Currently

Currently

Listening to A Playful Day and Squam Morning on the Dock podcasts – and I am loving them tremendously.

Moving with new Merrell walking shoes, which are awesome for my energized morning walks. Sometimes even with that character pictured above! Although, he is more a leisurely pace walker!

Planning out the books to read that will fill some squares for Book Bingo – I have penciled in To Kill a Mockingbird, Written in my Heart’s Own Blood, Red Bones, Blue Lightning, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and one of the Harry Hole mysteries (I have several on hold at the library – we’ll see what comes through first!) I need a bit of your help with a book that you absolutely hated. Really. This will get me my first bingo and well on my way to the second bingo (what??) I will just have to figure out what book from the Harvard Classics 5-foot shelf I want to struggle though!

Cutting out the muslin for the Merchant and Mills dress. And, yes, I am a bit nervous. Yes, I know it is just the muslin, but I am not sure how I will alter it if it does not fit right. Really.Not.Sure. Stay tuned, I promise to share all the details!

Spinning the last ounce of Shetland, seriously, the last ounce (I weighed it!!) This will give me just over 600 yards, which will be a nice cushion for the sweater!

Enjoying the stretch of sunny days that we have been having! Having to water is a happy task! After so many days without the sun, and such a cold spring – the sun and warmth are so welcome!

Watching
30 Degrees in February, and laughing and crying and loving it!

Knitting the second sock of Carole’s Picot Edge Socks, Through the Loops Mystery Shawl – clue one is done, and plugging away at my Indigo Cones. I am determined to get through my WIP basket before the Summer Knit-Along is over. However, there may be more socks cast on along the way!

Feeling really fulfilled in my work life right now – on so many levels. I am filled with inspiration and creativity; I am learning new things and stretching my boundaries in very good ways!

That is the snapshot of my life right now, but tell me what is your current favorite?!

The First Weekend of Summer

The First Weekend of Summer

Welcome to Tuesday (that really feels like a Monday)!

What could possibly help this dire situation? Reliving the weekend thanks to Carole and her 10 on Tuesday request:

10 Things You Did This Weekend

The weekend arrived a bit early here, Steve only had to work a half a day on Friday. Summer arrived in full force as well, with temperatures into the 90’s here. But, all in all it was a great weekend with a full spectrum of things to do.

We finished a garden bed that we had been working on expanding this month. Whew!

It was also a weekend of discovery – that is discovery in muscles I did not know – or forgot – I had!

There were plenty of cocktails – thank you Blackberry Brambles, Frose’s, Shrubarb (Thanks Vicki for this FANTASTIC new word!!) coolers, and even a beer or two.

The grill got the maximum amount of possible usage for burgers, grilled chicken, and grilled asparagus! There was also Lobster Ravioli, which was not grilled but so delicious!

In moments of respite from the maximum heat and humidity, there was sewing. Specifically, 100 Acts of Sewing, Dress No. 1 in a lovely Robert Kaufman Essex Yarn Dyed Linen that I got from Spool in Pittsburgh. Bonus points were achieved in making and installing the best bias tape I have made and stitched in to date!

There was some spinning – I finished up spinning and plying the ITW batt that I got last year from Maryland Sheep and Wool – I love how it turned out – 400 yards of heavy fingering weight yarn. I almost finished the Shetland done for my sweater project. I just have a tiny bit of spinning to finish and then plying can begin.

There was knitting…I finished sock number one from Carole’s Picot Socks. I LOVE it! Sock number two will be cast on shortly. I also began my Summer Wish List of those WIPs I want to get done this summer – starting with Indigo Cones. Sitting and knitting under the pergola is really lovely, just sayin’.

There was reading – I finished Ann Cleeves White Nights and it was excellent! I thought it was much better than book number one, and I will definitely be continuing with this series this summer! Which is good, because I need a book set in another country for my Book Bingo card! I started The Goldfinch, and within a few pages I was enthralled. This book will be hard to put down – this is a very good thing because as everyone has reminded me this book has over 700 pages!

There was a spectacular Happy Hour under the pergola on Friday!

There was time spent just enjoying that it was the weekend, with deep gratitude that it was not over yet on Sunday night.

There was time spent in meditation and reflection of what the holiday really means, beyond a long holiday weekend, and being filled with profound thankfulness to those willing to serve and give their lives in defense of freedom.

So, tell me – what was your favorite part of your weekend?

Once I was a Quilter

Once I was a Quilter

I have been watching with great interest some hand stitching in my Instagram feed, particularly from David of Southern Cross Fibre and Vicki knitorious. They are each hand stitching on different projects that are equally beautiful. Vicki’s Alabama Chanin inspired stitching is incredibly gorgeous and I am very intrigued by this method of slow stitching. David, however, has taken to a field that I have some experience with, although I did not do any hand piecing as he is doing, and his results are absolutely stunning.

