life

I'm alone in my house this afternoon for the first time in 10 weeks.
This feels weird.
This feels wonderful!
Last week, my sister and I road tripped to Orlando Florida to see my mother and my other sister who lives there.  We had been self isolating in our homes for 8 weeks so felt that it was safe.  It took us 16 hours only stopping for gas (wearing gloves while pumping) and the occasional bathroom stop.  
The drive was well worth it.  
Still self isolating while at my moms house with the only time out going to Trader Joes and Whole Foods.  We went as a pack (3 sisters) delegating only one sister to retrieve the items (while wearing masks and gloves, of course).  
My mom is doing well.  Well, when I say well I mean the same.  She has spent over the last year in her living room in a hospital bed with vascular dementia.  However, she is so darn sweet it makes our hearts big.  We don't take for granted the time when we get to see her, touch her and hear her sweet voice.  
On the road trip to Florida, I started the Missoni Accomplished sweater.  That's the one up there on the left.  It looked a little small, so I wet blocked it and sure enough my suspicion was correct.  It was a little small.  My gauge was off and I couldn't remember if when you have more stitches do you get a tighter fit or a looser fit.  After consulting my friend Kim, it was confirmed... a tighter fit.
So, I cast on the larger size and I am hoping it will fit.  I know, my stitches look terrible.  I am trying something new (YIPPEE!) and knitting the color work in both continental and english.  Two handed knitting... something I have never attempted.  It felt great regardless of the job I was doing.  I'm hoping this will block out some of the imperfections.
I'm knitting from my stash.  
I miss Classic Elite.  
I really enjoyed their yarn.

Happy Long weekend friends!  

miromesnil

My latest knit slid off the needles last week, and I am in love.
I don't think I have made myself a knit that I haven't had to layer in quite a while.  Well, at least since Turtle Dove.  And this unlayered knit feels like silk against my skin.
I think it could be the combination of the yarn and the knit.  The drape truly feels dreamy.
Miromesnil offers several different possibilities: long or short, fitted or oversized, pleated at the front or/and at the back, with fitted or bishop sleeves, long or 3/4", and with flat or tightening finishing ribs.  SO many possibilities.
I think my version is mid-length, oversized with long bishop sleeves with a rib.
Increases and German short rows shape the yoke and give a beautiful stitch look.
Although I don't mind the tubulars bind off, I did not do it here as written in the pattern as I could not get the tightness I wanted.

Pattern:  Miromesnil
Size: M
Yarn:  Modus Operandi Fingering 3 skeins, olive  Modus Operandi Lace 3 skeins olive
Needle Size:  US 7 and US 8

tag your essential worker

I am so slow to show this gorgeous yarn that has been keeping my mailbox happy these last few months.  If you are like me, mail is an exciting thing especially in these times.  

*I look at the mail in the mailbox.  
*I wonder if I should just let it sit there.  
*I come back to the mail donned with my gloves and paper bag.  
*I throw all the mail into the bag.  
*I stare at the mail and wonder if I can really wait to open those beautiful blue boxes.  I can't.  
*I wipe down the blue box.  
*I grab my scissors to cut the tape.  
*I open the box.  (Tissue is covering the yarn so I still can't see it.)
*I remove my gloves.  
*I wash my hands and my scissors.  
ALL the while with anticipation as to what the contents are.  

These are weird times.  And this is the excitement of the days the blue box arrives.  

This company is so wonderful and is giving away 1000 crates to our heroes working as essential workers during this time.  Do you know a doctor, nurse, postal worker, teacher or other essential worker that may need a special treat during this time?  You can tag them here on Instagram or here on Facebook and Knitcrate will message them with a code to collect their free crate.  
This was April's Knitcrate.  2 skeins of a fun yarn sporting a little sparkle.  I DO love a little sparkle.  Not sure what I will make with it, but the Diamond colorway will definitely make it onto my needles soon.  
March had me ooooing and ahhhhing over this yumminess in it's Crate.   100% baby alpaca yarn,  super lightweight and incredibly dreamy.  I received colorway Ancient Pines and the knit pattern is the Decumani Hat and Cowl.  A unisex pattern perfect for a project on the go.   
February's membership knitcrate contained to skeins of Audine Wools Shine Sport.  350 yards 80% Superwash merino, 20% Tencel in Sky colorway.  Another duet this time as a Hat and Handwarmers.
I'm sure those handwarmers will be a summer travel project.  If we ever get to leave the house.

