25 November 2010


i am so thankful today that our God, whom we serve, has seen fit to give great gifts to me. i've had this post floating in my head for awhile, waiting for photos to accompany it...but they haven't been snapped. so it's just words...

my belly is full from a day full of delicious food.
my head is full of ideas to fill our home with more warmth and hospitality.
my heart is full with love for my family.
my life is full with gifts, divine and human. blessings, spiritual and material.

my life is full. but not stuffed. and not without room.

i get to live a ridiculous life. one where i have a husband, whom i love so dearly, and who loves me! one where i spend my days with my children, who are so creative, chatty, fun and so...indescribable. one where i get to babysit a friend's very dear daughter for a full day and see her grow and laugh and shine. one where i get to make music with many, many children every week. one where i get to watch in amazement my dear friend, who is blind, play the violin and knit socks from the toe up. one where i get to knit with motley groups of women and share life for a few hours a week. one where i get to see the effects of prayer on a twelve year old boy triumphing through brain cancer. one where i get to rest with a community of friends and believers in the grace and sovereignty of a very loving and mighty God. one where i can enjoy the many fullnesses of life.

today, i am thankful.

09 October 2010

wooly things

so, remember that excited post that ended with some great fall knitting? remember shalom, knitted in wonderful cascade ecological wool? well, what you hadn't seen, was that same yarn knitted into a complete back of a central park hoodie. then frogged. then set aside. then knit into an entire body of shalom. and now?

it just isn't what i want right now! i want this. aidez. a slouchy, comfy, somewhat rustic looking fall cardigan. but, eco wool won't work. so i'm waiting. and knitting a basic cowl out of therapeutic malabrigo. that stuff does wonders for a girls hurt knitting ego.

ps. that's the same yarn i knitted the mara shawl out of for rachel. she needs to send me a photo so i can share!!!

what are you knitting right now?

i found a cute knitting poem online for the kids. and it's seasonally appropriate, so enjoy!

Knitted Things
by Karla Kuskin

There was a witch who knitted things:
Elephants and playground swings.
She knitted rain,
She knitted night,
But nothing really came out right.
The elephants had just one tusk
And night looked more
Like dawn or dusk.
The rain was snow
And when she tried
To knit an egg
It came out fried.
She knitted birds
With buttonholes
And twenty rubber butter rolls.
She knitted blue angora trees.
She purl stitched countless purple fleas.
She knitted a palace in need of a darn.
She knitted a battle and ran out of yarn.
She drew out a strand
Of her gleaming, green hair
And knitted a lawn
Till she just wasn’t there.

06 October 2010


well, i've been slightly obsessed with mastering some bread. i've abandoned my zoji as i've embraced the dough hook on my hand-me-down-industrial-version kitchen aid mixer. my mom gifted me a stoneware bread pan from pampered chef, and voila. i love this one - 100% whole wheat sandwich bread. delicious. holds up well to toasting, plain butter, or ham and cheese! stella still prefers "fluffy white bread", much to my dismay. however, she happily munches away and slice after slice fo this recipe (sorry, no photo, as the loaf is down to the end...maybe next week.)

1 1/2 c. warm milk (tepid)
1 3/4 c. bread flour
3/4 c. white whole wheat flour
3/4 c. whole wheat flour
2 tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. yeast

i place the warm milk in the bottom of my mixing bowl, then add the remaining ingredients as listed. using the dough hook, mix for 8-10 minutes on med-slow. let rest 5 minutes. mix again for 5 minutes. transfer onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for 4-5 minutes. place dough into a lightly oiled glass bowl. i cover it with a damp dishcloth and place it in the oven with the light on for 45 minutes. punch down, replace cover and let riser for another 25 minutes. form into a loaf and place into lightly oiled bread pan. cover, and let rise 30 minutes. preheat oven to 425 degrees. i place a metal pie tin in the bottom as it is heating. 5 minutes before i place my loaf in to bake, i pour about 1/4 cup warm water on the pie tin, to get the oven steamy. place bread in oven and immediately turn oven down to 350. bake for 20 minutes. turn load 180 degrees. bake another 20 minutes. we normally dive right in at this point, but feel free to let it cool!

the 100% whole wheat sandwich bread, adapted from peter reinhart’s whole grain breads recipe is found over here. it is SO good!

anyone want a bread maker? i think i'll get rid of mine now!

