homemade granola

Hiya friends!
Well, I finally perfected my favorite kind of granola, and I want to share it with you.
You see, I like chunky, yet a little flaky, granola.  You know the kind.  The kind where you don't make a mess when you go to shove a big handful into your mouth. The kind where you can grab a chunk and shove that into your mouth instead!   I've been working on this for years.  Years I tell you!  And, the magical day I made a batch that was just the right consistency, I said OHYA!  Write this one down girl!
{the dry ingredients}
But, here's the thing.  I use all ingredients from Trader Joes.  Which is great for those of you that have one near you. It's also great, because the only thing you will need to measure will be the coconut oil and the honey.  But for those that don't have a Trader Joes near you, I will tell you the amount in each bag.  Oh!  The only other possible bummer may be that this recipe makes A LOT.  However, we have found that it freezes beautifully.  The other great thing is that you will have enough to give to your friends you knit with!  Or heck, those non knitters are worthy too.  ☺️
{tthe liquid ingredients}
Okay.  You are gonna need a big roaster for this amount.  You know the one you use for your turkey? Yep.  That's the one.  If you don't have one, I"m sure a friend does!
So, dump all of the dry ingredients into the roasting pan.  And give it a quick stir with your clean hands.  Easy peasy.
Next, mix the melted coconut oil together with the honey and pour it over the mixture.
And you guessed it.  Mix it with your hands.  This part is a little messy.  And sticky.  But don't be scared.  It washes off rather well.
Next you are going to bake in a 350˚ preheated oven.  It's gonna take about an hour.  So leave yourself enough time.  Here's the important part.  You are gonna need to stir every 15 minutes to get it evenly browned.  So get your knitting ready, pour yourself a cup of tea, and set your alarm for 15 minute intervals.  At the hour mark  (your 4th time stirring) I start stirring every 3 minutes or so.  Just to get it that right golden color.
My favorite way to eat this these days is on aรงaรญ bowls or any smoothie bowl.  (Do you know how to make those?  Super easy.  Let me know if you need help with those.  Maybe I should do a blog post on the how to's for a bowl.)  But you can eat it in a bowl with your favorite milk, over yogurt or ice cream.  And there is always the just grab a big handful.  The skies the limit!

Ingredients:
1 bag Rolled Oats (Gluten Free) 10 cups
1 bag unsalted, dry toasted Pecan Pieces / 2 cups
1 bag unsalted dry toasted Sliced Almonds / 2 cups
1 bag organic unsweetened flake coconut / 1 3/4 cups
1 bag organic unsweetened coconut chips / 1 3/4 cups
1/2 bag 50% less salt roast & salted cashews / 2 cups
1 bag dried cranberries (or your favorite dried fruit)  /  2 cups
Liquid Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups triple filtered coconut oil
1 3/4 cup honey

Directions:
Combine all bags of ingredients except for the cranberries into a roasting pan.  Add 1/2 bag of cashews.  Mix with your hands.  
Melt coconut oil in the microwave.  Add honey.  Stir to blend as well as possible.  Pour mixture over dry ingredients.  Stir well with your hands. 

Bake at 350˚ for an hour stirring every 15 minutes with a wooden spoon.  Remove from oven and add the bag of cranberries.  Stir to combine.  Bake an additional 3 minutes or so (depending on your oven) until your granola is evenly browned to that golden color.  Watch carefully as to not burn.

Remove from oven.  Press down granola firmly into pan.  Let cool.  

After cool, break apart pieces.  Store in an airtight container.  You can use freezer bags to store in smaller portions. 

Enjoy!  

hiya friends!

Well, hello there, sweet friends!  Happy July!
{My current obsession... Potato skin filled with avacodo.  My version of avocado toast.}

For me, July seems like the beginning of summer.  Maybe it was because we were away so much in June.  I literally spent the night in my bed 4 nights all month.  Crazy, but good.  I was in Florida visiting my sweet mama for the first week.  The second half of the month was spent in Boulder, CO visiting Libby and then Steve and I grabbed her and headed to Lake Tahoe for a couple of weeks.  Five out of our six kids were there.  It was FUN!  Steve and I finished the month in Calistoga, Ca  with a little (A LOT) of wine tasting.

