Monday, December 14, 2009

Nuts for the holidays

David Lebovitz's Holiday Snack Mix is so good I just kept burning my tongue eating it straight from the pan. I used some back-of-the-cabinet leftovers for this batch, but I am planning one with pecans.  This is a great snack to whip up when you are doing some hard holiday crafting and need protein coated in butter and syrup and salt. Playing Keep the Car Running on repeat is also helpful. I don't know if our little parakeet is ringing his bell like crazy because he likes to play along or if he is screaming mercy. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Mohair Portrait Scarf

You may recall Veronik Avery's scarf from Knitting Classic Style. I am working on it in a deep red Kidsilk Haze. 

Monday, December 7, 2009

Audrey in Shetland jumperweight

I went with the original design for Audrey. I would love to make this in a bunch of colors. I am haunted by the inside-out sweater. J Crew for kids has an inside-out sweater. I want to make one for myself - a little magpie-ish with a sparkly strand and a tweedy strand.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Coffee with Sherlock Holmes

Imagine coffee with Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson every morning. One year I put my knitted teacher gifts in jars like preserves. I love the hot coco mixes and cookie mixes in jars that look like a geological strata sample. This year I want to paste a scan of a favorite character or author into the lid and seal it with that fancy clear acrylic stuff. 

Monday, November 30, 2009

Felted Autumn leaf

This is the dish rag pattern in Frappe Merino and felted to death. I love the way these colors felt. I'm going to knit a bunch for coasters - coffee, tea, wine blends right in.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Reversible shetlands

I like this. I'm going to make a series of shetland cardigans using the funky patterns from Reversible Knitting. I'm also intrigued by Kate Gilbert's Kirigami pattern in Twist's Winter issue. I'm thinking about Christmas and games. I'm still seeing a game of tiny pieces of porcelain inside an unfired sphere of clay which you break open. You break open the egg of clay and the pieces tumble out and the dice is rolled.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tea with milk and sugar ice cream

Cooler weather calls for new flavors. I substituted Earl Grey for the black currant tea in David Lebovitz's recipe in The Perfect Scoop. This was wonderful on hot apple crisp. Splendid Table had a repeat show this week interviewing Paul Roberts about his book The End of Food. It makes you want to cook dinner.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Reversible Audrey

When I saw Gudrun Johnston's Audrey in Unst I wanted to knit it in a heathered gold shetland yarn. Then I got Reversible Knitting (Barr) and decided my little gold shetland cardigan should be reversible too. The patterns in this book are wonderful. The lacey patterns are very macrame-looking. I am trying to substitute one of them for the lace pattern on Audrey.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bird and leaf cookies

When I saw these cookies in the new issue of Marie Claire Idees, I thought, why not carry my bird and leaf obsession into the holidays? I like the look of the seeds and pignolli, and I want to add minced candied orange peel and ginger, and almond slices.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Gold Toy lamp

Ryan McElhinney's Gold Toy lamp (another from Remake It Home) would be a great yard sale project.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Chiquita chandelier

Anneke Jakobs's Chiquita Chandelier is just one of the dozens of amazing ideas in Remake It Home - The Essential Guide to Resourceful Living. There are chapters and chapters of inspiration.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Electric mittens

I finally got my conductive thread and LEDs. A couple weeks ago I was inspired by Fio's electric mitts and reminded of Eleanor Kent's electro-luminescence pieces.  I want the mittens to light up the constellations when they touch, but I also want the batteries to run a hand warmer or a little radio or something. 

In other "projects with wires" news, ceramic gramophone 1.0 was bisqued and does not work. As soon as I dig up a styrofoam cone I'll roll out 2.0 thinner and more Georgia O'Keefe-ish.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Many thanks to Mary S who suggested I look at The Pantry - Its History and Modern Uses (Pond). It is a wonderful illustrated history of how we store our food. I love the modern DIY pantry a woman built by hacking open the wallboard to store canning jars between the wall studs. 
I have read that designating a place for things (Julia Child's pegboard kitchen walls) is akin to scheduling time for things (Twyla Tharp's Creative Habit). Making a pantry and taking the time to stock it creates order in place and time, and it creates confidence in a future place and time. Pantry-making is going to be my act of confidence in the future, both in earthquake country and shaky times.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Paul Taylor's home

