Archive for the ‘food and garden’ Category

Garden Inspired Knits

Saturday, August 30th, 2014

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Most of you know Anne has many passions that drive her creative force. Anne appreciates beauty in every form and finds a lot of inspiration in nature. Her and David’s garden is a labor of love every year, no matter the size of crop.

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Anne likes to be up early in the morning to see what the world has to offer each day. New plants, flowers, nests, insects, buds and blooms end up spiraling in her head until they produce or inspire a stitch pattern.

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Often the patterns get on the knitting needles immediately, and sometimes they sit in the Anne vault for months or even years until the right yarn comes along.

 

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Anne thought it would be fun to start a trip down memory lane and highlight shawl and scarf designs that were birthed in the garden. She started a Facebook album, which will be added to over the next few days, and started posting pattern photos on Instagram with #GardenInspiredKnits. I thought it would be fun to highlight a few more here. Come…take a walk with me…

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Lacewing is a faroese shawl with allover floral and fern patterns finishing with a banded insect motif just above the hem. It’s worked top-down, with shaping at the shoulders and an applied (knitted on) lace edging at the hem border. 

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The shawl design was inspired by the lacewing,

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a delicate insect that is a great help in pest control for your garden. The name alone easily lended itself to a lace knitting pattern. Originally knit in Knitting Notions Class Merino Lace, this would be stunning in Chebris or Mrs. Lincoln’s Lace. See Anne’s original blog post here.

Frillibet is a triangle shawl

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with a mix of leaf

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and petal motifs that mimic a blooming hydrangea.

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I think this is one of my favorite shawls because I find hydrangeas such a beautiful explosion of color.

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I love going on walks through my neighborhood in June and July, seeing all the different shades of their blooms. Frillibet was originally knit in Malabrigo Lace, but I think it would make a stunning knit in any of the natural colors of laceweight cotton or  Fibre Co Meadow. For more, see Anne’s original blog post here.

Morning Glory is a wrap that pays homage to a delicate flower that only lives for a day.

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Most morning glories unravel into full bloom in the early morning and they prefer bright sunlight. They definitely have an almost magical quality in their temporary beauty.

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This piece is knit in a DK weight and I think it would be gorgeous in Stone Soup DK. It has such unique properties and when knit in lace it has a sophisticated rustic appeal. See Anne’s original blog post here.

Anne says Fruit of the Vine is the “essence of summer knitting—practically weightless, it takes up no space in a purse or tote. the pattern is simple to work and to memorize; with wrong side rows all in purl it is the perfect knitting for hazy, daydreamy summer evenings. come autumn, when mornings are nippy again, you’ll have a bit of sun-soaked color to wrap up with, mmm.”

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The beautiful open work lace mimics a grapevine trellis, with bits of fruit poking through.

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The original scarf is knit in a discontinued yarn,

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but it would be suitable for several laceweights found in our online shop here. See Anne’s original blog post here.

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Sonnenblume is full of delicate motifs that when all brought together in this cleverly structured semicircular shawl, it looks just like sunflowers.

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To me, sunflowers are one of the happiest flowers – they’re large, hearty, come in array of gorgeous colors and resemble little smiling faces. Just this afternoon Padraig and I stumbled upon sunflowers lining a neighbor’s driveway and we froze in our tracks, smiling at their beauty.

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Sonneblume was originally knit with Knitting Notions, but it would also be lovely in one of the soft organic cotton colors here or a Bare Naked Wools here. See Anne’s original blog post here. To view Anne’s entire shawl/wrap collection click here and to view the scarf collection click here.

Pop back now and then over the next few days on Facebook and Instagram and see more of Anne’s garden inspired knits. There’s an abundance of them! So I’m dying to know, which is your favorite garden inspired design of Anne’s? Tell me in the comments below by Tuesday 9 pm EST and I’ll pick two winners to receive a shawl or scarf pattern of their choice!

we get around

Friday, August 29th, 2014

 

 

 

 

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to continue on the theme of finished knits, my friend susie brought her completed capricorn triangle to our monday knitting class. this shawl, knit in our cuddly chebris lace yarn, was the april feature of our 2014 bare naked knitspot club and members of my monday class have been working through it together over the summer.

janet finished hers a while back and i’m blanking on where debby is with hers, but susie is now the proud owner of a finished AND blocked copy of her own. and as you can see, she’s pretty chuffed about it, haha; what’s not to love about this photo?

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debbie s. will be the next finisher—she’s been plugging away on the first half of her edging and was victorious in getting to the halfway mark at last monday’s class. seeing susie’s finished gave her a little something to look forward to (pattern is exclusive to club members until april 2015, but eBook memberships are available here; KAL for the project can be joined in our BNK rav group).

