Phew!  I have finished my second Christmas gift.  Now, just two more to go, and those just have the seaming to do--and it's the first fews days of December!  Getting things done early makes me feel good! 

This is Heath from the Pioneer book from Martin Storey that came out a few years ago.  I knew when I saw it that I would eventually have to make it for my 16 year old granddaughter. The original pattern calls for a big, gorgeous cowl-like collar, but Annie lives in Southern California and I knew that would be too warm for her, so I modified it to more of a crew collar.  As you can imagine, it's a quick knit and I'm super thrilled because I love to knit for Annie, especially when I know it's something she'll want to wear often.  My neighbor Jessica who is modeling here, and who is the same age and size as Annie, absolutely loved this and hardly wanted to take it off.  I promised I would make one for her, but only after Christmas. I just have to, she looks so darling in it!  She wants the same color, the same collar, the same everything.  The yarn is Big Wool Silk, but you could substitute any of the Rowan Big Wools as they all have the same gauge and weight. It's lovely and soft, and has a slight sheen because of the silk.  I added a bit of length to make it more of a tunic.  I admit to wearing this tunic while I was shopping last week; sometimes I'll wear a gift before I ship it off, sigh, a bit like a farewell after spending so much time with it.  I wore a long sleeved tee underneath and was very cozy even though it was pretty chilly.  I didn't think to add a belt, but Jessica styled it with a belt and I love it that way.

As quick a knit as this is, my hands tire easily using such large needles (size US 11 and 13), so I can only knit on this for a half hour at a time.  Luckily, you can get quite a lot done with Big Wool in a half hour!

Hope your December is going smoothly and you feel like your Christmas knitting is well under control.  We're having a Christmas party tonight for my Monday morning knitters and the husbands. Since we will be 19, yesterday I made a quadruple recipe of Julia Child's Beef Bourguignon--the most sublime stew ever, if you can even call it a stew--it's more like an art form.  We tasted it last night and it's heaven and cannot wait to serve it tonight. Today I'm making the finishing touches on my Christmas decorating and ironing tonight's linens with It's A Wonderful Life that's saved on my DVR--I can hardly wait to iron!  And yep, you read that correctly, it's December third and my tree and house lights are up, mantles are decorated and wreaths are hung--nothing like having a party early in December to get one motivated!  I'll admit our Christmas decorations are a bit abbreviated this year, (I seem to do less and less each year!) but it all looks super pretty and I'm very happy.  I'll try to get some photographs of all the holiday finery and post those soon.  

All the details are on my Ravelry project page.
Big Wool Silk has been discontinued, but
 Rowan (original) Big Wool is a great sub.
John Lewis has 9 of the Pioneer books in stock.
The Hearth pattern is also in the Big Wool Archive Collection and Webs has 25 in stock.

To make a comment, please click here.

Until next time, keep calm and merry on!



socks, cables, bunnies, cookies, turkeys, and cashews

American Thanksgiving is tomorrow, Thursday, and today, cooks across the land are doing as much prep as they possibly can.  As for this cook, the menu has been selected, which varies little from year to year; all the groceries have been hauled in and my table is set.  The bird is a 20 pound beaut.  We positively love Thanksgiving leftovers and I admit to being one of those people who loves the big Thanksgiving feast more than any other meal of the year.  In fact, if we are invited out on Thanksgiving day, the next day at home I'll still make our own feast, just for the leftovers!  Right now the neck and giblets are simmering away with garlic (yes!) and sage and it smells so good.  (The stock and chopped giblets will be in tomorrow's gravy.)  I really really do love Thanksgiving.

This morning already I made curried cashews, and oh my goodness, they are delicious. I posted the recipe here and you won't be sorry to have them on your snack table. And also this morning I broke my own rule and made a second Thanksgiving batch of Salty Chocolate Toffee. The first batch disappeared even more quickly than usual.  I'm blaming our friends. Last night I made a half batch of sugar cookies. We absolutely don't need them because this afternoon I'm making a pecan pie too, but somehow, it just doesn't seem like Thanksgiving without some turkey cookies. Then my guy talked me into making chocolate chip cookies because he had a strong urge and I know what that's like, and he was pleading, and I like to spoil him because he's so nice, so I caved and now we have four sweets for tomorrow--for five people!  Later this afternoon I'll make my mashed potatoes, refrigerate them overnight and reheat in the oven right before the turkey is done.  That little trick is a lifesaver! Tomorrow I'll wake up early and busy myself, but nothing I do now or in the morning can ever avoid that last rush-hour of madness before the big dinner.  Right?  My son has been in charge of the turkey carving since he was taught by my uncle when he was 12, so that's under control. I'll put my husband on gravy duty, and the rest of us attend to all the other last minute crazy. But it's all part of the fun, right?

