Friday, July 31, 2009

Dog Beach & What Not to Do There

PICNIC, for one thing! Because if you do, some big ol' chocolate lab is bound to come along and grab a hunk of pricey cheese off your makeshift table and gobble the whole thing down. And then he'll come back for seconds and go for the remaining block of cheese and the crackers. And you won't be able to get him off your stuff, because he is big as a tank and loves cheese. It takes your DHs running from the surf's edge to haul him off your sandy beach towel. And then you look at your own pup and she seems like the sweetest, most well-trained dog (which is quite the opposite of the truth most of the time). And you vow you won't be like that big ol' chocolate lab's owner who was no where in sight when the cheese heist was going on...because that's irresponsible.

I want it known that Dog Beach was not my idea. It was also not my idea to have a picnic. In fact, it was a surprise (and such a nice one until...). But friends invited us, and when my DH shocked me and agreed, I went along with the whole crazy plan (never having been there before).

I'm here to tell you that OB Dog Beach is everything you've heard it is. No waves (which is kind of creepy), clumps of heavy seaweed along the water's edge, crowded with sunbathers ignoring the sand fleas. The air does not smell fresh. Like you don't want to take a deep breathe, close your eyes, and smile while you exhale. You try not to breathe. It's just instinct.

We walked away from the crowd along the channel that leads to the San Diego River and it's tepid, still water. (I could go on with a gazillion adjectives but I'll spare you). Few people down that a'way as you can tell from Scout's picture up above. And just one big ol' rogue chocolate lab. Oddly enough, no seagulls anywhere in sight. Hmm. I'm not sure what that says, but it was eerily quiet.

Now OB doesn't bother everyone, of course, since the beach by the parking lot is crowded. But if you're used to the pristine beaches further north guarded by cliffs with terns running crazy outlining the waves and fresh breezes above a crashing surf, you will be disappointed.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


We always seem to discover something new on our harbor walks. This installation of Penelope was hidden for many months while the city shored up the walkway. She has been unveiled again. Written along the base, are these words:

Weaving by day, Penelope would be forced to chose a new husband when her tapestry was complete but all the while she waited, unraveling her work by night steadfastly sure of Ulysses return.
Oftentimes I end up unraveling my work at night but it's not about waiting for a love to return, it's about watching t.v. when I'm knitting and not paying enough attention. (I realize with that, I sort of burst the romantic bubble, but hey, this is reality, not a Greek myth!)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Blueberry Pie

Every once in a while, especially in the Summer, I miss New England fare. I'm talking lobster, steamers, chowder, and blueberry pie. After Saturday night's Walkabout, which was a Big Success (!), I needed a little treat. So I made this gorgeous pie, eaten with vanilla ice cream when it was still warm. Lordie Mae. Heaven on a fork. And here's a little tip from Heloise (well, not really but you catch my drift). You know how you have to use shortening to make a flaky pie crust? Well, I heard that the "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" baking sticks located right next to the real thing in grocery stores, made for a good one. I shared the pie with DH & 2 friends Sunday night. Monday evening, we finished it off with DH's family. All 6 of them exclaimed that the crust was incredible. Yes, it was awesome so next time you're in a pie mood, try it!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Schaefer Yarn Catch

Some knitting terms are derived from fishing terms so it seems appropriate to call these Schaefer Yarns a Fine Catch! Well, I swore I wasn't going to buy another skein of yarn until after the July 25-31st sale. If Lisa Limber, the rep from Schaefer Yarns hadn't contacted me with the rare opportunity to do a cash & carry purchase, I could have done it. But alas...she called, I succumbed and here we are with a Fine Catch of Heather, Nicole, and Andrea hand-dyed darn-near-edible yarns.

The thing that makes Lisa such a good rep is that she usually matches up these irresistible yarns with great patterns, some of which she has designed herself. Heather, a merino silk blend, is perfect for a Clapotis knit-along, which we'll be doing in August. Lisa has also written this one-skein Heather shoulder wrap pattern that's perfect for Fall nights in San Diego. Andrea, 100% cultivated silk is ideal for this reversible lace scarf which my hands are itching to do.
And then there's the soft merino/nylon hand-dyed sock yarn, Nicole. This pattern, called "Nicole Beaded Band Sock", incorporates seed beads, something Schaefer is known for (remember the Undulating Wave Scarf?). All patterns are free with purchase of the Schaefer Yarn to make the pattern. I could go on, but I know I'd lose you! That's enough for today!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

