Thursday, November 12, 2015

Goodbye Autumn Colors

Our autumn has been spectacular this year, with warm temperatures, dry air and plentiful sunshine.

The great weather has certainly extended our growing season; I can't believe how much is still thriving in my garden here in zone 6. Just yesterday I harvested arugula, carrots, chives and baby lettuce, with cabbages also going strong. 

It seems the good weather might be nothing but a memory now though after a rain and windstorm blew through this week, washing nearly all of the remaining color from the trees. 

It was lovely while it lasted though. 

Pattern-related knitting projects are in the works but lately I've been concentrating on top secret Christmas gift knitting. I don't always knit holiday gifts, but this year I had a couple of special ideas to work on. Maybe I'll share photos of those after the gifts have been given. 

Thanks for stopping by today, enjoy the rest of your autumn wherever you are! 

...peering from some high window; 
at the gold of November sunset
(and feeling: that if day has to become night
this is a beautiful way)

-- e.e. cummings

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Apple Season


This week has been so beautiful - the air is dry and crisp, the skies are blue and there is just the beginning of a chill in the morning. Acorns are dropping from trees and local orchards are producing bumper crops of gorgeous apples.

As a little girl I helped my grandmother can the bounty of her garden. My mom dabbled in canning for a while also. But I hadn't done any canning for myself until this year after seeing so many beautiful, locally-grown apples.

Although I haven't yet delved into the world of pressure canning, I have achieved relative success with water bath canning tomatoes, pickles and apples (I use the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving). 

I always choose organic apples after discovering on the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen list that nearly all apples are heavily contaminated with pesticides. Even so, a thorough washing is important.

A mechanical apple peeler made quick work of the peels and after the canning process was complete I ended up with 7 quarts of chopped apples, all ready to be turned into easy holiday tarts later this year. 

I saved the peels and cores to make apple cider vinegar using this recipe

With the cool weather I've been knitting up a stack of accessories, some to become patterns eventually. One project I finished this past spring will be published in an Interweave book in 2016. As always, I'll give first notice here.

Thanks for stopping by today, I wish you a week of happy stitching! 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Handspun Katriel

What a lovely surprise it was for me this week, upon logging on to Ravelry, to discover that one of the front page projects featured in Sarah's Community Eye Candy post was a version of my Katriel shawl design. 

Ravelry member Muriel's Handpsun Katriel was beautifully knit in gorgeous yarn spun with the colors of autumn. Just perfect for the beginning of meteorological fall. Great job Muriel!

photo: Muriel

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Knitting Bucket List & Free Pattern

Do you have a knitting 'bucket list' of projects or techniques you'd like to accomplish? I certainly do! Somewhere along that list has long been a desire to knit one of Norwegian company Dale Garn's exquisite stranded stitch sweaters., the company's sister ready-to-wear site, offers intricately-patterned, classic sweaters commanding hefty prices in US boutiques (including the Peace Sweater pullover below, priced at $349 US)

With the recent release of Dale Garn's Peace Sweater design as a hand knitting pattern - for free download on Ravelry - I might just have to bump the project up a bit higher on my list! 

What does your knitting or crochet 'bucket list' look like? 

Top photo - Dale Garn
Second photo -

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A Penny Spent


I'm not much of a shopper these days, waiting until I want to start a new project before looking for yarn or other supplies. But every now and then I'll stop at a charity rummage sale, usually held at a local church, to see if there is anything useful waiting for me to take it home.

Over the years I've made quite a few scores in this area, finding wonderful knitting, crochet and sewing supplies for pennies, and I get a bonus good feeling knowing the money is going to charity. 

One such bargain sale find was an Ashford Electric Spinner (normal retail price $750) for $5. Granted, it did not include extra bobbins, a lazy kate or other accessories, but is was new in the box, in perfect condition, so I consider it money well spent. 

At other sales I've poked around under piles of acrylic yarn, abandoned plastic canvas projects and musty fabric to find vintage knitting needles in a rainbow of colors, fabulous cashmere yarn for $2, and other fun, useful things. 

I pretty much stick to a strict rule that anything I purchase must have a useful purpose, but recently I was intrigued by a tiny cardboard box, simply because it was cute. That and because it said "Paris" on the front.

Upon opening the box I was delighted to find several skeins of silky cotton embroidery floss, in lovely shades of antique beige and gold, nestled in tissue paper (see top photo). 

Not being an embroiderer, I nearly left the little box behind, but the beautiful, rich, neutral colors spoke to me and for .25 cents I decided to take it home and try my hand at a project. I might share the results here sometime, we'll see... 

How about you? Have you ever happened upon a wonderful needlework bargain? 

Thanks for stopping by my studio today, have a wonderful week!

Ashford Spinner Photo: The Woolery

Friday, July 10, 2015

Craftsy Shout Out

If you have not yet discovered, you are in for something exciting. 

Craftsy is a free-to-join, member-based online crafting mecca offering video classes for knitting, crochet, spinning, weaving, sewing, quilting, cooking, gardening, jewelry and other creative interests. 

Online video classes boast an interactive format, meaning you can download class handouts, ask for and receive input from instructors, and share your class questions and projects with other members enrolled in your class.

