Soft Molasses Cookies

We are close to releasing a new pattern. Alice is working on the pattern layout  and my sister Peg has a fox on her needles right now.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This fox has been knit multiple times. I have churned out 7 hats with tails and 3 large fox toys and a slew of mini fox toys. The mini fox takes only a small amount of yarn so I played with the dimensions and shaping while knitting it.

Short rows are perfect to form the large ears that stand at attention on the fox. A fox is always alert and listening when you see them in the wild. They are ready to pounce at a moments notice. They are very cat like in this regard.

I played with traveling stitches  to define the brows and decreases to make the snout. The way the stitches line up on the face makes the eye placement so easy.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When I found a gingerbread man  button at the local Ben Franklins I knew it had to be part of my fox toy. I am sure every child knows the story of the gingerbread man that ran away from home. He could run faster than anyone except for the clever fox whom he asked to carry him across the river.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo I sewed a gingerbread man to the back of the hat so  you can button and tie the fox tail onto the hat. This way if a child doesn’t want to wear a tail on his hat he or she could take it off. Or maybe somebody would want to tie the tail onto the handlebars of their bike just like in the 50’s teens would tie a raccoon tail to a roadster and when they drove it would flap in the wind.

On the toys I sewed the cookie onto the pocket of the fox because we all know a little fox needs to have a snack in their pocket.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

while waiting for the fox pattern I thought it would be fun to share my family’s favorite gingerbread man cookie. I have tweaked this recipe a bit — the original recipe was printed on a card that accompanied a plate of cookies I bought at my son’s school bake sale.

Occasionally I will substitute sorgum for the dark molasses.If you don’t have buttermilk you can substitute yogurt or make sour milk by adding a little vinegar or lemon juice to milk. You could roll these out and cut them into squares or make drop cookies but cookie cutters are so much fun. I love old cookie cutters and find myself checking the bin of cookie cutters at St Vinnies every time I go there. There is just something about all the cute and unusual cookie cutters that draws me in. Who cares that my family is on a gluten free diet– I still add to my cookie cutter collection when I find an old one I don’t have.


cream 1 cup butter, 1 1/2 cup sugar, 1 large egg

add one cup molasses(or sorgum)

sift 4 cups flour, 1/2 tsp cloves, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp salt,  2 tsp baking soda

add flour alternately with 1/4 cup buttermilk

refrigerate to chill mixture(about an hour)

roll 1/4″ thick and cutout. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet at 350* for 10-12 minutes.

be prepared for the wonderful spicy aromas that will waft through the kitchen as you bake these. I might have to make some of these even though I can’t eat them so I can enjoy the lovely smells. Maybe I could half the recipe and then give them to my neighbors to get the tempting cookies out of the house.

If you are a fan of spice cookies check out my TRIFECTA GINGERSNAPS for another tasty treat.


clearing out older projects this week. there was  an old green sweater in the closet–one I never was quite happy with. the yarn pilled every time I wore it. It was a nice design but the cheap yarn was a mistake so I frogged.

and finally the old sweater was just a memory.

…….still it can be hard to let go completely

so I decided to add it to a project that I have been sketching out in my head for awhile. I don’t know if it will work but at least if I knit it I can get it out of my head.

next I dug out a pair of mittens that have been sitting unfinished since last year. I like this design and originally started these for my husband but they were a little on the snug side so I started over again in another yarn and thought I would finish these for myself later.  Now a year later they are finally off the needles. they are thick and warm with nice long cuffs but I don’t know if I will keep them for myself.

next up is a pair of miter mittens from EZ knitter’s almanac. Its been years since I knit a pair of these. I love the pattern. I made these extra long also. The yarn is special to me — my daughter spun this yarn. It is the first yarn she ever spun so it is a little uneven. She wasn’t sure what kind of wool this was and she didn’t care much for the colors of the batt and hated the way the colors muddled once spun. But I think the end result is lovely. the wool softened up quite a bit when I washed them. I knit them extra large so I might even felt them the next time I have to do wash.  these aren’t fashionable mittens they are  working mittens the kind you wear when you are going to be shoveling the walk or walking on the ice in febuary ….they don’t need to be pretty – just warm.