It's a Dog's Life

judi patuti and I decided to make a dog bed using Louisa Harding's Nautical Cotton and Amy Butler fabric. We bought a dog bed at South Bark Dog Wash to cover. I knit the border with four different colors in a random stripe pattern. Judy had the hard part of making the cover, sewing it to the knitted piece, and constructing a backing with an elastic "waistband" to keep the fit snug.
Scoutie Rose, my dog, made an unexpected visit to the shop and I didn't want to miss the opportunity to catch the dog bed in use. So here she is saying, "You want me to sit here? Is that it?". Since she has the use of all house furniture, she is not liking the concept of lying on the floor.
Being her obstinate self, instead of lying down on the bed the long way, she lies across it the short way. She thinks she's in trouble for some reason. It may be that she is not allowed to touch my knitting and she's on forbidden ground here.
After an hour, she finally settled down and seemed to get the whole idea of a doggie bed but she still looks like she's in trouble. Very wary, I'd say. You'd think we beat her but honestly she has us wrapped around her little toe 10 times over. She has one of the best dog lives possible, especially since she was rescued from Rosarito two years ago.

P.S. About the bed. Even though it's the cutest, best-designed, most well-made dog bed in the entire world, we don't suggest making it. It was a stinker to put together. It is for sale at the Grove, though. Judy wanted to charge $660 because it was so dang hard to assemble, but we think $95 is more reasonable (based on the $20.00+ doggie bed we started with, 5 skeins of cotton, and 1 yd. of designer fabric, an original design and countless hours of labor!).

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Bejeweled Blitz Be Damned!

I know I am light years behind most when it comes to computer games. No doubt you recognize this one but I didn't discover it until yesterday. If you don't know about "Bejeweled", you are best advised to keep your distance. It is THE most addictive game imaginable! The colors, the shapes, that marble hitting marble sound, the explosions, the feedback. Forewarned is forearmed.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Summertime & The Living Is Easy

You would have thought it was too hot this weekend to think about knitting, but the temperature did not deter new knitters from joining Mel in one of her drop-in classes. This class was working on a cotton beach beanie. With Blue Sky's Organic Cotton, it's almost never too hot to knit, not for us die hard (or is it dye hard?) knitters anyway. Mel's got one more drop-in beginner's knit class this month on Saturday, June 25th from 1-3pm. Check out The Grove's calendar for details.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Color Consultant

Oftentimes, customers will ask for my opinion on color. Then the process of elimination begins. If we can't decide between the two of us, then we put it to a "floor vote" meaning we ask other knitters for a group vote. One of the things I love about the Grove is customers giving their time and thoughtfulness to others in making the best selection. Here is Val doing just that! (It helps that she was an art major, and is a knitter, painter, needle felt artist, etc., etc.! Check out Val's Art Studio.)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Weekend Sewing

How cute are these pants? And I bet they're as comfy as they are cute. Up until judi patuti started carrying fabric at the Grove, Gail had not sewn a garment since she was a child. Inspired by the latest fabrics and colors, she unearthed her Singer Featherweight (which is in remarkable condition) and poured over the latest sewing publications.
She chose to jump back in by making these simple drawstring pants from Weekend Sewing in an Amy Butler summer cotton. She cut them out one afternoon and finished sewing them the next. That is definitely one advantage sewing has over knitting. It's a whole lot quicker!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Passion Fruit

This exquisite flower, grown in our very neighborhood, reminds me that every color combination you can think of has already been done by Nature. It also reminds me that Beauty is in the details. And like a fascination with babies, I could study it for hours on end.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Old Fashioned Lace Trimmed Tablecloth

Pig tails. A gingham dress with a big crisp bow tied in back. Chocolate chip cookies and milk. Lace trimmed tablecloth. Such a comfort picture on the cover of this Blue Sky Alpacas pattern. Who doesn't want to step into this picture?

Two of the three trims photographed are knit. The other one is crocheted. The pattern I chose is called (appropriately enough)"Lace Border". It is knit in Blue Sky Alpaca's Skinny Dyed Cotton.
I am always rediscovering yarn and working with this yarn has me praising it all over again. The stitch definition is amazing. It's soft to the touch and, well, I'm having a hard time putting it down. Can't wait to see what fabric judi patuti will use to finish this.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Falling Leaves Scarf Necklace

Shoot, it looks like I'm going to be late for work again today because I couldn't leave the house until I finished the last Kitchener Stitch on this beautiful necklace. I've been working on it for at least 2 weeks now because the "yarn" is as thin as beading wire and it is knit on size 0 needles. Yep, you heard me - size zeerrooos. And at times the size zeeerrrooos were even too big for the "yarn". But I tell you, it was all worth it. This pattern is in Rosemary Hill's Elements of Style and is made out of Habu's merino covered stainless steel. The yarn is amazing because it has memory. And the pattern was so easy! I honestly enjoyed working on it until I had to knit a total of 42" in stockinette. Z-z-z-z. And until I had to do the Kitchener Stitch to finish it. All I need to do now is wrap beads around the neck of the leaves.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Awe Geeze...To Hell with Weightwatchers!

