Dee: Well, we have a new “Hallmark” holiday to celebrate, April 21 is Local Yarn Shop Day. Please correct me if I am wrong however, I thought every day was a local yarn shop day. In light of this new holiday I will of course be celebrating by making the trek to my not-as-local-as-I-would-like yarn shop, String Theory in Glen Ellyn. Before I make the journey I want to discuss something sparked by an article I read on the Post Stitch blog. It’s an excellent post, so you should read it.
How does one build or curate their perfect stash? The answer is probably different for each knitter depending of course upon their preferred knitting tendencies. My knitting preferences have evolved over time as I am sure yours have as well. Please do not show me a “hairy” yarn. I never want to use eyelash yarn again. The funny thing is that non-knitters love that type of yarn so they will get them from me in the form of a gift should I discover any remnant skeins in my stash. I am also pretty much over space dyed yarns. It’s not to say that I will never buy another beautifully colored skein, they are gorgeous however, it’s not my current crave. Pooling is a huge reason they have fallen out of favor with me. Keeping my pattern options open is what motivates my purchases these days. I did buy three skeins of yarn at YarnCon and all of them were solids. I also enjoy lightly speckled yarns and semi-solids. I have created a few rules to follow for spontaneous stash enhancements.
- Can I live without it?
- Do I have yarn already like it?
- Does it provide me with enough knitting options?
Another rule to consider is when I decide to make a purchase I always ask myself if there is enough yardage to make what I have in mind. You can certainly single skein yourself to death. Sometimes purchasing more is in fact the one hundred percent the best option and that’s the truth.
I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts on how you are curating your stash. Please share, and happy knitting!
Dee: In elementary school, I recall eating the most delicious peanut butter cookies in the school cafeteria. They were big and you only got one however, that one cookie entirely filled up that recessed square in the lunch tray. I loved them. They had the perfect amount of crispness and a very strong peanut butter flavor.
Years passed, yet my memory lingered on those cookies. I looked at countless recipes from cookbooks and some from online until I happened upon a recipe that I found in the Chicago Tribune. The article stated that this particular recipe was from the Chicago Public Schools. I was hopeful and clipped the recipe. As it turns out, my eldest son is allergic to peanuts so I didn’t dare fill the air with poison or contaminate my kitchen and utensils with peanut butter. I am a good mother, after all.
Kids grow up and they go off to college. Sometimes they move across the country and while I love this particular child very much I was delighted to have the opportunity to try out all the delicious peanut butter recipes that I had been saving. This one was at the top of the list. Enjoy!
Jumbo Peanut Butter Cookies
- 3 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup real butter, softened (do not even consider substituting, seriously, don’t do it)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter (I use Skippy)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside. Beat butter and both sugars in a bowl until fluffy. Beat in eggs and peanut butter. Gradually add the flour mixture a cup at a time mixing just to combine. At this point the dough is extremely stiff, please use caution so as not to burn out your hand-mixer. I have killed my share of hand-mixers over the years. Consider yourself warned.
Scoop dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet using a 2-inch trigger scoop; do not flatten. I repeat, do not flatten. Bake until lightly golden and beginning to crisp around the edges, about 15 minutes.
Notes: Bake them for less time if you prefer softer cookies. I like mine on the crisp side so I usually bake them mine for 16 minutes which makes them perfect for dunking.
This recipe makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies. I have never stopped to count them and as everyone likes to eat warm cookies, they seem to just disappear from the cooling racks. Enjoy!
Dee: I’m feeling optimistic about a lot of things. I feel pretty good actually and 2018 seems to be off to a really great start for me. I’d like to accomplish a lot of knitting and a lot of other things too. Although I definitely will be knitting from my stash again this year I have recently bought a few new skeins of American yarn to try out. I’ve been hearing some really great things about the Barrett Wool Co. yarn from Wisconsin. I purchased their Home worsted weight yarn in two colors to knit a couple of Emmen hats as well as purchasing their Wisconsin Woolen in worsted to knit Mary Jane Mucklestone’s Pine Star Hat. Last night I attended a special evening at String Theory. They were showcasing a couple of smaller yarn companies Spencer Hill and Liverpool Yarns. I bought two skeins of yarn from Spencer Hill, Claudia and Stanley who will dance together in an undetermined hat pattern to be announced.
I’m participating in a couple of knit-a-longs. Privately with my friend Kathryn I’ll be knitting Hoarfrost using some stashed yarn Lima. Then I’ll join the Ravellenics Sweater Event by knitting The Weekender sweater again with some stashed yarn Shepherd’s Own. Hopefully I’ll make it to the finish line!
Happy knitting, happy life and remember to always choose to be kind.
