Poor Boy revisited






I'm so happy that I finally have a modeled sweater to share today. I always say that the knitting is the easy part, the modeling, not so much. This is the Cocoon Summer Sweater pattern from Heidi and Anna Pickles. The pattern has minimal information, as in it does not hold your hand in any way, but with that said, I had no problems and do love it. I recommend it if you are looking to knit a vintage 60s Poor Boy style sweater. Remember them? Sigh, they were the best!

The original Poor Boys were meant to cling to every curve. We wore them skin-tight with our matching skin-tight bellbottoms; bellbottoms so tight that we had to lay on the floor to zip them up over our 99 pound frames. While I don't want to wear a sweater the same way I did back when I was a teen, the best look for a rib sweater even for this older gal, is still snug. The smallest size would have been too big for me so to adjust the size to make it smaller, I changed my gauge from 19 sts per 4" to 21 and was able to scrape a few inches off the width. I also think I omitted the last increase, but can't exactly remember as I finished this a while ago.

Knitted top down in the round, the increases are made in the knit side of the ribbing so the ribbing fans out in a pretty way (see picture above). I used a stretchy yarn, vintage Rowan Calmer, but it is discontinued and difficult to find. With the stretch in the yarn and the ribbing, the sweater is form-fitting-ish, feels great and looks nice too. The color, an army green, just happens to perfectly match the "surf pants" I bought in a surf shop in Maui last month.  I also have some Calmer in black and wonder if I should make another one. I think this is going to be one of those sweater staples that I'm going to love wearing again and again.


Books: 

Thank you dear readers for you book recommendations. Because of you I have two fabulous book recommendations to share. First is Call Your Daughter Home, 2019, by Deb Spera. This takes place in the early twenties in a small town in South Carolina. The south is experiencing a depression even if the rest of the country will not experience it for another five years. In this town and during this time, the lives of three very different women intersect and create a touching story that I could not put down. Even though it brought tears to my eyes, I loved it in every way possible. I downloaded the the audio version of this book from my library and enjoyed all three narrators.

The second book I think you'll love is Ordinary Grace, 2013, by Willaim Kent Krueger. This also takes place in a small town, this time in Minnesota during the 60s, a coming of age story reminiscent of an Ivan Doig book and centers around a family who grapples with loss, tragedy and their faith, and how they manage to stay together to find peace and grace.  Despite the subject material, it is an uplifting, beautiful story. I downloaded the the audio version of this book from my library and enjoyed the narrator, Rick Orlow.

So folks, until next time, knit on, read on, that's what I'll be doing :) And please don't forget to recommend a book you have loved and you think I need to read. Kristen




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an old-fashioned stain removal trick for your hand knits



 

You all know how much I knit (just look at that sweater cupboard, and every one is hand knit!) but do you know I wear a hand knit almost every day? A l m o s t every day, except today; it was 95! As soon as the kids go back to school we get our hottest weather. But back to sweaters, because I wear them so often and manage to spill coffee, smear chocolate, and drip gravy with unfortunate regularity, I have to have a solid way to banish those stains!

I'll tell you my secret: Fels Naptha, that old fashioned inexpensive bar soap that was in granny's wash room. I started using the old yellow bar 35 years ago when a friend recommended it. "That old stuff?" I scoffed, but she handed me a bar and insisted I try it. She was right, you cannot beat it for removing stains, plus it lasts forever and costs less than $2. And just for fun, the packaging looks like it hasn't changed in a hundred years.

Using it couldn't be easier:

1. Wet the stain with water.
2. Wet the edge of the soap bar.
3. Put the two together and rub the soap onto the front of the stain and the back side too. Rub, rub, rub. Rub gently if you have a wool that will felt. I let it sit for a few minutes then launder as usual. If it needs hand washing I use Eucalan Wool Wash and follow the directions on the label; if I can machine wash the sweater I put it in it's own mesh bag and wash in cool water on the gentle cycle.

