Monday, February 22, 2010

Knittin' in the Park Feb 2010

Yesterday was a gorgeous day here in South Florida.  A bunch of us knitters/crocheters (and one renegade beader) decided to congregate at Jonathan Dickinson State Park in Hobe Sound, Florida.

In addition to their knitting, everyone brought a little lunch item to share.  We munched and knitted and some of us hiked in the Florida wilds.

But mostly we knitted.

Carol (the mastermind of this event) and Lisa 

Winnie, Michelle, Sandi and Faith

Rachel (with x-ray specs) and Michelle

Winnie, showing us all how it's done.

As you can see, it was no fun at all.

back row: Rachel, Winnie, me, Sandi, Michelle, Pam
front row: Carol, Lisa, Rebecca, Faith

No alligators were molested, fed or otherwise enticed during this knitting knerd event.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Foxy Friend

My lovely friend Ella modeling her Tangled Yoke Cardigan.




Ain't she sweet?

Photographs courtesy of Peter Rock, writer and photodocumentarist - see more of his work here and here.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Weekend Breakfast


Every Saturday or Sunday (depending on the weather), Yarn Widower wakes up at 5A so he can get in 18 holes with his golf buddies.  Yes, dear readers, I am a golf widow.

Which is just fine with me.  I sleep in, read the paper and knit while I watch CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood.  For breakfast I help myself to whatever leftovers are in the fridge or if I'm feeling particularly motivated, I'll juice some veggies and sip that instead of tea.

Last week, Yarn Widower asked me if it was okay for him to golf both days.  He tells his golf buddies that he has to run everything by the Boss.  (He means me, not Bruce Springsteen).  I say sure.  But apparently I don't protest enough because Yarn Widower feels hurt that I don't want to spend time with him.  So, for the record, boo to golf!  Give me back my Yarn Widower!  I demand the return of my weekend breakfasts.

Speaking of which, Yarn Widower makes great pancakes.  Here's a play-by-play.

Prep work is essential.  Mise en place, bitches!

The fruit du jour - peaches.


A man and his cast iron griddle.

Bon Appetit!


Nom nom nom nom.


The end.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Wire Yarn Scarf

I'm always intrigued by interesting fiber combinations.  But most often, there's a reason why linen and wool aren't usually found in the same yarn.  See my version of the Shalom cardigan in The Fibre Company's Savannah.

Habu Textiles is known for its innovative yarns.  Paper yarn?  Hemp bark fiber?  They've got it.  I was particularly drawn to their stainless steel yarn so when I saw this cool pattern on The Purl Bee, I knew I had to try it.

Pattern: Kusha Kusha Scarf
- available as a freebie courtesy of the Purl Bee

Yarns: Habu A-20B Silk Stainless Steel
(69% silk, 31% stainless steel)
1 cone in colorway 16 (155 yards)
Habu A-33 Fine Merino
(100% merino laceweight)
1/2 cone in colorway 4 (373 yards)

Needles: US 8 and US 2.5

The silk/steel yarn is worked throughout the scarf while the merino is only in half the scarf.  This gives it a dual-texture - the lighter portion is soft due to the wool while the darker lavender part is all stainless steel and somewhat hard.   The silk stainless resembles very fine wire which allows for manual manipulation of the knitted fabric.

 The pattern instructions suggest felting the scarf so that the wool portion becomes more matted and loses a little of the stitch definition.  But I didn't.  Mostly because I kept forgetting to throw it into the wash.  In the end I decided I rather liked it the way it is.  Maybe some day I'll try felting it but for now I'll keep it as is.

So is it wearable?  Most definitely.  The merino is very soft as one would expect and the silk/stainless is so fine and smooth that there's no barbs at all to irritate the skin.  That being said, it's a very thin lightweight scarf and doesn't impart much protection against the elements.  But that's not really the point, is it.  Lovely and ethereal yet made of the same stuff you find in skyscraper I-beams, it's a sculpture masquerading as outerwear.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Birdie Bag

Birdie Sling
Amy Butler Midwest Modern Sewing Patterns

Home decor weight fabric from Joann's 2009
1 yard of each fabric

Amy Butler is a fabric designer with her own line of sewing patterns.  Her book Midwest Modern is a treasure trove of unabashedly feminine design aesthetics with a funky retro vibe.  I love how she juxtaposes simple sleek shapes with intricate abstract florals.  If you like my visual "eye", you'll love hers as well. 

When I saw the pattern for this bag, I thought that it would make a cool beach bag.  So I chose some inexpensive fabric in lighter colors and got to work.  The pattern was easy to use and the directions were clear.  In less than a day and a half, I had a completed bag that was perfect for the beach.  I like the wide sling so that it doesn't cut into my shoulder when I've got it weighed down with my notebook, my wallet, two crossword puzzles, water bottle and whatever else I can cram into it. 

Me at Juno Beach on a windy day.  There were a lot of kite boarders that day.

I liked the bag so much that I made one for my friend Becca out of leftover fabric from one of her upholstery projects.


Yarn Widower commented that I should have made a contrasting handle like I had for the beach bag.  But of course, this was opined after the project was completed.   (Yarn Widower gets lots of eyerolls sometimes.)  I thought there was enough textural detail in the upholstery fabric and besides, I made a contrasting lining and added a button fastener for the big internal pocket.  See?

I shipped it off to Becca and she seemed to like it just fine.  After all, it's not every girl who has a matching sofa and shoulderbag set.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Wrapping Gifts

I like wrapping gifts almost as much as I like unwrapping them.  But I don't like the aftermath - crumpled paper and spent ribbon that just ends up in a landfill somewhere.  Giftwrap is ephemeral but I wish it wasn't so.  Lately, I've taken to wrapping my gifts in fabric.   I save pretty dishtowels to wrap stuff since I'm pretty sure the dishtowel will be used again.  But despite my best efforts with tying them up in twine, they just didn't have the crisp cachet of a paper-wrapped gift.

Then for Christmas, I received this:


As thoughtful as the gift it contains, the wrapping is even more so.  It's a cleverly designed concoction of fabric, ribbon and button from that makes giftwrap indefinitely reusable.  EWrapz come in a variety of patterns from solid organic cottons to chic prints. 

Each one comes with a sewn-in label that gives simple directions on one side.  On the opposite side, is a "legacy label."


I especially like this feature because it does something that my ersatz dishtowel wraps couldn't do.  It encourages the recipient to pass it on - either back to me or to someone else. 
I've always believed that the way to win hearts and minds is not through harsh demands or edicts.  "Recycle or Die" is not going to save the planet.  But many small actions might - one gift at a time.