way to Anacortes from Orcas Island
Water, bars and decking aboard the Hyak on the way to Anacortes from Orcas Island

Still, the scenery was lovely getting to and from the new place as well as while I was there. I got some really great shots—both artsy and not. I also finished a book I was reading in the quiet hours Sunday morning.

The Phoenix moored near the ferry terminal on Orcas Island
The Phoenix moored near the ferry terminal on Orcas Island

The thing I need to remember is that this is temporary and that someday I will rise like a phoenix.

Warm Waffle Mitts

Madelinetosh DK in Cathedral
Madelinetosh DK in Cathedral

Download PDF: Warm Waffle Mitt Pattern

With the funds from some recent vintage yarn sales on Ravelry, I recently purchased 2 beautiful hanks of Madelinetosh DK in Cathedral. What prompted it (besides a closeout sale on that color) was lovely Violet Waffles hat pattern. It looked like it would be perfect for a good winter/spring all-purpose hat.

Violet Waffle Hat
Violet Waffle Hat

When I’d finished and still had a full hank and then some yarn leftover, I thought it would be nice to have a matching pair of fingerless mitts. This inspiration came along after a couple chilly mornings waiting for the bus whilst trying to check for its approach on my cell phone. Mitts are the perfect combo of finger to phone access and woolly goodness.

I searched several times for the features I needed. Nothing out of the ordinary, I thought; just a pattern with the following characteristics:

  • A longish mitt that would go up the arm for extra warmth;
  • Something in a waffle pattern or one that could be converted; and
  • Works well with a DK weight yarn

Easy! Um. No.

Mitts with the Hat
Mitts with the Hat

I could find one or two of these characteristics, but struck out on finding all of them, so like any budding designer, I made my own. The closest was Lettice Weasel’s Slim Fit Stripe Mitt pattern for length and yarn weight, but it didn’t work for the waffle pattern. So I started there and made changes, which led to several more changes to compensate for the first changes, and so on. Rather than a slim fit, I really wanted something a bit more comfortable.

So here it my own pattern for the Warm Waffle Mitts. So good you can easily eat in them.


The gauge swatch
The gauge swatch
  • ½ hank of Madelinetosh DK (~110 yards)
  • 3 stitch markers in contrasting colors (one of one color—two of another)
  • 4 double point (DP) needles in US sizes
  • 4 and 6 or whatever needle enables correct gauge.

Gauge: 22 stitches, 32 rows = 4” square

K – knit
P – purl
M1 – Make one stitch by knitting or purling into the stitch below
DP(s)/ DPN(s) – double point(s), double point needles
rnd(s) – round(s)
st(s) – stitch(es)


Wrist to Thumb
Onto smaller DP needle, cast on 40 stitches. Divide them across three needles. Place a (uniquely colored) marker to indicate rows.
Rows 1-22: work stitches in the round in a K2 P2 rib
Rows 23-24: Change to larger needles and K all stitches
Rows 25-26: work in K2 P2 rib.
Repeat rows 23-26 until you have 30 rows of the waffle pattern (ends on second row of all knitted stitches)

Thumb Gusset
Row 53: K2 make a stitch by purling into the row below and place a marker, P2 and then work in K2 P2 until you are two stitches before the original start/end marker. Place another marker (same color as the first in this row, but different than the original color). Make a stitch by purling into the row below and purl the remaining two stitches. Stitch count = 42, 6 stitches between the two new markers.
Row 54: K2 P2 until the last 3 stitches. Purl the last 3 stitches.
Row 55: K all stitches
Row 56: K3 M1 by knitting into the row below. Move marker and K to marker. Slip marker. M1 by knitting into the row below and K to end. Stitch count == 44, 8 stitches between new markers.
Rows 57-58: K2, P4 work the rest of the row in K2 P2 waffle pattern until you reach the marker. P4.
Row 59: K4, M1 by knitting into the row below, slip marker, K to next marker, K2, M1, K2. Stitch count = 46, 10 stitches between the outside markers.
Row 60: K all stitches
Row 61: K2, P2, K1, slip marker and P2 K2 until you reach the next marker. P2 K1 P2.
Row 62: K2, P2, M1 by knitting into the row below, K1 and follow pattern until you reach the marker. P2 M1 by knitting into the row below, K1, P2. Stitch count = 48, 12 stitches between the markers.
Row 63: K to last marker and transfer all stitches between the markers to a holder—removing all markers.
Row 64: knit the remaining 36 stitches. Placing a marker to keep track of rounds.

Continue to work in the round following the waffle pattern for 14 rounds (should have just completed 2 rounds of K only rounds.
Change to smaller needles and knit in K2 P2 rib for 8 more rounds and cast off in K2 P2 pattern.

Arrange 12 stitches on three DPNs. Start from the last knitted stitch, place marker and pick up two stitches from the hand side of the thumb gusset. K to marker.
Next 2 rows: P4 K2 P2 K2 P2 K2 (4 purls should be on stitches that are between the thumb and hand).
Next 2 rows: K all stitches.
Repeat 4 rows 1 more time.
Cast off (on second knit row)

The Race to Finish a Jumper for Skye

Nick walking on the pier at Broadford
Nick walking on the pier at Broadford

My husband and I have a thing about Scotland. Actually, he does and I’m getting that way after years of visiting with him. While Scotland as a whole is a great place, Glasgow where he was a Visiting Researcher, and the Isle of Skye, where his father took him hiking growing up, have made a lasting impression. So every year or so we go back.

The Isle of Skye is a lovely place and we like to stay at a climber’s hotel, called the Sligachan, which is nestled in the Cuillins where we do most of our hiking. However last year we missed booking it (needs advance booking for high season) and ended up in Broadford. While the hotel smelled reminiscent of an elephant enclosure, there was very good espresso and cheese board (two of our life staples) at café called Beinn na Callich and excellent seafood at the Harbour Restaurant (El Puerta)—both can be reached on foot.

A heron fishing in the evening
A heron fishing in the evening

Across from the seafood place is a tiny little road leading down to the water, which hosts a few artisan shops. One of them is a fabulous wool shop called Handspinner Having Fun.

Blue Faced Leicester DK from Handspinner Having Fun
Blue Faced Leicester DK from Handspinner Having Fun

Since I’m drowning in wool, I tried very hard to avoid the place and rightfully so because they have so much lovely wool (and silk), it is nearly impossible to leave empty handed. As the name implies, they spin and buy wool locally. For instance their Hebridean Wool is from sheep within 2 miles of the shop. I picked up some Blue Faced Leicester dk in a faded denim blue to create a warm, yet lightweight sweater Nick would be able to wear year-round, as opposed to his Orcas Isle Sweater which would sustain him in a Nor’easter.

Chain on the jetty behind our hotel
Chain on the jetty behind our hotel

Nick’s sweater is coming along, albeit slowly, which is why my last blog mentioned I can really only do one major project a year. It would help if I were a bit more monogamous in my knitting, but big projects make me antsy for the feeling that comes with finishing. My goal is complete it so Nick can wear it into the shop when we visit next month. If that’s going to happen I need to get on it! At this rate I’ll be knitting it right up to the door.

I’ll be sure, in May when I visit, to take pictures of the shop.