Saturday, August 23, 2014

Cakes & Purls


 Masse's Pastries

Cakes and Purls...what a cute name for a yarn store!

A few months back, I checked out a few newer yarn stores in Berkeley, California that I had never been to before.  And, yes, there is a yarn store in Berkeley called Cakes and Purls.  

 Claddagh Yarns

My first stop was  Claddagh Yarns.  This cute little shop is nestled in a North Berkeley neighborhood known as Gourmet Ghetto.  If you're curious about why this area is called Gourmet Ghetto...well, it's home to nearby Chez Panisse along with other fabulous food stores, the original Peets Coffee, bakeries and restaurants.  

Claddagh Yarns is owned by Amanda Fernandez and she opened the shop back in September 2013.  The shop is small  but carries great yarn stock from Debbie Bliss, Noro, Malabrigo and Imperial Yarn Ranch to name a few.   There were some lovely knitted samples on display that really caught my eye.  This little shop is worth seeking out.

Whenever I find myself in Gourmet Ghetto, a must stop is Masse's Pastries.  They have the most delicious pastries, cakes and French macarons!  The owner Marcia Masse is so personable.  We have chatted about Paris, Paris by Mouth and red currants on more than one occasion.

Cakes and Purls

 My last stop of the day was Cakes and Purls.  I love this concept of a yarn cafe where you can "sit and knit" and have your cake,too!

Cakes and Purls is owned by Maria Sitaro.  She holds a degree in Pastry Arts and combined her love of fiber by opening Cakes and Purls.  The shop is roomy and there are plenty of tables and chairs to meet your knitting friends here and enjoy a little cake and purls.  

Ashley Flower Headband

While visiting Cakes and Purls I was drawn to a yummy cashmere yarn and pattern by Pepperberry Knits. I purchased a yummy skein of their cashmere yarn in color Posies and knit Pepperberry's adorable Ashley Flower Headband for a gift.  It's always fun to discover new yarns and new yarn stores.  And yes, for the record, I left Cakes and Purls with a couple of cupcakes, too!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Alice's Embrace

My first lap blanket

I am currently knitting my first project for Alice's Embrace.

My dear knitting friend, Diane Lewis has created Alice's Embrace in honor of her mother, Alice Figueira and her battle with Alzheimer's Disease.  

 Diane and Danielle

I met Diane years ago while taking classes at my favorite local yarn store, Knitique, A Yarn Boutique in Elk Grove, CA.  Diane is such a lovely lady and is always thinking of others.  It was around the knitting  table at Knitique that Diane shared her mother's struggle with Alzheimer's Disease to me and her Knitique friends. 

Throughout her mother's journey with Alzheimer's Disease, Diane learned first hand how comforting a lap blanket or prayer shawl can be in helping ease anxiety in those suffering from this disease.  Knowing Diane (the way I do) she would knit every person suffering from Alzheimer's a lap blanket or prayer shawl if she could!  Since that is an impossible feat she followed her heart and created Alice's Embrace.  Now fellow knitters and crocheters can join Diane and donate hand-made lap blankets and prayer shawls that will bring comfort to many who are suffering from Alzheimer's Disease.

Diane has partnered Alice's Embrace with the Eskaton Foundation of Northern California to provide their memory care residents with the donated lap blankets and prayer shawls.  You can visit the Alice's Embrace How to Help page for information and details on how you can help create and donate your items.  

 Ted's Lap Blanket

As for the patterns for Alice's Embrace...
they are wonderful and come in an array of skill levels.  It's no wonder they are so fabulous since Diane enlisted the help of Danielle Bowen, the owner of Knitique to help create the patterns.  

Danielle is the knitting teacher who has helped me become the knitter I am today.  I am not a bit surprised that Danielle wanted to help Diane with Alice's Embrace.  She is always so supportive of great causes. She was instrumental in helping me with my own Louisa Harding Macmillan Cancer Support fund raising event that she hosted for me at Knitique back in 2012.   I could have never raised so much money for Macmillan Cancer Support without the Knitique venue, her personal support and her generous customers.  I am honored and proud to call both women my friend.

Alice Figueira

 Please visit the Alice's Embrace website to read more about Diane and Alice. 

You can also view the Alice's Embrace patterns and completed projects on the Alice's Embrace pattern page on Ravelry. 

I am dedicating my first project for Alice's Embrace in memory of my own beloved grandmother, who recently  passed away, just two months ago.  Like Alice, she also had Alzheimer's Disease.


