Merry Birthday, Jane Austen // Just Cross Stitch Magazine Christmas Ornament issue 2018

I was delighted when asked by Just Cross Stitch to contribute a design to this year's Christmas Ornament issue. I knew straight away that I wanted it to be Jane Austen themed yet linking her to Christmas is never easy as it wasn't as big a holiday then as it is for us now. So connecting Miss Austen was tricky yet since she had a December birthday, that seemed kismet. 

I hope you enjoy stitching MERRY BIRTHDAY, JANE AUSTEN and perchnce it is a design that lasts the whole year over, not just in December. Accompanying every designer's piece is a favorite recipe and a festive memory - I included the recipe for CHOCOLATE CHIP PIE and wrote about New Year's Eve 1999 before the new century dawned.

You can locate this issue in your local bookstore or needlework shop!

I have added a clip about this on The Sampler Girl youtube channel if you wish to have a view :

Merry stitching!

Peace like a river

Virginia is the only place I have ever called home. I went away to college for awhile (yet in the same state) and then came back and never lived anywhere else. The Potomac River flows ever constant nearby and even though I can't see it from my home, I feel its steady rythm, its comfort in my being. 

I pass this river many times a day, a week, a month, a year and the views never get old. The picture above was taken at dusk on the last day of August. The very last evening of August, summer 2018. The current was swift and it reminded me of how life rapidly ebbs along. Stumbling over itself at times, hitting obstacles along the way and then at other times, smoothly moving along. Time is precious. Fragile. Always going forward. As the water moves in its favoried direction, so do we follow our path. 

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Sweet birthday wishes to my mom, Lucy. 

She's the light that shines in every room she enters. 
Her beauty is youth in a bottle.
She's the epitome of classic style.
She's hilarious, smart, honest, and creative.
She looks fabulous at 68.


Test Knitting

Perhaps, after all, our best thoughts come when we are alone. It is good to listen . . . to the brook running cool over polished stones, to bees drowsy with the weight of pollen. If we attend to the music of the earth, we reach serenity. And then, in some unexplained way, we share it with others.
-Gladys Taber
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I'm test knitting a shawl design by Clare Devine. It's a lovely pattern and I'm eager to get moving onward very soon to the applied border section. This is my progress as of this morning.

As I said in my latest knitting video, I've misplaced the ball band to the yarn and haven't a clue what colorway it is or who made it. So frustrating because I am in love with everything about it and would like to get more sometime. I still have one more place to look where lost yarn ball bands go in my cupboard, so fingers crossed. Have you ever test knit a pattern for a designer? It's a fun process and sometimes harder than others, depending on design and designer's draft of instructions. 

As I type, the morning sunshine is flowing in and out of the swaying tree branches. Birds are already chirping their song and shadows are dancing on the nearby footpath. There's something golden about late summer mornings. August is saying it's not ready to close summer's door just yet .. there's plenty of warmness yet to surround. 

NEW PATTERN :: Legend of the 3 Sisters

Happy Monday!
I have a NEW pattern that I just added to THE SAMPLER GIRL ETSY SHOP.

LEGEND OF THE 3 SISTERS is inspired by the legend of The Three Sisters of an Indian tribe that drowned while crossing the Potomac River near the Key Bridge in Washington, DC. This area is regional to me and has always been fascinating lore in the area.

Three rocks formed after their deaths and many tragedies have occurred since then when boaters and swimmers try to cross the area. Captain John Smith was the first known European to see the sight in 1607.

Black & White chart via EPATTERN download on etsy - hope you enjoy stitching it!

summer knitting | new video up!

Day versus Night :: Reading

"Knowing you have something good to read before bed is among the most pleasurable of sensations."
-Vladimir Nabokov
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Are you a morning reader? I'm not. I've tried but failed.
Are you a nighttime reader? I am. Always.

I recently watched an Instastory from molliereads on IG where she talked about times of the day that she reads the most. I'm the opposite of what she was describing. Where she reads in the morning, I read at night. She pondered trying to change herself into a night reader and offered conversation about reading time preferences. It got me thinking more about this. Thank you, Mollie!