Oh Good Lord, they have Philly Cheese Steaks that taste like the real thing (absent the grizzle)! I sincerely wish that I never discovered this place at 3501 30th Street across from the infamous "Lefties" that is open 6 days a week (closed Sundays). I wish they didn't have an outdoor porch area that is dog- friendly with a frequently replenished water dish. And I wish to god they didn't have convenient take-out. This is my new "Hooonnneeyyy? I don't feel like cooking. If I order it, will you pick it up ...." Cuz I know on some level that's it's just plain wrong to please the senses and your stomach with no heed towards diet or health.
And to top it off, they have a "Frequent Diner" card! And "Tasty Cakes"!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Placemats: A Take-To-The Beach Project

To me, the first day of Summer is when I turn the air conditioner on for the first time. It's been on two days now. So, yes, I'm finally getting that it is Summer and therefore it is time to play with bright, fun cottons like these in a mindless, tv-watching, simple-enough-to-knit-in-public pattern.

The knit body is made out of Louisa Harding's Nautical Cotton knit in simple stockinette, backed with 1/2 yd. of Judipatuti's Amy Butler fabric (which also accommodates a matching napkin). This is such a good project for beginning knitters and sewers. There are some very clear instructions for making a dinner napkin on Purlbee. In her instructions, Molly points out that sewing napkins is a terrific way to learn to sew. Napkins are to sewing what scarves are for knitters...the place to start. We've got plenty of other colors in both yarns and fabrics to make an array of summer placements and napkins. The mix and match combo's seem endless!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

REAL vine-ripened tomatoes!

These two jewels are from a volunteer tomato plant in my backyard. I never thought I'd see the day when it would bear fruit. In the Spring I fed this plant, watered it frequently, tended to it in every way. And then the blossoms started to drop off and I got discouraged. Eventually I abandoned it, asking DH to dig it up because I saw no reason to keep it going...especially with San Diego's water restrictions. Well, he didn't and don't you know that this raggedy ol' plant thrived in neglect and popped out these two little beauties! I'm sure there's a lesson in all this but I'm not sure what it is!

Saturday, July 11, 2009


I'm not a scrapbooker, but I do love paper and pens almost as much as yarns. So I was beside myself in Paper Tales, a fantastic scrapbooking shop in Point Loma. I picked up these wonderful papers, stamps and punchers there to make tags for the shop and discovered a whole new world. Wow.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Time Flies When You're Working Hard!

My, oh my. A whole week went by since my last post and I have to really think...what was a doing all that time? Well, we did a floor move. What that means is we rearranged everything in the yarn/fabric department to create better teaching space, easier access to the fabrics and threads, and a new needle holder system. This involved several trips to Ikea and the hardware store, and cajoling DH and Jake to move large fixtures. Just when we thought we had it all worked out, Jeffrey from Junc Boutique (awesome store on Fern) came in said - oh, no. No no no. Sigh. He has the best taste of anyone I know on earth and his opinion is never one I ignore. Here he is doing this vixen thing (or something!) and there's Judy & Gail in the background "directing him". I really hope he doesn't look at this blog because if he does, I'm pretty sure he will never help me again. Anyway, in less time than you can imagine, he had everything repositioned. And it is all for the best! To top it all off, Scott Anderson from the Bamboo Store gave us the water feature under the needle holders. He is certified in Feng Shui and did an in depth study on our space. In addition, he did a "clearing" early Sunday morning creating motion and energy. Scott says, it works whether you believe in it or not. But I do believe! How blessed am I to have all this support in my business?

Today, I am off to get supplies to label the needle holders so you don't have to paw through a whole bunch of them to find the ones you need.

Friday, July 3, 2009


It happens all the time. Customers come in saying they're not sure what color that want to work in. A vast majority pick a color that they are wearing. We all seem to gravitate towards a family of colors and don't often wander too far.

In my case, I knit the sweater hanging behind this camisole first, using Kidlin, and two Habu yarns for the of them being in that dusty pink. Then I chose the yarn for the beaded cami (a free pattern on Ravelry from black dog designs) and without even thinking, gravitated towards the same dusty pink (which, by the way, we also have in linen)in Louisa Harding's Merletto. When I brought the finished piece into the shop, I was amazed at how I unintentionally knit the perfect camisole for under that Kidlin sweater. It is a perfect set.

Marcia DeCoster jazzed up the cami by adding some bead work along the hem and in the center front. Perfect match also! In case anyone else is tempted to knit the cami and bead it, we made up small packets with the exact beads used in this piece.