Now I am home... for a bit.  Libby is home for a quick minute, and that has been special.  Andrew is home for the summer and it has been great.  A lot of golf for him.  And of course, I try to get Charlie to come home whenever he can.  Always bribing him with food.

But the big news is... I got a new computer! ๐Ÿ˜  I haven't spent much time on my computer lately because I literally ran out of space.  With the amount of photos I have taken through the years, it literally took up all of my space. (50,000+)   I know, I know,  delete them or put them on a hard drive.  But, that just doesn't work for me because the chances of me plugging in the external hard drive to into my computer to find the one photo I am looking for just was never going to work for me.  SO, I would spend hours deleting 500 photos so that I could upload 10 photos.  Ack.  It was driving me crazy.

SO... I'm back with my computer and my camera and I plan on visiting this space a lot more often.

Hope knitting is happening a lot in your lives.  Just wait till you see my Weekender.  ๐Ÿ™„

june knitcrate

I was so excited to see this new yarn from Knitcrate. And the sweet extra had me thinking oh YA! A new tape measure!
Membership Crate:
Yarn: 2 skeins of squishy Vidalana Aloft.   Aloft is 48% merino wool, 32% Organic Pima Cotton, and 20% Baby Alpaca blend that is chainette-plied, meaning that each strand is like a tiny braid.  Therefore, it gives each strand amazing definition.   My crate contained Tiger lily.  A beautiful creamsicle orange.
Pattern:  Both patterns (the knit and the crochet) are by Susan Lowman.
Knitting:  Rows of Lavender.  A sweet crescent shawl with a picot edge and faux cables and twisted stitches.
Crochet:  Golden Afternoon.
Bonus:  A sweet tape measure covered in fabric with a sweet house

As always your first knitcrate is 20% off by using the code FKW20 at checkout!

11 years, 1 week, 1 day

I started this project on June 2, 2008.  Yep.  I worked on it that summer and fall quite a bit taking it to all my kids sporting events.  Then I just became tired of the seed stitch.  Over the years I picked it up a few times.  Maybe knitting one color.   However, for at least the last 6 years it sat in a bag.  Four years ago I moved it to the laundry room thinking if I could see it, then maybe I would work on it.  Occasionally it would catch my eye, but most days my eyes would gaze over it not giving it a thought.
Then one day, I felt as if it were longingly looking at me as if to say, "Please give me some love, Leslie".  So I picked it up, organized the yarn and decided to finish it before starting anything else.
This project sat on that set of US 7 needles for 11 years, 1 week and 1 day.  So grateful to free both the needles and the blanket.  It truly was a labor of love.

Pattern:  Seed Stitch Throw
Yarn:  Classic Elite Four Seasons

may knitcrate

You know I love a good Knitcrate and May did not disappoint!  The theme is "farmers market" which got me very excited for the upcoming months and all of the delicious farm stands in our near future!
I might just have my husband take me on a road trip around Pennsylvania while I work on one of these beauties!
Membership Crate:
Yarn:  439 yards of Knitologie Cozy Sock  75% Superwash Merino Wool, 15% Nylon, 10% Cashmere  in Citrus Squeeze.
Knitting:  Squeezed Citrus Socks by Sarah Jordon
Crochet:  Magic Socks by Lilia Vanini
Bonus:  In case the knitter in you doesn't want to knit socks there is a Bonus Cowl pattern.  The Jounce Cowl is light and perfect for spring and cool summer nights.
The Sock Crate:
Yarn: Vidalana Delight Sport  100% Superwash Merino Sport weight in Strawberries.
Pattern:  Dancing Butterfly by Cynthia Levy.

This is currently in my suitcase for our road trip to Yosemite.  I can't wait to cast on.

