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Dear Kay,

One of my regular things to do since March has been to get in my car, drive to a neighborhood that is not my own, and go walking. Highly recommended if you’ve walked your own neighborhood too much. Hubbo and I have been doing this for months now, and I have to say, I’ve learned a lot about Nashville.

What’s fun right now is seeing the seasonal yard displays that are clearly intended to boost our spirits. I sense a lot of motivated yard-decorators out there. So. Many. Inflatables. There’s a ten-foot-tall Rudolph on Chesterfield that I applaud completely. To everybody in the metropolitan Nashville area who has strung a light, put a Grinch by their chimney, hooked up a generator to fuel their holiday display: Thank you! It’s spectacular!

Speaking of light, it’s happening. It’s actually happening: more daylight each day for the next six months. How great is that?


I’ve been finishing up a couple of gifts for the lads, who are not coming for Christmas and keep saying things to me like, “MOM. Are you being safe? Really safe? How safe are you being?”

For Clif, I cracked open the cashmere that Rowan sent along for us to try. I tried it; it’s exactly as rare and scrumptious as the word cashmere suggests. I made a long scarf using knit-and-purl sequence knitting. It’s eight feet long, which is what a lanky lad needs.

For David, I’m finishing a second pair of socks. He likes a festive sock.

Socks: Barnyard Knits in Campfire, Crazy Zauberball in mystery color (old stash). Scarf: Rowan Pure Cashmere.


Thanks to Cristina Shiffman for posting this recipe on National Cookie Day.

This will get you in a holiday mood really fast.

I made a batch of these this weekend, and they make an excellent breakfast, lunch, teatime, and dinner. The parchment sling made me feel all crafty.


Heads Up!

Finally, I’ve been getting ready for our upcoming Kaffe Fassett knitalong that starts Monday, January 4. I have unearthed two derelict sofa pillows that contain perfectly useable pillow forms inside, so I’m thinking that—at last!—I can start making Kaffe Fassett pillows. I’ve been thinking a lot about the fine art of mix and match. Please stay tuned for more on that.

Cheers to you as we lurch toward Christmas. Try the shortbread—it’s great.




  • “Be safe Mom”! I can relate to that;) I love driving at night and seeing all the Christmas lights. I gifted myself a skein of pure white Angora yarn! Can’t wait to get it and pet it

  • Thank you for being so upbeat. There have been some good things that have come out of this pandemic; deeper appreciation for our “normal” lives, the true value of friendships, and the fabulous feeling of a simple hug. Be well my fellow knitters. Merry Christmas!

    • The shortbread recipe sounds so easy. Going to give it a try. Just have one question. Is the butter salted or unsalted?

      • It’s great both ways! Use what you like best.

    • I agree and offer love out through the whole universe! We are all waiting and watching for a Christmas miracle! And the days are getting longer again to light up our paths! And thank you, beautiful goats and sheep, for your luscious fibers!

  • This pandemic has turned our children into our parents. My daughter reminds me to be safe and checks in to see how I am feeling. When I leave her home for a short twenty minute ride home she always reminds me to text her when I get home. Now my 3 1/2 year old grandson has added, “Don’t crash into anything!” It is wonderful to be loved.

  • If you want to know the colorway of those socks it is Herbstwind. I made a pair with that shade and I checked my project page for the name.

  • What is a parchment sling? The recipe sounds delicious and easy.

    • Think of it as a hammock underneath your shortbread as it bakes. You fold a piece of baking parchment paper to fit the pan, leaving the edges on two sides so that they poke up above the edge of the pan. You put the shortbread dough in on top of this parchment, bake it, then lift the baked shortbread out by pulling up on the edges of the parchment paper. The whole shortbread comes out in one piece, making for easier cutting into squares. Fun!

      • Do you let the shortcake cool in the pan first so it doesn’t bend when you lift it out?

        • Exactly. It will crack when it’s still soft and hot from the oven. You can score the top while it’s soft to make cutting easier when it firms up, but you don’t have to.

  • My more extended family all decided to postpone Christmas, rather than mailing gifts. So much of the fun of gift giving is opening things together, rather than the thing itself. So it’ll be a small Christmas with husband and one sister, then a regular Christmas sometime in the spring or summer, when we may be vaccinated, or at least can do it outdoors. One side effect is it certainly took off the must finish now pressure….
    And your sons don’t read the blog every morning? You’ll spoil the surprise!
    Off to make shortbread. Best holiday wishes!! And constant thanks for the sanity you all bring into my life!

    • Lol the lads check in periodically, but I’m playing the odds that they’re distracted at the moment!

  • I am making the entirely wonderful sequence shawl and would like to make narrower scarves using the same directions. Is there a way to figure out how many stitches to cast on?

