A few years ago, I blogged about my grandmother's starting a new life in Texas after my grandfather died.

Grandma was my last remaining grandparent until today. She died after a very long healthy life and a short period of serious decline.


She was no fan of children but I would never have known it, as a child, because she loved me so much.


A true product of the depression era, she was frugal to a fault which made her endless generosity all the more meaningful.


I always knew my grandmother loved me, that I was special in her life. When I called, the joy in her voice was infectious and I was so happy to talk to her too.


She gave me these photos, and many more, when she moved out of her old home in New Jersey. They are a small consolation to this huge hole she leaves in my heart. I feel truly fortunate that I had so many wonderful years with a grandmother who loved me so much.


I had an airline ticket to see her in just a couple of weeks. I wish I could have told her, one last time, in person, how much she is loved. It is sad to know that I cannot but perhaps, in her honor, you could all take a moment to tell someone you love them, someone you don't have a chance to say it to, as often as you'd like. Fate has it's way of reminding you how much that means when it's too late.

Fall 2011 Twist Collective is Live

The new Twist Collective is live and it's beautiful. I have seen these patterns from their thoughtfully laid out submissions right up to their final tech edited PDF. I've read the articles from their early drafts to their polished finished composition. I feel personally invested in each and every piece's success and receptions from knitters.

There's a lot to love in this edition, including two beautiful garments from my dear friend, Julia Trice, and a must read article on seamed knitting, by Sandi Rosner. And while I think all the articles are fantastic, I'd be remis if I didn't direct you to this story, where you'll struggle to decide which is more endearing, the story itself or the beautiful illustrations.

Of course, I've made my own contribution to this edition (beyond my work behind the scenes), about which I plan to do a separate, more in-depth post. Make sure you cruise by my his and hers pattern, Doppler.

Photo copyright Jane Heller

Originally conceived as just a men's garment, with an asymmetrical ribbed pattern to keep the knitting interesting but not too fussy, I added in a women's version too, sized proportionally for women's standards, with just a hint of waist shaping. Both patterns come with both the crew and turtleneck instructions, so you can really tailor this garment to your preference.

I know it's simple, without the excitement of some of the myriad designs also available in the edition, but I hope it'll be a wardrobe staple for those who choose to knit it.

Now stop reading my blog post and go check out this amazing new edition.


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My friends, Mel and Steve came to visit from Hawaii for a week and seeing as Leo and I live in a town called Aloha (pronounced "a-low-a" by the locals, here. I guess the "h" went back to Hawaii) and seeing as it seemed like we were saying, goodbye too soon after saying, hello, "Aloha" seemed like the perfect blog title.

It's always fun to see where you live through fresh eyes. We haven't been in Oregon all that long but Mel and Steve wanted to really get to know the place and it meant hitting all our favorite spots in one short week.

We went berry picking at the local farms

Mel and Steve visit Portland_025

And said, aloha, to some alpaca.

Mel and Steve visit Portland_013

We had microbrewed beer at little bars with live bands.

Mel and Steve visit Portland_018

And hiked around the coastline.

Mel and Steve visit Portland_019

We even went salsa dancing.

can't see the video, click here.

Ok, well, I went salsa dancing and everyone else enjoyed the live music and people watching.

Luckily, they are both crazy dog people and spent plenty of time dolling out belly rubs, treats and generally helping to keep the dogs properly spoiled.

Mel and Steve visit Portland_004
What? You don't invite your dogs to sit next to you at your breakfast nook?

I didn't come close to documenting all the places we went and things we did, but suffice it to say, it was great fun hosting them and hopefully just as much fun for them to be here. The dogs are a bit displeased at the precipitous drop in ear scritches, since their departure.

Crunch time

It's been Crazypants City, population, Marnie, lately. We rolled out a redesign of our self service site, at work. Wait, is that Thea you see? Why yes it is. Oh and hey, did you just see Panda over here too? I think you might have. We cranked out that new site in an absurdly short period of time, with two trips to the mothership, for me, and a lot of extra hours. We're still cleaning things up, improving, adding, subtracting, but it's good to have the bulk of it live.

And for you knitters, you may know that Twist Collective has a new edition going live in a couple weeks so it's crunch time there as well. Being completely entrenched in the process, I become both incredible attached to the edition and also, oddly numb to it too, so that I am never quite sure how it will be received. It's like saying the same word over and over until it sounds suddenly foreign.

But there are some things in life that don't care about schedules and work and traveling. Things like delicious local strawberries that must (MUST) be made into jams and jellies.

Strawberry Jam and Strawberry Wine Jelly_05

I made a batch of less sugar strawberry jam in big jars and a small batch of strawberry wine jelly (click image for recipe) just because it sounded so interesting. The former has all the sweet and tart flavor of the amazing hood berries that grow here and the latter tastes almost like honey, with just a hint of wine flavor. It's supposed to be great on a cheese plate, but I like it just fine on toast.

I also have managed a little more dog abuse sewing.

SophiaBag_24 SophiaBag_18

This is from an Amy Butler pattern. While I find her fabrics a little over the top for my taste (says she with the new bag that looks like it was made from a Hawaiian shirt) her patterns are worth every penny for their detailed instructions and professional construction. I would happily recommend them.

Next week, one of my oldest and dearest friends comes to visit for the week, and then we launch the new Twist and then, perhaps, I will take a three day nap and eat all the buttered toast with homemade jam I can fit in my mouth.

More sewing


Yes, I still knit. I do! Yarn will be arriving shortly for another super secret project, and at the start of next month, I'll have a new pattern out that I can't wait to share with you.

For now, though I'll have to entertain you with ridiculous sewing FO shots.

I sewed a pretty little bag.

Ava Bag_10
Panda is not amused
pattern info here

Then I sewed another one.

Ava Bag_take two_23
Thea is not amused

And then I made a nutballs crazy skirt out of double cloth cotton gauze (gingham on one side, plaid on the other). It's a twirly joy to wear and so light and breezy. I might live in this, during the summer.

McCall's 5056_94

If you are a member of Pattern Review, you can see all my detailed pattern reviews here. Kind of crazy that I've sewn 22 projects in 3 months. Actually, there are a couple that didn't make it to the site at all. Sometimes I get a little obsessed with my (re)new(ed) hobbies.

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