Oh goodness.  Hello!  I wanted to get here to wish you all a very merry Christmas, but the time slipped away from me.  I do hope everyone had a wonderful holiday doing what makes you most happy!  
I love a good handmade holiday.  Growing up, we made a lot of gifts for each other, so that truly is when my heart is most happy.  I made a few things; peppermint lip scrub for a bunch of peeps, 1 pair of Motive mitts for one sister, and a pair of sheet pants for the other sister.  (I had that idea on Christmas Eve day to sew and I spent the majority of the day trying to put my sewing machine back together and finally sewing them! Ugh!  Sometimes I get on my own nerves! 😬)
My sisters both came for a visit on the 26th which was awesome.  And, my sister Shelly came bearing these awesome headbands.  

One for my niece Kelli, one for me, one for my sister Lisa, and one for Libby.  We all squealed when we opened the package.  They are fabulous!
Pattern:  The Soleil   (My sister used the yarn that the pattern called for.)

Happy New Year dear friends!  May 2019 be one awesome year for you!

xx, leslie

turks and caicos

  I never thought in a million years I would like to go away in December.  I love to be home.  Especially during December.  And truly, you know, there is just so much more to do than any other time of year.  But honestly, I now believe it to be one of the best times to go away.  
A couple of things I learned about the time right after Thanksgiving and a few weeks before Christmas:
* Most people don't like to travel then.  Makes sense.  Kids are still in school.  College kids are back in school. People may be going away for Christmas break.  
*It just so happens to be when rates are lowest; airlines and hotels.   Makes sense since most people aren't traveling.  And also makes sense for people who can travel then, to travel then! :)
 With an empty nest, it seems like all of those things fit nicely into our travel calendar. 
So, we packed our bags on December 6 and headed to some unbelievably gorgeous water on December 7.
I had never even heard of this Island until about 5 years ago.  Not sure why it was never on my radar.  If you like sun, sand and all the water activities, you will love it here!  Snorkeling was great.  AND, they have horseback riding on the beach.  (But, I'm allergic to horses so we didn't horseback ride. 😀)
The last day, a storm rolled in.  It was a great time to work on Turtle Dove, capturing all of the warmth I could into that sweater.  

I am now fully excited about Christmas.  Both Charlie and Andrew are home and I'm leaving in about an hour to pick up Libby at the airport.  All babies under the same roof tonight!  Yippee!

turtle dove

Have you seen this pattern?  I'm truly and utterly in love.
I'm not a turtleneck person at all.  I just don't like anything permanent around my neck.  I can do a scarf or a cowl because I know I can remove it if I get too confined.  I just don't go for a turtleneck.
That is until I saw Turtle Dove.  It's just so beautiful.  And the yarn is to die for.  It's knit top down, and I'm about to separate for the sleeves.
Turtle dove + morning Celery Juice = A beautiful way to start a day!

november knitcrate

I can't even begin to tell you what a treat it is to open my mailbox and see this lovely blue box.  And then when the beauty drops out, I fall in love each and every time.
November's knitcrate was such a beauty. Jewel toned colorways sprinkled with a bit of sparkle.  Oh ya! I instantly wanted to knit a sweater out of this yummy yarn.  However it is a Superwash Merino so I think I will stick to the pattern included.  Superwash Merino is best for those lovely accessories!
The November Crate included not one but three patterns for this lovely yarn.  
Yarn:  Uru.yarn  Sugared Worsted  2 skeins.  70% Merino, 20% Nylon, and 10% Stellina.  4 different colorways.  I received Wolves colorway.  Also available in Roses, Gilded and Twilight.  
Pattern:  Well, like I said, there just happens to be three knit patterns.  Mitts, a cowl and a hat.  As always, there is one crochet pattern.  
I'm not sure the photos show the beautiful sparkle in these yarns but it's there, I promise!  Twinkle toes ahead with this sock crate!  A sparklying, Stellina-laden yarn for a new pair of socks.

Yarn:  Uru.yarn  Sugared sock.  Available in two exclusive colorways.  I received the Apple, but Amber was lovely as well.
Pattern:  A sweet ankle sock.  Ribbons of Gratitude.

