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New new new

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I can't believe an entire month has passed since we launched the new edition of Twist. Between losing Panda and seemingly-unending home repairs that started in May with an attempt to get the house repainted and turned into an endeavor that required a carpenter, roofer, electricians and new decks, all before the painting could even begin, it's been hectic, to say the least. My poor little blog never stood a chance.

But the new edition of Twist is still waiting for you, if you haven't seen it yet and as always, I feel genuinely privileged to have a place in its virtual pages.

My first of two patterns is Lithograph a half-circle shawl design worked in twisted stitches and lace. For the submission process, I made a mini-prototype to show how the increases would blend into the background of the latticework.


The final shawl is worked in Lisa Souza's Polwarth Wool and Silk yarn which is a breeze to work with and so lovely to touch. The silk gives it plenty of drape while the wool gives the piece some substance. It's a perfect choice for this pattern.

shawl in the garden

My second design is Antrea, a beanie, slouch and cowl pattern suitable for anyone. Knitters are probably aware of the general submissions process for patterns and they see the end product, but in between those points, yarn companies, designers, and the members of the publishing and editing team, all try to wrangle a zillion moving parts to make the magazine. Yarn is often being shipped to other countries and then the sample shipped back to tech editors in a third country before being handed off to the publisher for photography and anywhere in there, a missed deadline or late delivery can throw the process off kilter. So was the case with the yarn for Antrea. It was originally scheduled to go overseas, went missing, alternate yarn was shipped and the orphaned yarn, finally tracked down, needed a home. Having finished up Lithograph fairly quickly, I volunteered and was told that I may only receive one color so I should plan a design that didn't require two different shades.

A bit of virtual graph paper and a few hours of playing and I had a cable pattern suitable for a unisex set that could be worked in a single color or with a contrasting color in the ribbing.

antrea slouch and cowl antrea beanie

The SweetGeorgia Superwash DK is super soft and springy with great stitch definition so the pattern pops even in a darker shade. The hats can be worked in a smaller or larger circumference and fine-tuned with a tighter or looser gauge. One skein of each color will make either hat and the cowl in opposing colors dominance.

There's one more bit of new that you've probably noticed if you're friends with me on Facebook, I have a little bit of art with me all the time now.

Oregon Grape blossoms

This beautiful piece was created by Ashton Allen at No Hope No Fear and it's even more beautiful than I could have imagined it would be.

California Poppies, Mayflowers, and Violets

Each flower is the state flower for somewhere I've lived with a hummingbird in back because, well, hummingbirds are pretty.

Lilacs and Anna's Hummingbird

Barring any unexpected issues, it'll be colored in November and the tattoo will be complete. I love everything about it and can't stop looking at Ashton's beautiful artwork.

Goodbye Bill

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When I was young, my parents moved from Chicago to New England to work for Digital. My mom worked there well into the 90s and in that time, developed many close friendships with colleagues and others in the technology industry. To be honest, I know very little about what my mom did when she worked there and how she interacted with the friends of hers that I met but I do know that I am extraordinarily lucky that she made friends with Janet and Bill. Janet and Bill — that's just how it naturally flows. When I think of Janet, I think of Bill. When I think of Bill I think of Janet.

It's hard to describe how I see the two of them. Perhaps like an aunt and uncle, though that feels too hierarchical and formal. To simply call them my friends is to overlook all the ways they have subtly mentored me to be a better human and provided the sort of unwavering love and guidance I needed to survive the tidal wave of drama that was my adolescence. They have always treated me like the best version of me that they could imagine and I wanted to raise myself to their expectations. And while I feel like I fall far short of who they imagine, I never felt like I let them down. Their love for me has always been calming and accepting and warm and abundant.

So it is hard for me to completely grasp the fact that the man who took me on my first motorcycle ride and my first small-plane ride and who use to make me laugh and think and want to learn more, has died. I have a hard time accepting that there is no longer a Janet and Bill; three words that — strung together in that order — make me feel so loved and welcomed. Bill is family I got to choose and who chose me. I am a better person for having known him and I will miss him terribly.

Knitsy Interview


There's an interview with me in the newest Knitsy Magazine, and my interview happens to be one of the free previews, so you can hop on over here and read it, if you're so inclined.

