seacoast















I am nothing if not loyal to a pattern and a yarn. This is my third Seacoast and at my tenth-plus time using Rowan Handknit Cotton. I love both, and together they make the perfect summer sweater. The pattern by Joji Locatelli is perfect in every way and I could see myself making a dozen! I made my first Seacoast with white Handknit Cotton, my second with Rowan Hemp Tweed in black (I haven't Raveled that one yet and I knit it over a year ago; must get on to that) and this one in a quiet Ballet Pink. I love the yoke; besides having hidden increases in the ribbing there are short rows at the back neck so it rests a little higher up than the front.

And that pretty table with the checkered cloth--well, that was the dinner party that never was. On Friday night we planned to have six for dinner to meet a friend's new girlfriend. The night before we went to the Farmer's Market and bought the season's first locally grown globe artichokes. They are so beautiful and so massive, when stuffed I imagine it would only be possible for a very hearty eater to finish one. At 1PM, after I had set the table and just as I was getting ready to stuff those big guys, I was called away for a little bit of an emergency and was gone the entire afternoon. I didn't get home until 1 hour before the guests were to arrive and only had time to shower, prepare one appetizer and set out a simple bar. When our friends arrived we had a drink and an appie and then went out to dinner. That was Friday and today is Sunday and I just now dismantled the table and am cooking the artichokes (unstuffed); two for lunch, two for mom and two more that we will eat cold for tomorrow's lunch.

Castroville in Monterey County is about an hour south from us and grows about 90% of the artichokes consumed in the US. We go there often for day trips, especially this time of year when the artichokes and berries are in season. I grew up eating artichokes every spring and taught my son how to eat them when he was two. We will have our grandson this week and as he is only 10 months old  so managing a leaf will be too tricky for him. Artichokes are eaten one leaf at a time by scraping the lower part of the leaf between your upper and lower teeth to remove the fleshy part at the base. Instead I will mash up the heart for him and I'm certain he will love it. He is a very adventurous eater and loves avocados, mangos, eggs, spaghetti with meatballs, and even zucchini with pesto. Last week I made a casserole with leftover kale and Swiss chard and just threw in what I had in the refrigerator--sour cream, grated mixed cheeses, pine nuts and a few eggs to bind it, then baked it. The baby ate it, and not only ate it, he loved it! We really haven't found anything he doesn't like, bless his heart. I mash up whatever we are eating and while he may be surprised by a new flavor, he is always game! He is a little chatterbox, have I mentioned that here? He says egg, appo for apple, nana for banana, on, off, up, car, go-go, calls me Gammy for Grammy and says Paw for Papa. He says dozens of words and is a very early talker, but his big word is umbrella. He loves outdoor umbrellas and when he sees one he points in awe and says, "umbrelllllaaa" with great reverence! What a little character; having this baby in our lives is just so beautiful in every way.

We just celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary! We could not believe it and we both kept on saying, "Forty-five years? Has it really been that long?" I am married to the sweetest and most kind-hearted man I know. Plus he's funny. I think I got very lucky or was very smart 45 years ago. Maybe both! Sometimes he reads my blog, so if you are: Happy anniversary honey! I love you!

And in the TCB department: because of new GDPR policies, I have added a privacy policy page to my blog. Basically it says that I don't/won't share your email or any personal information with anyone. But even if I wanted to, I wouldn't have a clue as to how to do it! So never fear, the Knitionary blog is a safe place to be--a cozy spot filled with yummy yarns, pretty flowers, and happy babies!

The artichoke in the vase is from our garden. The plant only seems to get smallish artichokes like this one so I usually cut them and use them as cut flowers. They last a good long time in water.  In late summer the artichoke will bloom into a purple thistle and they look so pretty in a vase too.
Under the magical umbrelllllaaa!


LINKS!

How to cook and eat an artichoke.
Rowan Handknit Cotton is my favorite cotton yarn ever.
Joji Locatelli's Seacoast pattern is simply beautiful.
My Ravelry project page with my modest and simple modifications for fit.
The inexpensive gingham tablecloth comes in a half dozen colors and sizes.

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weekender







As soon as I saw this pattern I knew I would probably end up making it several times. I bought the pattern on its release date last November and cast on immediately only to hate my yarn choice after knitting close to half way up. It was too heavy feeling for an oversized style so it was frogged and the pattern was set aside. Spring came and I thought I would like to make it in cotton, thinking Rowan's Handknit Cotton would be perfect. Unfortunately my stash of Handknit Cotton wasn't generous enough to make an oversized sweater and I just did not want to buy any. (Sometimes I am oddly frugal and other times I'm strangely extravagant.) After a thorough look through my stash I unearthed some vintage Rowan 4 Ply Cotton in white that would work if doubled. This sweater is so lovely in cotton, was such an easy knit, and is so easy to wear. I love it, my husband loves it, and it looks good with everything, so I've swatched some wooly yarn for a wintery Weekender. 

