Dawn and Faina's blog tour, for their new book, Casual Elegant Knits.

I directed my questions to both Dawn and Faina, who graciously answered all my questions. I think you'll find them as interesting as I did.

Asse(t)s of Evo* -- Take 1


I think I'm going to massage the design a bit by adding in a slightly different shaping at the crotch area and tweaking the tree so it's not so stretched, width-wise, but the first go is looking pretty cute, I think. The second pair will be in a wine color with either white or black trim. I'm still deciding.

The side:


Darwin's tree spans the side of the shorts, taking advantage of the additional length in back for the very top of the tree.

The back:


The back is nearly 2 inches longer than the front, thanks to short rows at the top and bottom. The instructions will give info for customizing this shaping.

The front:


You can really see how different the length is in front, from this view. Let me tell you, the 2" isn't nearly enough to account for my, ahem, assets.

And to Cher's point about Cascade Fixation not being exactly the same as Elann's Esprit, she's right! I have some of both here and Fixation is a bit springier. However, it shouldn't be a problem, for subbing in this pattern, so when it's out, if you have fixation around, it'll be a suitable replacement.

* Thanks to MJ and Cher for coming up with a PG rated version of the name I wanted. My mom also suggested "Intelligent Behind" which is pretty darn funny too. I come by my punniness, honestly.

Making a statement with your tush


When I first found Schmeebot's blog, I came for the Waffles, but even now that the photogenic golden has moved away, I enjoy my regular fix of delightful images. Recently, though, she gave me even more reason to love her blog, she's a member of the Axis of Evo. Woohoo!

Once I mentioned my interest in joining the brigade, she challenged me to a hot-pants-design-off. Well, that makes it sound a little more competitive than it is. Really we're just both designing some boy shorts and I'll be offering the pattern for free. Yipee!

Here's my initial sketch.


And Schmee's great sketch is here.

I've code named this pattern, "Asses of Evo" but I'll need a more family friendly name for the final pattern.

The pattern will be worked in Elann Esprit in "Coffee Bean" and "Pecan" to be a sort of inverse of Charles Darwin's original drawing. I also picked up some "Wine" and "Natural" that I might use to knit a second pair, if the first come out well enough. For those who don't want to order from Elann, Esprit is the same as Cascade Fixation.

Surely, you are all awaiting, with bated breath, a chance to knit up some evolution themed hot pants, right? RIGHT? Sure you are.

Also, on a somewhat related note, I plan to do a new tutorial, sometime soon, on colorizing your sketches in Photoshop and using the program to play around with color combination.

Beaches and Bikes


Who doesn't love a long weekend?

Saturday was all about relaxing and spending a bit of time with friends.

Sunday, we hit the beach.

IMG_0079 IMG_0067


IMG_0182 IMG_0180

And Monday we rode our bikes around our neighborhood. I have a Springer on my bike, but we've never tried it with Thea. Isn't that absurd? Leo wanted to make sure that she wouldn't pull too hard, so he rode my bike a bit and I rode his.

leo and thea on bike

Frankly, I think it takes a very manly man to ride a Hello Kitty bike.

Though, admittedly, he feels more at home on his own bike.

leo with finger

He's clearly very mature.

Still, who can hold a grudge with such views.

birds2 parkview2
blackberries parkview1

Just a lovely way to end a great weekend.

Reading and Spinning


I just finished reading The Alden Amos Big Book of Handspinning and by "reading" I mean "felt my brain ooze slowly out my ears." Don't get me wrong, there is much that is useful and splendid about this book, but I wasn't expecting to need a slide rule and protractor to learn how to spin yarn well. I wouldn't recommend this as a learn-to-spin book, and I feel, perhaps, his opinions lacked nuance, but I did learn a lot and have found myself joined at the treadle to El Matchador.

Along with the One Wild Night fiber I spun up recently, I have two new skeins of yarn to share with you.

cotton and pygora2.jpg

The blue and white is 100% cotton from A Verb For Keeping Warm

cotton closeup.jpg

The colorway is called Kyoto, and it was far less scary to spin than I thought it would be. I used a long draw method and plied it from both ends of a center-pull ball. I just made sure to add in loads of twist to the singles and the finished yarn.

Weight: 1 ounce. I have another ounce to spin.
Yards: 154
WPI: Approx 24
Plies: 2

The other yarn is a Pygora/Silk blend from Rainbow Yarns NW

pygora closeup.jpg

This colorway is called, First Love, and it's a luscious, deep, rich red. I made this a two ply from two bobbins, since this fiber is sold as two floofy little batts. Of course, I didn't spin both bobbins perfectly evenly so I andean plied the last little bit from the bobbin with more singles.

Weight: 2 ounces
Yards: 224
WPI: Approx 22
Plies: 2

I bought both fibers at the Black Sheep festival this year and am very pleased with both purchases. Kristine Vejar of A Verb For Keeping Warm was so gracious when I wrote to ask her if I had to boil the cotton after spinning it. In case you are wondering, no. Before dying the fiber she had to remove the wax that boiling is needed to remove. If you are not a spinner, her yarns look lovely too.

puppy watchers.jpg

And if you have been waiting for an excuse to try Pygora you won't find a nicer example of it than the stuff from Terry and Susan, over at Rainbow Yarns NW. When Leo first touched these batts, I thought he was going to dive into the bag and make a nest. This stuff is luscious and these women really stand by their product. I've loved pygora since I first spun it but I've never spun any quite as nice as this.

theainpygora2.jpg pygoraonpanda2.jpg

I'm hoping to spin up the Blue Moon roving next.


I'm sure it'll look great on the girls' heads knit up.

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