California Sunrise and my dinner with Kaffe

Hello!  I started this as a travel knit over a year ago, finished it in no time, then promptly forgot to blog about it.  The pattern is Isabel Kramer's versatile Ravello, a top-down pattern that is the end-all, be-all of top-downs.  There is a little bit of short-row shaping in the back for a perfect fit, you can add more or less, then it's just knitting on down in-the-round until you're done.  I pretty much use this pattern as a template for all my top-downs.

Who better to model this than my sweet and pretty California girl neighbor, Jessica.  Did she like it?  Yes, she did!  She came out of the dressing room with her arms wrapped around herself and said, "Oh my gosh, I feel like I'm wearing a cloud!"  I had to laugh because that is how I describe Kidsilk Haze: feather-light and cloud-soft.  I asked her if she liked the color, and she said, "Yes, it's so pretty it looks like a sunrise!", which made me laugh again!  The colorway was made by the master colorist himself, Kaffe Fassett, and is called California Sunrise.  It's a mix of the prettiest colors splashed on my favorite yarn and using one of my favorite patterns, this is a winner!

Below is a picture of another California girl, me, wearing the same sweater.  The picture below that is from earlier this year, when Brandon Mabley and Kaffe Fassett came to town.  Brandon taught a class at my local yarn store, and of course I took it!  He was traveling with Kaffe, and after class my lys owner, Stephanie, asked me to join them for dinner.  I was beyond excited, but I guess you can imagine that!  Brandon and Kaffe are so charming, funny, and down-to-earth.  While Brandon was teaching the day-long class, Kaffe spent the day walking around our little town and stopped for lunch with his sister and nephew (the owners of Nepenthe of Big Sur, where Kaffe grew up) who had come to visit for the day.  Over dinner, I asked Kaffe if he could walk around our town unnoticed or did people recognize him?  He said, "Oh no, not really, I don't get noticed very often."  I said, well how about bigger cities, like San Francisco or London?  Again, modestly he said, "No, not so much."  Then in a big stage whisper Brandon said, "Oh yes he gets noticed--all the time!   He is so tall and handsome, people stare at him all the time.  And of course they all know who he is!"  Brandon is funny and bubbly, Kaffe is warm and charming, and it was a wonderful evening. 

Kaffe complimented my sweater, asked me if I'd knit it and said it was a pretty color.  I smiled and told him it was one of his colors from the Kidsilk Haze Stripe collection, and he said, "Oh yes, I remember doing that!  That was fun!"  He said he was becoming more interested in quilting than needlepoint and knitting and how his interests have changed over the years.  They were pretty excited about their home fragrance line which at the time was in the works but is now available.  He talked about his early association with Rowan and asked me about my Rowan Ambassadorship.  We talked a bit about how much they love to travel; it seems like they are on the road and often travel to exotic places, combining work with pleasure.    We also talked about Big Sur and what it was like to grow up there.  He said he tries to visit once a year and that's about how often we get there too, and always have lunch at Nepenthe, the restaurant his family still owns.  If you ever come to this part of the world, a visit to Big Sur and Nepenthe should be at the top of your list.  Kaffe and Brandon were completely charming and I'll leave you with this little nugget:  Kaffe does not own a computer or cell phone and does not know how to use either!  I kid you not!

From left to right is my friend Leah of the Yarn Stylist blog, me, Brandon Mabley, Kaffe Fassett, and Stephanie, owner of Uncommon Threads of Los Altos.  You can see I wore my California Sunrise sweater!  Too bad Kaffe is blinking!

Ravello, the pattern
My Ravelry project page for California Sunrise



Hi!  Here's my third FO in a series of ten that my young neighbor, Jessica, modeled for me.  Phebe was a test knit way back in spring.  The designer, Sara Elizabeth Schmidt had designed a popular pattern sized for children called Loren Revisited.  I posted the pretty pattern link on my Knitionary Facebook page and it was crazy popular.  Many readers asked if the designer could scale it up for an adult, so I asked her.  She said she was busy for a few months, but had wanted to do that for a while and she would get to it soon, she promised.  I told her I'd test knit it when she had the pattern finished.  A few months later she sent the pattern to me and I dropped everything to knit it.  I had some ancient Rowan Scottish Tweed Aran in a lovely watery blue/green that was the perfect match.  Knitting garter stitch with an earthy tweed is like peas and carrots--perfect partners!  The pattern, as you can imagine, is very easy to knit and the resulting cardigan is more like a coatigan; bulky-thick, cozy and warm.  I absolutely love it's stylish simplicity.  It turned out to be my grab-and-go cardigan; in Northern California the weather is fickle and even in the summer, when the sun begins to set or if we drive to the mountains or to the coast, it can chilly quickly, so for that reason, I almost never leave the house without a sweater.

