The Best of 2017

Every year I do a "best of" blog post, and 2017 is no different! In this post, I'd like to share with you my top 5 books read this year and my top 5 patterns knit this year. Keep in mind, they may not have been published this year; 2017 is the year I discovered them.

Top 5 Books I read in 2017


My number one favorite book of 2017 was So Big by Edna Ferber! If you haven't listened to the last episode of the podcast and you're interested in this book, please do! Interesting fact, quite a few new listeners downloaded that podcast in December, and I'm not sure why, but I am thrilled that so many people are interested in Ferber. While her stories may not be as enlightened as those written in the 21st century, for a woman writing in the early 20th century about racism and sexism, Ferber is refreshing discovery!

My other favorites in no particular order are:

1. The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Letham (reviewed in the February episode of the podcast)

2. Game of Queens: The Women Who Made Sixteenth Century Europe by Sarah Gristwood (reviewed in Season 2 Episode 2 of the podcast)

3. Thornhill by Pam Smy: A novel that is very similar in structure to The Invention of Hugo Cabret, part prose, part illustrated novel. Smy's work follows separate stories of two girls, one in the present and one in 1982, that converge in the story of just what happened at Thornhill Institute. This is not a children's story even though the publisher places the age range at 10 - 14. This book deals some very troubling issues including suicide; I wouldn't give this to a teenager younger than 16, and I would definitely discuss the book with them after they read it. That said, it is a great psychological thriller for adults told in a very unique way!

4. The Book Jumper by Mechthild Gläser (reviewed in Season 2 Episode 5 of the podcast)

Top 5 Patterns I Knit in 2017

My absolute favorite pattern from 2017 was the Gigi cardigan by Devin Ventre. I made this out of the Jacob sheep wool from my family's sheep farm and wore it to Rhinebeck this year. The pattern is knit top down with short raglan sleeves and a generous cut to hide what the designer and I call our "mom belly". This pattern is very well written and suitable for someone who hasn't knit many sweaters (this was my second one ever). 

Here's a picture me in the cardigan with the fantastic group of knitters I go to Rhinebeck with each year:

photo courtesy of @andeekf

My other favorites in no particular order are:

1. Classic Octopus Hat by Molly Kent knit in Pembroke worsted in the colorway Copper Agate and Cascade 220 in the color Pacific. Still have no idea why octopuses, but I love this hat now that it is ridiculously cold in the northeast.


2. Caring Cowl by Alexis Winslow knit in Bernat Dimensions yarn, a big box acrylic yarn in lots of shades of pink that I am also wearing quite a bit this winter. This yarn mimics handspun in that it's thick and thin but in a uniform way since it's a machine made yarn. I love this yarn in this pattern - so squishy and warm and bright pink! Here's a classroom selfie:


3. My One Nation, Under God hat pattern inspired and created for my principal. It's a free pattern; details and the pattern can be found here.


4. North Country Mitts by Andrea Mowry knit in yarn from the Wooliers indigo dye kit. I wrote about my experience dying this yarn on the blog and recently knit the yarn into these very simple mitts. The chevron pattern created with purl stitches makes for a unique look, and I used about 80 yards of the yarn to make them. I bought a 9" size 7 circular needle to make these and love it! While I use dpns on many patterns, I find them fiddly and will probably poke my eye out with one someday, so these small circulars are a treat! I also didn't get any "ladders" using them although I've started using 4 dpns rather than 3 when I do go that route, and my laddering has been drastically reduced.






Season 2 Episode 6: Book Chat - Edna Ferber




Below is a transcript of the podcast for those who would rather read a blog post:

I decided to read Wuthering Heights again (because I love everything Bronte almost as much as everything Austen) at the end of June and finished on July 4th. The date is significant because when I went looking for my next read, I thought I would give American classics another chance. I love British classics especially from the 19th century and have since I was in high school yet I consciously avoid American classics.

The blame lies with sophomore English lit and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Not just The Scarlet Letter, which I really disliked, but his other works especially The Marble Faun which I had to read and present to the class and was such torture that I refused to read any 19th and early 20th American author for the past 4 decades.