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

a big blanket

That's a big ball!
I have always wanted to make one of those big chunky blankets.  And I knew just the birthday girl who might like it.  So, I purchased 2 big balls from Woolly & Co.  I could have used only 1 ball and still had a nice size blanket.   However, I ended up using part of the second ball to get the length I wanted.  It is the quickest knit with such pleasing results.  It literally took an hour and a half!
I cast on 23 stitches onto my arm. :)  And knit until the piece measured about 70 inches
Finished Measurements ::  42" x 70"
(If I were to use 1 ball, I would cast on 18-20 stitches and knit until the ball runs out!)

life

It's been a busy half of May.  I honestly can't believe it is the 17th of the month!

As the world has been turning.  I've been:
getting reacquainted with an old knitting project :: welcoming home my college boy :: visiting Asheville, the Blue Ridge Mountains and Charleston :: mourning the loss of my sweet friend Susy :: crying :: visiting my sweet mother :: loving :: spending fun times with my sister :: laughing :: baking :: cooking :: driving around my college boy :: trying new recipes :: knitting :: redecorating the house :: planning a new kitchen :: dealing with a wrecked car ::  more crying :: more knitting  :: planning.

Hope your May has been full of all of Lifes feels.  But more of the happy ones!  xx

first quarter

Can you believe that we are almost one month past the first quarter of 2019?!  Crazy!
Have you been keeping track of your knitting progress and goals?  If not in your a friend to knit with journal but in another one?  I'm a big list maker and I am all about checking things off my list!
Head :: the Savante hat.  And it just donned on me I never posted a pic!  (I'll share soon because it is such an easy and rewarding little knit.)
Hands  ::  motive,  toast.
Heart  ::  Byron Bay.  Never posted that pic either.  Ugh.
Feet  ::  holiday socks.
Design :: Wing it!

Would love to hear how you are progressing on your goals!

april knitcrate

We are having the most spectacular Spring day!  I hope you are, too!
I am currently sitting in the car dealership getting my 30,000 mile service.  They told me it would take a couple of hours.  If I have my computer or my knitting I can sit anywhere!  Especially if it's near a window!
April's Knitcrate is bright and cheery, just like today.  The theme is Entomology.  Colorways inspired or matched up to some great photos of insects!
Membership Crate:
Yarn :: 2 skeins Audine Wools Sigh DK  85% Merino Wool, 15% Cashmere 302 yards.  It is pure yummy.  And this cheerful red with warm undertones color is inspired by everyone's favorite aphid-eater, the ladybug.
As always 2 projects.
Knitting ::  Canopy by Destiny Meyer.  A classic top-down, triangle shawl, inspired by the canopy walk of Whiting Forest.
Crochet ::  Chrysalis by Liliana Buce-Chmelko.  A spring shoulder warmer.  Shorter than a scarf but just right for throwing over your shoulders.  It's a personal blanket with a lot more style.
The Sock Crate ::
Yarn :: 1 Skein Uru. Yarn Heels & Toes.  75% Superwash Merino 25% Nylon 400 yards.
Equal parts of two different colors with one of the colors split so you can use it for the cuffs, heels and toes of your sock.  This color way is Shield Bug, inspired by this vibrant Giant Mesquite Bug.
Pattern: :: Undergrass by Stephanie Voyer
This months Sock Knitcrate also comes with a tiny tin of markers shaped like stars!  Cause that's what we all are!  They are from Rebecca's Room on Etsy.  

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

wing it

Ha.  Well, I don't know what to call this since I just sort of winged it. Maybe "wing it" would be a perfect name!   I wanted a sweater that was more like a sweatshirt, and since I had just enough Woolfolk Luft, I thought I would give it a try.  
I did a swatch, measured one of my sweatshirts, and started to knit.  I am pretty pleased with the results.  
It's a very wearable sweater.  And super cozy.  
I couldn't decide what to do for the ribbing.  After giving a 2x2 rib a try, I decided it might look a little more feminine with a garter rib.  
After trying multiple necklines, I settled for a simple neckline picking up stitches, knitting one row and binding off.  I quite like it.