That little sock--isn't it dear?  It's made from scraps of Rowan Pure Wool 4-ply and Super Fine Merino 4-ply and is from this darling knitting book, Little Rowan Cherish by Linda Whaley.  The single sock is a Christmas gift for a very happy young couple who just found out they are expecting a baby.  It's the tiny 3 mos. size and I made it for their tree, but I loved making it so much, I think I'll make a proper set in a larger size so the baby can actually wear them come next winter.  The gray cabled sweater is also for this same baby, so boy or girl, the gray will work.  The pattern is Billy and is from the same Cherish book.  I just had a hankering to make some cables--you know what that's like, right?  The yarn you might recognize as vintage Rowan 4-ply Soft. It makes the cables so crisp and perfect. Do you remember that lovely stuff? A dear friend gifted me two bags because she remembered how much I loved it.  How very very kind of her. Thank you dear Esther.  As for the bunnies, I purchased them from Target while they still had plenty of stock. This bunny is perfect for the Wee Gingersnap and makes a darling baby gift.

Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers.
I hope you feel as I do, that there is a lot to be thankful for.
Thank you all for stopping by.

To make a comment, please click here.

"What if today, we were grateful for everything?"
Charlie Brown
"An attitude of gratitude brings great things."
Yogi Bhajan
"When I started counting my blessings, by whole life turned around."
Willie Nelson
"We must find the time to stop and thank the people
who make a difference in our lives."
John F. Kennedy



This was a first for me.  I wrote this post, posted it, I got a few comments, then after a few hours, it disappeared.  So, I'm trying it again.  Here's Kim's patterns from her most recent book, Grace.  So many beautiful, feminine details; so many lovely silhouettes.  I love everything she does.

Loving - Kidsilk Haze and Fine Lace
Jess - Alpaca Merino DK

Barrett - Kidsilk Haze

Agyle - Brushed Fleece and Kidsilk Haze

Keepsake - Kidsilk Haze
Adair - Alpaca Merion DK

 Emma - Big Wool

Blackened - Brushed Fleece

Sentiment - Super Fine Merino 4ply

Pitch - Brushed Fleece

 Kidsilk Haze and Fine Lace

Scape - Kid Classic and Kidsilk Haze

Esme - Kidsilk Haze and Fine Lace

 Gift - KIdsilk Haze

Escape - Super Fine Merino 4ply

Elin - Alpaca Merino DK

Cecily - Super Fine Merino 4ply

 Fell - Big Wool

Isla - Kidsilk Haze and Fine Lace

As a long time fan, I naturally love them all, but do have a few favorites: 
the first two, Loving and Jess, and the last one, Isla.  I'd love to know your favorites. 
You can leave a comment here.  And thank you!

You can purchase Kim's new book here on her website.
As it's just new it should be at your local yarn stores very soon.

Edited 11/22:  A few readers have asked when the shops will start to carry this book.  I don't know exactly how book distribution works for the shops, but my lys, Uncommon Threads, has a standing order from certain publishers to receive new knitting books as they are published, so she gets them right away.  It should also be available online at your favorite online knitting store, at least for pre-order.  A quick Google search found Grace at English Yarns Online Knitting Store.


Christmas Candy

Our favorite Christmas candy is almost goof-proof!  But like all candy, it requires a wee bit of attention, but not for long.  While it takes less than 20 minutes to make, I only make it two times a year; once the week before Thanksgiving, and again the week before Christmas.  My husband loves this stuff so much that, even though he is normally the most generous guy, sharing this candy turns him into the Grinch.  If I put some out for guests, he'll say, "Do you have to share it? You know we're getting low.  Can't they have something else?"  He knows that when it's gone, there won't be anymore until next year.  My trick to make it last throughout the entire holiday season is this:  I store it in a container that's difficult to open.  I also store it way out of sight, as in you'll have to use a step-stool and a flash light to retrieve it.  In this way, while it's not exactly out of mind, it is out of sight! My poor husband gets so sad, when in mid-January, he reaches in for the last piece.  He'll sigh and say, "Maybe you'll make some more?"  And I'll say, "OK, hon, maybe."  But we both know that's a lie.  It will be 11 months before it appears again.

Salty Chocolate Toffee
Click here for the recipe.

To make a comment, click here.


Pretty Pink

Of all the dozens of baby garments I've knit, I think I love this the most!  Gingersnap, Wee Gingersnap and the bunny will be given to a dear friend's first grandchild.  When I heard the nursery was going to decorated in pink and gray, I knew a Gingersnap would soon be in the works.  This makes the cutest baby gift ever and I am quite thrilled.

There have been so many cute Gingersnaps (and Wee ones too) on Ravelry and I'm so happy when a new one pops up.  If you are hoping for larger toddler sizes in this pattern, well, I am too!  Hold tight as it's in the works and as soon as it's ready, I'll let you know.  Until then, both the patterns are free; the one year baby size and the 18" doll size.  Links below:

My Ravelry Page with all the details
Gingersnap Kits
 I bought the bunny at Target
Darling hangers from Container Store

I'd love to hear from you.  If you'd like to make a comment, please click here.

When you give a knitted baby garment, it's a good idea to give care instructions as well.  I highly recommend using a soft, machine washable wool or cotton for your baby gifts. These sweaters were knit in machine washable wool and the care instructions will read:  

100% wool
machine wash on gentle cycle in cool water
pat to shape and dry flat

And just between you and me, if mother puts Pure Wool Worsted in the dryer, it will survive just fine.