Estelle Pullover

My husband asked me, are you doing that blogging again? Yes I am. He smiled and said why don't you just call it I Am A Big Showoff, or Here I Am Showing Off Again. I get it but it is awkward writing a blog without sounding like a braggart. If you write a craft blog you know what I mean. Here is where we show each other all the nifty things we make, grow, bake, etc. We boast and brag, promoting our endeavors with words and pictures. I feel so awkward and shy about all this, especially when I look at the pictures of me grinning like a maniac! Arggh. I'm embarrassed that I blog about ME, but I just love it when you blog about YOU.

So if you are reading this, (and it doesn't count if you are my mom) Hi mom! I want to say thank you for putting up with all my showing off and all that. I have so much fun doing this, it's a fun part of my day and reading YOUR blog inspires, entertains and humbles me.

Plus, I love the intimate feel of a blog.

Now on to the latest sweater! It's the Estelle Pullover, which I have made before (twice before). This time using just a smidge over 5 skeins of Rowan Kid Classic. I love the oatey color (it's called Oats!). It might wash me out, but I love that it is so neutral. I used bamboo needles, size 7 I think. Bamboo needles and Kid Classic are heaven together. Because the gauge is way off, quite a bit smaller than the pattern, it brought the neck in, which is what I wanted for this winter sweater. I have to wear a long sleeved tee underneath, KC is pretty itchy right next to the skin, but with a tee it is perfectly cozy and warm.

The best to you in 2011. Thank you so much for visiting.

winter in Caliornia

Today is promising to be another perfect day. Rain. Just like yesterday. As a California native, I have lived through more droughts than I care to think about, so rain, even sprinkles, is always a reason to be happy. The granddaughter of a California farmer and a gardener myself, I welcome rain. My son was born during one of our worst droughts. It rained when he was four and he didn't even understand what was happening! We put on rain gear and splashed in even the tiniest puddles...all day.

So it's another perfect day for fickle knitting, one project for an hour, work on another for a bit, start a new one. House is clean and organized, dinner planned, and Merchant Ivory's, The Golden Bowl on the dvr. How is it I have never seen this movie? I love Merchant Ivory films and thought I'd seen them all. I was 12 minutes into it, and realized this one had to be savored for the perfect time. And it has come.

Before I go, here are a few pictures of winter in my corner of California.

Orange juice in the making.

We still have roses. I know, it's crazy!

Lots of moss.

And lots of olives too.
Camelias are starting to bloom.
Hydrangeas still look pretty even with their ragged ears.
And then voila! bouquets ready to go around the house.

Holden Shawlette

Today I have plopped from the bed to the sofa to the chair to the tub. It's so strange when Christmas day has come and gone. All the busy busy doings have been done; made, baked, opened, eaten, sung, whatever. Time for some calm and some sofa time with knitting. I told my husband I was going to do nothing but knit all week long and watch the holiday movies I recorded but didn't get a change to watch my fill of. But he also put me in charge of back to healthy eating in our house. We have had enough sweets and meats for a while. I see veggies are in our future.

I finished this scarf in mid December and think I've wore it every day since. The pattern is the Holden Shawlette by Mindy Wilkes, made with one skein of Malabrigo Sock in Ravelry Red. Pattern is fairly easy and it's a free download. While visiting Costa Mesa last month, I found the yarn at a great shop called Knit Schtick. They have a great selection of Malabrigo and are very nice and friendly.

Rosettes, Sandkaker and Spritz

Christmas to most of us means baking, and at Christmas I always go back to my Scandinavian roots to make those wonderful treats of my childhood.

I made Rosettes and thought I'd show you just the way my Nana showed me when I was a newlywed.

First you need a rosette iron, like this.
It comes with a recipe and it's easy: 2 eggs and 2 spoons of sugar (???! I use 2 TBLS), pinch salt and 1 C milk and 1 C flour. Beat well. Nana's secret: Let this rest for 1/2 hour.

My recipe calls for a vessel of hot grease. Yikes. I manage to do this by using a bottle of corn oil and a small can of shortening. Heat until very very hot. I have never taken the temp., but it's super hot. At the same time season the iron by heating it up in the oil.

Dip iron into batter, just almost up to the top, place iron in hot oil. Rosette cookie will bubble and sizzle off the iron. I use a fork to turn upside down, then remove and drain excess oil and rest on paper towel covered surface. This process takes seconds per cookie. Repeat.

This recipe makes a lot. You will tire of making these long before you are done with the batter. Also, you will think you have made enough sweet, fried food for your loved ones. Just toss out that extra batter, you've made enough!
If you don't consume them right away, they store nicely in shirt boxes. Nana's trick #2: Freshen up before you eat them by placing on a cookie sheet covered with a brown paper bag. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees, turn off and let cookies sit in oven for 10 minutes, this will release a little more fat and crisp them up. Cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar.

These lovely treats, Rosettes, Sandkaker and Spritz will be served tonight, Christmas Eve, with cream and berries. What a treat.

I hope that this finds you enjoying the wonderful chaos/calm that to me, means Christmas joy with family and friends.

Audrey in Las Vegas

Silly me. We went to Las Vegas for a few days, where, since I don't care to gamble all that much, I thought I was going to rest up and do some knitting. Ha. Las Vegas lured me into not staying in my room and resting, but going out and doing. Eats, drinks, shows, shops, and even some gambling with my hubbie.