The Woolfolk Luft yarn is so dreamy.  And I'm not sure this color shows in photos very well.  Sometimes it looks brown and sometimes it looks like a deep dark eggplant.  Or a raisin.  But the true color is Aubergine, L9.

I may consider writing this pattern up.  However, I will probably have to knit another one as my notes aren't that great.  ๐Ÿ˜œ They are full of numbers that I wrote, crossed off, erased, etc.  Which was fine with me because I have always been a numbers person!

i got you bag

Well, the daffodils are here!  I get so excited to cut daffodils and bring them in the house.  I feel very grateful because we have a lot.  They even grow wild in the woods next to the house.  Bonus.

I finished my I got you bag while in Florida last week.  I LOVE this bag.  It's going to be my Farmers Market bag this summer.  It's strong and durable so I think it will be perfect.

It was a super quick knit - an easy repeat pattern.   The yarn is their newest addition and is called New Wave Yarn.  This color is Duck Egg Blue.  It is made from recycled plastic bottles.  Yep.  47% recycled plastic and 53% cotton.  Each ball contains enough plastic from 3 plastic bottles.  Wool and the Gang is on a mission to save our seas.  Well done, Wool and the Gang!

all you knit is love

4.21.19 All you knit is Love, Barcelona, Spain.  

Well, hello there!  Hello new month!  Hello new projects!  Hello new yarn!

I can't believe it's been about a month since I've been here.  I don't know where the time goes, however, if I look at my calendar, I can see clearly where it went.

We left on March 19th for Spain.  Barcelona to be exact.  Wow did I love it there!  And how happy do you think I was when we left the Picasso Museum and my husband spotted this sign.  Looking for a local yarn shop when I travel is one of my most very favorite things to do.  And this one found US!  I didn't even have to go looking.  It was pure dreamy, too.  An entire wall of local yarns.  You betcha I bought some.  (More on that later.)
On March 22nd we headed to Mallorca.  A gorgeous Balearic Island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea.  We spent 4 lovely nights at the Cap Racot Hotel where we felt like we were in a different world.  Truly a remarkable experience.  Then back to Barcelona for our final two nights.  We came home just in time to attend a special wedding.  Then on April 2 I flew to Florida for a week to spend time with my sweet mother.  From there I flew to Atlanta, rented a car, and drove to Alexander City to see my baby, Andrew at his college.  I returned last Thursday.
Yep.  That pretty much sums up where the last month went.
On the go.  With knitting constantly by my side.

two tone twist

Hey friends!  I've been working on getting this simple yet luxurious pattern written up for sometime, and finally found the time.  Yippee! 
It uses just two skeins of Woolfolk Far.  If you've never felt this yarn, it's a true dream.  It is so soft.  Soft like cashmere.  
It's one of those knits that you don't have to pay attention to while knitting it.  Even better.  It does require knowledge with the provisional cast on and the Kitchener stitch.  But heck, if you don't know how to do either of those, YouTube does!  And learning a new skill is what it is all about.  
The piece is reversible so you can show just one color.  The simple twist lets both colors show.  
I intended for it to be made with tonal colors.  However, since knitting is all about being creative, you can use any colors your little heart (BIG HEART) desires.  
I honestly wish I had this in every color combo.  It adds that perfect amount of warmth on chilly (cold!) days.  
Enjoy!

march knitcrate

Awe. March has a lovely knitcrate. I am so loving this subtle sparkle in this super wash Merino.
Can you see it?  You may have to zoom in as it is ever so soft.  That's what makes me really love it.
The theme is Whisper.  The time when we approach a change of season, from chilly Winter to the early promise of Spring.  Or, in other parts of the world, where we change forth heat of Summer to the hope of a gentler Autumn.  Transition time.
Sock crate.
Yarn ::  Vidalana Shimmer Sock.  70% Superwash Merino, 20% Nylon, 10% Stellina.
Pattern ::  Treeometry   You can see the resemblance of trees on the socks!
Membership Crate.
Yarn ::  Knitologie Sheen  75% Merino Wool, 15% Silk, 10% Cashmere
Pattern ::  As always there are two patterns.  One for the knitters and one for those who love to crochet.  The knit pattern:  birdseed.  A simple beanie.  The yarn knits up like little seeds across the body of the hat.  The crochet pattern:  solennelle.  A pretty little shawl that works up fast and is the perfect lightweight accessory to add a little flair to an otherwise basic outfit.
Bonus :: A zippered pouch for your project.  With just the perfect words of wisdom displayed on the front.

