let the sun shine in

This morning I quickly ran around to take some pictures and post them before I get back to cooking and the last minute cleaning.  The last two weeks have been a whirlwind of digging and planting and weeding.  All the windows are washed, even the greenhouse windows got a good scrub, outdoor furniture scrubbed too, then floors polished, dust vanquished.  Thank goodness for house guests and holidays to find a reason to get everything in ship shape order.  I put Easter touches in every room and added a few hundred roses!  The yellow roses in the yellow pot in the kitchen are the beloved Peace rose. I think no garden should be with out it, plus it has such a beautiful story.   The roses on the dining room table are Climbing Eden (aka Pierre de Ronsard) from the climber that clambers over an arbor that leads to the vegetable garden.  The rose on the right side of the arbor is Joseph's Coat.  The rest of the roses are from David Austin. They're all blooming madly even though we think the peak is not for another week.

I love my table this year.  We bought these aqua glasses at West Elm for .99 each.  Oh yes we did.  With those I mind, I set about making a spring bunting.  Then I went to my favorite candy shop and bought the chocolate coconut nests with blue caramel eggs.  Next, raid my napkin stash and set the table and pick the flowers.  It all came together easily, I love it when that happens.

Hoppy Easter!


Little Wing

I have a free pattern to share with you today!  Little Wing is the first in a series of free doll knitting patterns that will be published over the next few months.   Just a little something sweet and simple you can make in a jiffy for your 18" doll.  The sweater is knit top down in dk weight yarn and easy enough for a beginner knitter.  It is open in the back and closes with snaps so it's manageable for little ones to dress dolly.  The sweater finishes at the bottom with a gentle gathered peplum.  I'm also including the pattern for the skirt.  Aww, I think she looks quite adorbs.

About the yarn:  Rowan Purelife Revive is a yarn I discovered this year with which I have become totally enamored.  It's a blend of recycled silk, cotton and viscose and knits to a dk weight at 22 stitches to 4 inches.  It is surprisingly easy to knit and makes the loveliest fabric with even tension.  I'm a fuss budget with needles, but I found that Revive was pretty easy going with woods, bamboos and my metal needles, although I ended up preferring my fast Addi Lace needles.  Knitting this little sweater will give you a good excuse to try out Revive!

Little Wing is the first of 5 doll knitting patterns I have in the works, (see below if you'd like to try some easy test knitting).  In the future look for a ruffly summer dress with matching bolero in Rowan Cotton Glace, an elegant winter coat in Kid Classic, a tweedy back to school vest and skirt in the great Felted Tweed, and a party dress in Rowan Pure Wool Worsted.  Oh my gosh, I've had fun with all of them!  All my patterns are EASY and they are always FREE.  I plan to have them published in plenty of time for Christmas gift knitting.  (But Christmas, that is ages away for goodness sake!)

If you have never tried knitting top down, knitting a tiny doll sweater will be a good introduction into this useful technique.  Since this has an opening in the back, you will be knitting back and forth, knitting stockinette in the traditional way, with knitting on the right side and purling on the wrong side but you will be knitting the garment in one piece.   I recommend using circulars, but because the sweater is small you will be able to fit all the stitches onto straights so they can be used if you prefer.  You will also learn how to create a gathered peplum.

By they way, Little Wing is named after a favorite Jimi Hendrix song.  Who could have ever guessed that so many years ago, a little 15 year old fan would one day become a grandmother who would be knitting for dolls.  Imagine that!  Makes me smile.

Little Wing
Will fit American Girl Doll or any 18" doll.

You will need:

1 skein Rowan Purelife Revive
4 stitch markers
Size US6 needles, straight or circulars, and optional dpns, or any size to get gauge
3 snaps

Gauge:  22 st. per 4 in.

