Sea Foam Cowl

When some of my knitting friends from my Ravelry group – enVision – had our first meet up in Colorado last year, some of them went on a yarn crawl and purchased a skein of Malabrigo Caracol, a super-bulky-weight yarn. They all knitted a cowl that evening! I finally picked up a skein in Diana colorway and got a chance to knit one myself. I have written up this simple pattern and it’s available free on Ravelry!

Here is the official write up:

Sea Foam Cowl is a quick knit using super-bulky-weight yarn. It uses one skein of Malabrigo Caracol or equivalent – 90y / 83m on size us15 / 10mm needles with a gauge at 8-9 sts / 4” / 5.0 cm. Final size after blocking is approximately 12” x 13” / 30.5 mm x 33.0 mm (w x h). If you prefer a long cowl/infinite scarf, cast on double the stitches and use two skeins.

Sea Foam Cowl may also be knitted in worsted weight but you will need to adjust the number of cast-on stitches (in increments of 10). For example, if you elect to use Malabrigo Rios in worsted weight with a gauge of approximately 18 sts / 4” / 5.0 cm, you will need to cast on 100 sts). Please note that your required yardage will differ.




Structured Purse, Part 1

Now that we are into big projects – totes and purses! – instead of accessories that can be done in one or two classes, I am going to write about this current project in parts as I did my first tote! So here goes… 😀

After a couple of days of hand skiving, the majority of the Advanced Workshop at Amblard Leather Atelier is devoted to the Structured Purse project. As with the tote, there are guidelines we must follow but do have some creative input. I sketched out two themes with two to three designs each and settled on one with lots of angles. We are also allowed to use something exotic so I jumped at this opportunity to work with something other than calf leather.

Did some shopping on my own when a friend and I went up to Napa last week. The Hide House is an amazing retailer of leather and I was like a kid in a candy store! One of the finds was a soft metallic hide in dark pewter – a dark grey piece with a touch of greenish bronze shimmer that I will use for the inside lining of the purse.


The exterior is black with an accent of snake skin!


I am so excited to get going now that all the pieces are cut!!!


OD – Ovale Decke Shawl

Just published another Herbert Niebling adaptation – Ovale Decke Shawl! This is my fifth Niebling adaptation and one I modified the most (including adding an interesting edge to the design) yet retaining the integrity of a Niebling.

OD – Ovale Decke Shawl is a large deep-crescent shaped shawl based on a lesser-known Herbert Niebling pattern of the same name, Oval Doily in English. OD is worked from the top down with increases throughout the body. The original pattern is in an oval shape. I modified it into a softer deep-crescent shape.

OD uses approximately 437-475 yards / 400-435 meters of fingering-weight yarns for the regular version and 920-1300 yards/840-1200 meters of lace-weight yarns for the large version, as well as anything in between. The yardage is just a guide for OD is a very adaptable pattern. Knitters may elect to omit some sections thus allowing OD to be knitted in one 100-g skein (fingering or lace weight). It may also be knitted using multiple colors, a set of coordinated colors, as well as leftover yarns.




Hand Skiving Leather

Along with the completion of my tote project was the end of the Intermediate Workshop at Amblard Leather Atelier. I was eager to start the Advanced session to further my skills. You know what they say … “Be careful what you wish for!” The session started with two weeks of an invaluable skill – hand skiving! We learned how to bevel the edge of the leather all the way to “zero” using a skiving knife without damaging the front (right side) of the leather edge. It involves muscles AND finesse! Since this is something we will HAVE to do if we are serious about working with leather, we were determined to master this skill!

Here are a couple of practice squares:


Then we covered a 2″ x 2″ cube with six pieces of hand skived leather.

Of-course I am showing you the one perfect corner of my cube! 😉

Then we were to repeat our first project – Card Case – but instead of our teaching machine skiving the seamed edges, we did that by hand. Fortunately, we didn’t have to skive to “zero” on these pieces!

Pictured here is my $8.99 hand skiver – we have since purchased one with better steel that will (hopefully) hold its edge longer!


Now that we got that skill “mastered” (hahaha!) … guess what? We are designing our next project – the Structured Purse! WOOHOO!

WAKO – a special Japanese dinner

I have never had a prix fixe Japanese fine-dining experience so for my birthday, my sister took me to WAKO, a quaint Japanese restaurant in the Outer Richmond district of San Francisco.


