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Lady Violette

The Romantic Lifestyle

Posts Tagged ‘Knitting’

A Noro Greens Kureyon Hand Knitted Sweater I Have Just Finished Making!

Friday, March 18th, 2011

Noro Cropped Flowers Inspired Sweater

I have finally finished knitting and finishing this lovely Noro Kureyon Sweater. The color way is appropriately called The Greens. I executed the entire thing in moss stitch, except for the ribbing which is done in a knit 2 x purl 2 rib.

I ended up having to create the pattern myself which has often been the case for me when working with Noro yarns. I wanted a little 1950’s style bolero jacket that would fit snugly under the bust and stay put due to the ribbing. I had to add the wide ribbed button and buttonhole placket down the front and the ribbed collar to make the ribbing under the bust look balanced.

I struggled and ultimately succeeded to make the stripes on both sides of the sweater match up perfectly This took two more balls of yarn, than I would have needed, yardage wise, to complete the sweater. Noro is self striping hand dyed yarn and does not come out in a predictable manner. Every time I have used it I have needed a lot of extra yard in order to match the stripes on both sides.

I love Noro’s yarns and have made a number of garments out of them but without fail I have needed a lot more yarn than sizing recommendations or patterns called for. I highly recommend buying at least two more balls than you estimate you will need to be sure you can complete a garment. It is also made in limited color runs and dye lots so it is often impossible to get more if you find yourself running short.

If you end up with extra you can always use it up in a small project. It felts beautifully creating unusual effects! I do have some left over from this sweater and I plan to make one of the Lady Violette Clutch Purses out of it. It will come out in the same colors as the sweater but felted so the fabric will look totally different! They should be adorable together! In fact, I want to start on that tonight!

One-Row Buttonhole

I recommend using the One-Row Buttonhole method as the buttonholes described in average knitting patterns usually just create a hole which can stretch out easily. Just google Knitting One-Row Buttonholes to find several  instruction methods on how to make them.

If you want to make a similar collar there are patterns in Noro Flowers Book 4  by Jenny Watson with ribbed collars – not exactly like this and shown in different Noro yarns. In fact it would probably be much easier just to follow one of those and use the yarn they recommend.

I really wanted to make my bolero out of Kureyon The Greens yarn and already had the yarn. It is much heavier than any sweaters they show in The Flowers book. I did keep notes but I do not plan on writing out this pattern for others to use at this time. I am on to other knitting projects myself! This one took a very long time to complete and I am eager to plunge into something else now.

Here is the back view of the sweater. I really like the placing of the stripes on this one solid piece of knitting. It is always easier to work on a large pattern piece with self striping yarn than a series of small ones that need to be sewn together. Notice how the stripes are both horizontally longer and narrower in width on the larger back piece than on the two smaller front pieces. I think this shows the yarn off to greatest advantage. To end up with equally narrow stripes on the fronts you would have to break the yarn and attach new pieces constantly which isn’t good to do. I ended up deciding to compensate for the wide stripes in the front by the positioning of the yarn and the stripes in the front ribbing and on the collar. I am satisfied with the way it ultimately turned out but I want to try to work with Noro in larger more continuous pieces of knitting to best utilize the way the stripes naturally form in the yarn if I can.

I plan to wear this bolero with bright kelly green tights, the dress shown in the photo and, for additional warmth, with a dark green hand loomed Irish tweed hooded cape. The green alligator shoes I showed a couple of days ago will complete my look. Yet another good one for Saint Patrick’s day isn’t it?

The necklace in the photographs is vintage Givenchy.

Back View of Noro The Greens Kureyon Yarn Bolero Sweater

Baaharaji, the Knitting Guru, and His Knitting Assistant Friends

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

Baaharaji & Knitting Assistant Friends

Baaharaji is hard and work knitting socks and has two assistants to help him. They are Measuring Sheep who conveniently sports a pull out tape measure in his tail, and Knitting Mama Sheep who knits miniature articles for small dolls on tiny toothpick needles while keeping track of a good sharp pair of embroidery scissors attached to a long black ribbon.

Baaha, as we call him for short, has just completed a sample sock as a test pattern. It turned out really well. Now we are ready to make one human sized!

Baaha is wearing one of his hand knitted Rasta Style hats today. This one is also a sample pattern which is now ready to be made up in a human size as well.

Measuring Sheep is a valuable  member of my knitting team now as he is responsible for taking accurate  measurements of all projects.

Knitting Mama Sheep is always knitting and she makes sure our scissors can be found at all times. She cleverly tied them to a six foot long piece of ribbon and herself so they cannot be carried further away from a knitting project than that! What a good idea!

Baaharaji ~ The Expert Knitter

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Baaharaji the Knitting Guru

Baaharaji is a young sheep from India who is an amazing knitter. He is nicknamed The Knitting Guru!  No project is too difficult for him to master. He is a very clever fellow.

He has a distinct personal fashion style always wearing arm bands made of his current favorite yarns and often sporting a turban created by a ball of yarn. He often wears hand knitted Rasta hats that he makes for himself as well.

Here he is about to knit Sari Ribbon Yarn imported by Louisa Harding from his native India, into a complicated project using many types of novelty yarns knitted together. The Sari Ribbon has a metallic silver streak throughout. Baaharaji is working on my knitted Poncho in this photo. The finished poncho is shown a few postings back.

Baaharaji is one of a group of sheep knitting mascots that I have. He is a patient knitter and is always willing to hold yarn stretched out between his paws so that it won’t tangle while I wind it into balls.