Dee: Hello, although I’m not sure anyone actually took notice (I mean I have no clue if anyone reads this blog or not) however, I had taken a long break from blogging. You see, 2016 was a particularly difficult year for me. I lost both of my parents in a few months time. My dad passed in the spring and my mom more recently. She had a massive stroke on election day and then passed the following day. The world became very unkind and I retreated to grieve and save myself. I thought I was doing pretty well until my mom’s birthday came around. Her birthday just happened to be on inauguration day. Again, the world was a very unkind place that day in particular as I grieved her first birthday without her. So I’ve remained in seclusion from blogging.
By all accounts 2017 looks to be a very promising year for my family. We adopted a beautiful six year-old westie named Finn who has become a particularly bright spot in my life. My sons are grown and there are weddings to look forward to in the near future. My work continues to delight me and there are always adventures, friends, crafting and knitting to be had. I seem to have emerged from the fog and I am rejoining society once again. My loving family and great friends are a huge part of my recovery. Thank you to all
So look forward to seeing some fun and happiness return to this page in the near future.
Make America kind again.
Dee: I’m having such a great fiber filled September!!! I went to both the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival and a Susan B. Anderson workshop in Madison via KnitCircus, also in Madison.
Next to YarnCon, which is in the spring, the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival is my favorite yarn event. It’s small, rustic and oh so interesting. Local vendors carry a wide variety of items for sale. There are basket makers, yarn dyers, soap makers, cheese makers, broom makers, angora rabbit proprietors and more! I really tried to behave myself yet I succumbed to temptation and opportunity when I happened upon Yarns By Design in Neenah WI. They were having a retirement sale. Let’s just say I did okay. My arms were full, then empty, finally with a clear head I made it to the register with only a few specialty skeins for holiday knitting.
It’s safe to say I love sheep. So when I saw the Susan B. Anderson sheep knitting workshop I jumped at the chance, grabbed Jodee and headed to Madison. This little fella is so adorable that I have considered knitting him some attire. The workshop was part of the KnitCircus weekend retreat. Friday night, the ladies of KnitCircus held an evening of wine, cheese and shopping in their shop. You could also just hang out and chat while knitting away on a project as we chose to do for a good part of the evening. I love seeing all the gradient cakes of yarn that KnitCircus offers. I finished a project that the KnitCircus crew were kind enough to dye up additional yarn for me so I could finish my Pyropa shawl. I ran out of yarn shy of enough to complete the final one and a half repeats. The colorway is called Sexy Like A Labradoodle. The pattern includes placement for optional beads which I chose to incorporate. They are clear with a silver lining. So pretty, I don’t think the picture does the finished shawl justice.
Lastly I volunteered to test knit a pattern. It’s the PokeHat by Mrs. Luedeke. My son is on Team Mystic so I agreed to test that version. I always enjoy color work. It’s so satisfying to knit.
Next up on my fall knitting schedule is traveling through Wisconsin to the fall Schoolhouse Press Workshop with Meg and Amy. I look forward to this weekend all year long. It’s literally the best time a knitter can have communing with their fellow fiber brethren. I love it!
Dee: Along with gal pal Terry, I headed to Stitches Midwest last week to partake in “The Market” and the stitch marker swap. We grabbed our Sammy Snail buttons and set off. I didn’t get very far before making my first purchase. This is always the case with me I am so excited about the event that I have the crazed buying impulse that overtakes my brain. As soon as I saw the Cowgirl Bandana Shawl from Buffalo Wool Company, I bought it. Mind you, I am very happy with the purchase it’s just that I always plan to survey, contemplate and return thoughtfully. Yeah, that never happened.
Another vendor that caught my eye was Pawley Studios, I instantly fell in love with her designs. The artist uses a two step process in creating her knit ware pieces.
First the vessel is made and then the knitted sweater design in applied on top. The result is beautiful and full of rich texture. I tend to appreciate pottery pieces a lot because I spent a couple of semesters learning to throw ceramics in college. I was never this talented. Her glazing is amazing as well. According to her husband the red glazed pieces sold out early on Thursday evening. I would have loved to see those. Although I didn’t purchase anything from Pawley Studios they are definitely on my radar for the future.
As we wound our way up and down the aisles we paused to swap markers with others wearing the telltale snail button. I really enjoyed the markers I got in this year’s swap. I don’t think I came home with as many as last year however I pretty much love all the markers I took home. Here take a look.
Well I am a Ravellenic competitor so I better sign off and get busy with my event. I have already reached the podium once for WIP Wrestling by finishing my Fir Trees Cowl. It’s blocking so pictures to follow until then, happy knitting!