As always, if you are interested in ordering a Knitcrate use the code FKW20 to receive 20% off of your first Knitcrate!  The code works on all crates and truly does make a happy mail day!  The extra effort opening the box is well worth it!

quarantine crafting

Knitting has been happening and I actually finished a sweater.  More on that later.
In between cooking, cleaning, baking and knitting, the craft closet has been opened.
I have been wanting to make this soap for a couple of years.  And how cute!  Right?!  
It is so gosh darn easy, too!  You literally melt the goats milk soap base in the microwave, add honey, and pour into this mold.  
And voila!  Soap!  I thought that would be a great little something to give with a mask! :)
Of course, "potholder maker" is still a title of mine.  
And then, the Rit dye came out and Liesl and I did a little tie dying.  Looks like I spilled my coffee, but that was intentional.  It's all over the fabric and is rather cute! I promise!

We did some other tie dying as well.  A white sheet to make tie dye masks.  They are in the works.  I'll be sure to show as soon as I finish sewing.

It's amazing to me how many items can be used in the house to keep us all entertained.  If we don't have it, we improvise.  Sure feels good.

one lovely sweater

Hi Friends! I hope you are all staying well. Hard to believe this self isolating has been happening at our house for 6 weeks.  It all seems like such a blur.
I wanted to let you know that One Lovely Sweater is finally over on Ravelry.
I couldn't be more thankful for the wonderful women who test knit it for me.
And if you would like to purchase the pattern, I am offering half off... enter code "onelovelyday" at checkout.
xx, leslie

she's baaaaaaack!

Hiya friends! Well, with more time on my hands, I decided to dive back into YouTube.
If you want to take a peak, you can watch me show the masks I have been making, show my potholder obsession or talk about my knitting projects.  I am grateful to have my kids home for the push and the tech help! :)

making masks

So, chances are, if you sew, you are making masks. Or, you are thinking about making masks. I started to make a few over the weekend.  Right now I'm just making masks for my family and friends, but I will certainly make them for a facility if I hear of any.   I know they have strict guidelines for obvious reasons.
I think I have done the research and know exactly what it takes to be an ideal mask for this time.

I wanted to share where some of my favorite information came from and share some thoughts and tips from along the way.  I am SO grateful to all the people who have put together Youtube tutorials and shared their tips.  
First off.  What I learned from The Fabric Patch is that fabric alone will not prevent Covid-19 from entering into your nose/mouth.  Your mask needs to have some sort of non-woven layer involved.  Luckily I had non-woven interfacing in my fabric supplies.  You might, too.  I'm pretty sure it's hard to get your hands on it now.  The Fabric Patch videos give great substitutions for interfacing.  
I've seen some people make a mask that has a pocket where you can insert something (like a coffee liner) every time you wear it.  That just seems like another step I wouldn't want to have to do.  Because I didn't have much interfacing,  I purchased this from Staples.  I'll let you know if this is a good substitution after it arrives.  
I really like Mimi G Style video on Youtube.  She shares her printable template,  with step by step sewing instructions.  Her template is for an adult size.  However, f you are looking for other sizes, I saw this video which has template in 4 sizes.   

If you don't have elastic for the head piece, The Fabric Patch mentions a few alternatives.  I found it funny that one of the things she said to not use was yarn. ;)  You can, however, use shoelaces, grosgrain ribbon, bias tape or even make your own strips for tying.  

Mimi G Style does not mention a nose bridge in her video which I know is an important part of a secure fitting mask.  The Fabric Patch recommend a few things that you can use to build this part of the mask.  One she mentioned was an aluminum pan.  I was happy to have a few aluminum pans.  She shows you how to cut and fold and then sew through this tin at the bridge on the mask.   However, I was petrified to sew through it with my old girl.  I haven't had my machine serviced in like forever and thought this isn't probably the time.  (Obviously.)  So, I sewed along the edge of it and after a few (a lot) repetitive bends it ended up snapping in two. 

