just a few things...

• We were part of "Gail" that hit the Northeast yesterday and today.  We received about 12-14" and it is so beautiful!  
 •I made caramels for the first time ever.  They are pretty easy to make but mine turned out a bit hard.  I'm going to try to remelt the caramel to try to soften them.  I don't want anyone pulling out a filling! Wish me luck.
• I filmed and uploaded Episode 13 of my Podcast.  If you want a free pattern for TOAST mitts head on over for the coupon code.  You still have time to make a few for gifts or a special pair for yourself!

• I still have plenty of shopping ahead of me.  How about you?

• I plan on finishing the body of Mousseux this week.  That's the goal anyhow. :)

Happy Day to YOU! 


 Hi sweet friends!

Thank you so much for sharing your email for the Chalk Lots newsletter.  Last night, Charlie and I cut up all of the names into thin paper strips and drew one name.  It felt good to do it the old fashioned way instead of the random number generator I have used in the past.   It felt sort of like how Chalk Lots feel.  Real, genuine, comfortable.  Like a warm cocoa on a cool winter day.  Anyhow, I seriously wish I could give you all a set.  I SO would if I could!  But, Emily, you are the winner of the Chalk Lots Giveaway.  And since I have your email, I will be emailing you to let you know!

Again, thanks so much, friends.  It means a lot.  

xx, leslie


My heart is never happier than when I have my three children around me.
 {Thanksgiving 2020}
My three children grew up with Chalk Lots and are actually still using them. We doodle, draw and decorate.  My son, Charlie, is helping with the small business.  He's updated the website, he posts on instagram and he is still a giant fan of using them around the house.  He believes they belong in every household! 😍

Because we love them so much we want to share the happiness with one of my friends to knit with!  By signing up for our email, you will automatically be entered in the giveaway to win a set of Chalk Lots placemats.  Your choice of Licorice or Graham Cracker.  You see, he really is quite a talented writer and I would love if more people were reading the emails!  
So, by signing up, you will be entered in the giveaway and be inspired on how to use the Chalk Lots to make life even more fun.  They truly promote creativity and encourage those to use their imagination.  If you aren't fully satisfied you can unsubscribe at any time!
So, enter here.  We will announce the winner next Monday night, the 7th of December.  You will have them in plenty of time for the holidays.
xx, leslie

MKAL20 - slipstravaganza

Well, well, well. Here we are at the end of November. No, no, no!
Have you ever heard John Mayers song, "Stop This Train"?  Well, that is pretty much how I am feeling.  I cry every time I listen to that song.  
Although, I was always super excited for a new day and a new week during this Mystery Knitalong by Stephen West.  He brought so much joy to this time.  If you haven't ever participated in one of his KAL,  I highly recommend it!
This shawl did not disappoint on the interest, challenge and excitement.  Stephen West puts so much thought into his designs.  His design creativity is truly off the charts.  
There were stitches I have never worked.  There were deadlines I pushed myself to make.  There were rows that seemed to go on F O R E V E R.  There were nights I couldn't put it down and mornings I couldn't wait to get out of bed.  
I love how the combination of my yarns give it the perfect drape.  And, as I have mentioned before, Stephen encourages you to do some stash diving to find your combination.
I have built up quite a stash because of my Knitcrate subscription.  And when I went diving, I was so grateful!  As all of these yarns are from past Knitcrate boxes.  

This knit will truly be one of those knits I will be excited to wear.  One of those knits where the outfit will be planned around.  Or one of those knits I will love to wear regardless of what I am wearing.  And, I'll feel damn proud to be wrapped inside it.  

Well done, Stephen West!

Needles: US 4
2 skeins La Brebis Light Alpaca in Ancient Greens.  100% Baby Alpaca (dark green)
1 skein Vidalana Linen Jewel in Oasis  50% Superwash Merino, 30% Linen, 20% silk (mint green)
1 skein URA.YARN sugared Sport in Diamond 70% Superwash Merino, 20% Nylon, 10% Stelina
1 skein Knitologie Sparkling Sock in Turquoise 70% Superwash Merino, 20% Nylon, 10% Stellina 

feeling festive

Hiya Friends! So... After my last post, I was thinking more about my Thanksgiving tablescape and exactly how that was going to look this year. We have a new dining room table and I want it to look extra festive this year.  I was inspired by a floral arrangement my mother received using a pumpkin as the vase.  
In my mind I thought, we have a perfect flat pumpkin and I do have a glue gun after all.  (Damn I missed that thing!)
I know, this pumpkin almost doesn't look real.  But it is!  I promise!  I bought a few succulents at HomeDepot and headed to Michaels for the few items I wanted to use to embellish it.  
 I literally glued the moss to the top, placed the living succulents around the stem, and then glued a few other earth toned dry items to the moss.  
I absolutely adore the feathers and thought they were the perfect finishing touch.

You can literally make this in about 20 minutes!  Get busy, friends!


I can't believe in less than two weeks it will be Thanksgiving Day!  It's so hard to believe.  
In case you need a fun knit to acorn, I mean, adorn your Thanksgiving Day table, I found one!

I was flipping through "50 knitted gifts" and stumbled upon this cute acorn pattern. (SO many cute patterns in this book!)  Like you, I have a lot of odds and ends in my stash so decided to whip a few acorns up.  We will have a table of 9 this year, so nine acorns it is!
If you don't have that book, I found a free pattern here and one on Ravelry for 50 cents here.  
I think they are simple and sweet.  

 Our Graham Cracker Chalkboard Placemats come out every year at this time.  I just love how warm our table feels when they are adorning it.  And they truly are fun for all ages!  If you would like to emulate this festive look, I'm offering my sweet friends 25% off the Graham Cracker Placemats.  Enter code THANKFUL at checkout.  

Better get knitting, friends!  

november 3

November 3 was an important day.
I had two VERY important things to do on my list.  

Vote.  Obviously. 
And work on my Flower Power Cardigan that is part of the Knit Collage Fall Knit Along.  It is ADORABLE and so much fun to make.  
It's for my sweet girl.  I wish I would have cast on earlier.  
{Libby is wearing the Be Thankful Cardigan by Lily Kate France.  I talked about this cardigan here. }
Because it could have been Libby's birthday present.  She turned 23 on the 3rd!

Keep those hands busy, friends!  


Hello there Friends! Happy beautiful Friday! 
So, if you are participating in Stephen West's MKAL2020 Slipstravaganza, this may be a bit of a spoiler.  So, please look away if you do not want to see how it looks.  However, I am just showing clue 1 and today we received instructions for Clue 3, so you may be caught up, also!
I finished clue 2 one day before the new details were revealed.  And I must say I was happy to take a day away from this bit of gorgeousness.  Only because I have decided to try to make the switch to become a Continental Knitter (again) and my hands are tired and sore from the constant tension I find myself holding in my hands.  
Oh, and if you are wondering what happened to the orange?  I swapped it out at the last minute for the white up there (with flecks of mint and forest green).  Although it was going to be fantastic with the pop of color and I would feel as if it were a little more "West knits" I questioned myself and wondered if I would wear it as much as I would wear a more monochromatic color palate.  
I am thanking my inner voice as I am loving the color palette and think this will fit nicely into my winter wardrobe.  

Now onto more Continental knitting and repeating my Slipstravaganza mantra to myself; relax, breathe. 
Happy Weekend, friends!


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.  ❤️


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!