Monday, June 29, 2009

Habu Opera Scarf lined with Irish Linen

I'm sure I'm not telling you anything you don't know when I tell you I love Habu yarns and adore Irish linen. Although many knitters love this Habu slub yarn, no one knew what to do with it.
So I began experimenting with it. It's thin, so I doubled it, taking one strand from the outside of the skein and one from the inside. Hmm. Maybe lace. I tried a variety of needles and decided on a U.S. #9. I cast on 12 sts and tried a simple eyelet stitch. It was beautiful, but curled tightly at the edges. The pattern was only visible when the scarf was stretched taught. I was about to rip it out when a friend of mine said - oh, I love that, it looks like an opera scarf. Really?!# And so I continued thinking that maybe I could just back it with fabric. When it was done, I blocked it and backed it with the ivory Irish linen we carry (1/8 yd.) I've worn this scarf many times since. Isn't that the way? Sometimes, you can work on something with no confidence and then it becomes your favorite thing. Or, you can work on something, adoring every minute, and for some reason it just doesn't work as a finished project. This one definitely works!

The Pattern:

Materials: 1 skein Cotton Nerimaki Slub, U.S. #9 straight needles, 1/8 yd. linen fabric (60" wide), matching thread.

Instructions: Cast on 12 sts. K2, *YO, p2tog* across next 10 sts, knit last 2 sts. Note: do not yarn-over before the last 2 stitches since that would result in an increase. Repeat this pattern until desired lenghth. Cast off. Block scarf to measure 3" x 58". Cut fabric 3" wide. Fold in sides and ends 1/4" and press flat. Pin to scarf and machine stitch in place. The linen backing will not cover the full width of the scarf. The 2 edge stitches on both sides will not be backed. (See last photo above).

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Morning at Sea

Okay, it was more like 15 minutes in the harbor. Nevertheless, that 15 minute ride to Coronado on the ferry was like a teeny weeny summer vacation. No June gloom...just a glorious summer sun with a soft breeze blowing. A perfect thing to do the day after the solstice. Breakfast of warm brie, baguette & fresh fruit at Tartine's, a browse through Zazen's and a 2 mile walk through picturesque Coronado.

Early birds are already prepared for July 4th (a major holiday on Coronado with all it's retired admirals).

And the flora, as always, waves happiness.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Wage Peace...Learn to Knit & Make a Hat

I came across one of my favorite poems today, Wage Peace, by Mary Oliver. If you haven't discovered Mary Oliver's poetry yet, I am excited for you. You are in for a big treat. Here is a sample of her extraordinary writing:

Wage peace with your breath. Breathe in firemen and rubble, breathe out whole buildings and flocks of red wing blackbirds. Breathe in terrorists and breathe out sleeping children and freshly mown fields. Breathe in confusion and breathe out maple trees. Breathe in the fallen and breathe out lifelong friendships intact. Wage peace with your listening: hearing sirens, pray loud. Remember your tools: flower seeds, clothes pins, clean rivers. Make soup. Play music, learn the word for thank you in three languages. Learn to knit, and make a hat. Think of chaos as dancing raspberries, imagine grief as the out breath of beauty or the gesture of fish. Swim for the other side. Wage peace. Never has the world seemed so fresh and precious ... Have a cup of tea and rejoice. Act as if armistice has already arrived. Don't wait another minute.

Friday, June 19, 2009

What the Heck?

I feel like we should have a contest to identify what is depicted in this photo. Hint: it's a Swiss army knife for knitters. It is a black Knit Kit and we just got them in this week. It is a measuring tape, a crochet hook, a row counter, a thread cutter and it carries point protectors, stitch markers, and folded scissors approved for U.S. flights. The white version, the first Knit Kits produced in January, look like an IUD case...truly. Most everyone that sees it says it looks like a birth control case...not that that deterred me from carrying one in my purse. But the black one won't raise any eyebrows. And they're going fast folks!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

It's a MAD World

My dear friend Marcia DeCoster (aka MAD DESIGNS) showed me how to do this yesterday!!! Oh the joy of beading. I never thought I could feel this passionate about anything but knitting and the U.S. Constitution (odd bedfellows, I know). Marcia just launched her new and revised website yesterday where her gorgeous kits are available for purchase. She has a treasure of a book coming out in September called Marcia DeCoster's Beaded Opulence (by Lark Publishing) which you can order in advance from her website.

Best of all, Marcia is bringing beads to the Grove!!! It's all in the works and I couldn't be more excited about it. Yarns, fabrics and beading. Now that's heaven. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Why I Couldn't Live without This

Good lord. With judi patuti's gorgeous fabric collection now at the Grove, I need more fabric like I need more yarn! I can assure you, this was not a planned purchase. Post waterfront walk, we went to a fabric store to buy elastic for this darling doggie bed we're designing. Now, don't you know, they didn't have any elastic, but they did have this gorgeous fabric resembling Il Papiro's vegetable dyed, hand-made paper products! As you can see by the below picture, this was something that was especially meant for me.
Years ago, when I lived in Boston, I frequented an Il Papiro store and on occasion would splurge and buy a journal with a ribbon bookmark and gold edged pages, with the yellow-y Italian paper inside. It had brown lines instead of black. I just loved loved loved this paper. When DH & I went to Florence several years ago, one of my priorities was to go to the original store. Turns out it was right next door to our pensione! How incredible was that. This photo is of the journal I bought there. And that photo justifies, in my mind, the purchase of yet more fabric. Don't you think?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

To Whet Your Whistle for Tomorrow's Louet Trunk Show!