Then I tried this brass fastener.  I thought it was a brilliant idea from our contractor.  (On our kitchen job, more on that later.) However, I thought it a bit fussy maneuvering my way around that circle.

Jewelry wire has been my favorite so far.  I cut an 8" piece, folded it in half and then folded the ends in and covered with duct tape so there wasn't anything sharp inside.

I also tried a twisty tie.  Nice to sew around but she doesn't have that much strength.  I also saw where pipe cleaners work well.  Too bad I threw a bag away not too long ago.  Ugh.

It seems as if I haven't sewed anything in years, and was happy to use my friend to friend labels from name maker.  They always make things look a bit more finished.  

And here I am ready to go.  Just not sure when I will go.  I seriously have not left the house (only to walk the neighborhood) since March 16.

Stay home.  Stay healthy, friends.

friends to knit with

Life is funny.  There are some things I would have never dreamed of doing before this pandemic started.  Like knitting with others via Zoom.  But, friends to knit with are always a good thing.
Today I met with Nadine from Berlin, Germany,  Christine from Berekley, California and Leigh from Florence, South Carolina.  Life is good.
If you feel like joining, don't be shy.  Email me at lesliemfriend at gmail dot com.  We can arrange either a group or a one on one.  Whatever you are comfortable with.  It helps to have things to look forward to.

Be well, friends.

handmade loom, making potholders

I'm finding comfort in small projects with instant satisfaction.  Or close enough anyhow.

My grandfather made this loom a very, very long time ago.  My sisters and I made many a potholder on this homemade loom.  And the loops are from my childhood.  Grateful my mother never purged them or the loom.  It makes me think of my grandfather who was born in 1905.  He was 14-15 years old during the Spanish Flu.  Oh, how I wish I could talk to him about that time now.   I don't ever remember him mentioning the Spanish Flu when I was young. But it must have been a memorable time for him.  Especially living in Pennsylvania.   I would love for him to reassure me that everything would be okay just about now.
The loom is built on a piece of scrap wood.  It measures 7" x 7".  25 nails on each side.  Each approximately a 1/4" apart.  It's not perfect, but it certainly works.  I ordered more loops from Amazon because this is so therapeutic.

I haven't left my house since March 16th.  My kids are out of their 14 day quarantine tomorrow.  I can't wait to hug them!

update and a friend to knit with zoom thought

Well, I did manage to knit enough in order to separate the body and sleeves of my Miromesnil.  
Also, still working on my latte art.  😜
The other great accomplishment was freezing individual chocolate chip cookie balls in order to bake them to order!  However, the kids can only order them after dinner.  And they can only order a maximum of two each.  HAHA!

Also, I was thinking, anyone want to knit with me via Zoom?  I thought it would be a nice way to meet, spread some cheer and connect during this uncertain time.  We can arrange a group to meet (I was thinking maybe 5 or so) OR if you would rather, we could arrange a one on one.  Just a thought.  Email me if interested!  Really, don't be shy!  lesliemfriend at gmail dot com.

Stay well friends!

after one week

Good Morning sweet friends.  Hope you are all doing well.
We've been in self quarantine for a week.  My kids are all home and are on Day 5 of their self quarantine.
Libby had been exposed to a couple of kids in Boulder with Covid-19 and Charlie worked with many international peeps in Big Sky so they are all self quarantining in our guest house.  They also spent 21 hours in the car together on their trek back from the west.  Andrew decided he would rather be with them than anyone else, so he is with them, also.

I've had a hard time focusing on anything other than trying to keep busy.  I knit a little but not a whole lot.  Last week I had a hard time sitting still.  I plan to change that this week.  Accept the things we cannot change.  Continue to pray for the leaders and our world.  Be thankful for each and every blessing we have.  And knit.

