Thursday, December 31, 2009

Columbia River Scarf Pattern. Happy New Year!

This morning I placed an order with Punta Yarns in preparation for the Bitterroot KAL coming up on January 10th. In reviewing colors with the owner, he said that his wife did not like parrot colors and that she had "New England" taste. Coming from there myself, I knew exactly what he meant. Neutrals. And it reminded me of this scarf, which is one of my absolute favorites.
Now it's been five years since I knit this, so I'm a little foggy on the names of the yarns I used, other than to say that they were from Habu. I used 4 different colors in silk mohair and 4 different colors in a sport weight merino, knitting 1 strand of the mohair with 1 strand of the merino in different color combinations. I remember buying this yarn at a shop in Portland on my birthday, returning to our B&B on the Columbia River, spreading out all these soft balls of colors around me on the pristine white duvet and saying to my husband, I am so happy. I also remember that it took me quite a bit of experimenting to get just the right pattern and look for this scarf.
It being New Year's Eve, I thought it would be a nice way to thank you for reading my blog and for supporting The Grove by posting this pattern.

Columbia River Scarf:

Materials:
U.S. #6 straight needles,
4 skeins of Habu's 1/2 Silk Mohair Kasrui (186 yds, .5 oz) in ivory, taupe, pale rose, and kahki.
4 skeins of a soft sportweight merino, alpaca, or cashmere (approximately 100 yds per color in various neutrals).

Gauge:
24 sts = 4" in Fisherman's rib pattern.
17 rows = 4"

Stitch Used:
Fishmerman's Rib:
Set-up Row: K1, P1 rib.
Continue in K1, P1 rib but for every knit stitch (and just the knit stitches), knit into the stitch below the one on your needle; i.e., instead of inserting your right needle into the knit stitch on your left needle, insert it into the center of the knit stitch directly below that one and knit as usual. All purls stitches are worked in the usual fashion.

Finished Measurements:
Width: approximately 7"
Length: approximately 58"

Directions:
Holding 1 strand of mohair and 1 strand of sportweight together, cast on 40 stitches. Starting with the Set-Up Row described above, continue in Fisherman's Rib for 36 rows.
Row 37: Color change. Here's where you get to be creative. You can continue using a new set of colors (1 mohair, 1 sportweight) or you can continue using the same color mohair but change to a different color sportweight. Repeat rows 2-36 until desired length.

Finishing: Cast off and weave in ends. Enjoy!

P.S. I'll be ordering more Habu silk mohair at the TNNA on January 9th. If you have any special requests, just let me know and I'll see if we can get some for you. The Blue Sky Sportweight Alpaca or the Punta Mericash would be perfect to combine with the thin mohair.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Blue Sky Alpaca's Multi Cotton


Blue Sky has come out with their Spring 2010 yarns and they never disappoint! They have added multi colors to their organic cotton line, which, by the way, is the best-selling yarn in our store. The oh-so-fitting delicious names of the new colors are: marmalade, punch, icing, spearmint, limeade, gherkin, and slushie. Of course, these pictures do not do the yarn justice. You just have to see how mouthwatering these yarns are. They should be arriving at the Grove next week sometime! And I think that's a pretty good way to start out a new year for knitters...happily!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Bitterroot Is Sweet

The good thing about having a cold is that it gives me guilt-free knitting time. Now I know we're having a Bitterroot KAL starting January 10th and that it is my KAL...I'm facilitating. So you would think that I could stop working on this so that I can actually knit along with the rest of the group. But no. At this rate, I'll probably be finished with mine by then! So I guess I'll be doing my second Bitterroot with "the girls"! Next one, will be a variegated one...mmm, maybe with a Pagewood Farms yarn. But I digress.

What I want you to know is how incredibly easy this pattern is. The only increases are along the edges, made with a simple yarn over. The only pattern changes in each chart (and there are several, but don't let that scare you), come mostly in the first few and the last few stitches. So for like 60 rows, you are doing the exact same repeat, in the same order but for the edge stitches. It's sort of like the Clapotis in that way. I wish I had a better camera to show you how these little mounds running diagonally from the center look like frosting on a wedding cake. (Always food with me!).
I know you are probably saying ... sure, for her it's easy, but I can tell you honestly, I am slow to "read" a lace pattern (meaning, looking at the knitted piece itself to know what to do in the next row). But after about 2" into this, you'll be able to read the pattern too. Now this doesn't mean I knit without looking at the chart. I don't, but it's more like I just check in instead of read every box in the chart. What this translates to is that it goes quickly. I cannot wait to get to the beaded section! Marcia, are you listening? I'm going to need the beads sooner than expected!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Torn

