something cheery

If I ever want to make myself feel a little cheery, it's flowers to the rescue.  Flowers seems to be the universal trick for cheeriness.  That, and hugging a dog.  Here are some zinnias I picked this morning.  Zinnias are just so bright, so sturdy, the embodiment of good cheer and the queen of our summer garden.

Linking up to No Minimalist Here.

Santa's Workshop

Santa's workshop has opened early this year.  I found these jolly vintage painted wooden bead clown heads at a church rummage sale, complete with little prototype for $1.25!  They look like they are from the 60s maybe?  Has anyone ever seen these before?  Too cute and silly for me to pass up.  I have a bag of yoyos left over from my girlhood when I once had the ambition to make a yoyo quilt.   The whole project consisted of gluing and adorning with tiny accessories that I've been collecting over the years, I have to say it was fun!

These yoyos were made from scraps of material used for clothing when I first learned how to sew.  
The yellow houndstooth check was from a 2 piece suit I make in the 9th grade. 
The purple rosebuds were shorts with eyelet lace ruffled trim.  
Gotta love those 60s!

Next, to keep you in the holiday mood for a bit more, I'll take you for a quick peek into Solvang's famous year round Christmas shop, Jule Hus.  Whenever we drive through Solvang, I have to stop in this Christmas shop if only for a few minutes.  It's conveniently located right next to the needlework store.  My husband will put up with this pilgrimage if I am very fast. 


What is a yoyo quilt?
Loads of pictures here and how to make one here.

There are THREE needlework shops in tiny Solvang.
Rasmussen's is awesome, needlework upstairs and specialty Scandinavian cookware downstairs.

There is also a yarn shop, The Village Spinning and Weaving Store (meh)
and a fun craft/knit store, KnitFit.

I've been visiting the Danish town of Solvang, CA, USA since I was a girl and it still charms me.

a winner!

I'm delighted that jsdknits, commenter #26 is the winner of the skein of Angora Haze.  We have been Ravelry friends for years and it couldn't be going to a nicer lady!  I am emailing you right now!

Thank you to all who entered.  

knitting for a future king

It's fun to dream about knitting for the tiny new prince.  I hope he is swaddled in oodles of hand knits.  As a knitter, I will be on the look out for pictures of little George wearing hand knits, nothing is sweeter than a baby in a cozy knit.  If I were Aunt Pippa or Great Granny, I would get busy with....

First cardigan for baby must be the Owl Sweater by Janice Straker.  This pattern is my all time favorite for baby and I've knit quite a few.  Nothing edgy about this at all, it's all old fashioned and I just love it that way.  I am very traditional and love it in pale pink or pale blue.  My two versions are this one for a little prince, and this one for a little princess.  They were both knit in Rowan 4-Ply Cotton which has been discontinued and replaced by Rowan Siena 4 Ply Cotton.

I love a baby in a good grandpa sweater.  Babies wearing grandpa sweaters make me laugh.  This one, Kurt by Sarah Hatton, is one of the best. 

Every baby needs an Elizabeth Zimmerman Baby Surprise Jacket.  So many gorgeous versions, my favorite is Brooklyn Tweed's handspun version.

Baby will need a coat.  One of the cutest on Ravelry is this double breasted hoodie, Latte Baby Coat by Lisa Chemery.  I would love this in a tweed.

Baby needs a pullover.  To honor the Royal Baby, Rowan offers Charles, a free download by Martin Storey using duplicate stitch for the motif.

Baby needs a vest.  I must go classic and go cable with this free pattern from Purl Bee, the Cabled Vest using Rowan Purelife DK organic cotton.  Perfect, right?

Babies have notoriously over-sized noggins so pullovers need to account for that by adding buttons at the shoulder seam.

Baby also needs a hat.  I adore these hats from Purl Bee, another free download!  Look at that face!

Baby needs booties.  You cannot find cuter booties than the very popular Saartje's Booties by Saartje Bruijn, a free download on Ravelry.

Baby needs a blanket.  How about a simple Feather and Fan, aka Old Shale.  If you need a pattern for this you can find some free ones on Ravelry, also, there is this beauty from Brooklyn Tweed that has a tiny cable between the feather and fan motif.  A very satisfying knit and a good traveler too.

Baby needs a bear of course.  A classic bear wearing a classic vest, like this Schoolboy Bear I knit from Debbie Bliss Teddy Bears Book.

Lastly, baby needs a christening gown.  On this day, baby must look like a meringue.  Must.  Really.  This one from Bernat looks like it would be fun to knit.  It is DK weight so you could use Rowan Baby Merino Silk DK which would give it the lux but would be machine washable.  I think practicality is still appropriate with a christening gown, no matter how meringueish.  This would be cherished for generations.

