holy city hat



Hello! Just popping in with a quick post to show a new colorful hat pattern that uses the terrifically fun mosaic colorwork technique. The pattern is just out today and uses light fingering weight yarn and is perfect for stash diving. I let my 4 year old grandson pick the colors from my stash and think he did a good job, and while I never would have gone this bold and bright, I do love them as combined they are supposed to resemble stained glass. The fun pattern comes in SEVEN sizes and is well written by a very lovely woman and a designer to watch. 


And before summer completely leaves us in a mere 7 days, I thought I should post pictures of my pretty flower border that is (still) chock full of gorgeous zinnias. I start all my zinnias by seed in my greenhouse in late winter. Starting by seed allows for the best variety. I get my seeds from different sources and already have a few packets of new-to-me zinnia varieties that I will try out next year. The seed catalogs start to come out in January and is something to look forward to after the holidays are over.

This bouquet shows the gorgeous faded quilt colors of the Queen Lime Series of zinnia.
 There are three colors in the series and I have all three: Queen Lime, QL Red, and QL Orange.
These are my favorite zinnias.


At the front of the border I have Pinwheel zinnias. They are prolific bloomers and
are only 12" tall. I have them in orange and cherry.

Queen Lime Zinnias in lime, red and orange

Cherry Pinwheel Zinnia


hello gorgeous


By mid summer the zinnias have come to their full beauty.
Pink hydrangeas are in the background.

White Shasta Daisies in the forefront. This picture and the following picture was
 taken early in summer, before the zinnias really took off!



But there is room in my flower border for other zinnia varieties as well.
 Below you can see some Fruit Bowl and State Fair Zinnias.




State Fair Zinnias




State Fair Zinnia




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Rivage











This pattern is almost a decade old and I've had my eye on it since the beginning. For some reason I always thought Loft, this fingering weight yarn from Brooklyn Tweed, and one of his earlier yarns, was itchy. Someone told me it was itchy and so I believed her. But earlier this year I participated in a test knit for a guest designer for Brooklyn Tweed and was offered this yarn at a great discount. The test was for a pullover and is a lovely one and I hope the designer does publish it but we testers have not heard from her for several months. All testers are finished but have not been able to give our final thoughts on the pattern because the designer is MIA. Very odd. But, there is a silver lining--besides the sweater being lovely, I found out that I loved Loft and with the discount the designer offered, I ordered yarn to make this beautiful shawl. Loft is gorgeous to knit and is soft enough for me to wear next to the skin. I knit exactly per pattern, size and colors, and loved the new-to-me edge stitch that I show above. I used a size 6 needle and loved the fabric it made, which was 22 sts. to 4 in. So, when I use this again, I will use it as a DK weight yarn or maybe a sport, but not as a fingering weight, which is what it is! This project was meditative and enjoyable with all the stockinette, the feel of the wool, and the soft, warm colors.


Books: I finished a few books since my last post and have one lovely book to recommend: The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi. The novel takes place in Japur in the mid 1950s and richly creates everyday Indian life during that period. The characters, especially the henna artist herself, are beautifully portrayed. Themes for the book include the devastation of gossip and rumors, the social castes that follow you like a shadow, abortion, and creating family, blood related or not. 


If you'd like to make a comment, please click here or scroll down. I reply to each comment and that response will appear directly below your comment. If you would like a personal reply, please know that I use the Blogger platform and they do not give me your contact information when you comment. If you would like a personal reply you can contact me using the contact form on the right side at the very end of my websiteIf you would like to receive Knitionary posts by email, please subscribe here.


Poor Boy revisited






I'm so happy that I finally have a modeled sweater to share today. I always say that the knitting is the easy part, the modeling, not so much. This is the Cocoon Summer Sweater pattern from Heidi and Anna Pickles. The pattern has minimal information, as in it does not hold your hand in any way, but with that said, I had no problems and do love it. I recommend it if you are looking to knit a vintage 60s Poor Boy style sweater. Remember them? Sigh, they were the best!

The original Poor Boys were meant to cling to every curve. We wore them skin-tight with our matching skin-tight bellbottoms; bellbottoms so tight that we had to lay on the floor to zip them up over our 99 pound frames. While I don't want to wear a sweater the same way I did back when I was a teen, the best look for a rib sweater even for this older gal, is still snug. The smallest size would have been too big for me so to adjust the size to make it smaller, I changed my gauge from 19 sts per 4" to 21 and was able to scrape a few inches off the width. I also think I omitted the last increase, but can't exactly remember as I finished this a while ago.

Knitted top down in the round, the increases are made in the knit side of the ribbing so the ribbing fans out in a pretty way (see picture above). I used a stretchy yarn, vintage Rowan Calmer, but it is discontinued and difficult to find. With the stretch in the yarn and the ribbing, the sweater is form-fitting-ish, feels great and looks nice too. The color, an army green, just happens to perfectly match the "surf pants" I bought in a surf shop in Maui last month.  I also have some Calmer in black and wonder if I should make another one. I think this is going to be one of those sweater staples that I'm going to love wearing again and again.


Books: 

Thank you dear readers for you book recommendations. Because of you I have two fabulous book recommendations to share. First is Call Your Daughter Home, 2019, by Deb Spera. This takes place in the early twenties in a small town in South Carolina. The south is experiencing a depression even if the rest of the country will not experience it for another five years. In this town and during this time, the lives of three very different women intersect and create a touching story that I could not put down. Even though it brought tears to my eyes, I loved it in every way possible. I downloaded the the audio version of this book from my library and enjoyed all three narrators.