I love this series in the NYTimes about peoples' homes. Can you see the basket turned lampshade in the photo? the Jaws/Moby Dick/Jonah's leviathan portrait above the mantle? Mostly I love his cardigan against the bright turquoise wall. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sport weight swatches

I have a one pound cone of Bartlett Yarns sport weight still in my stash. I think it is the beginning of many light weight heathered wool cardigans with something going on along the edges - something like beads or crochet. I keep looking at the cardigans in Rowan's A Season's Tale and looking at crochet edgings. I've been thinking of a sweater the color of old bricks with a faded advertisement knitted in - something like this

Monday, October 26, 2009


Nothing says October in Berkeley like Ice-O-Mat! For a mere $2 I have a lovely ice crusher and all my icey drinks look so professional: lemonade, ice coffee, Clara's back porch fizz

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Electronic books and knits

All this talk of ebook screens and digital content makes me think of Neal Stephenson's Diamond Age and William Blakes' graphic novels if he printed them today. Would Thoureau have a blog? (One of his friends wrote that he would have starved in Walden if his mother and sister hadn't brought food out for him every few days! Where did I read that?) I love steampunk - that spot where handmade/DIY and hacked technology meet because of the need for customization, for the love of an inexpensive solution, or all that and a desire to knit with electrical cord and conductive thread and fashion ceramic squash blossom gramophones.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Leaf plate

I've been making leaf plates. I like the idea of a table covered in black or very dark navy linen and filled with ceramic leaf plates of food. I need to make these much larger - leaf platters.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ceramic gramophone

Look at these beauties! Caption reads: Jason Marks' Euphorn channels the sound from an iPod, £230 or £990 to order. 

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Paula sweater in moss

Fiona Ellis's Paula sweater from Twist Collective is finished. I still need to block it and weave in the ends. I used discontinued yarn from my stash which knit at a slightly larger gauge, and I used the ridge pattern instead of the cable pattern for the collar. I plan to reknit the collar slightly larger. When I've knit through my stash, I'm going to get some Ultra Alpaca in a heathered rust or dark red and knit it again.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

That scarf again

I am haunted by the multi-stripe scarf sewn in two pieces! Remember that Gap holiday scarf last Winter? I planned one in leftover sock yarn and tweedy 4ply, but I did not get very far. I am inspired, but I don't like the way tweedy 4ply feels on my neck! I am going to think about what Kaffe would do if he had a very sensitive neck. I could sew all my stripey swatches together for half the scarf and then sew on a strip of printed wool or velvet for the other half. I like wool fabric with hand tied yarn fringe, why not take it a step farther with a knitted wool scarf sewn to a woven wool scarf?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Handmade lamp idea

I would like to make a lamp similar to this one using wire and ceramic beads.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Budgie knitting

We have a new pet, a sweet little budgie. At night we cover his cage with a shawl, but I may have to knit a cover. I like the idea of doing something from Kaffe Fassett's Pattern Library. I am also thinking of dyeing sock yarn in budgie colors  - a beautiful marigold to begin the toe that matches his beak, followed by white and grey for the stripes on his face and  a little bit of violet for the stripes across his cheeks - then blue and black and white and finally black and a dark turquoise for his tail - budgie socks. 

I just saw Ann Weaver's post about her Christmas ornament patterns in the new Interweave Holiday issue. I am going to have to make that pinecone for our tree! I also love the Nordic Striped Ball.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Personal Footprints

Have you seen Cat Bordhi's new book on socks? I love this book. I love all her books - they are just my pot of tea. The patterns are based on the technique she first introduced with the Houdini sock for Twist Collective. You knit the foot as a seamless piece and then open a space for the leg. I've made one template for my son and plan on sketching everyone's footprint. Knitters' Review has a review here

Thursday, October 8, 2009


I had one of those nifty vinegar bottles and couldn't bear to toss it in the recycling which lead to finding this terrarium book at the library. I like the idea of creating a terrarium in the middle of a larger planter - like a geodome in the jungle or the Climatron in Shaw's Garden. I should go buy a six of Orangina and a few more of these vinegar bottles and then macrame plant hangers from red hemp, fill them with carbon and potting soil and grow little planets in the kitchen window.