I finished another fox scarf now I just need to sew in all the ends

there is a hat to match but it needs a pair of eyes.

four watchman caps are ready to be mailed to a charity group I belong to.

I also uncovered this sad excuse for a granny square blanket. and decided that maybe I should finish it and put it out of its misery. It was hidden in the bottom of the closet. I was trying to teach myself to crochet when I started this. the stitches are all wobbly and uneven.  I used leftover yarn and my combinations are anything but wonderful. I really don’t think I have a knack with color.  And its been so long since I worked on it that I will have to look up directions to figure out how to do it again. I have 10 squares started but not added to the blanket so I think I will add those and then start a plain border around it to make it a little larger. Then if I just plain hate how it looks I will throw it in the washer and felt it and use it for a rug by my side of the bed. It doesn’t have to be pretty just needs to keep my feet warm when I get out of bed.and speaking of fugglaly things ……this whatch-a-m-call it  keeps growing nicely.

Its been a busy week

Knitting fall flavors

its getting cooler here and the work of getting everything ready for winter is slowing down. can you see the cranes in the picture? I haven’t heard or seen any for a few days these 2 were the last they are probable flying south now and won’t be back till spring.the geese are still here. Meva enjoys stalking by the ponds to see what she can hunt upit was her lucky day we saw geese and ducks and cranes – she even managed to find  a ground hog to chase.and then we spotted these deer across the pond from us. all in all a perfect walk I seems like I am knitting with the same colors I see outside my windowpicking up stitches for a tail and then I just have to weave in the ends.this orange yarn was flavored with cosmos flowers and a quick dip in a walnut bath. I have been knitting up a whole family of animals in fall flavors and as soon as there is a sunny day I will get outside and take some pictures to share.


I have other posts partially written that just need to be finished up before adding them here but I decided I just needed to share this with you. Look at this blast of color

Have you ever seen anything so beautiful? Well I am sure you have but I am just so excited about these flowers.

They are as big as a dinner plate and spectacular. And they grew in my garden!

Sure I can grow big yellow squash flowers that are pretty amazing and large.

But these beauties are so exotic and tropical looking

That is the unbelievable part – something that  looks like this can grow in the midwest and it is a perennial–it will come back after the long cold winter. Amazing.

So can you figure out what I did when I saw the flowers?   Put them in a vase ……

of course not —   I plucked them off and squished them into a jar of water and set it in the sun to ferment…

I had to see if some of the color would dye material.

As you can see the water turned purple in the jar –very purple as it stood in the sun but alas the fabric didn’t take up the color. So after 2 weeks I added a 1/2 cup of vinegar. I also keep adding flowers as they appeared on my bush(about 20 flowers). The vinegar did the trick–the cloth did change a little.

I wouldn’t call my cloth a resounding success but I will keep experimenting with this idea.

I still had lots of color in my jar and I noticed the twine and the wool yarn I tied the fabric with took the color very well. The twine came out a deep purple and the wool a lovely dark purplish brown.

So I stuffed a skien of sock wool in the jar and left it for 2 weeks just shaking the jar and adding flowers here and there. 

So yesterday I pulled the yarn out of the jar and this is what I saw–its purple and gray and lovely. Now the yarn and the water feels rather slimey at this point and stinks like a vat of pickled vegetation but I have smelled a lot worse.

I put everything in a dye pot and set it to the side of the fire pit and let it get very warm but not boiling. The color didn’t change at all and now it is drying outside. Tomorrow after it has dried I will wash and rinse it.