Baaharaji has a personal goal to teach as many children as possible to knit.

The Cost of Knitting is Always a Concern! A Couple of Cute & Affordable Projects…

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Lady Violette's Vintage Violet Knitted and Felted Clutch & Raspberry Lace Up Like a Corset Gauntlets

The cost of yarns to make a knitted project is always a concern so I called The Weaving Works  in Seattle where I often buy my yarns to check on the current cost of the yarns I used in these two little projects.

Brown Sheep’s Lamb’s Pride Bulky costs $8.15 per skien. Manos del Uraguay’s Wool Classica costs $ $15.25 per skein in solid colors as I used here or $17.25 in varigated colors.

My cost to make the gauntlets pictured was $15.25 for the ball of Manos. I used a bit of leftover yarn from my little Lady Violette Vintage Violet Clutch Purse for the lacings.

The cost of yarn for the clutch purse was $8.15.

You can make both the gauntlets and the purse for a total yarn cost of $23.40! Not bad is it?

The vintage buttons I used were in my button box and cannot be bought. You can use any buttons you already have or find some specifically for decorating your project. I often buy some inexpensive item at a thrift store or rummage sale just for the buttons because they are much less expensive that way than buying them new from fabric stores. I recommend having an eye out for buttons at all times. I have found old stock on cards in junk stores for 15 cents a card. I buy them if I like them because I know I will find a great use for them at some point.

These two projects are affordable, cute, usable and easy to make.

You can substitute yarns as well. If you are going to felt one for the clutch be sure to use all wool. Synthetics will not felt properly. For the gauntlets, anything that gives you a comparable gauge will work. My gauge for the gauntlets is 5 sts per inch. I did knit the Manos tighter than the suggested gauge on the yarn tag in order to get the effect I wanted.

These yarns can be purchased at weavingworks.com in Seattle.

Lady Violette’s Design for Knitted Raspberry Colored Gauntlets

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Lady Violette's Lace Up LIke a Corset Raspberry Gauntlets

I have just finished designing and knitting this pair of gauntlets which cover the arm from wrist to elbow and are laced together like a corset which allows a flirtatious bit of skin to show through. These are made to fit with negative ease and it took me a couple of tries to get the sizing down (small enough) as I wanted a good tight fit with stress across the lacings to give me the best looking laced up effect.

This was an experiment. I was not sure if it would turn out! But I love them and will now make them again and carefully document the process so I can share it. The yarn I used is left over Manos del Uraguay Wool Classica and required less that one full skein. I recommend winding one skein into two balls of equal size before starting a pair of these so you are sure to end the first one before you have knit over 1/2 the skein’s worth of yarn. The same way one divides a skein of sock yarn.

I used Brown Sheep’s Lamb’s Pride Bulky for the Lacings. The stitches at the end of the gauntlets are left live on purpose. I laced the Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Bulky yarn through them so I could try on the gloves for fit and it looked so cute that I decided to leave them live and utilize the lace effect of those stitches rolling a bit and creating a tiny ruffle on the end.

These must be made to measure for the person they are for. You need to make them a very tight fit. I made these up as I knit and did not write down the pattern but they turned out really well after some initial struggle with the sizing, so I have bought some more yarn and will make another pair and document the pattern, then post it. I will then be able to give exact directions for making personalized measurements.(I do get mad at myself when I don’t document the pattern the first time through. But I get carried away with the process and don’t take good notes. It is actually easier for me to write a pattern when I make a thing the second time as I am doing it very deliberately so that someone else will be able to understand it. Now that I am posting it on my blog I will take pictures as I go to illustrate the process as well.

I find it hard to know if I am doing something correctly when I don’t have an in process photo to check my progress against. Most knitting patterns only give you a finished photo to look at. I want to provide a few pictures of the step by step process of a garment underway …. so I am going to experiment with that on this little gauntlet.

This is a nice small project as it can be done quickly, doesn’t require a huge investment in yarn and is fairly easy to make. Then there is the added cuteness factor!

I used size 7 and size 6 needles. Manos del Uraguay Wool Classica for the main part of the gauntlet and Brown Sheep’s Lamb’s Pride Bulky for the lacings. Any yarn of the similar weight should work and you could use ribbon for the laces instead of bulky yarn. I had intended to use ribbon, but when I did my try on with the Brown Sheep’s Lamb’s Pride Bulky yarn lacings I liked the way the yarns look together so much that I decided to leave it in.

I will post the pattern and a photo of the gauntlet on a model soon.

The cost to make a project is always a concern so I called The Weaving Works in Seattle where I often buy my yarns to check on the current cost of these yarns. Brown Sheep’s Lamb’s Pride Bulky costs $8.15 per skien. Manos del Uraguay’s Wool Classica costs $ $15.25 per skein in solid colors as I used here or $17.25 in varigated colors. My cost to make the gauntlets pictured was $15,25 for the ball of Manos. I used a bit of leftover yarn from my little Lady Violette Vintage Violet Clutch Purse for the lacings. The cost of yarn for that purse was $8.15. You can make both the gauntlets and the purse for a total yarn cost of $23.40! Not bad is it? I will post this information as “Cost of Knitting” with an additional photo of both projects shown together for those who are interested.