01 October 2010

happy october!

i really feel like i wake up in october.
especially this october 1st.
pouring rain all day and night yesterday, but muggy.
then we wake to cool, crisp and cloudy.
since i've been away for so long, i thought i'd share some photos from the day. we had lunch next door at the pizza place and then went to weaver's orchard with nana. it turned sunny and breezy. absolutely beautiful! we came home with quite a haul of apples for pies, pumpkins for pies, decorating and carving, apple cider doughnuts, apple fritters, broccoli and tomatoes, acorn and butternut squash. can you tell i love fall??? we have a birthday coming...(someone will be 8!) and an anniversary (11 years!) i will try to keep you posted. i'm hoping to get back into the swing of this blogging business. i miss it, actually!
hope you are having a wonderful first of october!


some farm animals at the orchard...nana loved this one!

cute bunnies...

i loved this goat on its...goat ramp? if i had a barn, i'd have goats and i'd have a goat ramp, too.

little pumpkins, big pumpkins.

pumpkin picking...

eli wanted a "humungo" one!

thank you, nana, for a wonderful day! we love you!!! xoxox

oh, and, some fall knitting...shalom(ravelry)(free pattern found here)!

17 September 2010

my day

  • up early enough to shower, study my bible, and pray.

  • made breakfast, set up school

  • happily finished our 3rd week of 2nd grade

  • had time to help a knitting friend fix her sock

  • listened as stella took her first piano lesson with possibly the sweetest lady ever

  • laughed as we burst through the door so that she could now practice what she just learned

  • ate pb&j's with the kids

  • cleaned it all up

  • now, off to knit a bit, do some housekeeping, and wait to have a relaxing friday evening with chris

how is your day going? wishing you a happy friday!

10 August 2010

the heel...finally!

finishing these socks...well, i lost momentum, but here is the pattern!

make the heel.
we will be making a short-row heel. knit across instep stitches to be prepared to knit only on the sole/heel stitches.
on heel stitches:
row 1: k to last st, slip last st, wrap slipped stitch with working yarn from back to front, slip back to left hand needle, turn work, as if to knit flat. bring working yarn to front.
row 2: slip 1, p to last st, slip last st, wrap slipped stitch with working yarn from front to back, slip back to left hand needle, turn work.
continue in this manner (sl1, k to one st before last wrapped st, wrap st, turn. sl1, p to one st before last wrapped st, wrap st, turn.) until you have 8 wrapped sts on either side. (for a narrower heel, you can wrap up to 10-12 sts either side. just end on a wrong side wrap and turn.)
turning the heel:
sl 1, k to 1st wrapped st. pick up the wrap by inserting your right needle tip from the bottom to the top. slip it up onto the left hand needle with its wrapped stitch. knit them both together. wrap the next st (yes, it is already wrapped once – wrap it again.) turn.
sl 1, p to 1st wrapped st. pick up the wrap, slip it up onto needle, purl the 2 st together. wrap next st, turn.
**sl 1, k to 1st wrapped st. pick up BOTH wraps (remember, you re-wrapped it), k the 3 of them together, wrap next st, turn.
**sl 1, p to 1st wrapped st. pick up BOTH wraps, p3tog, wrap next st, turn.
continue in **this manner, picking up both wraps and knitting/purling 3 together until all wraps are picked up. picking up all the wraps make for a tighter, hole-free heel.