Some of the things that can help to keep my mind busy and make me feel better.
• applying undereye concealer daily.  sometime twice a day.
• trying my hand at latte art.
• zoom yoga with my sisters.
• organizing my yarn.  again and again.
• organizing drawers.
• baking for the kids.

miromesnil

Hiya friends!
I am sure you are feeling the same as me and are completely thankful for your yarn, your needles and any other crafty endeavors you may enjoy.  As one who suffers from asthma, I am pretty scared of the severity of this virus.  I feel and pray for those with compromised immune systems, I pray for our scientists and leaders, and I pray for the safety of those traveling to get to those they love.  I pray for the lonely, the depressed, the ones who are so scared and don't know what to do.  I wish I could wrap my arms around them.  Instead I will send them all the light and love I can.  I hope they remember that we are all connected.  In ways that are terrifying and beautiful.

My son, Andrew, arrived home yesterday and my other two will be traveling across the county together,  making their way home on Thursday.  I won't be settled until they get here.

I have already started the social distancing and trying to do my part.  Staying home, for me, is not a hard thing to do.  I quite like it as it feeds the homebody in me.  Of course, like many, I hope I have enough food to feed my family.  (I still don't understand the quantities of toilet paper.)

However, with the world drastically slowing down, it adds anxiety and uncertainty that we can not always control.  I plan on keeping busy to relieve some of that anxiety.  I plan on getting to things that I have been wanting to do.  Like organizing my yarn, my notions, my projects.  That should take at least a day or two!  I plan on finding my zen through mediation and of course the rhythmic act of knitting.  Thank you GOD!

Last week I swatched for Miromesnil.  Swatching usual isn't my jam.  Especially if I am using the yarn that the pattern calls for.  However, because I substituted a different yarn, swatching is an important step in the process.  Just as washing hands is an important step in this process of trying to prevent the spread of Covid-19.  So, wash up and keep on knitting!

P.S.  Remember to moisturize!  xx

post nashville + eye spy

As I mentioned in my last post, I was headed to Haus of Yarn in Nashville to hunt for a new project.  After spending some time on Ravely that morning, I finally spotted a sweater I would like to knit.   
I arrived at Haus of Yarn and wandered the gorgeous rooms of this shop looking for the perfect yarn.  Lately, I am putting more effort into the color of the yarn, making sure it will fit into my wardrobe and actually be worn!  Olive green is always a favorite color of mine so I was drawn to the olive above.  I'll be swatching today so will be sure to share the yarn and the pattern soon.
I posted this photo on Instagram and played a little game with it.  I thought it would be fun to play it here, also!

The first person who can give the pattern name of the three knits in this photo will receive a box of yarn goodness from me!  (Continental US only, please.)  I realize the knit in my husbands hand, behind my back, will be a bit hard to guess.  Especially since I haven't posted it here.  So, I'll give you a hint... I made my son Charlie one a few posts back.

Have Fun!

ringleader mitts

Happy Leap Day!  SO fun to have an extra day of the year, right?  I feel as if it is a total gift! 

I'm currently in Nashville for the weekend and in just a bit I'm headed to Haus of Yarn.  I need a new sweater project and need a little inspiration to go along with it.  I think Haus of Yarn will be a good place to achieve that goal!  
The Ringleader Mitts are my new go to mitt pattern.  Especially out of this yummy yarn!  The faux cable is super easy.  As a matter of fact, this pattern is listed as a beginner knitting pattern.  I don't believe it would be a true "I want to learn how to knit pattern".  However, if you know how to knit and purl you truly can make anything!
I've been making these as gifts and this pair went to a sweet friend for her birthday.
I think the faux leather labels are a nice touch.  😊

hotline sweater

When Libby was home on Christmas break she asked if I could "fix" her Hotline sweater. It grew, as mohair tends to do, and she wasn't sure how to care for it.  I hand washed it, and popped it in the dryer, checking on it every 10 minutes or so.  When I tried it on, I couldn't believe I hadn't made myself one as it was super cozy and of course cute! :)
It is a Wool and the Gang pattern and kit.  While wearing her sweater, I was ordering yarn to make myself one.
On both Libby's and this one, I decided to make them both with the Knit side being the right side.  (The sweater calls for the Purl side to be the right side.)  I just prefer the knit stitch better.
The sweater is made with both sides being exactly the same so it is basically reversible!

Pattern:  Hotline Sweater
Yarn:  Take Care Mohair in Lazy Latte
Needles: US 11
Size:  1

all the love

I sure hope everyone had a nice Valentine's Day.  To me, it's not about just the love you share with a significant other.  It's the love you share for all of life and anyone or anything you love.

