Sonoma Coast

Sonoma Coast

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Here's my version of the knitted shirt.  I really love it!  I always say this, but I really am going to make another one of these.  So enjoyable to knit (and wear)! 

And may the coming year be the best yet.  Happy New Year!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Fibershed sweater completed!

Really!  Its completely done, off the needles, ends woven in... all it needs is to be blocked.  I can hardly believe how fast this one worked up.  Just over two weeks, and there were many days when I didn't work on it at all! 

Oh, and I really like it.  Its going to be a warm layer, a very practical knit.  Can't wait to show you...

Merry Christmas All!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Meet the newest addition to my studio, Louet.  We're.. uh... still getting acquainted, and will be seeing a lot of each other this winter.  She's on loan from my friend, Heidi, at H Luv Fabrications.  Heidi is an amazing knitter, designer, seamstress, and studio neighbor friend!  

And, yes, that zipper is sewn in!  As predicted, I haven't taken this sweater off since... You're looking at my go-to winter wardrobe, folks.  Love love love it.  

Monday, November 28, 2011

Another Cowl

Its another chickadee cowl, in the luscious Misti Alpaca Bulky.  My brother got an identical one last year for Christmas in a beautiful slate color.  My stepmom got one in cashmere.  I wear mine constantly, indoors and out.       

And, alas, still no zipper in Vivian, as you can see.  Ah well...  

I've chosen and purchased my next pattern.  Its from Fibershed, an awesome project in my area.   I love using local wool when I can.  We'll see what I can find for this garment.

Now that I'm proficient in Continental style knitting, the repetitive knit stitch delights me to no end.  And this simple sweater is pure stockinette!  In American style knitting, I find the knit stitch laborious and unbearable to repeat for an entire garment.  Or even a hat for that matter.  This must explain my preference for the intricate patternings of lace and cables thus far in my wild knitting escapades.  But has my era of stockinette and garter stitch just arrived..?

We shall see!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Side view.

Here's a little better detail of the cables.  My favorite cable section is the one that runs up the side under the arms, creating the illusion of a side seam. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Zipper Saga

Alternate title for this post: This sweater is just not photogenic!  I can't seem to get any shots that show the intricate cable patterns.  It could be because of the color of the sweater?  I've had two different photographers attempt to capture the essence of this gorgeous sweater, to no avail.  Not to worry though, once I get a zipper put in this thing, I doubt I will ever take it off.  That will leave ample opportunity for a decent shot to emerge.
Which brings me to the original title of this post... I have searched far and wide (or at least all of the fabric stores within a reasonable radius from my house) and the zipper selection has been severely lacking.  I may have to make a special trip into San Francisco for this elusive 20" brown separating zipper. 
In other knitting news, I can't show you any of the projects I'm working on now because they are to be gifted!  Its not my style to have more than one or two projects going at once, and its honestly a little overwhelming.  And my sweat shop living room looks like a yarn storm just passed through.  Happy Holidays!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A baby hat!

Just took a roadtrip to Portland, OR to visit my dear friend who lives there with her husband and little one.  Of course I had to make a hat for the little guy.  Can't believe how good it fits without knowing his head size beforehand!  Go me!  It is 100% wool, with a knit-in alpaca border.  He napped in it while we walked around the Saturday Market in Portland... I think he likes it :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

First sweater of the season!

This has been off the needles for about a week now.  The weather was so cold, however, that it took forever to dry after it was blocked.  Now it just needs a zipper, which I am going to let someone else do.  I absolutely love this sweater, and will wear it often this winter. 
Better pictures are forthcoming, but I wanted to post something!

I love it!  I love it!

Saturday, October 22, 2011


Body and sleeves are attached, saddle shoulders complete, and now on to the hood!  Watching this take shape has been so much fun.  I'm going to modify the hood in this manner.  A little nervous about the kitchener stitch finish, but if I can graft lace I can do this, right?

So far so good.  I've loved knitting this, and hopefully will love wearing it too.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A simple lace pattern and some slightly rustic wool have been transformed into a delicate, yet hardy and warm piece of lace.  I'm very pleased with this.            

And also pleased to report that Vivian is swimming along.  I'm almost done with the body and ready to move on to the sleeves.    