make the cuff.
knit across instep stitches. remember to use your pattern if you added one, or you may want to start a 2x2 rib. when you get to the heel sts, you should pick up an extra st and knit it together with the first heel st. this will close any gaps. do this again at the end of the heel sts to close up the other side.
knit the cuff as long as you like, leaving enough yarn to bind off. (2 feet is plenty!)

bind off.
i like to use elizabeth zimmermann’s sewn bind off. it allows for a very stretchy nice bind off!
thread your 2-foot tail onto a tapestry needle. *insert the needle into the first 2 stitches on the knitting needle as if to purl and draw the yarn through. reinsert the needle into the first stitch on the knitting needle as if to knit, draw the yarn through and slip the stitch off.* continue from * to *.

wear your socks.

:::::Pattern ideas:::::
2x2 rib

knit all even rows:
row 1: k2, yo, sl1, k1, psso, k4, k2tog,k3,yo, k1, yo, k3, sl1, k1, psso, k4, k2tog, yo, k1
row 3: k2, yo, k1, sl1, k1, psso, k2 ,k2tog, k4, yo, k1, yo, k4, sl1, k1, psso, k2, k2tog, k1, yo, k1
row 5: k2, yo, k2, sl1, k1, psso, k2tog, k5, yo, k1, yo, k5, sl1, k1, psso, k2tog, k2, yo, k1
row 7: k2, yo, k3, sl1, k1, psso, k4, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, sl1, k1, psso, k4, k2tog, k3, yo, k1
row 9: k2, yo, k4, sl1, k1, psso, k2, k2tog, k1, yo, k1, yo, k1, sl1, k1, psso, k2, k2tog, k4, yo, k1
row 11: k2, yo, k5, sl1, k1, psso, k2tog, k2, yo, k1, yo, k2, sl1, k1, psso, k2tog, k5, yo, k1
repeat these rows, ending with a knit row.

Let me know of any other simple patterns/ribs that you enjoy!

17 June 2010

melissa's toe-up socks.

time for a new class!

yarn:fingering weight (sock yarn)
needles: 2 – size US 1-3 circular needles, 16”-24” long (or size to get gauge)
gauge: 7.5st –8st = 1” stockinette
size: 7.5” (8.5”, 9”) ankle circumference

cast on.
using the figure-8 cast-on, CO 24 sts (12 on each needle).
{instructions for figure-8 cast on: holding needle A together with cable B, make a slip knot and place it onto the needle in back (A). do not count this slip knot in your CO count! we will drop it later. take your working yarn UNDER both needles, up over the front cable, down between the 2 needles, up and over (in back of) the back needle, down between the 2 needles, etc. a great tutorial by adrian of hello yarn is here.(she does not use a slip knot, though.)

make the toe.
take your working yarn and put it between the cable and needle so that it is in the back, ready to knit.
knit the first row. using working yarn that was just passed through cable & needle, knit across back needle to slip knot. do not knit it – just drop it!
with that row complete, slide stitches to cable (pull needle to the left). now, slide next set of stitches to front needle (pull front needle – B – to the right) and turn work clockwise. you will notice that these stitches are twisted, so you will need to knit these stitches THROUGH THE BACK LOOP. make sure you are using the front needle with the front needle. A with A, B with B! REMEMBER: DO NOT MIX NEEDLES!
you have completed your first round! go ahead and knit one more round before increasing. at the end of this round, you may want to place a marker or small safety pin in your work to mark the end of the round.
now, to increase.
round 1: M1 (kfb), k to 2nd to last st, M1 (kfb), k. turn. Repeat for 2nd needle.
round 2: k all sts
continue this pattern until you have desired number of sts.
for size small, CO 28 sts each needle, total of 56. medium, CO 32 sts each, 64 total. large, 34 sts each, 68 total. to customize – measure your ankle. (example, 8”). take your gauge (example 6 sts=1”). Multiply circumferencexgauge=CO total! (ex=48) divide in half for each needle (24 each).

make the foot.
Knit in the round, adding any desired pattern to instep until 2” short of heel.

come back next week for the short-row heel and some patterning ideas for your cuff!

