Photography by Caro Weiss
In this excerpt from Knitting From the North, Scottish knitwear designer Hilary Grant shares instructions for making fingerless mittens that will keep your hands warm and comfy while leaving your fingers free for texting.
These mittens are long on both the fingers and the wrists, so they are particularly warm. They are worked in the round, with the thumbs worked in on waste yarn.
Circumference: 7 7/8 in
Length: 10 1/4 in
Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift
2 balls Aqua (MC)
1 ball Natural White (CC)
Needles and notions
US 2 (2.75mm) dpns
US 3 (3mm) dpns
29 sts × 38 rows = 4 × 4 in over colorwork using larger needles
For each round, read chart from right to left, knit every round.
Using MC and smaller needles, cast on 56 sts. Place marker and join to work in the round, being careful not to twist.
Work 30 rounds of K2, P2 rib. Change to larger needles.
Next round: [K27, kfb] twice. (58 sts) Next round: K.
You will have a plain vertical column of stitches separating the start and the end of the chart in every circular row.
*K1 in MC before starting chart. Join in CC. Following chart, work 27-st repeat.* Repeat * to * until end of Round 37.
Round 38: Work 3 sts following chart. Using waste yarn, K8. Slip these 8 sts back onto lefthand needle, then continue following chart.
Complete the chart to end Round 56. Break CC.
Next round: [K27, K2tog] twice. (56 sts) Next round: K.
Change to smaller needles. Work ten rounds of K2, P2 rib. Bind off.
Work as for right to end of Round 37.
Round 38: Work 18 sts following chart. Using waste yarn, K8. Slip these 8 sts back onto left-hand needle, then continue following chart.
Complete as for right.
Using smaller needles, pick up the 8 sts both below and above the row of waste yarn—you will have 16 sts over 2 needles.
Very carefully pull the waste yarn out, then divide the sts equally among 4 dpns.
Work for 1 1/8 in or to desired length. Bind off.
Weave in ends, closing any small gaps left at base of thumb. Block.
Click on image for larger view.
MC Black Square
CC White square
Spend quality time with the ones you love and create happy memories that will last you a lifetime. Learn about why it's important to make family date night part of your routine.
Couples are often reminded they need to continue to date their partners long after they're married and possibly have kids. It's important to continue to connect on a romantic level and do exciting things together, not just crash on the couch at the end of the workday.
The same concept can be applied to families. We all get so swept up in work, school and, in particular, technology, that sometimes families manage to live under the same roof but spend very little quality time together.
That's where family date night comes in. Just like continuing to date your partner, it can be beneficial for your family's relationship as a whole to set aside a dedicated time once per week or biweekly to do something together.
"Spending quality time is an important way to tell our family that we love them, that of all the things we could be doing and all the people we could be doing them with, we are choosing to be with them," says Marion Goertz, a registered marriage and family therapist based in Toronto. She says really listening to your children, talking to them and getting to know them "provides a positive impact on the neuroscience of their brains that video games and online activities can't replicate."
Family date nights are good for your spirit and your brain: "The learning and loving goes both ways! Children generally have new and creative ways to respond to the world around them, whereas adults can easily forget how to play, how to be silly and how to ask questions about the, ‘why or why not' of things," says Goertz.
The best family date nights will accommodate all the ages, stages and mental and physical interests and capabilities of each family member in your home. Don't alienate one family member or choose an activity somebody dreads – the point is to all have fun together.
When you're devising how you'll spend your family date nights, get input from the whole family. Take turns coming up with suggestions, keep tabs on seasonal or special events in your area or try to come up with something completely new everyone would like to try. "Remember that kids are all about sampling," says Goertz. "It's wisest to try before you buy and enjoy the experience of trying out a number of different things."
Photography by Donna Griffith Image by: Photography by Donna Griffith
People didn't really have backyards in the olden days. They had a front porch, an outhouse and a lot of cough medicine that was, in fact, morphine. With no one else around for miles, you could do anything out front—even your laundry—because no one cared if you stood on your lawn, completely naked, hanging your wool bloomers on the clothesline. And if you happened to be treating that cough, chances are you didn't care, either.
