Tuesday, March 3, 2015

March Knitting 2015

From the Vogue Winter 2014/2015 issue, I have been working up the Chevron slip-stitch sweater, loving how the design is turning out. Can't wait to see it finished!

Recently, I ran across some very exciting blogs from various new knitting shops in the Portland area, as well as some fun stuff from various knitters, yarn manufacturers and creative crafters.

Schoppel-Wolle Gradient yarn is a lovely blend of Fall colors, worked up into a crochet scarf by designer Christina Peters, which she titled, "Gigi".  The Knitting Bee featured her design in their November 2014 blog, which canbefound at: 


Schoppel-Wolle Gradient Yarns

  Baby  Cable Fingerless Gloves
Designed by Tammy Kirschner

Free Ravelry Pattern http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/baby-cable-handwarmers 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Late Winter (January through March)

Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden

        Winter has been very cold, windy and rainy this year (2014-2015), but early indications promise a warm and sudden Spring unfolding before us. In my back yard, blooms are appearing in the form of apple blossoms on the trees, Daffodil shoots in the dirt, crocus in the patio flower pots and the beginning budding of Rhododendron and Azalea bushes.  Smells of Magnolia were especially pungent when I hiked through the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden yesterday.

Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden

The gravel pathways undulate throughout the gardens and are perfect for walking dogs, on leash.  What a wonderful place it would be to let small dogs roam freely, if it were allowed. I'm sure they would take off for the water. Ruby enjoyed walking on the rock walls, more so than on the pathways.  She was very well-behaved around the duck pounds and was more curious about the smells on the ground and the barking sounds of dogs in the distance, as well as the honking Canadian geese.  The park is open to the public and free until March 1st, where the fee is $4.00 per person.


The vast number of ducks and Canadian Geese on the ponds were quite amazing, too. Many of the ducks were quite colorful.


    Walking through the gardens I realized that even though the sun was shining down upon us, the weather was still quite chilly.  As walking has become my new exercise routine now that Ruby has come to live with us, her preferred walks through the woods and hikes up steep terrain requires keeping dry and warm.  I find the need to cover my head to keep from picking up one of the nasty flu viruses that are on the news these days.


So, in that regard, I finished my new stocking cap, made from the Bernat Sheep(ish) brand yarn that I have come to enjoy.  I love the entire line of the soft yarn with its many pastel colors and matching variegated yarns.  My next project will be a sweater in the softest seafoam green shade that is in the variegated yarn. The mix and match idea is exciting.



From a wonderful blog, little woolie, comes this amazing explosion of color, from designer and crochet instructor, Julie Harrison. She has the most incredible sense of color design that I have seen in any designer since Kaffee Fasset. I'm truly impressed. 


Julie's work makes me inspires me and awakens all kinds of creative ideas for knitting. I have never learned to crochet past single chain but am willing to learn.  Too bad Julie teaches in Pennsylvania, instead of here in Oregon. I would definitely signed up for her classes.


Valentine's Day

      Recently, I've thought about getting back into my cross-stitching craft. Since it's close to Valentine's Day, what better time to start a new stitchery project?  Here are some pretty art pieces that I am interested in starting.

For those of us to are into Valentine's Day parties, or just want something festive to grace the dinner table, here is a lovely craft idea that highlights the Valentine Day theme.





When the sun peaks out in the following months, my thoughts will turn to flower beds and hanging baskets of cascading foliage. But first, ground prep is a must, as well as sticker removal and pine boughs from the windy and rainy season of the past few months.

Although clean up is my least favorite gardening activity, the results are so satisfying that I just want to keep moving along, just to see the results unfold.
And there's nothing quite as satisfying as knowing that your toil and trouble has produced a wonderful area to not only share with your pets and the occasional birds and squirrels that pass through, but you also have a place to relax and enjoy some down time.

Knitting or reading are both favorite pastimes of mine, under the protective shade of the plum trees. Or better yet, a covered porch, preferably in a rocking swing. With a glass of fresh strawberry lemonade.