06 June 2010


so, with school done for the year, we took a week off. played on the slip-n-slide, in the sprinkler, played "sorry", cards...and i got some spinning done!

this is the first skein of hello yarn fiber club "loch". 2-ply, 220 yards, light worsted, i'm guessing. i have another 4oz. to spin. hope to make it similar!

close up...

hello yarn fiber club "pallid" fluff...this is a quarter of what i have...

here's about 2 oz spun into singles...i might keep it this way and do a shawl? not sure...

26 May 2010

FO: 2 socks on 2 circs

3 week class.
1 pair of socks.
purty good, i say.

i followed my 3 part instructions to a "t".
yarn used: Schoeller+Stahl Sockina Cotton.
also on my ravelry page.

if you knit some socks, let me know!

2 socks on 2 circulars: part III

and the finish....

Part III: Toe and Bind Off

Rnd 1, and all other odd rounds: *K 1, k2tog, k until 3 sts remain, ssk, K 1 (Repeat on other needle)
Rnd 2, and all other even rounds: K
Work as set until 12, sts remain.
Toe Grafting:
With a tapestry needle threaded with your yarn, work the following:
Front needle: Insert tapestry needle as if to knit and drop off knitting needle, insert t. needle
into next stitch as if to purl and leave it on the needle.
Back Needle: Insert t. needle as if to purl and drop off k. needle, insert t. needle into next stitch as if to knit and leave on the needle.
Repeat back and forth until all sts are grafted.
Weave in ends.
Wear those socks!

22 May 2010

2 socks on 2 circs: part 2

Continuing with the socks...

Part II: Heel flap, Turning the Heel, Gusset

I think it’s best to do the heels one at a time, to avoid getting twisted up! You can knit the heel flaps at the same time…just watch which row you end on (it’s gotta be a purlside row!).

Heel Flap
Knit across needle “A” (instep of sock), and when you get to “B”, knit across one sock.
*Sl1, P1 * across on WS rows.
On RS rows, Sl 1 st, knit across.
Work in this manner until the heel flap measures 2.5” ending with a RS row.

Turning the Heel
Turn 1: Slip 1, purl 14, (18, 20), p2tog, p1, turn. (10 sts rem)
Turn 2: Slip 1, Knit 3 (7, 9) SKP (sl 1, k1, pass sl st over k st), k1, turn. (10 sts rem.)
Turn 3: Slip 1, purl 4 (8,10), p2tog, p1, turn. (8 sts rem)
Continue in this fashion (increasing number of knits/purls each row) until no sts rem.
Ending on a knit row, you will now have a total of 16 (20, 22) heel sts.

The Gusset
Pick up and knit 19-25 sts along edge of heel flap. This number can vary – just make it dense enough to not have holes or gaps. I twist my stitches on purpose here, to get them really snug. (To twist, K into the back of the stitch.)


Knit across needle “A”. (If you want to keep your rib pattern [or any other pattern] going, make sure to do so here!)
Needle “B”: Pick up and knit 19-25 sts along edge of heel flap. Be sure to use needle “B”! These are all heel stitches – keep B with B, A with A…
Knit across all heel sts and remaining 19-25 sts that were previously picked up.
Repeat for other sock.
Knit across needle “A”.
From here on out, you’ll be knitting across A (both socks), then B (both socks).

Needle “B”: K1, K2tog, K to last 3 sts, SSK, K1.
K across needle “A”.
Needle “B”: K across all heel sts.
Repeat this (decreasing every other round on heel sts) until you have the original number of sts left on needle “B” {28 (32, 34)}
You are ready to continue your foot.
Knit until 2” short of end of your foot.

Toes are next!

18 May 2010

i'm actually knitting...

