I LOVED knitting this! I kept this in a basket near my desk and when I had to make a phone call, it was at the ready.  I never had to think what row I was on.  I have enough yarn leftover to make another, and I may, if one of the girls in my family likes this one.  The pattern is worked in the round with fingering weight Dale Baby Ull and Rowan Pure Wool 4-Ply.  Both lovely, soft, machine washable, and well-priced.  I love this cowl.   

Many thanks to Jessica, my adorable neighbor, for being my model. 

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Finally, a sweater named after me!

Here we are, Jessica and I, modeling my namesake, Kristen.  I know that Kim Hargreaves doesn't know me from Adam, but in my fantasy, she has named this pretty sweater for me.  After all, it's knit with Kidsilk Haze, and who likes this yarn more than me?  Plus, it's just the style I like: simple and elegant with a little shaping and a pretty neckline.  When I picked up Embrace, the Kim book this is in, and saw this sweater on the cover I said, "making it", and then gasped when I opened the book and saw the name!  That was it.  Everything else had to be put aside so I could head right over to my local yarn store to purchase the yarn.  I have my priorities.

The color is Peacock, a special edition color designed by a Rowan fan and contest winner of a "design a color" contest held last year.  Same thing--when I saw this color and after swooning a bit, I said, "buying it".  If you want some KSH in Peacock, go on a search now, because it's a special edition yarn and won't be around forever.

Many thanks to Jessica, my adorable neighbor and model who will be a high school senior this fall.  It's nice to have someone across the street who will come over and play dress up with me! We styled it with one of my leopard print skits (ONE of, as I have three leopard print skirts!).  I have to tell you though, and perhaps you might guess, but we look a little bit different in the identical outfit.  On 5"10" Jessica, the skirt is just above the knee, but on her 5'2" neighbor, the skirt falls mid-calf!  (There are other differences too, but ahem, I'll be gentle with myself.) She models my sweaters so beautifully and shows them off so well, but I think it's also good to know what the sweater looks like on the person for whom it was made, thus my grainy computer pictures.  The links are at the end of the post.  xoxo, Kristen

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My Ravelry project page

Kim Hargreaves book, Embrace

I hope you can find Rowan Kidsilk Haze in Peacock at your lys,
but if not, I found it online at


that lovely time of year again

It's that time of year again.  We're harvesting everyday now, sometimes just a little, but sometimes, like yesterday, a lot.  I picked an entire basket of green beans, the lovely French Filets, made green bean pickles and still had enough beans left over for dinner.  I've shared this recipe many times before, but it's worth sharing again: Dan Koshansky's Refrigerator Pickles are by far, the best tasting pickles you'll ever eat let alone make. Plus, it's the easiest pickle in the world to make.  Say goodbye forever to soft, soggy pickles.  This recipe makes crispy pickles with a good kick of dill, garlic and red pepper. They make such a nice mid-day snack and are great on the buffet table. In a few weeks when the cucumbers come in, I'll use the same recipe to make a standard pickle.  I'm also thinking of experimenting making a beet pickle.  Hmmmm. Whether you grown your own veggies or buy them at the roadside stand or supermarket, try these!

The green beans were harvested from two 9' rows we have planted with Botanical Interest's bush French Filets, my favorite bush green bean.  They are easy to pick, (pick them pencil-thin), and the bean flowers don't stick to them (if you grow green beans you know what I mean by that.)  They have a mild flavor, grow straight and are prolific.  To prolong our green bean harvest, a month later we sowed Blue Lake pole beans.  They also grow straight, are quite big and meaty and have a very pronounced old-fashioned beany flavor which is lovely and summery. Planted at the base of teepees made from the straightest thinnings of our fruitless mulberry, in a month, they will be up to the top.

At the same time, my dear friend called me and said, "Come over today!  My peach tree is bursting with fruit!"  To be honest, I couldn't get over there fast enough.  An hour later I was home with 2 very large bags of the loveliest, most fragrant, ripe peaches I've ever had.  We saved some for eating on the spot, and with the rest I made a double recipe of Honey Sweetened Peach Chutney using some local honey from another girlfriend's back yard.  My friends are sure nice to me.  I made 14 jars but already gave quite a few away.  We love it with pork and chicken, also over goat cheese served with crackers for an easy appetizer.  (Make sure to use her method for removing the peach skins--it saves hours!  My peaches were not freestone, so I did not slice them first, but instead poured the boiling water over the entire peach harvest and the skins easily slipped off.)

Thank you for stopping by.
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xo Kristen

This post was mostly written yesterday, and posted today and I was learning about the attack in Orlando.  My prayers go out to all the citizens of Orlando.  I'm speechless and overwhelmed that the world has to endure yet another terrorist attack on innocent people.  



Oh my goodness, this blog is going to have some fun this month.  I have five new projects to share--a dress, a pullover, a shrug, a cowl, and this shawl, all modeled by my lovely neighbor, Jessica.  We played dress-up yesterday and did some pretty styling and got some great pictures of all the garments.  I'll be showing a new knit each week. 