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just that morning i had blocked a couple of things myself—one of them was my completed empreinte crescent shawl, knit in the beautiful forest mist shade of organic color grown cotton.

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i am totally in love with this piece all over again—it is so different, yet equally fetching in light, refreshing cotton lace. and wow, so great to finally see it off the needles, huh?

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i think this hem lace is one of the most stunning patterns i’ve ever had the privilege to knit—it just knocks your socks off, doesn’t it? it’s really pretty in the rectangular version too, where more pattern results in a piece with lots of wow factor.

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and the edging, short though it be, adds that little extra-exquisite touch—again, its impact is amplified in the rectangular piece where it runs along the full length of the piece.

once it was unpinned, i got to play with it on the dress form

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i had to fan myself a little bit when i stepped back to see it.

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the drape of this fabric is so alluring and it does so effortlessly; you don’t have to fuss to make it look incredible.

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just toss it on and fluff—talk about power dressing, haha.

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i knit the smallest size of the pattern, using needles one size smaller than it called for (3.25 mm and 2.75 mm). i used less than one ball of the ecobutterfly cotton lace—about 450 yards/1.3 ounces; your mileage may vary. the piece blocked out to about the same as it did in the wool yarn on slightly larger needles; plenty large enough for a good sized scarf on me.

i am completely thrilled with the outcome!

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on the same day i also blocked a sample scarf that karolyn knit for us, using the unusual purple fifo cotton lace that was shipped with the july installment of the passion club. an openwork celtic knot is placed at the back of the neck.

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this cotton yarn grows in an extremely deep and rare shade that runs the gamut from the color of purple beets or carrots to a brownish mauve. we were very lucky to procure for our club shipment the most purple examples of its type—much more so that the heavier weight versions we have in sport, fingering, and worsted weight.

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this yarn knits into a completely different fabric from the green and brown color grown cottons. with a fiber texture more like linen, the fabric is sturdy like denim and has the same propensity to be a bit stiff at first, softening with time and handling. the design is the rectangle version of the club project, knit into a fabric pattern inspired by bandana prints. this pattern will be released when the club pattern comes up for general release in november.

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i knit a bocce hat from the fifo cotton in sport weight, which i also blocked and washed the other day, but forgot to photograph. i’ll do that when i get home; i’d like talk a little more about how the fabric opens up and changes with washing.

well, that was monday—we were to travel on wednesday and i wanted to use up the various vegetables we had in the fridge before we left.

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so once everyone went home, i got to work in the kitchen on a curry. i think just about everything in it was from the garden except the tofu.

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yum-yum; summer eating is so good! and the best part is that there was plenty to put in the freezer so when we get home, we can just thaw and heat for dinner.

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first thing the next morning we hit the road for albany. as usual i drove the first half and david took the last half, which meant i was free to knit til we got there.

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i brought a few different projects along, but the one i worked on in the car was my third bocce cap in our kent DK yarn—i’m trying to get a few samples knit in different fibers so we can have a variety for the photo shoot.

i finished the brim and did my increase round, then changed needles for the body. i always enjoy passing that milestone; even though the size grows a bunch all in one shot, my hands love changing to larger needles and a looser gauge.

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with the ease of a more flexible fabric, the body pattern just flies along—lots of stockinette and a pattern that begs for more rows to be added. by the time we got to albany and settled in, i was well into the hat body.

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i worked on a different project that evening, but the next day, i knit on it while i checked email and ravelry and later when we went to the movies, i put on a few more rounds.

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and on today’s trip to massachusetts, i got a bunch more done—i’m almost ready now to start the top decreases.

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today i finally did some running after almost a month of rehabbing my ankle from its mysterious injury. i’ve been biking a lot to keep in shape while it heals, but have been hesitant to run or even walk on it, since the last time i tried, i had a backslide with it. i figured this would be a good time, while i was away and getting more sleep and some relaxation.

so yesterday i went for a good four mile walk and today i did a mix of walking and running, finishing with two miles of running. the roads near my mom’s place offer some nice shady woods as well as neighborhoods—there are even trails leading into the pine bush nature area to explore. often those are way too muddy to navigate when i’m visiting, but today they were good and dry. it felt great to be out there again; i’m hoping i can keep it up. so far, it still pain free and i’ll try again tomorrow. unfortunately, i’m fairly certain that next weekend’s half marathon is out—a big disappointment since the race route takes us along all the streets i run nearly every day; i was really looking forward to it.

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yesterday we went with my mom to the movies in the afternoon and then to a terrific photography exhibit in the evening at the albany institute of history and art. i really enjoyed that; if you live nearby, it is well worth checking out.

