Posts Tagged 'rowan'

Blue Jean Baby for My Baby


Most of my dog sweater designs float around in my brain for quite a while before they get test-knitted, written and published.  And honestly, I can hardly wait to get a new idea on the needles. I have five or six concrete ideas in the old queue right now — just can’t make them as fast as I can think them up.

Willie had a BIG operation on his back leg at the end of May. He had a torn ligament and luxating patella repaired, and it was quite an experience for the whole family. So when July 1 rolled around and we set off for Beverly, Mass., for a month — without the dogs — I was feeling a mite guilty. Just had to make something sweet for the little one while I was gone.

Blue Jean Baby, a little knitted jean jacket for dogs, has existed in my head for quite a while — the name, the yarn, the whole thing. While on vacation, missing the baby, I worked and reworked it till I got it done. (Never done a sleeve on a dog sweater before, and I must say I was mystified, but it happened, and it works.)

We came home to find Willie had lost two pounds. (Work that guilt, Mommy!) His new, svelte self fits perfectly in his jean jacket. And I promise never again to leave my Blue Jean Baby for so long!

The pattern is available on my Patterns for Sale page (just pass over the categories at the top of the page — it’s in white type on a white background and hard to see otherwise). It’s knit in Rowan Denim and sized to fit dogs with a chest measurement of 9-10, 11-12, 13-14, 15-16 or 17-18 inches.



In Sickness and in Health


We had quite the surprising week. Not a good surprise, but an opportunity nonetheless for me to give back, and I always appreciate that.

Michael, my healthy, robust, always giving partner, contracted a couple of hernias this month. The day he remembers feeling “something” was a day he spent with the leaf blower outside trying to outmaneuver the mounds of spring goodies that have fallen from the giant live oak between our house and our neighbors’.  It’s a losing battle ~ you rake or blow away this stuff, and the porch and yard are filled with it the next day.  But he tried.  Then Michael took on the bathing of our squiggly, wiggly Yorkie, Willie, with his rapidly expanding girth ~ the dog now weighs 13.2 pounds! By the time that day was over, my husband was doubled over with pain and on his way to the doctor.

This past Monday morning Michael was scheduled for a couple of minor hernia repairs, laparoscopic, quick and easy.  Wrong!  One incision is the simple laparoscopic kind, an inch or so right at the belly button.  The other, however, is a good 4 or 5 inches long.  The result:  My poor sweetie has been bedridden all week, in terrible pain, unable to eat, entirely dependent on me, and in a hazy Percocet delirium.

So, I’ve had to go from being well cared for since my shoulder surgery to suddenly being the caregiver myself ~ and I am exhausted!  Needless to say, the 16-year-old has been little help.  I’ll be glad when my sweetie is up and about and back to normal.  It’s hard to see someone you love hurting and not be able to make it go away.


Last year we planted dozens of exotic daylily bulbs, and I could kick myself for not writing down what everything was.  But the first of them started blooming this week in our front bed.  This magenta darling will bloom only once this year, but what a glorious sight when she does!



We’ve also got every kind of herb you’d want, plus cucumbers, lettuce, strawberries, zucchini, Meyer lemons, spinach, arugula and a new crop of heirloom tomatoes shipped from Laurel’s Heirloom Tomatoes.  For 18 years I lived downtown in the historic district, with only a courtyard and no earth of my own ~ and prior to that, five years in Manhattan preceded by five years in downtown Boston, so you can imagine how much I love being able to literally put down roots.


Coming from that New York state of mind, I’ve been all about the black for a long, long time.  My closet looked like a funeral director’s.  In the last year or two I ventured a little toward the browns, but they just weren’t me, and I kept drifting back to black. 

I’ve found a new niche in GRAY, ironically well-suited to my station in life as part of a retired, fixed-income couple.  (Too bad my taste doesn’t lend itself to that income.)  You may have noticed a trend in my recent knitted items, from the “Charlotte” wrap, knitted in charcoal Rowan Ribbon Twist, to “Grey Gardens,” my luscious Cascade Cloud 9 triangle wrap in dark gray, to even the ill-fated “Nightfall Cropped Top” from Twinkle’s Weekend Knits in dark gray and ivory Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece.  The wardrobe is filling in with lovely gray items by Eileen Fisher and Garnet Hill.  And what about these cool shoes (the pewter ones, left) by Palladium?









They’re comfy comfy comfy from Garnet Hill, and I adore wearing them with GH’s Knit Layered Skirt in dove gray, their Elbow-length Scoop-neck Tee in warm gray, and ~ soon ~ this amazing Martin Storey striped cardigan sweater I am almost finished with, from Rowan Classic’s “Colour of Summer” book, which has quite a few terrific patterns.


The sweater calls for Rowan Cashcotton DK, but I’m using Wool Cotton (probably my all-time favorite Rowan yarn) in two shades of green, elf and citron, along with Rowan Cashsoft DK in mist, which is ~ what else? ~ a lovely, soft gray.



Knitting Leftovers = ‘Furrrocious’ Dog Sweaters Four Ways



I’m an unabashed Rowan fan.  Give me most any Rowan pattern or any Rowan yarn, and I’ll be in heaven.  So when I stumbled on the delicious Ribbon Twist yarn from Rowan a couple of years ago in a series of patterns in Rowan 38, I ordered up some of this pretty yarn and made myself a “Charlotte” in the Ribble colorway ~ a soft sage green with strands of royal blue, turquoise and yellow running through it.  Here’s the little ponchette, one of my favorite wraps:


This took four skeins (for smaller sizes, it’s three) and was worked on size US 17 needles in about a day and a half.