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Cable Madness

Embarking on this project was gutsy.  It might be above my skill level.  It is not lace.  It has saddle shoulders, which I know nothing about.  That said..... 
I am so pleased with this project so far.  Once getting the pattern established, it is swimming along.  I had (understandable) reservations about starting this, but am pleased that it is becoming intuitive and almost prosaic as I learn the charts.  I am urged along by my desire to see the cables grow.  I like to think that an ole Irish fisherman who had great taste would have knit something like this curve-hugging-all-over-cable sweater for his woman ashore.  This is the real deal, with some feminine shaping thrown into the cable patterning.  And I'm pleasantly surprised that it is compatible with watching movies and wine drinking.  Bonus!       

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Local Wool Pi Shawl

Pi Shawl, my second.   Pattern:  my own, based upon EZ (Elizabeth Zimmermann)'s guidelines for creating a circular shawl using Pi.  Wool:  the lovely local Bodega Pastures, their sportweight in two natural shades, 8oz oatmeal and 4oz ivory.  Needles:  started with 6, and went up a size at each increase section, ending on 8's.  The lace pattern in the outer section comes from Barbara G. Walker's 2nd Treasury of Knitting Patterns, and is named "Coral".  Start to finish, this shawl took me two months to complete.     

This shawl was finished just in the nick of time for this fall-like weather we're having here; its been worn daily since its completion.  I've been testing it out doubled and folded in  half, as a lap blanket, draped in a single layer around my shoulders, and she functions beautifully in every case.     

Very warm.  I'm in love. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

From far, from eve and morning
And yon twelve-winded sky,
The stuff of life to knit me
Blew hither: here am I.

                  ~A.E. Housman,

                           From far, from eve and morning

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Knittin' a Mitten

And using local Bodega wool.  I love these colors!  I'm using Elizabeth Zimmermann's "recipe" for mitered mittens. 

Speaking of local Bodega wool... my second Pi shawl is finished and blocked and just needs to be photographed!  Stay tuned...

Friday, September 2, 2011

Reef Madness and hyperbolic structures

Crocheting hyperbolic planes is my new means of filling idle time and procrastinating from finishing the boarder of Pi shawl.  Coral reef abounds with hyperbolic structures, and crochet is the only known means to demonstrate this natural phenomenon.  To me it doesn't get much better than combining feminine handicraft, biology, math, art, and activism. You can read about the project here.  Brilliant. 

These structures are so fluid, feminine, and absolutely mimic ocean life. I have experimented with several different algorithms and am fascinated to see the different forms taking shape. I'm participating in an installation at the Hopkins Marine Station in Monterey, CA. so this is just a tiny sneak peak.  I was kindly invited by these folks, and am so excited to be a part of it.
The structures work up pretty quickly, which only feeds my obsession. And keeps me from the last 100 or so stitches left to finish on the border of my beautiful Pi shawl. So close to being done! All this crocheting has prompted me to learn to knit with the yarn in my left hand (continental style), and I'm now well on my way to becoming a "switch knitter." The garter stitch border of Pi shawl has provided a great learning opportunity for that endeavor, but its been slow going and slightly frustrating. I feel like I'm starting over from scratch, though my tension is quite even and I am getting a bit faster. I know It'll be worth the effort in the end.
Loving the subtle color change. This is going to be beautiful...

Sunday, July 31, 2011

With all this knitting, we may never go on a walk today.

And someone's not too happy about it... I just started with the lace portion on the outer edge of my shawl, and can't seem to put it down. The plain stockinette (all knit) rounds were getting so boring which is why it has taken me so long to get to this point. This project has suddenly taken on a new level of excitement. Seeing the lace take shape has me flying through round after round of 581 stitches. Only 14 or so more rounds before I start with the sideways lace border.

Pleading... trying to talk some sense into me.

I'm attempting to show my lace-rib split toe socks. O how I love them! And they are a necessity today, as it's gone from overcast to cool. So not your typical California summer day. Another reason to sit on the porch with a lap full of knitting instead of venturing out into the hills for a walk :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Knitting and the Art of Car Maintenance.