Just a sampling of the trunk show pieces you will see (feel and try on!) at the Grove tomorrow from 1-5pm.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Only Blockheads Don't Block

And so I have to remind my lazy self again and again! Once I do it, I wonder why I have such resistance to it. It really isn't that bad! And it always feels good when it's done. Here's my latest project...a beaded cami from black dog designs knit in Louisa Harding's Merletto, a linen blend with a beautiful sheen.

I use my old beach towel because it has stripes which help me pin things straight. I do it on my white love seat because I can shut the door and keep Scoutie from laying on it. I love these beaded straight pins which I got at Brytex Fabrics in San Fransisco probably 10 years ago.

This Egyptian Cotton Scented Linen Spray is perfect for spritzing and it leaves this incredibly clean, fresh scent on the fabric. I've used linen water for years because I wear, well, a lot of linen. If you haven't tried it for blocking your knitted garments, you must. It's awesome. Marshall's usually has a good selection of linen water.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Cia's Basketweave Sweater

Cia rep's Louet Yarns (among other yarn companies) and she has generously provided us with the beautiful Kidin and Euroflax samples for Sunday's trunk show. She has knit every sample and has also designed the Cia cardigan which is bound to be a favorite. Every time she visits, she has something exquisite to show. This time, she was wearing this incredible purple jacket which I couldn't keep my hands off. It looks woven, but it's a very soft knit done in a basketweave stitch. The mandarin collar, the edging detail, the loose but not boxy's damn near perfect, if you ask me! Ah, the inspiration of it all. It reminds me that now is the time to be knitting for the Fall in addition to knitting quick little tanks and cami's!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Fine Reception

Sunday's judi patuti's reception was a success. How could it not be?! But I did forget my camera, darn it all. This is the best shot I could mooch of Gail in her headband. She bought the top she's wearing at the Grove. Perfect match, no?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Garland of Birds

Yesterday we were talking about wanting to wear a little fabric/ knitted somethin' somethin' to Judy's reception today. We came up with this headband made out of Tina Givens fabric and Louisa Harding's Nautical Cotton (which happens to be on sale at the Grove for the month of June). Gail is going to wear it today! So you'll no doubt see pictures of her actually donning this modest but darling creation.

As for Leaves of Grass, I rediscovered this book a couple of days ago and had it on the buffet. That's how it happened to stumble into this picture. Copyright 1907. Found at a used book barn (literally) in the Berkshires in 1976.
I treasure it because the prior owner cut out these pictures of Walt Whitman, pasted them in the book along with a quote from the 1895 journal entry of Josephine Preston Peabody

which says: "Walt a revelation to me. He sets one to thinking as the ground - the earth itself - does with its sweetness, its vastness, its glorification of decay, its divine utilitarianism. He makes me think of all the tremendous economics of nature."

I also treasure it because the first time my husband-to-be visited my apartment, he saw it and exclaimed - Oh, my favorite book! And we read cherished poems from it to each other. Ah, so many years ago - if he tried to read to me now, I'd probably say: Honeyyyy! Not now! I'm counting lace.

Ah, but I digress....time to get ready for work and the judi patuti
reception. BTW, We're having fresh-squeezed lemonade (compliments of DH) and home-baked Neiman Marcus chocolate chip cookies. Hope to see you there!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Enough with the Fish Already!

Help me Jesus, I can't stop with the fish fabric! This is it, I swear!

judi patuti created these linen project bags, which feel quite your knitting needles will have a hard-time poking through the fabric. I knit the 3-stitch I-chord ties in Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton (Colors Ink & Sage). I tied a simple knot at one end of the tie, attached a safety pin to the other end and fed it through the fabric channel. Tied off that end and repeated the process for the other side (2 ties per bag). That's it - boom. Done. In no time at all! Hmmm. Use in lieu of gift wrap for graduation or birthday presents, use as a book bag, or a sack to hold all those give-away lemons. The possibilities are endless!

P.S. I have one of those lemon trees that had a bumper crop this year.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Judipatuti Officially Arrives at the Grove!

Judy Thacker (aka Judipatuti) has moved her fresh and beautiful fabric selections into the Grove accompanied by samples and ideas to inspire sewers and knitters alike. Her debut features the Mommie 'n Me dresses pictured above. The tops of these darling dresses are knit in Blue Sky Alpaca's organic cotton and the skirts are sewn from beautiful Irish linen (the fishes) and Amy Butler fabric (the stripes). These fabric skirts are ideal for beginning sewers and they are so easy, no pattern is needed!
The fabric displays are arranged according to color groups and compatibility. Complementary yarns are featured directly above the fabrics so making selections is foolproof. Featured on the sides of the displays are the most popular and current Amy Butler patterns. Samples of knitted accessories & hand-sewn garments surround them.
If you have any interest in sewing, you will not want to miss Judipatuti's reception on Sunday, June 7th, from 1-4pm where Judy will be on hand to answer any questions you might have and assist you in selections. The names of the customers who purchase a pattern and fabric will be entered into a drawing to win a 2-hour private sewing lesson with Judy where she will teach you to make the project you purchased! The drawing will take place at the close of the reception. Hope to see you there!