This first morning post-Christmas is mine. Being somewhat deprived of knitting time, I am insatiable. I just realized that I have two projects going at once and my laptop on...alternating back and forth between all three and I see how torn I am after the holiday! Wanting to blog, wanting to finish Judipatuti's Turkish Bed Sock and dying to work on Bitterroot in that gorgeous new Mericash (the "cash" being cashmere). Okay. Deep breath. There is plenty of time. There is plenty of time.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sweet success on a small scale!


Once in a while you make something that you know you will wear forever. It doesn't happen that often, and when it does, you want to broadcast the news and tell every knitter you know. And so it is with the Star Crossed Slouch Beret (free pattern on Ravelry). I used Punta Yarn's Merisoft and the drape, pattern definition, and its softness makes for the most perfect hat! And it only takes two nights of t.v. watching to make it. Because it's in that gorgeous grape color, it's tough to get a good photo. I realized to shoot it flat, wouldn't capture the essence of it. So....

I'm standing in my t-shirt and flannel pj bottoms (if you must know) and I try the hat on and I am absolutely thrilled. DH and pup are fast asleep and I'm alone trying to figure out how to get a picture wearing the hat from the back/side so you can see the shape and drape. I am too impatient to wait for DH to wake up, so I hold the camera with my right hand and stretch my arm out as far as I can and snap a couple of photos. Beautiful picture of the overhead fan. Another one of the fireplace and stained glass windows with just an edge of the hat. Good lord. Finally, I got one that actually has the hat in it!!! And here it is. I know it's not flattering, because I've broken the "no profile" rule among several others, but can you tell how cool this hat is?!# I'm risking all pride, betting you can!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Cashmere!


Several customers have asked for cashmere recently and although I hesitate to purchase it because of the hefty price tag, I did discover Punta Yarns Mericash which is 80% merino and 20% cashmere. We got our first shipment in this week. To feel it, you'd think that it was 80% cashmere and only 20% merino...it's that soft and scrumptious. 276 yards for less than $20 makes it an affordable cashmere-mix. The variegated yarn is hand painted. And the Christmas red is a timely color which is calling my name from the shelf!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Christmas Quimble

Many years ago when I was in law school, a dear friend of mine gave me this teeny tiny little cloth doll that came in a small silk case with a snap. She told me it was a quimble and that I should always carry it in my pocket for good luck. I could not resist buying this cute little sprite on Monday because it reminded me of something from my past.

As I sat down to face some neglected paperwork this morning (ugh), I thought...ah-hah! It's a quimble! Then, I looked up "quimble" (see how I get to my paperwork?) because the word just popped into my head from nowhere, and I wanted to make sure I hadn't made it up over the course of 20 odd years! Well, I did find a definition for the word "quim" which means "a woman". Okay, it also means "vulva", a definition to be ignored for our purposes. So apparently, this little one resting next to my Earl Grey tea-filled cup is a bearded quimble, brought to you by me to wish you luck during the upcoming week when holiday obligations can be challenging! (Some tie-in, eh?) Okay, back to that paperwork.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sock Smitten

I'm not a big sock knitter, but I am crazy about these Turkish Bed Socks! Here's one fresh off the needles (I have no pride otherwise I would have blocked this before showing it). While DH and the pup are fast asleep (still), I am here in the quiet of my living room taking pictures of my foot.
It's not a great picture...the background is wrong, color wrong, etc. But DH could come out of the bedroom at any minute and see me photographing my foot. For some reason that embarrasses me so I'm not going to belabor this picture-taking thing; I'm posting them as is.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Turkish Bed Socks


A visit from Lisa Limber, Schaefer Yarns' rep, is always inspiring. Yesterday, she introduced me to this Turkish Bed Socks pattern from Churchmouse Yarns, a wonderful knitting shop on Bainbridge Island, WA. I lightened Lisa's cash & carry load of hand-dyed Heather & Nicole by 30+ skeins. They are in a heavenly heap on the coffee table in our knitting circle at the Grove. Of course, I had to drop everything and start a bed sock right away and I am loving it! It works up on a #3, which is small, yes, but also standard for socks. The construction of this pattern is amazing. I can't even begin to tell you how clever it is. Since you knit small sections at a time, the project moves along quickly. It's not often that I get up and start knitting before the coffee is even done. Well, I did this morning...that's how fun this pattern is! There is plenty of time to knit a pair for one of your loved ones for the holidays. Oh, and 1 skein of Heather knits two pairs! We're open today until 6:00 and, of course, we'll be open on Black Friday. Come in soon for the best color selection!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

An Illuminating Afternoon!