I go to a car mechanic a little ways out of town. They take good care of me, and it's worth the extra few miles to get there. And wouldn't you know it. As my luck would have it, the most wonderful yarn shop has just opened next door to them!
So yesterday as my little car was getting worked on, I sat in the back corner of the yarn shop thumbing through their heaps of lovely pattern books. And I found a treasure worth bringing home: "A Gathering of Lace" by Meg Swansen (daughter of Elizabeth Zimmermann). Full of heirloom lace projects, finding this book will surely serve to enhance my own Era of Lace. Sprinkled throughout are tidbits of knitting references found in literature and poetry.

...and forward leans to catch the sight
of a man's face,
Gracefully sighing through the white
Flowery mantilla of lace.

D.H. Lawrence,


I swoon every time I turn the page of this beautiful book. I may have gotten some new ideas about how I will finish my current pi shawl. Good day, indeed.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Quick Calculation.

I've made it to the final section of my local wool pi shawl. Each round now has 576 stitches and I'll do roughly 4o more rounds. That means only 23,040 stitches to go! Alas, the end is nigh! And then the fun can truly begin with the lace edging...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Productive Sunday.

While knitting this afternoon, I looked down and realized that my WIP (work in project) matches my Versailles tank! Then I realized that I haven't even blogged about poor Versailles yet! Oh my. I LOVE this tank. It's made in natural pima cotton (not dyed, this is the actual color of the cotton). I made it last summer, and perhaps the lace detail is what prompted my plunge into lace thereafter (sigh). Oh is it soft. And machine washable. And everytime I wash it, the color deepens. And best of all, it fits!

This shot was a mistake (I thought I was setting the self-timer), but it shows the front details clearly. I really like the side slits with a small lace motif on the front and back. The pattern calls for buttons to close the neckline, but I chose to leave it open.

You can barely see the tiny lace motif at the waistline in the back right. The larger lace motif was a lot of fun to make - other than the p3togTBL (purl 3 together through their backloops- yikes!) That wasn't easy.

When I got cold this afternoon- yes, I know it is July in Sonoma County, but the sun barely came out today - I had to add a layer. Celes was the closest thing nearby, and I think it looks lovely with the Versailles tank.

It's breaking some sort of rule to pair two handknits together, but see if I care :)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

More Beach Knitting

Just back from a wonderful visit with family....

and of course I found some time for yarn! This pi shawl is growing slowly, but the simplicity of this one was great for travel. I also made a wool hat, but it was knit and gifted before I could get a picture. Hopefully I'll get a shot of it at some point.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Another Pi Shawl

Did I mention that I'm making another pi shawl? I am making it up as I go, which is a rare treat in the world of knitting. So far it is very simple... and made with the lovely local Bodega Pastures sportweight wool. This is going to be a great project to have along on my travels to the Midwest. Something about the simple spiral is so appealing to me right now.

Some swatching... Maybe I'll put a simple crochet border around it. Who knows?

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Ya, I like It.
This is blocked by hand with a lot of pins. I think blocking wires would be useful here, and wish I had them for this project. But oh how I love my lace stole! It will look just as great over a white t-shirt as it will over a dress for special occasions. One more lace project down, plenty more to come!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

More Lace

As this stole is taking shape, I can't help but imagine where/ how I am going to wear this. It is so lovely and ornate. Hmmmm we'll just have to wait and see!

The lace edging isn't coming along as fast as I had thought. It's barely at the halfway point now. Hopefully this weekend will allow some quality knitting time.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Some jewelry making.

I spent last Sunday at a friend's house (right on the beach) making jewelry. I made these brooches out of abalone pieces I found on the beach. The pieces were already smoothed and tumbled by the ocean waves. Such beauty!

And I've made it to the lace edging of Celes. I completed almost half of it yesterday, and spent ALOT of time knitting. Its a pretty involved lace pattern, and looks beautiful so far. I'm in the home stretch, and should have it completed in a couple days...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Oh how I love my Girasole! I'm plotting to make another one soon... This one will be too warm once summer finally arrives. I'm on the hunt for some local lace weight, in a neutral color.
Still plugging away at the lace stole. Almost done with the second panel, then I have to graft the two pieces of lace together (gulp). I may need to call upon some help for that. Then the fun will continue with the ..... (sings) lace edging!!

