frida

Oh boy, I uploaded all of these photos last week and then I forgot to write about it! Anyhow... here Frida is. And I am so happy with how she turned out!
I first saw this sweater from Jackie over at CadyJax.  And when I RAN to check out her ravelry page I mistakingly took the amount of skeins she held together for the amount of skeins needed to knit the entire sweater.  I kid you not.  I bought 3 skeins of yarn thinking it was going to make a sweater.  Jeez, this yarn must be magic!   It didn't quite get the job done and I needed to make another trip to the yarn store. Let me tell you, this yarn is a DREAM to work with and to wear!  It's just so light yet warm.  
The yoke consists of lacework that is very easy to follow.  It contains "columns" in between each panel.  I ended up carrying each "column" down the entire body of the sweater. (But not on the arms.)  I think I needed this bit of interest because I knew I would be bored of the twisted rib.   
I started the sleeves two at a time on magic loop and planned on just knitting until I ran out of yarn.  Since you hold two strands of mohair and one strand of mohair tweed, I decided to use one cake of the mohair pulling from the inner and outer cake.  After hearing my friend Nadine express her concern about the twisting of the yarn, I decided maybe that really wasn't such a great idea.  I did a little research and found this video explaining exactly what Nadine was talking about.  I ended up making two little balls and knitting the sleeves one at a time.  

Pattern: Frida
Yarn:  6 skeins of Shibui Knits Silk Cloud/ 5 skeins Shibui Knits Tweed Silk Cloud.  Both in Abbys.  
Size: S
Mods:  I made a couple of modifications.  The first was that I cast on for the Medium because after casting on for the Small I was concerned that the neck would be too small.  After finishing the ribbing I made sure to get the stitch count for the Small so that I could continue with the Small instructions.  I also carried all of the "columns" down the entire body of the sweater.  
I talked all about Frida and my new yarn purchase(s) over on Podcast 11.  

play nice

(Not my new kitchen.  It's my girlfriends and I do love it!)

 Good Morning Friends!  Happy Sunday!

School has been in session for a few weeks and to commemorate so many families out there,  Chalk Lots is running a back to school sale.  I can only imagine how challenging and stressful these times are for families.  Chalk Lots truly make my life at home a little more fun.  From the time my kids were younger till even now.  You can fit a little more school in at dinner as you have your children practice spelling or writing or answering a question.  They won't even realize they are still in their classroom. ;)

mystery shawl KAL 2020

Happy October, friends! 
I do love October 1st. Not only because it is my sweet mom's birthday, (today she is 85... Happy Birthday, Mom) but because it is time to hunker in and start knitting even more! I haven't been part of a Knit Along in quite some time. Maybe since Kirstin Kapur held her Mystery Sock KAL. (Anyone remember those?)
But this year I decided to hop on board Stephen West's MKAL.   I'm not really sure how long Stephen West has been hosting shawl Knit Along's. Maybe since 2011? I have always watched from the bleachers as others knit away and displayed their beautiful progress weekly.

Stephen does put together kits, as do yarn shops, but encourages you to stash dive for his KAL.  So, last Saturday evening I started stash diving at around 11pm.  The next time I looked at the clock it was 1:30am.  I had yarn all over the place but decided to leave it "as is" and head to bed.  I woke with thoughts of this combination. All of the yarn is from some of my previous Knitcrates.  
  I came downstairs, made coffee, cleaned my mess from the night before, bought and printed the pattern, and sat to admire this combination.
Stephen encourages you to do a 'lazy" swatch in order to see how your colors will play out and pare next to each other.  I think this technique is rather brilliant!  And, it confirmed my decision that this was definitely the pallet I wanted to go with.  
I am certain I will pick up these yarn cakes 100x before October 9th.  I am SO looking forward to the first clue!
Let me know if you will be joining in on the fun!  