The second book I think you'll love is Ordinary Grace, 2013, by Willaim Kent Krueger. This also takes place in a small town, this time in Minnesota during the 60s, a coming of age story reminiscent of an Ivan Doig book and centers around a family who grapples with loss, tragedy and their faith, and how they manage to stay together to find peace and grace.  Despite the subject material, it is an uplifting, beautiful story. I downloaded the the audio version of this book from my library and enjoyed the narrator, Rick Orlow.

So folks, until next time, knit on, read on, that's what I'll be doing :) And please don't forget to recommend a book you have loved and you think I need to read. Kristen




If you'd like to make a comment, please click here or scroll down. I reply to each comment and that response will appear directly below your comment. If you would like a personal reply, please know that I use the Blogger platform and they do not give me your contact information when you comment. If you would like a personal reply you can contact me using the contact form on the right side at the very end of my websiteIf you would like to receive Knitionary posts by email, please subscribe here.


an old-fashioned stain removal trick for your hand knits



 

You all know how much I knit (just look at that sweater cupboard, and every one is hand knit!) but do you know I wear a hand knit almost every day? A l m o s t every day, except today; it was 95! As soon as the kids go back to school we get our hottest weather. But back to sweaters, because I wear them so often and manage to spill coffee, smear chocolate, and drip gravy with unfortunate regularity, I have to have a solid way to banish those stains!

I'll tell you my secret: Fels Naptha, that old fashioned inexpensive bar soap that was in granny's wash room. I started using the old yellow bar 35 years ago when a friend recommended it. "That old stuff?" I scoffed, but she handed me a bar and insisted I try it. She was right, you cannot beat it for removing stains, plus it lasts forever and costs less than $2. And just for fun, the packaging looks like it hasn't changed in a hundred years.

Using it couldn't be easier:

1. Wet the stain with water.
2. Wet the edge of the soap bar.
3. Put the two together and rub the soap onto the front of the stain and the back side too. Rub, rub, rub. Rub gently if you have a wool that will felt. I let it sit for a few minutes then launder as usual. If it needs hand washing I use Eucalan Wool Wash and follow the directions on the label; if I can machine wash the sweater I put it in it's own mesh bag and wash in cool water on the gentle cycle.

With this method I have been able to remove all but the most egregious stains. Even blood and grease cannot stand up to good old Fels Naptha and it works on all washable fabrics. When my husband wore white dress shirts daily, this was the only product that could remove ring-around-the-collar. When I want to get stains out of my husband's white sport socks, I put a sock on each hand, get them wet, then rub the bar between the socks and rub for a minute or so. White socks again! When the bar gets too small you can grate the remains into warm water and let it dissolve overnight, then add to your next wash. I'll bet you can find Fels Naptha in your laundry aisle, but if not, Amazon sells it too

One more tip: Every so often I'll soak my white knits in a strong solution of OxyClean. I let them soak for a few hours then launder as usual. It really brightens them up without using bleach. 

Shopping Links



I hope you liked my laundry tips. Do you have any tips to share?

(The sweaters pictured on the table are bottom, Martha, top right, Hourglass, and top left, Brooke.)



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our new dahlia patch

 






Before summer slips away I thought I'd share one of our recent garden projects, our new dahlia bed. We have a patch of dirt in a mostly unvisited part of our side yard. It's usually out of sight out of mind with this dirt patch and over the years it had been an artichoke patch (never produced enough to keep) an herb garden (too far away from the kitchen door) and lastly a home for old roses. When we replaced an old rose, we relocated it here and let them live out the remainder of their lives in peace. But last winter when I was pouring through an online dahlia catalog an idea came to me to use this patch for something really fun. I asked my gardeners to dig out the old roses and prepare the soil, then my husband installed a simple low waste watering system and I ordered 25 tubers, plus dug up a dozen tubers from our flower border. I then got to planting and labeling and waited for that beautiful first bloom. It has been so fun to check it out each morning, cup of coffee in one hand and my flower shears in the other. Dahlia blooms have really given a boost to my flower arrangements this summer!

Dahlias bloom from mid summer through early fall, die back in winter and because they are tubers, and if your ground freezes, they must be dug up and safely stored. Our ground does not freeze and we can let the tubers sleep all winter long in the ground. Dahlias will continue to bloom throughout the fall and get bigger every year.

Floret Dahlias is the gold standard for purchasing dahlia bulbs here in the US. They sell out quickly, as do their seeds. There are gorgeous dahlia gardens around the world and this is the time to visit them. We have quite a famous dahlia garden in the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Buchart Gardens in Canada has a fabulous dahlia border that we visited a decade ago. I remember my husband having to drag me away.

I know this is a knitting blog and I promise I have some knitting posts to come. My garden seems to hijack my blog every summer and I hope you enjoy reading about my passion for gardening as much as I love sharing it.  Until next time, take care my friends. xo Kristen
























If you'd like to make a comment, please click here or scroll down. I reply to each comment and that reply will appear directly below your comment. If you would like a personal reply, please know that I use the Blogger platform and they do not give me your contact information when you comment. If you would like a personal reply you can contact me using the contact form on the right side at the very end of my websiteIf you would like to receive Knitionary posts by email, please subscribe here.



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