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then today we were lucky to take a trip with my cousin to massMOCA museum of contemporary art. this was such a treat; one thing i really miss about living in NYC is the access to world class museums. i’m going to tell you all about that in the next post as this one is getting too long now, but i do want to show you one beautiful thing i saw today (among many others)

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this adorable doggie named flannery, who stole my heart when she posed so readily for my camera. what a charmer! we had a wonderful day filled with art and my head was just about to explode with visual excitement by the time we left.

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back at my mom’s place, we made a nice dinner of fish and vegetables, including—guess what?—green beans from our garden, which we all enjoyed.

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now it’s time to join my mom and david in watching a movie (we sort of glut ourselves on AMC classics when we visit, haha). i’m working on a secret project this evening; let’s see if we can sneak up on it to spy . . .

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drat, not quick enough; it heard me coming and zipped itself up tight. a sure signal that it’s time to stop typing and go knit. see you soon.

summer bounty

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

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i’ve shared a lot about the wealth of our garden in the past few weeks, but now that school is back is session, i realize i am missing one of summer’s additional riches—the happy noises of children playing outside on those long sunny days of summer.

we are lucky to live in a home that doesn’t have air conditioning; we have to throw our windows open wide to capture the breeze (if any) when it gets hot, but because of that we can enjoy the music of kids having fun.

just before they went back to school this past week, our neighborhood held its annual block party, which is where i snapped this great photo of two brothers showing off a colorful stack of prizes. i really admire their forethought in concentrating all of their winnings on one particular item for maximum effect—more IS more, after all. i believe we could be looking at a renowned design duo of the future!

what i love even more??

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that upon seeing some friends who arrived late, they immediately shared some of their own winnings to help them get started on the fun. adorable, no?

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in fact, the day was filled with smiles—i work the welcome booth where everyone checks in to receive tickets for games door prizes, so i get to see everyone.

good thing it was all so much fun, because later on, back at the ranch, it was all work and no play for yours truly—there was plenty of garden produce to get squared away.

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we are not getting loads of any one thing on a daily basis except green beans; they just keep coming, haha. that said, there is still plenty to take care of by the time saturday and sunday roll around because most days, i just throw it all in the fridge to deal with later.

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yep, that’s right—we are digging up a few new potatoes when we want those to eat; the fingerlings are ready and boy oh boy, are they deLISH.

and so good eaten with green beans (we are finding out that many foods go well with green beans, now that we are consuming them daily).

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i send them home with friends as well and when i gifted a pound to mark and bil, mark texted me a photo of a yummy ligurian pasta dish—trofie— made with green beans, potatoes, and pesto.

while that sounded like the ultimate comfort dish for a cold winter evening, for summer i thought it would be less heavy as a salad or side dish with just potatoes and green beans and no pasta (and i’m not the first; there are many recipes out there for such a salad).

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so i tried that and it was good.

and of course there was one chilly evening when a pan of roasted potatoes was in order, i so i did that too and threw in those baby carrots i blogged about a couple weeks back.

which we ate with green beans cooked in tomato sauce—O.M.G., so good

that second basket of tomatoes, eggplant, squash, peppers and onions? i made into david’s favorite stew—ratatouille

YUM! especially with fresh-picked vegetables; you just can’t go wrong. meanwhile, i’ve been putting up green beans in the freezer—about a half dozen bags each week. i probably have all i need in there right now, but what else am i going to do with them all? i figure i can always share the frozen ones in the depth of winter when we are all just starving for fresh garden flavor.

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and here’s a good one—we had a full day of rain last week that dumped torrents of rain on our parched garden. a few days later i was out picking beans and what did i see on the pea vines that i thought were “over”?? a fresh crop of peas!

i didn’t even know pea vines could continue producing after their one crop was in. we ate those last night with some salmon, yum, yum.

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now i know you are dying to see what i made with all those peaches i showed you last week. but first i must say that these peaches are some of the best i’ve EVER eaten. and such good keepers; after putting up fifteen bags in the freezer, i still had about two dozen left over, which we’ve been keeping on the counter and not one of them has gotten spotty or rotten.

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on monday, i cut up eight or ten of them, mixed with sugar and spices, and put them into a pie shell i was keeping in the freezer.

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i figured out a solution i like for a gluten free streusel topping that is not too crunchy, yay.

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the results were wonderful. i shared them with my monday knitting class and we groaned over how delicious those peaches are, mmm-mm. the pie crust was not my favorite gluten free option so far—the flavor is good, but pieces of the rim kept falling off as it baked. i think that dough is just too tender.

because i still had peaches and because my weekend baking is usually gone by the time the wednesday class meets, i thought i’d bake a second treat on wednesday

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from the america’s test kitchen gluten free cookbook, cobbler made with a cornmeal biscuit topping. it was a huge hit with everyone; erica and emily especially liked it. it was delicious . . .

