30 December 2010

Winding down

Quote of the day: 'Look Dozer, Mom made me a hat to match you!' Nothing like a boy and his dog ;)....if they look exhausted, it's because they are ~ they just got home from 12 hours of fishing in freezing weather!
What a great way to finish off an incredible 2010 ~ my husband finally said he would wear something if I knit it for him (it's been 4 long years but he finally succumbed!). Of course, he had to choose the most challenging thing I've ever made ~ 'We Call Them Pirates' ~ yes, I found this entirely more difficult than any of the lacework I've done. I'm really pleased with the results since fair isle, even tension, and then the added struggle of double-pointed needles the last 10 rows had me worried this thing would end up so binding that a 10-year old wouldn't be able to squash it down over their tiny noggin. It fits the hubby perfectly and he loves it (bonus!).

Now Kelli & I and a few old friends are getting ready to cast-on our 3rd annual New Years KAL on January 1st.  We've chosen the Advent Calendar Scarf for this year's project and I'm staying true to my ongoing promise to use stash yarn as much as possible going into the New Year.  I was surprised on Christmas Eve with a care package from a Ravelry friend (6toknit4) that contained a handknit pair of mitts (I love them!) and this beautiful skein of madelinetosh lace in 'Rose'......
I haven't knit anything in this colorway for myself so I'm excited ~ it will be a lovely shawl to wear on Valentine's Day this year in a dusty shade of pink.  Thanks, Lucy!  You knew I would put it to good use!

Anyone that wants to join us for the knit along is very welcome!  The more the merrier!  Happy New Year to everyone and I can't wait to see what wonderful things all our friends create in the coming year that will inspire us to push our own boundaries!

16 December 2010

Waking up and opening the shops~

Christmas coffee shops, one of my favorites. I got these on ebay years ago, and I look so forward to seeing them every year. Reminds me of Pike Place Market. Wanna go Melissa Christmas Eve day, when we're down that way?

15 December 2010

Handspun and Home Cookin'

Today Miss Melissa is one happy girl!  Scored big at last nights Snohomish Knitters Guild gift exchange ~ I got to bring home 194 yards of handspun baby alpaca that guild member Tina made.  It's my first skein of handspun (ever!) and I'll have to find just the right project for it ~ it's oatmealy in color and so so soft.  I can't wait to use it.  Thanks so much, TINA!

I also got to meet my new friend Tamra (aka Snohomish Shepherdess for those of you that have been checking out the blog recently) who made my night even better by sharing a jar of her recently canned Orange Marmalade.  I just might be more excited about it than the yarn (gasp!) ~ orange is my favorite flavor and I may attempt a loaf of homemade bread this weekend (uncharted territory!) so I can break the seal on the jar and try it.  It's so pretty I almost hate to eat it up but I'll resist the temptation to save it and let you know just how yummy it is soon......very soon ;)

Thanks to all my tablemates last night for making my first official meeting so much fun ~ the food and the music and the camaraderie were worth the pain of my early wake up call this morning!  Looking forward to next month ~ another meeting AND a train ride to Portland (toot toot!)

Missed you last night, Kelli!  This homebody did ok on her first solo venture out into the knitting world ~ you should be proud of me!

13 December 2010

It's a Savory Kind of Day

I think I may officially be burned out on cookie baking ~ today I moved on to other yummy munchy not-so-traditional holiday fare.

I whipped up a batch of these Salty Sweet Bar Nuts (Country Home Magazine November 2002) ~ I generally don't like lingering food smells in my house but after making these, the whole place smells of fresh rosemary, which I love!  And aside from that, they taste good, too ~ just the right amount of salt, brown sugar and a zing of cayenne pepper.  These will be great in a care package I'm putting together for a new friend ~ any guesses as to who that person is?!?!

Tomorrow is my first Snohomish Knitter's Guild monthly meeting as an official member ~ we're having a gift exchange and appetizer party.  I had to think of something that travels well since I have to work tomorrow and I'll have to cart whatever I bring around with me all day so I opted for Asian Party Mix from Cooking Light Magazine.  Everyone seems to have their own favorite version of the old Chex Party Mix and this is mine.  It's packed with Asian flavors like wasabi and curry and it's hard to walk away from once you start munching!