Did Jessica like it?  Yes, she did!  She was all smiles when she came out to model, saying, "Oh, I love this so much.  I feel like I'm Kate Middleton!"  Yes, I could see Princess Kate (or is she a Duchess, I don't really know!) wearing this--it seems like her style.  I asked Jessica if she would wear it a lot, and she said, "All the time!"  So now it lives with Jessica, and because I loved knitting it, I will make another for me.  

After Jessica modeled so beautifully for me, we went into my bedroom and opened my super-large sweater wardrobe and had a fun fashion show.  I was absolutely delighted to see how gorgeous she looked in everything.  You all know what a prolific knitter I am, and I couldn't possibly wear all the sweaters I've knit.  I love to hand out sweaters to my daughter and granddaughter, plus I have a few friends who wear my size.  Jessica ended up scoring and going home with a hefty bag of sweaters.  She emailed me and told me that on the first day of school she wore one of my Kim Hargreave's peplum pullovers knit in white cotton.  Of the sweaters I gave her, every one but two can be machine washed.  I recommended she get a sweater bag, and when washing, turn the sweater inside-out, put it in the sweater bag and wash in cool water on gentle cycle.  Tumble dry on low until almost dry.  While still damp, lay flat and pat to shape to finish drying.  This sweater above and another sweater, a Kidsilk Haze sweater, cannot be machine washed.  I told her when it was time to wash them, bring them over and I'll show her how I hand wash sweaters.  It's an art, right?  There's lots more beauties coming up, so stay tuned!

Phebe knitting pattern by Sara Elizabeth Schmidt.

The children's version of this sweater, Loren Revisited.

Rowan Scottish Tweed Aran is discontinued,
but an excellent tweedy sub would be Felted Tweed Aran.

I made a few mods for fit, read them on my Ravelry Project Page for Phebe.



Today's sweater is Splash, designed by Kim Hargreaves from her summer book, Echos.  Splash is a simple, boxy, stockinette pullover with rolled stockinette hem and cuff.  It is knit flat and has raglan sleeves.  The original neck was also left unfinished but it would not stay on my shoulders.  I picked up stitches all around, and with a circular needle, knit a few rows of K2P2 rib.  Also, I cast on 5 fewer stitches per side to make it two inches smaller.  I also added some length.   I wear it with jeans or a skirt, and look how great it looks with shorts!  The sweater is a perfect summer companion for me, and is in one of my favorite colors.

The yarn was a new one for me, Rowan Creative Linen in Phlox.  I knit the smallest size and even with my added length, I used barely 5 skeins, not 6 as the pattern suggested.  Creative Linen is 50/50 linen/cotton.  The ball band says to hand wash and dry flat, and while I think that is what you should do, I will tell you that I machine washed mine (inside out, in a sweater bag, cool water and gentle cycle) and tumble dried on low and it was perfect.  If it had shrinkage, I couldn't tell. Creative Linen is a hearty summer yarn, and can easily extend from spring to fall. It was easy to knit and had great stitch definition before and after washing.  I will definitely use it again.  I imagine Creative Linen would be perfect for cables and lace as it was very easy to maneuver.  The colors are happy and bright and it takes the dye really well. 

I told you on Monday about my model, my young neighbor, Jessica, an aspiring model.  Did she like this sweater?  Yes, she did!  She bounced out of the dressing room with a big smile, saying she loved the color, loved the 3/4 length sleeves, the boxy shape, the wide neck!  Now, to keep things real around here, and since this is knit for me, I've also included a few grainy computer pictures of me wearing it. I wear it tucked in with my jeans and use a belt with my skirt and like it both ways.  It's been a fun summer sweater in such a happy color.  You know by now I like a simple sweater, but I think simple is best and is almost always the most flattering look on me.

I have sooo many cute garments finished and Jessica has modeled them all for me!  I can't wait to share the entire bunch!

Splash from Echos by Kim Hargreaves
my Ravelry project page

In my photo it looks like it's wrinkled, but it's not.  I don't know why, but where my computer sits, and how the sun comes in, it creates shadows that look like wrinkles.


