among stones

anne wrote this in the late evening:


carol feller, one of my favorite designer colleagues, has published a new pattern booklet—among stones—which she describes as follows:

“This book is filled with some of my favourite kinds of knits: simple, interesting, wearable. All photographed in some of my favourite kinds of places: secret, beautiful, tranquil. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.”


this autumn release contains ten new patterns intended to be fun to knit and easy to wear. a variety of accessories—socks, scarves, shawls—plus several sweaters make up the collection. the pieces are photographed in natural settings that reflect the fabrics and colors of each project.


The overall feeling is rich and earthy as carol explores the use of texture with both fine yarns and heavier, more rustic weights.


a couple of pieces are sized for both adults and children, a nice touch as gifting season approaches. these bright socks remind me of those tiny bolts of color that you often see in forest settings when a bright leaf or mushroom  makes itself known on a bed of moss or fallen leaves.


a beautifully cabled hoodie looks great on mom and super-cute on the boy as well!
and he seems to feel quite comfortable wearing it, so that’s endorsement enough for me.


each sweater has a completely different character, from sturdy and textural to fine and airy, with openwork panels.


this one reminds me of a tumbling brook with lines that go this way, then that.


while this one has an interesting architecture.


i really like the pass-through detail on this scarf—an allover simple openwork stitch is finished off with a beaded ring that turns the rectangle into another type of scarf altogether, one that stays beautifully draped in place


this touch of beading is just the right amount, i think—it adds depth without being too heavy or dressy (and yet, plenty dressy enough for that unexpected after-work event).


warm and cozy accessories have their place in this collection also, in deep cushy fabrics sure to keep fingers and ears safe from the cold.

want to see more? click here to view the entire collection or visit the book’s page on ravelry to see full project and pattern details. a schedule for carol’s trunk show can be viewed here.

Available in both print and digital format, either from the author’s site or in her ravelry shop. every paper version comes with a digital copy also.


and carol has generously offered for one lucky reader to win a digital copy of the book! if you want to put your name in the hat, please leave a comment at the end of this post by 9 pm EST on wednesday, september 4th.

and while you are waiting to see who won, please enjoy more reviews and interviews with the author by following the blog tour:

5th of September : Laura Nelkin

12th of September: Jean Moss

19th of September: Karen Kelty

4th of October :  Ann Kingstone

17th of October: Rachel Coopey

21st of October: Woolly Wormhead

24th of October : Ruth Garcia-Alcantud

28th of October:  Aplayfulday


my kingdom for an oven

anne wrote this at around evening time:


i’ve mentioned a few times that the peaches in our area are spectacular this year. i’ve purchased several batches and have been bagging them up to put in the freezer, but the last batch i had was too green to do right away. so i cleared a corner in our temporary “kitchen” and laid them out on a cotton rug, careful that none were touching, and covered them with newspaper to ripen. it took a while but finally they were ripe enough to start eating.

by today though, i had to figure out what i was going to do with the remaining nine, poised at the perfect stage of ultra-juicy ripeness, ready to begin their descent into rot if not eaten post-haste. mmmm, so ripe, the skins came off almost in one piece. so ripe that my mouth exploded with flavor at the smallest bite.

let’s see, i believe the equation goes: nine ripe peaches = pie.

i looked at my oven


standing unmoored as it had all summer, forlorn and useless in its corner, suffering the further indignation of serving as a cupboard for pots and pans and a support for our makeshift “pantry”. poor oven.

no, we were’t going to be baking pie together this morning . . . dang, i can almost taste it, too . . .


so i set about cutting the fruit up into little chunks suitable for mixing with yogurt and cereal.


nine little bowls full, mmm. i’m sure they’ll be much appreciated in february, but today, all i want is pie.

seriously though, the summer without a kitchen has not been stressful. i’m too busy to notice that we aren’t cooking much and it’s been nice to eat a lot more raw food. there have been but a few times like this morning when i really REALLY wished i had an oven, a pie dish, and some ingredients for a crust.


the transformation in our home has been totally worth any inconvenience and david has taken on most of the fallout that there is (doing dishes in the tiny washroom sink, for instance).

the new porch windows and doors look great, don’t they? what an improvement over what we had before.


it’s going to be even better when we don’t have a kitchen out there. we’ll paint, install proper lighting, put down rugs, and load in some new furniture. it’s about time we had real porch chairs.


we also got new windows on the other side of the house, where someone had put in picture windows that didn’t match the originals. once these are trimmed out and painted, the whole house will have windows that match.


from inside, the room that used to be our office doesn’t look remotely the same. its astonishing.


and guess what? we are closing in on a finished project. this is the view from the dining room into the kitchen.


inside the new kitchen it’s going to feel airy and roomy with lots of natural light, yay.