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

glorious green

Happy St. Patricks Day sweet friends!
Have  you seen SkeinCocaine's new line of fibre goodness?  I had to get myself a skein of the Camo colorway.  I'm going to knit a pair of socks.  Can't wait to see how this yarn knits up.
After my last post, sweet Susan asked for my green smoothie bowl recipe, so I thought I would share in case anyone else was interested.  I am not a measurer when I cook.  I just usually throw things together.  I love how you can do that when you cook.  (Baking, not so much!)  However, I know the importance of measuring and how much easier it is to share recipes!  So, I made one today and made sure to measure as I went.  ๐Ÿ˜Š

Glorious Green Smoothie Bowl ::

1 frozen banana
1/2 pear (or apple)
1 date
1 cup packed spinach (or 3 kale leaves discarding center stem)
1 TBLS water

Blend in Vitamix until smooth, making sure not to blend for too long, as you want it to remain cold.

I like to add granola to the bottom of the bowl before the smoothie.  Top with granola or fruit or seeds or nuts, or anything your little heart desires.  I mean your big heart!  Top with whatever your giant, beautiful heart desires.  I like to add granola, (thank you for this delicious granola sweet Suzanne!) bee pollen, and sometimes fresh sliced banana.

Enjoy!

winners

My favorite new bowls:
Frozen banana, pear, dates, kale.  Blend in Vitamix.  Top with granola and bee pollen.  ๐Ÿ˜

Thanks so much friends for entering the fun readers.com contest.  As always, I wish everyone could win a new pair of readers.  Wouldn't it be so nice to be like Ellen and just be able to give a pair to everyone who entered?!  I would just LOVE that!  I also love that we are all in this boat together.

The random number generator chose 3 numbers/names.
Number 55 :: Jill
Number 54 :: Coffeelover
Number 44 :: Stella

Congrats!  Please email me (lesliemfriend at gmail dot com)  and we will make sure you are seeing your stitches in no time!

readers giveaway

If you wear readers, do you remember how you felt when you first wore them?
Well,  I was actually so excited to wear them.   I even wrote a blog post about it all of those years ago!  It's been almost 12 years. I really can't believe it!
Through the years, I have gone through many pairs and many styles of readers.  MANY pairs I tell you.  I always have a handful in rotation floating around the house.  All usually ending up next to my bed.  I try to save one favorite pair for special times.  And, I usually have one stronger pair designated to nights out for dinner.  Cause if you wear readers, I know you are with me on this!  Those dark restaurants always make me think that my eyes are worse than I thought! :)
The company I always lean towards is Readers.com.  I have found that for the price they can't be beat.  So many styles to choose from that you can have a handful of styles to choose from to match your mood (or your outfit!).   It's true what they say... happy eyes, happy wallet!
Well, guess what?  Those nice peeps at Readers.com are giving away a pair to 3 of MY readers.  You get to choose the style and the strength.  So, if interested, (for you or a friend!), please leave a comment here before Tuesday the 12th, 5pm EST.  I'll have the random number generator choose 3 names.