Langestt dress

Today I'm sharing the most beautiful, wearable, and flattering garment I've possibly ever made: Langestt by Sarah Hatton from her Winterscapes book.  I've been searching for the perfect dress to knit for years, and if you've ever thought of knitting a dress, search no more, this is it.  The most flattering feature of this dress, besides the wide boat neck that I always love, is the shaped side ridges (simple purl rows every 4th row).  The waist decreases and increases are made just inside the ridges (see close-up above) and makes a beautiful hourglass shape.  I made the smallest size as is, except for lengthening the sleeves and adding a few more waist decreases and at a quicker rate.  The featured yarn is a new one from Rowan this year called Alpaca Merino DK, which is very lovely; I've knit a swatch and have some on order for another project in the book.  I'll review that yarn soon, but in the meantime I did have some stash that I had my eye on:  Kidsilk Haze in Hurricane combined with Rowan Fine Art in #325, a bright mid-blue that might have been an unreleased shade as I can't find it anywhere and received directly from Rowan.  It has just a little bit of tonal color changes that gives the knitted fabric a bit of life.  KSH is a lace weight and FA is somewhere in between a lace weight and fingering weight.  When I swatched the two together, they made a perfect DK weight yarn and the most gorgeous, soft and subtly fuzzy fabric.  That combo is pure pleasure to knit and pure pleasure to wear.  Both yarns would be considered luxury and not inexpensive, but both have excellent yardage, with FA at 437 yds. and KSH with 230 yds.  For my size, the dress cost was just over $100, which is a bargain for a dress like this.  I have all the links at the end.

Now about my model, you're probably wondering, who is this beautiful girl?  This is Jessica, a junior in high school, and my 15 year old across-the-street neighbor.  You'll be seeing a lot of her. I had just finished a skirt for my 14 year old granddaughter, and before I mailed it off to her, I asked Jessica if she would mind popping over and modeling it for me so I could blog about it.  She looked so cute in the skirt, I asked her if she would model a cowl, then a cardigan, and well, in an hour she had modeled 10 garments, all pieces I've made over the last year that hadn't been blogged about, just waiting for the perfect pictures!  Any blogger in her 60s will tell you, pictures take blood, sweat, and tears.  But that's all changed here at Knitionary!  We had so much fun and I'll be sharing more about our time together in future posts.  And did she love this dress?  Yes, she did!  She ran home to get her hat and boots so the photos would be perfect!  She swirled around and hugged herself and said it was so soft!  So adorable--I love teenagers.

To say that Jessica looked beautiful in everything I put on her is a monumental understatement.  And please don't ask me how how someone 5'9" can wear the same garment that was made for someone 5'2". I really don't want to think too much about that.  To keep my posts real, I'll also put up a picture or two of me modeling the same thing.  I'm 64 and believe it's still possible to wear a mini sometimes, but in the winter, it's best for me to add boots and tights.  I'm from that generation that invented minis, and it's a hard habit to break! Below is me in front of the computer, grainy yes, but at least you can see the fit.  I love it so much and can't wait for cold weather to arrive!  

I highly recommend Sarah's book, there are so many beautiful designs--I reviewed it here.  You already know how much I love KSH and FA.  I often knit traditional set-in sleeves with a new(ish) top-down technique and did so for this sweater.  If you'd like to learn that easy, perfect-fit technique, please read this post.  My Rav page has the yardage and needle details.

Winterscapes by Sarah Hatton
my Ravelry project page

Now that I've got so many great pictures, I'll be making regular FO posts!  Just wait until you see what I have to share!  However, my computer has slowed down to a snail's pace, so it's going to the hospital today and may not be back for a few days.  If you comment and I don't respond here or on FB, you'll know why.  Have a great week, and happy knitting!  xo, K


there's a winner!

Thank you all for entering my Elizabeth Bradley giveaway.   The winner is Virginia Sattler-Reimer.  I know she is a knitter, but now I think she's going to be a needlepointer as well!  Congratulations, I'm contacting you right now and as soon as you send me your mailing address, I'll pop it in the mail.

Today my little blog scored big time.  My adorable 15 year old neighbor came over today and modeled a half dozen knits I've had here for ages, just waiting to be modeled and photographed.  Just wait until you see, the pictures are beautiful!  I've got a dress, some cowls, and a few cardigans and pullovers.  She looks so beautiful in them, I wanted to hand them all over!  However, I'm hating my computer right now, it's so dang slow.  It's got to go to computer hospital, so if you don't hear from me for awhile, it's because my computer is horribly sick. 


Wee Gingersnap

Wee Gingersnap is a teensy, dolly-sized replica of my color-block baby cardigan pattern, Gingersnap.  Get your doll back-to-school ready with these easy-to-knit pieces.  The entire doll ensemble, including sweater, hat and skirt can be made with one skein of Rowan Pure Wool Superwash Worsted for the main color and scraps for the contrasting stripes.  
The Links
Download Wee Gingersnap, it's free!
Gingersnap pattern for baby, it's free too.

Bye for now!  Stay warm!

You have one last day to enter the Elizabeth Bradley giveaway!
I'll be selecting the winner tonight and post it tomorrow.
Go here to enter!