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Our elderberry bush had a really good year. Which means I had enough fruit to try another batch of jam! In fact I had enough even after Windsor “helped” by picking and eating the berries off two or three clusters of fruit.


I did not, however, have enough berries to try and make a seedless batch. Maybe next time… But the seeds are small like raspberries or blackberries so they don’t detract too much from the sauce.

elderberry mush

Oh yes. I said sauce. Because the jam didn’t set. Again. Anyone have a good tip for elderberry jam that actually firms up? I have this problem every time. This time around I added the amount of pectin called for in the recipe AND I cooked an apple down into the berries (apple adds bulk and natural pectin.) It’s pretty good elderberry sauce, I think it’ll be amazing stirred into yogurt. But the surprise winner for jam this year is the other batch pictured here:

elderberry etc

That’s plum orange cardamom. The plums were going squishy in the fridge drawer by the time I made it*. Also they weren’t very tasty fresh. And I only peeled about half of them. But I didn’t want them to go completely to waste so I made up this recipe without even checking the Internet. I think it was something like 2 cups of flesh and juice from some small, slightly bitter, plums and an equal part sugar. One apple, some amount of pectin, a bit of dried orange peel, and a sprinkle of cardamom.

Ohh myyy is it amazing jam. Bright, tart, flavorful, zesty. I’m very sad about how few jars there are.

*these jams, and these photos, are at least 2 months old. This is just how far behind life I am right now.

Cast Iron, Cast On – available!

I’m psyched to announce that my book: Cast Iron, Cast On: cooking and knitting through the seasons is available on Amazon now! If you just want the ebook I recommend Ravelry – and it’s available there too!


Makers are just that: inspired to make things, whatever they may be! Calley Hastings (co-owner of Fat Toad Farm, a goat dairy specializing in goat milk caramel) and Becky Herrick (knitwear designer) both live in Vermont, where they create fantastic handmade items from the local bounty. Be it local wool or local milk, stylish wearables or delicious edibles, this talented duo will show you how to cook and create through all the seasons of the year.

Both authors find equal satisfaction in baking or knitting a housewarming gift. When a loved one needs comfort they might knit a hat, or show up with a loaf of homemade bread. Let Becky and Calley guide you through a year of their patterns and recipes.

The book includes 16 patterns and more than 20 recipes all organized around our seasonal theme and all featuring some of our favorite yarns and ingredients. I hope you’ll check it out, ask your LYS to carry it, and your local library to pick up a copy!

If you’re on Ravelry please pop over to my November Knit Along, or the mirror one in the Peace Fleece group! Our November prizes have been announced and (I may be biased) but I think they’re pretty awesome! There’s yarn, more yarn, Fat Toad Farm caramel sauce, and some of my indie patterns too!

Knit along time!

I’m really excited about this part of having a new book: the knitting part! (Yes, I know, I haven’t done a full book post here yet. I’m waiting for it to be available to buy online. Don’t worry, it’s coming.)

My new book (Cast Iron, Cast On – in case you haven’t checked out all the designs on Ravelry yet) is a type of almanac. Each chapter is a month and each month’s content includes a recipe and a pattern or two. The recipes and the patterns are all inspired by the seasons, local ingredients, and American made or dyed yarns.

So it seems perfectly logical to have monthly knit-alongs! We’ll be starting in November with the Cervus sweater and Oleracea hat:

Please consider joining me over on Ravelry for conversation, knitterly support, and prizes! If you’re knitting Cervus you can also pop into the Peace Fleece Lovers group where they’ll be hosting a parallel Cervus KAL.

You will need to pick up a copy of my book (keep watching here, I will post when the ebook is available). In the mean time everything you need to start swatching and preparing is up on ravelry’s pattern pages.

The wonderful folks at Peace Fleece are offering 20% off their worsted weight yarn to support our knit along, the link to the sale page is in both groups.

I hope you’ll join us, I’m looking forward to seeing all your book projects! And if neither of these designs is speaking to you right now, there will be another knit along in December, so watch this space!

I forgot to tell you something

I had a very important post that I meant to write up last Friday. It was also kinda time sensitive. But then Windsor was home sick and had a dentist appointment and and and…

I was at Rhinebeck with my new book last weekend.


I hope if you were there too you were able to come see me. And a huge thanks to everyone who did. The wonderful knitters who showed up excited to see my book and meet me help me to remember why I do all this work. I would create these things for myself anyway. But being able to share them with you makes the hard work of writing out patterns worthwhile.

You may ask what else I did at Rhinebeck, but I had a case of camnesia so I don’t have much to show. It was a quick down-and-back trip, I was only there for Saturday, and I was in the booth for half of it.

I did get to the Ravelry meet up, but I completely missed the Peace Fleece meetup… I saw some of the barns in their entirety but I missed all the animals (those barns were crowded Saturday afternoon!) I did but some lovely yarn, of course: 


The green is 100% targhee from Blue Moon Fiber Arts, The dark reddish purple is Periwinkle Sheep’s merino aran in the “any port in a storm” colorway (YUM). The multi is a fingering weight yarn from Gale’s Art with yummy nubs that are actually colors that match the yarn itself (otherwise I hate nubs and generally avoid them…) Also pictures are my newest project bag and a pair of Jennie the Potter earrings.