12 December 2010


Here we are doing what we love best, hoping you all have a wonderful holiday with no dropped stitches.~ Melissa, Trudy, Carrie & Kelli~

11 December 2010

Chocolate Crinkles and Charity

Snohomish Shepherdess got my cookie baking in full swing this year ~ I'm remembering my favorite cookies growing up and I've been baking like a fiend.  Today was a double batch of Chocolate Crinkles from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook.  I have an older version than the link above ~ all ingredients are the same but I only used 3 eggs and 1 1/2c sugar per batch and they are great!  And although I'm sure they are wonderful with turbindo sugar on top, we always had them with powdered sugar so I will never use anything else!

My husband and I have been hearing quite a bit on the news about Toys for Tots and how bare their shelves are this year due to the economy.  We've also, on many occasions this year, talked about how lucky we are that we've been virtually unscathed by the hard times that most people we know are facing.  We've made it a point to be more charitable in 2010 than we have in the past, with donations to Heifer International and Locks of Love.  And last night we decided to jump in the car and hit a local store and fill a shopping cart with donations for Toys for Tots.  My husband has donated a football every year for as long as I've known him, and I'm fairly certain even long before that.  But this year, the sky was the limit and boy, did we have a great time doing it!  If you need something to get you into the holiday spirit, I highly recommend donating to a charity that is close to your heart and means something to you.  It's money well spent and the feeling of knowing that you have contributed to making someone's struggles maybe just a little bit lighter for a moment is worth any amount of money you can spare, no matter how small.  I think we will make this a new family tradition and do it annually ~ it was one of the most fun things we've done together all year!

A Confession

Dear mom ~
I guess now is as good a time as any to tell you that when you used to bake ahead for the holidays and stash cookies away in the freezer, I discovered just how much MORE I love Grandma's Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies when they are frozen.  I prided myself on my ability to sneak just enough that it was never discovered.  Only problem is, I am still sneaking them ~ out of my freezer, and telling my husband that I do it.  Major faux pas ~ now he knows how much he likes them frozen. 

I am going to have to make more before the holidays.  But I think I'll wait til just before Christmas, otherwise, those too will somehow dwindle away and I'll be making a third batch.

From your sneaky daughter ~

06 December 2010

'S' is for ~

Snickerdoodles and snowflakes ~ see, Kelli, I'm baking and knitting ;) ~ recipe is from Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook and also available online here.

05 December 2010

You know what they say about imitation.....

The recipe for the cookies on the left can be found here.  And, yes, Snohomish Shepherdess, they are perfect!

The cookies on the right are a treasured family recipe that I will gladly share ~ I think these are also perfect but then again, it's one of my grandma's cookie recipes and for me brings back all sorts of childhood memories .  Hope anyone who bakes these loves them as much as I do!


Cream together:
3/4c softened butter
1c brown sugar
2 eggs
3T milk
1t vanilla

Sift together and stir into above:
2c all-purpose flour
3/4t baking soda
1t salt

Stir into above:
2c oatmeal (not instant!)
12oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls on greased or parchment-lined cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Enjoy :)

03 December 2010

Accidental Alliteration

I try hard to limit my online social networking so that it doesn't eat up all my free time, so there are really very few blogs that I follow religiously ~ I can count them on my thumbs.

The one that I've been reading the longest is Wendy Bernard's Knit and Tonic.  She's a wonderful writer with a dry sense of humor and she says what she thinks about the knitting community and 'following the rules', or in her case, going against the grain.  She's also an amazing designer and a strong believer that unless you just go for it and try something, you'll never learn anything.  She doesn't pull any punches on that topic.  It's interesting to read about the design process and get some insight into the feedback you get flooded with (both positive and negative) by putting your patterns out to the public. 