Lady Violette’s Knitted Neckpiece ~ The Unique Tie~on Scarf in Fleurific Colors & How to Make a Version of it for Yourself

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Lady Violette's Fleurific Neckpiece/Tie-on Scarf

My Lady Violette Neckpiece is actually a little scarf made of scrap yarn – albeit, very elegant scrap yarn! And scrap ribbon! I used about 10 different kinds of yarns from mohair through shetland wool to novelty yarns, tweeds, smooth, fluffy, sleek, and some bias tape ribbon sort of stuff which is what you see in the grayish sheer lavender bows. I had lots of little odds and ends left over from larger projects or single balls of yarn I had collected in my personal color way.

I began with all my yarns in a basket and a pair of straight 10 ” long size 10 US wooden knitting needles. That’s it! I have found that the yarn looks and knits differently on wooden versus metal or plastic needles and I far prefer the look of knitting done on wooden ones. I have made swatches, even entire gloves on different types of needles using the same yarn in order to compare the end results. If you have a choice, use wood. In my opinion it makes a more beautiful stitch.

I didn’t knit any swatches. You don’t need to! You can just jump in and make this. It took me less than two hours. I made it while a friend was reading a draft of his novel to me. Which just goes to show that you do not have to concentrate too hard on this knitting project either! No counting of stitches or rows is necessary, nor do you have to follow any patterns or chart! Isn’t this easy? This is a simple little knitting project that you can do quite quickly for pure enjoyment with no frustrating side issues!

Finished scarf should be about 5 – 6 inches wide. The length can be whatever you want. I put it around my neck crossing the ends over each other and stopped knitting when I felt it was long enough. At that point I cast off. Then I inserted the ribbon through a few knit stitches on each edge where I wanted to tie the scarf together to hold it around my neck. I tied the dangling ends into little bows and trimmed them to the lengths I decided looked nice. Et Voila! C’est fini!

To start knitting: cast on enough stitches to make a 5 – 6 inch wide finished piece. I worked at an estimated gauge of about 3.5 stitches per inch. I combined yarns of various thicknesses as I went along, maintaining the feeling of the gauge between my fingers. Thus, I begin with a mohair and a tweed held together, knit a couple of inches, then added  in a different  thin yarn, knit a couple of rows, removed one of the yarns I had been knitting with and started with another thicker, bolder one. When I added a yarn I did not weave in or cut off the yarn tails. I left them for incorporation into the design at the end as little ties or dangling tassels. Some yarn ends I tied into yarn string bows.

I tied the over lapped ends in place permanently so there is no fiddling with the positioning of the neckpiece when you put it on. You just pull it over you head and arrange it into your desired wearing position. It will stay in place, never slip or fall off because it is, essentially a collar or cowl neck ring, not a rectangular scarf. It is like a lovely, cozy, soft, knitted necklace around your neck! It is there to envelope you softly and keep you warm and make you beautiful with it’s flattering flower colors.

Choice of yarns: be sure they are soft, non-scratchy or non-itchy types. I cannot tolerate any irritating yarns around my neck. I know, from experience that children will discard itchy hand knits! And adults will make every excuse not to wear them! Of course yours can be any colors you want to use.

I cannot advise you how much to knit up in any one yarn. You have to be the judge of that as you see your handiwork unfurling before you! That is a nice thing about this little project! It will be very personalized because you will be using your own yarn choices and your own unique judgement as to color and textural combinations. I only used knit and pearl stitches, but you could use pattern stitches or combinations if you want to try it. Anything goes! Because this is Making Art!

My finished Lady Violette Fleurific Neckpiece Tie-on Scarf, can be worn over many things. I wear mine over a long sleeved jewel-necked Michael Stars t-shirt or a very plain thin knit rose-colored sweater. I can wear it atop my hand knitted striped poncho for a really dramatic combination which is also extremely warm. It also works for me over a long deep purple wool coat, or over the top of a turtle neck sweater. It is very lightweight and soft so it s an ideal and extra beautiful top layer. A nice final icing to the cake in winter!

Lady Violette’s Very Personal Color Way ~ Fleurific Shades of Violets, Lilacs, Lavender, Orchids, Cosmos and Roses

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

The Fleurific Poncho & Neckpiece by Lady Violette

As Lady Violette, I have my personal flowers – the violet and the rose, and I also have my own favorite and very personal colors ~ the same range of colors ~ the violets and the roses and every variation of lavender, lilac, pansy, orchid, cosmos, and purple in between! These colors remind me of my personal flowers and, if I wear them, do their job, as they flatter me in every way!  I know they will look good on me so I can grab them and go

I have made up and used the word Fluerific, to describe them for years. After all fleur means flower in French so it figures that it would work, as a word, combined with terrific. La Fleur is also feminine! Of course! As Lady Violette, I have created a new word and It is here to stay. Permanently! I have been using it for years. I am now making it available for everyone to use.

I knit. A lot. Period! And I love beautiful fibers and yarns, and ribbons. These luxury yarns and fibers are expensive and hard to come by, and it takes a lot of time and a lot of money to knit a full garment out of one. Not to mention discipline, stick-to-it-iv-ness and determination to  make a garment from start to finish. One can easily spend over $100 on supplies and 100 hours or more on execution of a hand knitted article of clothing. If I am going to do that I am going to end up with a garment that is a work of art.

I cannot possibly knit and crochet everything I dream of making! There is not enough yarn or time available in a lifetime! Thus, I discovered that I could somewhat satisfy my yarn lust by buying  just one ball of yarn that fell into my fleurific color way and adding it into my yarn basket and using it in combination with others to make totally unique items of my own design. Thus I have developed my style of knitting. I draw yarns from the basket and work with them just as I would if I were painting.