...a pair of socks.

well, really, i'm teaching a knitting class at the local yarn shop. it's the fun 2-at-a-time method on 2 circular needles. since i'm trying to write it out for myself (since i never follow one straight method), i thought i'd document it here. feel free to knit along (it'd be helpful to know if it works for more folks than me!)

so, in my class, i'm giving one step instructions per class. first class was how to cast on 2 socks onto 2 circs. i find this the hardest part. next class is the heel flap, turning the heel, and the gusset. final class, the toe. so here is step one:

Knitting 2 Socks on 2 Circular Needles

Yarn: Fingering weight (Sock Yarn)
Needles: US 1-3 (or size to get gauge)
Gauge: 7.5” –8” = 1” stockinette
Sizes: 7.5” (8.5”, 9”) ankle circumference

Part I: Casting On and the Cuff

This might be the trickiest part. In order to cast on for 2 socks, you need to do some fidgeting. First, name your needles. For the sake of consistency, I will call them “A” and “B.” (This could also be Instep and Sole.) You’ll see….this will get helpful soon.
Take “A” needle and cast on 56 (64, 68) sts. With “B” needle, slip half of those sts onto "B". Flip “B” around to make a sideways “V”, with working yarn hanging from “B” to the right. Again, take “A” needle and cast on 56 (64, 68) sts. With “B” needle, slip half of those sts. You will now have 2 sideways “V’s.” Now is a good time to check that your stitches are facing the same direction, the closed part of the “V” is not twisted, and your working yarn is in the same place on both “V’s.”

Marking the end of the round. I don’t always do this, but do find it helpful. To mark the end of the round, you will want to slip your last CO st (but don’t lose it!), place a marker on your needle and replace the last CO st. This will be the marker for End of Round. Alternatively, I just use my “tail” from casting on as my guide. You can choose which method is best for you.

Ready to join into a round? Good. Secure your stitch: take last CO st and slip to "A". Slip first CO st over and back onto "B". They've switched spots, right? good. You are good to go.
Now, let’s remember the 2 Circular Needle Rule:
Knit “A” stitches to “A” needle, and “B” to “B”.
Ok. With that said, let’s knit. With needle “A” on top, let “B” dangle below. We are going to Knit FIRST with needle “A”. Put working sts on end of A. (You can say A1 and A2.) Pick up other end of A (A2) and Knit. Now what about a pattern?

Here is where you can get creative. Do you have a favorite sock pattern? Use it! (Note: you may have to adjust your cast on stitch numbers, but why not!?!) Just want a rib? 2x2, 1x1, 3x1…they all work. For the sake of this basic class, we will do a 2x2 rib for 2”. Let’s do it.

Cuff: K2, P2 around for 2”.
Leg: You can continue in Rib Pattern or switch to Stockinette (K all around). Knit until leg measures 6” from Cast On.

Freeze there until next week.
Let me know of any problems!

Some helpful links:
Cat Bordhi on You Tube
Cat Bordhi - part 2
knittinghelp.com advanced techniques: scroll down to "On Two Circular Needles"
a great tutorial

05 May 2010

enjoying the moment.

today chris took the kids with him to new jersey to hang out with grammy and boppa. this means i get the entire afternoon and evening alone. he did this last week, too, and i gotta tell ya...i didn't know what to do with myself last week. so today, as they drove off, i went to the kitchen, made some coffee, came upstairs to spin some yarn but just ended up sitting and thinking about our morning.

i took the kids to a park nearby, pool forge. it's a great park - big pavillion, great playground for all ages, and a nice, cool creek. lots of mud, flowers, rocks and twigs to play with. we were there celebrating the end of the school year with one of the homeschool co-ops we attend, community homeschooler's learning group. it was so nice to play in the mud with eli, as he collected little pebbles to chuck into the creek and watch the ker-plunk. he was so into the creek - didn't want to leave it, except to play with some of the bigger boys. stella had her friends to run with, play kickball with, hold hands with and slip in the creek with. she is normally nervous near the creek, but today, with her friends, she was brave and walked across to the otherside. i haven't taken any pictures lately, but this one will be burnt on my brain for awhile: stella, standing on the other side of the creek, beaming, hands held high. i felt my eyes burn a little...and clapped for my girl. we ate some ice cream and headed home, wet and muddy. it was a really good morning.