    As the weather dries up, gardening will become a very integral part of my Spring activities.  With the blooming of various plantings around the yard, there comes a multitude of containment ideas. Recycling old cast off items into flower or vegetable containers is intriguing. There are so many creative ideas that I can hardly wait to see what develops. Here are some ideas that are especially intriguing.

1.  Old tires that are laying around can be jazzed up with a bit of color.


 2.  Old rain boots make a wonderful and colorful idea for a fence.

3.  Simple soup cans are great for starter plants or young growth.


Have a wonderful and Happy February - share some love add some brilliant colors into your life. 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

5 Knit and Crochet and Yarn Trends for 2015

Knitwear Fashion Trends for 2015  

   Bulky Cable Knit Sweater

Wow! We're hardly past Christmas and Lion Brand yarns has forecasted the 5 knit, crochet and yarn trends to look forward to in 2015.  See their blog at:  


In summary, the 5 trends are:

1.  Big Yarns for fast, finished projects
2.  Oversized Fashions that are flattering for everyone
3. "Scarfies"
4.  Color: Bright, bold and self striping
5.  Fur Trim: seen, made and worn

                                                                                 Plush Striped Shawl                                             

Working with "Homespun Thick & Quick" yarn, you'll appreciate nubby texture and appeal of a fast knitting project that creates a colorfully warm hat, a cozy cabled sweater or a
 shawl. The gauge is as follows:

Knit: 8 sts x 12 rows = 4" x 4" (10cm x 10cm) on size 15 (10mm) needles 
Crochet: 6 sc x 8 rows = 4" x 4" (10cm x 10cm) on size P-15 (10mm) hook

 "Quickie" Yarn is ideal for thick hats that can be knit up in a flash.  Keep your head and ears warm and protected from ice, snow and wind. Or, a quick last minute gift for that someone special on their birthday.  Makes a welcome gift.                             

"Wool Ease" by Lion Brand yarns is a category (6) yarn. It's super bulky weight is perfect for knit caps and simple sweater designing. A video helps to highlight the advantages of the yarn for knitting and crochet.  


Knit: 9 stitches x 12 rows = 4" (10 cm) on size 13 (9 mm) needles
Crochet: 6.6 sc and 8 rows = 4" (10 cm) on size N-13 (9 mm) hook 

Source:  http://www.lionbrand.com)

Brilliant Knit Beads - by Betsy Hershberg

In her book, "Brilliant Knit Beads", comes the amazing crafting technique of knitted beads. Learning how to turn swatches into beads is done through the reading of charts and using the provisional cast-on method. Fabulous necklaces can be created by using a variety of different yarns and textures, adding yet smaller beads to the knit beads.  How creative is that?


    For further info on Betsy's class tutorial and online instructional video, please go to:

Thursday, December 25, 2014

December 2014

     What a busy time of year this becomes, when Thanksgiving ends and Black Friday brings out the many shopping patrons looking for good deals.  The stores put out their best holiday light displays and the malls are alive with Christmas music and Santa displayed in an uncluttered area of the store where all the children can congregate.   I find Black Friday to be a fun time for bargain hunting, the hustle and bustle of shoppers, a coffee break or lunch, and people watching.  By the time I get home I am truly satiated and exhausted. 


     In the evening, I love to read cozy mysteries that have holiday-related themes. A few of my favorites this season are ones that involving knitting, quilting and Victorian themes. 




       You can find many good books at great discounts from Amazon,com. Because of my budget, I generally place them on holds at the local library. The savings on book costs helps to fund my yarn supply.