Knitting Terms:

KFB:  Knit into the front and back of stitch: makes 2 stitches
pm:  place marker
co:  cast on
K2tog:  Knit two stitches together to make one stitch
K2tbl:  Knit two together through the back loop to make one stitch


Cast on 36 stitches as follows:  co 7, pm, co 6, pm, co 10, pm, co 6, pm, co 7

Rows 1 and 2:  K 
Row 3: (RS)  (K to one st. before marker, KFB, slip marker, KFB), repeat 3 times more (8 sts. inc.)
Row 4: (WS) K3, P to last 3 stitches, K3

Repeat rows 3 and 4 nine times more for a total of 10 increase rows.  Your stitch count is now:
17/26/30/26/17 for a total of 116 stitches.

Separate body and sleeve stitches:

Next row: With RS facing, knit to first marker, remove marker, place sleeve stitches on waste yarn, remove marker, knit front stitches, remove marker, place sleeve stitches on waste yarn, remove marker, knit to end. Now you have 64 body stitches with your sleeve stitches waiting on waste yarn.  You will get to the sleeves after the body is complete.

Knit stockinette stitch for 1 inch continuing with 3 garter stitches at each end. This garter stitch edge will create the placket.

Create peplum ruffle:

Next row, with RS facing, K3, (KFB, K1) to last 4 stitches, K4.  You now have 97 stitches.
Continue in stockinette stitch for 10 rows continuing 3 garter stitches at each end.
End with WS facing for next row.
Garter stitch hem:  Knit 2 rows
With WS facing, cast off knitwise


To knit flat:  Move sleeve stitches from waste yarn to needle.  CO 1 st., K to end, CO 1 st.  You now have 28 sts. including the 2 extra cast on stitches for seaming.  Knit stockinette stitch for 1 1/2 in., then dec. as follows:  K 2, K2tog, K to last 4 stitches, K2tbl, K2.  Knit stockinette for another 1 1/2 inches and repeat the decrease row.  Continue knitting stockinette for one more inch, the sleeve will be 4 inches long.  For garter stitch hem:  With WS facing for next row, K 2 rows.  With WS facing, cast off knitwise.  Repeat for other sleeve.  Seam sleeves and gap under arm and weave in any loose ends.

To knit sleeves in the round: Move sleeve stitches from waste yarn to DPNs, placing a marker at underarm center.  Do not cast on seaming stitches but do follow decrease shaping as above.  For the garter stitch hem, at 4" sleeve length, you will purl one row, knit one row, then cast off. 
Seam under arm gap and weave in any loose ends.

To finish:

Sew 3 snap closures to back opening as follows:  one at neck, one at beginning of peplum ruffle, and one centered between the two.

Here is what the back will look like with the 3 stitch garter placket.

Matching Skirt:

This is so easy it's hardly a pattern! 

Cut a piece of fabric 7"x22" (you can make two skirts from 1/4 yd. fabric if you are lucky enough to have two granddaughters!)

Hem:  Sew a 1/4" folded hem.

Waistband:  Sew a 1/2" folded hem.  Pin a safety pin to a 10" length of elastic.  Thread through waistband, securing elastic at both ends.  Sew back seam and iron open.  That's all there is to it.  I don't have any more directions because it's truly that easy.

While this is a beginner pattern, it's fun for anyone who loves dolls and is a great chance to try out new yarn.  With this little series of doll garments I hope to introduce you to some easy techniques that you can incorporate into your knitting repertoire! 

In a few weeks I'll have a doll coat pattern and I'm looking for a few test knitters.  I won't be able to compensate you for your time, but if you can answer yes to these 3 questions I'd love to have you on my list as a future tester for my easy doll patterns.

1.  Give feedback as to pattern clarity and fit and finish in a timely manner.
2.  Provide your own yarn, any brand, as long as the weight is similar and you can obtain gauge.
     Sometimes I will be able to provide yarn, but not very often.
3.  You may not post your project on any social media or elsewhere until the pattern is published.

Leave a comment or PM me if you are interested.  Thank you!

And thanks for stopping by!

