Be Like the Saguaro

I’ve noticed more bloggers are transitioning from blogs, or long Instagram posts, to emailed newsletters. This requires subscribing to another service and maintaining yet another way of communicating when I’ve got this little here blog, which I already pay for.

Sure, this space is a little dusty. I used to post daily, and sometimes multiple times a day. Now, I’m lucky if I get a couple posts up a month. There are several newsletters I now look forward to receiving. One is Affirmation Chickens, and the other is what Meleyna is cooking. Both offer delightful and personal insights to what is happening in their homes.

I like the idea, but I’m not ready to make the jump. So, I”m going to replicate some of that spirit here.

This week:

The tomatoes are orange, not quite red. This weekend was hot. The peppers, basil, rosemary, and dill are flourishing.

The geese and ducks are still at the lake, but I’d guess they’ll be gone soon. The saguaros are starting to bloom–a reminder that we should all be more like saguaros with our crown of flowers and arms open for life.

I completed my Proverbial Quilt, with a pattern by Denyse Schmidt. I’ve long admired how she looks at quilting differently. It was a pleasure to play along in this international quilt-a-long. Next up, these adorable honey bee blocks.

I’ve got Woodland Loafers on my knitting needles. I look to Mason Dixon Knitting’s March Madness to introduce me to the latest and greatest. This year didn’t disappoint.

The pandemic keeps us at home and it is beginning to feel psychologically like this is just how we live now. The idea of only seeing my family ever again on a small screen makes me want to curl up in a ball and cry. We’ve been crying a lot this week over the loss of Gigi.

I’m cooking recipes that just feel good. I’m hesitant to say these are comfort foods because they aren’t heavy. It’s too hot already for mashed potatoes or cornbread slathered with butter and honey. Instead, tonight we’ll barbecue chicken, with salad, and fruit.

To end on a happy note, today is the 40th birthday of my best friend. Meg and I have been linked at the hip since we were teens on the high school swimming team. Her dad served as the officiant at our wedding. Her mom passed away earlier this year and it still doesn’t feel real. I’m so fortunate to have her family as my family. I know this birthday will be bittersweet without her mom there to celebrate with her.

Love you, Megs.

Colorado Wrap

Three button cotton wrap

My friend Sheila’s got a birthday this week and when I was last in Golden visiting her lovely family, she mentioned she liked that beautiful orange three button wrap Tina made for me.

Three button cotton wrap

What a great chance to return the kindness loop by knitting one for another! And so, I ordered a box of Arucania organic cotton yarn and spent the next 4 weeks of Netflix knitting stockinette. I am pleased as punch by the results.

Three button cotton wrap

I bought a bunch of the same yarn in a dark, ruby red for a Christmas gift I’m planning. I love this pattern, and in the cotton, it is so incredibly soft and warm to wear.

Happy birthday, S!

~K

Orange Love

Almost a year ago, I heard a blog friend from Georgia would be moving to Phoenix. I was delighted.  As she planned the move westward, we exchanged countless emails about neighborhoods, churches and activities. I was really looking forward to spending time with Tina. (Once upon a time, she’d sent me a gorgeous crochet scarf that I wear regularly.)

It is always strange to meet someone in person for the first time when you’ve been chatting as friends on the Internets for years. I’ve pushed through this level of social discomfort and have met some amazing women. It is a sweet pleasure to hear someone’s actual voice for the first time, in contrast with how you thought it would sound. Without fail, each blogger I’ve met “in real life” has been even kinder than I could have imagined.

Tina and I have been spending time together since she arrived. Her family is incredibly kind and our mutual domestic hobbies keep us chatting away in knitting stores. She’s introduced me to Arizona landmarks I never made the time to explore. I’ve shown her the culinary pleasures of Pita Jungle.When we were knitting together in December, I was working on my light pink wrap, which ended up far too small. I still wear and adore it, because I spent gobs of money on cashmere yarn and countless hours knitting, but I bemoaned how I’d love a bigger version.

Love this orange wrap!

Voila.

Tina. Made. This. For. Me.

Can you believe that?

The glorious orange sweater

It is orange, beautiful, soft, perfect, warm and made me feel quite at home this weekend in Idaho with Finny — who is a masterful knitter.

I am overwhelmed by the kindness of this act and so very thankful that yet again, I’ve been blessed with a generous and sweet friendship. Thank you Tina!

~K


Cupcake!

Cupcake baby hat

There was a knitting frenzy underway the last couple of days. A knitting frenzy that makes me blush a bit with confusion. I simply don’t understand why people stare like I’m crazy for knitting in public. It’s KNITTING. Not porn. Not flossing my teeth. Not clipping my toe nails. We are talking about two innocent needles and a ball of yarn. It’s a silly hobby and certainly not that archaic. I’m not carving wood, staining glass or weaving a basket. (Although, to be honest, those do sound fun.) Knitting in a bowling alley, at a stop light, waiting between yoga classes, before church starts? This makes as much social sense as everyone on a smart phone in the same settings. But I end up with a cute hat.

