Monday, June 13, 2016

While Miz Kittling Knits: The Murdoch Mysteries

Summer temperatures decided to arrive with a vengeance the first week of June, which-- coincidentally-- was when our fair young English rose came for a visit. She can go home telling everyone how she survived 111°F/44°C (and other sweat-inducing numbers) on her travels around the state.

Do I knit when it's hot? Certainly, although I do get more selective about the objects I decide to knit. For instance... that 5-foot by 8-foot afghan made with two strands of bulky yarn? That one's going to wait for cooler weather! 

Here's a cowl I finished recently. The pattern is called "Budding Infinity" and the stitches do group together to look like little rosebuds-- especially if you use pink yarn like I did. 260 stitches on size 8 circular needles, using 100% acrylic worsted weight yarn. 

This was an extremely fiddly pattern that I'm glad I found on a blog. I'm becoming fond of some of the knitting blogs I've discovered, in particular the ones that go a bit in depth with the patterns. When I read about this one, the blogger warned everyone to knit as loosely as possible, and she was certainly right! 

I tend to knit loosely, which is the exact opposite of my mother, but even I had to really adjust the tension of my stitches so I wouldn't drive myself insane. I would sit and stitch and smile, thinking of some of the choice words and phrases Mom might've used as she tried to work this pattern! I think it's true for many knitters that the objects they make have love and good memories stitched right in. I know mine always do.

Here's another shot of the cowl with it looped around the neck twice. You could easily loop it a third time for those really nasty winter days. 

This yarn is so soft that I almost wish I had the appropriate weather in which to wear it, which is saying something because cold weather and I are bitter enemies.

Of the three projects I have going right now, one is the afghan that's going on hiatus for a few months. I've found some nice, soft cotton yarn to make facecloths that will look very nice in our bathroom, and I'm making another cowl using Aran weight yarn and a stitch from Barbara G. Walker's A Treasury of Knitting Patterns. Who knows? This cowl may be the next completed project that I show you!

What was I watching while I was stitching away on this pretty pink cowl? One of my favorite series, Murdoch Mysteries, which is filmed in Canada and inspired by a series of mysteries written by Maureen Jennings. (I read and reviewed the first book, Except the Dying.) It's available both on Netflix and Acorn TV, and-- I would imagine-- in many other places as well.

The series is set in the 1890s in Toronto, Canada. William Murdoch is a detective with the Toronto Constabulary. He rides his bicycle to most crime scenes, loves science, and has invented a thing or two to help bring the bad guys to justice.

A combination of CGI, sets, and actual Victorian mansions and their interiors really help bring the time period to life.

One of the things I should mention is that I enjoy this series because it's fun, not because it's 100% true to the facts as we know them. The series does cover a lot of the social issues of the day as well as the occasional guest appearance by people like Nikola Tesla and Mark Twain, but for one police force to have not only one female coroner but two does push the envelope a bit!

L to R: Constable Crabtree & Detective Murdoch
In the beginning of the series, it was mostly Murdoch, but as it became popular, each cast member's character became much more developed. Naturally Murdoch had to fall in love with the coroner, Dr. Julia Ogden, and the true course of love never did run smooth... but I think my favorite interactions are between Murdoch and Constable Crabtree and Murdoch and his superior officer, Inspector Thomas Brackenreid. Good-hearted Crabtree can go into flights of fancy and has even published a book. Brackenreid, a transplant from Manchester, England is definitely a man of his times, and his favorite epithet is "Bloody 'ell!"

I have learned things watching Murdoch Mysteries, but I've enjoyed myself even more. It's a first-rate production with a cast, crew, and writers who genuinely appear to be having fun. Even though I wasn't quite satisfied with the final episode of season nine, it was good news to hear that there will be a season ten. 

In the mood for a bit of historical fun? Give Murdoch Mysteries a try!


  1. Beautiful knitting. Love the pink yarn, and am fascinated that you are knitting cotton washcloths. I've never heard of this before, but it's a good thing to know. And they will be fun to use, I'm sure.

    The Murdoch Mysteries are just right for background to knitting. I've been watching a lovely series set in rural England in the late 1800s -- but there are no dead bodies, not from murder anyway.

    It's Lark Rise to Candleford, fascinating characters and stories. Interesting to see how people lived and found ways to survive financially and with each other. But, alas, no murders -- I actually enjoy that for a relaxing program.

    1. I've read Lark Rise... and watched the series, so I know what you're talking about. Both versions are very good.

  2. What a gorgeous knitting project, Cathy!! You are skilled. And I'm very happy that you mentioned The Murdoch Mysteries. I like them very much. Among other things, I like the authentic 'feel' to them.

    1. Yes, that "feel" is one of the best parts of the series.

  3. What a nice cowl! It looks great in pink!

    The Murdock Mysteries sound good. I'll have to look for that.

    I've started on a tatting project (I'll have to send pictures), making that tablecloth over again in the right size thread (which makes it a tea cloth instead of a table cloth). I've begun also remembering things about when I made it last time, and one of those is that it took me nearly a year to make it before. Another is that the instructions are not as complete as they should be. It's a whole lot easier making up the directions when you know what you're doing than it is when you're just learning to tat.

    I hope the summer temperatures did not cause your fair English rose to wilt. Ugh. I hate temperatures at both extremes of the scale. Give me spring temperatures all year (without the pollen overload, though).

    1. Our fair English rose (or in this case, Daisy) has taken to the heat rather well and is upset that she'll be missing our next heat wave. She's experienced 115° here and 120° at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Now she's wanting to notch 119° in Phoenix on her belt of Arizona experiences! LOL

  4. I just read my Poisoned Pen email and it says it'll hit 118 degrees, but I see you've already had close to that. I don't know how you all stand it, but I'm sure the pool helps.

    I don't know if I'd get out of a/c to even walk to the pool. Over 90 degrees and I'm in a/c. watching tv and reading about crimes.

    1. It's somewhat of an old chestnut, but "it's a dry heat" here, Kathy, which makes it a bit easier to deal with. I've lived in high humidity summers, and I'm VERY glad to have left them behind many years ago.


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