This blog entry is my submission to the Deramores Blog Awards 2014.
Deramores is the UK’s number one online retailer of knitting and crochet supplies.


spring bunting


OK, so admittedly I got a little carried away with my spring bunting!  I saw a similar bunting in a shop downtown and before I knew it I was home digging through my fabric stash.  Next, I was zigzagging away and just couldn't stop.  It went, as you might imagine, super fast and the results are cheery and festive.

This bunting was noticed by my husband.  I only mention that because he is famous for not noticing anything in the house.  On a weekend while he and my son were away on a Boy Scout trip, I painted the dining room and living room.  My then 9 year old son walked in and said, "Mom, you painted!  I like it!"  My husband never said a thing, but 3 days later asked, "Why do I keep smelling paint?"

So I was flabbergasted when last night he asked, "Why did you hang napkins in the dining room?" (It had been up for a week.)

"Huh?  Oh, you mean the spring bunting!"

"The what?"

I came in beaming with pride ready to point out it's virtues, but honestly, after 41 years he has come to be slightly immune to the crafty little things that pop up here and there.  He is an engineer and sometimes doesn't get me and usually finds it's best not to ask things like, "What are you doing that for?" but instead offer a smile and a wink and will usually throw in an eyeroll too.  But I take them all as compliments :)

If you'd like to make a similar bunting, gather together some stash fabrics and loosely choose a color theme.  Make two paper templates, one 5 inches diameter and one 2 1/4 inches.  Cut out LOTS of circles!  Sew a small circle to a large circle using a wide zig-zag stitch.  Fold each circle in half and iron.  Loop the fold over a length of yarn or narrow ribbon and zigzag along the top and along the yarn adding more folded circles every few inches or so.  This would be a fun project for a young person who is learning how to use the sewing machine and could do with a little more practice. And I suppose some bits and pieces of scrapbook paper or heavyweight wrapping paper and glue would work too!

As for an Easter afterlife, I think the bunting will move outside and swag under the covered patio over the outdoor tables. 

Most of these are discontinued designer samples leftover from a shop where I used to work.

My color inspiration was from the glassware and napkins I plan to use on my Easter table.
This week I'm finishing up my decorating the house for Easter.
I'll take some pics and make a post when I'm done.
As always, thank you for stopping by, I appreciate your readership!

You may have noticed Knitionary has a new look!
Tara is the creative genius behind Exclusively Yours Designs. When she is not busy at her full time job, she plays graphic designer/blogger creator, mother to Cupquake Danger and her IT nerdy hubs, as well as caretaker of many fur children.  She can be found researching the latest technology gadgets, online crazes at home on a Saturday night and Minecraft secrets for the Danger girl. She shares her infertility hardships as well as her hilarious Cupquake Danger
episodes on her personal blog.  Tara was easy to work with and got the job done quickly!

how to make eau de vie de poire

Why would you grow a pear in a bottle?  
So you could make pear brandy at the end of summer, that's why! 

Everyone will ask, "How did you get that pear in the bottle?" 
And you'll say, "It's easy!"  Here's how:

The ingredients are simple:

One beautiful pear tree.
Some clean empty bottles.
Twine or strips of fabric.

Look for a healthy branch.

 Choose a healthy pear near a sturdy branch or the trunk, you'll need to secure the bottle.
The right time to do this is when the pears are the size of your thumbnail.
Strip the leaves and leave only the healthiest pear.

Insert the pear and branch into the bottle.  Now get creative and secure the bottle to the tree,
making sure the bottle opening is facing down to avoid rain water.

Depending on where your branch is, you can tie it to the trunk or sling if over a branch.

With a little luck and some daily maintenance to make sure the bottles remain fastened, 
at summer's end we'll have 3 pears inside 3 bottles ready for some brandy.  

You can do this with apples and think we just might have to give that a try too!

In future posts I'll be sharing lots of springy thingys that are happening around here!
Until next time...xoxo