Richard Lederer was an absolute delight. He is a word Cirque de Soleil artist. And he doesn't just talk, he broadcasts! Right there. In person. And up close. There was a wonderful turnout especially considering that his competition was The Game. The room was filled, questions flowed and Richard charmed us with Presidential Trivia (his icebreaker), excerpts and off-the-cuff stories from and about his Cat Lovers and Dog Lovers books. Dozens of books were purchased for holiday gifts and he patiently signed them all. He did go above and beyond and left some signed copies behind. So if you would like to surprise a cat or dog lover with an autographed copy, c'mon in!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Richard Lederer TODAY at the Grove!


Today from 3-5pm at the Grove, Richard Lederer will be speaking about his two most recent books: A Treasury for Dog Lovers and A Treasury for Cat Lovers. I am a Huge Fan of his! For years, listening to him on A Way with Words on NPR was one of my favorite weekend rituals. So, if you're not busy this afternoon, come share the Awe with me and meet the man with that beloved inimitable voice and quick wit! If you want to be assured of a seat, arrive early! Hope to see you there.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Habu Beauty


This crinkly scarf is knit from a silk Habu yarn that also comes in purples and hot pinks. Since novelty yarns hit the road a couple of years ago, "soft" and "variegated" seems to have replaced them. This yarn is full of texture and color and it's also soft...a wonderful combination. The scarf pictured here was knit by a beginning knitter who added (okay, I did them for her in a moment of weakness!) some of Mad Designs' beads to the edges. It almost brings it to the level of jewelry.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Knit Misti For Me

Now I don't want to pressure anyone, but Thanksgiving is Thursday and you know where that leaves us...weeks away from Christmas! Let the inevitable shopping begin! There is plenty of time to knit someone special an alpaca scarf from Misti Alpaca. Also known as poor man's cashmere, this yarn would pass any blindfold test for cashmere...it is that soft and that luscious. Two skeins make up a beautiful men's scarf.

Here's one in the charcoal grey fisherman's rib. Ahhh. Let it snow! Well, at least get cold!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Lost Photo Op but Torrie's FLS Makes Up for It!


The Golden Hanger Awards were a BLAST! Our Jeffrey stole the show as predicted. I whipped out my Canon automatic in the lobby before the festivities got underway and discovered that I had left the MEMORY CARD in the printer at work! Man, you can imagine how I felt about that. R-r-r-r.

So no photos today from the show, but here is Torrie who is making an amazing fashion statement in her February Lady Sweater knit out of Sweater by Spud & Chloe. I wish you could see the stitch definition in the lace pattern and what an awesome job she did. The most impressive thing (aside from her masterful workmanship) is how well this sweater fits her. Sizing is so important and she has got that down flat. Sort of inspiring, isn't it? Also, look at her choice of color .... perfect for a redhead, no?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Golden Hanger Awards


Tonight at the Town & Country Resort, Fashion Careers College hosts the Golden Hanger Awards, featuring student designer collections, with all proceeds benefiting Make-A-Wish Foundation. This year, Jeffrey of Junc Boutique (a Grove neighbor) will be showing his collection. We've seen bits and pieces of it from conception to construction and we are all so excited. I've mentioned before how talented he is, and tonight is a launching pad for him. Our own judi patuti taught him to sew last year. I'm pretty sure he completes his FCC program in December. And who knows where he will be next year.

