For years, many of our friends have been asking us to teach them to knit. We finally had a get-together for the knitters-to-be on a Saturday afternoon when we hosted a winter-to-spring knitting party. Saying a slow farewell to winter, we celebrated our favorite parts of winter with knitting, warm bowls of chili, hot chai tea and winter whites. We were inspired by the bare branches outside that will soon blossom with buds, leaves and blooms and the hints of green that start sprouting in winter’s neutral landscape.
We put bunches of bright white spring tulips in jars (saved and reused from our kitchen) that we accented with handknit collars. Some jars held branches and tulips; others held tools like needles and scissors. Knitters gathered around the low coffee table and leaned against big pillows set against the couch.
We used big fallen birch branches gathered from the woods of northern Michigan to create a centerpiece for our table and put bunches of green dianthus in pots. Dianthus is a member of the carnation family, and as you know, we love carnations because of their durability and ability to survive dry, hot homes. We especially love this green dianthus because it reminds us of the mossy spring in Oregon, where we grew up. — bbbcraft sisters
CLICK HERE for the rest of the party ideas after the jump!
Our mom recently made the three of us fingerless mittens, the perfect late winter/early spring accessory. We asked her to make up directions for a pattern and do a pencil drawing for what she had freehanded. Download our instructions to make these mittens yourself, or print out and share them at your own knitting party!
This project is perfect for beginner knitters, and it takes about 1.5 to 2 hours to finish one mitten.
We sent invites to our friends and asked them to choose a yarn color so we’d be sure to have enough.
At the party, we passed out instructions, yarn, needles, a needle for stitching and a simplified needle case. (Check out our knitting needle case DIY to make your own!)
Knitting doesn’t lend itself to finger snacks since your hands are busy, but we stopped to have lunch — a four-bean turkey chili with bright green toppings, a simple romaine salad with crunchy rye croutons and shaved parmesan and a warm mug of chai, since the cold days for drinking chai are numbered.
Four-Bean Turkey Chili
- 3–4 tbsp olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic
- 3 jalapenos (seeds removed, if you prefer), diced
- 1 ½ onions, chopped
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 4 tsp dry oregano
- 1 lb ground turkey breast
- 1 can white broad beans
- 1 can garbanzo beans
- 1 can Great Northern beans
- 1 can navy beans
- 3 cups water
- Toppings: sharp white cheddar, avocado, sliced scallions, yogurt or sour cream, lime halves, cilantro
1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
2. Add onions, jalapenos and garlic, and sauté until onions are translucent.
3. Stir in spices and salt and pepper, add ground turkey and cook another 2 to 3 minutes or until there is no pink left in the meat.
4. Add beans and water and bring to a boil. Simmer for at least 45 minutes or until the chili takes on a thick consistency. Serve with toppings of your choosing.
Milky Chai Tea
Makes 2 cups
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup milk
- 6 cardamom pods
- 12 cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ½” ginger root
- 3 black peppercorns
- 2 tbsp loose black tea
- honey (to taste)
1. Boil 1 cup of water, and warm 1 cup of milk.
2. Crush together 6 green cardamom pods, 12 cloves, 1 cinnamon stick, ½” ginger root thinly sliced and 3 black peppercorns.
3. Tie up the spices in a piece of cheesecloth.
4. Combine water and milk, and steep 2 tbsp. of loose black tea (Darjeeling is a good choice) with the spices for at least 10 minutes. Add honey to taste.
And because tea and cookies go so well together, and because we are totally obsessed with these cookies our mom used to make when we were growing up (and learning how to knit!), we baked up a batch to serve with tea. Our mom has made these cookies for as long as we can remember. They’re like a butter/sugar cookie with a hint of nuttiness from the sesame seeds, and they are totally addictive. And one of the best (and strangest?) things about them is that they are as delicious fresh as they are frozen — as the original recipe suggests!
Spalding House Tea Cookies
Makes 10 dozen
- 1 cup butter
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 egg
- ¾ tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 ½ cups flour
- 1 cup sesame seeds
1. Cream butter and sugar until very light.
2. Add vanilla.
3. Add egg and beat well.
4. Sift flour, salt and baking soda, and add to creamed mixture. Blend well.
5. Form about one teaspoon of dough into a ball, and roll in sesame seeds to coat well.
6. Place on a cookie sheet, and flatten each cookie with a fork.
7. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes.
8. These cookies should be pale in color. Allow the cookies to cool and then freeze. Serve directly from the freezer.
Photos by Anna H. Blessing. Styling, crafting and food by bbbcraft.