Defarge Does Shakespeare

Guess what? There’s a new book out today with a pattern from me. Remember how Marilla’s Shawl was in What Else Would Madame Defarge Knit? Well today I’ve got Desdemona’s Handkerchief in Defarge Does Shakespeare!  Servant_DesdemonaHandkerchief_001

This lace and intarsia handkerchief was inspired by the one that caused so much trouble in Othello. This one was knit in Pima Lino Lace from Diamond.

And if you want, it’s easy enough to use a worsted weight wool (Cascade 220 here) and turn it into a blanket:

Desdemona's Handkerchief by Natalie Servant (Defarge Does Shakespeare from Cooperative Press


Go have a look at some of the other 29 designs in the book! And then you can go & order one from Cooperative Press. The e-book is available now & the print book will be out soon.

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Sunday spinning update: more than half way

I finished up the bobbin of “Paris” from Southern Cross Fibre this week:


I held off on the desire to ply it right away to see how it looks and started in on the coordinating “Eiffel Tower” BFL instead. I’m only about a quarter finished, but I’m squeezing in minutes here and there for spinning, finally.


I’m not sure if I’ll get the singles finished this week, but I’m confident that I’ll make progress.

This past week was March Break here and I was working. This meant that the kids went to a city-run March Break camp. The week began with a chorus of “I don’t want to go to camp!” and finished with them going quickly to the gym to join in whatever game was happening. Between the games, crafts, and baking I think they had a good time.

For some reason I had this idea that camp would somehow free up time in my schedule. Instead I found that leaving home earlier meant getting to work earlier, working a little more than a usual day, getting the kids later, and getting home later. There was no extra time. I found a little bit only by getting up a half hour earlier on a couple of days.

Next week is a regular school week and I’ll have to work a little bit tonight to make sure all the agendas, shoes, recorders (for music class), and library books all find their way back into the appropriate school bag. Despite all that I’m looking forward to the slightly reduced working hours which will theoretically give me more time to knit and spin!

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Sunday spinning update

I’m back spinning again this week, and it’s still feeling good. I’ve got the nerve to start in on some wool that I have plans for. A little while ago David at Southern Cross Fibre came up with some lovely colours for a Roaring Twenties collection. I bought 4oz each of BFL in Paris (a multi-coloured beauty) and Eiffel Tower (a dark grey that coordinates with Paris). I’m still not sure exactly what’s going to happen when they’re turned into yarn, but I have an idea in my head of a shawl with these coordinating yarns.

It’s taken me a while to figure out how I wanted to work with this fiber, but I settled on splitting up Paris so the colour repeats are shorter and then chain plying to keep the colours solid. And then when it’s yarn I’ll have to play with it to see how it all looks when knit.

In any case, I’m almost done with the spinning of Paris. Here it is:

Southern Cross Fibre - Paris

And I’m not going to ply any time soon. The next thing I’ll be doing is spinning up Eiffel Tower while my fingers remember how I spun Paris!

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March yarnie: Indigodragonfly

This month’s Canadian Art Deco Knits pattern is the Shawinigan Scarf. I used 2 skeins of Indigodragonfly Merino Nylon Sock yarn and I’m in love with how the subtle colours in the mainly-grey yarn add depth to the finished object.

Shawinigan Scarf by Natalie Servant, uses Indigodragonfly Merino Nylon Sock yarn (2 skeins)

I don’t remember exactly how I learned about Indigodragonfly yarn, but about 5 years ago I bought my first skein of lace weight in the colour “My Name is Indigo Montoya”. If you’re a good friend of mine there’s a strong chance that you’ve had to put up with my frequent references to The Princess Bride. I love this movie and I still enjoy watching it. I couldn’t resist the lovely colour with this particular movie reference.

Over the years I’ve collected & knit with other Princess Bride-named yarns from Indigodragonfly  like “Have Fun Storming the Castle” and “Never Go Up Against a Sicilian When Death Is On The Line”. It hasn’t stopped there, though. I keep seeing Kim & Ron at trunk shows and yarn shows and it seems like I am always buying their yarn! The colours are fabulous, the names are great, and the yarn is very squishable. Sign-ups for their annual Smart-Ass Knitters/World Domination Club are currently open (only until March 15th), if you’re interested in getting excellent yarn + interesting patterns bi-monthly.

