Spritz


























Growing up near my Scandinavian grandparents, Valborg Lynnea and Rangwald Carl, meant our family celebrations were always a Smorgasbord. Salty fish, smoked fish, sour fish, I loved it all. Christmas Eve was big, with the large family descending on their egg ranch where Nana had been baking for weeks filling shirt boxes with fattigmann, sandkakor, rosettes, spritz and an array of others. I've made my share of these cookies for my own family, but now with just two of us in the house my cookie making days are few and far between. But today I made Spritz! Martha was on in the background the other day and she was making these precious little jewels, and remembering I had offered to bring cookies to a party, I dug out my cookie press. The recipe is basic and easy, here is Martha's, but cookie presses are not created equal. I've had many and disliked many and have settled on Marcato as my favorite for it's ease of use.

I'm feeling nostalgic and energetic and may bake my favorite, sandkakor or my son's favorite, kransekaka, hopefully both!

I wish you all a very merry Christmas!

Edie























































My goodness this is big, but still, I love this sweater and it remains an elegant sweater even tho oversized. But this post is mostly about the yarn, not so much the pattern. While the Kim Hargreaves pattern is great, certainly a departure from my usual zero ease sweaters, I'm always captivated by oceans of stockinette and loved those big raglan sleeves. But back to the yarn: on super-sale at Little Knits, I couldn't resist the idea of using some Sublime yarn. I love their pattern books but have never seen or touched any of their yarn. On-line, the pale blue was so pretty, the price so great that I decided to overlook the angora content. Merino-Angora is 80% super fine merino with only 20% angora, and that couldn't be that bad, could it?

Well yes.

Because...

...you already know this, and I already know this, but jeez, the bunny fur that puffs out while knitting angora is almost unbearable. Forget wearing contact lenses; and glasses and eyelashes are no protection from the fearsome flying stuff. So why did I persist? Because touching it is heavenly and the fabric it creates is so pretty and incredibly soft, I can't sing it's praises enough.

Wearing sheddy angora garments requires extra attention: don't hug anyone, don't lean and stretch all over velvet eggplant colored sofas, and always carry a lint roller with you just in case you forget the rules. Just taking the pictures enveloped my black skirt with fluff. Because of this I'll probably wear this sweater most of the time with light blue jeans.

BTW, I have an extra skein, and if you'd like to try it out, I'd love you to have it, first come first serve, but I'd prefer to ship in the continental US please.

The particulars: Edie by Kim Hargreaves from her Precious book, size xs using 8.5 sk. of Sublime Merino Angora in color #74, Innocent.





















Upcoming knits: Kim's new book Winter Blooms is out and she has created magic yet again. I could knit everything in this book and this is what I covet most: Ryder, Valentine, the sweater version of Briar, and just nuts about Fleur! In the meantime I am knitting as fast as I can to finish Effie and also making a cape in some brown and grey Rowan Ribbon Twist.

Vivienne






















































































Here's Vivienne from Precious by Kim Hargreaves. Kim is my favorite go-to knit designer. When you knit from Kim's patterns you usually don't get to show off great knitting skills, but what you do get is a very classic, stylish and wearable sweater. That particular style is best for me.

Vivienne is a long sleeved version of Jasmine, which I made for myself but then gifted to my daughter. This one will stay right here! This sweater is made from my favorite go-to yarn, the late and great Rowan 4-Ply Soft. Early this year when I walked into my lys, they had long faces when they told me this yarn was to be discontinued, they knew how much I loved it and relied on it. STOCK UP they said, so I did. But maybe not enough. I have some bright pink left in my stash, but that's it. I'm going to have to rely on Ebay when I start to yearn for this classic yarn. I think Rowan has made a big mistake.

Details: I think I used 5, maybe 6 skeins (I forgot to count as I went) for the size XS and Clover bamboos, sizes 2 and 2/3. The color is Rain Cloud, shade 387. Raveled.

BTW, my favorite sweater I have ever made is this one, made in 4-Ply Soft. It's Pearly by Martin Story. Raveled here. Here's a picture of it.


Hourglass Sweater






























I am a little late in jumping on the Hourglass bandwagon, but really, it has been in my queue for a long, long time. The new Rowan Lima appeared at my lys, one squeeze and I knew it had to be mine. How difficult could it be to find a pattern to compliment this heathery softy stuff? First I tried Seneca, but the delicate cables of Seneca looked clumsy in this yarn and so Lima was stuffed away in the basket. A few other projects were started and finished and Lima was still in the basket waiting for the perfect pattern. Hourglass came to mind, and thus a new project was born. A fast project. Love it. Love it. And may make it again. The fit is perfect and made no mods except to add a few inches in length.