    • Hi Nancy! The best way to calculate a narrower scarf is to take the stitches per inch that your yarn knits and multiply that by how many inches wide you want your scarf to be. Example: Clif’s is knit in yarn that knits up at 6 stitches to the inch x 9″ wide = 54 stitch cast on.

  • I just treated myself to 52 Weeks of Socks. What a beautiful book! I’m such a book person beautiful photos and just as the title says loads of sock patterns. I also have both of Cecelia Campochiaro’s books with lots of patterns plus I discovered I’ve collected most of Kaffe Fassett’s books. There’s a theme here. I love books.

    I’m also knitting for family but also for our Nurses and Doctors in this time of Covid. Nothing fancy just hats and scarves. I give them randomly as I finish. I’m a slow newbe knitter so I’m also giving cookies for staff break rooms. Small things to say you’re thought of, small things to give joy.

    Cheers to Everyone and Happy Holidays

    PS I must try those shortbread cookies.

    • I knew I looked like a grandma when the 40-something’s upstairs asked me, last March, if they could pick up something from the grocery store when I felt perfectly safe doing it on my own. Then our daughter called and “forbade” us to travel. Must try those shortbread cookies – after we lose the Pandemic 20.

  • I’m that kid, asking my Dad “Are you being safe?”. He is recovering from Heart surgery and tired… (of recovery, isolating, not seeing friends, etc.). Thank you for the daily posts, they keep me sane.

  • I love nothing more than homemade Shortbread and if I ever get to return home I will bake it for myself. Your daily posts are keeping me going in this rehab facility and I can’t believe how long it takes for a package to get from Nashville to Lakewood CO.
    Looking forward to each and every day

  • Here can I buy an MDK gift card —- well is there a link I can send to
    My dear husband for digital gift card? LOL

  • love this post. I sometimes add chopped rosemary to the shortbread. it gives it a wonderful savory taste and you think it’s in the savory category instead of a dessert!

    • I’ve never tried rosemary, but adding a little chopped lavender is pretty yummy. Multiple batches needed obviously.

      • Rosemary, pinenuts, drizzle of honey. Next-level shortbread!

  • Perfect timing on the shortbread recipe. My (Indian) hubs just made up a big batch of his community’s spice mix (masala) and we were thinking of trying some in shortbread.

  • Thanks for the shortbread recipe! I’m in baking mode today so will add it to the list. Looking forward to the days after Christmas when I’ll be in knitting mode until spring!

  • Hey, this is my mom’s recipe for shortbread! Perfect! Can also be rolled out like pastry and cut with cookie cutters, rolled into logs and pressed etc. We love it and the grand kids have the skills and the recipe too now.

  • Check out our local NPR online for a drivable map to some spectacular displays in the Nashville area! Shortbread is delicious! Be safe, be well! Happy Celebrating all y’all!!

    • Merry Christmas, Mary Sue! What an excellent tip! Hoping you and yours have a warm and cozy holiday.

  • Ann,
    Do you know the book 99% Invisible City by Roman Mars? Since you are exploring Nashville on foot you might enjoy it. I, too, am walking daily and find it to be great for my general outlook since March.
    Best wishes! Patty M

  • Well, to get the Christmas holiday rolling early, I fell and broke my leg…. bad enough to have surgery and require lots of hardware ( yup, 14 screws , a few pins, a wire whisk and a melon baller…. at least, I think that is what the surgeon said!). I am in a wheelchair, no need for pain pills, I am lucky to have have a son who came to our rescue a week or so ago, I have a sainted husband who has seen to my every need, chief, cook, bottle washer ( he has even learned to make the dreaded Mocha) . My children and grandkids keep in touch. And, I get to walk in MARCH! As with the rest of this dumb year; what could possibly go wrong? I am thankful to have family, friends, furry children and lots of yarn.
    Merriest Christmas and Happiest of Holidays and. MAGNIFICENT NEW YEAR
    Kate Manning

    • I can commiserate—i had similar surgery in mid-August. Non-weight bearing for 7 weeks! Lots of metal. I survived til I could walk in mid-November thanks also to sainted husband and a furry friend. I’m very happy to see the end of 2022. Good luck to you, Kate, and happy new year!

    • Ouch! Great attitude. Happier New Year!Sharon and Watson (poodle)

    • So sorry for your accidentwishing you a speedy recovery!

  • KAL in January? I just received my Field Guides collection (Merry Christmas to me!) Where are the details to join along?

  • Where can I find inf on the Fassett KAL?

  • My family has been using that recipe for generations! I recommend cutting them after they have cooled for 10-15 minutes – much easier. Then allow them to continue to cool in the pan. Never used the parchment paper, they come out pretty easy without it but may give it a try next time, if I remember 🙂

  • My shortbread recipe in the same except it uses packed light brown sugar, which folks might want to try. We usually roll it 1/4 inch and use cookie cutters.

  • Hmmmm … are there instructions for knitting the scarf that I overlooked?

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