With this method I have been able to remove all but the most egregious stains. Even blood and grease cannot stand up to good old Fels Naptha and it works on all washable fabrics. When my husband wore white dress shirts daily, this was the only product that could remove ring-around-the-collar. When I want to get stains out of my husband's white sport socks, I put a sock on each hand, get them wet, then rub the bar between the socks and rub for a minute or so. White socks again! When the bar gets too small you can grate the remains into warm water and let it dissolve overnight, then add to your next wash. I'll bet you can find Fels Naptha in your laundry aisle, but if not, Amazon sells it too

One more tip: Every so often I'll soak my white knits in a strong solution of OxyClean. I let them soak for a few hours then launder as usual. It really brightens them up without using bleach. 

Shopping Links



I hope you liked my laundry tips. Do you have any tips to share?

(The sweaters pictured on the table are bottom, Martha, top right, Hourglass, and top left, Brooke.)



If you'd like to make a comment, please click here or scroll down. I reply to each comment and that response will appear directly below your comment. If you would like a personal reply, please know that I use the Blogger platform and they do not give me your contact information when you comment. If you would like a personal reply you can contact me using the contact form on the right side at the very end of my websiteIf you would like to receive Knitionary posts by email, please subscribe here.

our new dahlia patch

 






Before summer slips away I thought I'd share one of our recent garden projects, our new dahlia bed. We have a patch of dirt in a mostly unvisited part of our side yard. It's usually out of sight out of mind with this dirt patch and over the years it had been an artichoke patch (never produced enough to keep) an herb garden (too far away from the kitchen door) and lastly a home for old roses. When we replaced an old rose, we relocated it here and let them live out the remainder of their lives in peace. But last winter when I was pouring through an online dahlia catalog an idea came to me to use this patch for something really fun. I asked my gardeners to dig out the old roses and prepare the soil, then my husband installed a simple low waste watering system and I ordered 25 tubers, plus dug up a dozen tubers from our flower border. I then got to planting and labeling and waited for that beautiful first bloom. It has been so fun to check it out each morning, cup of coffee in one hand and my flower shears in the other. Dahlia blooms have really given a boost to my flower arrangements this summer!

Dahlias bloom from mid summer through early fall, die back in winter and because they are tubers, and if your ground freezes, they must be dug up and safely stored. Our ground does not freeze and we can let the tubers sleep all winter long in the ground. Dahlias will continue to bloom throughout the fall and get bigger every year.

Floret Dahlias is the gold standard for purchasing dahlia bulbs here in the US. They sell out quickly, as do their seeds. There are gorgeous dahlia gardens around the world and this is the time to visit them. We have quite a famous dahlia garden in the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Buchart Gardens in Canada has a fabulous dahlia border that we visited a decade ago. I remember my husband having to drag me away.

I know this is a knitting blog and I promise I have some knitting posts to come. My garden seems to hijack my blog every summer and I hope you enjoy reading about my passion for gardening as much as I love sharing it.  Until next time, take care my friends. xo Kristen
























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Good Old Raglan, free pattern alert!

 
















My little model is spending the week with us and he agreed to a modeling moment and picked a bouquet of flowers for mommy at the same time.

This pattern, Good Old Raglan, is terrific and it's free! With this pattern you can knit a basic top-down raglan in sizes  newborn to age 14. Use the pattern to add your own color work and stitch details to make it as extraordinary or as simple as you like. The pattern uses common dk weight yarn making it perfect for using up your scraps. It has professional details such as short rows to raise the back neck and is well written. The main yarn is Simplicity Spray by Skacel. The color is Vintage and moves from light cream to medium and then dark cream. I think it’s pretty, easy to knit and is a very nice machine washable wool blend. The black and gray were leftovers in my stash. I prefer a fitted neck on children's sweaters so I cast on for the size 3/4 for the neck only, then proceeded to make the 5/6. Ribbing knit in wool is very stretchy and there is still plenty of head room but is nice and snug and warm. He is a big 4 year old, but I wanted plenty of growing room and we roll up the sleeves for now.

 free pattern for newborn to age 14

with all the yarn details

Curious about the zinnia border? It's beautiful this year and before summer ends I'm planning a flower border post plus another post about our new dahlia bed. After that, it will be back to knitting as usual. I'm finishing up a shawl, blanket and a tube cowl, and tonight I'm going to cast on a new test cardigan. I've also got a sweater for Carter started and a two sweaters from last winter that I'm planning on attacking this fall. Knitting as usual around here--too many projects!