Friday, June 3, 2011

The beautiful orchid is from my sister! It looks lovely in my little kitchen.

Have a nice weekend!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Traditional Shetland Lace

Except that I'm using a delicious fingering-weight merino wool. It turns out I really enjoy lace knitting. Who would have guessed? This just may be the summer of shawls and stoles. I do gravitate toward lighter wool in warm weather. This is going to be so much fun. Challenging, but I'm up for it! This lovely yarn was a gift from my Mom, and I have 840 yds of it. Plenty for this. A lace stole with traditional Shetland lace motifs and construction.

More local wool.

If you frequent the farmer's markets of western Sonoma County, chances are you've seen two guys spinning yarn. That's what they call themselves, Two Guys Spinning, and they make some lovely yarns. The bulk of this hat is made from some local alpaca that they spun. I ran out just at the top, and its a good thing, because I love the spot of pink on top. Its more of the local Bodega wool. This is the only hat I wear. I love it.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Local wool hat.

Meanwhile, from the archives... I've probably made at least fifteen of these hats. It is my own (simple) design, with a built in lining. Sold some at our local farmer's market and have given a few as gifts. The wool was locally sourced, from Bodega Bay, and it is lined with alpaca. Extra warm, very soft.

Life after Girasole

Since completing my shawl, I've been taking a break from knitting. Its as though my masterpiece is complete, and I need time to let it soak in. I'm also unsure of what I want to make next. I was thinking another pi shawl, possibly even designing one. I have two skeins of a fingering weight merino/silk/silver that I'm ready to use (yes, silver flecks on a background of off-white!) Its beautiful, and it deserves to be something amazing. I don't quite have enough for a pi shawl, but definately have enough for a half-circular shawl. The wheels are spinning....

Monday, May 23, 2011


I still don't have decent photos to share. Suffice to say, I love this shawl... so much I want to marry it! There was life before Girasole, and there is life since. A new Era in which I am in an eternal state of baby cashmerino bliss.
This project has satisfied on so many levels. First and foremost, it is based on pi (the idea that a circle doubles its circumference in a series of increases that double themselves and which keep doubling their distance apart) which is always a plus for this math nerd. I learned to read my lace instead of glancing at the chart so often. Rounds and rounds of 640 sts will do that I guess. The patterning would change just often enough to keep my interest. And the edging was fun to learn and all garter stitch (knit every stitch). Every stitch was a dream, really. I love this yarn.
And now I get to wear it and wear it before the inevitable summer heat arrives. Though I think it may be light enough for a summer evening wrap. And I say this often, but this really is the prettiest thing I've ever made.
This is also the biggest project I've ever blocked, and it was challenging. I didn't know how to properly pin out a shawl, and it turns out I didn't do it right. But I really like how the edging came out in my method! The points appear uneven and not perfectly pointy. It gives the shawl an Arts & Crafts look, which I love. I will re-block it properly at some point. It has the potential to grow a few inches.
Will definately be spiraling forth more of these in the future...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Better pictures to come, I promise, but I couldn't resist...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It's done!

Blocking makes a huge difference. The shawl looks nothing like it did 15 minutes ago! In fact, I wish I would have taken a before and after shot. Should be dry by this evening. If not, I'll be sleeping on the couch. Until I have proper blocking supplies, my queen size bed will have to do!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Shawl Edging

I'm done with the main body of the shawl now, and am on to working the knitted on edging. This is a brand new technique that I'm learning and am loving it. It is worked back and forth in garter stitch perpendicular to the edge of the shawl counterclockwise while "eating up" live stitches when I get to the them with a k2tog. Brilliant!! It is going to take a couple of days to finish, as I have 640 stitches to "eat up". And I'm resisting the urge to finish it quickly because I want to savor every last stitch of this yummy cashmere/merino blend.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

From the Archives

Still working on the shawl...
Meanwhile, I thought I would post an older project. This is the lace shrug knit in allhemp6 Hemp for Knitting. I love the finished product that hemp provides (durable, drapes nicely, machine-washable), but working with it is not my favorite. I like to say, "some projects are about the journey, some are about the finished product." Projects worked with hemp are ALL about the finished product.
This is a picture my Mom took in Santa Fe while we were on a trip together... and proof that I wear my handknits in the real world!