*one of these days I am going to have to talk to the kids about how I can get better color picture because the color just doesn’t show in this photo. the yarn is quite a bit darker with streaks of purple and gray and a greenish gray in it. You will have to take my word it is very nice. I don’t really understand why it is so hard to capture the color on yarn


when my camera takes great pictures of flowers and the color is pretty accurate but the picture of my yarn look washed out and drab.

sorry for so many pictures of my big beautiful flowers but they are just so ….Kapowwww I had to share them





shades of summer

spent a relaxing couple of days at the cabin. First we had to do some work – resealing the driveway. But with 2 pairs of hands it went quickly.Then we were able to go out on the lake. The temps have cooled off so we thought a little fish tickling was in order.

But the fish didn’t cooperate. Of course it doesn’t really matter if you catch fish when the scenery is this pretty.

The biggest part of fishing is just to be outdoors and enjoying the fresh air. Maybe next week we will catch some fish….or maybe we won’t — but it’s all good.

I did get to a bit of dyeing though. This is yarn dyed with cosmos flowers. What a riot of orange!

Often when I dye The color is nothing like the plant but with cosmos blossoms you get the oranges that you see in the flowers. Look at the variegation in that flower. It matches the kettling that is in this yarn.It is almost magic the way the yarn echos the flower petal’s subtle hues.

This yarn is going to remind me of the warm sun in my garden as I knit it in the dead of the winter. Well you might have to take my word for it because for some reason my camera doesn’t capture the orange colors as well as the yarn did.

This is the yarn dyed with golden rod. Isn’t the  yellow bright – it’s almost neon yellow with just a little green cast to it.  The dye pot on this one last forever – I usually throw out the pot of dye before I exhaust all the color. And this flower also dyes the same bright flower you see on the plant. Bright and sunny flowers that you have probable seen in ditches along side the road. A common weed blamed for sinus problems. But this plant doesn’t cause you to sneeze it is more than likely ragweed that is in bloom at the same time. Golden rod gets the blame because it stands out more.

Some of the yarn will get overdyed with walnut for rich browns and some will be overdyed with indigo for greens.

I also dyed some square of wool fabric to send to my daughter. I know you can see the orange and yellow are from cosmos and goldenrod. The  brown underneath the yellow was dyed first with golden rod and then walnut and the one underneath the orange wool was dyed first with cosmos and then walnut.

I am happy with all the bright colors I dyed this week.

finish line

I finished my ravellenic games a day early. Its kind of nice I finally have time to catch up on everything else. Tonight my big project will be sewing a zipper in my finished vest.


Here it is drying on the deck. I love this wire table for blocking and drying.

This vest has been a thorn in my side since starting it way back in February.

It started its life as a shawl The february shawl from Knitspot Barenaked club.

Its a beautiful pattern but when I started it I misread and didn’t do the correct size so I      ran out of yarn. but even before running out I had my doubts about my project.

I wanted to be selfish and keep this for myself ..but white isn’t the best choice for me. I think I will be ladylike and careful enough to not ruin and stain something white but life happens and I invariably fail at the lady like stuff.

A long shawl is just asking for trouble. I can see it now draped around my shoulders and a spot of red wine on the top and the end having a brown stain because it got dipped in the gravy bowl when I reached for the salt.

I tried to order more yarn on the internet on a weekend but due to a glitch on my part failed. The more I thought about it fate was trying to steer me in a different direction.



So I remembered a vest I made many moons ago for my daughter. It is a much loved vest made out of yarn I frogged from a sweater that was washed improperly and shrunk. Don’t ask how I managed to frog a shrunk sweater or why I take on these impossible tasks – I don’t know but somehow I ended up with enough felted yarn for a vest out of that man sized sweater.  But this vest is a much loved sweater and gets pulled out every fall and worn until it is just too hot out and it must be at least 10 years old. If we are lucky Alice will read this and take pity on the mom who never took a picture of her in that sweater and send a picture so I can add it here.

But anyways I wanted that sweater for myself. There wasn’t enough club yarn but I had a yarn that was somewhat close to it in size(if you squinted and crossed your eyes when you looked at it). So I would stripe  and  then over dye the sweater when it was all done.