The other, and most recent blog that I've been following....and to be honest, I'm so excited that there are almost DAILY posts!....is Snohomish Shepherdess' Sheep, Spinach and Strawberries.  She was at the Snohomish Knitter's Guild meeting where the KnitWit's did their presentation last month.  I don't think I met her but I can't be certain ~ I met quite a few new people and it's a complete blur as to who they were.  I'm hoping to meet her in a few weeks at this month's meeting.  Anyway, to get to the point, I discovered her blog a few weeks ago and I am completely hooked!  I feel like I'm sitting in her kitchen listening to her tell stories, and I can almost taste all the wonderful recipes that she shares as she whips things up in her kitchen.  Beware ~ here comes the promised alliteration.  I made a quick list of all that I love about her blog and here it is: Friends, Family, Food, Farming, Fiber, Fabric, Photos, Canning, Cooking, Crafting, Quilting, Knitting and Noshing.  If you have any interest in the above topics and you haven't checked her site yet, I highly recommend it!

I am so inspired to get back in the kitchen and break out my cookbooks ~ I've fallen into a rut and her blog has given me the itch to start trying new recipes again and get the canning supplies my father-in-law recently picked up for me at a garage sale (THANKS!) so that I can experiment with small batches of some of the recipes that she's shared.  After hearing about Snohomish Shepherdess' Pickled Jalapenos, my husband shared a memory of Jalapeno Jam that his beloved, and very missed, Grandma Grace used to make when he was a boy, and he's asked me to attempt a batch.  Now to find a recipe!  Any input would be greatly appreciated!

I should mention, also, that she was kind enough to mention the 4 of us KnitWits in her most recent blog post, in which she shared some wonderful family photos, stories, and recipes, and if you're so inclined, you can read it here.  If you're like me, it will make you think about all the people in your life that have travelled along beside you.....and leave you craving a big spoonful of Orange Marmalade.

26 November 2010

Full Circle

Celebrating 4 years of knitting fun ~ much to be thankful for!

Happy Birthday, Friend

Eat, knit and be merry!  Enjoy the rest of your birthday month......you spoiled brat ;)

25 November 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Our first White Thanksgiving since, well, I can't remember!  We're coming full circle today ~ the knitwits learned to knit together on Thanksgiving day 4 years ago and this will be the first Thanksgiving since then that we've all been together ~ it should be a joyous and fiber filled celebration.  Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, and I hope you all have as much to be thankful for today as I do.

22 November 2010

Baby, it's coooold outside

Our first snow of the year ~ it's early and not mixed with rain so maybe the forecast for a long, cold, white winter is right.

Dozer will be okay with that ~ he's decided the giant snowflakes are messing with him and has taken to chasing each one he sees ~ it's something new in the 3 years we've had him and it's so hilarious the image stabilizer couldn't quite calm my quaking hands since I was in hysterics trying to get a picture of him.

This is the best shot of the day ~ sounds like I may have lots of time to practice over the next few months ~ hopefully, the novelty won't wear off for Dozer.  It's so good to have a dog around to keep your spirits up!

He's not howling ~ he's trying to catch the flakes.....pretty cute, eh?!

18 November 2010

The Gang

Thanks, Charisa, for sharing these ~ it's nice to have a couple of the 4 of us (and where I don't look like someone should call 911 immediately!)

15 November 2010

More Photos From Our Latest Adventure

" Aren't you glad I only had 3 sons" were the first words out of my wonderful mother-in-laws mouth.

With a laugh, hmm... what does that mean? all of us daughter-in-laws thought.
Wouldn't she want even more of us?!

~We might be all any mother could take.

We are so much more then just "in laws" to each other.
What a memory we'll share.
We'll have more, and we've got some money because of our courage, so we'll need to plan another activity.
Hope to knit with you all soon. ~Oneknitwit

12 November 2010

Coming up for air.....