david has been plastering for the last two weeks and is finally in the home stretch; he should be done tonight or tomorrow. the flooring, the cabinets, the butcher block, and the lighting are all onsite (and more things i can’t remember); the stone we are using in one area is waiting at the supplier. everything just needs to get loaded in when he’s done. there will still be some odds and ends that need doing, but it looks like the rest going to pull together pretty quickly.

so what’s new in my knitting world?


well,i have been devoting most of my knitting time to secret projects (sorry!).

but most isn’t ALL; i’m still working on my sea pearl cardigan, which isn’t a whole lot further along than when you last saw it—a situation i hope to remedy this weekend, now that a raft of pattern work is finished.


and the finishing work on my olive tweed sticks and stones cardigan in woolen rabbit sporty is moving along well, a little at a time. i’ve been using this as my public project when i knit with friends who are in our fall knitting club and shouldn’t see my secret projects.

the button bands are on and the sleeve caps are almost completely sewn in; once they are done, i will give everything a nice steam press before moving on to the underarm and side seams. it’s starting to look like a finished sweater and perfect timing with fall on its way. i just need to pick out buttons.

speaking of which, i decided to go with the horn buttons for the new highlander that cherie knit in stone soup DK. i’ll need to reknit a few rows of the buttonhole band to fit the smaller buttons, but that shouldn’t take more than an hour, as soon as i have one free, haha.

now i bet you’re wondering what ever happened with that book give away we had last weekend—i didn’t forget! thank you all for sharing your stories about canning and preserving; i always enjoy reading the touching, thoughtful, funny, things you write in comments—and i do read all of them!. (the winner of course is chosen randomly, not judged by their answer.)

anyway, let’s congratulate stephanie b. who wrote:
Strawberry jam…my grandmother always sent us home with jam when we would visit.  My mom canned all kinds of things every year and my sisters and I always talk about the rows of canned food in our basement, my dad even built her a whole shelving unit for one wall of the basement.  I wish the 2 of them were still around to tell me how to make it work but, I’m going to start slowly this year.

alright, i’ve got a few more tricks up my sleeve but i think i’ll save most of those for next time. i do want to show you something really fun from our neighbor bret—his newest brainchild


he gave this old golf cart a new paint job and is using it to drive around the neighborhood for cleanup duty. i think it’s a great way to get kids involved in keeping the neighborhood looking nice; they won’t be able to resist riding around with bret in the flashy cart.

anyway, he was selling ad space on the cart to support our neighborhood association and david just couldn’t resist (i was away somewhere but i agreed it was a good idea). one side has the knitspot sign and the other has bare naked wools.


and the inside has bret; he wants YOU to keep your neighborhood clean or he’ll have to come and show you how it’s done. and i think you’ll agree that’s the last word for today, haha.

ETA: okay, not exactly the last word—patternfish, a long-time partner and supporter of my work, has published a really nice spotlight on knitspot in their august newsletter. maybe you’d enjoy reading it and checking out the rest of their website; click here to beam over . . .

BNWs Features Birchleaf

majordomo wrote this late at night:

Birchleaf_Cowl_Cover web

Another design has popped up on ravelry in Bare Naked Wools! Bonnie Sennott, designer behind Blue Peninsula, fell in love with the fiber combination of Breakfast Blend Fingering and knew it would be perfect for a cowl. When her design was released it was an instant favorite in the Bare Naked Wools ravelry group.

Birchleaf Cowl_Full web

Anne and I fell in love with Bonnie’s design all over again when we ran into her wearing her cowl at Squam in June.

birchleaf at squam

Birchleaf is a texture and lace infinity cowl that can be worn several ways

Birchleaf Cowl Doubled_web

Birchleaf Cowl_Full_2 web

Birchleaf Cowl_Looped web

and is a perfect piece to add to your wardrobe to transition you into cooler weather.

This accessory was first designed in Breakfast Blend Fingering


and Bonnie said it would also be perfect for Stone Soup Fingering.


Which BNWs yarn will you choose for Birchleaf? Breakfast Blend Fingering colors can be found here, while Stone Soup Fingering colors can be found here.

pickled pink

anne wrote this terribly early in the morning:


the fact that we’d have no kitchen this summer led us to forego planting the garden as well—it was a good choice considering how busy we are and how much added work there is when undergoing a major home renovation. we are very relieved not to be worrying about watering and weeding or where the heck we are going to wash whole baskets of produce.

we still however, crave the sparkling flavors of fresh summer veggies and have been lucky to rely on the kindness of friends and neighbors who are sharing the overflow from their gardens. in particular, our dear friend beckie not only lends her kitchen weekly for me to prepare foods for freezing, but never sends me home without a basket of greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, or even eggs for our table.


