As a departure from my usual topics, I thought I’d tell you about a different kind of art that my mom and I are trying… the culinary kind. Salsa. I hope you gathered the fact that we are not talking about a kind of dance.

My grandparents have been bringing over bags and bags of vegetables and fruit from their very large garden. They are growing too much for the two of them to eat, so they are giving the extras to family. . It seems that every time I come in the kitchen there are more tomatoes than there were the day before (this can be an unnerving experience when you forget that your grandparents just came by to drop off more).

We have been making fermented raw pickles, sauerkraut, and salsa. The salsa is what I was most pleased with. For the most part I am not really big on salsa. Never have been. So when my mom suggested that we make it with all of the tomatoes that we got from my grandparents I was a little less than enthusiastic.

My mom found the recipes (which we barely followed because she likes to make it up as she goes along). I got the fun job of pealing the tomatoes (that was an interesting, rather messy experience) and I also chopped them up into tiny little pieces (did I mention that I hate tomatoes?).

While I was doing that, my mom was cutting up the unions, peppers, etc. When it was all finished and into a bowl, it actually looked like salsa, which, I think, is the general objective. When I ate it I was surprised. Again, it tasted really great. I couldn’t stop eating it. My brothers, who weren’t very excited about the salsa either, began eating it and had to be told to stop (as if they would listen). Even my dad, who most always scoffs at things like raw, homemade salsa (why can’t you just buy it?), liked it.

It didn’t last very long because we were all eating it so much. My brother ate 2 jars of it almost single handedly. He was eating it with every meal. And my mom ate spoonfuls at a time.

So, the 5 wide mouth mason jars full of salsa that were supposed to last at least a month and a half squeaked by for barely 2 weeks. Suffice it to say, the Salsa was a success. We are making more of it either today or tomorrow, and hopefully it will last a little longer.

My mom wasn’t quite so lucky with the first batch of pickles. They were great for the first couple of days but then at some point they turned a funny color and didn’t taste too great. My brothers were more than a little disappointed by this because they were really enjoying the pickles before they turned. The second batch turned out much better. They didn’t have any funny colors, weird floating things (I didn’t even want to know what they were) and tasted really good. So good, in fact, that when my grandfather tried them, he dubbed my mom queen of pickles (or something like that, I don’t remember his exact words).

These are some photos of my grandparents’ tomatoes (is it just me or are they huge?), a jar of salsa (one of the last ones) and the salsa in a bowl (I had to stop taking pictures because I kept eating it).

P.S. I have also found that tomatoes are great for juggling, though that does sometimes end very badly…


I suppose I should let you know what it is that I have been doing all this time that I haven’t been blogging.

I am working on a new pattern line that is going to be distributed to yarn stores throughout the country. We (my mom and I) have been working on this line for a while now, and I am looking forward to it’s conclusion.  I am very pleased with how they turned out.

They  are sweaters and a hooded jacket/coat. The fibers are Merino wools, Mohair, silk blends, and Alpaca blends. When each one of them was finished my mom and I tried them on and I had to make her take them off because if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have ever gotten them back for photographing. My particular favorite is the jacket made with Berroco’s Ultra Alpaca. It looks EXACTLY like my original sketch of it, and the yarn and drape are amazing. Everyone is rather crazy over it, and my grandmother is hoping to get one for Christmas.

They are all so simple, but not boring, and the lines are clean and elegant. I really wanted them all to be very wearable, comfortable, and classy. .. all of these qualities while still being young and fresh.

As a result of said designs, I have been, and still am, buried in yarn.  My mom and I did a lot of hunting around to find yarns to try out for these designs. I was getting boxes and boxes of yarn samples that we then had to swatch. There were (and still are, I presume) so many yarns that I hadn’t worked with before. One of the companies that my mom came across was Argosy yarns. Melissa’s yarns are so soft and luxurious and the colors are so pretty… The Haiku 4 Ply silk/cashmere blend has such fantastic drape;  it worked perfectly for a particular v-neck sweater.

Things are finally beginning to slow down now that the line is almost done and I can focus on some other things that have been floundering lately.

I think you will enjoy listening to a new interview with me on Virtue Radio Network for a show called “Women Create.” In the interview I describe my design process, how I funded my business, and what it’s like to publish a book with Random House. My feature runs for the next two weeks, so be sure to take the time to check it out here

The show will be archived after that, so if you miss it, you can always catch it later. Please feel free to pass the link along to knitters, teens, aspiring designers, or anyone else who may enjoy hearing about my fashion design business.

Still here….

Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to sit down and blog for quite a while. I have been swamped with projects and deadlines, and it seems that there are quite a few things I have not gotten around to doing. Not enough hours in the day I suppose.

Anyway, I realized today that I haven’t told you that the top I’m wearing in this photo is the Halter Top design from my book, just knitted in black Bamboozle instead of blue (as seen in my book). I think it really changes the vibe of the garment.

Look at this new review of It Girl Knits on Access Fashion! Jillian Rueter, owner of Access Fashion, dovetails fashion and knitting in her unique blog. Check it out.

Book Review

Continuous Cables: An Exploration of Knitted Cabled Knots, Rings, Swirls, and Curlicues
Melissa Leapman
20 Designs plus an all-original stitch dictionary

Though the projects are not terribly exciting and some of them are somewhat un-attractive, seeming to be just a blank canvas for the cabled techniques, they are not the focus of the book. The real focus of this book are the amazing cables. All of the projects and and instructions come together very nicely, and the instructions are simple and easy to follow. Definately not too intimidating.

I already have a couple of cabled garments that I am working on using cables from Leapman’s book. There are definately other books out there that are more technique-driven if you are wanting to learn how to knit cables, but this book is cute. I like this book.

New Magazine Pattern!

Knit Simple Winter ’08/09


Knit Simple Winter ’08/09 is on newsstands now and it features my new pattern, Plush Sweater. It’s a comfy boyfriend sweater made with Universal Yarn’s Rebecca.

Very easy to knit. I knit it in the round and the sleeves are worked in the round, too. It’s a great beginner sweater since the bulky yarn knits up very quickly.