what has my attention and a winner revealed



Apparently what doesn't have my attention is my blog!  I apologize for not coming back last week and announcing a winner for the skein of Rowan Softyak DK.  No excuse except to say that my blog is a hobby, a very beloved hobby, but like all hobbies, I only work on it when I have the interest.  Usually my bloggy interest is high, but these last few weeks--not so much.  It's happened many times over the years, and now when it happens, I just go with it and don't try to push it.  But I felt a little burst of blog energy coursing through me so I jumped on it!

Here's what you came for:  the winner of the skein of Rowan Softyak DK in the color Steppe is knittingdancer from Alabama!  I've contacted you on Ravelry, and as soon as I get your address, I'll zip it off in the mail to you.  Congratulations, I'm certain you'll love the yarn, and thank you to the rest who entered my giveaway.

Just because I've been dragging my heels with my blog doesn't mean I've been lazy about the other things I love, mainly gardening, knitting and the San Francisco Giants.  As for the former, our garden is looking terrific but is the most demanding mistress; and for knitting, well, you can see below what has my attention; and as for the Giants, we've been to one game so far and for the most part watch the rest of the games on TV--while knitting, naturally.

I'm fickle as anything about my knitting, bringing projects in and out of rotation as my whimsy dictates.  These 4 projects are receiving the most attention at the moment!

A brand new Crackerjack in The SF Giants colors:  four rows of linen stitch for each game played.  So fun.

One of my favorite sweaters from last year was Marie Wallin's Poetry knit in Kid Classic.  This time I'm making a Summer Poetry in the beautiful Rowan Handknit Cotton.

Rayeurs is a knit-in-the-round stripy cowl using fingering weight baby wools; Dale Garn Baby Ull and Rowan Pure Wool 4-ply.  This basket is kept by my desk and is grabbed when I have a phone call.  I never have to count or think about what row I'm on. 

I've had this gorgeous Rowan Yorkshire Tweed DK in a beautiful medium silver for a decade at least.  A few weeks ago while at the Make Wear Love retreat I purchased Carrie Bostick Hoge's book, Madder 2.  I could knit everything in that book, but the first thing I'm making is the Lori Shawl.  It's my meeting and movie knit, a garter stitch no-brainer.  There's no need to look at it or think about it, just let the fingers fly!  I recently took this to a ball game and it was perfect.  I could jump up to cheer, sit back down and know right were I was: garter all the way!



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annie's spring sweater (and a giveaway)











I knit my granddaughter a new sweater.  Confession:  I meant this to be for me, but as I was knitting it and finding the yarn was so soft, and since my granddaughter loves soft (who doesn't?) and she loves my hand-knits (love her for that!) I knew this must be gifted to her.  She tried it on Easter Sunday and loved it. This color is beautiful on her it made her green eyes go even more green!  Plus she looks much cuter in it than I do.

The pattern is Tochigi by Lisa Richardson from the spring/summer Rowan 59.  The original is so beautiful in stripes and Purelife Revive, however I had this new Rowan Softyak DK that I was desperately wanting to try, and since I got gauge and knew the drape would work, I made a switch.  Softyak DK, with 76% cotton, 15% yak and 9% nylon is a new spring/summer introduction.  This is an absolutely gorgeous yarn that checks all the boxes:  machine washable, very easy to knit with a fine handle, great yardage and is very well priced plus it makes a fabric with an even tension that is extremely soft and can be worn next to the skin even by the most finicky people.   I am a big fan.   The yarn has a chain construction making it very lightweight and airy.  It will take you no time at all to get into your knitting mojo--this is touch knitting at it's finest with no snags.  While I didn't find this yarn needle fussy at all, if you do have any problems with a yarn...any yarn, first thing to do is change your needles.  Some needles are fast, some slow, some in-between. Factoring in your particular knitting style + pattern + the yarn will determine which needle to use.  While I would imagine this would be lovely and crisp in lace or cables, stockinette is plenty lovely enough.  The sweater above is unblocked, it did not need it, the stitches came off the needles lined up like little soldiers.   Once I seamed it, I did turn it inside out and gave it a little touch with the steam iron.  A sweater always looks so much nicer with that little bit of attention.