It could work right?

So I started to piece it together. Putting in the sky ladder lace on the body– finishing the armholes (which seemed too big). It was coming together. Then when I started the hood I could see that there wasn’t going to be enough yarn even though I had striped the bottom with a yarn I dyed in onion skins. And a stripe wouldn’t look good on the hood. So out came some undyed yarn in a similar size and I striped it with the club yarn. Then I finished the hood with a 3 needle bind off.  Now to clean up the front edge I decided an i-cord would fix it. Well it did and it didn’t. I was fine for the first half but on the second half I was running out of the onion skin yellow again and I must have tightened up my knitting cause when I cast off I discovered that one side was much shorter than the other.  I stuffed it in a bag and hid it out of my sight in disgust. 

But I still wanted the vest–when the games were announced I thought this would give me the chance to finish it. I am slightly competitive and with a deadline I might make it. After all I just needed to fix the front and finish the armholes that were way too big. (yes I know very bad pictures but at least you can see the progress)

Now a normal person would have pulled out the bag and checked the supplies and assessed the problems before committing. But then what fun would that be. I started and finished my toy caterpillar. I started and just needed to cast off my sheltie shawl. I threw my bag with my vest into the car for a trip to the cabin. SO you can guess where this is heading. I finished the cast off on my shawl on the drive to the cabin. When I opened my bag to start the vest the needles were not in there. And neither was the magazine with the project my vest was loosely based on. Arrrrrrrgggg. Ok I can deal with this — I ripped out the icord that was bad and cast on with the loft yarn that was left over from the sheltie shawl. it isn’t easy to knit icord with 2 straight needles but it can be done so I got the front done. But the armholes would have to wait until I got home and had some circular needles to knit them.

Now once I was at home I found needles but the magazine wasn’t anywhere to be found. But that wouldn’t stop me – I was going to hobble across the finish line some how. I cast on in a 4×2 rib and threw some cables in it to match the hem and executed a few short rows and cast off. It is almost the vest of my dreams and it was done. It wasn’t going to haunt me when I cleaned under the bed. But it did haunt me a little —I knew when I started I wanted to dye this so why not. 

So now it is dyed and drying — I will pull out a sewing needle tonight and stitch the zipper in(please don’t say anything about the zipper I had an awful time shopping for it I know it isn’t right but it will have to do). Tomorrow when I walk the dog I will wear my vest with the same pride the olympic winners wear their medals. I doubt I would win a ribbon if I entered it in the county fair but it doesn’t matter I took my yarn and made something I will use-hopefully for many years to come.


what the hey

So this is what was on the needles yesterday…a little while later the legs were finished and it becomes a possum. The furry bits are a fun yarn I picked up from Joann(love those 40% off coupons) – Sensations Angel Hair. It is a blend of 50% acrylic, 28% nylon and 22% wool and knits into a soft cuddly animal. I used a double strand of some finger weight yarn for the fingers. And a small ball of pink variegated yarn for the chest. I need to find another color for the nose I am not happy with either the black or the pink.

And I immediately cast on again this time with a dark brown in the same yarn.Now my original thought was to knit up some muskrat love. Cause a muskrat would be easy to do- instead of a pink tail and fingers I would use a dark brown and then embroider some large buck teeth. Now I am fond of muskrats -if they aren’t digging out our seawall- I think they are pretty cute. But I am not sure a kid would share my muskrat love. And  the needles just weren’t cooperating they had something different in mind. Sometimes the yarn just doesn’t fit the animal that you are thinking of.

So rather than fight the yarn I let it decide where to go.

well it certainly isn’t a muskrat with a tail like this. Now I have a ways to go yet. This animal needs a face put to it and I will show you that tomorrow. Right now I would like to show you my starting point.