Why does this all interest me so much? Well, early in the 1990’s I was an avid quilter. Okay, maybe not avid, perhaps it is better to say that I was a member of a Quilting Group of avid quilters who had been quilting together for years before they invited me (the novice) to join them. The group met weekly throughout the year, working on one large quilt that they would enter into the Tulip Time Quilt Show. The most challenging quilt that I worked on with them was this hand appliqued flower quilt. Each block was hand appliqued and then the blocks were machine assembled. However, the best part, for me, happened once the quilt was carefully stitched into the quilting frame. Then the quilting could begin! Those were quite simply the best times, with all of us sitting around the quilt, carefully stitching the fabric in front of us. The key was to never be able to tell where one quilter’s stitches began and another ended. I look at this quilt today and to my eye there is no difference in any of the quilting at all. And if these stitches could talk, what stories they could tell about the joys, the heartaches, the struggles, and the lives of the quilters. This quilt took a good number of months to complete with the end goal being to sell it and start the process all over again. My then husband surprised me and bought it at the quilt show, which might have been one of the nicest things he ever did. The quilt won a ribbon at the quilt show, but it holds far greater meaning for me in the memories of all the stitches it contains, worked by the women I grew to love dearly. It is a vivid reminder of all we shared together.

PicMonkey CollageI just loved sitting around the quilt with those ladies, stitching and talking every week but, all too soon my house was filled with children and getting to quilting became a challenge, especially with a spouse who traveled most of the time. Sadly, I soon became far too busy to quilt and working on a large quilt at home was not very “child friendly”. I did continue quilting for a couple of years at home in the evenings when the kids were tucked away in bed and I managed to make several miniature quilts, some of which even won some awards as well!

I love the basket quilt, pictured above, that hangs over the back of a tiny,  hand-made wooden chair with the well-loved Raggedy Ann of my youth.

But, my favorite is this Autumn Leaves quilt that I made (and subsequently had framed to hang on my wall.)

I think often of those ladies that I quilted with and learned from, and while many of them are no longer here; the things I learned from them have not left me.

There are days that I really miss quilting, but then I am reminded of the lack of space we have, and, more importantly – my lack of time. It is nice though, that the slow stitch movement is shining light on the forgotten art of hand quilting and sewing. And, I hope they are never forgotten!

AsKatKnits Summer Knit-Along

AsKatKnits Summer Knit-Along

Tell me, dear Knitter, have you previously been lured in with a summer long knit-a-rama and all you achieved was epic failure?

Yeah, me too.

And, this topic expanded more when I was talking with my friend, planetKnit, about our usual summer knit along that we had both participated in for the last three years and I told her I was not attempting it this year. I was lacking in time and, quite frankly, the energy to knit three months of new projects. And, it occurred to me that if I felt that way, others surely must as well!

And out of that was born this idea. One that allowed knitter’s (or crocheter’s, stitcher’s, or spinner’s) to participate in whatever fashion they wanted (Heck, you can even participate in other whatever-alongs!)

My questions for you are:

Do you have some knitting you need or want to get done?

Is there a project you are itching to cast on?

Do you just want to meander down a lazy river, working on one single project all summer?

Do you want to challenge yourself to tackle a new skill or a project that expand your current skills?

Is your basket of WIP’s about to overtake your house?

Did you make a resolution last January to gain control of the WIP’s in your life and since then the number of them increased rather than decreased?

Do you just need a Knitting Staycation with your stash?

Do you want to have some encouragement, laughter, and crafting fun?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, then I just might have the solution for you! Join me for a summer long knit along where you will find the motivation and encouragement you are looking for!

I have started a Ravelry Group where there will be encouragement and discussion!

There will be cocktails and recipes (more than occasionally!)

And, lots of fun!

So, if you want to have a summer where you knit at your pace (whatever that might be) then, please join us!

We will begin Memorial Day weekend, but there is no penalty for starting earlier, and we will knit through Labor Day Weekend. There is no deadline for project completion, and you can use any kind of yarn you want in whatever amount! You can post photos to your Ravelry project, or not – the choice is yours!

The only requirement is, really, no requirement! This is all focused on helping you get done what you want to get done – from one project to multiple projects – where do you want to be on Labor Day?

Are you in? Feel free to grab a button for your blog! The more the merrier!

 

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P.S. For those of you who do not have any of the above issues, this would be the perfect time to begin that Christmas knitting for those who are fortunate enough to be on your Christmas Knitting List! Yes, over-achievers are more than welcome!

P.P.S Do you have non-knitting projects you want to finish? Sewing? Quilting? Spinning? You are welcome too!

Weekend Recharged

Weekend Recharged

After having several irregular weekends in a row, we celebrated having just a normal old weekend here at Casa del KatKnits!

There were Rhubarb Mules, mmmmmmmm.

It was nice to start the weekend with something that makes us so happy and relaxed!

We did some Farmer’s Marketing, some IKEA wandering, and some Green House visiting.

There was reading, and knitting, and spinning, too.

While the weather was not spectacular, we did all kinds of things that help in the recharging of body and soul, and makes Monday not the challenge that it wants to be!

How was your weekend?

Buffalo Cauliflower:

  • Pre-heat oven to 425°F
  • 1 head of Cauliflower, cored and cut up (try and cut the pieces in even sizes so they cook uniformly)
  • Toss cut cauliflower with 1 TBSP olive oil and 1 tsp of Chili powder and lay on a baking sheet.
  • Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or so, until they begin to soften and brown but are not mushy.
  • Remove from oven and toss with buffalo sauce, serve with blue cheese dip or ranch if that is your preference.

Steve’s Buffalo Sauce:

  • ½ Cup Frank’s Red Hot
  • 2 Tbsp Butter, melted
  • 1 tsp White vinegar
  • 1 ½ tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • Chili powder to taste (add more or less for spiciness)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • Dash of celery salt

Steve finds the best way to heat the sauce is in the microwave at 10-15 second intervals on high, stirring as it warms to keep the butter incorporated. You do not want the sauce hot, but just warm enough to combine. If you overheat it the butter separates.

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