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Maple Leaf Dog Sweater

I’m freezing. I’m always freezing. Makes one wonder about my recent choice to return home to Toronto after a long, sultry spell in New Orleans. The good news (and no surprise) is that Canadians knit. Like crazy.

I’ve been a life-long knitter, braving it out in hot and hostile territory, defying the astonished glances of my fellow New Orleanians as  I plucked away with sticky, sweaty fingers in 100% humidity. It’s only fair that I should find myself smack-dab in the middle of what appears to be the Knitting Capital of the World. There are no fewer than four top-shelf yarn shops within spittin’ distance and I have the depleted bank account to prove it.

A casual stroll in my neighborhood tells the tale. Everyone…men, women, children, babies, old people, new Canadians, even dogs…everyone is wrapped up in fluff. It’s necessary. But we don’t only wear these rich knitties, we make ‘em, sell ‘em and best of all, design ‘em. I recently found this gorgeous scarf pattern on Ravelry“Winter Berries” was designed by Marjorie, a displaced Canadian.

As I posted on Marjorie’s blog earlier today, this is the most enjoyable pattern I’ve worked in ages. It is clear, accurate and beautifully organized according to standard. This little gem is complicated enough to keep me interested, yet logical so it is easy to memorize. There is a mathematical elegance to this pattern that nowadays is found only in vintage knitting patterns. Perhaps this throws back to Marjorie’s background in mechanical engineering.

My Winter Berries

I’d forgotten the joy of knitting with worsted weight yarn. It knits up quickly without being cumbersome and feels easy in my small-ish hands. Faced with a somewhat daunting wall of worsted-weights at my LYS, Romni Wools, I chose to work “Winter Berries” in Cascade 220. Its luxury belies its price at $8.95 per 220 yards. This is a 100% Peruvian Highland Wool that works at 4-1/2 to 5 stitches per inch on my trusty 4.5mm Skacels. From the dozens of colors available, I opted for a muted butter color (#8412), which I think compliments the rather formal elements of Marjorie’s design.

I must admit, I had a moment’s regret when I got the yarn home, but only a moment. Having been on a bit of an Alpaca binge lately, this Highland Wool felt a bit stiff over the first few stitches. Once into the pattern, however, this yarn took on a marvelous sculptural quality which will serve “Winter Berries” very well, particularly the ruffled edge.

Like a great novel, I can’t put this one down. Lucky too! I’ve got 300 yards to go before I’m worthy of my well-swaddled countrymen.

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