I have experimented with knitting like this a lot and have gotten to the point that I can feel the yarns coming together through my fingers in the correct gauges as I work. I develop the shape of the garment I am making as I go. I have made sweaters, scarves, shawls, ponchos. hats, gloves, socks, etc, in this way. No two ever come out alike! and I think making two alike would be incredibly difficult! I also have no idea how it will come out until I am well into knitting it. This is because this kind of knitted work cannot be designed ahead of time ~ it is a flowing design process that just comes out of me while I am doing it rather, I assume, like a silkworm produces as he is spinning his silk!

Pictured is my Fleurific Poncho and separate Lady Violette Neckpiece shown in one way it can be worn ~ over the poncho for extra warmth and dramatic flair at the neck…Both are my own Lady Violette Original Designs. The neckpiece is actually a kind of scarf, tied together with ribbons.

I am working on writing instructions to give other people so they can make their own versions using the techniques I am using. I cannot write exact patterns as all yarns and knitters will differ, but I can explain how it is done so that another knitter can embark on a similar project. You can begin by collecting a big basket of yarns in the color way you desire to work with. I recommend a personal color way of course!

A big beautiful basket of colorful hand made yarns is a nice interior design element in your house as well! People seem to enjoy looking at the balls of yarn, picking them up, feeling them, commenting on the textures, softness and colors. One more example of the enjoyable  “The Feminine Arts!”

“To Be or Not To Be Gorgeous? That is the question!”

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

Charming Dorothy Lamour with Her Beautiful Long Brown Hair!

Please Note: This is a true story, but I have changed the names to protect the privacy of the people involved.

My friend Sara, who was almost 7 years old, was visiting and we were decorating our own fancy paper to write letters on…She loved to come over to my house to make holiday cards and write letters, bake cookies for people, and wrap presents…and do all manner of  girly things like try on hats from my collection, sample perfumes, make her own jewelry, learn to sew, and one of her favorites, of course, dress up and experiment with clothes and hairstyles.

She has very long brown wavy hair. She lives with her dad and he is not the best hairstylist! In fact, he was going to cut her pretty hair off just so he wouldn’t have to detangle it. My father did that to me when I was about her age and it nearly caused my mother to leave him. They had a terrible long fight. I was certainly traumatized by the experience, but that is another story. I have always identified the experience with being scalped!

To avoid such a mishap in this little girl’s life I offered to teach Sara to take care of her own hair. She should learn to do this and she should understand that it is beautiful and her own unique asset. I showed her pictures of Dorothy Lamour too, so that she could see how one lady had kept her long brown hair as her trademark over her entire life. Their hair is very similar.

Sara thought Dorothy Lamour was very glamorous! I think it is good to introduce little girls to appropriate role models. Dororthy Lamour is one of my personal favorites! Keep in mind, this is Lady Violette speaking, and I like classic vintage style, so I identify feminine beauty with the actresses in old black and white movies. Do you not agree with me that they are quintessentially more glamorous than Mily Cyrus and Lindsay Lohan?

Sometimes Sara spends a weekend at my house. If so, in the evening, we wash her hair, comb it out, part it down the middle and let it air dry in it’s natural wavy patterns. It is thick and about three feet long. Isn’t she lucky? While her hair is drying we do crafts or watch a movie. She generally picks out the movies. Her favorites are The Adams Family movies, especially The Adams Family Values, which I also think is hilarious. My favorite scene is the one in Morticia and Gomez’s Favorite Bistro when Angelica Houston burns up the floor dancing the tango. Morticia also has long beautiful dark hair!

Sara likes to go into my closet and pick out something to wear. I like to just stand back and watch to see what what happens. One of her typical selections was a long white cotton and lace Victorian Style nightgown, a set of two very long flapper necklaces hanging down the front, and a pair of vintage purple satin high heels that were treacherously high and too long. All in all, the effect was mesmerizing! Especially because she later fell asleep in this delightful ensemble while reading a book in a big armchair with her feet, in the violet ballroom dancing shoes, propped up on a giant overstuffed footstool! A version of Sleeping Beauty!

Sara’s father doesn’t like me. He is not really a friend of mine, she is my friend. I met her through an adult girlfriend whose husband knows her father. When I heard about the situation my girlfriend and I decided to help this little girl out. Her father is an investment specialist of some kind. Young and apparently successful financially. He seems very rushed and very wound up all the time.

Apparently he was married to her mother, but that didn’t work out and he ended up taking the daughter when she was a baby! He has raised her, but he lacks skills in The Feminine Arts! He doesn’t see this as a problem. When women are around his daughter, they do! She is not learning the basic skills women learn from other women which they need in order to survive and succeed in this world. Her dad pooh poohs these skills saying they are valueless and she doesn’t need them. He says, “I’m teaching her other things, she won’t need those!” He implies that he means that he will eventually be teaching her to play the stock market and manage real estate, and plan corporate take overs and other things like that.

When I met Sara, at age seven, she had not learned any of that yet! Nor could she have cared less. I asked her where her dad worked and what he did and she didn’t know! She had never gone to work with him or anything. My girlfriend and I asked him if she might spend a weekend with us sometime, hanging out, baking cookies and the like. He emphasized that she didn’t need to learn that kind of thing, but he thought that would be okay. The fact is, and we know it, he sees us as willing to “babysit” his daughter for free so he agreed to let her come. The first time I picked her up on a Friday afternoon for an overnight, I had to search him down to return her on Sunday night at 10PM! I had offered to have her over for one night, but he left her and disappeared for the entire weekend. He didn’t call to check in and he didn’t return my calls – until he was ready! This was okay because she was safe, and she was not any trouble, but it was not the arrangement. I was having her over for her sake, not to help him out with childcare. However, his behavior made the fact that she needed it all the more apparent. He had such a sense of entitlement! He just expected I would entertain his little girl and take good care of her until he decided to show up to reclaim her. He didn’t call to check on her and see if she was happy or wanted to come home! Shockingly, he expected me to pay for everything too. She came with no spending money and no overnight supplies, or clothes, no hairbrush, not even a toothbrush. She just arrived. Remember, she was just a seven year old.

