Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A Happy Holiday Week !!

This,of course, is Puddy my DD's cat. He loves to pose for pics. This is the best pic yet I have of him. Sue......I know you will love this shot.

Naturally...DD's horse had to be included in the photo shoot. Gwen's coat is soooo thick this time of year. I had the pleasure of checking out Gwen and her horse and chicken friends. I nearly had some chicken s***t land on my head while the chickens were roosting on the rafters...LOL

On Christmas day we had a very special time at my niece's home.

My DD made me the lovely socks you see below. She used a sock pattern from Vintage Socks.

I also received some yarn from DD and DSIL......I'm planning on making the hat designed by Brooklyntweed. DD bought me the same colors he used. The Telemark yarn from Knitpicks is a wonderful woolen yarn. They also bought me some sock yarns and circular needles. It's so wonderful to have knitters in the family!!!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

And the Winner of the Draw is......

Congratulations, Kim!!! You had the luck of the draw; you've won two skeins of sock yarn!! Happy knitting to you!

This cookie making is fun but also tiring. Monday I made three kinds of cookies. This morning I made two kinds as you can see. First I made Hidden Kiss cookies with Rolo centers. These are too good to resist. Then I made Italian Prune cookies; these are the most labor intensive cookies of all my cookie baking. The bars pictured below have to be frosted yet and decorated with festive sprinkles. I have still have to make some Nut Sticks and perhaps Martha Stewart's Lime cookies that Kim has baked or Chocolate Crackle Cookies that Cindy shared with us. Decisions...decisions.

You must know if you are a cookie maker that around Thanksgiving all the cookie lovers come out of the woodwork to ask...are you making cookies this year? I would probably do the same thing if I were on the other end. I believe I've been making cookies for 37 years now with only one break when my mom was very ill one Christmas. My DD took up the reins and made cookies that year. She pointed out that someone has to make them. Perhaps my cookie making this year will make up for the plastic tree that adorns our family room. I doubt it, but you can't blame me for trying.

Cookie stories over the years are plentiful. Many of my cookies have found their way to family,neighbors, co-workers and friends through good times and bad times. We need constants in our lives to order the chaos.

Of course....holiday knitting still calls to me. I'm working on a sweater for my grand nephew. Lucky for me it's too big and I can finish it for next Christmas. I have finished two other secret gifts, and a third is in the works.

Next post I'll share some great pics of Puddy, the cat and Gwen, DD's horse.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Holiday Cookie Recipe Exchange!!

The holiday cookie recipe exchange begins thanks to Kim's suggestion. Have a favorite holiday cookie recipe? Post it in my comments, and I will post them on the main blog periodically. Post your cookie recipe by Monday, December 18th and I will enter your name in a drawing for a knitterly prize!!

Due to comment demand I present you with :

Chocolate Crackle Cookies ( Thanks, Cindy!)

8 oz. bittersweet chocolate (chopped)
1 1/4 C. flour (all-purpose)
1/2 C. unsweetened cocoa (dutch)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 C. unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 C. light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 c. milk
1 C. sugar
1 C. powdered (confectioners) sugar

(Preheat oven to 350 degrees before baking).
Melt chocolate in double boiler or in pyrex bowl over simmering water and set aside to cool. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt into a med. sized bowl and set aside.

Mix butter and brown sugar on medium till fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Mix in eggs and vanilla, and then add in the chocolate. Reduce speed to low, add in 1/2 of flour mixture (above), half of the milk, then the rest of the flour mixture followed by the rest of the milk. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces, wrap in plastic and refrigerate about 2 hours until firm.

Once your dough is cool, form dough into 1" balls (each "piece" should make about 16). Roll in granulated sugar followed by powdered sugar - to coat. Space 2" apart on cookie sheets. Bake for 14-15 minutes, until the surface "crackles". Remove and let cool.

Makes about 5 dozen. They will keep for about three days, that is if you don't have any PMSing or growing teenagers in the house!


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

It's About Time and Holiday Cookies

Does does 37 years of procrastination sound about right? It was about time! It took me that long to hang a piece of sculpture I made long ago. I guess I had to find just the right wall...LOL Luckily, it survived a move and storage in the basement for many years. Ahhh...it brings back memories of college days. Perhaps it will inspire me to explore more ways to evoke the muse as they say.

On the knitting front.....I finished the spindle spun chocolate brown fiber, washed it and knitted it up into a hat for my mom. She requested a brown close fitting beanie type hat so I will surprise her with it for Christmas. I am stalled on the Reynolds Bulky Cardigan for obvious reasons. Perhaps I can get back to that after the holidays.

On the baking front I'm up to my eyes in cookies recipes. I'm trying to choose which to make for Christmas. I think I've settled in on prune filled cookies, bourbon balls, hidden kiss cookies, and nut sticks. Of course...I'll have to make the holiday Pistachio M and M cookies that are so easy.