Sweater details: It's knit in one piece from the bottom up. The body is knit in reverse stockinette in the round, which you knit inside-out, so no purling. There is a slipped-stitch decorative detail on both center front and back. The neck line is a simple boatneck style, maybe more like a slash neck; wide and flattering. The sleeves are knit by picking up stitches at the drop shoulder and knitting stockinette in the round to the cuff with a few tapering decreases. I picked up less sleeve stitches for a more fitted sleeve--my preference. As you might have guessed, The Weekender is very easy to knit and well-written, and everyone is giving it rave reviews.

The Weekender pattern by Andrea Mowry

My Weekender project page on Ravelry





The Weekender pattern by Andrea Mowry
My Weekender project page on Ravelry


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roses!



I've been taking pictures the last few weeks as everything is blooming--not just the roses, but the fruit trees, iris, wisteria, lavender, and it all looks pretty amazing. If I'm being honest, in late winter and early spring I start to dread the gardening tasks ahead of me. I have to put all that out of my head and resolve to chip away a little at a time. I don't do very much in a day, and I now ask my gardeners for more help than I have ever asked for in past years. Once the biggest tasks are behind us, the reward it a gorgeous garden with only a little bit of daily maintenance, which we enjoy. Today is cloudy and cool, and after posting I'm going to head outside for one hour of weeding, no more, no less. There's a baseball game to watch and knitting to be done :)

(Every garden post I am asked where we live because everything blooms so early. We live in the San Francisco Bay area in Northern California. We are a gardening zone 9 and have mild winters and summers. We do not get a lot of rainfall and have to water the garden bi-weekly starting about now. Our garden is completely organic and has been for 30-plus years.)


The patio off our bedroom.

This tea-rose tree walk was planted by the previous owners. We've had to replace all of the roses over the three decades we have lived here, choosing varieties that repeat bloom.

We've started the veggie garden and I'll make a post on that later. We have six roses on the fence that borders the veggies. The large yellow one is Graham Thomas. It gets massive every year and is one of my favorite yellows. It is a David Austin.



The bearded iris have taken over. When we moved here, a neighbor dug up a clump of irises from his garden and planted it in ours. Thirty plus years later and they have taken over an entire corner of our perennial flower bed.



All of our roses are repeat bloomers, and these that border our bedroom patio are amazing. They are called Red Simplicity from Jackson Perkins. We also have them in pink. 

This amazing climber is called Eden. The following pictures show it closer up. Pictures really cannot do it justice. It's just the most amazing rose. It's fragrant, the roses stay well on the plant, a repeat bloomer and makes beautiful bouquets.


Climbing Eden.


These two photos are from one massive Knock Out plant. For repeat bloomers, this cannot be beat; it will not be without a bloom all summer. I do cut it back several times in the summer as it can get too big. I'm thinking of planting these as a border for our perennial flower bed. Right now I border it with annuals, usually zinnias, but this year it got Cosmos, I'll share pictures later. The kids, Carter's parents, built a white picket fence in their front yard and bordered it with pink Knock Outs. I love it!





Inspecting a pinecone.

Iceberg

We have several neighbors who keep bees. The friendly ones visit our garden.
We had a dinner party last week and roses were the centerpieces. They actually did triple duty. The next day they went to a wedding shower, then finished the following day as flowers for Mother's Day, although they were a bit pooped out by then.


I love orange and red together.

The rose arch on the left of center is called First Prize. The other rose arch to the right, it's hard to see, is the Climbing Eden. They are decorative entries into our little veggie garden.







Carter and I played under the umbrella one day last week. Every time I tried to get up, he threw his tiny arms around me and hugged me tight, buried his head into my neck and put his entire weight on me to try and pin me down. It was so darling. I told him that we would stay out and play as long as he wanted. I cannot resist him!


Climbing Blaze. It's amazing year after year. I can walk under it but my husband has to bend down. When I take Carter on a walk in his little blue car, we stop underneath it for a good long time. Also a repeat bloomer, the first bloom is the best.



We have two wisteria that grow up a lattice support. I don't know the variety, but the flower racemes get very long, up to 6 feet,  maybe even longer, and can drag on the ground. When I walk Carter around the garden we always stop at this particularly long one and he catches it and waves it around and coos and squeals. He is pretty darling. We did not have a good wisteria year unfortunately. When the racemes were just forming and a few inches long, we had a terrific storm and the fierce wind and rain knocked down hundreds of the buds. It made me so sad to see the damage the next morning, so I'm grateful that we even have these flowers to enjoy.





Not that many racemes this year because of the storm. These will keep growing until they reach the ground.

Our pear and apple trees are blooming, but they are getting old. The garden is 75 years old and while that age is fantastic for many things in the garden, fruit trees need to be replaced every several decades or so. We've had our eye on this apple for a few years and we may have to replace it soonish.
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