When I was a child, I'd read before bed. It was introduced, probably by my mother, to help me to wind down from the day thus creating a more-sleepy me and then zzzzzzz. As an adult, I've always read before bed. It's part of the whole bedtime routine for me. Sometimes I read a page and sometimes I read an entire book. If I had to pick a time of the day that I prefer reading, it would be at bedtime. I do read during the day, when time allows, but it's nighttime when the biggest blocks of reading occur. 

When I became a Mom for the first time in 1999, the reading-at-bedtime routine went to a whole new level. As the boys have aged, it's changed from reading to them, helping them read aloud, them reading to me, and now my youngest {11} and I read our own books, together. I am a firm believe in fostering a love of books in children from the earliest ages. 

My oldest {19} isn't a reader. Anymore. He devoured books until about the age of 10 and then stopped. Obviously there are readers and non-readers in this world whether I understand it or not :) However, I think in this fast-paced digital world we live, it's essential to keep on keeping on with books and reading. No matter the time of day you want/have to read, bring books in your life! 

Polkagris Kerchief deja vu

I enjoyed knitting the first Polkagris by Kate Davies so much that I cast on another one! It's such a great accessory to wear and I need a few more in my wardrobe. If you haven't already tried this pattern, I highly recommend it. It is mindless but has just enough variety in stripework to keep it entertaining and who doesn't love a pattern that you can memorize and not tote the paperwork around? Me.

I picked two yarns from stash for it; the golden color is Loft fingering colorway Hayloft from Brooklyn Tweed. The pinky goodness is a Twist Sock fingering from Hedgehog Fibres in colorway Iris. I love how the two are marrying together!

What are you knitting this week?

The Mermaid Shawl, new knitting pattern!

I am giddy over this NEW design, THE MERMAID SHAWL. Worked in colorways Lakeshore and Lime worsted weight yarns from Stonehedge Fiber Mill in Michigan. Their Shepherd's Wool Worsted line is economical, lush, and wonderful to knit in projects. I have used their yarns many times and each time I've been most pleased. It washes and blocks beautifully; it was a perfect yarn for this shawl design!

THE MERMAID SHAWL is inspired by mermaid lore, the alluring sea, and curling waves on the sand. Shawl carries summer's memory as colder days approach, beckoning warmer breezes again.

Design is meditative, relaxing and fun to knit in textured sections entitled CALM SEAS, MERMAID TAIL, and SANDBAR. A swirly bind off finishes this whimsical design; it really is a comforting hug when complete. Pattern is easy to follow and clearly written.

I saw a little mermaid once, while playing in the sand, she had some pearls around her hair, a mirror in her hand.

She built a little castle there, ’twas just two inches high, and covered it with pretty shells, That lay around near by.

The waves came creeping slowly in, But still the mermaid played, 

The seagulls surrounded and whirled about, but she was not afraid.

Then suddenly she turned and swam, Into the deep blue sea,

I wonder why she didn’t stop, To say Good-Bye to me?


Blueberry Boy Bait, a recipe

I haven't been able to find the perfect summer blueberries this season until two weekends ago. The weather must have messed with all the blueberry crops this year or the vendors at the farmers market just didn't have the bluest, plumpest berries for some reason. However, I did manage to score two baskets of blueberries afterall {whew!} and they found their way into an amazing recipe from Smitten Kitchen.

I follow Smitten Kitchen on Instagram and it's a wonder I don't devour my phone constantly. The images are yummy goodness one after another - most drool- worthy! An image and recipe for Blueberry Boy Bait came through my feed recently and perhaps was the start to my blueberry search!

The recipe is easy to follow and OH MY WORD!!!, be prepared to be speechless when it is done and cooled and ready to eat. It is probably the best blueberry anything I've ever baked or eaten. I can see how it gets its name ... my husband couldn't stop eating it and begging me to make it again soon!

Go on. Get the recipe. Bake it. Eat it. Be happy.

Merry Birthday, Jane Austen // Just Cross Stitch Magazine Christmas Ornament issue 2018

I was delighted when asked by Just Cross Stitch to contribute a design to this year's Christmas Ornament issue. I knew straight away...