august and september

I have been very remiss in showing off my beautiful Knitcrates. But that certainly doesn't mean I love them any less. Just seeing that blue box in my mailbox sends my excitement to a new level!
Augusts Knitcrate came when the air was warm and my heart was trying to hold onto the last bit of summer.  Don't get me wrong.  I LOVE autumn.  But seeing the summer slip away always gets me a little sad.  
These  soft colors were a welcome sight.  I fell in love with this mint color in the Membership Crate.  (And I already have a project planned for it... more on that later.)
Yarn:  Vidalana Linen Jewel in Oasis  400 yards Fingering weight.  50% Superwash Merino 30% Linen, 20% Silk  
Pattern:  Simple Summer Shrug by Christie Bodden Designs
Yarn:  Knitologie Super Sock.  (Soft and Super durable!) 400 yards Fingering Weight.  75% Superwash Merino Wool, 25% Nylon
Pattern:  Cactus Flower Socks by Laura Fahlin Designs
September Membership Crate
Yarn:  Audine Wools sleek.  A lustrous blend of 50% Baby Alpaca, 35% Merino and 15% Mulberry Silk  I received the color "unwind". 
Pattern:  The pattern is a darling scarf with matching cabled mitts by Katrina King

It's always quite lovely to receive a pattern you love.  However, you can always just use the Knitcrates pattern books for inspiration to your next project.  The sky is the limit!

As always if you are interested in ordering a Knitcrate use the code FKW20 to receive 20% off your first Knitcrate.  The code works on all crates and truly makes a happy mail day!  

twenty five

It's pretty crazy that I have a 25 year old. I remember blogging back here in 2007 when my Charlie turned 12. How does time pass so quickly. And more importantly, why?
 There weren't 25 balloons this year, but since I was so happy to have Charlie home on his Birthday, I had to decorate with a few!  Chicken Scallopini, baked potatoes and salad requested for dinner.  

I've been making "age" cakes since forever.  Super easy and fun.  But only for the kids! Bahahahaha!
Chocolate cake with vanilla frosting.  I actually feel like I am 25 so this is hard to believe!
This year there was a new (welcome) addition to the party.  I'm calling this the Covid-Cupcake.  

It's a welcome addition to any party.  Even when it's your baby who is the one spitting on a cake! :)

the weekend

The end of summer. I can feel it in every part of my soul. 
My kitchen still isn't quite finished, but finished enough to unpack our things and make room for new memories.  Watch out for more kitchen photos.  I'll show you the before and after as soon as she is finished.  

I used the somewhat old watermelon to make watermelon juice, blending in some boiled ginger slices.  Why haven't I been doing this for like ever?!  Thank you Nadine!

I sat outside working on my Frida Sweater.  It's coming along nicely, but damn that twisted rib. (The entire body and sleeves of the sweater!)  Of course, I timed the rows.  9:40.23 a row.  Let's call it 10 min a row.  
There are 6 rows in an inch.  So, let's call it an hour to knit an inch.  I have about 7 inches more to knit.  So, let's say at least 8 more hours on the body.  Cause you know I am not knitting an hour straight.  I mean, there is something to drink, something to eat, something to check on my phone, something else to do for sure!   (You see how my brain works.  🤪)
I watched the lower leaves fall from the basil plants as I cut every single one.  It was almost too late for these plants.  I have to remember to do this at least one week earlier.  Two weeks earlier would probably be even better.   Yep, end of August, Leslie!
And, I swam my last swim of the summer on Sunday.  It rained on my back as I finished my 100th lap and I felt like a child again.  Thank you pool for all of the meditative times you gave me.  My heart is full.  
Oh, and next summer I need to remember to treat my hair as I did this summer.  Before I put on my cap, I spray it with fresh water and then add coconut or almond oil.  No more swimmers hair!

my scrubbie making obsession

Okay... I truly love making these things!

Here is why:

• They take about 15 minutes, give or take a few. 
• I can get about 15 scrubbies out of one ball of this yarn and about 5 out of this yarn.
• They are colorful.
• They make amazing gifts.
• They make me happy.  
• They are useful.
• They make washing dishes FUN!  ( I mean it!!!)
• They clean my dishes better than a dish cloth.  (And I am now a pro at washing dishes.)
• They can also serve as a shower exfoliant.  
• They make me feel VERY productive!

It's time,  friends, to get your scrubbie on! 
Just think about wrapping a few in a cellophane bag and tying it with a yarn bow.  (So cute for the holidays.)
And my sister and I thought about giving a white scrubbie with a rectangular cloth scrubbie  as a gift with a handmade soap.  They make the perfect bathroom partner.  The round to exfoliate your face and the rectangle to exfoliate your body.  ❤️

or

number 10


I just can not believe that it is September.  I do realize I say that at the beginning of every single month, but damn... It's already September!  