Another excellent feature of their website is the Craftsy blog, packed with interesting articles, one of which recently featured my Philodendra scarf design in a recent piece on openwork scarves. 

An online marketplace of supplies, including yarn like this yummy Canopy Worsted from The Fibre Company,

 adds to the fun, making Craftsy a site worth checking out. 

Thanks for stopping by today, I wish you a creative weekend! 

yarn photo:

Monday, May 11, 2015

Monday's Muse - Michelangelo

The knitted samples have been dropped in the mail, and the pattern for my latest design emailed to the publisher - hurray! 

Since then I've had more time for knitting projects that have languished on the back burner for a while including a recently bound-off Brandywine Falls wrap (shown in photo above), and a stranded, color work cardigan in fingering weight wool. The wrap is still in need of blocking and the cardigan has been waiting, since I reached the steeking point, for me to get brave enough to make the cut.

Today I came across this quote on my Pinterest board and the message was so simple and inspiring, I wanted to share it here: 

"I am still learning." 
- Michelangelo, age 87

That's it, just 4 words. But Michelangelo's statement, at such an age, reminded me to be diligent in pursuing mastery of things I enjoy despite trepidations, set-backs or limited time, and that no matter what age we reach, or how accomplished we become, there is always still more to learn. How exciting!  

Thanks for stopping by today, peace, blessing and happy stitching to you!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Favorite Thing - Wool Gathering

The latest issue of Schoolhouse Press' Wool Gathering magazine arrived in the mail a little while ago. This issue was (as usual) full of fiber-y fun stuff, prompting me to mention it here as one of my Favorite Things. 

Wool Gathering arrives every few months, and is full of reviews of Schoolhouse Press' latest book selections as well as a complete pattern like the one shown on this issue's cover above, the Garland Necklace Yoke pullover by Meg Swansen. I can't wait to knit this beautiful pullover!

Wool Gathering magazine began in 1969, growing out of Elizabeth Zimmerman's original 1958 newsletter to subscribers. Schoolhouse Press is currently contemplating the next move for the magazine - whether it continues in print, moves to digital media, or some combination of these. Until then, you can check their website for this issue and any available back issues. Get them while you can...

Thanks for stopping by my studio today, happy stitching!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Yarn Emergency

A yarn emergency... Is there really such a thing? I've heard the term used before but was skeptical, until it happened to me.

For the last few days I've enjoyed a visit to beautiful San Antonio, Texas for a family celebration, but I didn't set off on the right foot when I left my newly started shawl project, 6 sets of interchangeable needles, a row counter and a needle gauge in a tote bag on a Southwest Airlines aircraft at my stopover city. By the time I realized it, it was almost time to board the next flight to SAT and the boarding agents could not help me.

With nothing to work on, no reading material and no in-flight connectivity, it was a very boring 2 hours and I was more than ready to race to the nearest yarn shop when I arrived which, thankfully, turned out to be only minutes from the airport. After waiting to de-plane, collecting luggage and renting our car, we had only 20 minutes to get to the shop, choose yarn and needles before they closed!

Fortunately, the nearest shop turned out to be a darling little place, newly opened within the last couple of months. In fact, Unraveled yarn shop is so new they don't even have a permanent sign yet...

but the brightly painted Easter scene on the front windows was a welcoming sight.

The shop is well-stocked with lovely yarn like the Manos del Uruguay lace yarn shown in the photo at the top of the post.

and the notions and other items were neatly organized.

The shop owner was extremely helpful and did not rush us in any way, even though it had probably been a long day for her and she must have been wishing to get home soon.

In the end, I found some pretty yarn as well as the right needles to re-start my shawl project. I also found a cute new yarn shop to share here, so I decided that the 'emergency' was really a blessing in disguise.

Thanks for stopping by today, happy knitting!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015



By this time of year we usually have early-blooming flowers and greening grass, but this year it's been a little colder than normal and everything's wet from rain and snow melting. Although I enjoy going for long walks and runs, the mud and puddles from all the wet make it annoyingly difficult to navigate roads and paths.

Then today my yoga teacher shared this acronym with our class - S.M.I.L.E., standing for "See Miracles in Life Everyday". It made me stop to think about the beauty all around us, everyday, even in the midst of something that seems annoying at first, if we'll stop and look for it. I hope you see many beautiful, miraculous things around you today.

Thanks for stopping by my studio, happy stitching and... S.M.I.L.E!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Warm Wool Fuzzies

Regardless of the weather outside, I always get a warm, fuzzy feeling inside when a new shipment of yarn arrives, like this Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift yarn I received in the mail today. 

Spindrift is a lovely, rustic, fingering-weight wool with a crunchy texture,  available in a stunning array of colors. The yarn color shown above is Oxford Gray and only one of several different grays and other colors I purchased at  Knitting Camp and during a recent Schoolhouse Press yarn sale (What, you didn't know about the sale? Well, then get thee to the Schoolhouse Press website and sign up for their online newsletter!).

I'm planning to use it for some color work, hopefully a cardigan, but also some smaller accessories.

Thanks for stopping by today, I'll be curled up keeping warm and knitting at least some of the weekend away - I hope you likewise enjoy a warm and yarn-y weekend!