I've spent the last 3 days hitting 'replay' in my mind and reliving our experience as presenters for the Snohomish Knitter's Guild.  It's hard to put into words all that I personally gained from the experience ~ actually, I guess I should say it would take too many words to do that.  I've been thinking about what I wanted to tell everyone about our big night and this is what it boiled down to for me:
  • Charisa ~ you are one dynamic, charismatic, fearless leader!  It's amazing what you and your knitting group have accomplished in the last year.  To take your passion for knitting and form the community that you have in such a short time was amazing to observe.  You are the epitome of the guild's theme this year.  Thank you so much for inviting us to come and speak to you all.  And on a personal note, I still can't believe how quickly you pegged me as a type A personality, oh kindred spirit!
  • The Guild ~ you were wonderful!  We were so nervous ~ some more than others...we had visions of seizures, fainting spells, tears, hysterical laughter....you name it, we were worried it was going to happen to one of us!  You all couldn't have been more welcoming and enthusiastic about a bunch of strangers coming to talk to you about a craft that many of you have probably had more experience at than the sum of all our combined years of knitting.  Thank you so much for making us feel at home from the minute we walked in the door!
  • National vs Local ~ within 10 minutes I decided that my TKGA membership will be a thing of the past (at least for the time being) when it expires in February and I'm going to join the Snohomish Guild.  I can't wait to get locally involved and hopefully be put to work in some form or fashion to help this fantastic group of people grow and support each other in their fiber craft passions.  I'm a workhorse and love to help where I can, so hopefully once I settle in I'll be able to contribute in some way.
  • Waltz Building ~ I'm not sure where the guild used to meet but the new digs are fantastic!  I looked it up on 'the Google' this week and learned that it was built in 1938 as the music building for the high school.  I love the sense of history you get when you walk in the door, with old black and white class photos on the walls everywhere you look.  What better place to practice a craft that has such a rich history of it's own.  My only regret is that the lighting was not the best for photo taking and of the many photos I took after our presentation, I only had a few that were barely salvageable.
  • Feedback ~ we were hoping for some (anything, really, please tell us your thoughts from the night!) and I'm not sure what the other knitwits have heard but I'll share my moment of glory.  I got a wonderful note on Ravelry from luv4wool simply titled 'Inspiration' in which she shared that she has been knitting since a young age and that we inspired her to take a class and wanted to know where to start.  I've already thanked her and shared some thoughts on choosing a shop and a lesson but I'd like to thank her again here since her simple note made any of the prepresentation emotional trauma I went through totally worth it!  I'm so glad that you shared with me!  And I've also noticed that we have a few new followers on the blog ~ welcome!  We're glad that you were interested enough to find us online and leave us messages ~ warms my heart.  Also, the invites that I got to 4 knitgroups ~ thanks to everyone that approached me with an offer of a local weekly group ~ I hope to get to hang out with some if not all of you soon!  I'm excited!
  • On a personal note ~ I'll wrap it up by saying that I appreciated having the forum to publicly tell my fellow knitwits how I feel about them and all that they mean to me.  We send emails all the time but I don't think we've actually told each other out loud how much our friendships mean and how special we know our relationships with each other are.  What a great night!  I'm so proud that I let my arm be twisted into taking this opportunity and overcoming all my fears.  For someone that didn't think they could fill 5 minutes with anything but idle chatter, I think I may have taken up more than my allotted time and I still had things I wanted to say!  It was so empowering to be surrounded by so many creative, encouraging fellow crafters.  I feel like I've found a home ;)
I'll share just one photo with everyone ~ hopefully Kelli has a bunch that she can post but this was my money shot from the evening.  Kelli getting to share her first pattern with a guild member:

07 November 2010

Countdown ~ 2 more days .....

maybe I do have 15 minutes worth of things to talk about .......

I've been knitting for 4 years and this is only 1/3 of my projects ~ I've gifted the rest and I still have this many knits to talk about ~ sometimes you don't realize what you've accomplished until it's sitting right in front of you!

03 November 2010

Kelli Cap!!!~

Here's a cute beanie you can quickly knit up. You'll memorize the pattern in no time and wherever you are, as long as you have your US 8's and 11's~16" circulars you can knit away with ease and create a new hat.
Melissa thanks for your help and support~without you this would not have happened!