february knitcrate

Can you believe that tomorrow is March 1st?!!! SO crazy!
So, before the calendar actually flips, lets look at February's Knitcrate!
The theme is Good Vibes Only, a wish for 2019 to be better for everyone in our community and beyond.  A time of reflection on ourselves and our attitudes, and a call for us to be supportive of each other.  I personally try to live my life this way, so I totally felt as if I shouted a big "Hell Yes!" when I read this theme.  To support each other in every aspect of life... it truly is that simple.
Membership Crate.
Yarn :: 2 skeins Halo DK.   236 beautiful yards of 50% Alpaca, 30% Wool, and 20% Nylon.  A surprise of either two color ways.  Iridescent, glowing green Malachite and luminous purple, Electric Abalone.
Pattern ::  As always, 2 patterns.  The knitting pattern featured knitting designer Kiri Fitzgerald's Belita scarf, a combination of lace and squishy stitches.  It looks like a super fun knit.  And the crochet pattern by Jennifer Hayes.  Belle Askew is a shawl with a triangular shape featuring surprising details even to the knitter!  
Sock Crate.
Yarn :: Snow Stylish.  Well, this is one colorway I truly flipped over.  And doesn't the yarn knit into something so gosh darn amazing?!!!  Pure happiness!
Pattern ::  Maeve Zana designed this awesome pattern named Striped Lightning.  Maeve utilized the pooling of this variegated colorway in a truly exceptional way, celebrating the color changes with high-relief twisted stitches.

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

l o v e

Hi there friends!
Wow.  I feel like this space needs a bit of dusting off.  I think it's been an entire month since I have visited here.  I believe that is the longest I have ever gone without checking into this space.  (In 12 1/2 years!!!)

My sweet mother fell on January 27th and broke her hip.  At 83 years old, that is a tough surgery to recover from.  My sisters and I spent 2 1/2 weeks with her, making some tough decisions and getting the new chapter of life implemented.  It truly is heartbreaking but we are so grateful to have this beautiful time with her.  Dementia sucks.  Totally sucks.  But, we are certain our mom feels the love when we are with her.  And that is what is all that matters.

While we were all together, my sister Shelly and I made 60 of these darling hearts for a friend's birthday.  From start to finish you can make a heart in about 10 minutes.  We used scraps of Lion Brand wool ease yarn.  They were totally therapeutic and came at the perfect time.  A lovely memory we will always have.

motive in february

Hiya Friends! Sorry for the crappy iPhone photo. I don't travel with my camera anymore and just rely on my iPhone. It's just so much easier. Except when I don't get the same quality photos.
I wanted to mention that I am teaching a class at Maker + Stitch in Edwards, Colorado on February 2nd!  I'm super excited.  We are going to make Motive mitts.  So while I was in Tahoe last week, I experimented with a couple of yarns.  I just made short cuffs to get to the fun part... the heart!  Not sure we like the mixture of the mohair for the heart.  (Just couldn't get the right gauge.)  Still debating and deciding on the specific yarn we will end up using.  
Lake Tahoe, January 17, 2019

But we will have a LOVE-ly time.  Can't wait!

the slouchy cardigan

If you have been here for a while, you know Greetings from Knit Cafe is truly one of my favorite books. It was published in 2006 and I still love it as much now as I did then. I'm not exactly sure how I ever heard of it, or how I received it. Did I buy it from my local yarn shop? Did my mom give it to me? I wish I could remember. But, what I do remember is that it's pages were turned by my hands so often that they are worn and remind me of this time. My kids were young. I knit every single night from 8pm-11pm.  I'm not kidding.  At one point I wanted to challenge myself to make everything in this book!
The author of the book is Suzan Mischer.  Suzan was a former CBS vice president and the owner of Knit Cafe, a sleek yet homey neighborhood yarn store on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles.  Oh, how I wish I had gone there. (It's doors are closed.) The book is a result of the shop and includes 30 patterns ranging from hiking socks to a bikini.  There are baby items, pillows, bags and my number one favorite the Slouchy Cardigan.  I made three of them and documented two here and here.  The cardigan has a hood but I omitted it in two of them and love them just the same.  They are still my most favorite, wearable sweaters in my wardrobe.  
My mom loved the pattern equally as much and made four of them!  This is her sporting one last week when Libby and I went for a quick visit.   The original book has a few pattern corrections.  I'm pretty sure they are on Ravelry.  Feel free to reach out if you need any help.  I also made some changes to the cap sleeve.   Those are documented here.
The bell sleeves are such a love of mine.  As are those hands.

(I have a hardcover but it looks like you can get a hard or soft cover here or here.)