My stories of jewelry making, spinning, knitting, and all things fibery.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Holiday Bonding

My daughters Christine and Melissa just love to bake. Christine drove out from Connecticut for the holiday weekend and the kitchen was rarely quiet. Chocolate peanut butter cupcakes and peanut brittle were just a few of the highlights.

The peanut brittle was so easy and such fun to make. Here's the recipe we used:

2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup water
1 pound natural, unsalted peanuts
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons butter
2 teaspoons baking soda

In a medium pot cook the sugar, corn syrup and water over medium-high heat until it boils. Turn heat down to medium and continue simmering and stirring occasionally until candy thermometer reaches 250 degrees. Stir in the peanuts and salt and continue cooking until temperature reaches 295 degrees. Remove from heat and quickly stir in butter and baking soda. Now the color will darken and it will begin to look like molten peanut brittle. Pour and spread the entire mixture onto a well buttered large cookie sheet. Let cool and break up the slab into smaller pieces. Store in and air tight container and have fun eating!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Perfect Black Hat

I just love it when my kids ask me to make them something and they actually wear it. Melissa just asked me to knit her a warm winter of course. We searched Ravelry's incredible pattern base and found just the right one. Then it was off to my local knitting shop for some luscious baby alpaca.

The two skeins were wound and now I'm off to knit.

Friday, December 10, 2010


Stone and Fiber's True Blue Talisman necklace http// was featured in a beautiful treasury collection that graced Etsy's front page earlier today.

Take a look:

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Santas, St. Nicks and Belsnickles...Oh My!

In a previous post, I eluded to being the keeper of a rather large collection of Santa Clauses. For almost twenty five years now I have had a fascination with the man in the red suit. I try to convince myself that there was no influence here in the naming of my son Nicholas.

No matter...there are almost one hundred now. They all are equally loved; chubby Santas in rough cloth coats with burlap packs, stern faced Belsnickles without twinkling eyes, and elaborate Father Christmas' in velvet robes with beads, tassels and trim. Each year, with the exception of two that I recall (and that was during my grinch period), they are ritually unwrapped from their paper shrouds and arranged proudly throughout my house at Christmas time.

They are wood, tin and resin. They are ceramic, paper and stone. They are three feet tall and three inches small. Each Santa has a story or a memory. As my three children grew, they have always been a part of our holiday traditions.

These days most of the kids are in different states, but there always seems to be someone around to help me put out the Santas.

Friday, December 3, 2010

New Necessities

I have always heard it said that using the right tools for a job makes things a lot easier. Well I've finally taken that advice to heart. After spending many hours struggling with a makeshift surface for blocking with mediocre results, I've ordered blocking wires, a board and some proper pins from a great online store
I spent several hours searching local yarn shops last Friday with zero results and an opinion that the wires were a thing of the past. Still I'm going to give them a try with the feeling that they will give a clean and finished edge to all my knitted work, especially with fine lace wraps and shawls in my future.

Blocking is a finishing process that all knitted and crocheted projects should go through. It shapes and sizes the piece correctly and helps even out the stitches. Many needle workers skip this stage because they are so eager to wear their new garment, but they are compromising a good fit by doing so. There are many methods but basically the piece is made very damp - almost wet - stretched into the finished measurements and pinned to a surface to dry.