I wanted to mention that if you have about 20 free minutes with your knitting, I have a new episode up on YouTube.  Maybe you would like to sip an ice tea, feel your yarn in your hands, and have a watch.  I'd love to tell you all about my latest obsession.  

Happy September, Friends!  xx

the lawrenson sweater

It's all about this sleeve! 
 I adore being able to add something different to my wardrobe.  
The typical sweater I like to make is something I can wear in the day.  Something easy to throw on with a pair of jeans.  But lately, I have wanted to venture out and make things that I may dress up a bit.  Wear perhaps, with a skirt or a pair of black pants.  It started with the whole reason I designed One Lovely Sweater.  I wanted something that could be the "go to" sweater that I could either wear with jeans, or with black pants.  One that I could wear to lunch, OR to dinner. 
And this seems to be something in that same category.  It's designed by one of my favorite designers; Lily Kate France.  Lily is young and designs current looks.  So, I was all over this the minute I saw it.  

I scoured my stash knowing I wanted to add a single strand of mohair to give it that softer look.  
I had a Julie Asselin Melange N.1 slotted for another sweater, but grabbed it along with a la BIEN AIMEE silk mohair and started swatching.  Something interesting started to happen which is referred to as marling and I instantly knew this would work.  
There is a Fruity Knitting Podcast, Episode 106, which details the effects of marling.  Cecelia Campochiaro is a color expert.  If you would like to learn more about marling, I highly recommend this episode.  And it just so happens that Lily Kate is interviewed as well!

Pattern:  The Lawrenson Sweater
Yarn:  I held together 1 strand of the Julie Asselin Melange N.1 Chandail in Natural Gris,   750 yards, 75% Merino, 25% Yak, with 1 strand of la BIEN AIMEE Mohair Silk, 740 yards, 70% Mohair, 30% Silk in Alcide Herveaux
Needles: US 8
Size:  2
Mods:  I omitted the side stitching due to the look of the fabric I achieved.  

come party!

Hi ya friends!  Although I would love to have you all over for a knit party, I just can't do that right now.  But, damn.  That's a great idea when things get going again!

The party I would like to invite you to, is an online Pampered Chef party where you barely need to put down your knitting needles and you definitely don't have to change your clothes!  ☺️ I am hosting this party from my house for my friend Kristyn who is AMAZING enough to be holding this party on my sweet Libby's behalf.  You see, all of her commission will be going to my girl in a form of a gift card to be used in her Second Grade classroom.  How incredible is that?!

What'd you say?  Oh yes!  Libby graduated from the University of Colorado in May (virtually) and landed a Second Grade teaching job in Colorado.  I guess I forgot to mention that here.  


Libby is up for quite a challenge teaching virtually but if anyone can do it, I am confident in her!  

Like many of you, I have a special spot in my heart for teachers, and now that spot just grew in size!  Kristyn has the same love for teachers and passion for supporting them!  She will be blessing classrooms across the country with her generousity.  Kristyn calls August "Teacher Gift Blitz" as she throws these virtual parties.  Anyone know a teacher that has the necessary funds for all the supplies they need?  Yeah, me either!   

{Libby was always playing teacher.  This was my favorite class she taught.  ☺️ March 2009}

{Zoom in on pic... How to pearl!}

If you are like me, you've been cooking and baking non stop during these last few months.  (Yes, even without a kitchen.  Toaster ovens rock!)  Maybe you have found a few areas that need an upgrade that these amazing Pampered Chef tools could fill.  If so, I would love for you to support my friend's small business AND my daughters classroom by adding your purchase to this party.  You can easily add your online order to my party using this shopping link.  

Kristyn will be doing a special product drawing for each friend who orders from this post!  So leave us a comment so she can watch for your order and add your name!  If you have any Pampered Chef questions or to host your own party, please reach out to Kristyn.  734.250.1770.  Tell her your friend to knit with, Leslie, sent you!  

Party ends Sunday night (23rd) at midnight.  

Thank you, friends!

