Pioneer Tavern Road

I hope everyone has been having a spectacular New Year, and the holiday season has been good to everyone. Somehow I always feel like the holidays should be more relaxing and productive than they end up being. But I have had a chance to. Do a little bit of fibre related fun.
One of my colleagues has lent me her spinning wheel! I know I’ve mentioned before that I do make yarn on a drop spindle from time to time, but I have never used a spinning wheel. She gave me and another friend a lesson on it, and has let me borrow her wheel for a little while. I think I am starting to get the hang of it now. I have been spinning up this lovely orange yarn that is a mix of merino and silk. The silk is shiny and white through the orange dyed merino, so I’ve started calling the yarn creamcicle.
Here are some pictures from the ‘spinning adventure’





And like a creature from the black lagoon I have found my way back to the bog…I mean…blog, with really bad puns.

I get those from my father.

I get a lot of stuff from my father. Genetics, migraines, a love of history, a hard time…and a love of music.

My father tends to like what we now call “classic rock” although I guess he may have just called it “rock” in the past…him being…classic and all.

He has always introduced me to classic rock, which led me to my own discovery of music and my metaphoric introduction to Joni Mitchell somewhere along the way. I think she is fabulous and her lyrics can make me cry. (I’d say they speak to my soul, if I didn’t think you’d classify me as melodramatic.)

Anyways, I’ve got a nifty little Joni Mitchell inspired headband pattern to share with Y’all! (I’m wearing my cowboy boots at the moment so I feel entitled to pretend to be western although the closest I’ve come to a cow or a horse in the last decade would be the commute down Highway 11 from work to home or the cottage.)

Joni :  JoniPattern

Happy Knitting!



It has been raining on and off all day today, so I’ve set about creating some art inspired by the present state of the weather. It has been a while since I’ve drawn anything, and it was nice to feel the urge to draw something.

I’ve learned a new word today. The word petrichor refers to the aroma that comes along with the rain. I never knew there was a word for that particular smell. If you’re interested in learning more words that describe different sorts of rainy weather, I suggest you check out William Hartston’s article “Words to Save for a Rainy Day.”



Hello All!

I have finally been able to get my act together, and get the weather to cooperate, long enough to get some pictures taken for the new hat pattern I was working on. It’s called Fleetwood, because I was listening to the song “Second Hand News” by Fleetwood Mac when I started designing it. I hope you enjoy!

Here it is: Fleetwood(1)

Happy knitting,

Leigh McDonna

Memory Lane, or, Why We Knit

Oh my goodness! I have been remiss in my blogging over the last couple weeks, but I’ve been so busy with the new job that I have barely had a chance to knit, let alone a chance to blog about knitting. I was starting to get a little stir crazy the last few weeks. Apparently, if I don’t knit, I get unhappy. Who knew?

Anyway, I have made an effort to make time for knitting over the last week. I realized that knitting seems to keep me sane when everything else is stressful and beyond my control. I think I started knitting because I’m fairly fidgety, and having something to do with my hands has always been a way of keeping me on task. When I was in high school, I used to get in trouble for doodling over all my notebooks, binders, and even my friends. When I went away to England for my first year of university, I was relatively homesick. I think that I started knitting in order to keep my depressed emotion of being away from my family at bay.  I had learned how to knit garter stitch in high school, but first year, I learned to knit and purl and started making scarves and things to pass the time while we travelled Europe on buses. I think we all have different reasons for knitting.

Historically, knitting would have been something that you had to do, in order to make clothing to be warm and survive. Today, we can just go down to the nearest mall, or even the supermarket, and pick up a sweater that probably costs less than the yarn we would use to make it. My mom remembers growing up and making her own clothes. Now, when she and I go to the fabric store, it is more expensive to buy the fabric than it is to pick up a dress at the mall. So why do we bother? Why do we knit?

I’ve been thinking about this the last few days. Because I was on my forced knitting spree this week, I brought my yarn to the office. One of the ladies in the office thought that it was remarkable that I could knit. Not only that, she was shocked that I happened to be knitting a hat of my own design. She thought it was remarkable that someone as young as I am would: a) know how to knit, and b) understand the craft well enough to make a hat without a written pattern. (On a side note, I’ve written the pattern up for that particular hat… I’m just waiting for a good day to take some photographs.)

I really like having the ability to create something unique. I also like the idea that I can give someone a knitted gift, and know that they are not going to run into hundreds of people who have the same one. I also like the way that I can create something completely for or inspired by that person. And then there is the time, you haven’t just popped down to the store to pick up something for them, you’ve spent days, choosing yarn, checking gauge, searching for patterns…and then knitting and finishing the item itself. There is a lot invested in a knitted good.

But I am sure that I am not the only one, there are many knitters out there who all have different motivations for why they knit.

Why do you knit?

The Supply Hat

Having just embarked on my teaching career…the first step of which has been supply teaching…I have become very thankful for my status as a knitter. I’ve discovered that supply teaching is at once hectic, uncertain, stressful…and…at times, boring. I’ve liked it so far, the ability to visit different schools, talk to different people in the profession, meet different students, and see the different ways is which schools function. I have however…discovered that “prep”, while very helpful for classroom teachers to get lessons organized, to finish marking, or to focus on personal professional development, is often long…and boring for me. I think part of it has to do with my own natural anxiety about what I should really be doing, or my unconscious nervousness about the next class, in which I fear that the students might decide to mutiny against me.

Anyway, I’ve finally braved bringing out my knitting to pass the time, despite the raised eyebrows it might bring about in the offices. (I think mostly I imagine the eyebrow raises.) I’ve come up with this hat pattern, I’ve called it “The Supply Hat” because I created while sitting at a desk during prep. I hope you enjoy it!

The Pattern: The Supply Hat


1 Skein Malabrigo Rios

4.5 circular needles

Stitch Marker

Yarn Needle



Cast On 76 stitches and join for working in the round, be careful not to twist.


Work K1, P1, ribbing for 2-3 inches.


Round 1: Knit around.

Round 2: Purl around.

Round 3-4: *P2, K2* around.


Repeat rounds 2-4 until hat measures 7 inches from cast on edge, be sure to end on a round 4.


Next Round: *P2tog, P2* around.

Next Two Rounds: *P1, K2* around.

Next Round: *P2tog, P1* around.

Next Two Rounds: Knit around.

Next Round: P2tog around.

Next Two Rounds: Knit around.

Next Round: P2tog to last 3 stitches, P3tog.


Break yarn six inches from end and using yarn needle, pull through remaining stitches. Weave in all ends – voila!