Lessons from the Needles & Making PB with Love

9 Tue, 2010 § 11 Comments

The only needles I was familiar with growing up were on the sharp end of a cactus.  I knew how to work a “hook” & crochet a bit, but knitting alluded me.  Just a few years ago, I would often stop by the yarn store & browse colors & textures…& play make believe.  What could I make with these?  A new chalk bag?  A lovely sweater?  A simple headband?  I would scan the learn-to-knit class schedule & debate over whether I should just do it already.

Then I met Ashley.

[She’s on the left; I’m in the visor.]

Honest.  Sincere.  Outspoken.  Thoughtful.  Driven.  Intelligent.  Reliable.

She Climbs Rocks…& she Knits.

How perfect is she?

So my best friend taught me to work the needles & this simple practice has truly enhanced my life.


Lessons I have/am learning on the needles:

Contentedness. I picked up on the “knitting” aspect fairly easily; my fingers were not getting “purling” though, so initially I just “knit”…scarves…perfectly content at my skill level or lack thereof.  Enjoy the moment & don’t get too ahead of yourself.

Appreciate & acknowledge others. Knitting is a time-consuming & expensive pastime.  Many charge high rates for lessons & help — as they should.  Does Ashley know how grateful I am that she took the time & had the patience to teach me & correct my mistakes?  Does she realize how much her basic instruction & introduction to the needles added to my life?  We need to make sure people realize what they mean to us & what they bring to our lives.

Don’t over think — let your intuition have a crack at life. I dropped the needles for a few months & didn’t make time for knitting while focusing on other things.  When I picked them up again, the “knitting” clicked; but, I couldn’t quite remember “purling”.  It had been so difficult before; how was I ever going to get it without my tutor?  Watching tutorial videos online, I debated between English & Continental styles; I would think I had it, then just confuse myself further.  Finally I closed my browser & simply grabbed some yarn & needles.  My fingers knew what to do.  They could “purl”…I just had to let them.  In our western world, it is easy to over-analyze & have to logically reason every aspect of life & our decisions; often we will come to [more accurate] realizations sooner if we just trust our ability to sense it.

Working outside my comfort zone. As “content” as I was to simply “knit”, branching out from basic scarves to more extravagant scarves to less-than-ordinary wash cloths to mittens to headbands has expanded & brightened the experience.  Whether I am teaching myself to cable, increase/decrease, create a thumb hole or read & follow more advanced patterns, the next step always makes the basics even more fun.  Pushing beyond what we are comfortable doing — whether it turns out like we expect or not — is the only way to grow & progress.

Sometimes I am the type of person I want to be….sometimes not. I have learned a lot about myself while knitting, like where my patience lies.  Some days I will sacrifice comfort for stark pain as Bodhi sits, enraptured, on my forearm.  Try to knit with a 13-lb cat sitting on your arm.  Ouch.  I tell myself it’s forearm training for climbing 😉 Really, I just like bonding with Bodhi.  Other days, Dave has to hold me back from inflicting serious harm on the mischievous whiskered twins’ [Christine’s cats] during their reign of terror.

Mind you, this was securely hidden in the bottom of my bag & discretely tucked away.  Ten minutes — ten minutes alone, & they had found & completely unraveled & tangled my lovely ball of yarn.  We can only take each day & moment as they come…& try to make actions that are in line with who we want to be. [I don’t want to be a person who kills cats 😉 ]

Tedious labor is good for the soul. Knitting is methodical.  I love listening to audio books & embracing the chance to expand my knowledge; sometimes, I enjoy sitting in silence, simply experiencing the yarn coming together.  I spend a lot of time in my head, letting my mind wander.  Find quiet “you time”, not only to destress, find peace & inspiration, but to become acquainted with yourself.  It’s important to be able to stand your own company. 😉

[I have to give credit here.  Though I had typed this up before seeing Nienke’s life lesson post, she said it in her #3 better than I could…& I was inspired to reword my title.  Thanks Nienke.]

Experience life & share that with others. It is amazing to watch the strand become more. This is life.  You start simply, with one strand — one idea or notion — & create beautiful experiences interwoven & connected. I love sharing this with others.  As the holiday approaches, I have been anxious to finish Dave’s scarf so I can begin working on gifts.  I am excited to share those here, but won’t be posting photos until after Winter Solstice.  I would love to share these with anyone who is looking for a little inspiration for simple knitting projects though.  Just email me if you can’t wait until January!