For those of you who couldn’t make the festival Cooperative Press will be adding the ebook to Ravelry as soon as Shannon is back in the office, or at least someplace with decent Internet…

Then I drove home. And it was a pretty pretty snowstorm that greeted me:



Red Shed

old shed

Help for the Horses

This is a plea for help. If you want to jump right to the source go here.

I hope you all remember my Lady of Rohan shawl. Inspired by Eowyn and designed for Wooly Wonka’s shawl club a couple of years ago – I knew right away that I needed to do the photo shoot WITH HORSES.

Lady of Rohan hero

But I don’t have a horse of my own. Instead the wonderful Center for America’s First Horse let me wander around their fields and take photos with that gorgeous little lady you see in the pictures.

Well the Center is in trouble, their water system has failed. They need a drilled well to make it through the winter. Currently they’re hauling 250 gallons of water by hand. Every day. That’s barely feasible now, and will be impossible once the Vermont winter has settled in.

For the next two and a half weeks I’m putting my pattern: Lady of Rohan on sale. It will be 50% off retail (just $3) no coupon code needed – until midnight October 31st. All proceeds from this sall will be donated to the Center on November 1st.

LoR walking

If you don’t want (or already own) this pattern, consider making a donation directly to the center. It is a 501c3 non-profit. On the off chance they meet their gofundme goal before the 31st I will simply make a donation to the Center the old fashioned way!

The Center offers life enrichment and rehabilitation for children and adults through work with the horses. They also work towards conservation of the Spanish mustang and provide a home for some retired mustangs (including the horse who played Hildalgo in the movie by the same name!)

I hope that you’ll help them, whether you buy a pattern or not!

FO: Camden

I’ve finally finished Windsor’s Camden sweater. If you’ve lost track of this one, I don’t blame you… I cast on back during the GAL2014 (so yeah, almost a year ago) Luckily I was attempting to make the 18 month size, and even better – I screwed up gauge and appear to have made a 24 month size. Which means it’ll be just perfect for THIS winter:

Camden 1

Even though it was originally supposed to be a Christmas present last year I wrapped it up and gave it to her for her birthday this year. And when she opened it she declared “Mama made THIS!” She actually says that rather a lot, and not always about something I’ve made (recently it was a pair of shoes. I’m not a shoemaker…) But it’s still one of my favorite sentences.

Camden 3

This is a seriously adorable little sweater. If you make the body in garter stitch like the pattern recommends then it’s completely reversible. I was trying to use up stash yarn and was pretty sure I didn’t have enough for garter stitch, so I went with stockinette for the body and reversible cables on the edges.

Camden 5

So far she loves it exactly the way you’d expect a two year old to love something. Which is to say she’ll wear it for two days straight. Then when you tell her you MUST wash the sweater she’s so mad. But when presented the next day with a clean sweater she refuses to even consider wearing it again. Trust me, she looks sweet in these photos (I bribed her by letting her pick a pumpkin of her own) but she’s really, truely, TWO.

Camden 4


I’m thrilled to announce that my book will be published later this month!*

Cast Iron, Cast On: cooking and knitting through the seasons is a collaboration between myself and Calley Hastings of Fat Toad Farm. It’s a unique format- the book is arranged as a monthly almanac with seasonally appropriate patterns (by me) and recipes (by Calley) for every month of the year.

We’re expecting to have the first print copies available at Rhinebeck. If you’re there please stop by the Cooperative Press booth on Saturday to see the book and the book samples! I will also be helping out in the booth for part of the day so if you see me too – say HI!

If you won’t be at Rhinebeck keep an eye here, on my newsletter, or on Ravelry. I’ll be flooding the airwaves once it’s available! Ebooks and physical books should be available later this month. Links to websites where you can buy the physical copy will be up as soon as I have them. Better yet – ask your local yarn store to order directly from Cooperative Press!

Starting in November I will be hosting knit-alongs for the patterns from each month. There will be prizes, chatting, pattern assistance (when needed), and delicious recipes to follow as well. Drop on by my Ravelry group for more details about the first one which starts in a little more than 3 weeks – plenty of time to get your yarn all lined up!

*If you’ve been watching the patterns pop up on Ravelry, you knew this was coming!


photoshoot, interrupted

toddler pose

bits and bobs

There’s a ton going on behind the scenes right now. I’m planning a full, knitterly post for friday. In the mean time let’s cover two quick things:

Someone turns TWO this week:


And she’s very serious about her cake.

I’m doing a little photography project over on Instagram. My goal is to post 30 days of leaf photos during foliage season (#30daysofleaves). I’ve been traveling a bit and so my schedule hasn’t been quite one-per-day but I plan to keep going until I hit 30. The goal is to showcase our pretty foliage AND to practice photography with my little camera phone. It’s been fun so far.