(Photo Credit of Alice Figueira, Alice's Embrace.)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spring

Happy Spring

Here's to brighter days,
fresh flowers
and tea in the garden.
  
By the way, I knit this cute little tea cosy.  
I use it on a tea pot that I turned into a vase for fresh flowers.  

The pattern is the Rosie Posy Tea Cosy
by Loani Prior.  

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Chasing Sophie

Swoon

I've been stalking Sophie Digard for a few years now.  From Paris to Carmel, CA...I'm always on the look out for Sophie. 

 Drool

My latest Sophie "spotting" was in the San Francisco Bay Area.  I love shopping on 4th Street in Berkeley, CA and always "pop in" the "girlie girl" Jest Jewels boutique.  Low and behold behind the Jest Jewels counter there they were...
those gorgeous Sophie Digard scarves!  

Sassy

Sarena from Jest Jewels was a doll!  She understood my admiration for Sophie and let me swoon over the scarves.  And here she is even modeling one for me!  We chatted about knitting and her website Christmas Cancer.  Sarena beat ovarian cancer and is interested in starting a chemo hat program.  Stay tuned for future details.

If you're headed down to 4th Street,
here are a few of my other favorite shops:
The Pasta Shop (carries Mariage Freres teas) 
Sur La Table
Anthroplogie
Castle in the Air
Nest

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Knitter's Year

 The Knitter's Year

Sometimes you just need a quick project.  
Last night The Knitter's Year by Debbie Bliss came to my rescue.  Debbie's book is filled with 52 projects for every week of the year.  The projects are perfect for quick gift knits or seasonal knits for yourself.  And the best part is...all the projects are designed to make in one week or less.  

Striped Baby Hat

So, last night I "whipped out" the adorable Striped Baby Hat in the book.  The pattern is written to knit flat with seaming.  I chose to knit it "in the round" with jogless stripes so it knit up even faster.  It's now one of my favorite baby hat patterns!  

I'm so glad I had The Knitter's Year on my book shelf and highly recommend this book.  

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Baby, it's Cold Outside

Holiday Gift Set

I love knitting gifts.  I recently gave this holiday gift set to Kaitlin who is a grad student at the University of Nevada, Reno.  Thank goodness it is cold in Reno so she can wear it this winter.  Here in Northern California where I live, temps have been in the 60's and even 70's so my own hand-knits have not even seen the light of day.  

I loved putting this gift set together using Classic Elite's Fresco yarn in color Cinder.  This was my first time knitting with Fresco and I loved knitting with it.  Fresco is a lovely combo of wool, baby alpaca and a bit of angora.  It works up beautifully on the needles and creates such a soft and luxurious knit fabric.

 Climbing Cables Hat

As for the gift set details, I chose Hannah Fettig's Climbing Cables Hat for the hat.  I found and purchased Hannah's PDF pattern on Ravelry.  The pattern is in chart form and is an easy pattern to follow.  You can view my project on Ravelry with my personal notes and height alteration I made to it.

Fresco Lace Cowl

For the cowl, I chose Cecily Glowik's Fresco Lace Cowl .  Kaitlin is very fashionable and I love the style of this cowl which is like an infinity scarf then doubled up into a cowl size.  You can find my personal notes for it on Ravelry.  Kaitlin loved it and said "it's perfect to wear on cold mornings around campus". 

I highly recommend both patterns and thank both designers for their beautiful designs.  I look forward to knitting a set like this for me....
maybe to wear next winter!


(Baby, it's cold outside gift tag by Knitterella.)

Monday, December 16, 2013

'tis the Season...

for faux-fur!

 Lavish Collar
by Anthropologie


Faux-fur accessories are the definite fashion trend
this holiday season!  

While doing a little late-night window shopping, 
 I spotted Anthropologie's Lavish Collar.  It comes in five colors and can be yours for $68.00. 

Vera by Louisa Harding

If  you're a knitter and looking for a little winter glam...
why not knit your own faux-fur collar?  

You can knit Louisa Harding's Vera collar in just one ball of her new Luzia yarn.  Luzia is available in 10 colors and retails for $28.99.  That means you can knit your own faux-fur collar for less than half of the Anthro collar!  And, there's even enough time left to "whip" one out for a last minute Christmas gift!


(Vera photo credit:  Louisa Harding Luzia book, photo credit:  Stephen Jessup.)