Thursday, January 31, 2008

Beautiful Dreamer

We've been listening to E.B. White's Trumpet of the Swan. I think knitting Cat Bordhi's Moebius Swan tea cozy for Valentine's is a very romantic idea - as is arranging to have a swan play Beautiful Dreamer on the trumpet (or downloading The Chestnut Brass Company's version from iTunes).

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Jane Austen knitting

You know you've watched a lot of Pride and Prejudice when your five-year-old has grasped the plot. Tonight we're watching the 1940 version so I can finish the other arm!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sweaters in a cold climate

Cristina got me to read Nancy Mitford's The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate. They are such quirky novels, not really what I would call "a ravishing tale of privilege and passion." Do not hesitate to rent the tv movie if you loved the books. You will love seeing Uncle Matthew's critique of Romeo and Juliet, Fanny's little house in Oxford, Cedric's goggles! And the KNITTING! Linda's red lace cardigan with the little garter stitch scarf - Jassy's moss stitch dusty stripe sweater - the Spanish refugee's shawl - the knitting does not stop in this movie.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Lego men rescue knitted sock

Today is the 50th anniversary of the Lego brick. Legos are very important around here, especially when a Trekking sock runs wild off its needles.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Swatching blue

I have been through all my patterns searching for a deeply poetic and true cabled sweater. Next, I paged through all my stitch pattern books with a fist full of bookmarks. Now I am swatching patterns in everything blue. At night I dump them all in the runcible bin with a story about a river that freezes over at Christmas.

Friday, January 25, 2008


I'm trying to knit socks using Cat Bordhi's toe-up on two circulars method, Charlene Schurch's beautiful stitch pattern charts and Cat's New Pathways arch increases as well. I'm going to make a little stack of footnotes listing everyone's shoe size and foot width. I imagine they are the size of antique playing cards engraved with a Victorian stocking. At the toe I will write the cast on number, and then all around the foot I'll write loose directions to guide my increases and decreases and short rows. Maybe I'll print the card a little larger so there can be a ruler printed on the side to keep track of where I am. I'm going to throw this all into the runcible bin and see what it all boils down to.

The rice pudding from The Gourmet Slow Cooker was good. The 2-hour frig time is crucial. I'm glad I made it yesterday, because it was heaven heated up today.

--p.s.--I realize now that I omitted the sugar in the pudding - if you follow the recipe it's wonderful straight from the pot - if you want to "forget" the sugar or decrease the amount you may want to let it "set" in the frig for a while.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Playing house

This is a carrot dish from the Naked Chef's newest book. I'm trying out the rice pudding in the crockpot today. My chum is home with a cough. I feel like making our own throat lozenges with custom flavors and colors. I imagine them looking like antique marbles in a mason jar. I will use my antique silver sugar tongues to pick them out! This would make a nice Valentines gift as well. I'm sure Martha did this once.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Another way to serve Noro

I'm using up some more Noro on a cozy for my coffee press. I'm going to use up a lot of bits on tea cozies. I think it's a nice way to swatch fair isle or cable patterns.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I sing of arms

I tend to forget a project when it comes to the sleeves, especially tiny sleeves that go round and round.

For the full moon I am listing all my knitting projects: Pringle unwound, Crosspatch vest, Crosspatch scarf, baby sweater, Noro stripey scarf, enough blue yorkshire tweed 4ply for a Kaffe sweater, enough alpaca silk for a small sweater, enough pink aran tweed for a small sweater, enough denim for 2 small sweaters, the handspun Irish wool, linen bits for a crochet bag, sockyarn I don't like to be fed to the cool corder.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Helvetica - the movie

Helvetica - A Documentary Film is so full of ideas - put it in your rental queue now! It has gotten me thinking about the shopping bags Pentagram did for Saks last year. I have some of that large letter block fabric and I want to do some kind of an applique quilt that looks like templates cut from newsprint and old papers.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Scrap blanket

That blanket in Melanie Falick's Handknit Holidays has inspired two blocks out of leftover blues and oranges. I've been paging through the Quilts of Gee's Bend book and thinking about our baby clothes quilt, but I've been spending all my knitting time on a third Noro scarf!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Another Noro stripey scarf

I can't stop knitting these. This one is a challenge because it is made up of bits, not four whole skeins. I've been thinking about a knitting game group project where everyone receives bags of yarn and multi-sided dice. You roll the dice and knit for so many rows in such and such a color.