The first is the gorgeous Lori Shawl by Carrie Bostick Hoge knit in some vintage Rowan Scottish Tweed DK.  Years ago I bought a half-dozen skeins for half price.  You know how that is, you cannot resist it at the time, then arrive home and realize you don't really have enough to do anything with.  After a decade of being hidden away, I haphazardly paired it with this pattern--genius!  The rustic yarn combined with the primitive texture of garter stitch combined with the most simple of shapes--perfection!  The shape is an elongated triangle and as you can imagine, is a very simple knit and easy enough to touch knit in the dark movie theater.  My husband and I go to the movies every Monday afternoon and I like something mindless to keep my hands busy while sitting for two hours, plus it kept my lap warm too!  I mostly kept this as my movie knit, but sometimes I sneaked it into my regular at-home knitting--sigh--sometimes garter stitch just calls out to me and I cannot resist!

The years-ago discontinued Scottish Tweed is rare enough to find, but there's always some popping up on Rav or eBay and I wouldn't hesitate to grab some again.  It feels like you have real, oldtime YARN in your hand; sturdy and homey and folksy, and seems to say, "I will keep you warm and I will last forever."  It is soft enough to wear next to the neck and would also be appropriate for a sweater worn next to the skin but sturdy enough for outer wear.

I'd like to praise the book that this pattern came from, Madder Anthology 2.  I purchased it two months ago when I was at the KnitWearLove retreat in Pacific Grove.  It's a beautiful book with 15 simple designs with a rustic flair; all beautifully photographed with well-written patterns.  I'm not done with it either: I'm almost finished with Liv and have just cast on for the Barn Sweater and I'm making this Lori shawl again, striped, with a melange of purple yarns I have in my stash.  Jessica and I both gave this shawl a ten.  It's a winner.

I know you like to see what my garments look like on me, an older woman for whom they were intended, and I will make sure when I post the sweaters I'll also share a photo of me wearing it too.

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Thanks peeps for popping by and have a good week.


how does your garden grow?

Our summer garden is up and running, and we're able to harvest something everyday. We've had beans, artichokes, kale, carrots, summer squash, and onions, and have been using the beet thinnings and herbs in our salads. The tomatoes are looking great and we'll start picking the cherry varieties in a few weeks if not next week.  The larger tomatoes and cucumbers won't be ready for probably another month. 

The olive tree near the greenhouse has grown to be massive.  It didn't start out that way!  And I didn't realize that olive trees could get so big.  I swear, California--everything grows so big, and so fast!  Our neighbor has several redwoods that have also grown to enormous heights.  Of course we know redwoods get enormous, and now they are shading the veg garden starting around 3 PM ish, which seems to be OK with the vegetables, so no harm.

We have a quail family living behind our greenhouse.  Whenever I go near, one of the adults will start to make a racket, so I quickly turn around and leave.  I just won't go back there until they're gone for good.  The chicks have ventured out of the nest and papa leads the way.  Nine tiny chicks peep and peck and follow, and the mama guards the rear.  They circumnavigate the entire garden, then must go home for a nap, because I won't see them for the rest of the day.  They are so dang cute and I tried to get some better pictures, but they jump at the slightest movement I make!

We hung a second hummingbird feeder about 30 feet from our old one.  If you know hummingbirds at all, you'll know that they are tiny, but very territorial and the males can be terrible bullies.  We have one awful bully this year who will not let any bird near "his" feeder, thus the need for the second one.  But now he is trying to protect both of them, and so we have more hummingbirds even more frustrated than before.  Still, they are quite tame and come very close to us, hovering about a foot or two from our faces, probably beseeching us to help them out, but they are on their own in this battle, I'm afraid.

We have songbirds this year like never before!  Our neighbors have noticed it too.  Starting in the early morning we hear beautiful songs that continue throughout the day and late into the evening.  We don't know our birdsong, so can't tell you who we hear, but what we hear is beautiful: complicated musical trills and whistles ending in chirps and peeps.  The different types of songs tell us it must be from many different varieties of birds, but can't be sure who.  We see plenty of bluejays, (my husband's favorite, so bold and inquisitive), robins, finches, wrens, sparrows, doves, and waxwings, but don't know if they are the ones who are singing.  Our robins are particularly bold--when I dig in the garden, they are right next to me, waiting to see if a worm will turn up.  Even this morning when I was deadheading the petunias (the most tedious of all gardening jobs, way worse than weeding) they hopped around me.  I kept telling them I wasn't digging and they were out of luck, but they were pretty persistent.  And besides them, and above all the birdsong, I heard duck quacks and goose honks.  I stopped several times to look up and around but couldn't find them anywhere. We have a creek very near us, just one house away, and I think they must be camping out there.  I was (very happily) on bird-overload this morning.  We also have several birds of prey living in our neighborhood; mainly hawks, eagles and at least one owl (sometimes we hear him at night).  At other times we've had gangs of crows--real rude rough-necks that make a horrible racket and spoil it for the little guys.  Thankfully they're not around this year and that's probably why we have all the lovely songbirds.

Thanks for stopping by dear readers.
I'll be back in a few days with a knitting post that's just waiting for some finishing touches.

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xo Kristen