My husband loves to gamble and feels the Las Vegas itch come on him once a year or so, and I'm happy to tag along because I LOVE Las Vegas, such a pretty town. The hotels were all decked out for Christmas and they looked so pretty. But really, I was grateful to be home and get a vacation away from my vacation. So pooped.

Here's what I did on the airplane and the little time I stayed in my room:

I love doing Unst lace!

My Las Vegas dirt: We love to stay at the Venetian, all the rooms are suites, so nice, they have great deals right now. Favorite restaurants are Mon Ami Gabi at the Paris Hotel, sit on the patio and watch the Bellagio water show. We also crave those big steaks at Smith and Wollensky, expensive yes, but so yum. Great town.

Sunbonnet Sue and Overall Sam

I'd forgotten about this quilt! I was surprised to see it on my granddaughter's bed at Thanksgiving. It was extra cold and she had pulled it out. I had a big smile when I saw this. It was made for her when she was two, for her big girl bed. It's now been replaced by something a little more hip, but hey, Sue and Sam still look pretty cool.I must have been pretty tired to put on Sam's pocket upside down!

Yes, she is knitting!

And she is quite perfect at it.
I LOVE Sunbonnet Sue and Overall Sam. I've made a few others and will take some pictures and share them soon.

This quilt is hand appliqued and embroidered, machine pieced, then hand quilted. Much washed and much used, it is holding up very well.

I love hand quilting almost as much as I love knitting.

Tea Leaves Cardigan

Because of Ravelry I am finding all these great patterns that I wouldn't have noticed before. Tea Leaves is just lovely, I've worn it two days in a row! Because I didn't like the look of this cardigan with positive ease I made a few simple changes. The pattern calls for 20 stitches per 4" and my gauge was 24 using Rowan Felted Tweed. This gauge change and also casting on a few stitches less than the pattern called for brought this sweater in from a size 34" to around 31". I added waist shaping. I will try to decipher my notes and have more disclosure on my Ravelry post.

Tea Leaves is knit from the top down, with little more than stockinette and garter stitch. The yoke detail is created with knit front/back of each stitch, then k2tog a few rows later. There is also a pattern for a Tiny Tea Leaves which I am making for my 10 year old granddaughter in a purple merino/silk DK that washes well.

I have been a fan of Felted Tweed for ages. It has a great elastic quality that when knit up, makes a stretchy fabric. Nice colors and the right amount of tweedy flecks. It is itchy to me and I cannot wear it against my skin, so a scarf would be out of the question. This orange is a stretch for me color wise, but do like it. I give them sweater an A+. (This is sweater #16 for 2010. I'm shooting for one or two more.)

Tea Leaves Cardigan by Melissa LaBarre. 5 skeins of Rowan Felted Tweed in Tangerine.

Take care till next time.

My Very Wurm Cowl

Wurm Cowl, similar to the Wurm Hat knit with 2 skeins of Malabrigo Worsted in color #98, Tuareg. I CO 210 stitches but other than that, copied almost exactly this beautiful cowl, and here are her directions: CO 200sts; After 3 rounds of garter, simply alternated purl 5 rounds/knit 4 rounds similar to Wurm, then ended with 3 rounds of garter (after purl 5 rounds), then BO knitwise.


Redwork embroidery was popular in the Victorian era and refers to the color, always worked in Turkey Red floss. Redwork has been on and off a passion of mine. As a newlywed I fell in love with the sweet little designs, almost always flowers, animals or children. I've made several Redwork quilts over the years and would like to share a few of them with you, the ones I still have in my possession! The first one shown above was made in 1986 and was often on my son's bed. When he was little we had such fun finding the pictures and talking about them. One square shows our three dogs we had at the time, Trapper, Woody and Sugar along with a few of their "favorite things". Really, writing about this now makes me a little teary, so many sweet memories. My now 27 year old son still says he loves this quilt.

Below is a quilt in progress. Started years ago and put on hold, with only half of the quilting done. It will be finished one day, I just have to be in the mood to quilt. You know how that is. The little girl holding her dollies, crying baby and the bird lady...too cute! In those close up shots you can see that after the squares are sewn together and before it's quilted, I use a herringbone stitch on the seam. The embroidery stitches used are mostly stem and outline stitch, a little bit of chain stitch and some French knots. I always use highest quality 100% natural muslin, and naturally I have to buy my floss in bulk! DMC #304.

Below is a baby quilt I made and never gifted! Yet.

This bin holds years of collected Redwork embroidery patterns. Often called Penny Squares, in the 1800's a square of muslin with a little design cost one penny. Designs were wildly collectible and girls and their mothers would share and trade.

BTW, this is a great travel project; a dozen squares, embroidery hoop, a few needles and a half dozen skeins of floss and you are ready to go, a very light-weight project.

This last one is vintage, not sure of the exact date. I found the finished squares at a flea market for $10 for the lot! I assembled the squares and quilted them. It's pretty delicate but did hang on our guest room wall for a time. I especially like the Little Red Riding Hood scenes, look at the one with "grandma" knitting!
For years I spent many happy hours stitching away, I still do when I would rather not knit, although that is a rare occasion. Writing this post was taking a little trip back in time, before knitting, when redwork was my passion. Thanks for coming with me!