Thursday, February 5, 2015

Adjusting your azimuth

Yesterday for my birthday Mr. Lear gave me a turntable, much like Steve McQueen's ("Three Weeks in Steve McQueen's World",  photographer: John Dominis for Life Magazine). Surprisingly, Mr. McQueen gave me some of his very own albums seen strewn on the floor here. 

The turntable came with a book of diagrams involving female and male, balance, speed, a nonskating weight, and most importantly, adjusting your azimuth. Chaucer began throwing around the word azimuth in the fourteenth century with other astrolabe enthusiasts. It is the arc from the zenith to the horizon. I love a word that belongs to astronomers, engineers and turntable owners. Life, the planet and record needles are often by chance or design not perfectly vertical; the azimuth may be a few degrees East instead of true North. In these instances it is your responsibility to adjust your azimuth so that in your sphere of influence or drill bit or turntable things are True.

The day before yesterday was a one hundred anniversary concert for Cal's Campanile. The bells played according to data from the seismograph below the tower. I can't help but place all this, and the full moon, into the runcible bin and let them stew. I will be adjusting the azimuth on the runcible bin this week. I will let you know what surfaces.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Pipe stems and pom poms

One of our favorite things to do in London is go mudlarking on the Thames. It's pretty easy to find these clay pipe stems. They are the remains of one-use tobacco pipes. The smaller beads are from Miss Lear's pottery class, umpteen years ago. And the pom poms are made with remnants of Rowan's kid silk haze. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Zozo eye pillow

We are still in a heavy crafting mode. The Zozo eye pillow from For the Makers is filled with rice and lavender. The beautiful bitty pom pom fringe is hidden somewhere in this mess. I used their Adrinko Eye template for the embroidery. My next eye pillow will have more rice, and different eyes. I love these.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tuesday Afternoons

We started these embroidery projects last Summer and now they've come round again. Why do dancing dishes crack me up? My Mom had a book of red work embroideries and there are some examples copied from newspaper ads. I should do a series of tea towels using logos and cartoons from the paper.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Some items for a Summer to do list

This sweater by The Elder Statesman in Vogue is calling out to me. I'd like to make it in blue out of a cotton blend or a linen like Quince's Kestrel.

We just returned from two weeks in England and Scotland. We went mudlarking in London one night. I want to make a wonderful necklace from all the pipe stems. I have been experimenting with pom poms out of leftover kidsilk haze, maybe this is where I will use them.

I have so many photos of Roman pottery! Greek and Roman perfume bottles! Tiles! I need to create a pottery studio this Summer and make Roman teacups.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Pom Pom garlands and necklaces

I have been making garlands for end of the school year parties. They are mostly paper but then I saw a pom pom garland. And then I thought about mini pom poms made of leftover kid silk haze and what great necklaces they would make. So now I am alternating an addiction to jumbo pom poms with a need to make mini pom poms. It keeps me going.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Peace and Goodness

I like to make small pictures with very fine black sharpies and a little watercolor. I cramp my hand up very tightly, raise my right shoulder, cross my legs, and hold my breath. In an effort to avoid a permanent cramp on my right side I've been sewing big pieces, using my arms, the dining room table, and most of the floor. I have a need for banners made of cloth. It's one of my stops on the way to painting with oils on linen.

I would like to piece some variations on this lovely peace sign from The New School in Berkeley. I lived for many years near here and admired the peace sign each time we passed. Maybe it will be a quilt or a tablecloth or a banner. I'd like to add St. Francis's "Pax et Bonum" greeting.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Flowers at Heath

Last weekend Heath Ceramics in SF offered a flower arranging class with Studio Choo. I learned so much by actually doing.  I love their book of recipes. It has easy to follow, beautiful photographs to inspire arrangements, from simple to Dutch painting-looking. All week I have been diligently changing the water in my vases and re-snipping the stems. I have a small cup of basil clippings in the kitchen that smells wonderful. I am going to make arrangements for beside our beds - things like basil and lavender. My favorite flower smell is the marigold. I like to have pots of these where I sit on the deck. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Flowers at Home

I've been mixing bits of the yard and pieces from florists lately. Visiting the homes on the Berkeley House Tour this weekend reminded me how lovely it is to have flowers in your home. 

