Once Upon A Time

Once Upon A Time is a new inspirational book by the talented knitwear designer, Marie Wallin.  Take a minute and scroll down to view some of the prettiest sweaters ever designed for young folk.  The book will be for sale Friday, May 1st from her website.  I imagine you'll start finding the book in the shops in the next few months, just in time for back-to-school knitting.  Any one of these sweaters is destined to become a treasured heirloom.  Enjoy!  Links are at the end.

Ingenious use of stripes and cables in Albert, knit in Rowan Felted Tweed.

This young beauty wears Alice, knit in Rowan Cocoon.

Archie is a clean fair isle design knit in Rowan Felted Tweed Aran.
Siena is the girl's jacket version of Archie with crochet trim on the sleeves.

Charlotte, a cabled tunic, is knit in Rowan Felted Tweed Aran.

Cozy Hat and Scarf, one for the boys above, with the girl's version below embroidered with lazy daisies.  Both knit in Rowan Cocoon.

Elise Cowl and Tam below, both knit in the round with Rowan Felted Tweed.

This lovely little girl wears Eva, a classic fair isle pullover knit in Rowan Felted Tweed.

Freddie, simply beautiful in Rowan Felted Tweed.

Feminine and elegant, Grace has oodles of knitted and crocheted texture with Rowan Felted Tweed.

Cute little lacy, cabled swing coat.  Isabel is also knit in Rowan Felted Tweed.

Two beautiful examples of traditional round yoked fairisle sweaters.  Laila above and Isaac below, both knit in Rowan Felted Tweed.

Lucy is perhaps the prettiest in the collection?  What do you think?  Knit in Rowan Felted Tweed.

Lastly, a teddy with his own built in fairisle sweater!  Simply knit in two pieces, then sewn up!

Rowan Cocoon

I've used all the above yarns and can vouch that they are fantastic.  Felted Tweed seems to be on everyone's list of favorite yarns.  It's very easy to knit and easy to achieve even stitches.  If you haven't tried it yet, give yourself a treat and find out why it's so popular.  Designers like it so much because of the extensive color range and because it showcases lace, cables and colorwork so beautifully, but also makes a fantastic stockinette fabric. This fall I'll be knitting a long car coat with the Felted Tweed Aran, and I have some yellow Felted Tweed DK to make some sort of cardigan.  But right now it's mostly summer knitting here at Knitionary.  What are you up to, knitting wise?  And how many of you are going to buy this book for some fab fall knitting?


how to grow a pear in a bottle

Last year I grew pears in bottles (original post) then filled one bottle with clear brandy and the other with vodka.  They've been resting for a year and this spring or summer we'll have a party and drink them up.  In the meantime they're pretty to look at!  The bottles I used are recycled Balvenie Single Malt bottles.  My husband used to drink Balvenie and I was able to save a dozen or so bottles because I thought they were too pretty to put in the recycle bin.  It's easier than you think to grow a pear in a bottle.  On your tree, find a healthy young pear that will fit into the neck of your bottle.  Remove the surrounding leaves and pears if any, leaving just the one pear.  Insert the pear and branch far into the bottle and with string or strips of fabric, tie it to the strongest surrounding branches making sure the bottle opening faces downward so it won't collect rainwater.  Allow Mother Nature to take over and with a little luck, at the end of summer you'll have large, ripe pears in each bottle.  The survival rate is fairly decent; if the pear sees it through the first week, the chances are excellent that it will continue to thrive.  Last year we did 3 bottles and only lost one.  We are trying for the same odds again this year and one even has two pears inside!  Oh, I really hope those will thrive!

Warning: this is a two person job; one is the steady bottle holder while the other person engineers the secure tying.  It takes a wee bit of thought and a few cuss words, but when it's done, you don't have to think about it again for months.  Other than your regular tree care duties, your only job throughout the summer will be to check on the lashings every once in a while to make sure they are still secure.  Plus you'll want to stop by and admire them every week or so, you know, to cheer them on. 

It's a super fun project and I hope you'll try it. You may have seen last year's post and thought you might try it but never got around to it.  Try it this year!  If you don't have a pear or apple tree, maybe you have a kindly neighbor with a tree?  Just make sure you make an extra one for him!

Can you see, this bottle has TWO pears!


Well over half of our roses are blooming now,
with the others following in a week or so. 
Look at them!

Lovely Anja, AKA IamSnowfox, one of the German Rowan Ambassadors is visiting California and is with us for the week.  She cannot get over our beautiful weather and beautiful roses!  Here she is with my son, who is over 6' tall, so you can see how very big this rose trellis is!  These two found they had a lot in common and ended up spending a lot of time with each other!  We're all going to miss her!

Climbing Eden, lovely frangrace and perfect form.

Two more pictures of Climbing Eden.
These pictures were taken over a week in my garden.

I'll share another picture of Climbing Blaze next week, when it's in FULL bloom!  Here it's just started.

Happy Chappy is a great ground cover rose, but here it is trained as a tree.

Cottage Maid, David Austin, also fragrant.  I picked this one to sit at my desk with me.

Gertrude Jekyll, a David Austin with an extreme apple/rose fragrance.  If I put a small bouquet in our bedroom, we'll come in at night and the entire room will smell of roses!
Gertrude Gekyll again.

Graham Thomas is lightly fragrant, massive and bushy, with glossy leaves. 

A David Austin, but I don't have the name.  It's beautifully fragrant with a tight crimp of petals.
Pink Peace Roses has massive blooms.

Iceberg is one heck of a rose.  It's a repeat bloomer that just won't stop!

And then I picked a fragrant bouquet!