She was in desperate need of attention. She had not had a bath or shower for at least 3 or 4 days. Her long hair was dirty and tangled, her dress was wrinkled and limp and she had been wearing the same shoes, socks and underwear all week. Her fingernails needed trimming and filing. She looked bedraggled. Like a little waif! But she was really excited! This was like going to heaven for her.

I got her to my house, suggested she take a shower and we wash her hair and made that a part of getting ready to bake for the evening. I said we needed to be really clean for the baking process. That worked. I could tell she felt much better afterward. She was shy and self-conscious earlier. I could see that she felt insecure about looking so bedraggled.

My grown up girl friend who had introduced us came over after work and we did end up baking cookies that night. That good wholesome old fashioned activity that totally grounds you! We had a blast! And there was nothing cuter that seeing seven year old Sara standing on a wooden kitchen step stool, with an apron on, mixing cookie dough and happy as can be. She was laughing and cracking jokes and turned out to be hilarious. This was the first time in her life that she had ever baked! No one had ever done it with her before. Now, in my book, that is child deprivation! She loved doing dishes too! She hadn’t ever done that either! Somebody she has never seen comes into their apartment and cleans when she is at school and her father is at work. Wow!

That weekend in addition to hair washing and styling, and baking, we also watched movies, including The Adams Family, Adams Family Values, and Les Miserables, which she loved. We did our nails, and tried on vintage  hats, and made homemade cards and stationary with rubber stamps. She had never done any of these things! She also accidentally spilled almost an entire bottle of Violetta de Parma eau de toilette all over herself not realizing you only need a tiny dab to smell good!

By Sunday afternoon,  Sara  had been with me almost 48 hours. We still had not heard from her father. He was a full day late in arranging to get her back and he hadn’t even called. She was not a bit worried. In fact, honestly,  she probably was happy about it! I, luckily, was able to hang out with her and had nothing else scheduled. We were crafting with rubber stamps and I suggested we make some of our home made greeting cards for some people we mutually knew – a couple of grownup women friends of mine who were aware of this little girl’s situation and would be appropriately delighted to receive a card she made. She was all for this idea and we mutually decided to put some of the cookies we had made in little bags for them as well! Everybody likes to receive a gift of homemade cookies, right? This project took us the rest of the afternoon…

We were drawing and writing on cards when, suddenly, Sara looked up at me and asked me, “How do you spell Gorgeous?”

And I spelled it out ” G_O_R_G_E_O_U_S” slowly and clearly.

Then as she finished writing it, she said, innocently, “I don’t know how to spell it, I just am it!”

And she was right! Next card please!

She diligently thought of people who might want them and made cards and packages of cookies for another four hours! I taught her how to tie several kinds of bows.

Then we tackled her long hair again. We brushed it a hundred strokes and I braided it for her and I explained that it would not get tangled if you slept with it in braids and that doing so had the additional benefit of making it really wavy and pretty when you took them out in the morning! She decided she would try sleeping with her hair in braids that night.

She had been with me since 4PM Friday afternoon and her father finally called back at 10PM on Sunday evening! He wanted to know if he should come and get her? (Or what?) I said, “Yes!” really fast , not giving him a chance to suggest an alternative. He arrived about an hour later. By now she had been with me for 55 hours! It had been supposed to be a Friday night overnight with a Saturday afternoon end! He had not even checked in! I had left several messages on his service.

Of course she was very excited to show him what we had done when he arrived. She  dragged him into the kitchen showing him two plates of home made from scratch cookies sitting on the counter. She made him try them. She took him into the dining room and showed him the rubber stamping projects. She showed him the notecards and the cookie packages, now tied up with pretty little ribbon bows that I had helped her to make. She showed him the movies we had rented and watched. And she showed him my box of nail polish colors and her brightly painted toes and fingernails. She told him, but she really didn’t need to, that she was wearing violet perfume. She fluttered about giving him the full report of our girls retreat weekend and a full tour of my home. I might note she gave the tour as if it were now her home as well!

She made her dad wait in the living room while she went into the bedroom to put something on to surprise him. I wondered what that was going to be! When she came out she was wearing a vintage hat from I.Magnin! She had decided to model my 1950’s Italian Straw and Velvet Turned -Upside Down-Flower-Pot-Hat with furry pipe cleaner vines and velvet leaves, trimmed in a large pink silk rose! She came running out saying  “This is my favorite one! This is my favorite one!”  and laughing at how cute and funny she thought it was! And she added, “It is from Paris! And Ladies used to wear hats like this! ” She was bubbling over…

She was delighted and she was delightful! I was delighted too. We girls had had a great time!

Perry is his name, and he was not. He said, “That’s very funny, but it’s getting late and you should get your things together and we should go. Im sure Violette has other things to do.” (It’s getting late? What things? Where was he yesterday? He hadn’t sent her with anything! And I suddenly might have other things I needed or wanted to do with my time? Wow! Again!)