My friend, Dottie and I have pledged to put all our recipes in Word and keep a complete copy of them because she's lost the recipes she's made for many years. Just today I had a meltdown because I thought I couldn't find my Italian Prune cookie recipe. Yes....it turned up. I typed it up promptly for fear that I may lose it.

A special cookie request: Does anyone have a copy of the Woman's Day Holiday Cookie pullout booklet from the late 1960's or early 1970's? A dear friend lost her copy and wants to make some from that booklet.

A second request: If you make holiday cookies, what are your favorites?

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Saturday Sky and More

Here are two must see items:

1.A Journey Through Time [Macromedia Flash Player] taken from The Scout Report http://www.lifethroughtime.com/
Noted photographer Frans Lanting opens the website dedicated to his mostrecent ambitious project with these words: “Seven years ago I stood at thetide line of an estuary and began a personal journey through time.”Auspicious words indeed, and this lovely exploration of what he found on this journey takes visitors on a “lyrical interpretation of life on Earthfrom its earliest beginnings to its present diversity.” As visitors click on the words “Start Journey” they will be taken through eighty six photographs which document the various physical landforms and processes from the Hawaiian Islands to the heights of the Himalayas. After clicking on each photo, visitors will be presented with an interactive timeline that locates the photo within a timeline of geologic history. Interested partiescan also peruse the “More about LIFE” section to learn more about the equipment Lanting uses in his work, and how the project came to life. [KMG]

2. Check out the new Knitty. I absolutely love this and this and this! What's a knitter to do? I've got too much on the needles already......I'm off to our Spin Guild meeting holiday party.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

My Day

Hung the wreaths......

Worked on the sweater.....

Finished plying some yarn......

Observed the lichens.....

Rode in this car...........

Monday, December 04, 2006

THICK, MEDIUM & THIN - Spinning for a Specific Yarn

Yesterday at Webs I had the distinct pleasure of taking a spinning class called THICK, MEDIUM & THIN - Spinning for a Specific Yarn with Instructor: Jeannine Bakriges. We spent considerable time spinning yarn for different weights using different draws with different fibers. I enjoyed taking this course because it reawakened methods I was taught over 10 years ago by my first spinning teacher.

Since I've been spinning for 10 years, I've gotten into a spinnning rut with regard to a singles thickness. I have been spinning to create a consistently thin yarns for many years. This class helped me to experiment with creating thick yarns as you can see in the pics. Of course....I had to make some thin yarn samples as well, but this time by changing the whorls and the draw used. We spun using different wool rovings as well as silk. We also were given a project to complete. My project is to spin a bulky yarn with threads of other colors for a knitted sweater.
I recommend this class to advanced beginners and intermediate spinners!

Of course.....Judy and I did meet fellow bloggers and a new blogger as well. Be sure to check out Jeannine Bakriges' blog for her course schedule as well as comments on drafting techniques.

The happiness of fiber folks pursuing their craft is overwhelming........

Friday, December 01, 2006

Real Men Knit

A celebration of Men who Knit! Kaffee Fassett is interviewed. "Kaffe ventured into the world of colourful yarn on a visit to a Scottish wool mill with fashion designer Bill Gibb. Inspired by the colours in the landscape, Kaffe was thrilled to find the same colours in yarns. He bought 20 colours of Shetland wool and some knitting needles, and on the train back to London a fellow passenger taught him how to knit. His first design appeared as a full page spread in Vogue Knitting magazine." http://www.kaffefassett.com/biography.htm

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

When Fiber Friends Gather.....

For well over 12 years I've been knitting on Tuesday nights with friends! First it began at Faith's Fiber Arts Studio where I first learned to spin and increase my knitting skills;I miss her so much. Then Faith moved and Sue of RI Handspun invited us to her shop for Tuesday night knit ins; she continued the Tuesday tradition that has made our gatherings so much fun.

Last night was no exception: Carol R showed up with her woven treasures...her lovely handspun/handwoven shawl, her handwoven special technique shawl in plaid and her Bartlett blanket. The woman is steeped in weaving lately!

Judy arrived sporting her Shetland Triangle shawl knitted with her hand dyed yarn and beads. It is a tribute to her knitting and dyeing skills. The autumnal green in the shawl is a delight to the eye!

Gail brings such panache to the group. Here she holds a lovely striped hat in merino that she knitted for her grandson. What a lucky baby boy. She also is wearing a wonderful shrug she knitted; she added a special pin that we all admired.

Muriel provided us with inspiration as always. She wore a sweater that we want to reinterpret in handspun yarns.

Sue is the needle felting queen....check out her snowman progression. It is as always such a well executed needle felted sculpture that Sue designs. Of course, she's created another felted treasure for her granddaughter complete with Beatrix Potter buttons. Lastly she's begun a needle felted Nativity Set which is lovely in its simplicity....