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it’s really got more of a shortcake character because biscuits are dense. i still prefer a softer cobbler cake, more like the one from my traditional recipe. i’m going to keep working on it.

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i love making and tasting all those baked goods, but i think my favorite way of eating summer fruit is raw—so refreshing. this has been my breakfast nearly every day this week.

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i have a pile of finished knits that need blocking as well as several projects on the needles.

i’ve got two finished bocce caps knit with sport weight yarn—one in brown organic cotton and one in the special mauve fifo. the bocce cap pattern will be released in about a week or so; we have a new blanket pattern to be released first (check back monday for that!)

i have a third bocce on the needles now in our kent DK yarn, which knits to the correct gauge. sarah picked out the driftwood shade for me to work with this time.

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i just barely started it, and had to set it aside while i got other items caught up but it will be great for knitting on here and there, since it’s so portable. lately, i get a lot done by keeping such a project in the kitchen where i can pick it up to knit a round or two while a pot boils or when i need to take a load off.

that’s what i did with my empreinte shawlette—i’ve been working away at it pretty diligently, here and there, making a big difference in my progress.

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and now it’s sitting in the finished pile, waiting to be stretched and blocked (hopefully tomorrow)

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speaking of finished items, sarah showed up for work last week wearing her billow cloud cowl, knit in the worsted weight organic cotton, in the cool, refreshing sage color. she’s got it paired with her deep green wheaten cap, knit in the sport weight of the same cotton. she’s so proud of it and rightly so—it’s beautifully knit. you can see more of this project and other cotton favorites in our cotton KAL on ravelry—come join us!

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speaking of the wheaten cap, sarah’s mom, anne C. whipped up a sample for us (thank you anne!) in one of our new shades of stone soup fingering yarnriver rock. is it not stunning? wow, i thought i loved all the shades equally, but this one is something else . . . you’ll be seeing lots more of it as we get better photos (we know they they don’t do it justice and we’re working on that).

and finally, what girl doesn’t need one of these??

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i came downstairs last sunday morning to be greeted by our new sign, which david framed out to match the fencing on our property. i had to giggle that it was placed to point into the open washroom door.

he put it in the ground that day and now we have signage that is very visible on 15th street. yay.

i’m working on a bunch of secret projects as well as swatches and designs for classroom projects we’ll be tackling at our rhinebeck after party retreat and at yarn in the barn in michigan.

oh wow, look at the time; i haven’t even been to the office today and i need to see emily and erica before they go—time for me to boogie. i’m hoping to get some blocking done tonight or tomorrow so you can see how pretty that lace blocks out in the cotton. and i know i’ll be doing some bike riding with david this evening, too.

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hope you’ve got some fun things planned as well—summer won’t last forever; have a wonderful sunday!

four words

Monday, August 18th, 2014

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CORN for the freezer. i bought this early on saturday at the farmer’s market, fresh picked that morning and put it up that  night after supper. this is gonna taste SO good in january and february! (or even november, haha).

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TOMATOES which i also put up on saturday night. i had thought i’d make ratatouille, but when i saw the amount, i decided squirrel them away for winter instead. there are more for ratatouille (along with fresh eggplant and squash); they’ll be ripe later in the week, probably wednesday.

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PEACHES at their perfect peak of ripeness; beckie and i took a ride to the orchard on saturday morning before yoga class and scored big time. i bought two boxes, which ended up being a lot more than i thought. after writing a pattern on saturday afternoon and sunday morning, i got to work and spent the rest of the day peeling and slicing or cutting them up to freeze.

their flavor and fragrance are so good it aches. i will leave it to your imagination what i baked with them this morning—pictures tomorrow, i promise.

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GREEN BEANS  (which technically makes it five words) which is what i’m working on now (i took a break to throw up this quick, drive-by post!). we ate some of these fresh in a nicoise salad david put together last night. salad is one of his four or five specialties (besides, of course, his special specialty, which is loving ME). i’ll freeze all of these because as you know, there will likely be more in a few days.

i’ll be back later today or tomorrow with a long post—i have lots of knitting to share and some new recipes for green beans (because when you eat them nearly every night, you need variety, right?).

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the empreinte crescent shawlette i have on the needles now in organic color grown cotton lace is nearly done; i’m hoping to finish it off in class today—isn’t is stunning? this is the forest mist shade; i love it, i keep stopping to look at it. it’s gone so quickly now that i’m on the garter section; it’s perfect knitting for the kitchen, to pick up whenever a pot can spare a few unattended minutes. a good reason to rest my ankle, haha.

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ok, that’s enough rest now—back into the kitchen for me. happy monday!

oops! i forgot to mention my NEW craftsy class will be live very soon.

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for a chance to win this class for FREE, click here. but hurry, the contest ends tonight!