This giant magnolia bloom from the tree in front of our house.

We had such a fun party the other night.  I don't have the greatest pictures but the idea was fun and wanted to share.  On Wednesday I emailed out about 14 invitations for a last minute casual Cavihour for Friday night.  "Please join us on Friday night from 6-8 for champagne and caviar, and if you can stay later, we'll be serving Chinese Chicken Salad at 8."  I know, don't tell me that none of it goes together, certainly not the casual with the champagne, and not the caviar with the chicken salad, but it did somehow manage to work out well!  Since it was last minute only 14 people could come, but everyone stayed late and laughed and had a good time.

With the caviar I served creme fraiche, finely chopped egg and green onion.  I had toast points too but everyone preferred the caviar on the sweet potato chips.  Those chips are such a big hit every time I serve them.  Here's how to make them.  It's strange I know, but not everyone likes champagne, so we also set up a small bar and had sparkly water too. I have no pictures of the Chinese Chicken Salad but ended up setting up the buffet in the kitchen and people served themselves and sat around the house, in the living room and around the dining room table, very casual. For dessert I made shortbread with gluten free flour and it was every bit as good as the original. I've updated the recipe to include the gluten free version.  We also had a large platter of fruit and cheese and a big bar of chocolate to share.

You know I love to have people over, and I usually love all the prep work, but sometimes I don't have enough time.  It's nice to be able to throw an easy peasy party that doesn't require a lot of preparation.  And really, it's all about getting people together, isn't it?

PS.  I had to add Captcha word verification on my comments section.  I was getting bombarded with spam which has been growing over the last few months until finally I couldn't keep up with it.  I'll take it off in a bit and see if the junk has settled down.  I hope you'll still comment, I love hearing from you!

Eos Chunky Lace Pullover

I often get teased about how many white sweaters I knit!  I love white for summer and happy with this new chunky lace pullover, perfect for chilly summer evenings.  Chunky and lace, two words that in knitting don't seem to often go together!  But you can see from the photos that they do marry very well in this fancy over-sized sweatshirt.  Pattern is Eos is by Marie Wallin from Rowan's All Seasons Chunky Collection and the yarn is Rowan's All Seasons Chunky in Foam, one of the prettiest whites available in knitting yarn.  I am very familiar with white!  I have reviewed the yarn before:

All Seasons Chunky is a new spring offering for Rowan.  Similar to All Seasons Cotton in every way except the weight, Rowan has taken their popular aran weight and beefed it up to bulky weight.  Knitted up it gave the same soft and bouncy hand and excellent stitch definition.  Even though it knits up at 10 stitches per 4 inches, the fabric still feels lightweight and creates a "lighter" bulky knit than other bulkys.  I'm thinking this will allow the garment not to sag as can sometimes happen with other bulky knits.  Being bulky, it just zips along, done in no time.

A few particulars: No problems with splitting or slipping.  Chunky is multi plied and tightly twisted into an even round thick shape and is 60% cotton/40% acrylic.  It has bounce when knitting and makes fine, even, matte stockinette stitches.  Very, very soft, certainly soft enough for baby.  Chunky would make a great easy care baby blanket.  Minimal pilling.  Machine wash.  

The lace pattern was enjoyable to knit and I do hope I'll be able to incorporate it into another knit sometime down the road.  The last picture above shows the beautiful lace detail.  It looks a bit like a cable, but no, it's all created using some k3tog and yo stitches.  The chart is easy to follow.  I don't show the back, but the same lace pattern is also on the back.  As for the construction of the pullover, I made quite a lot of modifications which I wrote about on my Ravelry page.  My husband thinks it's beautiful.  He looked at the lace closely then asked if I actually knit it.  Adorable.  As I'm writing this up I'm wearing Eos and it's so soft and cuddly and feels so good next to my skin that I hate to take it off.  But today is so cold and chilly, I have to change into some wool, dang, and I've already put most of my wool away for the season. 

Now about the roses.  That beautiful rose on the arch behind me is Climbing Blaze.  For us it's a repeat bloomer all season, really an amazing rose.  It starts off dark red then fades to a pinky red and the petals stay on for a very long time.  I highly recommend this rose.  Today is not terribly pretty, overcast and chilly, but I still got some pictures of this fabulous climber from different angles.  The big white rose is Iceberg, another amazing repeat bloomer and one of the top 10 roses in the world.  You've not doubt seen Iceberg many times in landscaping.  Enjoy the lovely roses below!

That Red Rose

My girlfriend called me with this invitation, 
"Come over and see the ugliest rose in the world. 
 It's so black only Snow White's evil step-mother could like it!"

And in my head I'm thinking, blog post, I'll be right over,
because I knew you would want to see it too!
But when I saw it, I had to disagree, I thought it was beautiful!
We don't know the name of it, but dang, it's evil all right and my photos don't give it it's evil justice!
It's very deeeeep red and so velvety it appears to be powdery.