When I found out recently that my lovely Ribbon Twist has been discontinued by Rowan, I snapped up some more ~ it’s a luxurious yarn, big and thick (2 sts = 1″), in an absolutely glorious collection of colors.  Since everybody I know was discovering the Charlotte, I decided to make another one, in the colorway Rocky, a granite gray with pale gray and black ribbon:



Another great yarn being axed by Rowan is Big Wool Tuft, a big, soft, plushy wonder that is from the same era as Ribbon Twist and comes in eight or 10 colors that coordinate with the Ribbon Twist colors.  They’re used together in “Ribbon Twist Collection,” an old Rowan book I wish I had, in “Big It Up”, “Big Just Got Bigger” and, as mentioned, Rowan 38.  A friend saw a little doggie sweater I had knitted out of white Big Wool Tuft an suggested it would make a good rug.  Well, sure!

Yarniverse is currently selling Big Wool Tuft, normally $10 a ball, at $22 for a bag of 10 balls! So I snapped up three bags ~ one black, one gray, to make my daughter a bedside “faux-kati” rug, and another in off-white, just for fun.  Ribbon Twist is on sale all over the place, at Jimmy Beans Wool, for example, where you can also get the Big Wool Tuft for $3.99 a ball if you don’t want a bag full.


But the best part is the fun I’ve had working up a cute sweater pattern for the puppies using these two yarns.  The pattern is for a basic sweater in Ribbon Twist with two choices of hems ~ seed stitch or knitted faux fur (Big Wool Tuft).  But that’s where the basic ends and the fancy-schmancy begins.  The sweater neck is trimmed in big, bold vintage buttons, and my two different versions have either a button-on “fur” collar or button-on “fur”-trimmed hoodie.  Here are my two angels in their new finery:

willie-gray-1.jpg   chopsy-green-5.jpg

Now, you’ve met Willie, the fat little Yorkie on the left above, the ham-of-all-hams; but you’ve never been introduced to Chopsticks, my sweet, camera-shy miniature schnauzer mix, a rescue pup who’s a darling love bug, most excellent house-guarder, and ~ usually ~ not the first on the list of puppy knits.  Since Willie’s my muse and he’s tiny, he gets the pretty duds.  But this time I let Chopsy have the sweetest sweater ~ and she absolutely loves it!  You have never seen a prouder puppy.


Chopsy’s sweater has the hoodie, and Willie’s has the “fur” collar (such a little pimp!).  As a friend said yesterday, the sweaters are great for travel ~ one outfit you can wear two ways.  And what about those Glamour mag office-to-evening switcheroos?  Add a pair of dressy pumps and some darker eye shadow, and that plain-jane dress goes right from work to date ~ just like Willie and Chopsy’s sweaters!

There’s a pdf download for this quick and easy pattern on my FREE PATTERNS page.  Soon to follow, a FREE TUTORIAL on how to line a dog sweater neck ~ and why you should.


Those “Compliments”


I just walked through the TV room when somebody on some show like “What Not To Wear” was telling his victim that “That sort of dress makes you look like you have a waist.”  Reminds me of the compliment I got from my mother by phone yesterday when I sent her a few pictures of myself in my newly completed “Flicca” coat (designed by the remarkable Anna Bell of My Fashionable Life).

“I love your coat ~ it makes you look like you’ve lost weight.” 
“Well, I haven’t.” 
“Then you should wear it all the time because it makes you look like you have.”

I know she meant well, but, well, I’ve long since come to terms with my weight, something I guess my mom will never do, and I’m not trying to lose ~ or even look like I have.  Anyway, here’s the coat.  What do you think?


Now, I love this coat.  I made it with RYC Soft Tweed in slate blue, and it didn’t take nearly as long as I thought it would.  Despite the yarn’s bulk (3 sts to the inch), it’s amazingly lightweight, so wearing the coat is a dream, even in Savannah, which hardly has any winter at all.

 This is my other recent creation, “Dinah” from Rowan 42, made in Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca Silk and GGH Soft Kid instead of the called for Rowan Wool Cotton and Kidsilk Haze.

This is my absolute favorite garment I’ve ever made.  I was drawn to the beautiful, completely coincidental matching of the two yarns made by two different companies, and when I found out the gauges on both worked with the pattern, it was mine!  I just loved working on this sweater ~ both yarns are so nice to stitch with.  Then I set about to find a ribbon to match ~ good luck.  I picked the silk satin one from M&J Trim and ordered it, sure it wouldn’t even be close to the color it was on my monitor.  As you can see, it’s a perfect match.  I was thrilled.


Seller Treehouse28‘s wonderful custom clothing, priced right and so perfect for my life, in comfy knits.

Wide Strap Dress or Top   wide-leg-pants.jpg  organic-hemp-top.jpg

I am crrrrazy for this over-the-top crocheted dress by Pink Willow Designs. It makes me think of all the wonderful times I’ve had in the islands, gets me in the mood for spring and summer like nothing else I’ve seen lately, and ~ to be honest ~ sets the wheels turning for how I can turn out a knockoff for myself (sorry, Pink Willow).


And these fabulous Valentines from the frantic meerkat. I bought the first for my daughter (who just finished studying evolution vs. intelligent design, etc.) and the second for my husband, who is just wonderful and will get it.




I’m off to JoAnn’s to pick up a few items to complete something I’ll share with you next time.

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