Speaking of gifts…

enjoying the experience…

& developing patience…

Homemade Nut Butter

but not just any old buttah —

Homemade Double~Roasted Maple~Kissed Peanut Butter

  • 1 C Peanuts, unsalted [I could not find raw, hence the “double-roasted”]
  • 1 T Maple Syrup

Drizzle maple over peanuts, toss & spread onto a cookie sheet.

Roast in 350*F oven ~10 minutes until lightly golden & maple has started to crystallize.

Cool slightly, but it’s ok if they are still on the warmer side.

Into the food processor…&…go!

First, it will become a meal.

Eventually, the oils will start to break down into a thicker, more moist meal, but will still be crumbly.

Continue processing & scraping down as needed.

As the oils break down further & become thicker, add

  • 1 T Maple
  • 1 tsp sea salt

& keep processing…

…& processing…

…& processing…

It seriously take ~15 minutes for the oils to completely break down into that creamy goodness.

Definitely a lesson in patience…which might not be as pointed if I had a regular food processor which I could walk away from…but since it broke, I have to use my mini food processor with the Smart Stick Hand Held Blender attachment.

That’s right; I have to hold the button the whole time.

It’s almost there!

I often begin to lose faith & question if it is really breaking down.  Stop?  Give up?  No.  Just keep doing what you are doing — it will work.

I promise.

There is something so rewarding about reaching that creamy, glossy state…

& sharing it with others.

So now find a cute container.

Add an extra special touch.

Give it to someone who will appreciate all the labor & love that went into making something so seemingly simple, yet decadent.

~ Happy Birthday Mom ~

[I hope this reached you safely & you enjoy it.]


What are your quiet, “me time” pastimes?  Do you make gifts?

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§ 11 Responses to Lessons from the Needles & Making PB with Love

  • Christine says:

    Hey now, the monster babies were just trying to help you out!!! 🙂 I’ve warned you about their powers of destruction. Anything that small that can flood a house (twice!) and learn to turn on the gas…well, let’s just say they are smarter than they look.

    That maple PB looks and sounds delicious!! What a great gift for your mom. I’m craving some sandwiches for workday lunches now…

    • Allie says:

      Grab the nuts of your choice & we can make whatever combination you like! I forgot you call them “monster babies” 😀 love it. They are wily & destructive…but pretty cute sometimes…but not at that moment. 😉

  • Natalie says:

    I’m thinking about making homemade almond butter for holiday gifts this year. Did making the nut butter burn out your food processor? It makes me a little nervous if so! Regardless, the pb looks amazing.

    I took up knitting a few years ago and I kind of want to pick it back up this winter. Even though I only know one stitch, it’s still relaxing!

    • Allie says:

      It has not burned out my processor…sometimes I get nervous with the hand held attachment though. I have heard it will burn out blenders though, but good quality food processors should hold up. It’s the actual heat that finally helps breaks down the oils…but I have never heard of one overheating. Toasting the nuts first really helps too. Maple-Almond would be good — I think gingerbread spices would also be yummy & festive with almond — or just basic almond is delicious. Let me know if you try it with your processor…I think you’ll be ok.

      Knitting is relaxing — you should start it up again! Make cute little sleeves/cozies to go around your jars of almond butter. 🙂

  • How awesome is it that we were thinking the same thing at the same time?!

    There is a girl at my work who knits during her break sometimes and it looks so relaxing. I have a few knitting projects that I want to try out (like “sleeves” for around coffee mugs and putting cute buttons on it), but I think knitting scarves would probably be the best place to start!

    • Allie says:

      I know! When I saw your post, I couldn’t stop smiling. You definitely said it better, so I hope you don’t mind…
      Those sleeves sound so cute. You should take it up — so enjoyable & relaxing — & creating your own pretty scarves is so fun & rewarding.

  • Oh man. That peanut butter! I’m not a very patient person, but I may have to give this a try. Although I’m nervous about my processor dying too. I mean, I got it at Wal-Mart soooo.. we shall see!

  • Julia says:

    I wish I had the time to knit or do something else crafty and creative, besides cooking. Knitting sounds very calming (for the most part).
    I will definitely have to try my hand at homemade nut butter now – I love anything kissed by maple 🙂

  • ashley says:

    You are too sweet. I am so thankful that you enjoy knitting and have incorporated it into your life as something calming, exciting, and ‘yours’. I can’t wait to see what you are working on. After knitting some baby items I’m finally working on something for myself-a simple but luxurious angora silk neck cowl. I have some yarn stashed away for a sweater but with school right now I wanted more ‘instant’ gratification. Sometimes I bring my knitting to class and secretly create in the back row–my classmates must think I am nuts. Love you oodles and miss you always! XO

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