On second thought, I could forget the soil and plants and go right for glycerin and sparkles and do some funky snow globes.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Second sock syndrome

I'm falling prey to second sock syndrome. The pattern is too intricate to knit while watching the Cardinals!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Paula in green

Twist Collective just blogged about knitting the Paula sweater in different colors, and by coincidence, I started one Sunday in some mossy green Elsebeth Lavold Classic Al from my stash! My gauge is a little larger, so I am fiddling with the numbers. I would love to make one of these in some Berroco Ultra Alpaca - as soon as I've knit through my stash!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Banana Upside Down Cake

I've taken banana bread just about as far as it can go with David Lebovitz's Banana Upside Down Cake. It's wonderful.

I've been thinking about old Victorian homes that come with linen closets and butler's pantries and broom closets. There have been several great articles in Martha on making your own hidden storage - a craft space from two bookcases and an office in an armoire. I like this "origami living" style.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


I am frogging my unworn sweaters. It is easier to imagine new projects for old yarn when it is in skeins. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Linen leaf

This leaf is knit in Louet's worsted weight linen. I'm really over knitting leaves now. I am feeling quite smug reknitting schlumpy projects. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Felted leaf

This is the leaf pattern in wool leftover from the rug project. It came out of the washer a little ruffly, and then I ironed it flat. With some fiddling I think I could felt it into a dish for keys or a place for scissors and needles and button stuff - can you see that?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Central Park Hoodie again

I wore my Central Park Hoodie twice and then lost it in the hallway because it is too schlumpy. The wool is Rowan's Scottish Tweed in indigo and it is beautiful, too beautiful to be lost in the hallway. I have unravelled the buttons bands and the hood and taken it apart. I think I can get away with simply re-knitting the back slightly smaller and then putting it all back together. No un-wearable sweaters and no un-usable stash!

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Truffle Hunter

There is a page in The Truffle Hunter where a domesticated pig discovers a cave filled with paintings of her ancestors on the walls. I'm going to use the pig and warthog patterns from Knitted Toys to make some of the characters. I would love to wrap it in brown paper covered in pastel cave paintings.

I've been thinking a lot about last weekend's New York Times article on happiness. Even more interesting was the FT's article about the French commission re-evaluating what data determine their GDP. I keep hearing a quote from the commission head Professor Stiglitz, "What we measure affects what we do." 

That quote would make a great gift - engraved on a big metal tape measure or painted on a tiny sewing tape measure. It would make a wonderful Arts and Crafts mantel motto - a still life of old rulers and yard sticks and a huge wooden compass thingy and a clock would be so beautiful with the quote carved in wood or painted on tile - what (and how) we measure affects what we do!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Nigel Cabourn

There was an article in the NYTimes Magazine on Nigel Cabourn. A lot of people know the menswear designer for his 2003 collection when he recreated some of the clothing worn on Sir Edmund Hillary's Everest expedition. One piece is based on a photo of an explorer wearing his sweater inside-out and backwards. I like this year's collection based on a 1924 expedition. The original clothing, pictured in photo, was a mixture of military and hiking pieces. Cabourn's web site is beautiful with special collections and inspiration photos. I was thinking of Teva Durham's vest and how that would look in a tweedy yarn with a funky wool lining. Give me microfiber with a good dose of tweed!

Monday, September 14, 2009


New York reader Hyacinth has asked for bookmark ideas: "Sometimes, when I can't find one, I just crochet about forty or fifty stitches and call it a bookmark. But headed to The Strand tomorrow and know I won't come home with less than an armload. Any ideas?"
As soon as you mentioned crochet, I thought of the bibelot Cristina made last year, pictured above. She adds mini granny squares and beads to her crochet chain. There is also ribbon embroidered or written on with Sharpie, leather scraps cut into rectangles and decorated with little hole punches, dried flowers encased in organza. In the two dimensional realm, my favorite bookmarks are photos and postcards that usually sit in drawers or envelopes marked scrapbook. If it's a flimsy sort of ticket stub, bus transfer, deli number thing, why not laminate it at a kinkos place or stick it between two sheets of clear contact paper, or iron it between two pieces of wax paper - leaves are nice this way. I like old newspaper clippings preserved this way. Let me know what you come up with.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Eunice socks

This is the Eunice sock from Cookie A's Sock Innovation. Dream in Color's Smooshy yarn is my favorite right now for socks. I love this time of year. I make all kinds of plans for Christmas knitting about now.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Cotton Leaf Rag