Petite Lin +

This sweater was all about the yarn.  And the colors.  I fell madly in love with this combination and knew I wanted to knit a sweater immediately.  I also wanted to knit something out of Linen.   At first I thought I would knit a Missoni Accomplished.  Which I think would still be something I would LOVE, but since I had just finished one, I thought maybe something else should belong in my closet.  I also did not want to knit the linen held single.  So, I held two strands together and did a gauge.  Next, I headed to Ravelry.  
Upon spending hours on Ravelry, hunting for a pattern that would work for my gauge, I settled on the Ida Sweater.  Classic and simple.  
Now, I certainly don't like to complain about patterns, but I also don't want to send you down a path that might not work for you.  
 So, here's the deal.  The Ida Sweater seems like it is more like someone's notes, rather than a pattern one should purchase.  SO much is left to the imagination.  And, if you don't really know much about reading a pattern, you might be  instantly lost.  Everything is also in cm so unless you have the conversion memorized, you will constantly be looking up measurements.  There is not a schematic, so there's that, too.  I think the designer is Norwegian, so I am sure that is why.  And, I am glad I purchased it to have some sort of guidelines to follow.  
This sweater is definitely based off of that sweater, but I made a lot of changes.  The split hem.  Which you know how to do, right?  It's very simple. I also did a different neckline and longer sleeves.  

And the reason I have pink at the top is because I ran out of the tan.  I only wanted to knit the edges in hot pink, but in the end I was glad I ran out of yarn.  I quite like how much hot pink there is in this sweater.  I added it by counting my stitches and decided I would just knit 2 x 2 color change since it was divisible by 4.  (And 2)

Pattern:  The Ida Sweater WITH MANY CHANGES 
Yarn:  Petite Lin + by Espace Tricot, 4 skeins Fairmont, 1 skein You had me at Tricot.  HELD DOUBLE.
Size:  M
Needles:  US 9

a love letter to july

 My dearest July,

I realize that it is August 11, and my heart has moved on to love this beautiful month.  But I want you to know that you gave me some of the most incredible summer days that I have ever had the pleasure of living. 

Your slow mornings, your warm days and your beautiful evenings will always be remembered.  Did you know that you gave us time to put those new couches in our living room? (They look fabulous by the way.) And the full trees were cut to let more of your beautiful sunlight shine in through the old windows.  I scrubbed the cushions on our back patio furniture to make them look fresh and new.  I worked on my Lawrenson sweater knitting your sunlight into every stitch so that I will be reminded of your warmth come those cold evenings of winter.  Because of Covid-19 we didn't get to celebrate your 4th the same way we have in the past but you were warm and lovely just the same.  Our neighbor brought over fresh almond croissants and we filled our bellies while enjoying your sweet summer air.  

Your cool mornings alone at the pool are by far and away my favorite way to start a day.  July, please know that your weather is far and away the most special to me.  You were so wonderful to give us days for the men to work on building our lovely kitchen. (If only you could have made them work faster.) While I'm cooking and baking, in our new kitchen, I will think back to when the scraping and pounding filled most of your week days.  

You welcomed my girl home and then my oldest boy.  Their presence is welcome anytime, but you do know how to give us so much love and light!  Your sunshine gave the hydrangeas just enough warmth to blossom into a beautiful bounty of gorgeousness.  

Your days were there for us as we headed on a 16 hour road trip to the Florida sunshine and gave me the most glorious time alone with my children.  We so needed those lazy days just being together, getting sand on our feet and swimming in that beautiful ocean of water.  
Of course, I knit on everyone of your beautiful days.  I listened to my boy and his awesome music.  We had happy hours at the beach, and we swam as we watched the sunrise.  Remember the one day you shared with us as we spent it with my mother;  their grandmother. We kissed her all over her face like there wasn't a pandemic because Lord knows she would risk everything to feel our skin against hers.

I picked  a lot of basil that grew in your lovely light and tried to slow down the days with my boys and girl.  