It was bad.

I thought I’d start revisiting American classics with The Grapes of Wrath because I love other John Steinbeck books especially East of Eden but couldn’t find a copy anywhere, probably because it’s assigned as summer reading at least in this part of the country. I read an excerpt in high school and hated it (not as much as Hawthorne, but close). I thought it was worth another look almost 4 decades later.

I eventually found a copy while visiting my parents in Texas, but in the meantime, I picked up Giant by Edna Ferber at my library from their small classics section. I love this movie (James Dean, Rock Hudson, and Elizabeth Taylor, oh my) so figured I was safe choosing this book to start my summer of American classics.

Boy was I ever!


Using Up My Stash with the Greta Vest

Over the summer, I decided to update my stash spreadsheet. I know I can put my stash on Ravelry, but I'm an old school girl who likes to make spreadsheets then "visualize my data".

It's a gift or a curse, not sure which.

After completing said spreadsheet, I realized I have a lot of yarn. Like 75 separate line entries of yarn. I'm not at the point where I want to recognize that I may have a problem, but I am ready to put a hold on any more yarn purchases.

So, yea, I'm going to New York Sheep & Wool again this year. Might not buy quite as much yarn as I have in the past which gives me an excuse to stand in line at Jennie the Potter!

But I digress.

If you've been following the blog, I'm almost finished with the Gigi sweater for Rhinebeck out of Jacob sheep yarn from my family's farm that I had in stash. I also discovered during my stash dive that I had 5 balls of I Love This Wool by Hobby Lobby in terra cotta burried at the bottom of my largest yarn bin. (Yes, there are multiple bins.)


I know, I know, shopping at Hobby Lobby can be controversial, but I bought this yarn a number of years ago while visiting my parents in Texas when Hobby Lobby was closing out this brand (a real shame, it's a very nice acrylic/wool blend). Trust me, many a summer afternoon has been spent in a Plano, Texas, Michael's, Joann's, or Hobby Lobby with my Mom and daughter wallowing in all the crafty possibilities!


While I didn't have enough for a sweater, I did a quick search on Ravelry, and found I had enough for Greta (above), a cardigan vest pattern by Christina Wall. Like a good knitter, I swatched and found that the I Love This Wool yarn blocked to a perfect gauge for this pattern using the suggested size 9 US needle size.


This pattern also has a lot of garter and stockinette stitch, good old mindless knitting for a teacher facing the shock of back to school brain.

I started the body portion this week, and my Greta is knitting up quickly. Could I possibly have TWO sweaters finished by Rhinebeck? Let's not get ahead of ourselves, but you never know! I do recommend this pattern especially if you, like me, need to knit from stash and don't have a large quantity of one type of yarn to make a sweater.


I'm looking forward to wearing this fall color next month ... and clearing a place in my stash for a few new purchases at New York Sheep & Wool!

Dottie Angel Frock for Short Round Mom Bodies

Last summer, it seemed like the Dottie Angel Frock pattern was everywhere. All the knitting podcasters and bloggers were suddenly sewing, and this was their go-to pattern. There were sew-alongs, tutorials, Instagram posts, a host of Dottie Angels populating the internet!

So, of course, I wanted a Dottie Angel frock.

I made quite a few of my own clothes in high school and college after my mother taught me to sew. She made most of my and my sister's clothes when we were kids, mainly to save money, but also because my mom is really good at sewing! In fact, she used to make clothes for Barbie in her basement sewing "room" to sell at local craft fairs to raise money for our Christmas presents.

Mom even made my wedding gown in a very 1980s peach complete with puffy Princess Di sleeves.


So the thought of making the Dottie Angel Frock wasn't especially daunting for me, but I just ran out of time last summer to make it. At the start of this summer vacation, I began binge watching seasons of Project Runway which prompted a real desire to "make it work" with that Dottie Angel pattern. I wasn't sure the dress version of the pattern would be particularly flattering on me, so I opted for the blouse version that hits mid hip.