29 October 2010

Trick or Treat~

Kaileigh, Bella and M'lis~ a bunch of punkin heads~ my daughters.

Halloween 2010

From left to right: Bella's, Judy (my mom's),mine, Kaileigh and M'lis's!~What talent!

Mmm, yummy pumpkin guts!
Ok I did roast the seeds,they were good.

24 October 2010

Retreat ~ Part IV ~ KnitWits

Retreat ~ Part III ~ The Women

What an amazing bunch of ladies ~ I felt honored to be included again this year in their outing to the Island.  We had such a great time ~ there were out-of-staters who sadly missed being included in the group photo, and a few other new faces that weren't with us last year.  We knitted and crocheted and stitched and one of us even brought a loom this year (my mantra is 'no new hobbies, no new hobbies, no new hobbies' ~ the loom was beautiful and the process looked addicting!).  We celebrated a birthday, as well as a first-lace finished project and the excitement that came with that last stitch coming off the needle!  The weather couldn't have been nicer for the middle of October ~ blue skies, warm island weather and we even got to witness an outdoor wedding this year.  We came close to tripling last year's donation to Heifer International ~ this year we raised $1320.50 and were able to purchase 2 'Knitter's Gift Baskets' (each basket represents an alpaca, a llama, a sheep and an angora rabbit), 2 'Honeybees', a 'Trio of Rabbits', a Sheep and a Goat. I think the 21 gals that were on the retreat did a GREAT job of not only boosting the Island's economy but also doing something kind and generous to help people in need all over the world.  I'm honored to be part of such a great group of women!

Retreat ~ Part II ~ The Projects

I started 3 new projects while we were in Roche Harbor ~ the 1st and most exciting was I got to test knit Kelli's soon-to-be-released, very first ever pattern ~ her 'Kelli Cap'....here she is modeling it

With the black alpaca yarn that I got at Krystal Acres on the first day of our trip, I cast-on 'Weldon's Vintage Scarf' ~ a pattern that I picked up at Fiber Gallery, one of our many lys'.  It was written by Jessica Rose, who we took a class from a few years ago ~ she's awesome and full of stories and tons of knowledge.

The third thing I cast-on for is Kieran Foley's 'Iceland'.  I'm using Ecobutterfly Organics 'Pakucho Lace' in Vanilla Cream, a Peruvian yarn that I picked up at Churchmouse Yarn and Tea a few years ago and have been waiting for just the right project to use it on ~ I think the wait was worth it. I was lucky enough to find some amazing glass beads made in the Czech Republic when we visited Dream Beads in Friday Harbor last weekend.  I'm about 20% done & I'm having a hard hard hard time putting this project down!

I don't know what I was thinking, starting this many new projects with the holidays looming large and unfinished Christmas gifts taunting me in every corner.......

Retreat ~ Part I ~ Krystal Acres Alpaca Farm

there's so much to tell so I thought I'd do it in installments ~ here we go....


I never thought I'd use the word idyllic but this farm on San Juan Island is absolutely the most beautiful, peaceful, calming place I've ever been ~ I would love to just pull up a chair in the middle of the drive and sit and knit all day and look at the scenery and the animals and just soak it all in.  The gift shop did not disappoint and I managed to spend all the money I had saved just for this stop on the retreat ~ I got an amazing Peruvian hand-crocheted alpaca table runner and 3 different colors of alpaca yarn to knit with (the black is from the very first farm produced black alpaca batch they've ever made)

11 October 2010

Silent Auction

our retreat is days away ~ San Juan Island here we come! I had nothing to contribute to last year's silent auction and nothing this year, either, so I decided to make a knitting box to auction off for Heifer International (http://www.heifer.org/) ~ last year we were able to raise $560 dollars, with which we purchased a knitting basket (2 llamas & 2 sheep) and a flock of hope (chicks, ducklings and goslings) for needy families somewhere in the world
                 hopefully it will raise a few dollars ~ I may just bid on it myself ;)