easter crafternoon at knitionary

I knew there was a reason why I was
saving those Brie boxes,
collecting glitter,
hoarding tiny trees and mushrooms,
and believing that if I hold on to something long enough,
I'll find a use for it.

Sigh, just another fun crafternoon at Knitionary.

Rowan Pure Wool Superwash DK can be purchased at your local Rowan stockist or online at
- See more at: http://knitionary.blogspot.com/2015/12/my-options-kal-is-finished-wardrobe.html#sthash.z40QzSLf.dpuf


I became totally obsessed with this the moment I saw it.  The pattern calls for Rowan Mohair Haze which I love, but when I saw this I immediately thought, Kidsilk Haze, so I raided my KSH stash and came up with a beautiful color combo.  I then headed to my local yarn store to supplement as I was just one color shy.   This is knit from bottom up in two pieces, front and back, then seamed.  I adjusted the pattern so I could knit it in the round, still bottom up, then will separate at the beginning of the sleeve increases and at that point knit front and back separately.  I see this with jeans or with textured hose and boots.  I won't hurry with this but I'll still plan to have it finished by next fall.  It's going to be a great knit to pick up when I get the old KSH craving.  Which is often.  

Note: When substituting yarns, make sure you can achieve the same gauge and similar drape, and if you can, then you should be ok.

Montreal by Lisa Richardson
  (pattern download)

70% kid mohair, 30% silk

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KAL progress


Hello!  I'm dashing off a quick post to show my progress on Martin Storey's new afghan knit-a-long, aka KAL.  The pattern makes a full size afghan, but since I'm making a baby quilt I'm planning on making 20 squares, 4 across and 5 down.  There are eight designs total, so I should make 2 of each and a few more of my favorites to have 20.  I'm starting with just 4 skeins, one skein in each color and just hope I have enough.  I may have to purchase one or two more, but I'll know as I get further along.  The first installment was the hearts square, shown below, and the 2nd installment is this color-work square above.  It looks like fairisle, but it's not and is actually a much easier technique using slip stitches.  I absolutely adored making this square and learning this technique.   This KAL and the patterns are free, so even if you cannot participate at this point, it's a good idea to download the patterns as they become available just to have them handy for when you do have the time.  They yarn suggested is the lovely Rowan Pure Wool Worsted, which I totally love for it's ease of knitting and absolutely easy after care.  Here are the details and links again:

Download the first pattern, Moss Stitch Hearts (free)
Download the second pattern, Slip Stitch Nordic Stripes (free)
Watch this interview with adorable Martin Storey and check out Kate's coat! 
There are a few KAL forums on this Rowan Ravelry group and lots of lively chat!

Recently I gathered my needles from every which-where and organized them again /sigh/ this is an ongoing process for me, this gathering of the needles.  But I thought they looked so pretty--as pretty as any bouquet--that I had to share.  I know, I have a lot of needles.  You should see my yarn stash!


50 shades of pink

We hosted our "2nd Friday Night Party Group's" potluck gathering last night, and since my assigned month fell just two days before Valentine's Day, I considered making that my theme.  Where I live in California, there is no shortage of late winter/early spring flowers and buds in every shade, perhaps even 50 shades of pink.  In fact, as I wandered around my garden to see what would be blooming on party day, I saw nothing but pink.  So I had my theme--this gathering would be all about pink: pink flowers, pink buds, pink linens, pink champagne and pink Valentines.  Two days before the party I  ironed my linens, set up the bar and did the shopping.  The day before the party, I baked the cookies and made the cassoulet. (There are debates raging over the food blogs arguing whose cassoulet recipe is the best, and Julia Child always wins.  It's a time consuming recipe, but I took the few shortcuts she allows, thus making it totally doable.  And it makes a magnificent dinner.)

The morning of the party I took my clippers, walked around the garden and came back in with a huge basket of blossoms.  I spent an hour or two arranging them, then got dressed to run some errands (nothing would make me miss the sale at my local yarn shop!) Now fast forward to a half hour before party time; I put the cassoulet in the oven and lit the candles while my mister lit the fire and filled the ice buckets.  Then he poured us each a glass of champagne and we sat by the fire and waited for the doorbell to ring.

Ahhh, no, not like that at all.

The reality: we were both racing around until the first guests arrived.  "Where are the matches?" "Wait, where are the candles?"  "Ice?  I thought you were getting the ice!"  I was regretting the afternoon I spent running needless errands; the precious hour spent on a pedicure and the wasted time waiting in line to get my husband's watch repaired. Seriously, on party day?  But the key here is: don't panic!  Take a deep breath, do as much as you comfortably can and then enjoy the party as it unfolds before you.  Your guests certainly plan to do just that, so you may as well join in on the fun! And drink that glass of pink champagne, your party is going to be great.


Veggies and Dip
Baked Brie
(placed on a table near the bar)

Lobster Bisque
(served and sipped from small glass cups)

Cassoulet, from Julia Child's The Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1
(served buffet style)

Green Salad
(served on small plates after the main course)

Sugar Cookies
Apple Tasting
Chocolate Truffles
(served buffet style)

Party Tricks
  • Plan your menu around recipes that require only minimal last minute attention. A noted French chef once said, "the mise-en-place is everything." I translate that as "prep as much in advance as possible."
  • If you've invited a crowd and have limited seating at tables, make sure the food is designed so the only utensil your guests need is a fork or spoon--it makes eating from your lap much easier.  And make sure your napkins are over-sized!
  • If you're the guest rather than the host at a potluck, whisk away your dirty platter or bowl after dinner and wash it at home. Your hostess will love you.

Flowering and budding branches are here for such a short time.  Enjoy them even more by bringing them into the home. Just a few thinnings in vases, supplemented with an evergreen or store-bought flowers if necessary, make a big statement.

The Flowers
  • The Western Redbud often grows as a bush in California and can be trimmed as a hedge.  It has large needle sharp thorns that demand respect and deep pink blossoms that appear in February through March.
  • In California, camellias start blooming in January and continue for 2 months.  Most people like to float the blossoms in a bowl, but we have so many bushes in our garden that I don't mind picking large branches to make a wow statement.  The ruffled soft pink one is the popular old-fashioned Debutante.
  • We have a few patches of narcissus and muscari, aka grape hyacinth.  They faithfully pop every every year in late winter/early spring.  I like to place the very fragrant narcissus in the entry way so our guests can catch the scent as they enter.
  • The tulip tree, aka saucer magnolia, is a type of deciduous magnolia that is very popular in the San Francisco Bay Area.  The purple/pink blossoms arrive en masse in mid to late February and completely dominate the sky until the green leaves appear.  We have two trees, a brightly colored one and a softer colored one, and I snip their blossoms regularly.
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