Here’s a quick recap of the designs that I’ve done with Indigodragonfly yarn:

Clover Shawl: This green Merino Silk Lace in Sicilian was something that I wanted to use as a fun way to play with shawl construction. The instructions are written for square, rectangular and V-shaped shawls. I made the V with this lace yarn.


Wrapped Ribs: I’d bought a couple of skeins of Yak!Bam! on a whim with no particular pattern in mind. One of them because this luscious soft cowl. You can tell it was for me because this is exactly the kind of green that I’m addicted to.


Père Lachaise Shawl: I bought the yarn specifically for this design with the aged gates of the Père Lachaise cemetery in mind. I used 3 skeins of sport weight Octobaa in “Don’t Blink”.

Père Lachaise Shawl by Natalie Servant - sport weight Octobaa from Indigodragonfly

And since I tend to do my shawls in multiple weights I also used my long-hoarded skein of Merino Single Lace in Tardis for the lace weight version:


Khufu was an idea that came to me when I should have been working on something else. The idea wouldn’t let go. I wound up a skein of lovely Merino Silk 4 ply sock as soon as my project was off the needles and this happened:


Thanks to Francine for being my frequent model! I can see from this recap that I clearly need to visit the Indigodragonfly booth at the next possible opportunity. The projects that I’ve made don’t do justice to the wide range of colours they have available! Perhaps I’ll finally give in to the urge to get some What the Hay, despite the ridiculous amount of yellow that’s already in my stash.

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Saturday spinning update: a skein!

I’ve finally finished spinning up the “Twelve” – a 75/25 blend of Polwarth and Tencel from Southern Cross Fibre. My back’s slowly been getting back to normal, although I may have pushed it a little bit on the weekend to get this skein done:

Twelve - skein of 3 ply spun from Southern Cross Fibre's Polwarth/Tencel blend

I’ve got about 155 yards of 3 ply in 96g. I also chain-plied the leftovers and I’ve got about 36 yards in 13g. The yarn is all soft and squishy and has the shine from the Tencel. This was a fun spin.

I don’t know how much spinning I’ll be able to handle over the next week, but I’m trying to take it slowly. My health is important and being able to sit this week without pain has been fabulous.

In family news we’ve been as busy as usual, although with March Break happening soon some of the sports activities are wrapping up for a few weeks. Zoé’s persevered through her volleyball classes & wants to try another round.

I’m looking forward to spring, but we’re still getting a fair amount of cold weather. One particularly cold morning Sam was downstairs early but he was only wearing a t-shirt with pants. When I asked why he wasn’t wearing a warmer top he told me that he’d got dressed in the dark. I wasn’t able to get a useful explanation for that. At least he’s puzzling me in less destructive ways at the moment.

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Canadian Art Deco Knits: Shawinigan Scarf

It’s March, and that means it’s time for the third pattern in my year-long pattern collection. The Shawinigan Scarf was inspired by the Shawinigan Building, an Art Deco skyscraper in Montreal. I could tell from a distance that the building was from the right era.

600 Rene Levesque, Montreal (c) Sandra Cohen-Rose and Colin Rose

(c) Sandra Cohen-Rose and Colin Rose

It quickly turned into an idea for a double knit scarf. Then I had to dig around a bit to find out a little bit more about the building. The key was knowing that the street name used to be Dorchester. Searching on the address I found that the building used to be referred to as the Shawinigan Building. The Shawinigan Water and Power Company and its affiliates had offices here.

I used two full skeins of fingering weight yarn (Indigodragonfly’s Merino Nylon Sock) to make this and then forced my whole family to drive downtown on a cold day to take photos:


And here it is turned around (because double knitting is reversible) on Francine:

Shawinigan Scarf by Natalie Servant

Not sure about double knitting? It’s a fun technique that results in a doubled fabric. As done in this pattern, it requires knowing how to knit and how to purl. The difference between double knitting and ribbing is that you’re working with two colours of yarn and for each pair of stitches (one stitch for each side of the work) you usually knit with one colour and then purl with the other.