I had a friend to knit with contact me and tell me she was ordering her friend a year subscription of the sockcrate.  Every other month.  What a lovely gift.

As always, your first crate is 20% off by using code FKW20 at checkout.

Happy December, Friends!

hipster shawl

I truly couldn't be happier with my latest finished piece; the Hipster Shawl.  It was so much fun to make, I ALWAYS wanted to be working on it.  I searched high and low for a yarn that I would be happy with and would want to wear a lot.  And since this was going to be close to my neck it needed to fit the non scratchy criteria.  I ended up going with the Baby Yak Medium by Myak yarn that the pattern calls for.  Especially after reading all of the wonderful reviews.  And, I honestly can't be happier.   It is a bit pricey, but I decided this was an investment I was willing to take.  And, I seriously have had it on at some point in my day, EVERYday, since I finished it.  Now, that's what I call a great knit!
The only issue I had with the yarn is that I ran low!  Seriously I used all but about 2 yards!  
I ended up having to space my tassels a little more resulting in fewer tassels, but I'm okay with it.   This was the first time I ever did the Indian Cross Stitch.  (That stitch up there with the crossovers and holes.)  I found a helpful YouTube video here.

Pattern: Hipster Shawl
Yarn:  Baby Yak Medium by Myak, Desert.  5 skeins.  (100% Yak)
Needle Size:  US 8

barbie lou

It's been really fun/busy around here lately. My kids are home for Thanksgiving Break!  Nothing better than having all of your babies under one roof!  Speaking of babies, I made a Barbie Lou for the sweetest little new gift to the world!  She is a friends baby and is only 4 months old.  Holy Cow.  I wish my babies were 4 months old again!
The pattern calls for Classic Elite's Liberty.   Did I ever mention that Classic Elite went out of business?  Yes. I fell in love with Classic Elite years ago.  A true love affair.  Whenever I found a new pattern, I always hunted for a Classic Elite yarn.  And many times I used a Classic Elite Pattern.   I am just heartbroken that soon I will no longer be able to get their yummy yarn.  It was always that yarn company that was rock solid in my mind producing quality yarn that would always result in a beautiful finished piece.  I did manage to find Liberty on a closeout sale here.  I really need to order some for my stash as this really makes a great Barbie Lou.  

Pattern:  Barbie Lou
Yarn:  Classic Elite Liberty.  3 balls MC, 1 ball CC, 1 ball CC
Size:  Large (1+ year)

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!


My newest obsession. And I mean obsession.  The Hipster Shawl.
I'm in one of those phases where one of the first things I think about when I wake is my knitting.  They Hipster might be to blame. I truly can't wait to get to it.  Simple, interesting and on size 8 needles, it shows progress!  Love a project like this.  This wasn't my first color choice for this project, however, upon looking EVERYWHERE for this MYAK yarn, I pretty much took what I could get.  And to be honest, it is totally growing on me.  I think it is a nice neutral that will blend with most things in my wardrobe.
I made a mistake yesterday, and had to rip out a couple of inches.  It didn't really bother me though... more time to knit!

Happy weekend, friends!

the oak pullover by quince and co

I started Oak back in July and buzzed right through it, all except for seaming in that cute little pocket.  And finally a couple of weeks ago I seamed in the pocket.  And yesterday, I wore Oak!  
This is the first sweater I made out of Plain & Simple, and it won't be the last.  In fact, I would like another Oak maybe in a darker color.  It's a great knit and an even better wear.  
I must admit, however, I do have a few things I would do differently if I would ever make this again.  Things that I would tailor to my body type.
The first is the length.  I guess I must be a little longer waisted then the model.  So... if I made this again I would add a couple of inches to the body.  Don't know why I didn't check that as I went... I usually do.
The second thing I would do would be to add more length from the underarm to the shoulder.  I would prefer it to be a bit roomier through the arm since this is a dropped shoulder.
The only modification I did make was to add a couple of inches to the length of the arms.