04 May 2010

may the fourth be with you

seems appropriate, the day after eli's birthday would be star wars day...
uncle mark sent this for eli...a little movie featuring eli, stella, daddy, and their cousin dominic. you can try it too...first, have fun and watch this!

01 February 2010

goodbye january.

hello 2010.
january entered harshly, so yesterday, i was filled with anticipation as it drew to a close. today i'm starting my new year. one month short, but happily so!

the month was filled with hardship. i wasn't game for speaking of it, until recently when i realized that people like to offer encouragement, and getting it off your chest helps it go away! so...i really should back up to before christmas. chris and i discovered we were expecting another baby. this was unplanned and a little hard for me to handle on its own. (i like to plan...be in control...ha!) i came around to it, and even got a little excited. but all along, something felt strange. chris and i thought we were just "in denial" because i didn't seem pregnant. i didn't even feel pregnant. then on christmas eve (in the morning), i started spotting. this is normal for a lot of pregnant women, but not me. i've never had that lead to something good. i tried to not panic, keep my attitude positive. i made it through the week and we decided to go to our friends (dan and elin's) bi-annual new years eve party. it is such a fun place to be - great friends, food, etc! it was relaxing and distracting, although i never totally shook my nerves. we spent the night at chris' folks with the kids. lo and behold at 5:30 on january 1, i awoke to terrible pain. i was miscarrying. we called my midwife for input and we all agreed i could go through this one at home (things were progressing "normally"). i had a previous miscarriage in between the kids that i spent some time in the er with. (a terrible experience) a week went by and i was beginning to feel better, physically. (forget emotions for now) but then it just kept going....i went to see my midwife 2 weeks later, still with discomfort abdominally and still bleeding. they checked me for anemia - i was ok (shockingly so). they checked my HcG levels, and, well, they were still a little high. this was also shocking and gave room to all kinds of thoughts. there was mention of twins. there was mention of being further along than thought. hopes rose and fell frequently throughout my days. my midwife wanted me to wait another week for more bloodtesting and asked me to rest in the mean time. i don't do that well. finally, the results of blood test #2 showed a decline in HcG, although it was still above a "not pregnant" level. the bleeding stopped. my body is starting to feel a bit more normal now, but not totally.
now we'll talk emotions: roller coaster.
there you go. i feel manic. crazy. pathetic. weak. like a disappointment. like a failure. like people who love me are judging me. stupid. i'll spare you and stop there.

so depressed probably sums it up. but that is not all the time. not even most of the time. but when it hits, oh boy. niagara falls. all i can say is...my poor family. thank god they love me. we had to tell stella in a child-friendly way and she was so relieved. she thought something terrible was going on (we just had a death in the family - an uncle died of cancer...i think she thought i was dying!)

so today is february. valentines day is coming. my birthday is coming. i'm going to start knitting a new sweater today. i'm getting back into life. its going to be hard at first. but, slowly, life will pick up.

i'm so thankful we are where we are right now. (in elverson, near our church, surrounded by a loving community of believers) this entire time, we've been reminded of God's love for us. He is not a god of "do this, i'll do that." for some reason, these things happen. pregnancies lost, jobs lost, homes lost, friends lost, family lost, confidence lost........ and the hope is that through them, we will turn to our Friend, our King, and walk on the water to His outstretched hand. the impossible is possible. He wants us walking with Him, relating to Him, conversing with Him. He will quiet the storm.

i'm ready to get out of this boat.