I've been very happy knitting these dish rags in all colors of green and a few demure ombre colorways. I knit one in wool and felted it. Knit it in linen or hemp and call it a washcloth. I typed up a pattern for these. It's all done with short rows. If you're not familiar with this technique, you'll need to look it up or sit down with someone who can show it to you. You'll quickly see that it's just a starting point. You can alter the leaf shape with your own decreases and increases. To download the pattern, click on the Cotton Leaf Rag link in the upper right hand corner of the blog here under Patterns.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Design as Art

I am very excited about the mobiles in Bruno Munari's Design as Art

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Cuts of Cloth

Welcome to September. Have you bought your pencils and notebooks? This year I'm ordering leads for all my vintage mechanical pencils and using sketch books. I'm also going to wear artsy ensembles inspired by this book. Cuts of Cloth by Ann Wiseman is a collection of simple and ancient ideas for making your own clothes.

Why not crochet a simple silk "yoke" and sew yourself a Cleopatra gown?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

More leafcloths

I've knit up all the green and greenish dishcloth cotton, now it's on to exotic leaves and radiccio leaves. Cristina's lettuce comment inspired me to use bits of white or light green to get lettuce veins. My short rows are getting neater. I think some felted wool leaf coasters are next. This Missoni mohair lace dress in the NYT Magazine is so beautiful - as a curtain or a string bag. Why not knit one tunic length? We're headed out for the last two weeks of Summer. I hope you are enjoying yours! See you in September.

Friday, August 14, 2009


We've been weaving potholders which naturally leads to knitting dishcloths which has lead to leafcloths. They look so pretty scattered on the counter, left in the sink, drying on the faucet. They can easily be pressed into service as coasters or set under flowerpots. The slip stitch dishrags are actually swatches for a rug.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Stripey sweater stash buster

I am fiddling with swatches for a Kaffe Fassett stripey sweater sport weight stash buster.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Ideas for rugs

On the left is a Vanessa Bell painting adapted for needlepoint in Melinda Coss's Bloomsbury Needlepoint and on the right is a rug designed by Duncan Grant. I think both would make wonderful hooked rugs - even a single panel of Grant's rug would be a wonderful runner. Ann Wiseman's book has lots of wonderful advice on hooked rugs including a section on inspiration: "adapt from the masters, beg from the innocent, borrow from the past, steal shadows". I especially love the designs inspired by enlarged coin rubbings and old playing cards.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My Mr Boy

This is my Mr Boy by Cristina Shiffman from the Summer Twist Collective. After knitting a denim version for my nephew, I pulled out some stash and began this version in a plain 3x3 rib with a crew neck. The sleeves will be three-quarter length when I finish. 

Can you imagine the Jane Austen version with a square neckline and smocking to give it an empire waist and a white linen blouse puffing out from the 3/4 sleeves? I would also like a high neck tweed version with a bronze zipper. A teen size would be cute with contrasting sleeves, or sleeves and top one color, a thin stripe, and then the bottom another color. You could also substitute a Cat Bordhi moebius collar, try it on and then pick up stitches for the saddles, front, and back from the edges, kind of a movie star walking the dog sweater, knit a little longer with pockets.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Kiki Mariko at rest

As I bound off the great tube I was not excited. I felt that by sticking to my stash I had compromised the color options. As I hoisted it from the washer I was even less excited. The various stash yarns had all felted differently. But I remembered Kay's post and I kept driving. Now I adore our new rug. I could never have planned the colors this way. It looks like a watercolor to me. It feels wonderful. I am planning another, larger version.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Bug in a rug

I'm at 50 inches of Kiki Mariko stash buster! It's been hard using only stash. I can't wait to do another with oranges and yellows and reds! In time management/project planner news, I did receive my telegram from two weeks ago about buying more nectarines!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Apron strings

While cleaning a cabinet I found two quarter yards of material meant to be aprons. I traced around a vintage apron I have and sewed on a little bias tape. They just need some ribbon for the strings. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Time to cook!

I've been reading books about time. Michael Pollan's New York Times Magazine article this Sunday fits well with Stefan Klein's The Secret Pulse of Time. How do you spend your time?

Monday, August 3, 2009

The stash buster to rule them all

I am bent on clearing out my "leftovers" stash and the Kiki Mariko rug from the second Mason-Dixon Knitting is gobbling all the feltable wool.