Sunday, August 7, 2011


I'm so excited to share these photos. My husband fell in love with these flowers on our European tour in 2002. That may sound a little ostentatious; we were really just kids bumming around with backpacks. We made no plans and drifted through France, Italy, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Our last stop was in Amsterdam, we had just gotten engaged in Interlaken, Switzerland (a story for another day), and we were giddy with love. We wandered around the city reveling in the canals and the liberal mindset of the city. One morning we got up looking for something to get us out of town and the front desk recommended Floriade. Floriade is an international flower festival. Its held every 10 years and just takes up acres and acres of land with beautiful gardens, there were interactive gardens, cultural gardens, statue gardens and many others. But there were also two or three acres of dahlias. They were amazing. They come in a huge range of colors and shapes.

Friday afternoon, on the advice of Heidi at 101 Cookbooks, we went to Golden Gate Park to see their dahlia display. Its just off to the right of the Conservatory of Flowers.

Our favorite was this crazy flower. H thinks it looks like a Dr. Seuss tree:

S had a great time too, though he seemed a little disappointed that we couldn't go inside the fence.

Monday, August 1, 2011

My First Sweater

I've been working on my little white sweater for a week now and I'm really enjoying this pattern. The base stitch is very similar to the one I was using previously and had to undo but between each row of V-stitches is a row of single crochet and single chains that works as a foundation for the garment. I imagine these rows will give the sweater a more structured shape.

Here is the finished back, and I am almost done with the right front piece as well. The pieces are a little skewed in one direction but blocking should take care of this. I'll post more as it comes together.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sanborn County Park

I love hiking in Northern California. Almost every weekend we go out and explore a new trail. This weekend we rambled up the John Nicholas Trail in Sanborn County Park. Actually, if you're looking at the map we were a little south of the park. We walked a  mile and half from the parking area on Black Road to the Lake Ranch Reservoir. It was hot today, close to 80 degrees. We were so glad not to be on the east coast today which has been boiling away for almost a week now, but I did appreciate my new shorts and enjoy a cold glass of iced tea when we were done.

There were several gorgeous views under the tree canopy today, but my favorite was one I couldn't get a picture of and probably would not read as well without the motion. Its been dry here and we watched a shower of golden leaves catching the sunlight as they fell a hundred feet or so into the ravine below. It was just magical, like something you would see in a movie. I frequently get that feeling when we are walking in the woods here, as though I am walking through a scene from a fantasy movie or book; just breathtaking.

The little streams passing under the path were fun too. My husband had a great time teaching our son how to throw rocks into them. I just wish he was going to be the one on the playground when S starts throwing rocks at other kids.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Frogged Again

And here we go again...frogging this yarn for the 5th time. For the uninitiated, that means pulling out all the pretty little loops that you have spent hours painstakingly repeating so that you are left with a ball of yarn and nothing to show for your efforts. 

I picked up this pretty white yarn at a Micheal's sale. It has this shiny accent thread that seemed perfect for a bridal piece. Wouldn't it be fun to make things for brides? I got three balls for a great price so I wanted to do something complex. So far I've only done scarves and baby blankets (and one pair of fingerless mittens, but they turned out to be super easy); I was looking for a challenge! I decided to make a shrug or a sweater, and boy has it been a challenge. After five attempts I just hope I can make something work before the yarn falls apart. The most recent iteration, shown above, had a beautiful base stitch and was coming along nicely except that I got confused by the pattern and ended up with a lopsided back and arm holes. Maybe it could work for someone with one particularly bulky arm and one thin stringy arm but I don't know anyone like that so back to the drawing board.

The problem seems to be that I am not an especially good hooker. The patterns I've been following use "standard" abbreviations and don't have any images to compare your work to so you have no way to see if you are headed in the right direction or headed toward a train wreck (and frogging, lots of frogging). So after deciding to pull out all those pretty stitches I went back to the crochet mags I've been collecting for the last few months to find a pattern there. Fortunately these seem to be aimed right at my skill level. The instructions are clear and include stitch diagrams and diagrams that show the shapes and dimensions of each piece and how they are put together. I like pictures. I decided on the Arboretum Cardigan from this summer's Interweave Crochet (not planning to do the flowers but we'll see). It even seems to have a similar base stitch to the one in the picture above. 

Wish me luck. I'll post some pictures when I make a little headway.