We had put her clothes through the laundry so she was wearing them clean when she left. And we had packed up her cookie and card gifts for people in a shopping bag with handles. And I had given her a few goodies to take home. She went off to get them.

Perry turned around to me and said, “Well, I see you have her wearing nail polish and perfume! Don’t you think it is a little early for that? As if I won’t have enough trouble with her doing that at the normal time they do those things when she is about 12 or  13! ”

I said, “That’s too late, It is normal to do it at this age for fun and to learn how. It’s just for fun, anyway.”

He replied, “Well, She’s my daughter and that is not how I am going to raise her. She won’t be needing any of that stuff with what I am going to teach her……..

I said,  “She will be best off if she gets exposed to both…”

He, “Her mother was like that and it was not a good thing!”

I wondered, “Was her mother a female female, who enjoyed being a girl? And then, perhaps, got married to Perry here, and got exposed to all his wonderful ideas and had a lot of conflicts and it didn’t work out? And he was very resentful, so he was taking it all out on Sara in this restrictive way? ” I could only surmise this, but it is, to be honest, what it looked like …

Anyway, he clearly hated people (especially women) like me!

They said goodbye, she gave me an enormous hug, I said I hoped we could do this again as I had had a great time, and they went home.

Perry never thanked me.

But he did allow Sara to come back as often as I was able to have her visit. And he always left her way over the agreed 24 hour time. I knew that would happen, as did my friends, so we tried to schedule her visits when having her for a whole weekend would not conflict with anything else. He never sent her with any supplies or provisions, spending money or gifts. He did send her to an expensive private school. He would drop her off there, in his black Mercedes, and leave her there all day, first for the school day, then with the after school daycare service, until they closed. He would pick her up, right at closing every day – about 6PM. She told me they would often eat dinner at Wendy’s or Jack in the Box. Then they would go home, to their apartment, he would sit right down to work on his computer. She told me that, the minute after they entered the apartment door,  he took off his coat, threw it over a chair, walked to the dining room table, pulled his computer out of it’s case, sat down, turned it on, plugged himself in, and checked out. She would do her homework, and get herself ready for bed. She said they didn’t talk much because he was always on his computer. She said he was very involved in it and she found it really hard to get his attention to ask a question or have a discussion. So, she left him alone and tool care of herself. Eventually, she would go off to bed and he would still be up, working (or whatever he did)  on his computer. She told me nobody ever came over.

This was one very lonely little girl and I vowed to have her over as regularly as I could to try to break her monotony and offer her some other other influences. I just wanted her to see there is other stuff out there!

About a year later, when she was eight, Sara gave me a beautiful snapshot of herself, at the beach, sitting on the sand in her little black tank bathing suit with her long wavy brown hair falling around her shoulders all the way to the sand itself! She looked like a little Ondine. in the picture! And her hair looked just as clean and long and beautiful as Dorothy Lamour’s. It is a really beautiful picture and I love it. Of course I have kept it.

Sara would be able to visit, and stay for entire weekends, because her father would dump her off to get rid of her. Sadly, he only saw us as a convenient and free childcare service. I say “we” because my sons were often involved. I was not going to say no if I could fit it into the rest of my life and make such a huge positive difference in someone else’s. I did this because I enjoyed doing it and I liked her. Of course she did not have a pet, so our dog Meko became the animal friend in her life. She loved him.

I eventually taught Sara to knit which she really enjoyed. Once she took it up there was no stopping her and she became quite proficient at figuring out more and more challenging knitting techniques on her own. She was a smart little girl. When I sent her home with knitting Perry was not enthused about it. He told me, “Knitting is a totally nerdy thing to do and a complete waste of time.” He would never finance knitting projects for her though he could well afford to. I provided her supplies and in spite of his attitude she became a dedicated knitter and worked at it almost every day. She was eventually making herself cute tams and scarves and leg warmers. And she loved to crochet lace edgings. This was just the creative outlet she needed and I’m sure it helped her deal with the stress of her home life. She had a lot of time to practice her knitting. And she was very focused. I have no doubt she will be a lifetime knitter.

I  hung out with Sara quite regularly about once a month over the next five years.  She was interested in the things any normal 11 to 12 year old girl is interested in. The last time I saw her we ran into each other at a Starbuck’s. She was with a girl friend from her school. She still had her lovely long brown hair. We talked quite a while. I did not get any indication that she was playing the stock market yet or interested in studying to do so. She did say she would like to take dance lessons. The friend she was with was doing that and she wanted to go too. Perry has not let her do that. He has reasons he thinks it is not a good idea. She also said she wished she had a bike. He had reasons not to get her one as well. I asked if she would like to get together and walk around Green Lake. She said yes, she would, and I said I would call soon to set up a time.

So a couple of weeks later I called her father’s office to arrange it. The weather was getting nice and I thought she might like to go to the lake with me and take a good long walk, have lunch, talk and catch up. I got one of Perry’s employees. I explained who I was and why I was calling. We had talked before, making arrangements for Sara’s pick up and delivery. She told me, “Perry sold the business. They’re gone.” I asked if there was a way I could get ahold of them. She said, “I talk to him now and then, I’ll tell him you called.” I said,”Okay.”

I asked who bought the business. She told me. It was one of the employees who has been there many years. A couple of weeks passed and I didn’t get a call back so I called the new owner and I asked her if she knew where they had gone.

She told me, “He moved, to the Cayman Islands and he took his daughter with him.” That was all she knew.

I haven’t received any return calls and I would be very surprised if I ever did.