I checked "Bringing Nature Home" out of the library again. Every page is such an inspiration. The cover photo shows the wallpaper in Erica Tanov's bedroom. I also checked out "Undecorate" which has lovely photos of her home.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Treasures in the Cultural Halls

Our week in New York was really fun. We slept in and stayed out late. The trees in every park and side street were blossoming. Late one night we visited the Temple of Dendur and then walking to our hotel across the park we could hear voices from a party in Belvedere Castle.

I loved this little bag on display at the Natural History Museum. It would make a great purse, bedspread, or huge multi-God's Eye screen. The acid yellow, bright blue and bits of red stitching really grab me.

I have just a few inches to go on the sleeve of my Redford, and I am just in time. I see Wool People 7 is coming out tomorrow!!!!!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Bringing New York "Down to Date"

To prepare for our week in New York, I've started reading H. Allen Smith's Rhubarb and E.B. White's Here is New York. Rhubarb is the story of a cat who inherits a baseball team. The book jacket claims the author "has batted out a double-header of a novel-every inning loaded with laughs." 

Here is New York was originally written for Holiday magazine in the Summer of 1948. The essay was published again as a book the following year, and in the forward White apologizes for "certain observations to be no longer true of the city, owing to the passage of time and the swing of the pendulum." He ends with, "I feel that it is the reader's, not the author's, duty to bring New York down to date; and I trust it will prove less a duty than a pleasure." 

I'm bringing my copy along as a travel journal so I can bring New York down to date in the margins and back pages and inside covers. I am looking forward to this.

The moebius cowl is my current obsession. I cast on 200 stitches using Cat Bordhi's cast on and two skeins of aran weight Malabrigo, then seed stitch until the yarn runs out. Sometimes when I am wearing it I like to take it off so that I can feel for a moment how chilly I would be without it.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Avery cowl

This is the Avery Cowl by Melissa Labarre from Quince. I used two skeins of Osprey in Fjord and came in just a row short. The yarn blocks really beautifully. I have two more skeins in Malbec to do another, but it's that honey color they use in the photo that is calling me!

The runcible bin is sitting under my table mostly empty. There are a few books from Shakespeare & Co., some muslin scraps from a skirt template, and leftover bits of elastic from a costume. I need to start feeding it again!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

BT Men's Redford

I've been knitting away at Julie Hoover's "Redford" from the BT Men's collection. I tried on the sample at the trunk show Verb hosted, and I love how simple it is. I changed the shape of the side panels, making them slightly hour-glassed. I also dropped the neckline a tiny bit and finished it with a crochet stitch. I picked up stitches around the armhole and I'm knitting the sleeves on double points. The yarn is Geilsk Tweed in a lovely wine color. I don't usually knit things in pieces, but this has been a nice project, easy to cart around. I would like to make another. 

I've been thinking about combining knitted pieces with cloth after seeing this Bonnie Cashin piece. Maybe silk or linen knitted sleeves and yoke and then add a linen front and back? Redford would be interesting with side panels in wool or sewn with wool and add knitted panels and sleeves. I like this fiber Frankensteining, but I want to keep it all the same color.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Boardwalk top in Habu silk

This is Heidi Kirrmaier's Boardwalk top from Brooklyn Tweed's Wool People vol. 3. I knit it with  Habu's Tsumugi Silk held double. I began the neck shaping 1.5 inches lower for a deeper neckline. I think I will make another of these in wool, maybe one in linen too!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

This seed stitch scarf is my mindless knitting, four skeins of Malabrigo on #8 needles. I am trying to work out the ingredients to a perfect scarf for myself, and I am beginning to think it may be a cowl. I like a very wide scarf that gets some structure from being folded in half. I like a stitch that looks good on both sides. I may embroider this with a map, like the walk to school, annotated with our snack stops.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Quay scarf

This is the Quay scarf from Brooklyn Tweed knit in a little over four skeins of "Old World" Shelter worsted weight. I used a #5 needle. There are so many BT patterns I want to knit.

