Piecing together

On Saturday I had a blissful escape day into Toronto, to do some big city shopping and knitterly mingling. It was so great I’m planning a repeat this coming weekend, and made even more appealing by the fact that outside temperatures are showing actual warmth. (That whole plan to knit mittens and dare spring to come seems to be working).


So, naturally, now that spring is coming, I’m finishing a sweater. I’ve been working on the Dusseldorf Aran (pattern by Fiona Ellis) off and on for about two and a half months now, mixed in with all the other miscellaney of knitting and regular life, and it’s been a lovely colour of Ultra Alpaca and the cables are great. The pieces are finished now, and it’s just the blocking and finishing left to do. I’ve been hemming and hawing a bit over whether or not the pleated sleeve cuffs (in progress, below), will be practical in my wardrobe (I imagine this will not be a sweater conducive to, say, washing dishes in the sink), and I see on Ravelry that other knitters have modified their Dusseldorfs to be simple straight tapering sleeves as is more traditional. But the thing is, the pleats are actually sort of fun. You knit, of course, way more fabric than you think you need on a sleeve cuff, plan in some fold lines (thanks, Fiona, for the awesome instructions), and then the pleating row comes along and you fold it all up with DPNs and do a lot of working 3 sts into one, and then you have a pleated cuff. That’s pretty great, man.


I’d gotten up to finishing the body and the first sleeve last week, but was dragging my feet on starting the second sleeve, as one does. Still, I took it as an alternate project with me for transiting into the city (sleeves are eminently portable, as Elizabeth Zimmerman always said) last Saturday.

Therefore, if I’d actually been working on the sleeve while I was sitting knitting away at the random Starbucks I chose to start out my Toronto day last Saturday, it would have been much more perfect when I ended up running into Fiona Ellis herself.


True story. She and her husband (who is just lovely and whose name, I am embarrassed to say, I have now forgotten, I keep wanting to say John but I’m sure that’s not going to be right), were out for Saturday coffee and we ended up chatting for a short while, about knitting and technique and design and all sorts of things. That was pretty darned neat, to say the least. I will, needless to say, now expect to have impromptu coffee chats with notorious knitters on every trip into Toronto, so if the city can get on that for this coming Saturday, that’d be great.

(Oh, and Fiona said blocking makes the pleats even more awesome. Can’t wait.)

Happy knitting!


  1. I have to say one of my all time favourite blog posts of all time was when you ran into the Yarn Harlot at the airport…you must have knitdesigner radar or something!

  2. tinebeest · ·

    Oooh- Toronto eh… Hm, next year’s big conference in my field is held there. I’m still recovering from this year’s escapade, but maybe I should start planning a panel for next year… Then I can bump into famous knitwear designers, too!

    Those pleats are going to be awesome. Yes, they’re not handy when washing dishes (I have a few sweaters with sleeves that are a hindrance to housework), but you’ll just have to wear a different top for that job. Works for me.

  3. Those cuffs are fantastic!

  4. Katinka · ·

    I took a class from Fiona at Stitches West in February — she was delightful. It made me want to knit at least one of the MANY patterns of hers that I have queued. πŸ™‚

  5. wow!! I am star-struck! I can’t help but notice that neither one of them is wearing a stitch of hand-knit … funny.

    I like to knit a sweater this time of year, even though its getting too warm to wear one. Its nice to have a fresh hand knit when I take the winter clothes out of storage the following fall. Its like a present to future-me.

  6. Very cool! Makes me want to go to Toronto again. That photo is even better than an autograph.

  7. I’m under the impression that Toronto is crawling with famous knitterly people. If I ever visit and DON’T meet a notorious knit I’m going to feel let down…

  8. Elizabeth · ·

    I bet the people bumping into you are happy to be bumping into a famous knitwear designer too! πŸ™‚

  9. Flaky – when it’s Toronto’s first 12C day of the year, hand-knits are the last thing on our minds! πŸ˜‰

    But sweater knitting is always welcome!


  10. Star struck for sure. I wonder if Mr. Fiona gets his Saturday coffee interrupted often? Most likely.

  11. Can’t wait to see the sweater when it’s finished.

  12. […] A few days after working up all the finishing on the Dusseldorf Aran, I finally gave it a bath and laid it out for drying/blocking. But it is still a wool/alpaca […]

  13. Fiona Ellis · ·

    Glenna…Mr Fiona’s name is Robert but his dad’s name is John πŸ™‚
    It was wonderful to get to hang out in Starbucks with you.

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