You can get the individual Shawinigan Scarf pattern on Ravelry for $5 (USD).

Canadian Art Deco Knits by Natalie Servant

The Canadian Art Deco Knits e-book is $25 (USD) and will include 12 different patterns by the end of 2015.


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Yes, I’m still knitting

This is my current work-in-progress:


I take my knitting almost everywhere. You never know when you’re going to get an opportunity to get the time to work a few rows. I manage a few in the morning if lunches are made and there aren’t any urgent things to be done. I’ve also managed a few rows at work in a power outage and I’ve been thankful for my knitting at unforeseen visits to the doctor.

In my daily routine the time when I consistently get to knit is the 10 minutes just before my children get out of school. I leave work and I usually have time to sign at the office then wait for the kids to show up. I sit and knit while the youngest children parade by on their way to the buses. The little kids usually look at what I’m doing with interest while the older kids just file on by.

Today, however, I became boring to at least one little 4 year old girl. She looked at me knitting, poked her friend, pointed at me, and said, “Again!” The tone, though, was what made me laugh out loud. It sounded like she’d decided I was a crazy knitting lady.

I expect all of the parents there to think of me as the eccentric mother who knits all the time, but now one of the little ones feels the same. I’m content because I’m relaxing and getting something accomplished in those few minutes after work. It’s a great transition into the family part of my evening. I’m embracing my oddness.

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Sunday spinning update: a very little bit of spinning

I’m encouraged this week by the progress I’m making in getting my back back to normal. I’ve got a couple more sessions scheduled with the chiropractor, but if this keeps up I may not need them.

In the spirit of taking it slow & easy, I’ve done a very little bit of spinning to celebrate my progress. It’s the same bobbin as before. I’m still working on the first third of this bit of fiber.


One thing that kept us pretty busy last week was a party for our daughter. We have a 10 year old! I’m still having trouble believing that. The party was a riot of sugar-fueled games including hide and seek and a pillow fight in the basement (once it became clear that Zoé’s room was too small for a 7 person pillow fight).


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A knitting request I couldn’t refuse

I’m relieved to say that although my spinning has been sadly neglected due to my back issues, I have been knitting. In the middle of all of my deadline knitting I had a request from my daughter. She’s been wearing an old purple mistake rib hat that I made her ages and ages ago. One day she told me that a friend of hers would like one too.

That was enough for me to take action. We went off to the yarn store & picked up a skein of purple worsted weight yarn. Then I started having doubts. Although I didn’t know exactly what I’d used to make the hat, it seemed more like aran weight yarn. I went back to the yarn store and exchanged the yarn for a skein of Aztec, by James C. Brett. I used this for the red version of Suzanne and I already knew that it was a fairly easy care yarn.

After a little comparison counting, I cast on 64 stitches. It worked up quickly. I changed the decreases up a little bit from the last time that I made this hat, but it’s not rocket science. Plus the nature of the pattern hides any imperfections.


The hat has now gone off to live with its new owner and has been seen in the wild (ok, on the way to the school bus) at least once.

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February yarnie: Sweet Paprika Yarns

This month’s second yarnie is Sweet Paprika Yarns. This delightful yarn company was formed by a pair of sisters in Montreal. I’ve admired their yarns at shows for a few years now. I bought some lovely DK weight yarn from them a while back, but I can’t show you that just yet because it turned into a different pattern! I can show the lovely selection of yarn that you might see if you happen by their booth at a festival:

Sweet Paprika booth, Twist Fiber Festival

If you aren’t lucky enough to visit the yarn in person, you can visit the Sweet Paprika Ravelry group instead.

I chose the delicate Café au Lait colour in Messa di Voce for the fingering weight version of the Hockey Scarf. It reminded me of the yellow bricks of Maple Leaf Gardens in the shade. I love how this drapes in a lighter weight yarn – but it’s still got the squish factor from the thickness of the fabric:

Hockey Scarf by Natalie Servant in Sweet Paprika Yarns Messa di Voce (Café au Lait)

Sweet Paprika yarns will be making a return to my Canadian Art Deco Knits ebook later this year. I’ve got two versions of October’s hat to share with you: DK weight and fingering weight.

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