Yeah – I know this is a cat. A soft striped tabby made with llama yarn. This is my starting point. This was the pattern I wrote up last summer after some encouragement from Mary at  Knitch . This is an easy pattern to knit – basically it is a scarf. You fold and sew the edges and add legs and tail and voila un gato. If you are a beginner you can decide whether you want to knit the legs and tails flat or move on to dp needles. A little embroidery stitches finish the face and ears. But I wanted to knit several animals for charity and even though I really liked the simple pattern  my needles and yarn begged for a change.And an owl evolved  now this is the same scarf-fy pattern but I added a twist . I decided you could build an owl from a swatch. SoI started with a swatch from a lacy sock and then knit a dragon st from B.Walker’s pattern book for the back. Add a head and pick up stitches for the chest and the body is done.  The added wings throw in a couple of short rows for shaping. One of these days I am going to grab a crochet hook and make a granny square to use for the pocket and then knit the rest.

So my possum and the animal I am knitting now is a little of the cat pattern and a little of the owl with a few short rows thrown in.

But what does any of this have to do with a possum or that brown mess of yarn that is on the needles now?

Swatch, play, look around at patterns in magazines or on the internet and start a swatch using them and see where it takes you.This is the new Noro Magazine. It is loaded with all kind of cool idea(well what else would you expect from Noro. I love this sweater and I think the mitered boxes would make a very cool monster. And it would also give me a chance to see if I liked the technique enough to do a whole sweater.These hats would make amazing texture for a body.Oh how I wish i could crochet better. I must get out my hook and practice.

But this is the technique I am going to use for the face of my animal. I am sure you recognize this — we all fell in love with the Lizard Ridge Afghan by Laura Aylor

So like they used to say on the old radio shows  tune in tomorrow and see how lizard ridge works on the face of what ever the heck I am making.

Want to win the basic  cat pattern????

you can see the pattern here

leave a comment and tell me what you think my animal is going to be. Or what you would make with the basic cat pattern or even just say hi. I will have a drawing next Friday.













swatching away in Margaritaville

So in the last post you saw this and I am loving this book and the monster it has inspired.

Britt-Marie Christoffrsson wrote popknitting Bold Motifs Using Color & Stitch. And it is bold – the designs pop off the page and beg to be used. There is a definate 60’s vibe here -kind of PeterMax and Andy Warhol all rolled into one.

My monster is coming along very well………….  it started its life as a swatch that looks a little like a  funky scarf.what looked like a dimple……..has unraveled into…………

……….. an after thought mouth(look on page 130 for the chapter on Holes and holes with borders for all kind of fun).

Open wide and say AAHHeerrrrrggggg!silliness continues —

–and morphs into big, wormy lipsthe torso is welted and striped in this orangey wool. Welting sound painful but it is simple and fun slipped stitches.

( there are two chapters describing slipped stitch welts)

curly tenacles tied off for hair (there are 3 chapter for playing with ties in your knitting and this particular one is knit right into the pattern with out cutting the yarn)

there is  a pocket if you dare to put your hands into that funny mouth.

now for some eyes — I think goggly eyes would be best. Should they be crossed eyed? Or different colors? ………maybe he has 3 eyes in a cluster.

Is my monster like a bug with 6 legs or does he have claws like a crawdad?

If he has claws like a crawdad than he definately needs a tail!


I am having a blast with my  swatch!!

Check out the Itty Bitty Group here for more fun and charity knitting

and come back later in the week to see what happens with my monster.

Knitting 70’s style

I hear the garage sale was a huge success with a couple of people selling $200 worth of their old things. Way to clear out the stash(and now they can buy new yarn).