I had fun dreaming of knitting for little Prince George of Cambridge, and while I doubt his mum will be doing his royal laundry, the children I knit for, their mommies will be doing the laundry.  Let's be practical and knit for baby using machine washable cottons and wools.  Here are my favorite yarns for baby and child, and yes, I know my choices are heavily weighted with Rowan, it's because I am a Rowan fan, always have been, that's why I am a Rowan Ambassador!  There are many more machine washable yarns suited for baby, but these are the ones I have used and loved and would use again.  I hope you can purchase them at your local yarn store, always my first choice, but if not, here are the links to one of my favorite online shops, Jimmy Beans.

Thank you for stopping by!  I'd LOVE to know your favorite baby knits.  Please tell!

Edited to add:  When I machine wash my knits, I use a lingerie bag and wash on gentle cycle with cool water and my regular detergent.  I dry flat in the shade, patting the knit to shape.  When it is just barely dry, or even fully dry, I pop it in the dryer on low for a few minutes to fluff. 

Tomorrow I'll announce the winner of the skein of Angora Haze.  Have you entered?

Josie's Cape


One of the nicest things about knitting for baby is getting the precious modeled photos back.  Doesn't little Josie just look too adorable?  I adore her styling with her plaid skirt, denim vest and bare feet, so current.  This Louisa cape was designed by Sarah Hatton and knit with Rowan Baby Merino Silk DK.  Yes, silk and merino wool for baby, it's soft and machine washable, my new yarn for baby knits.

Pattern and yarn review here.
Ravelry link here.
Pattern can be found in Rowan Studio Issue 30.

There's still time to enter the Angora Haze giveway!

you had me at bacon


The BLT may be America's most well loved sandwich.  It's a diner favorite and one that we eat many times over the summer when the big slicers ripen.  For those not familiar with this sandwich, it's only 5 ingredients, bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiched between two pieces of toasted white bread spread with mayonnaise.  It's amazing and everyone I know has a weakness for it.

We love to host get-togethers, the garden looked so pretty and our tomatoes are big and ripe so we decided to have 30 people over for BLTs last week on a Thursday night, who knew Thursday night could draw such a crowd?  Making sandwiches sounds easy, doesn't it?  Not.  Not at all.  It took my husband over 2 hours to fry up 9 pounds of bacon and I could have used a hazmat team to clean up the grease that was EVERYWHERE.   While he was on bacon duty I made the potato salad, put out the flowers, set the tables, set out wine, beer and sparkly water, and decided to use paper plates and plastic cups thinking how brill I was to keep it simple.  But feeding 30 people is never simple.  Fun, yes, but simple, no.  I unwisely decided not to hire kitchen helpers of which I am forever cured, my new motto, no help, no party.   I enlisted a friend to pass the appetizers while I oven toasted 4 1/2 loaves of bread.  Pretty hectic in the kitchen, so it's a good thing I have a lot of lovely friends who are willing to pitch in.  We set up the buffet so everyone could make their own sandwich and I don't feel it took very long for each guest to get their sandwich assembled. We had cookies for dessert, if anyone had offered to help when they were responding to the invitation I asked them to bring a dozen cookies.  I wish I had taken a picture of the cookie table, very pretty with a dozen different types of cookies for dessert.   This was a great party.  The BLTs were so good, so perfect for summer and a definite treat.  Next day it took us a short time to dismantle the set-up and I asked my husband if he would have this party again, without any hesitation he said, "yes".  It was a fun night.

Next day, we had just enough leftover to have BLTs again for lunch.  Best sandwich ever.

Most creative hostess gift from my friends who keep chickens!

The zinnias on my header and the first two pictures above are a combination of the bi-colored Whirligig from Burpee that I grow in a little patch in my vegetable garden that I use for cutting.  The zinnias in the perennial border are the varieties Fantasy and Art Deco from Botanical Interests, also Berry Basket and Raspberry Sorbet from Renee's Garden.  I love the pink and purple border so much I'm doing the same border next year.

Here's those links!

Daily's Bacon, the best!
Read about the Bacon Bacon Restaurant controversy in the Haight.
We are going to try it out, will give full report.
The Wine Spectator selects wines for the classic BLT.  No kidding.
Botanical Interests' Zinnias
Next year I'm going to add these beauties, petite Starlight Rose
 and this absolutely gorgeous Queen Red Lime below, both from Burpee.

Have you entered my Angora Haze giveaway?  There's still time, don't be shy!