All the Project Runway contestants make a version of their pattern in muslin before they create a garment, so I decided I would do that too. I cannot recommend this enough if you decide to make this pattern and are short (5' 1" on a good day), round (aka "mom-shaped"), and / or are over the age of 25.


The first sign that I don't have a model's body came when I made the tie-backs. The placement of these ties not only hit me mid-bust but no matter what the placement, they were not the least bit flattering. I'd prefer not to look like the world's oldest pregnant lady.

After ditching the tie-backs, I tried my first French seams on the sides which went very well until I tried the garment on. Too tight in the bust, huge sleeve holes, hem at my knees.

Mom to the rescue! While visiting my Mom with my daughter in early July, we got into a discussion about sewing. Sarah (my daughter) asked Mom about alterations, and Mom had lots of good advice! One was to raise a garment at the shoulders if the fit in the length was off. She was so right! I moved my shoulder seams down approximately 2" and voila! Bust fit great and the sleeves were spot on.

I also wasn't fond of the contrasting pockets, so I followed this option and made pockets of the same material as the frock (which in my case was the shirt version).


After those adjustments, the pattern when pretty well although all that seam binding and basting got a bit tedious. The neckline, the shoulders, and sleeves are all finished with binding tape which is very neat, and I'm sure will guarantee a longer lasting garment, but I did miss the days of sewing a straight seem and at most taking the pinking sheers to a seam to prevent unraveling!



Finally the hem! So tempted to do a traditional foldover hem, but decided to stick with the pattern and use the seam binding. This took WAY too long what with basting it twice, trying to sew on the right side and not catching all of the binding, then sewing on the wrong side and still having a bit of trouble with that. The only time I had to get out my seam ripper was on that hem!

If I make another one, and I think I will in a light wool for fall, I'm making a foldover hem. What took me 3+ hours will take less than 1/2 hour with this approach, and it will most likely be neater than the hem I ended up with on this version.

Have you made the Dottie Angel Frock? Did it work out for you as written or did you have to come up with some "hacks" as I did? Please share your experiences (and any questions and feedback) in the comments below!




A Tale of a Cardigan Collar

About a year after I started knitting, I decided to knit myself a cardigan. I love cardigans and felt ready to tackle something beyond a cowl or shawl.

I was not ready.

The pattern was wrong for my body type, the yarn was wrong for the pattern, I really didn't understand the importance of blocking... so many problems with that cardigan.

I hated it as soon as I finished it, and never knit another garment again. Until this summer.

I like to tackle either a complicated project like stranded knitting or a larger project during summer vacation but had a hard time finding one that inspired me as the school year ended. As luck would have it, a number of knitters I follow on Instagram posted starts for Rhinebeck sweaters about that time. I'm going to Rhinebeck! It's chilly at Rhinebeck (at least in the morning).

This year would be different. This year, I would knit that mythical beast, a Rhinebeck sweater.

With nothing but the desire to knit a top down cardigan - a woman's gotta know her limitations, and I know I have to check fit as I go - I began my search on Ravelry. Lots of searching and thinking about the perfect pattern followed as I lay awake in bed each night listening to the crickets tell me summer was rushing by. (Could also have been the crickets in my gecko's cage... but I digress.)

I don't know if the crickets had anything to do with it, but I came upon the Gigi cardigan by Devin Ventre in early July and mentioned it in the last podcast. A short sleeved cardigan, the pattern was not only perfect for my mom shaped body, it used worsted weight yarn and the sample was knit in what looked like farm yarn.

Checking my stash, I discovered I had just enough Jacob sheep yarn from my family's farm left to knit this cardigan! I cast it on and went gangbusters until mid-August when I hit the collar.

I loved the collar design. I tried over and over for FOUR days to get that collar to work. This is a paid pattern so I won't go in to detail, but the collar is knit vertically by picking up a stitch at the collar for each row. My collar looked wonky every time. Here's what the collar looks like on the Ravelry pattern page:


So I decided I'd pick up a row of stitches along the collar and do a purl collar horizontally. The sleeves are purled; I thought the collar would pick up that detail. It did, but it also curled like crazy. Rip rip rip! Day five wasted.