I could only assume Sara was now living in the Grand Caymans with her father and, at age 12, (that preteen age he was so worried about! ), among other reasons, he has shunted her off there to get her as far away from all those things she won’t need to know anything about (like those damned Feminine Arts!) given all the practical life skills he is going to be teaching her….

I’d bet she didn’t know she would be moving there when we ran into each other that last time at Starbuck’s! Had she known she would have told me! I bet he surprised her with that news very close to departure time! Knowing him she wouldn’t even have had time to pack any belongings! I hope she’s okay…

But I am confident from what I saw at our last meeting, that, Dorothy Lamour and Lady Violette have had enough of a chance to have made a permanent impact! Sara is growing up to be a lovely young lady who, in spite of, Perry, has chosen to be gorgeous because she likes to be and she can tell that it is to her own best interest.

Perry emphasizes that he is an Investment Specialist and he values his financial prowess. I was investing in something else, her as a friend and as a person. I feel that the time I spent with her and the things we did together were worthwhile. I was making my kind of investment in her future.

I know my investment will pay off and Sara, in the long term, is going to be gorgeous!

Vintage Violet Clutch Purse – a Good First Knitting & Felting Project!

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Lady Violette's Vintage Violet Clutch Purse - Knitted,Felted, and Decorated with Vintage Buttons

This is a pretty little clutch purse, I hand knitted, felted and decorated with a few unique vintage buttons! It is very easy to make! I recommend it as a first knitting & felting project. I’ll be leading a group of knitting friends through make this purse in March. It requires only one ball Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Bulky yarn. It’s a good way to use and enjoy vintage buttons you’ve collected.

The original pattern is by Leigh Radford,  It is called “The  Clutch You’ll Never Give Up” and is from the book “One Skein” available from Amazon.

The finished size is 10″ W x 6″ H. I’m making another in un-dyed natural yarn with mother-of-pearl buttons and documenting the process in photos as I go. I hope to post these for people to follow as they make the purse as it will help to understand the directions. The background is a poncho I knit and the bead necklace is also my design.

Of course I love all these shades of violet, lilac, lavender and rose! They are so feminine and uplifting! Lady Violette’s signiture colors! There are many shades of violet flowers in nature. I often see African Violets in this shade of violet. Did you know that bees love pinks and purples and are most attracted to flowers in these colors? I plant a lot of flowers in these shades in my garden to attract them. Butterflies love them too!

There is a knitting website called Ravelry, where you can see more renditions of this pattern as interpreted by other knitters. Just go there, type in the pattern name, search, and take a look. It is amazing to see the variety of looks people have made with this same pattern! You will get many ideas for colors and yarns you can use. The yarn I used is the same color and type used originally by the author. It comes in many colors. I suggest a visit to Leigh Radford’s site to check out her beautiful work and read her inspiring advice on artistic thinking and creative recycling! In the days of yore women worked on needlework together exchanging ideas and passing along skills. This is one of the best ways to learn knitting and sewing techniques. I learned this way from childhood – from my grand mother, mother, aunts, and grown-up friends. One more example of The Feminine Arts! The needlework skills are patiently and lovingly passed down from generation to generation. Leigh Radford calls her pattern “The Clutch You’ll never Give Up” and I recommend making it for several reasons: First, you can easily personalize it as I did using my signature color and vintage buttons and it is quick and easy to make. Second, if you learn to knit and sew through making projects that can be completed successfully without frustration, so that you learn to enjoy the process of making something, you will build technical needlework skills that you will never give up, too! Thus this is a great project for beginning level knitters. Thirdly, there are many uses for this little purse – it can be a clutch, or a makeup bag, or a needlework tool bag, or an art supply bag! I am so thrilled by it that I am making a second one that will look entirely different. I have also decided to line this bag because I want a very finished look. The pattern does not call for that but it can be done easily….A great little pattern and clutch purse which is an inspiration to set you off experimenting and creating your own unique accessories.

Lauren Bearcall in a Sock Knitting Consultation with Baaharaji

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

Lauren Bearcall Consulting with Baaharaji

Elegant Lauren Bearcall who is a movie star in real life, has recently started knitting, something she has wanted to do all her life but is finally taking up. (Doesn’t that sound familiar!) Her frantic filming schedule didn’t allow for this in the past. Fortunately knitting is something you can take up at any point in life! Note how she is dressed! Just like the glamorous film star she is! A beautiful vintage faux fur coat, a charming one-of-a-kind hat trimmed in French wired ribbons and berries, a necklace, and last but not least a very original wooden designer handbag. She has just purchased a set of the new short wooden double pointed sock needles – you can see them in her purse, by Clover! from Joanne’s Fabrics

And she has brought in the very first sock she has ever knitted to show to Baaharaji who is a sheep and is also an accomplished knitter and teacher. Being a sheep he naturally knows a lot about wool. He is from India and is a guru of knitting! When he teaches sock knitting to a student he has them make a small sample sized mini sock for their first one in order to learn the techniques before they spend a lot of time and effort making a normal sized one. Ms. Bearcall is finished with hers and is stopping by to show it to him and make a plan for starting her wearable sized real pair. He is showing her a ball of Noro yarn to give suggestions on a type of yarn and color scheme she might use. The proper set up – choosing the right yarn and getting the right needles, and a good pattern are the keys to success. And, of course, having a good knitting instructor or friend to consult with – checking the process and advising as needed along the way – giving experienced advice and instructions. A good needlework book covering knitting and crocheting in a basic way with easy to see instructions is a good thing to have on hand! Baaharaji will recommend one coming up…

My Little Knitting Helper Working Away – on the Noro Sweater Project

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

My Dapper Tailoring & Knitting Assistant Tangeurro Bearo

Meet one of my assistants. Tanguerro Bearo. He is a tailor by day and an Argentine  tango dancer by night. They are called Tanguerros – thus his name. This explains his style in dressing too, Dapper vests and trousers and Natty suits to impress the ladies. A dedicated dancer, he attends milongas every night of the week. By day he works for me and we have the added benefit of listening to tango music all day long. He also DJs!

