Thursday, July 29, 2010

Edible Fruit Arrangements!

Hi Everyone!
And now, for something completely different: this week I made an edible fruit arrangement, much like the ones you see from the company, "Edible Arrangements." It was fun to do, and didn't take as long as I had suspected it would. I have had a working kit on the shelf for a long time, and just have not found the occasion to use it. So this week, I wanted to do something special for a friend, and fruit was the perfect thing for a hot day.

The kit I used is called "Centerpiece Gourmet," and it was one of those, "As Seen On TV" promotions. I have looked for it, and it is no longer available, but if you want to try this, all you need is wooden kabob skewers, a basket, a pearing knife, a small head of lettuce, some kale for topping and hiding the lettuce when you are done and cutters of whatever shapes you want your fruit cut to.

Fruits that work well include, but are not limited to watermellon, honeydew melon, mangoes, pineapple, blueberries, strawberries-- really, whatever you want to try. You can also dip the strawberries in melted chocolate (the kind for candy-making) for a "gourmet" feel to the arrangement.

You can also use luncheon meats and create a meat, cheese and cracker appetizer. It has opened up a whole new set of ideas for me, when trying to think of something unusual to make for someone-- and everyone loves fruit! You'd be surprised how fast it disappears!

Have a great week,

Monday, July 26, 2010

Organizing your patterns so they make sense

Good morning!
Today I want to share an answer to the frustration of following complicated patterns. There are many solutions to this problem. Some people like charts, some like written direction. I can do either one, but I like the written directions best.

Sometimes, though, it is hard to follow a pattern laying on the table when you are working in front of it. I made a wonderful discovery recently. For some time now, I have followed the lead of our Knit Happens leader, Sue, and made large size print copies of the pattern lines and put them in a flip notebook. That was fine, except I kept breaking the spine of the 1 inch binders that I was using.

So, one day, my husband said, as he watched me find yet another broken spine in the latest notebook, "Why don't you use a presentation binder?"

Well, I went to Office Max and found this presentation folder. It has several clear page holders and you can add more if you need them. It has two snaps-- one for when it is closed and one for when it stands up open for use. When open, it makes a triangle shaped stand, which will not fall over and the spine is made to accomodate this, so it will not break.

I use a colorful, plastic coated paper clip to keep my place on the line that I am working on. Voila! A better way to follow your patterns!

As you see, I am working on a lace scarf, and I really need to make sure that I am on track. If you loose one "yarn-over" or one ssk, you can go 3 lines before you find that the numbers are not right, so being accurate is pretty important. This pattern, by the way is available at .

Have a fun filled summer day!

Monday, July 19, 2010


Hi Everyone,
I hope you are all coping well with the heat. I am knitting inside quite a bit, when not in meetings and services. I have had a book on my shelf for months now that I have been avoiding because it seemed to be a very difficult thing to learn. However, my desire to begin to learn how to make socks has overpowered my intimidation and here is the result: I have learned the "2-at-a-time"

circular sock technique, using one circular needle!
If you are a fan of Magic Loop in circular knitting, you will pick this method up in no time at all. The book is clearly illustrated and the directions are, for the most part, clear and acurate. I did have to reference the Knit Witch video for help with the heel and gussett that I am linking to here:

This was because the information in the book wasn't clear enough for me regarding turning the heel, and the gussett and heel are probably the most important things to learn in this project. For me, they were, anyway.

I use Magic Loop for every knit-in-the-round project that I do, so I am very familliar with how to use it. That made the learning experience much quicker and easier. If you haven't tried it yet, don't try to learn this sock technique until you make Magic Loop your friend! You will thank yourself in the end.

Here are the pictures that I took of my sample socks as I made them. Melissa Morgan-Oakes suggests using two different colors of 4 ply knitting worsted for the sample set. This helps to keep the two socks and their yarn from getting tangled while you learn how to do this.

This method is really quite remarkable, and I recommend that you at least try it if you are serious about sock making.
Have a great day!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Let's Knit one for Ourselves!

Hi Everyone!

First of all, let me say that I hope your Independence Day was a good one. We visited Mystic Village, in Mystic, Connecticut, which was great fun, even though the weather was oppressive. I found new summer reads and new music to play while I work, and even bought a silk fan that made me feel like Madame Butterfly!

The weather has been very good for my flowers and herbs, as you see from these pictures of a few of my plants. The summer is so fleeting here in New England, that we try to squeeze every bit that we can out of it! But, I must admit, 3 days of 100 degree F was more than I wanted to deal with!

So, what to do on those oppressive days, when all you can really do is stay indoors in the air conditioning? Knit, of course! And I further decided that it was about time that I knit something for myself! So off I went, in search of the perfect pattern. I actually found several that I want to try, which surprised me. Not being a "Twiggy", after all, a lot of sweaters look great on the model or in the pages of a fashion magazine, but oh! how awful they look once they meet a "curvy lady." That, of course is a euphemism for "larger sizes."

I found a set of booklets, published by Classic Elite Yarns, called "Curvy Knits." Each one had several patterns that I wanted to try. One of them, the blue sweater, with the model holding the sunflowers was the one I decided to try first. This is a picture of how far I have come with it, and I am very pleased with the color and texture, as well as the look of this sweater.

So, yesterday, while feeling a bit of "cabin fever" from being stuck inside for several days, I decided to go and vist a local yarn shop, Knit Wits, in Westerly, RI. It is a nice shop, with a friendly and helpful owner (Kate) and a fun group of knitters. I looked around and found two other possibilities for myself. One was a book called, "Big Girl Knits," by Jill Moreno and Amy Singer. It has some really good advice on measuring and "curving" your knits to give ultimate success to your garment. I recommend it if you are a curvy girl or if you are knitting for someone else who is. You won't be disappointed!

The other "find" was a magazine called, "knitsimple." In it you will find patterns which adapt beautifully to a wide (and I mean WIDE) range of sizes, which are really beautiful. I can't wait to try some of these.

Finding Knit Wits was fun and a very good piece of luck for me, and I'm sure I'll go there again. If you haven't been there, try it. It's not far from Rhode Island's South Shores.

As always, I hope your days in this wonderful summer weather are great!

PS A quick correction-- It turns out that Jo Ann Bartholomew is the owner of Knit Wits, but Kay is there sharing the duties of "Manning the shop." Well, she was great, and I also look forward to meeting Jo Ann on my next visit!