The next morning while out on my walk with Kimi, I realized a garter collar would look very similar to the one originally called for. (You'd be surprised how many problems I solve on my walks with Kimi.) That afternoon, Kimi and I settled in for the Fruity Knitting podcast episode with Ysolda Teague (coincidentally the designer of that cardigan I knit so long ago).

It worked! The collar stood up the way the pattern designer intended, and it looked far from wonky. I did do an icord border on each side following this tutorial so I had a clean edge. Here's what the collar looks like now (pre-blocked).



With the collar conquered, I just have the sleeves to kni5 and will post again after I finish and block the cardigan!

Have you altered a pattern in the past (knit or sewn)? I admit, I usually follow a pattern pretty closely, so I'm interested in what others do when creating garments. I'd love to hear about your experiences in the comments!

Recipe: Homemade Dog Biscuits


Many of you know I recently adopted a rescue named Kimi. A 4 year old pit bull mix, she came with lots of history and health problems. I've worked on both since she came home with me and my son at the beginning of May, and she's doing incredibly well both physically and socially.

One of the first things I had to address was I'll call "digestive issues", but every dog parent (or any parent for that matter) knows what I mean. I tried a number of different foods to help her digestion and one of the best was baked organic jewel yams from Whole Foods.

Three things about those jewel yams: they are actually a form of sweet potato, rank "number one in the nutrition of all vegetables", and they are only slightly more expensive than regular sweet potatoes at the chain grocery store. (Remember, I'm a public school teacher; I shop in Whole Foods as a treat or for specific items I can't find at ShopRite, so don't be put off by the purveyor.)

Jewel yams are also much creamier than regular sweet potatoes, and Kimi loves them. That got me thinking about how I could incorporate them into a portable, healthy treat I could use as a reward and let visitors give her when she was appropriately social. We also have many play dates with her BFF, Tipton, and who doesn't want to bring treats to their BFF?

I came up with this recipe by taking various ingredients from a number of recipes on the internet and in magazines, so my version may not be a new approach to some readers. However, it's the one Kimi and Tipton love, and it's easy to make!

Kimi's Jewel Biscuits

1 average size jewel yam microwaved to softness (takes about 8 minutes in my microwave on high)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup natural peanut butter (I used Skippy creamy)
1/2 cup regular oats (I used these because I had them - instant may work too)
3 Tbsp. wheat germ (Whole Foods brand but only because that's the only place that carried wheat germ in my town)
2 cups whole wheat flour (I used Gold brand from Walmart - figured that would balance out the Whole Foods purchases!)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Using an electric mixer, mix together cooked yam, eggs, and peanut butter until creamy.
3. Crush oats in a blender until the consistency of grainy flour.
4. Add oats and wheat germ to wet ingredients and mix thoroughly.
5. Add 1 cup flour to batter and mix thoroughly.
6. Add remaining cup of flour gradually (I mixed a 1/2 cup then another 1/2 cup.)
7. Flour a surface and a rolling pin. (I also lightly floured the dough.) Roll out dough until roughly 1/4" thick but not more than 1/2" thick.
8. Use a dog biscuit cookie cutter to make biscuits. (I got mine at Joann Fabrics.) Place biscuits on greased cookie sheet. (Spray oil is fine.)
9. Bake for 30 minutes.
10. Remove from oven, cool, and enjoy!

Store in a Tupperware-like container but don't worry if the cookies get softer; dogs don't seem to mind! Also, your house will smell good after you bake these "cookies". My son had a friend over while I was baking; when he walked in, he immediately asked what smelled so good!

Please let me and Kimi know if you try this recipe - I'm sure your furry friend will love them as much as she does! If you have any other healthy ingredients you've baked in dog biscuits or any you'd like to suggest, please let us know that as well.