Dee: I’ll be competing in a few events for the Ravellenic Games. I have entered projects in the following events Hat Dash, WIP Wrestling, Shawl Sailing and Scarf Hockey. Wish me luck!
Dee: With an abundance of windshield time ahead of me, I decided to pack up some knitting projects for my vacation trip out west. I finished up casting off on the shawl for my mother-in-law. This was paramount since it was her birthday celebration we would be attending in Montana. I think it turned out nicely… She cannot wear anything with wool in it and she loves fancy things so this yarn sprinkled with sequins was the perfect choice for her.
As soon as I finished the shawl I cast on for the New Directions Cowl that I had bought the kit for at last year’s Wisconsin Sheep and Fiber Fest. The cowl was fun to knit without a lot of directions or details to following making it a perfect project for the road and for sightseeing. I love the way that by switching yarns every nine rows that it kept the project interesting. This cowl is earmarked as a Christmas gift.
I then began with a repeat knit of the Timber Bay Hat. I had given the last one I knit away as a birthday gift and knew at the time that I wanted one for myself. This time I used some berry hued yarn from my stash and named the hat the Huckleberry Hat in honor of Montana’s State fruit. I really think you should knit one for yourself the fold over brim in a one by one twisted rib is so fantastically satisfying and beautiful.
I wanted enough knitting to last the entire trip and I brought exactly that, enough knitting to last me until I reached my driveway. The final item was my take along project that I started months ago and only work on when I have time to kill in a waiting room or during my lunch break. It’s also a favorite repeat knit of mine, the Veil Stitch Cowl that I knit last winter. Light, airy and perfect to wear indoors as part of an outfit this cowl features only one stitch that you repeat again and again even on the cast off row…the Veil Stitch. It looks impressive and knit up in Noro it’s a stunner.
My trip to Montana would not have been complete without a stop at the Dupuyer Cache where there is a room stocked with Beaverslide Dry Goods yarn. This yarn is minimally processed leaving it butter soft. The colors are phenomenal by the way and I had an especially hard time choosing which colors to bring home with me. I wanted to buy one skein in every color, however I did not do that. That would have been a lot of yarn…even for me. I took pictures of the shop to share…enjoy! Happy knitting y’all!
Dee: When my brothers cleared out my folks home to move them into assisted living and subsequently sell their home…a few of my mother’s things were discarded…namely all of the items that I have knit her over the years. Sadness. She’s cold so I’ve knit her a new shawl out of yarn that is washable. The shawl is based on the Madeline Shawl by Kate Jackson (not the Charlie’s Angels actress Kate Jackson, at least I am thinking not.) I knit the shawl with Plymouth Encore from my stash for something that is easy care for her new living arrangement.
I think it turned out pretty nice too if I do say so myself. I am loving this construction for her. It should sit nicely over her shoulders without falling off. I am knitting another for my mother-in-law who is turning eighty this month. Hers will be in all garter stitch and knit with some sequined yarn. Yes, she’s a fancy girl. At the rate I am knitting I’m going to be late for the actual birthday though.
I’m still knitting hats. I love knitting hats. I have two to share with you. One of them is going to be a gift the other I am planning to donate for a worthy cause….stay tuned. This first hat is Timber Bay. I loved knitting this pattern. The turned brim is spectacular. I am planning to knit more of these hats in the near future. For this one I used some Cascade 220 heather yarn which I just loved so much. Heathers and tweeds really make the nicest hand knit items, they really do. There is a depth to them that really adds to a finished piece. I was really nervous that I would run out of yarn as I was closing in. I made the comment to my husband that I was afraid that I was going to run out of yarn and he replied that I will never run out of yarn. Hmmm.
The second hat to share with you is the Five Pillars Hat. I knit the hat with larger yarn and needles since the finished measurements for the pattern were really small and would make a very tight hat. I used some Cascade 128. I think I would have preferred a smaller gauge yarn however I so love a big hat. I think they look better on my head.
So there you have it I have been busy knitting and not busy blogging. Shame on me. Until next time…
Happy knitting everyone!
Monica: That is a picture of a sweater I started a few weeks ago. I’ve had the yarn and pattern in my stash forever and I decided I didn’t want to avoid it any more. The pattern is an old Dale of Norway one that is probably going to be celebrating it’s tenth birthday soon. I just looked on Ravelry for a release date and couldn’t find one but I noticed it’s number 2 in my queue.
The reason I’ve been avoiding it is because of the scary steeking that I will have to do on the sweater. One of my friends at work is working on a Lopi sweater that involves steeking so she unintentionally pushed me into finally working on my project. It’s not a quick project. I already ripped 6 inches because I didn’t read the instructions. But I do like fair isle knitting so I didn’t mind too much.