If you'd like to make a comment, please click here or scroll down. I reply to each comment and that reply will appear directly below your comment. If you would like a personal reply, please know that I use the Blogger platform and they do not give me your contact information when you comment. If you would like a personal reply you can contact me using the contact form on the right side at the very end of my websiteIf you would like to receive Knitionary posts by email, please subscribe here.

a new idea for a budget table setting










Last night we had a small party for ten, our monthly (except during covid) party group of 14 minus four who were traveling. It was fun and easy--we served BLTs, aka bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich, which sounds humble but is a summer favorite in the USA, and maybe especially in California, and definitely in this household. Since our party group is a potluck I asked for two appetizers that were served during cocktail hour, two side dishes and a dessert. With all the help all I really had to do was bake the bacon (the night before) set the tables, and of course grow the tomatoes! 

How To Make A BLT:

Exactly half of the party last night were not born in the USA (Germany, England and Scotland) and were not familiar with BLTs. After last night they were all converts! The other half, the Americans, grew up eating them either in diners or making them at home during the summer. Like any comfort food, BLTs have variations from family to family and region to region, but at its most basic it is: 

Start with 2 slices plain white sandwich bread, toasted
Spread mayonnaise on each slice
Heap on some crispy bacon (How to bake bacon in the oven. I use foil, not parchment paper)
Add several slices of homegrown or farmer's market tomatoes
Add 1 or 2 leaves of crispy, flat lettuce, such as romaine or iceberg
Top with the second slice of bread and cut in half


While planning for this party, I discovered a new idea for inexpensive but beautiful tablecloths and have to share my find! Last month I wanted to replace my stained everyday kitchen table tablecloths with budget priced 70" square cotton or linen tablecloths. The large size is hard to find in a budget price and finding a natural fiber is harder still.  While at Target I saw a grey striped 72" square shower curtain, all cotton, for the bargain price of $20.  It had buttonholes on one side which were barely noticeable so I purchased two. I was so thrilled with how they looked and how beautifully they behaved in and out of the washer and dryer, I went online to see what else Target had in cotton shower curtains that I could use for tablecloths. Good old Target did not disappoint!  I bought three more beautiful cloths that I used for the party and with fresh white napkins and plates, and plain, clear glass wine and water glasses, my table settings looked happy and summery and I was thrilled. Below are closeups of the fabric and the discreet buttonholes. If you do use shower curtains as tablecloths, make sure they don't have metal grommets for hanging: they should have discreet buttonholes like these. I received many compliments! Shopping links are at the end of the post.







Our Northern California weather, no matter how warm it is during the day, is generally cool in the evenings and everyone knows to bring a shawl. Luckily the night was gorgeous and we didn't need them until close to 9:00. The drinks table above sits on the lawn under a large umbrella. That sunny yellow "tablecloth" is my favorite! Next to the table I had a cooler filled with ice and white wine, beer and sparkling water--perfect for a summer evening. My flower garden is bursting with color and variety and looked so pretty last night. The arrangements consisted of zinnias, dahlias and white shasta daisies. The fillers were purple basil and marjoram, both of which were in flower, and a few olive branches. 






LINKS

I see some of them are $40 but the four I bought, links below, were $20.


Each post I'll try to remember to share what I'm reading--not everything I'm reading, just what I loved and recommend. I read a lot of murder mysteries and so many of them aren't good, but this one is good: Dream Girl by Laura Lippman, 2021. The main character is so incredibly dense about himself it made me laugh. The ending had a twist I did not see coming. Not heavy, but thoroughly enjoyable.

Reading now: The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict, 2020. Biographical historical fictional account of JP Morgan's librarian who was a black woman passing as white. Loving it.

Next up, maybe: When Crickets Cry, 2006. Did anyone read this and like it? It was recommended to me so I'll give it a go. I don't mind giving up on a book if I can't get into it. As always, any book or author recommendations are always welcome.

Hope you are enjoying the remains of summer. I'll try to be back soon. xo Kristen

If you'd like to make a comment, please click here or scroll down. I reply to each comment and that response will appear directly below your comment. If you would like a personal reply, please know that I use the Blogger platform and they do not give me your contact information when you comment. If you would like a personal reply you can contact me using the contact form on the right side at the very end of my websiteIf you would like to receive Knitionary posts by email, please subscribe here.


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