         And,  I love to look at all the beautiful yarns that are produced for the Winter knitting frenzy that the weather and holidays seem to require.  Whether or not to purchase any more yarn is always a number game for me, after essentials are taken care of.  Recently, in my email I received an interesting decision-making aid from Amusing Yarns, that helps take the guesswork out of such decision-making processes. It seems there is a scientific way to determine whether or not one should make a yarn purchase, based on specific criteria.   Interestingly, I believe that no matter how you answer a question, it will always lead to buying yarn. Isn't that clever?  For a larger view of the chart, go to their website at www.amusingyarns.com.

     A few of the knitting projects I have been working on over the past month are Christmas gifts for my daughter and my mother. Boot toppers for my daughter are finished and have been warmly received.

     Back in October, in honor of Pink October's Cancer Awareness month, I began a pink shawl for my mother.  The shawl is in remembrance of her mother, my grandmother and my daughter's great grandmother, who died from cancer.  My mother is 95 years young and gets a chill when watching TV or reading in bed, so I think this may help to keep her warm.  The project turned out well and I managed to watch all 5 episodes of Downton Abbey, Lark Rise to Candleford, The Paradise, North & South and Cranford as I knit for hours on end on a project consisting of many YOs and ktbl patterning.  I "unknit" many rows, over and over, in order to keep the stitch count correct.


      I love the finished shawl and the versatility of the many many in which it can be worn, all 61.5" of it.  The pattern is by Jennifer L. Jones, called, "Glitzy Cat's Paw Lace Wrap". And, here's the finished project that I started in Pink October's Cancer Awareness month, in memory of my grandmother who passed from cancer in the 70s.

For myself, I have been working on other knitting projects that include a long sweater in an open lace knit, the beginning of a cabled sweater and, if I can locate more of a discontinued yarn, a lovely dark grey tweed Aran knit vest with many cables and seed stitch patterning.  So far, the cabled sweater (back) is progressing nicely with a lovely cream yarn by Caron.

  If you have a beginning knitter on your Santa list, this starter kit is a great gift idea, complete with instructions, knitting accessories, including needles, and other items to help a new knitter get started. the first experience in shopping for appropriate yarn weight would be a lovely outing for any young girl (or guy).  Who says only gals knit? Have you ever seen Kaffe Fassett's knitting styles? Truly works of art.

Baking Goodies

      For anyone who loves cookies, there has come to my attention a wonderful blog for a a goodies site called, "Sprinkle Bakes".  Such lovely and decadent treats to be enjoyed. The photography alone is worth viewing. Here's one of my favorite recipes:

From Sprinkle Bakes comes the most fabulous ideas for baked goodies.  One of the most colorful delights is the spiral cookie, with sprinkles that highlight the tasty treat.

 The cookie starts out as laid out, flat sheets of two different colored and/or flavored doughs. It is then rolled into a cylindrical shape, covered in baking sprinkles and then sliced into cookie rounds for baking.  Such a creative and textural delight!

The Finished Cookie

The free recipe and directions, along with many other wonderful goodies, can be found at:

Ham Roll

The author's dog at Sprinkle Bakes is "Biscuit".  I can imagine how he got that name, as he seems to be watching for any possible interruptions to grabbing hold of this delicious looking ham roll.  


    I had to laugh at the look on the little Pug's face, as it reminded me so much of our new little Dachshund, Ruby.  She has the most precious face and naughty behaviors. you just can't help but laugh at their antics.


        I always get a kick out of  animal photos, especially ones that show the animals in fun costumes or unusual behaviors to their breed. Here are some of my favorites that always make me smile.

    Christmas Cards !!                                                                Bunny Boots

              Hedgehog Plays Santa                                            


     Red-Tailed Woodpecker spotted
     in our back yard, like above photo

     Speaking of critters, our Ruby has been quite the interesting breed of dog. I've never been the owner of a small breed dog, having parented a Labrador and German Shepherd for over 10 years. But this Dachshund has been an interesting and at times, frustrating breed to get use to. But she is a lovely girl who has found her forever home here. The cats like (tolerate) her and they seem to like to sleep together at times. Napping is one of their favorite times together.

   Ruby on her favorite rug, by the heater.