Classic Octopus Hat Giveaway

If you've listened to the last episode of the podcast, you'll know that one of my projects on the needles was the Classic Octopus Hat by Molly Kent. My version is knit in the Pembroke worsted base from The Yarn Collective in the colorway Copper Agate, a gift from the lovely folks at loveknitting.com. I finished and blocked the hat this past weekend and even added my very first pom pom!


I made a modified version by Raveler Quaere that turns the original beanie pattern into a slouchy hat. This version is great; the only change I would make if I knit it again is to do more knit rows in between the decrease rows at the end. The hat isn't as slouchy as I like (I love slouchy), and has a rather square top. That's why I added the pom pom - I'm normally not a pom pom person, but I think this makes the hat! I used this pom pom tutorial, and my pom pom turned out great on the first try.

As noted in the photo above, I'm giving away both yarn colors as well as the pattern for this hat. Loveknitting.com donated the yarn, and I will gift the pattern to the lucky winner. So how do you win?
  • - Sign up for my newsletter (top right) if you haven't already done so.
  • - Comment on this post or the podcast post
  • - Follow me on Instagram
  • - Like my post on Instagram about the giveaway
  • - Repost my Instagram post
  • - Like the podcast's Facebook page
Lots of ways to win! I'll announce the winner on the next podcast, most likely early August. Good luck and happy summer knitting (with wool of course)!

Season 2 Episode 5: Pitbulls, Paranormal YA, & Prizes!



I'm back! And I have a new furry BFF named Kimi. Here's a pic of her (bottom) posing with her best furry friend Tipton (top) in a pitbull garden.


I talk more about how I came to adopt Kimi in this podcast episode, and you can find more pics of her on my Instagram.

Pics and more stories about Paddy the Cocker Spaniel can be found here.

Knitting

Patterns I mention:

YOLO by Susan Ashcroft - here's my finished version in Maple Creek Farms fingering wool/mohair blend in the colorway Wheat Fields:


I'm knitting the Gigi cardigan by Devin Ventre of Knitty McPurly in Jacob Sheep wool from our family farm for Rhinebeck this year. I just started it so here's a close up of this yarn in stockinette:


Classic Octopus Hat by Molly Kent - WIN a copy not only of this pattern but the Pembroke worsted yarn in the colorway Copper Agate donated by loveknitting.com and a skein of Cascade 220 in the colorway Pacific, the colors I am using in my version of this hat. Listen to the podcast to find out how you can win! Entries will close when I next podcast, most likely the end of July.

The photo at the top of this post shows my progress and the yarn used in this pattern. The Yarn Collection Pembroke worsted is the orange/coral, and the blue is Cascade 220 in the colorway Pacific.

The modification I'm following that turns this pattern from beanie to slouchy can be found here.

Simple Striped Bag by Willow Yarns - here's my version about half way done:

Reading

I review 3 young adult novels in this episode. Don't be put off by the young adult label, these are great books for anyone approximately 15 years old and up. The links below go to Amazon for informational purposes only.

Firebug by Lish McBride
The Book Jumper by Mechthild Glässer
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta


Bible Study

Information about the E100 Bible Reading Challenge can be found here. Let me know if you decide to try this challenge and/or have recommendations for similar Bible studies!

Sheeps and Shawls

Cross-stitch

I don't believe I've done any cross-stitch since spring break. However, this past weekend, I had to wait for workmen to come to my house (so many workmen over the last month), so I decided to finish a project I started in February. "Spring Sheepies" by Michelle Lutzen can be found in the Spring 2016 issue of Cross-stitch & Needlework magazine; it's perfect for spring, for knitters... for knitters who cross-stitch in spring!




The pattern comes with finishing instructions for making a box display which I intend to try this summer. I made the August cottage by Country Cottage Needleworks for my daughter for her birthday last year, and it's still languishing in my craft dresser because framing is SO expensive! These sheep will be my learning project so that I can finish her piece in time for her birthday this August.