My friends just downsized to a town home with a small garden.
It's beautiful and I love what they've done to their outdoor space.
They planted about 20 white roses and a few pastels, then there's that evil red one.
They have a stone walk that circles around and stops at a few vignettes
with benches, birdhouses, a fountain and fig, apple and citrus trees.
In early spring there's azalea, rhododendron and camellia.

 I thought it was pretty clever of us to drop by at dinnertime.  Our kind friends invited us to dinner :)
She set her table with her assorted set of Vietri Campagna.  I love that she uses it everyday.
I know you'd like to poke around their very pretty home.  Loads of love and lots of fun abide here!

 Sorry, I had to add stupid captcha (word verification) to my comments.
The hackers found my little blog, grrr.  I hope you'll still comment :)


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Storing Winter Handknits

This is a re-post from 2010, but since I just finished this business, I thought it might be time to share again.

I'm often asked how I store and care for all my sweaters. Twice a year I do a big cleaning that takes me a few weeks. This is how I do the big bi-annual sweater migration.

The first and most important step is to wash and block my winter sweaters that I want to store away for the summer.  I've heard that some people don't ever wash their wool sweaters, just air them out.  I cannot imagine that, mine get dirty, especially the cuffs, plus the suds remove any food spills and dirt that attracts moths.  I am careful to hand wash in a mild soap and rinse well.  I don't soak my handknits.  Next I roll them in a towel to remove excess water and block them outdoors on my mesh patio table and dry in the shade.  If the weather is nice, it will take only a day, but sometimes they have to be brought in at night to finish drying in the house.  I can fit about 3 sweaters on my table, and if I do this everyday I can have them all washed in a few weeks.

Next is to make any necessary repairs that I've ignored and try to remove the inevitable pills.  Some knits, such as the Kidsilk Haze sweaters benefit from a swift going over with a soft brush to fluff it up again. It's also at this time that I'm pretty brutal and gift/donate sweaters that I don't wear anymore.  I only keep what I wear!  Next they are folded and placed in my mother's cedar "hope" chest that is still fragrant with cedar after almost 70 years.  I don't use any moth protection in the cedar chest.

The summer sweaters are removed from their winter home, and since they were washed and stored 6 months ago, they are ready to be placed in my sweater armoire. It's filled with plastic sweater bins purchased from The Container Store. I organize them by color and/or weight with 3 or more per bin. Since the bins are somewhat clear it's not too difficult to find what I'm looking for, although sometimes the sweater search is like playing a game of Memory and I never seem to return them to the same bin.

I am petrified of a moth infestation and do use limited moth control in the sweater bins around the wool. I prefer No Moth , (limited use) so please tell what you use, if anything.

So that's the epic sweater care and storage a la Knitionary! Knitting is the fun part, and the upkeep is the not so fun part, but I don't know how to avoid it!  I'd love to know what you do!

Bits and Pieces

Hello!  I've been adding a few bits to my Knitionary Facebook page
 and somehow forgot my dear blog.  
Here are some updates of the last week in knitting and gardening!

I bought a dozen vintage inspired Ball canning jars from the Ball website.  
They are that beautiful aqua we love to love, just like the oldies.

Kim Hargreaves newest is out, Spirit, with 21 beautiful and inspiring patterns 
with her trademark lovely styling and elegant details.
This deserves it's own post, but you can check out all the designs right here.

My LLYS, (Lovely Local Yarn Store) Uncommon Threads in Los Altos has a new shipment of the very new Rowan Fine Art Sock yarn.

My granddaughter came for a weekend visit. We went to the Pet Parade, Art in the Park, a church rummage sale, a garden tour, and dinners out! We also stopped at the yarn store, where she bought a pattern book. She's ready to go beyond garter scarves!

This weekend, just a few houses down from us was a garden tour for The Garden Conservancy whose mission is "Preserving America's Exception Gardens".  Over the years I've watched the installation of this garden as they acquired properties next door to them to add to their garden.  It's beyond beautiful and my pictures don't give it justice.  It looks like a park.

Tonight's salad from the garden, too pretty not to take a picture.

I'm in love with Call The Midwife on PBS! Are you watching it?  It's so moving and somehow timely even though it is set in the 50s.  For knitters, there are lots of hand knit sweaters and baby clothes!  Last night the midwives and nuns were making a gorgeous granny square blanket.

Also, while cleaning out my sewing room, I found 5 UFOs, all summer sweater knits and in various states of progress.  FIVE!  Two are white, one is blue, one is blue and white, and in case you think I am stuck in a rut, one is green.  Too embarrassing to share a picture of numerous forgotten unfinished objects.

It's Monday, movie day for us.  My husband talked me out of Gatsby and into Star Trek.  Ug.
But we saw Kon Tiki last week and that was fantastic!