My contirbution for the night was a skein of hand dyed handspun roving that is lovely to the touch. I have only 250 yards...what shall I make with it? It's between fingering and DK weight.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


A very productive weekend for sure! I hard blocked the triangle and I am very pleased with the result. This is as close as I will come to a modeled shot Laurie :).

Here you can see the two skeins of Rhinebeck 2006 stash I finshed plying. I just love this fiber!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Blocking Shetland Triangle

Happy Belated Thanksgiving to all who celebrate. We enjoyed the day with family and a feast of turkey and all the trimmings. I even remembered to take out the cranberry sauce.I am so happy to have all the leftovers......one of the perks of inviting all to your home.

Today while browsing the web I came across two desserts I would like to make for a future holiday celebration...chocolate pecan fudge pie ( no this is not a hint to John who makes the best pecan pie) and holiday cobbler Of course, Vicki made a mean cobbler as well! You may have to scroll to the "say my name" entry.

Today..... while America shops I'm blocking my Shetland Triangle shawl knitted in North Ronaldsay Yarn. It's incredible how a hard blocking changes a knitted piece like a shawl. It reveals those yarn overs and subtle color changes in the yarn so we can appreciate the meaning of lace.

I also have been spinning away on a fiber purchase from Rhinebeck via RI Handspun. Some lovely wool, alpaca and mohair

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Saturday Sky & Friday Eye Candy

Here's a wonderful beach and sky pic for you to enjoy. I can't believe that it has been in the 60's for two weeks.....

Friday started out dreary and ended sunny. Muriel, Judy and I went to Mrs. Bridges Pantry for a light lunch of Farmhouse Tea. Let us say we spent the afternoon enjoying ourselves. We even visited the Flying Carpet where we made some nifty jewelry purchases all about freshwater pearls. The neat part is that we could design our own necklaces.

Lastly we took some pics of Muriel and Tom's rock. Judy agreed to pose for us....

Thursday, November 16, 2006

C'est Fini !!

Everyday Cardigan is finished!! That's what is so good about joining the Red Sweater KAL. It keeps you focused on the task. I'm also knitting away on Shetland Triangle after seeing these shawls ...I had to make one. I'll post a pic if you like....

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Saturday Sky, Rose and Surfer at East Matunuck, RI

My Friend Tom and I enjoyed watching the surfers yesterday in 60 degree weather. Hard to believe it's November in New England !!!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Gathering Continued

I can't say enough about the weather last weekend and the wonderful mountains!

I attended two workshops. The first was on Bosnian Crochet. I made two tiny purse-like objects by working the simple stitch technique of making slip stitches around a foundation chain. Initially your work looks like an oval rug, but because you don't increase the oval shape becomes bowl- shaped. I like its organic quality. The stitch texture will change depending on whether or not you crochet a slip stitch into the front of a stitch or the back.

It is equally important when crocheting to use yarn with singles that have been spun with an S-twist (counterclockwise) then plied with a Z-twist ( clockwise). If you prepare the yarn in the way we spin to knit, the act of crocheting will undo the twist and cause the singles to separate....quite annoying I can tell you. I tried to crochet with yarn prepared for knitting. It was difficult to use that yarn. The smaller purse below is crocheted with cotton yarn from Henry's Attic. The larger with handspun Cotswold from a sheep named Tillie.

I also took an excellent workshop on Silk Paper with Robin Russo. We made silk paper using roving, silk hankies or mawata and textile medium. The technique is easy; there are several websites that describe the process. It is something I plan to explore.

The lighter colored silk paper was made with undyed tussah and bombex roving with natural embellishments such as dried hydrangea and money plant pieces

Monday, November 06, 2006

We Gathered Together

Wonderful skies provided much beauty as we headed to the Mountain Club on Loon in Lincoln New Hampshire this last weekend..... Muriel, Judy and I had to stop at Trader Joe's to loaded up on chocolate and ginger goodies. Need I say we stopped at the NH border to pick up some Tequila for our trip! There is much to tell so I will have to tell more in future posts.

The Gathering attracted over 200 fiber people from every state in the Northeast where we met spinners from all over the Northeast. We spent two fiber filled days in workshops on spinning, Bosnian crochet, silk paper making, rug hooking, fair isle knitting, Norwegian mittens, Shaker pin cushions and more.

Monica, Muriel, Judy and I spun to our hearts content during the evening Spin In. We also bought Foxfire fiber ( I didn't buy any at Rhinebeck so I had to buy here :)) and a lovely lightweight Forrester Spindle.

Here are some RI Guild members ( Marva and Beth) spinning away....

Check out the lovely morning view from our hotel window.

I need a bit of a nap now.......zzzzz