Knitting

I blocked my Lacy Prayer Shawl in Takhi Cora Handpaints and love it! As I mentioned in this post, the yarn came from two different dye lots and had been languishing in stash for at least 4 if not 5 years. I'm so glad I finally found a pattern for it, and since it's for me, I don't mind that parts of the shawl are pinker and others are greener. It's all spring colors to me! (My daughter borrowed my dress form so final "glamour" short to come!)


I also worked on my YOLO shawl over the long weekend and made it to the mock cable border. The percentage method used it this pattern is so simple yet so brilliant! The directions state that you should knit 45% of the yarn before starting the border, and I came with 2 grams of that weight at the switchover. 

I need to find more patterns like this! Here's what the start of the border looks like:


I'd really like to finish this before it gets hot here at the Jersey Shore since it's knit in a mohair/merino blend, and I am not one to turn on the air conditioning until it's truly unbearable. A blog reader emailed me after reading my post about this pattern last week, and she's planning to try it. If anyone else gives YOLO a go, please let me know via email or in the comments!

Most Tuesdays I join Nicole at the Keep Calm Craft On link party. Please join us by contributing a link to your fibery work in progress and current read and / or by checking out the posts to the link parties. You may find your next book or project waiting for you!


YOLO in Moscow

Knitting

While life has yet to settle down (see Instagram posts about our new family member, Kimmy), I started knitting a shawl pattern based on percentages called YOLO. As a high school teacher, I've heard that term many more times than any person ever should, but I like the reasoning of designer Susan Ashcroft:
a simple knitting trick to make little mock cables without a cable needle - just YO (yarn over) and LO (lift over)
This pattern takes the weight of all the yarn then uses 45% for the stockinette upper part and 55% of the yarn for the mock cable border. Genius! When one knits with pricey yarn, one would like to use up the skein yet I always seem to have yards leftover, never enough for another pattern! (At least I never run short of yarn.) I bought a small scale for this project; we'll see how it goes.

I came across this version by Raveler PattiAnnieB in yellow gradient yarn and immediately thought the fingering wool yarn I bought last fall from Maple Creek Farms in the colorway Wheat Fields would be perfect:


With a few very hot exceptions, it's been cooler than normal here at the Jersey Shore, so knitting this sunny mohair/merino blend has been a pleasure this month!

Reading

Without a lot of time to read recently, it took me longer than usual to make it through A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. Perfect for my hectic current life, this book starts off with a very basic premise then remains a rather quiet book until the very end.


Count Alexander Rostov returns (yes returns) to Russia from Paris after the fall and execution of the Tsar. He manages to get his beloved grandmother to safety in Paris but remains behind in Moscow in a luxury suite at the Metropol hotel with quite a few of his family's possessions. On June 22, 1922, the Count is declared a Former Person and sentenced to life confined within the walls of the hotel. He is spared a death sentence based on a poem he published about a decade before that was more revolutionary than aristocratic.

Pay attention to that poem...

Originally sporting some serious mustaches (an early hipster one might say), the Count is forced to have them shaved after an irate customer at the barber cuts one off. This removal sparks a conversation with a young girl named Nina who introduces the Count to what goes on behind the scenes at the hotel as well as many of the Bolshevik assemblies that take place in it's ballrooms.

Nina eventually grows up, marries, and has a child, Sofia. Sofia's father is arrested and banished to Siberia. Nina wants to follow him but cannot take a 5 year old child, so she leaves Sofia with the Count as what everyone believes is a temporary measure.

It is not.

Sofia grows up as a Russian Eloise while the Count becomes head waiter at the illustrious restaurant within the Metropol. Characters come and go, plans are made... and the end falls together perfectly. I enjoyed this book with its unusual premise and quiet yet moving story. Events happen outside the Metropol hotel but the hotel and its inhabitants power on. The movie Casablanca plays a part in the later pages and if you liked that movie, I'm certain you will enjoy A Gentleman in Moscow!

Most Tuesdays I join Nicole at the Keep Calm Craft On link party. Please join us by contributing a link to your fibery work in progress and current read and / or by checking out the posts to the link parties. You may find your next book or project waiting for you!

