10 Shetland Minutes

Take 10 minutes out of your day and watch this film, In Sheep’s Clothing. I can almost guarantee that you will have a new appreciation for the ease of our lives, yarn stores, ready to knit wool, and sheep.

It took some discipline to simply stop, slow down, and watch this film. I kept wanting to fast forward, but realized a few minutes in that I wasn’t watching facts or a “story”, I was watching a way of life from 80 years ago. I owed the filmmaker and the subjects the respect of watching and I’m glad I did.

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Learning Pasta From an Italian Chef

Aren’t those just the cutest things? They are called cappelletti and I learned to make them from Chef Paola, transported via Skype to my kitchen from the Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy.

We made the pasta; we made two fillings, meat and ricotta and spinach; we rolled the pasta to the correct thickness in a machine; we cut, filled, and shaped cappelletti and ravioli; we ate the pastas with delicious sauces. What a treat and so much fun to share with a friend.

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Outrageous Husband, Cracked Fingers, Shoebox Project, & Saved Sweater,

Oh, Man, It’s Cold! Therefore Cracked Fingers

So I was sitting knitting the other day, watching some Netflix thing with my husband and I said, “My finger hurts. I think I cut it.” He asked if it was split. He was right; it was, and the others on my right hand were showing signs of following the index finger. He said, “Go and put Bag Balm on it.” And I said, “I can’t do that, I’m knitting.” And he said, “Stop knitting.”

Outrageous Husband

Stop knitting? Can you believe it? What a totally outrageous thing to say to a knitter! What a totally outrageous thing to say to me! My answer, “No, I cannot do that.” You would think he knew me after all these years. Priorities are priorities after all.

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12 Swans a-Swimming on New Year’s Day

12 swans on Lake Ontario

This is unheard of – two posts in two days, but my excellent beginning to 2018 warrants it.

I walk in nearby Petticoat Creek Conservation Area every morning, with the yarn eating poodle, as soon as the sun comes up. It’s been a challenge this past week with temperatures at -15 to -22 celsius plus wind chill. Our walks have been severely shortened, but on New Year’s day afternoon I decided to walk the whole park and give Hugo, and me, a treat. It was cold, but not too cold.

On our way back over the bridge, I saw 4 swans in Lake Ontario. Quite remarkable,  usually they are in pairs. A minute later, a small flock of what I thought to be sea gulls swooped in overhead for a landing. Eight more swans! So graceful, so beautiful.

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It’s That Celebratory Season – We Need Cookies and Gift Tags

Whatever your holiday tradition, I wish you and your families joy, peace, and the time to do whatever your heart tells you.

I’ve been baking and knitting – new designs, no Christmas knitting this year, although one of the designs is ultimately for my husband – and have had the pleasure of participating in what I believe is the first international cookie exchange.

Giulia, the warm and talented woman behind Juls’ Kitchen, floated the idea of a cookie swap for subscribers to her site. Participation had to be confirmed just a few weeks ago and Giulia matched up bakers from each country. Too bad that shipping food across borders is no longer possible. There may be some weed in those cookies!

70 people from 7 countries jumped in – Italy, Canada, France, Hungary, Poland, United Kingdom, & United States. As Giulia said, “It is a nice way to share some Christmas sweetness… these days we really need it.” Do we ever!

I received a lovely Christmas package, the biscotti and chocolate you see above, from Liliana who lives in Laval, Quebec. It’s such fun to receive a parcel in the mail. I suppose we get a bit jaded about that with the Amazon purchases that some of us make, but it does make me feel like a kid again.

The biscotti are delicious! My traitorous husband prefers Liliana’s to mine. I think I may, too.

For great writing about food, cookbooks, and recipes, see Liliana’s site, My Cookbook Addiction. When we were matched, Liliana took a look at my site and said, ” You blog about things close to my heart, food, dogs and knitting.” We are a great match.

I sent Liliana shortbread in the Scottish tradition and a confection called Pecan Fudgies.  The shortbread are a staple around our house at Christmas and have been since the recipe appeared in Cook’s Illustrated November/December 2001. Pecan bars appeared rather later. Both are seriously addictive.


If you are one of the knitters or crocheters who have knitworthy family and friends, you might like these free downloadable gift cards from Sheep and Stitch. So cute.

I wish you a lovely season, full of good cheer, cookies, and satisfying knitting.










Happy Thanksgiving – A Very Little Bit of History and a Few Black Friday Treats

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the United States. It’s an important holiday, bigger than Christmas it seems, viewed from the country to the North.

I needed a history lesson to bump up my sparse Thanksgiving knowledge and turned to Google, of course. Two minuscule bits of information –

  • What’s known as the first Thanksgiving, a 3 day feast celebrating the first harvest, was attended by 53 Pilgrims and 90 Native Americans way back in October, 1621.
  • The turkey that’s usually consumed was native to North America.

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Here’s a Treasure – An Entire Book of Reversible Knitting Stitches

Anyone who has looked at my patterns or read my thoughts about knitting knows that I love reversible stitches. It’s not that I don’t like other stitches, but the ease and versatility of stitches that look the same, or look good on both sides, has had me in its grip since I began knitting. It all began with seed stitch.

Not long ago, I thought it would be fun to assemble reversible stitches, knit up swatches, and write about one each week or so until I ran out. I’m both a bit sad and very happy to discover that the work had already been done. It’s far better and in much more detail than I would have managed – Reversible Knitting Stitches – A Sourcebook of 200 Double Sided Knit Patterns . It’s available in both print and ebook: your choice. The authors, Moira and Anna Ravenscroft, have kindly offered two of their patterns free until November 30th to celebrate the launch of the print version of this book. Scroll down to the bottom of this post to see the pattern photos and get the details.

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Interesting Stuff

When I see things that interest me, I like to make a note and add them to my list of blog potentials. Here are a few treasures I’ve come across recently.

How Men and Women See Colours – Differently, Of Course

My husband and I were picking the colour for a carpet runner and it was clear that we were thinking, and seeing, differently. Our lovely salesman pulled out the pic you see above to explain what may be going on. I can’t credit the creator as I don’t know what the source is, but it’s fun and may be useful in some situations of discord.

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Perfect Fall Sweater & Perfect Sweater Folding

Handknit designer Mary Annarella, Lyrical Knits, writes to the knitting community every few weeks or so and I always read her posts. She’s funny, engaging, and always has something interesting to say about knitting, designing, and from time to time, singing.

Mary’s latest design, Heart of Glass, (named for a song by Debbie Harry) constructed in a silky yarn, is terrific right now for whichever hemisphere you live in.  She is offering this pattern to her subscribers, and mine, at 40% off on Ravelry with the code – blondie – through Monday, October 30th. Thanks, Mary. I especially love the sleeveless version. Continue reading “Perfect Fall Sweater & Perfect Sweater Folding”