The chunky key necklace is from The Powell Girls. They will be having a trunk show with us, Cover Story, for our Shop By Candlelight event.

The details: 8 skeins of Lima by Rowan in color Peru. Hourglass Sweater in XS from the Last Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson. Knit in the round from the bottom up with bell sleeves and flattering wide neckline.

Raveled here.
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Frances Revisited

























This is a simple sweater, knit from the top-down with chunky yarn so it goes fast. Details are the bell shaped sleeves, seed stitch borders and large cowl. This is a particular favorite of my husband who loves the Audrey Hepburn look. Frances Revisited is a free Ravely download. The yarn is RYC Soft Tweed in Thistle. This was a nice break from some of the more complicated patterns and tiny-needle projects I have in my work basket right now.
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Behold The Lilies














































Oh look! Another white sweater. Hee hee. I think I see some color in my future, but for now I offer up one more white. This is a beauty, Lily by Marnie MacLean knit in RYC Cashcotton DK. I started it way back in January, planned to have it be my Easter sweater, but I got bogged down with all the changes I had to make to this lovely pattern because of the yarn being a different gauge. My stitch count, decreases and increases, just about everything was different and I had to wing it. I took no notes so could never recreate it thank goodness. If I were to make it again, I would make sure my gauge was spot-on and just follow the pattern as it was written. The lace pattern I did follow.

I took it out of hibernation a few nights ago and added a few more pattern repeats to the yoke, all the while trying to speed up the decreases. Then lastly, k2tog (twice), p2 and that drew the yoke in to get a k2p2 rib started for the neckline. The cashcotton is nice and soft to knit with. Mostly cotton with a little cashmere and a little bit of bunny too. I hope it holds up well. Raveled.

This will be going to Australia with me in November. Perfect for their spring. See you next time with some color!
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Seneca
















































While simultaneously working on 5 projects, I just happen to finish one! Seneca, by Brooklyn Tweed, is LOVELY! The directions for the pattern itself is graceful and flowing; just plain ole' reading necessary here, no arduous deciphering of cryptic directions necessary. The single pattern was downloaded from Ravelry, a very nice option if you don't want to purchase the whole book, and I didn't. Jared was nice to his fans to allow this option. Thank you!

This was knit in the round (yippee!) from bottom up, then sleeves and body were joined at the yoke and knit in the round with cables and decreases until the end. I eliminated the last row of yoke cables to make a more fitted sweater which suits me. The hem and neckline trim are 2 rows of purls and 2 rows of knit, then the 2 rows of purls again. The hem lays flat and is a technique I will use again.

I love the sideways cables which is worked over a 10 stitch repeat. The central double increase was a new one on me. It makes 5 stitches out of one stitch and is necessary to create the cable to go up and off to the right and left. The last row you decrease back to one stitch. A good tutorial for that is found here. The pattern directions are written well enough to get you through it, but it was nice to see the pictures anyway.

Make this one. You'll be glad you did.

The details: Size xs using 8 skeins of Lana Grossa Cool Wool Big in color # 601, white. Raveled.
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live fast and die young



































































... seems to be the motto of my flowers and veggies this year. We've had a bumper crop of everything: berries, green beans, cukes, tomatoes and oodles of cut flowers. Oh, and apples and pears, beautiful and big this year! But towards the end of August everything looks a bit pooped out. They're tired of growing, I can tell. The summer squash and the roma tomatoes have just about given up, half are in the compost heap.

I'd like to share some pretty pics of my hard working summer garden.

Red Lion
































This sweater, the Lion Neck Cardigan has been in my queue, ready to go with yarn and pattern for about a year. Finally got the push I needed when the group Sexy Knitters Club on Ravelry decided on a third quarter 2009 KAL for Wendy Bernard. Well, I had three months to make it, but, hee hee, I finished it in less than a week.

This goes FAST, and it's fun, and I love it, really love it. I have knit a few of Wendy Bernard's designs, but this is probably going to be my favorite. I can imagine myself wearing it often, perfect for cool Nor. Cal. nights and the arctic freeze of the movie theaters in the summer. I love the way it flatters and shapes, yet there is no shaping to the pattern at all. The ruffle is perfect, not silly like some ruffles can get, but prettily stream-lined and floppy and flattering.

About the yarn, RYC Soft Tweed, the color Bramble is beautiful, the feel is soft and squishy and has just the perfect amount of tweedy flecks in blues. I used just over 7 balls. The pattern seems sized very small. I would normally make an XS, but reading other Ravelers review of this sweater, I made the size M and it does fit perfectly. I think it's a good idea to go up one or two sizes with this sweater.