Pattern:  Oak
Yarn:  Owl by Quince & Co color Elf, 8 skeins
Needle size:  US 8
Size: S

october knitcrate

Well,  my travel schedule kept me from getting to this space much in October.  Now that I have some time to hunker in, I plan on spending more time here.  Although it is November, I still want to share with you October's knitcrate.  It's one of those things I feel that I can't move on until I do!
This months theme is Verdigris.  The patina of time, faded, peeling and rubbed-down boards; pastel-soft matte finished, ceramic smoothness, and the play of shadow and light on everyday surfaces.

I'll be casting on using this month's crate as soon as I finish a couple of things on my needles. (More on that later.)
The October membership crate had me pretty excited.  The yarn and the knit pattern!  (You remember you always get a crochet pattern too if that is your passion.)
Yarn:  2 skeins of Audine Wools.  50% peruvian alpaca, 30% merino wool, 20% nylon.  It's pure yumminess and I can't wait to see the drape that will be achieved using this yarn.  
Pattern:  Huerta.  It's a triangle shawl worked flat from the narrow point to one of the edges, combining two different pattern motifs.  
The sock artisan crate has me equally excited.  A superfine fingering weight yarn double stranded for this months sock pattern.
Yarn:  Artistic Ewe Yarns in Celery Stalk  75% Superwash Merino, 25% nylon
Pattern:  Doubledown  a quick ankle sock that uses the yarn double-stranded for a quick effect!  (Super excited as I love ankle socks!)
Extra:  Chiaogoo 40"  US size 2 needles to make the socks extra quick using the magic loop method.

If you haven't tried a Knitcrate and are interested in making mail days exciting, you can get 20% off your first crate by entering code FKW20 at checkout!

my favorite socks

Hey friends!  Happy November!  So... I finally figured out a sock that fits me the way I want it to! Exciting stuff!   And while I was in Mexico I tweaked it to be exactly that.  I combined a couple of patterns and revised a few things to my liking.  
I'll share it down below.  I don't know how to do a printable, but will work on changing that.  If interested, you can just copy and paste and then print.
Opal yarn is some of my favorite.  This was colorway was Rainforest Monarch.  I have had this in my stash for a while so not exactly where I picked it up.  However, I did find a website that has a nice selection of Opal sock yarn.

(NOTE, I by all means do not have skinny ankles or calves.  In fact, I have been  told in the past that I have Cankles.  It's ok.  I'm over that.  No, really.  I'm over it.  😉 And, I wear a size 8 shoe.)

My favorite sock pattern ::

Using size US 2 needles, CO 56 st onto double point needle.
Divide onto 3 dpn as follows:  28st on N1, 14st on N2 and 14st on N3.  Join being careful not to twist stitches.
Work in rib 2x2 (or 3x1 or 1x1, whatever your heart's desire!) for 2".  Change to knit stitch and continue until piece measures 6".  (Or again, length desired.)

Heel Flap
With N1, kfb, K28.  With N2 and N3, Knit.  57 st.
Work back and forth on the 29 st on N1 as follows:
Row 1 (RS) *k1, sl1, repeat from *, k1.
Row 2 (WS) purl
Repeat rows 1 and 2 until heel flap measures 2 1/2".

Heel Turn
Row 1:  Sl1, K15, SSK, K1, turn.
Row 2:  Sl1, P4, P2tog, P1, turn.
Row 3:  Sl1, K5, SSK, K1, turn.
Row 4:  Sl1, P6, P2tog, P1, turn.
Row 5:  Sl1, K7, SSK, Ka, turn.
Row 6:  Sl1, P8, P2tog, P1, turn.
Row 7:  Sl1, K9, SSK, K1, turn.
Row 8:  Sl1, P10, P2tog, P1, turn.
Row 9:  Sl1, K11, SSK, K1, turn.
Row 10:  Sl1, P12, P2tog, P1, turn.
Row 11:  Sl1, K13, SSK, K1, turn.
Row 12:  Sl1, P14, P2tog, P1, turn.