My New Year's resolution is to write down a dinner menu for every evening, simply: mon=eggs; tue=pasta, wed=crepes, thu=burgers, fri=pizza.

Mr. Lear has excused himself from meat courses and sugar, which adds a slight challenge: wed=crepes/ham+mushrooms, thu=burgers/lentils. When one person at the table depends on vegetables and legumes, we all become more omnivorous.

Dessert is very interesting without sugar. A beautiful pear on an antique wooden plate with a small paring knife and a linen napkin would be very beautiful with a small glass of dessert wine. It is very poetic and thoughtful, but it is not a brownie.

Dessert without sugar feels very Little House on the Prairie: maple syrup on snow and cookies sweetened with molasses. I want dessert to be as much a part of the meal as the conversation. I want us all to be at table together. Please give me your dessert ideas.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Vera cushion cover

This is an old silk scarf by Vera, a little worn. A little iron-on interfacing has given it the strength to live on as a cushion cover. This would also be beautiful framed. Viva Vera!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Out of Print

As the holiday season begins, I am adding old books to my lists. Often the easiest way to find a gift for a reader (that hasn't been read) is to delve into second hand bookstores, in person and online. Slightly Foxed is a wonderful resource for discovering stories. 

A Christmas library addition from last year: The Coat-Hanger Christmas Tree by Eleanor Estes. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Handknit for Ft. Ross

My son asked me to knit this for his class overnight at Ft. Ross coming up next week. I started this at the beginning of the playoffs and here we are at the end of October getting ready to watch the Cardinals take on the Red Sox in Game 6 of the World Series. Oh this is not World Series knitting here!

The pattern is Dr. G's Memory Vest by Kirsten Kapur. I substituted some seed stitch for the side panels and sized it down a bit to fit my little guy. The problem is, he's not so little and now I have to rip back and size down a little less! The wool is Quince Yarn's Lark in Gingerbread.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Paper mache lanterns for Halloween

I've been making paper mache lanterns for Halloween. I have a bunch of those led "candles" that flicker to place inside. I'm getting picky about the balloons. I wish they were more globe-like. My first layer is leftover printing paper, it dries pretty translucent. Then I get fancy with strips from the Financial Times. I like to use the art and auction ads.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Market Bag Drafts

My first market bag has been coming along with me on small shopping trips. The straps need to be wider. It also needs a leash for keys and a phone pocket.  It needs a lining. I like to use oven mitt quilting to insulate bags. It gives them some heft and really makes a difference protecting ice packs and cold things. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

Kitchen Details

As September looms into view I am arming myself to attack the new year. The drawers in the kitchen have been brought to order with foam board dividers. I am going to be using a lot of felt and marbleized paper, because that is what I like to see when I open a drawer! I'm sitting here on the floor with my ice latte gazing into the cabinet and wondering if I could paint a mural in there. Happy Labor Day weekend!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


There is 15 inches left on my Evelyn Ackerman rug and I just can't lift it. I am resting with Anne Hanson's Fernfrost and some Fibre Company Meadow. I did not even realize it was lace weight when I bought it. I just loved the color, Larkspur, and the feel of wool and silk and linen. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

For the Makers project

Have you seen the craft project boxes from For the Makers? I am working on a drawstring bag from my July box and adding some embroidery. These ready to go projects get me thinking about other ways to make things. Sometimes I let my children do the projects.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Fitted top

"Alabama Studio and Style" is my favorite Alabama Chanin book. I page through it all the time trying to decide on an appliqué pattern or embroidery pattern. I have made a few basic pieces without embellishment, each time I have altered the pattern a little.  I am thinking of making a poncho or wrap next, maybe with the fern embroidery. I am blogging from my ipad and do not know how to paste in links using blogger!