Yarn Dyeing with Indigo

I don't know why, but when the weather gets really bad on a Saturday, I immediately think about dyeing yarn. Maybe because I know I'll have the entire afternoon to play with color or maybe because I like to dye bright colors which cheer me up in dreary weather. Whatever the reason, this past Saturday when it was cold and rainy and very uninviting outside, I decided to try the Indigo Dye Kit kindly gifted to me by The Wooliers after I interviewed them on the podcast.

Such a fun way to dye yarn!


My go to way to dye is with a crockpot and either food coloring or Kool-aid, and if you've dyed yarn with either, you know you've questioned how those items are considered edible. This kit gave me a chance to try a natural dye in an almost fool proof way (if you read the directions before you start, definitely fool proof).


The kit comes with detailed instructions, 3 packets of pre-measured dye ingredients, a wooden stick to stir the yarn and dye, and 120 yards of wool (25% baby doll, 25% merino, 50% alpaca). Earlier experiences with alpaca had me wondering how bright this dye would be; alpaca tends to mute even the brightest of Kool-aid colors, but turns out, I had nothing to worry about.

After mixing the hot water and the ingredients, I left my jar to sit for an hour. Then I let it sit for another hour. My jar never got to the "translucent yellow/green" described in the directions, but I've created some mighty fine colors in the past by winging it, so I pushed that hank of yarn into the dye mix anyway.


The directions said let it sit for 5 minutes. I of course got involved with the new Anne of Green Gables series on Netflix so didn't come back to it for about 30 minutes. Super dark blue!


After letting the yarn sit for awhile (ok more of Anne), I rinsed out the indigo. That took quite a bit of soaking which may be due to my water never turning that yellow/green, but once it was rinsed, I gave it a soak in, what else, Soak, and then wrung it out to dry.


The yarn dried overnight (and was of great interest to my new dog, Kimmy - I think the smell intrigued her), and I am IN LOVE with this yarn!!


I see this in a hat very soon... now to get some of The Wooliers natural yarn to go with it!

If you've never tried your hand a dyeing yarn, I highly recommend this as a first time experience. Very self contained in the jar, the directions are very detailed, and the result nothing more than spectacular! If you decide to give this kit a try, let me know!

Paddy 2002 - 2017

It is with a sad heart that I write this blog post about Paddy, my dog of 15 years. He passed away on April 27, 2017 and his loss hit our family hard. While I still knit and read while I grieved, I didn't have a blog post in me last week. I'm sure I will feel his loss for the rest of my life; he grew up with my children and was indeed my third child.

He was a big fan of a good chew bone:

He was also a good sport when his human siblings forced him to do things like listen to Fallout Boy:
His favorite spot to hang was the futon in the playroom even when the kids outgrew the playroom:
He also loved snow even though his Mom does not:
He was often at my feet when I knit or read (or stealing my chair when I was elsewhere). Paddy, you will be missed.


Season 2, Episode 4: Interview with Kate Frank



Knitting

In this episode, I chat with Kate Frank of Kathryn Frank Fiber Arts on etsy and the Kitchen Stitching podcast. I mentioned that she's offering a coupon code for any purchase in her shop. That code is knitreadpray for 20% off anything in the shop. If you do buy her yarn, please let me know and I'll provide a copy of my newest pattern, Lingering over Tea,  made with the yarn pictured above!

Speaking of that pattern, if you'd like to receive a coupon code from me for a free copy on Mother's Day, please sign up for my newsletter in the sidebar on the right.

Reading


I review The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson and Isabella of Castile by Giles Tremlett in this episode. Very different books - I loved them both!

Bible Study


I mention the E100 Bible Reading Challenge which I've started as well as the Facebook group for the podcast. As I mentioned, I'd like to get the group going again as a place for Bible and Scripture discussion.

Sentient Moss


The song at the end is Unit Zero, written by my son, Joe Fadem, and performed by his band Sentient Moss. You can find their entire CD on Soundcloud, bandcamp, Spotify, and iTunes.