I went to a fun baby shower yesterday and have several more I’m looking forward to. I mentioned a few days ago that I wanted to replicate a cupcake hat I’d seen online. Here is my take — complete with a cherry on top. (Cupcake Baby Hat pattern pdf, for those interested.)

knitting/crocheted bell cap for Tiff

And this adult bell hat is another reproduction from an REI find for my friend Tiffany. She found a hat at the store she really liked, but it was stupidly priced. She took a camera photo and asked if I could make something similar. I don’t know how to crochet, so I called my mom in Texas and we agreed to work on it together. I knit the cap, mailed it to my mama and she added the crochet edge. It is one of my favorite colors and I hope it will serve Tiff well in the cold Midwest. I’m hoping she sends a photo!

~K

Adventathon: 19

Helmetliner

Adventathon: 19

What to knit for a brother who is notoriously difficult to craft for? Hmm… in lieu of a gorgeous blonde, I decided on something that would keep him warm outdoors. (vs. indoors? There is a tasteless joke there somewhere.)

Adventathon: 19

Cody is a Colorado outdoorsman. He’s a hunter, archer, fisherman, snowboarder, skiier, hiker, runner, cyclist and dog-owner. All that time in the cold — at times with weaponry involved — led me to the Helmetliner pattern. It helps that the signature orange “watch out and don’t shoot me!” color is the same as the Denver Broncos — another favorite.

Adventathon: 19

I got the idea from the Balaclava we included in a CRAFT along post a few months ago, minus the tricky and underappreciated-by-my-brother cables. Not perfect, but close enough and I am hoping he’ll love it.

Go Broncos,

K

Adventathon: 18

Breckenridge Cowl

Adventathon: 18

I heard about this pattern on Twitter and knew I had to buy it. I love wraps. They are perfect for Phoenix because we rarely need long scarves, hats or even jackets. What we do need is a warm neck. And if you can make that neck warm in a pretty purple wrap with a bone button? All the better.

{Let’s just celebrate the $3.50 pattern on Etsy. BRAVO! This is such a great use of sharing creativity via technology. Thank you French Press Knits!}

Advent: 18

Although that damn button cost more than the yarn — it is still a practical gift. This also knits up quickly.

Christy

And look how pretty the recipient is! She’s rocking the wrap.

~K

Adventathon: 17

Peruvian knit cap

Advent: 17

A friend recently asked me for a “white knit cap with ear flaps.”

Advent: 17

This got me thinking about that incredible journey I took several years ago to see Machu Picchu.

MP terraces

Kelli, Machu Picchu

The Peruvians wore fabulous knit caps, sweaters and scarves from llama wool. What did I wear? A thin Gap cotton sweater that kept me just above hypothermia. I got wet about 4 days before this photo was taken. I was still wearing the same clothes (backpacking) and still freezing.

Llama

How I wished I’d dressed like a Peruvian for this trip. Look how woolly and warm these babies are!

Good morning MP

That said, I would do it all again tomorrow if I had the chance. Machu Picchu remains the single most incredible place I’ve ever visited — where one can’t help but feel the power of God and man’s creation when they align.

Hannah

A knit cap with ear flaps, a bunch of reminiscing and a happy recipient it is!

~K

Adventathon: 8

Gingersnap Scarf

Gingersnap Scarf

Gingersnap Scarf

Gingersnap Scarf

Gingersnap Scarf

Pattern adapted by my super talented knitting friend Zarah:

Materials:
Heavy worsted weight yarn, approx 385 yards (280g)
Size 9 needles, or size recommended for your yarn
Cable needle

Directions:
Cast on 64 sts using your favorite cast on method.

Row 1 : (RS) *K2, P2* across
Rows 2, 3 & 4: Repeat Row 1
Row 5: (RS) *K2, P2* across 28 sts, C8F, *K2, P2* to end  (cable should fall in center)
Row 6: Repeat Row 1
Repeat rows 1-6 for desired length, ending with row 4.
Bind off in K2, P2 pattern.
Weave in the ends.

Flip scarf over and over and marvel at it’s reversibility!
Key to reversible cables:
C8F: Slip 4 sts to a cable needle and hold to front, K2, P2 from your left needle, then K2, P2 from the cable needle.

~K

Tinsle

I’ve got Christmas fever this year and it is the worst case I’ve had since childhood. My home is decorated, I’m wearing sweaters (a sign of Christmas in Arizona), my Pandora station is set to “Classical Christmas” and my cards are long since in the mail. It is pretty ridiculous how much I love the holidays and tradition.

Super secret Christmas sewing project

That said, I can’t show what I’ve been working on because it would ruin the surprise. Let’s just say I’ve been very busy sewing and soon hope to be wrapping. Community dinner is set for Thursday and I’m dragging everyone out afterward to go caroling through the neighborhood. I haven’t done that in ages and figured it would be a fun way to publicly humilate myself, so why not invite friends along? Someone is bringing schnapps for the hot cocoa. We’ll have a little liquid courage to help with “These Three Kings.”

Nudu in process

Nudu basket

When sewing gets frustrating, I’ve been knitting away on the latest nudu cap. It is nearly complete and should go in the mail later this week. Just in time too because I’ve got two beanies and a scarf I need to knit in the next two weeks. Nothing like a deadline to keep a girl focused.

Hope your holiday prep is also going well!

Fa la la,

Kelli