I actually hadn't heard of Knitsy before they contacted me. It's a digital magazine that publishes monthly and has an array of articles and patterns. You can find out more about them here and subscribe here.

Polenta and flowers


Last month, I ended up with a bag of course cornmeal, of which I needed only a half a cup and I was trying to think of something to do with it. My husband whose father's side of the family is Italian, loves polenta so I figured I'd give it a try. I used Alton Brown's recipe, with some modifications and I'd thought I'd share since Leo dubbed it the "best polenta I've ever had." If you like a more traditional flavor, Brown's is excellent. This is just a more robust version.


  • 5 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 3/4 c finely chopped shallots
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 4 c chicken stock
  • 1 c coarse ground cornmeal
  • 3 Tbs butter
  • 1 c shredded extra sharp cheddar
  • Olive oil for frying

To taste:

  • salt (used about 1tsp)
  • sambal/chili paste (used about 1.5 Tbs)


  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 3 sprigs fresh oregano divided
  • 1 shallot cut in half
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed but whole
  • thumbnail size piece of parmigiano-reggiano rind if you have any

Preheat oven to 350F

Cook bacon in a dutch oven or other oven-safe saucepan, until crisp and set aside. Remove all but 2 Tbs of the rendered fat. Cook shallots in fat over low heat until translucent. Add garlic, cook until tender. Add broth, bring to a boil, whisk in cornmeal. Cover pot and place in oven. Cook for 36 mins whisking ingredients every 12 minutes. Check for doneness and cook longer, if needed.

While the polenta cooks, chop bacon into small pieces.

Once polenta is cooked and while still hot, stir in butter and allow to melt. Add sambal to taste. Add bacon and cheddar and season with salt as desired, remembering to taste a bite with some bacon to ensure you don't over salt.

Polenta is ready to serve at this point. To get the results in the photo, do the following:

Place a piece of parchment paper on the bottom of a 9" x 9" cake pan. Pour polenta into cake pan and allow to chill until completely cool. Use the freezer for faster results

While polenta cools, add tomatoes to a small sauce pan, with olive oil, shallot, garlic, 2 sprigs oregano and cheese rind. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove shallot, garlic, oregano and cheese. If the wateriness bugs you, you can cook the tomatoes with the cover off, but I like it and mix it in with the polenta when I eat it.

Once cool, turn onto a cutting board, removing parchment paper. cut into 16 squares by dividing into 4 pieces in each direction. Add olive oil to a non-stick skillet and add polenta, working in smaller batches so as not to crowed. Cook each side until golden brown. Serve on top of tomatoes adding some chopped oregano for garnish.

In the garden

For those of you who don't like polenta, here are some shots from the garden

Hydrangea starting to bloom

Spiral buds of the jasmine

Bowl of Beauty peony

Same bloom, different angle

Happy 14th Birthday, Panda


Today, my sweet old girl, Panda, turns 14. She would be born a couple weeks after and about 3000 miles away from when and where Leo and I started dating. We'd adopt her about nine months later, after quitting our jobs and moving to the west coast without jobs or a plan. Looking back, the whole things sounds ridiculous but here we all are, and I wouldn't change a thing.

This was our first meeting with Panda, back in September of 2001. She'd just been spayed, she was scared and shy, she submissive peed a little and then she curled up next to Leo. We took her home that afternoon.


Thirteen years later, her coat has gone from smooth and glossy, to downy and full, she's losing her sight and her hearing and the arthritis in her legs is limiting her mobility, but she seems happy. She still loves her food and her favorite spot in front of the sliding door where she can watch the neighborhood goings-on, and of course, she still loves the beach.


She was our only dog for six years and, honestly, it was a hard sell for me to add anyone else. Panda is a sweet, gentle, easy to train girl who came potty trained and never destroyed any people things. But Thea has kept her playing and Darwin has kept Thea entertained when Panda needs a break. All in all, I think they've been good for her.


She certainly brings me joy, and I hope she feels the same.


Friday, we took everyone to the beach, ran around until they were exhausted and then Leo shared some of his Prime Rib dinner with them. That's basically like taking them to doggy Disneyland and then treating them to their favorite meal. A pretty good birthday party, if I do say so, myself.

So happy birthday to my sweet girl. I love you to pieces.

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the misc category.

yarn is the previous category.

darwin is the next category.

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