Val Hebert will be among the fashion vendors at the show displaying her felted creations which include a beautiful array of earrings, scarves and perhaps some of her popular handbags made from repurposed sweaters. I taught Val to knit 6 years ago and she has had a love affair with fibers ever since. She is an amazing artist and it is always wonderful to see her newest creations. So we are all looking forward to an exciting evening. Hoping to get some good pictures to share with you all.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Day of the Dead


As sure as dawn follows the night, The Day of the Dead follows Halloween. And here we are, the morning after. I looked up rituals for Day of the Dead ceremonies because I was rather curious about its origins. Growing up back east, we celebrated All Soul's Day but I had never heard of Day of the Dead until I moved to California. Okay, I just read that one of the Aztec rituals of honoring ancestors on this day is to make a sugar skull resembling a relative, write their name on it and eat it. Geeze, even if I had a skull made out of chocolate and nonpareils with jelly bean teeth and raspberry drizzle, I couldn't eat it if it had my dad's name on it. I really couldn't. I guess that's what you call a cultural difference.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

Can you figure out who this Shutter Bug is? I'll give you some hints. She made this outfit. That is her husband's camera in her hands. And she won Most Creative Costume at Fashion Career College on Thursday.




Answer: judi patuti!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Spud & Cloe



Yummmm! Two bags of almost every color in Sweater by Spud & Chloe. I received this bunch of pleasure on Tuesday and I already reordered the teal blue, firecracker and chipmunk this morning. My mind is whirling, thinking of projects for every color. but I must resist until I finish the three store samples I have underway with other gorgeous yarns. Man, there are just not enough hours in this day!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Namaste!

We just got in the latest Namaste bags and I set up this display, highlighting the red one, which is their latest color. The picture seems so cluttered to me and as I analyzed it, I realized all that's going on there! We have red and green Namaste bags (which may suggest Christmas to some) in close proximity to judi patuti's Henry Alexander's Skull fabric (which definitely says Halloween) and on the table, is a Thanskgiving day placemat and apron! What a conflict of seasons! Well, I guess what we're saying is that we're ready for all of 'em!

Also fresh off the UPS truck are the Namaste Mini Clutches that are darling. Removeable, adjustable shoulder strap, magnetic clasp, and 3 sections. Best of all, they fit beautifully in Hermosa's exterior pocket. Pretty cool!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Yarn? What Yarn?

I've had young knitters before, but this little guy Micah, at 7 months old, is definitely the youngest. At first he denied his interest in yarn.



But while his mom and friend shopped, he began playing with the yarn. Within a few minutes, it looked like he had taught himself to finger knit. His mom was not necessarily pleased to discover this. And Micah was definitely not interested in giving up the yarn!




The inevitable tug-of-war ensued, a game I have witnessed many times in my shop. Micah thought that was even more fun than knitting.

Obviously, he didn't get the seriousness of the matter.

Well, that's a 7-month old for you.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Stocking Star

Dorothea was in our Christmas stocking class 2 weeks ago and she surprised me yesterday by presenting her completed stocking (before Class 2 on heel turning and toe shaping even took place)! Her stocking was made challenging by the frequent color changes, which aren't so easy when you're knitting in the round. She mastered the technique of "jogless striping" from Class 1 and as you can tell from this picture, she's rightfully pleased with the outcome. She's on her second stocking now using the same organic O-Wool from Vermont. This time she's knitting the stocking pictured below on the right in red and white, which sort of makes me think you can't make just one of these! Due to the popularity of this class, we've scheduled another one for November 28th and December 5th.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cowabunga!

video
I hate to be one of those pet owners that thinks their pet is the cutest thing alive. And, I hate plastering my pet's picture all over the internet, but honestly, you have to admit, Scoutie Rose is a pretty cute dog. She is adopted from the streets of Rosarito, Baja. Having been on the kill list (via electrocution), she is pretty grateful to be alive. And she loves Dog Beach in Del Mar where we first took her when we got her at 1 year old. She is never freer or happier than when she is running on the beach. This video, taken this afternoon at low tide and 72 degrees, demonstrates that she is part dolphin as well as a fully indoctrinated Southern California pup! In the still picture, she found an abandoned tennis ball and hid it among the rocks and she wasn't about to leave without it.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Ode to My Socks


As I finished this sock, I remembered this tender poem by Pablo Neruda and the appreciation and reverence many men have for hand-knitted items:

Ode to My Socks
by Pablo Neruda (translated by Robert Bly)

Mara Mori brought me
a pair of socks
which she knitted herself
with her sheepherder's hands,
two socks as soft as rabbits.
I slipped my feet into them
as if they were two cases
knitted with threads of twilight and goatskin,
Violet socks,
my feet were two fish made of wool,
two long sharks
sea blue, shot through
by one golden thread,
two immense blackbirds,
two cannons,
my feet were honored in this way
by these heavenly socks.
They were so handsome for the first time
my feet seemed to me unacceptable
like two decrepit firemen,
firemen unworthy of that woven fire,
of those glowing socks.