If you have been around here for a while, you may remember my cookie of the week.  Those memories are some of my favorite.  My children were young, and baking cookies was a weekly thing.  Over time, I stopped baking cookies weekly.  I started to eat less sugar and in turn feed my kids less sugar.  I received a message a couple of weeks ago that one of my readers misses cookie of the week. I miss it, too.  So in honor of cookie of the week, I made the most delicious sugar cookies to ship in college kids care packages.  I savored one with my knitting and I can honestly say it is still one of my favorite combinations of life.  Pure love.

Thanks so much for all of the wonderful feedback on One Lovely Sweater.  I will be sure to get back to everyone in the next week!

test knitters needed!

Hiya friends!
Hey!  I wrote my first sweater pattern!  Like really wrote it.  And it comes in 5 sizes! It's been a collaboration with SkeinCocaine and her amazingly YUMMY yarn that has been underway for over a year.  I am SO excited to finally share this with you.
It has a bit of detail that I am crazy about.  A V-neck sweater with a fluted sleeve.  Just a slight flute.  Don't worry you won't be dragging it across the table when trying to reach for something.  And the flute fits into your coat sleeve nicely.  Not a lot of extra material in there, ya know.
The yarn is a dream to work with.  And truly feels so cozy on your body.  It's one lovely sweater.  And everyone needs a least one lovely sweater in their wardrobe!

Well, I had an amazing tech editor go over this with a fine tooth comb.  But I need some friends to knit it and make sure everything is in tip top shape before we send it off into the world.  So, if you are interested in knitting this, I have set up a group over on Ravelry.  If you could please join and message me through there, that would be great!  Thank you SO much in advance!

Yarn: 3 (3, 4, 5, 5) skeins Donegal Luxe Sock 75% Sw Blue Face Leicester / 25% nylon, 438 yd / 401 m / 100 g from Skein Cocaine, 4,(4, 4, 5, 5) skeins Suri Cloud 74% Baby Suri Alpaca / 26% silk, 328 yds / 300m / 50g from Skein Cocaine. (Held together.)
Gauge: 19 sts and 26 rows = 4” / 10 cm in stockinette stitch worked in the round on larger needles.
Needles: US 8 / 5 mm and US 7 / 4.5 mm circular needle, 24”/ 60 cm or longer especially if knitting the sleeves using magic loop OR US 8 / 5 mm double-pointed needles.
Adjust needle size if necessary to obtain the correct gauge.

Size: XS (S, M, L, XL)
Finished bust measurement: 34.5 (36, 38.5, 40, 42)” / 87.5 (91.5, 98, 101.5, 106.5) cm with 2” / 5 cm positive ease.
Notions: Waste yarn or stitch holders, stitch markers (5), tapestry needle.

xx, leslie

january knitcrate

Well, hello February. I see spring around the corner!
February 4th to do:  Pay my last tuition check to the University of Colorado.  Wow is that a great feeling! I feel like having a party!
February 5th to do:  I really like this list.  I'm at my moms house in Orlando and sitting with my mom affords me some time to get some things accomplished.  I've been needing to put thumbs in a couple of pair of mitts, so this is a great time to be able to do that.  I also make a big batch of granola eveerytime I'm at my mom's.  My mom, the caretakers and and my sisters all love it.  Not to mention myself!  The mexican wedding cookies are one of my moms favorite so I can't wait till she tries them again.  
It dawned on me I forgot to mention the beautiful Knitcrate that arrived in January.  Such happy colors inside that beautiful blue box.  I LOVE this subscription box and if I don't make what they suggest with the yarn, I get to grow my stash yarn supply.  Always a good thing.
In January, Knitcrate collaborated with Louis Boria of Brooklyn Boy Knits.  I really like the knit pattern, the Upside-Down Cowl, inspired from the Netflix show "Stranger Things".  (I am a big fan of that show!)  It's a double layered reversible cowl.  Really looks like a fun knit!
Knit Pattern:  Upside-Down Cowl  
Yarn:  Knitologie Safari Sunset and Knitologie Golden Lion  Both 100% SW Merino.  (There are also two other color ways.)
This was the adorable "extra" in my box.  Not sure exactly what I will do with it, but it does fit perfectly on the top of my wine bottle!  😍

