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”

Help! My Poodle is a Yarn Eating Monster!

Writing twice in one week is an aberration for me, but I need to talk about the destructive predilections of my 11 month old poodle.

This is what he did today – my knitting was secured in a zippered bag and I found this knotted mess.

It’s hard to believe. You can see that the bag was still zipped, but he managed to make a small hole in it and get the knitting, the needles, and the yarn out and onto his teeth.

I know poodles are smart; it took him no time to learn the meaning of the words food, hungry, cookie, treat, chewie, but this particular yarn sourcing and destroying talent is beyond ridiculous. Yesterday he ripped opened a plastic bag with yarn and needles in it.

The only saving grace in all of this – I can tell when he has something that’s neither a toy nor a chewie, so I race to the location and save the knitting, the slipper, the credit card, the wallet, the shoe, from destruction. Even more of a saving grace is that Hugo is a sweetheart and he thinks he’s a lap dog, although a bit oversized at 60 pounds.

The only solution to save my projects? All knitting bags will have to be the cloth, zippered variety, at least until either I train Hugo better, or he turns into a dog. He loves the beach, too.

Last minute update – Hugo brought me a cone of yarn on my way out the door. I’m afraid to go home.