Knit across 17 heel stitches, Pick up and knit 16 st along edge of heel flap.  With new needle, knit across 28 stitches of instep.  With new needle pick up and knit 16 st along heel flap.  Knit across 8 stitches of heel.  This is the new beginning of round.
Next round N1, Knit to last 3 st, K2tog, K1.
With N2, knit.
With N3, K2, SSK, K to end.
Round 2, Knit.
Repeat last 2 rounds until 56 stitches remain.  You will have 14st on N1 and N3 and 28st on N2.

Continue knitting until foot measures 5 1/2 inches or 2" less than desired length.

Toe shaping
Next round.  With N1, knit to last 3 stitches, K2 tog, K1.  With N2, K1, SSK, K to last 2 sts, K2tog, K1. With N3, K1, SSK.  4 sts dec'd.
Knit 1 round.
Repeat last 2 rounds for 8 times more, then rep dec end once more- 16 sts.
Divide sts evenly on 2 dpns.  Graft toe closed using Kitchener st.

makeshift darning needle

 It was a glorious day in my Cabana.  The sun was high in the cloudless blue sky.  The sea was calm as I listened to the waves crashing gently against the shore.  The breeze was warm against my skin. I was spending the day alone, on the beach in Cancun, as my husband was in meetings all day. My first sock was almost finished and I was already dreaming about casting on for the second sock.   If I cast on today, I thought, I can probably finish by the end of the week.  This day could not be anymore perfect, I thought.  One last row, and I am ready to close the toe with the kitchener stitch.  I reach into my travel notion bag and hunt around for my darning needle.  Panic sets in.  What?  Where in the world is my darning needle?  I quickly dump everything out only to fully realize... there is no darning needle.  My dreams of finishing this pair of socks is shattered.
Wait, I think.  Come on, Leslie.  You can think of something to thread through these stitches to use as a darning needle.  Hmmmm.  No bobbie pin like I have used in the past.  No paperclips either.   I have my stitch markers but they are too wide.  I wonder if my Cabana neighbors have anything.  Would that be inappropriate (or weird) to bother the couples around me.  Hmmmmm.  
Well.  I do have washi tape.  And my double point needles.  If I tape the yarn to the needle, then I will be able to thread it through like a darning needle.
Voila!  Makeshift darning needle.
The day is once again perfect.
(Note to self ::  always carry washi tape.)

five o'clock somewhere

Well, hello there! And hello October.   I realllly love October. Everything pumpkin, everything orange.
As soon as the calendar turned to October, I wanted to ditch these socks.  I started them at the end of July when the sun was high and the day was long.  These Five O'Clock Somewhere socks were my summer socks or my 3rd quarter socks.  I was trying to knit a pair of socks each season.  Did I mention that?  That I divided up my year into quarters or seasons?!  (Ya.  More on that later.) Anyhow, I needed to finish these so that I could start my 4th quarter socks.

This yarn and pattern were part of a Knitcrate that I received over the summer.  You know what a fan I am of this yarn subscription.  And, this crate made me cast on for these socks almost immediately.  It was a fun repeat pattern that kept things interesting.  It did require me to keep track of every row so I usually had to be focused to work on them.  I'm super excited to tuck them into Libby's halloween care package.  :)

Yarn:  Knitcrate
Pattern:  Five O'clock Somewhere socks.

september knitcrate

The first mail I opened when I arrived home from Italy was my Knitcrate boxes.  I mean, come on.  When you see that blue box... your heart just skips a beat!
It also seams like fall has suddenly arrived.  So, these colors were a welcome addition to my knitting bags!
Knitcrate membership crate:
Yarn:  Vidalana Dream  75% Merino, 15% silk, 10% cashmere.  (100% dreamy)  There are three possible color ways.  Lavender night, Pimento and I was so happy to receive Tapenade.
Pattern:  The knit pattern is Westward by Anne Podlesak.  A beautiful shawl worked from one short corner to the opposite edge, and is designed to be worn on the bias.
The crochet pattern is Las Mananitas De Blanca by Cecelia Losanda.
The sock artisan crate.
I honestly wish I was a faster sock knitter.  I would have an entire drawer full of hand knit socks.
Yarn:  75% Superwash Merino Wool, 25% Nylon  450 beautiful yards of fingering weight.
Pattern:  Falling Petals.  A simple but lovely pattern that still gives the yarn the ability to show its beauty.
Extra:  A petal wheel highlighter set!  This fun little extra made this highlighting lover super happy!