I knew that our time together was coming to a close as I drove with my girl to Denver. We did this so that she, too, could move slowly into her next love, August.  She was so eager to meet August and start her new life as a school teacher.  I reminded her how we have to stay in the moment and live in the day we are given.  Time is fleeting and if we look too far in the future we will miss the glorious gifts that are in front of us. We stayed in that beautiful day having a picnic at Chessman Park filming aTikTok.  Oh how we laughed.
July, I was so happy that we weren't quite finished upon returning home. I had one more week with you as I drove to Lancaster and spent a couple of nights in a charming farmhouse.  And, to have one more day to watch Andrew play in his golf tournament.  Yep.  Grateful for that day, too.  We drove by corn fields and bought corn from a farmer who uses the honor system.  July, you are magical.  

I want you to know, July, that I care so deeply about you, still.  That you and I held something so precious that it will never fade and you will always occupy a place in my heart as well as my mind.  


With all the warmth and love I can give.

Leslie

tie dye

diy
I decided we needed a few more masks around here.  I have a lot of fabric but thought I needed something new.  Instead of buying more (and more importantly going to the store) I decided to tie dye  an old white sheet.
Have you tried the ice tie dye technique?  My friend Nadine (Hi Nadine!!!) told me about it.  I couldn't remember exactly what she said but knew it involved ice and dye.  (HA!)
I ended up crumpling the dry fabric and placing ice cubes on top.  Then I sprinkled the Rit powder dye on top.  (Thanks Betsy!)  This all took place outside in the grass and in the sunshine.  The ice completely melted and the fabric dried.  There were a few places where the dye was still a bit powdery, so I wiped that off with my hand (while wearing a glove).
A quick rinse with the hose and then into the machine it went.
I think the results are super cool. (Thanks Nadine!) I'd actually like to make something else now out of this fabric.
Everything I have learned from mask making here.  And, the Fabric Patch has a new YouTube Video of everything new they have learned here.

Stay safe, friends!

where i sit

Hiya Friends! Happy July!
Wanted to let you know I made another podcast.
It's up on YouTube if you are so inclined to watch.
I talk about that sweet knit with the fish motif if you are wondering! :)

Happy weekend!  I hope your needles will be busy creating something beautiful.  xx

be thankful cardigan

So, I had a little fun with my latest finished knit.
Since I couldn't try it on my sweet Libby (she is in Colorado) I tried it on my grandmothers dress form and pretended it was Libby.  You know, whatever it takes to get through these times.
"Here sweetie, let me straighten this for you."
"Oh, why yes!  We really must get a photo of us."
"Let's show how great these sleeves are."
"See how blousy they are?"
"Oh, how I love you sweet Libby."

This sweater is extra special to me.  I used buttons from my grandmothers stash.  I used yarn I found in my mothers stash.  I used my hands to knit it.  And my sweet girl will wear it.  Boy, I know she will gain strength from all the generations of women while wearing it.  I'm calling it her superhero cardigan!

Pattern:  be thankful cardigan
Yarn:  Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran
Needles:  US size 8
Size: 1

be thankful cardigan

Summertime knitting is here and I couldn't be more thrilled.  I do love the feeling I get from knitting at the beginning of each season.  And it is finally warm enough here to get outside every morning and enjoy a cup of coffee on the patio while knitting.  Pure bliss!
I wanted to mention that Lily Kate is hosting a Knit-along for the month of June.  Not a KAL on a specific pattern; you can choose any of her patterns to knit.
I decided to hop in and bring this love of mine into a sweet circle.
{April 1, 2015 when we traveled to London and the two girls finally met in person.}

You see, my Libby and Lily were pen pals because of this blog back when they were 12.  We all met because Lily's mom and I became friends from her blog, Joli House.  All because of knitting.  And now, they are 22.  Lily has become quite the knitter extraordinaire and not only knits beautifully, but designs many beautiful patterns as well.  She is truly a kind soul and brings so much inspiration and love to this knitting community.
When I heard of the KAL i just knew I needed to make Libby something during the month of June.
Libby chose the BeThankful Cardigan.  A simple knit with a gentle look.  I can't truly explain it, however, it's just one of those feel good pieces.  Like a gentle hug.
While in Florida last month, my sisters and I went through my mothers stash.  She had 10 skeins of Debbie Bliss cashmerino aran that we decided I needed to bring home.
What perfect yarn to use for this cardigan.
As I knit, I am mindfully feeling the yarn and these lovely humans I am thankful for.  It's going to be like a giant feel good hug for Libby every time she wears it.

Take a look at Lily's patterns if you would like to knit-along!