Here he is working on knitting one of the sleeves for the Noro sweater pictured earlier. Behind him is displayed the enormous crocheted  vintage rainbow granny square afghan, And it was quite chilly in the kitchen studio today so he has covered up with another of my hand made vintage crocheted afghans – this one is child size, also done of granny squares and is made in a green and red color way with orange, wine, brown and beige accents.

Tanguerro Bearo is an interesting gentleman and great fun to work with. It is always good having him around telling stories about his dances and his homeland of Argentina and sharing his culture with us while we create. He’s good company!

Note:  I will be adding a children’s blog soon featuring these characters but I wanted to begin to introduce them to you here on my blog.

I’m Knitting with Hand Dyed Noro Yarns My Latest Work in Progress

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

Cardigan Under Construction Using Noro Hand Dyed Yarns

I’ve undertaken working with Noro’s beautiful hand colored yarns lately. It is challenging as no ball is alike, you must carefully match and juxtapose the sections of colored yarn if you choose to achieve balance and symmetry on both sides of a garment. In knitted garments I do.

I am all for asymmetry in many types of garments but I like symmetry in my hand knitting. This requires watching every line and row as you go and making judgement calls as to where to break or yarns and add new ones to continue in the same colors. My goal is a beautiful garment when finished.

I have sped through this one. It still has the following to be completed:  long sleeves and a button band and 12 tiny buttons and corresponding buttonholes coming down the front. And seams to be hand sewn with all the stripes matching. And, finally, blocking.

Knitting with Noro requires nerves of steel, patience and concentration, I am blogging about it in the hopes that that will instigate me to finish it sooner over later. Giving myself an audience should help me to see it through because I have an obligation to post the finished project for the readers to see. I guess we will find out soon enough if this theory works!

I’ve been working on this sweater for 2 weeks, off and on and hope to be able to finish it before the end of the month of February – that being the very longest I will allow myself. I set dates for myself to finish projects. I don’t like to put them away and drag them out months later. I love getting to the finishing line.

I will post some I have just finished tomorrow! For inspirational purposes – for myself as well as readers. I’ve meant to do it for a long time. It is good for me to photograph my finished projects. Then start wearing them. I love that part! And getting asked about them when I’m wearing them. It is so rewarding! This one is done from inspiration from a Noro Pattern in the hardcover book Knitting Noro.

I always seem to make so many changes that I am quite far away from the pattern I started to work on by the time I am finished. I just use it as a guideline essentially. Come back to see the finished garment in a couple of weeks!

I love the style of hand knits in the winter – both to make and to wear! And the warmth and the softness and the colors. The yarns are so beautiful and enjoyable. Knitting is yet another of the feminine arts that benefits one so much. It is very relaxing to do, very Zen in my opinion. I love it!

Add Color to Your Life in the Winter – My Knitting Nook as an Example

Friday, February 11th, 2011

All the Colors in the Rainbow - The Kitchen Knitting Nook

It has been so drab and dark out lately that I’ve been redecorating daily to add color to my home environment. My local knitting shop closed suddenly and I decided to create my own perfect knitting environment at home. Hoping some of my knitting friends would like to come over to knit together as we did in the shop! This is an invitation to you guys!

It’s in the corner of my kitchen where I do all my creative projects, under the kitchen window, I have a black couch there and a glass coffee table, plain but allowing me to bring in elements of color for continual change. I thought it would be fun to show some of the various design looks I achieve! And where I make many of my things!

I knit and sew there. I take all my photographs there. It is the only place with enough light in the house for these activities. As kitchens are a social place for families I can be in the middle of all the activity while working on my stuff. I like the chaos, actually. It inspires me. Tea can be made easily as it is in the kitchen!

Here I have spread a crocheted afghan made of  yarns of all the colors in the rainbow against black – an instant brightener! And the wool texture as well as the colors creates inviting comforting warmth. I Knit a lot and love exotic yarns and fibers. This is a good way to show of one of my afghans and enjoy the visuals of projects in progress. I set up vignettes of “little helpers” to entertain children and inspire them to start leaning to sew, knit and crochet. I learned from my grandmother and mother when I was about 5 yrs old. Another one of those good old fashioned feminine arts that are so pleasurable and life enriching to know how to do. I will soon be blogging about teaching children to knit and sew and putting out my grandmother’s diary of hand sewing lessons for children. She actually wrote them down in a book as weekly lessons. Fascinating and still completely applicable today. I have taught several children to sew with them and it is time to get this information out to more people. This is an activity you can do with your child. You can learn to sew as an adult if you don’t know how through these lessons as well, as they will work for everyone. They are brilliant. Quite easy and no sewing machine is required. Watch for these. I am adding a tag for children as I will be writing things you can share with your child of all ages (that includes grown ups.) I was asked if I could teach a 24 yr old woman to sew yesterday and an 11 yr old girl today. Yes, I can! and I believe I can do it  this way. I have ideas for continuing into basic machine sewing as well. Watch for posts about sewing lessons coming soon.