If you haven't tried a Knitcrate and are interested in making mail days exciting, you can get 20% off your first crate by entering code FKW20 at checkout!

on the road again

{Bolzano, Italy.  Waiting for the train.}
I have so much to share about our trip to Italy.  It truly was amazing.
However, I am packing again to celebrate mothers.
From one side of the United States to the other.
A party for a life well lived for Steve's sweet mother in California.
And, a birthday celebration for my sweet mother in Florida.
Back soon.  xx

my main(e) squeeze

Okay.  So this is the blanket that grew from Pittsburgh to Boulder.  I worked on it the entire road trip so that it could join Libby for her next adventures.  Her junior year of college and beyond.  
The finished project is a dream.  A nice heavy blanket.  Durable and pretty much indestructible.  Libby can throw it in the washing machine.  The instructions said to lay flat to dry, but I told her to throw it in the dryer.  I just can't imagine laying this flat to dry as it is heavy when dry.  I can't imagine how heavy it is when wet!
The yarn is super soft consisting of 80% acrylic and 20% alpaca.  Unfortunately, the yarn sheds like CRAZY!  We seriously had fiber flying around the car the entire trip.  It became pretty comical.  The one day I decided to wear black leggings was a big mistake.  Needless to say, I was covered in fiber.
The blanket also becomes very heavy.  So, while having it on your bed is a great thing, knitting on it can turn into a workout!
My main squeeze with her maine squeeze.  

The best thing is that Libby loves it, and I think she will always tie it to the summer we drove her to college.  I promise Libby was wearing clothes. 😌  I just love this photo.  It reminds me of when she was just a baby and I had her wrapped in a blanket.

Project:  Maine squeeze
Yarn:  Buttercream Lux Aplaca Solid, 14 balls or any bulky yarn.
Needle:  US 13

oh new york

I LOVE New York City. I mean, really love it. Everything about it. The food. Awe, come on. So many choices and so creative! The wine. Yep. Delicious. The shopping. I love it even though I'm not a shopper. (But the window displays are still my favorite.) The people. Yep. I love them. They walk around with such purpose, I'm in awe of their lives and what they are doing with their day.  But the thing I get most excited about is seeing the Purl Soho sign when I round the corner onto Broome Street.
I headed in with nothing in particular in mind to purchase.  I've only been to Purl Soho one other time, and I made that mistake then, too.  I wish I would have had a plan but I thought something would just jump out at me.  The problem was, LOTS of things jumped out at me.
I squished lots of yarn in my hands. Talked to the happy sales clerks.  People watched the other shoppers.  I wanted to ask everyone what THEY were buying and making.  In the end I purchased two skeins of Woolfolk Far.  (Delicious.)
I would like to swim in the yarn and fabric.  
Wouldn't that be lovely?

august knitcrate

August's knitcrate came in like a breath of fresh air. I just loved the cool colors I received in both of these crates! (You remember, that's part of the fun... you never know what surprise lies within!)
The theme for August's membership crate is Indigo Glow.  It's all about the stunning oceanic tones, deep teals, seashell pinks and stonewashed grays.  Each membership crate will get two skeins of one of Ura.Yarn Speckled Singles.
A new "brochure" instead of the single cards.  I really like this new look.  You still have the option to print out the pattern, however, now the patterns are included.  Bonus!  I also like all the information about the designers and dyers.
Yarn:  Ura.Yarn Speckled singles.  417 yards of single spun fingerling weight.  100% super wash merino.
Pattern:  Knit:  Gullywasher.  A triangle shawl with great texture designed by Carissa Browning.
              Crochet:  Caribbean Escape.  An expansive crochet shawl with epic fine designed by Jennifer Dickerson.
Ahhhhh.  The August Sock Crate.  A single hank of lovely sock yarn in one of two color ways.  My crate came with Seashell. However I would have been just as happy with Pearl; a beautiful pearly grey.
Yarn:  DagmarEir Lifeboat.  463 yards of 75% super wash merino, 25% nylon sockyarn.
Pattern:  Cascade Socks by Sandi Rosner.  (LOVE!)
Extra:  Cat-eared stitch markers perfect for this project!