Since yak fiber is relatively new to me, I decided to do a little research.  Yak fiber is mainly sourced from the Himalayan Mountains where it is combed or gathered in spring, not sheared.  It is comprised of stiff guard hairs used mainly for tents, ropes and belts, and the soft down, used for clothing.  Yak yarn is warmer than wool and as soft as cashmere.  It's breathable, odorless, durable and non-allergenic.  Western clothing made from yak fiber has been a boon to the Himalayan region.  Yaks were traditionally kept for milk and meat, but now the yak herders can sell the down to garment and yarn manufacturers benefiting their financial situation greatly.  This was all good news to me.  Now I'm intrigued and would love to try a 100% yak yarn.  Any recommendations?



And how about this wisteria?  What a magnificent year our lovely wisteria is having!  I made a post on it last week after spending a week trying to get the best pictures with my iPhone.  My son was here on Easter Sunday and with his new Christmas present drone, got this great overhead shot of the wisteria trellis.  For my mother's day gift I'm asking him to take pictures of my vegetable garden, and if they come out ok, I'll share them here.

Annie is 15 now.  She has grown into a competent and lovely young lady who is doing some very awesome things.  I'm going to interview her this summer and share that interview on my blog.  You'll be impressed with what she is up to.


Sniff, sniff, I was sad to see this go but I was thrilled that my granddaughter loved it so much.

You can find Rowan Softyak at your local Rowan stockist.
My LYS, Uncommon Threads, carries it in the shop and online here.

Softyak DK
50 grams=135 m, 125 yd
76% cotton, 15% yak, 9% nylon
Made in Italy

Tochigi by Lisa Richardson is from Rowan Spring/ Summer 2016 Magazine 59.
The entire magazine has many designs to love.

My Rav project page has all the details.

Now for the giveaway.  I have one skein leftover and perhaps you'd like to try it?  To enter, click here to make a comment and leave either you Rav ID or your email.  For a second entry, go to my Knitionary Facebook page and leave another comment under the post with Annie's picture. This giveaway is open to all my international readers too!  I'll keep the giveaway open until the middle of next week.  Good luck!



Until next time,
happy spring--happy knitting!
 Kristen

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the wisteria post: it's a jungle out there




Did I tell you our wisteria was having a banner year?  We never know why or when it will have a display like this--perhaps we accidentally pruned it correctly last winter or perhaps all our rain?  We just don't know.  These pictures were taken over a period of a few weeks on some sunny days and some cloudy days.  When it's breezy, the blossoms do a lazy dance and sway from side to side.  We've been sitting outside whenever we can just so we can stare at it.  It's hard to know who loves it most, the birds, the honeybees, or us.

I'm heading off this morning to Pacific Grove for the Make Wear Love knitting retreat put on by Amy Herzog.  I'm so very excited!  I'll take plenty of pictures!


My son got a drone for Christmas and he took this on Easter Sunday!























I'd love to hear from you.  To make a comment, click here.

xo, Kristen




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sputnik arrangement

As a girl I remember our house was filled with the color and fragrance of long stemmed roses arranged in tall vases.   My mom is coming for dinner tonight and because she was that lady who grew and arranged all those thousands of rose bouquets of my youth--and because the roses are going nuts in my garden--I knew I had no other option but to put together a rose arrangement for our centerpiece.  But I have a busy day and so decided to rely on the charms of my cheater sputnik rose vase. This unusual vintage vase from the 70s is perfect for people with absolutely no time to arrange flowers, or those with no skill.  It is fool proof:  fill the clustered vials with water and pop into a bowl.  Snip at least two dozen roses with no more than a 3-4" stem.  Put one flower in each vial.  Voila, your arrangement is done in minutes!  I'll admit this type of arrangement looks a bit dated, but still awfully sweet.  It appears these cluster vases are not made anymore, but still can be found on eBay.  If you are interested, try Googling:  glass cluster vases, glass cluster vials for flowers, glass sputnik vase, cluster glass frogs for flowers.  And if you see one at a garage sale this spring, snap it up! 




 There's quite a mix:  First Prize, Red Simplicity, Pink Simplicity, Mr. Lincoln, Peace, and some David Austins.








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