I have a few more projects that I have recently CO: Apres Surf Hoodie in RYC Cashcotton 4 ply in a soft yellow and a long sleeved Yosemite (free pattern) in Cool Wool Big in soft pink. So just added two more WIP's to my overflowing knitting basket(s), ye gads. But I am closing in on a few other projects and will share them soon.
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Independence Day Knitting


















I've created a monster, a sweet little monster and I couldn't be happier. Eight years old and addicted to knitting. Such a good thing, don't you agree?
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Pure






























Pure is from the Breeze book by Kim Hargreaves. Probably not the most interesting knit in the book, but something about making it in white June that I had in my stash appealed to me. I love June, even with all my "must be a natural fiber" snobbery. Yes, it is a microfiber, but doe's not have that acrylicky feeling. It's easy on the hands, makes a crisp stitch, and the finished sweater does well in the washer and dryer. I've used June a few times before. Also, I found it online for $2.99 a skein. Can't really ask for more than that in a yarn!

I do like this sweater, but almost didn't finish it. I tried it on after I joined one sleeve to the body, and I looked like a pumpkin. I set it aside, dreading the idea of frogging all that stockinette I had knit and knit, then finally got the idea of a belt. Finished it and belted it and TA DA, love it.

I knit it in the round till the arm opening and added a few more waist increases. Also, I speeded up the raglan decreases or the sleeve opening would have been immense. Also added some length.

Now I am working on Summer Scabbard which has been a trial. More about that later.
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Summer Garter Yoke Cardigan





























This is my second time knitting this sweater pattern. The first was made in Rowan Cashsoft Aran, shown here and Raveled here. My daughter loved it and she took it home. I'm always so happy when she likes a sweater of mine because she is hard to knit for.

For this white one, I used the lovely and wonderful Rowan Handknit Cotton, very soft in the hand and makes a beautiful fabric that is fairly easy care.

The pattern's smallest size is a small, so for an XS I made the following modifications:

Make The Yoke: Stop at row 37.

Shape The Raglan: Start this on row 38. At end of this section, repeat rows 3 and 4 six times: 245 sts (153 for body and 46 for each arm).

I did the waist shaping as written, changing the stitch count to correspond with the changes I made above.

This is one of FOUR white sweaters I am working on for the summer. I am at a bit of a standstill on the other three, so am working on some simple sweaters in the meantime, but have high hopes of finishing the white ones very soon! I just need to buckle down and spend some quiet time working out the modifications I need for proper fit. I really hate to change a pattern, but often find myself doing it because fit is everything in a knit, don't you agree?

My little granddaughter is already planning her 9th birthday party which will be an American Girl Tea Party. Love the possibilities of this! This is what I came up with last year, shown here and Raveled here.

Edgar Sawtelle


















Ye gads, I just finished reading The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski. It had such an impact on me! Dog lovers will love this and novel lovers will love this book too. It has a tragic Hamlet-esque ending, so beware. But the writing is beautiful and the dogs are perfection.

I'll be finishing The Distant Land of My Father by Bo Caldwell any day, another one I love. (I usually read two books at a time, one by the bed, one in the fam room) This one has lots of Shanghai during the Japanese invasion and then Communist rule, fascinating. This book helps you understand how the verb "Shanghaied" came about.

I am sharing a photo of my dear Violet, now gone for 3 years. She was also perfection.

in the garden

















What's in garden? Glad you asked!

Right outside the kitchen is where I grow most of my herbs. There's sage and thyme, tarragon and rosemary, chives and oregano. Convenient!

Next, there's these nice blackberry bushes growing over the fence from our neighbor's yard. Thanks, neighbor! We'll pick berries every morning in a few weeks.
Bee activity this AM: Very Busy!






























These giant white nicotiana plants stand 7 feet tall. They re-seed and appear outside our bedroom door every spring. Their evening fragrance is beautiful and most often it's nice enough to have our door open, and then, well, it's a little bit of heaven going to sleep.


in the garden































I know, more roses. This David Austin beauty is called The Pilgrim , a repeat bloomin', good smellin' rose bush that can and will get very very large. We pruned it hard this year to make it a bit more manageable. It has never had a disease, no rust or blackspot ever! It gets picked often because one stem creates an arrangement, just one stem! And there always has to be a little arrangement by the kitchen sink.

Jasmine
































This is one of those patterns by Kim Hargreaves, that when you first look at it you think, maybe it’s too simple, too plain. But then you make it anyway because you love it, and then it’s done and you try it on, and well, it’s perfect. The simple things are what makes it perfect: the garter stitch yoke, the lovely neckline, the eyelet placket, and the tiny buttonholes ready for the tiny pearly buttons. Perfection. Raveled.

Details: Pattern is Jasmine from Nectar. 5 sk. of Rowan 4-ply Cotton in Lilac 139. Size 2 needles.