If you still haven't tried a knitcrate, you totally should!  AND you can get 20% off your first crate using code FKW20.

road trip highlights

We packed a lot into these last couple of weeks.  August always seems a little nutty, but this year even more so.  I took Andrew to Alabama to get him settled into his new home away from home.  He will be playing golf at a Jr. College in Alexander City called Central Alabama.  It is the perfect fit for him.
We decided to get Libby to Boulder by ways of automobile!  A good road trip was just what we needed.  We rented a car in Pittsburgh (our home town) and started our journey.  First stop; Frankfort Michigan.
{Manitowic Breakwater Lighthouse}

We spent two lovely nights in that beautiful state.  Then started our journey west on the third day.  Across Lake Michigan on the S. S. Badger.   From Ludington Michigan to Manitowoc Wisconsin on a car ferry.  The 60 mile journey took us 4 hours.  And it was wonderful.  A beautiful day on the Lake.  We continued our trek (via highway) across Wisconsin into Minnesota and stopping for the night in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Hitting the road early on the fourth morning anxious for the sights.  We had our eyes on the Badlands National Park.  And boy, it did not disappoint.  Absolutely breathtaking views around every corner.  
I knit the entire way (I mean, the entire way!) on a blanket I wanted to leave with Libby when I left her in Boulder.  A blanket for her new bed.  A blanket to remember the road trip.  (More on the blanket later.)
We were also most anxious to get to our hotel for the night.  And my goodness friends.  I can not say enough about this perfect place to sleep.  With Mount Rushmore in the distance, a tent equipped with a king sized bed, a sweet cot for Libby, tucked in the trees.  It was absolutely PERFECT.

{The fifth morning.  Still knitting on the blanket. } 

On our final day we spent the morning at this spectacular sight.  Mount Rushmore, which I have only seen in photographs, proved to be as splendid and moving as thought to be.

We rolled into Boulder around 7:25pm and I finished the blanket about an hour before.  My hands were as happy as my heart.

littler feet

August 20, 2008
Hello!  I am so sorry for not getting here sooner to announce the winner of Classic Kicks for Little Feet.  We returned last Friday from a fantastic road trip while taking Libby to college in Boulder.  I'll be sure to share some of the highlights, but wanted to make sure I announced the winner before.  That above photo was taken 10 years ago today.  My Charlie, who had littler feet than he does today! :)

The Random Number Generator chose number 33, Karen51.  Karen, please email me lesliemfriend @ gmail dot com and I will make sure the book lands in your mailbox!

classic kicks for little feet giveaway

Hey friends!  Helga Spitz has a new book out tomorrow!  Classic Kicks for Little Feet . (You really must click on that link to see the yumminess!)  OMG... It is TOO cute!
I guarantee that I would have made everyone of these for my kids when they were babies.
Libby said I should just start making some to have a supply for baby gifts when needed.  Great idea, Libby!
There are 16 patterns that mimic actual adult styles.  Created for babies from 0 to 9 months, every pattern is quick and easy.  They all use the same basic sole construction.
Since these projects are small, they don't require much yarn  Perfect for stash-busting.
They all have a sampling of fun embellishments like shoelaces, beads and zippers.
It really is the sweetest collection of baby goodness!

The sweet peeps at Sterling would like to give away a copy to one of my readers!
If interested in receiving a copy of Classic Kicks for Little Feet, please leave a comment here before Thursday evening (August 9) at 5pm EST and I will have the random generator choose a name.
EDIT... I'm extending the giveaway until August 16.  I have been getting Andrew and Libby ready for college and all my time has gone to helping them and getting them to where they need to be.  Andrew is a freshman and is now settled into his place in Central Alabama where he will be playing golf.  And, we are leaving today for a road trip to get Libby back to Boulder for the start of her JUNIOR year!