throughout the season, we’ve been getting together at her house to bag up berries, peaches, tomatoes—all those fruits that are too sticky to deal with when one doesn’t have a sink big enough to wash them.


in a corner of the porch we are using for our main living space right now, i eked out a little square to lay down a cotton rug for ripening peaches under newspaper. most of these will be for the table, but if they all ripen at once, i may end up freezing some.

yes, it’s that time of summer when the harvest is an unstoppable tide and it’s all we can do to keep up with it. that said, it’s important to make sure you know what you’re doing; preserving food has wonderful benefits but only if you use best practices. as an ever-evolving science, the rules of food preservation change and so should our knowledge about the topic, if for no other reason than that food itself is constantly evolving too.

it never hurts to know more about preserving food safely and efficiently, while retaining the best flavor and texture possible. everyone can use a little help in this regard and a good book on the subject can be a valuable friend.

enter a new release from the culinary institute of america, preserving: putting up the season’s bounty


i’m sure there are many more comprehensive volumes out there on canning and preserving—big thick books that cover every eventuality. but this book has something those books don’t—it’s small size, weight, and attractive layout make it so easy to digest that i’m actually reading and using it.

why, i can pop this baby in my tote bag and take it along to beckie’s house to read to her if i want—i like that.


inside, it’s filled with all sorts of useful information that we want to know. but what i like is that it gets you thinking about the endgame before you even start gardening or buying produce.


very smart advice since the end result is only as good as the quality of the produce you have to work with.


the preparatory chapters also discuss the concept of the pantry, how much you really need to put by, and how to store preserved goods properly. all good advice for laying a good foundation.


because let’s face it—putting up food is a labor intensive job, often hot and messy and somewhat pricey; maybe even more costly than average store-bought brands. the big payoff is a healthier, better tasting product of known origin; important enough for many of us to pursue despite the cost. the least we can do to pay ourselves back by treating the final results  like the treasured goods they are.


the middle chapters of the book focus on various preservation methods, each having its own pages in the spotlight. for each, the authors discuss tools and terminology, introducing basic methodology and defining the terms you need to know.


this is where, as a beginner or someone who has limited space to work,  you can choose the tools and strategies that will work best for you. for instance, one of the reasons i have yet to pursue canning, is that for so many years i lived in city apartments with no space to store big pots and boxes of jars that i would use but one month per year—or to store rows of finished canned goods either. i took to freezing because it was quick and easy after a long day of work and ziploc bags took up much less space when not in use.


however, freezing is not the best method for every food and it does require quite a bit of freezer space. i know i should explore canning for certain types of food and one of these summers, i will. i’ll probably get beckie to walk me through canning at some point; just not right now.


still, i love to read about it and doing so may spur me to try it on some level, sooner rather than later.


of course there is a chapter on pickling, along with drying, smoking, and freezing.


you’ll probably find it amusing that even though we don’t cook meat here, i still think it would be awesome to make my own bacon if i did include that in my diet.


i mean, it’s GOTTA be a far cry from what you’d buy in the cooler at the supermarket, right?


even as we work away at freezing fruits and vegetables, beckie and i come up with questions we need answered. it’s always nice to read more about a method i use all the time—why not? one thing i do know is that i don’t know everything about anything.


safe food storage is a topic that totally deserves to be revisited on a regular basis—scientists are finding out new information all the time and updating old, long-held beliefs about the “right way” to handle food.


finally, the book ends with a chapter on homemade pantry staples such as ketchup and other condiments, with advice on filling up that pantry you prepared at the start of the season. it’s nice that they circled back to the beginning i think; it makes me feel that it’s in keeping with the growing cycle of the garden.


here the authors discuss how to clean and assess your jars and equipment as you empty and put them away during the winter—when to get rid of pieces that won’t be useful in the future, how to keep an eye on the shelf life of preserved goods, and how to keep the pantry clean and free of pests. a lot of information for such a small volume.

doesn’t that sound like a terrific little book? wouldn’t you like to own one? well as luck would have it, our friend nathalie who is the director of publications at CIA (and an awesome knitter), has very generously offered us two giveaway copies of preserving!

here’s how it’s going to work: we’re going to give away one copy here on the blog and one copy on our knitspot facebook page. erica will mastermind how the FB giveaway will work and announce it there. the cool thing is that you can throw your name in  the hat in both places for two chances to win (though we will award only ONE book per winner).

to be included in the blog giveaway, leave a comment at the end of this post by 9 pm ESDT on sunday august 24th, telling us what favorite summer food you are  preserving (or wish you could). we’ll pick a winner and announce it early next week.

a big thank you to nathalie for giving us an advance peek inside the preserving book and providing giveaway copies for a late summer treat.