The evening started with an “amuse-bouche” of miso tofu and uni (sea urchin). A perfect start for uni is my favorite!


It’s followed by a platter of appetizers: clockwise from top, tako (octopus) and cucumber, roes, miso cream cheese, unagi (eel) and egg, snapper, squid and sea weed, ad waguy beef ball. Everything was tasty but nothing knocked our socks off…


Then the nigiri sushi starts…all from left to right

Kelp-Sandwiched Halibut and Wild Red Snapper


Bonito, Striped Jack, Ink Squid with Sea Urchin


A small plate of Cherry Blossom Rice Cake with Organic Chicken and Bamboo Shoot in Bonito Broth – quite yummy!


More nigiri sushi …

Barracuda and Red Nose Amberjack


Jalapeno Soy Marinated Blue Fin Tuna, Cold Smoked Cherry Salmon and Mackerel (forgot to take a picture but you get the idea! ;-))

Another small plate, Mackerel with Vegetables


Horse Hair Crab with Crab Miso


Sea Urchin (again! YUMMMM!)


Blue Fin Tuna with Caviar (and a gold leaf!) – this is absolutely delicious


Sea Eel


Wagyu Beef – after a Wagyu dinner at Alexander Steakhouse (not recommended!), I am not a big fan of Japanese Wagyu beef (way too fatty, like eating a stick of butter). But in this tiny nigiri sushi amount, it’s actually very good!


Red and White Miso Soup


Last small plate: Seafood Egg Pancake


And two delicious desserts: Panna Cotta with Strawberry Sauce


And finished with Red Bean Jelly with Green Tea Sauce


With everything being bite size, it didn’t seem like a lot of food – and we could order extra from its Nigiri and Sashimi Selections (there were 6-7 that weren’t in our dinner) – but we both were fairly full.

All in all, it was a nice experience. Each piece/serving was already seasoned so there was no soy sauce/wasabi as with regular Japanese sushi dining. But raw fish/seafood is essentially raw fish/seafood and the seasoning/sauce already prepared with the delicate fish is pretty mild (as not to power the fish itself). I’d just be as happy going to our neighborhood sushi restaurant for a fraction of the cost and dip my nigiri in soy sauce and wasabi! 😉


Playing with Glass!

I don’t normally teach beginning lampworking but over the years, have shown friends and family are interested how to melt glass from time to time. Remembering my first class at the local bead shop, how daunting it was to try to wind the molten glass onto a mandrel without any understanding of how glass moved in the flame, I have beginners pull stringers in various thickness before actually making a bead on a mandrel. This way, they get a feel for how glass melts, have an understanding of the heat based on the color of the tip of the rod, and learn the importance of how gravity affects the molten glob. I also spend time explaining how to round up a bead using gravity from the get go.

I am happy to show these AWESOME beads made by my college buddy’s kid (well, she’s in her mid 20s so not exactly a kid! ;-)) on her VERY FIRST DAY of lampworking! Perfect beads with dimpled ends on pretty much all of these!


And she got a matched pair to turn into a pair of earrings!


And a pendant to match!

To say that I was a proud teacher/auntie was an understatement! 😀

The Beauty of Double Helix Newest Release, Phoebe, and 2018 Test Batches

It’s not surprising that Clio is one of Double Helix Glassworks‘ most popular silver glass – with its translucent/transparent quality, flameworkers can layer Clio on top of colored glasses and achieve different results. Getting hot pink was all the rage when Clio was first introduced – layering transparent orange with a clear coat, then Clio, and finally encasing everything in Zephyr. With the introduction of RHEA – the clean, non-reactive gold ruby – one can achieve pinks without the clear coat.

Now we have other translucent/transparent reduction colors that work just as wonderfully with the layering technique… ZL-689 released as Phoebe and the 2018 Transparent Luster Test Batches, CA-706, EL-702, OX-696, OX-705, PL-699, ZL-707. Layer them over RHEA or experiment over other Effetre and CiM colors!

Here are a couple of examples:

Over RHEA test batch




Over various Effetre colors


That’s the best way to create a unique palette with just a couple of silver glass colors!

Disclaimer: I don’t work for Double Helix nor am I paid as a tester.