Nevertheless, I resisted the sharp temptation
to save them somewhere as schoolboys
keep fireflies,
as learned men collect
sacred texts,
I resisted the mad impulse to put them
in a golden cage and each day give them
birdseed and pieces of pink melon.
Like explorers in the jungle
who hand over the very rare green deer
to the spit and eat it with remorse,
I stretched out my feet and pulled on
the magnificent socks and then my shoes.

The moral of my ode is this:
beauty is twice beauty
and what is good is doubly good
when it is a matter of two socks
made of wool in the winter.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Fall & New Beginnings


Ah, there is nothing more satisfying than to see a group of young knitters seated around that table (which used to be in my dining room) learning to knit for the first time. This was last weekend's drop-in knit class and to me, it marked the beginning of the Fall Knitting Season! The minute, and I mean minute, we get a whiff of Fall in the air, knitters come out of the woodwork!

Melody, who is seen here skirting along the outside of the group, has been teaching at the Grove for several years. She has decided to take a sabbatical and return to her roots for 4 months in the Midwest. This means that I will be taking over the knitting classes again. I've had a good break from teaching and am ready to relieve Melody, but man oh man, we're sure gunna miss her.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Color & Skulls

judi patuti has delighted us all with Henry Alexander skull fabric perfect for Halloween. You don't even need to know how to sew to adorn yourself with this. Take a square, fold it in half from corner to corner, and make yourself a pirate's bandanna. Or sew yourself a simple trick or treat bag! The possibilities are endless.

Those gorgeous ribbons flying above the skull fabric are Shibori silk in drop dead colors. Select a crystal pendant from MAD Designs' bead collection and you've got yourself an incredible necklace in no time. More to come on the ribbons soon!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Foyers & Fall

When you walk into the home of an artist, there's usually a dead give away right inside the door! And so it is at my friend's house. She needle-felted the dresser scarf on hand-dyed silk creating wonderful whimsical birds and flowering trees:

And she always has seasonal vignettes around her lovely home. Halloween is one of her favorite holidays which makes sense because she is all about orange!
On this tray she has a needle felted pumpkin, a decorated orange take-out carton holding knitting needles, and screaming paper poppies. At a time when most of us are feeling financial pressure, it is wonderful to be reminded that you don't have to spend a lot of money to decorate. Gathering the small things you love and arranging them artfully will just make you happy. Right now, I am going to gather orange yarn from my stash in a big salad bowl on the dining room table. Ah, it's the simple things, isn't it?

Monday, October 5, 2009

On the Waterfront


When we saw this fishing boat pull up to the pier this morning, we thought for sure we were going to see fisherman offloading their catch. For all the times we've walked the waterfront, we've only had the pleasure of witnessing that once. Judy and I stood there, while guys stopped to join us, watching the workin' men hoist their catch out of the boat on winches. I just wanted to spit and jangle change in my pocket and make comments like... can you imagine pulling that baby out? Hah! Ya know, be one of the boys. Well, that didn't happen this morning. No catch. Disappointing!

We did, however, spot other wild life along the way.

It took us a little while to figure out what we were looking at when we saw this woman.

An alien, perhaps? What on earth is sticking out of her chest?

Ah, it's Pepper, a 9-month-old Jack Russell terrier going for a morning ride. Well, in her defense, there was a chill in the air.

Thanks to Pepper's mom for being kind enough to stop and pose for these pictures!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Walkabout Stars!


Man, was it happenin' at the Grove last night! We always look forward to the Harvest Walkabout which is usually our second busiest night out of the year (topped only by the Winter Walkabout in December).


This is Haley. It was her first Walkabout. Is she not the cutest little peanut?


And this pup, who gets the cutest-dog-in-the-whole-world award of the evening, is Jolie. When her owner put her on top of the table to get her picture, she spun around barking, looking just like a wind-up toy.

And last but not least, is J.C.(Jeffrey Craig...for real) of Junc Boutique, one of the most creative and talented people I've ever met. His theme for the evening was the 7 deadliest sins, which explains his lust t-shirt. Now about the barbed wire crown, well, like I said - he is one of the most creative people you will ever meet!