I love the treasures I bought–here are 2 more of the books I got…

I am working on enchanting my knits so this was just perfect

I had actually borrowed this at the library in LaValle. When we were living in LaValle you could go into the library and order books and twice a week the book mobile would bring your selections into town for you to pick up. I went to the library so often Dave would sometimes have my books out and my membership punched in when he saw me pull into  the parking lot. Small towns are fun ; )

I borrowed this book three times – there are such beautiful charts in this book to incorporate into your knitting. And at just $5 how could I go wrong. The authors Catherine Cartwright -Jones and Roy Jones are machine knitters but the patterns can easily be handknit. One of the patterns I have used from this book is a raven that I knit into a pair of fingerless mitts.

I can’t wait to work on some stranded mittens and use these wonderful charts. I think I see wolf mittens coming up in my knitting!

This one’s cover reminded me of the Golden Hands instruction book that I knit from in the early 70’s so I scooped it up for $2 not bothering to page through it until I got home.

And I am not sorry– it is a blast from the past. The patterns range from babies all the way to teens for both boys and girls.

I love the photo ops at the zoo. Remember sweater dresses…I wore a burgandy red sweater dress for my first ‘real’ job interview. I was 16 and it was a move up for me to apply at Ellais Brothers Big Boy. Till then I had babysitting jobs and also worked for one family cleaning their house and starting dinner after I got out of school in the afternoon. Of course my dresses weren’t this short–Mom wouldn’t have let me out of the house in a dress that short.

 I did land that job and I was the worse waitress Big Boy ever had ; )

I bet you thought I would say what a wonderful waitress I was — didn’t you??

but no — waitressing is a hard job and it takes a special person to be really good at it. And I wasn’t that person.

Don’t you love the zebra and this striped dress!! And yikes look at those bangs. I wore short bangs and my smile featured crooked buck teeth when I was that age.
And these toys– get a load of that space man. Its too funny — but I will admit I recently did some thing similar taking a picture of one of my toys with a glass over the head so it was a spaceman. And look at Aladdin and Abanazar .

Louise Daniels wrote this book. I am not sure she wrote all the patterns or if she picked them out and  it was published in 1971.

So I am at the cabin just like I usually am midweek. The tempeture has really dropped– great for working in the garden but not so great for fishing. The fish barely bite on the bait and half the time spit it out when we get them up to the boat. Even the fish tickler is not catching fish ; )


b day in memphis

I shared pictures of my birthday in the last post and then remembered that I never shared pictures of my daughter Alice’s birthday party in Memphis. doesn’t this look like a blast playing wii on the side of a building!!!

Andrew J. Breig took the picture and shared it. And then it flew all over the internet for a couple of weeks. It even made  Reddit   a internet paper that my husband reads every day. Who says Memphis isn’t a fun and happening place?

here is another picture of a video game party at Micheal and Alice’slooks like tons of fun!!

When I was pregnant with Alice I was delighted to find out that my due date was the same due date as my Mom’s May 13. Of course Alice was early by a week and I was fashionable late by over a week. Which I always claim set me up for the rest of my life because I always struggle with being on time. I have tried many tricks like sitting my clocks 15 minutes early and having everything in the car the night before. But I still run late and being late can be stressful. Now that I am retired it doesn’t matter as much — I don’t have a job to get to or a million and one things to take care of in my free time. But at times I find myself running behind. This month I am behind in my charity knitting. I just finally cast on and made 2 caps this week end.

Lucky for me baby hats are so quick to knit. The ends will have to be sewn in and I have to wash them. One is a plain jane stockinette hat. The other is a garter stitch turned on its side. I wanted to make little curled ends for a tassel but had trouble thinking it out. I didn’t want to cut the yarn as I was knitting so I settled for a curled loop. when I sew the side of the hat up I will wrap yarn around this and it will be more of a tassel. If I had made fewer of them I think it would have looked like a flower — I could even put a button in the center. I think I will make another like this and play around with it.And I am still working on my cap. I have finished the ribbing and have 3 pattern repeats done.It is going much faster now. I love the woven brim but it was a tight knit. I even broke the needle I was working with and had to run out and get a replacement. Later I will take a better picture so you can see the fancy stitch I am doing now.

Whew!! Now I feel a little caught up ; )

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