Monday, January 14, 2008


There is a scene in The Moderns where two people discuss the difficulty of switching cafes. I have several places I like to be, only one has good coffee. The twelve years we have lived here I have never visited this cafe and yet every time we pass someone in my family will remind me that the lady on the sign is holding her tea cup to her head just like I do. And I say, we should really go there sometime. This New Year's I am trying new things that have been there all along.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Another Noro scarf

I'm going through the Silkgarden like cookie dough. I made the mistake of browsing through the Ravelry Noro Silkgarden projects - all 2,000 or so - and searching Flickr for anything with a Noro tag.

Friday, January 11, 2008


A winter morning that calls for a quick and hearty breakfast begins with baking powder biscuits! I'm concocting a Silkgarden project. Noro stripey scarves are not enough for me.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Stenciled ants

The rain has finally forced the ants inside the kitchen to look for honey. This is my favorite stenciled graffiti in Berkeley. The gorgeous Sticker City - Paper Graffiti Art by Claudia Walde has me thinking about graffiti stickers for the home: a little bird with a message ribbon in its mouth would appear next to someone's bed, a trompe l'oeil grocery list and love note inside a desk drawer, the Borrowers or the Littles hiding at the back of a shelf, a mouse dressed in a hat and apron in the kitchen cabinet, Vanessa Bell illustrations inside the frig, time machine controls on the washer and dryer.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Baby sweater

This is a sweater for my nephew made of Calmer with a bit of Silkywool on the edges. I settled on this cable pattern after swatching for half a skein. I like swatching until a stitch feels right and looks nice. I'm going to pick up stitches around the armholes and hurry on on those sleeves before he grows!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Jenny vest

Cristina's Jenny scarf post sent me rooting through the closet for this vest from last year. I printed out custom graph paper at my knitting gauge and gave it to my daughter to draw Jenny. There are many drawings around here that would make lovely sweaters. I have my eye on a star-nosed blue mole right now, set against brown tweed.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Oilcloth fun

We're trying chalk on black oilcloth as a more casual alternative to oil pastels on paper cloths. It's really wonderful having such a large sketch pad. I can draw actual size as opposed to little scratches on lost legal pads. Why not jumpstart a painted floorcloth by laying some acrylic on an oilcloth and then layering some varnish on top? This is good practice for painting on linen tablecloths.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Who's afraid of their big white refrigerator?

In November our frig died and was quickly replaced with a wide white replica. (I long for this mini-frig in Blueprint's kitchen makeover story.) I've been going through all my Charleston books looking for something bright with a plate of fruit, but on Friday when I opened my paint box I only had browns, a frumpy green and a molded orange, so I chose one of Vanessa Bell's book covers. I think this will change a lot. I also have the sides to play with. The cabinets bother me now.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Trooping of Colour

My Mom gave me these tiny figures of the Queen and a soldier for Christmas. I have a picture of Elizabeth II on her horse riding just so in 1981 for the Trooping of Colour when someone fired blank shots at her and scared her horse. She was so regal comforting her horse.

I also have a picture of Sgt Henry from a later Trooping of Colour, 2000 maybe. As a family we stumbled upon the rehearsal of the parade which is twice as good as the official parade with no crowds. The high point for us came when a soldier whipped out a huge wooden compass and began measuring the spaces between the rows of the marching band. At that point everything stopped and they called out for Sgt. Henry to get his men in order! I fell in love with Sgt. Henry because he did not yell and scream at his people dressed in all that fur and wool in the middle of June. At one point he palmed a soldier standing at attention a mint, I'm sure it was a Wintogreen Lifesaver.

I am writng up an idea coupon to make little shadow boxes with these figures and my old photos.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Expires 2008

I count three expired Peet's coffee coupons in my pocket! I should make idea coupons for 2008, ideas I need to redeem before 2009 - slipcover a chair in a piecework kind of thing, institute taco night with crockpot mole chicken, create a secret closet, create a carrel, bowl. 2008 ideas, redeemable before December 31, 2008.