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

morning walk hat

I've been wanting to make a hat that the boys in my life would LOVE. Jane mentioned that this was her go to pattern for her guys so I decided to give it a try. I sent a photo to my Charlie and he was all in! I'm glad I asked him to choose the color as I would have gone with a totally different color scheme.
I ordered the yarn from Monarch Yarn and literally had it in two days.  The yarn was on the needles that night and off the needles 6 days later.  Truly a enjoyable, quick knit!
I've mentioned before that I love my new faux leather tags but decide to omit it from this project.  I didn't want it to look like Charlie had his name sewn on his cap as to not loose it. 😂
{Charlie, Big Sky Montana, January 28, 2020}

We traveled to Big Sky Montana last weekend to see Charlie as he is working there for the winter.  (Living his dream as a ski instructor!)  That place is gorgeous.  And I was so happy to see that the morning walk hat even fits under a ski helmet!

Pattern:  Morning Walk Hat
Yarn:  1 skein Woolfolk TYND, 1 skein Woolfolk SNO
Needle:  US 3 and US 4
Size:  Large

the beauty of blocking. part 2.

Here's the thing to remember about your knitting. You can always make it a size or sometimes 2 bigger!
My mom always taught me not to sweat the small stuff in life.  And that refers to my knitting!  I knew when I was working on this sweater that it was going to be too small.  But I forged ahead because of some of the basic knowledge I have regarding my knitting.  Blocking can be magical!
This sweater was too small.  I mean like really too small!  I could never have even worn a t-shirt under it let alone a blouse.  However, if you wet your project and lay it flat, pinned to the measurement you are trying to achieve, magic really does happen!  You must, and I mean must, let it completely dry.  Resist the urge to unpin it.  Trust me.  I have unpinned sweaters just to try them on and things can get a bit wonky.

This is a pattern I came up with a while ago.  It is intended for a solid color, but I didn't have enough of any one color so decided to combine a few colors from my stash.   The yarn was from a few of my Knitcrates.   I started off with the neutral and then I changed stripes whenever I felt the urge.  I did match the sleeve pattern to the stripe pattern in the body.  Not my usual color pallet, but I think I will get some wear out of this sweater.  Heck, I'm wearing it as I'm typing this! :)

I plan on writing this pattern up and making it one of those sweaters that encourage knitters to trust themselves and get creative.  Make the pattern unique and a one of a kind!

the beauty of blocking. part 1.

BEFORE.
Yes.  This sweater came out way too small.  It's too tight just about everywhere.  But I wanted to remind you that beautiful things can happen when you block a sweater.
I have a super old cardboard blocking board that I purchased at a garage sale.  I think I paid $1.   Worth that and more as I have used it quite a few time to achieve a better fit.  
I gave the sweater a quick hand wash, rung it gently in the sink and then rolled it in a towel.  Stepped on it several times and did a little dance.  Changed towels and repeated.   I then stretched my sweater so that it would be about a 40"- 42" when it was finished drying.  Pinned it in place to let it dry to those measurements.
I tried it on this morning, and I can honestly say I love it!
I'll be back next week to show you the AFTER.  😊

Happy Weekend!  Happy Knitting!

stash knitting

I'm sure like you, I have a list of things I want to make this year. Also on my list is to use up some of my ever growing stash yarn.
I had a couple of skeins of the natural color and really wanted to make a solid sweater using this oatmeal yarn. (Hello, beautiful natural color!)  However, a couple of skeins wasn't enough to make a sweater.  I fought the urge to get online and order a couple more skeins.   The voice inside my head told me to use what I had.  To make it work.  I had a skein each of the green and the purple.  But, I wasn't sure if I liked these colors. (Hello favorite colors natural, black and grey.) I went back and forth but in the end, I decided to listen to the voice.  I'm not sure exactly how I will like this.  Or how I will wear it.  (Usually one of the first things is envisioning the outfit)  But, I am going with it.  I started a sleeve yesterday and since I'm at my mom's, I plan on trying to finish it this week!  Fingers crossed.

I have to get going on some other things on my list!