Now, of course, if you have a house, it usually comes with a backyard; that's where you destress, relax and entertain. Your front yard is for showing off aspects of your personality that you want the world to see. The backyard, however, is where the real you lets loose. The modern home is the residential version of the mullet: business in the front, party in the back.
The façade of my 1840s cottage looks a lot like it would have in the 19th century: a white painted porch, some rambling roses and a little vegetable garden. Up until recently, my backyard was similar; it matched the house but didn't necessarily match me. Making it over was a chance to express another part of my personality; to show that, even though I love the past, I wasn't stuck living in it. So, to provide balance, I paired my period-appropriate front porch with a decidedly contemporary urban backyard, one where I may or may not hang my bloomers out to dry…while nursing a cough.
How to grow your own privacy
Being in the backyard is great, but sometimes you want to grab your morning coffee, curl up on the front porch and watch the world go by—without the world watching you. A dense leafy perennial vine is a great way to create a green privacy wall. Certain ivies will grow quickly, while others, like this climbing hydrangea, will take several years before they provide enough cover for you to feel comfortable in your ratty pajamas.
Porch swing, amazon.ca.
Timothy Oulton Canadian-flag cushion, upcountry.com.
Galvanized planter pails, terragreenhouses.com.
Instead of buying new cushion covers for your outdoor seating, wrap sun bleached fabric in burlap.
Tip: Give small planter pots a boost by displaying them on various rungs of a vintage ladder.
Outdoor chairs and table, walmart.ca.
Toss cushions, homesense.ca.
Floor & Patio paint in Deck Grey 122-71 (porch flooring), benjaminmoore.ca.
How to put a perpetually unproductive planter to work
My potting shed is packed with planters of every size that will never be filled with flora. (Mainly, they're filled with just spiders.) That's why I dragged a few planters out of storage, dusted them off and repurposed them as outdoor tables. Topped with a round sheet of glass, my black drum-shaped planter is the perfect complement to a pair of armchairs. And by setting an old pine plank on top of two smaller box planters, I created a custom outdoor coffee table without setting foot in a shop.
How to get a lawn in an instant
For most people, a lawn is nothing but trouble. In an effort to cajole their grass back to life every summer, homeowners arm themselves with lawn seed, fertilizer and a big bag of swear words. Save yourself the effort and fake it. Artificial grass is now sold edged and in rolls—just like indoor rugs—and it looks way better than it did years ago. You'll get beautiful colour and soft cushioning under your feet with minimal effort—simply roll it up at the end of the season.
Grass rugs, rona.ca.
Drum planter and lumbar cushions, homesense.ca.
Outdoor armchairs, costco.ca.
Wire lantern, rona.ca.
Square-cut flagstone, ferrellbrick.net.
How to create powerhouse planters
If you want a container garden that makes an impact, forget typical generic nursery plants—I'm looking at you, geraniums—and embrace the plants of the disco era. Tropical greens that were popular houseplants in the 1970s not only look great in planters but also tolerate dry conditions. Mix tall, spiky spider plants and wandering Jew with cascading creeping Jenny and sweet potato plants (Ipomoea batatas) for dynamic pots that command attention—especially if you're doing the hustle around them.
Planter pots, discountemporium.ca.
How to hang a window box without a window
It wasn't just for esthetics that I installed my backyard fence planks horizontally; it was also for function. The boards allowed me to hang window box planters with nothing more than a few large S-hooks. Positioning planters at different heights lends a contemporary feel, while mounting them evenly enters more traditional territory.
Tip: Add draping spiller plants to window-box arrangements. They'll trail down fences and walls as the season progresses, creating a living-wall effect.
Dollar stores often sell artificial grass in square tiles that clip together so you can design your own custom “carpet.” Linked in a long, narrow strip, they make a chic runner for an outdoor dining table.
Window-box planters, hollandpark.com.
Outdoor dining set, ikea.ca.
Drink dispenser, indigo.ca.
Check out designer Karl Lohnes' terrific terrace makeover.
|This story was originally part of "Now & Then" in the June 2015 issue.
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Getty Images Image by: Getty Images