Countdown to England

So the countdown begins. . . and what was the very first thing I did when I found out we were going to England again after all these years?  A trip to the knitting store!  I love a project when I travel — I also thought you might enjoy seeing our little knitting shop.  With music of course!

I took my camera to take pictures in case I saw anything pretty along the way! The shop is only about a block from my house, so past the little houses I did go, hyacinths popping all around . . .

And like so many shops and restaurants in New England, Knit Works is in an old house; right at the end of Main Street.

There’s a kitchen in the back, complete with kettle and cups, where the girls drop in to knit together on Wednesday nights; no appointment needed!  Isn’t it perfect that it’s in a kitchen?

It’s a house of color and creativity.  The mind boggles at the possibilities!

This little project was on the kitchen table, a hat, being knitted by Michaela, one of the women working there. Look at the beads she’s knitting in!  Isn’t that adorable?  You can just catch a glimpse of this whimsical variegated yarn in the lower left of the photo.  I visited with Michaela while looking around the store for the perfect little project for me.  First requirement: it must be something that requires absolutely no knitting knowledge.

Oooo, the colors!  I do remember sitting on my mother’s knees, leaning back into her, her arms around me, the knitting needles in front of me, her fingers working my fingers, teaching me to wrap the yarn around the needle and make a stitch.  I loved it, but with all the other fun things I love to do,  that’s about as good as I ever got. The last time we sailed on the QE II, the lady next to me on the deck chair taught me to use my little finger to wrap the yarn around the needle, that was a BIG improvement to the way I’d been doing it.

 So I will make a nice long scarf.  Easiest thing in the world and perfect to do on a ship; perfect to do while watching the Chelsea Flower Show on BBC.  There will be no thinking involved, but it will make me feel like I’m accomplishing something, and that will be enough. The biggest problem is what color???  I always have such a hard time choosing.

But this time, I came armed — I had my new secret weapon with me, my colors!  Remember a few months ago when I went with my girlfriends and had my colors done?  (Click there if you

missed that post and want to see it.) Everyone received a wallet like this with individually chosen color swatches that were just right for each of us.

It changed my whole way of life.  Now I don’t have to wonder what color yarn to buy!  And I can get on the Landsend web site, hold my colors up to the screen and get the right shade of whatever!  It’s really wonderful.

The other thing I love about knitting stores . . . they always have comfy chairs where you can just sit and knit if you want to . . . particularly good when it’s winter (or looks like winter) and you want to get out of the house, talk to friends, or learn something new!

♥      ♥      ♥

So I said good-bye to Michaela and Alix, (if you ever come to the island, and need a project, go say hello to them!). I picked up my bundle and my camera and headed back home.

If I ever went to prison, which of course I will never do (I’m so not the prison type), I know I would come out of it better than I went in. Because I would have projects.  I would either get thin, speak French, knit scarves, make a diary, or something. A long trip is a little like prison, no normal things go on, you’re out of your element; so I’m determined to come home having accomplished something … I’m gathering my projects . . . I have a little collection of books to read, now the scarf to remember the trip by, and a diary!  I won’t come home speaking French or thin.  I would really need prison for those things.

Back home I went, past my own front door, and up the driveway . . .

I laid it all out to show Joe (who was fascinated as I’m sure you know; he could barely contain his excitement when he said, “Are you talkin’ to me?”).  It will be a royal purple scarf (so appropriate) that starts with a thin stripe of lime on the edge, then purple, then another thin stripe, then the whole rest of it will be purple!  Pretty?  My colors!  That dark purple is supposedly one of my “wow” colors.

A couple hours later, I was painting in my studio when I swiveled around in my office chair to go to the kitchen, and there, on the floor in front of my feet, was my lime yarn in stages of unraveling.  Jack, my kitten, brings me gifts; usually it’s his ball!  I forgot about kittens and yarn.  I feared for the purple and ran to where I’d left it.

Lime is the color of my true love’s eyes.  Funny to discover I just love men with facial hair! 🙂

 So innocent, and pure as the driven snow.  He didn’t get the purple!

So that’s the end of the story, a happy ending.  All is well.  LOVED your comments about the trip. SO excited to have you along, as excited as I am to take me!

I think about showing you the wild Atlantic over the ship’s rail in a video; isn’t it just amazing that we can do that?  And that’s just the beginning.  We’re going to Beatrix Potter’s House!

It’s much more fun to go on a trip when you have someone (s) to share it with.  I have such plans for us!! Only five weeks before we go!  Have a wonderful day girlfriends!

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449 Responses to Countdown to England

  1. Heidi Rose (Issaquah, WA) says:

    I had been wondering if you are a knitter, Susan! Like you, I learned how to knit from my mom when I was a little girl but it never “stuck”. My parents now live in Sisters, Oregon (home of a famous quilt festival) and there is an amazing fabric store there called the Stitchin’ Post. I love fabric and yarn…maybe it’s just the colors and textures that are so irresistible to me. Anyway, several years ago, after a trip to the Stitchin’ Post to admire the yarn, I asked my mom to reteach me how to knit and she did…very patiently because I was not a quick learner! Now I love it and have knit so many fun things! I can’t wait to see the scarf you are going to knit. Such beautiful colors!! Jack seems to really like them too! ♥ Have fun!!

  2. Beth in SC says:

    Purple and Lime! Love the color combo! One day I will learn to knit… it’s so homey, so sweet… so full of love and joy. Can’t wait to see all your adventures as you sail along on an exciting trip!

    PS – if Joe has a younger brother (like, in his early 40s?) could you send him down South for me? Many thanks!

  3. Lisa says:

    I love reading your blog and now today I am so happy to read that you are going to England!!! Count me in as one of the people who will be traveling “with” you! I have always wanted to go to England and a voyage across the sea sounds heavenly. I can’t wait!!!

  4. Dale Worness says:

    So cool you’re going back to England! I’ve been twice- 1972 & 1989. The first time I was on a 3-week, 8 country European tour and England was our last stop. We took a ferry from Calais France To Dover England. By that time I was soooo happy to hear English spoken again, but only wished they would learn to drive on the RIGHT side of the road! The second time I flew to England and got to see Scotland, Wales and Ireland also. Love those castles!!!
    All my cousins could knit but I never got the hang of it. I used to keep a basket of pretty colored yard and knitting needles just for “show”. Wonder if I fooled anyone? I crocheted a variegated pink scarf once. Does that count? I don’t think it was very straight. Kinda curvy, in fact! At least I tried. Love your colors, by the way. That green is so pretty.
    You’re lucky your trip is coming up soon. I’m visiting an old friend in NH in July that I haven’t seen in 40 years, and the time can’t go quick enough. I may even get to MA and NY and definitely Maine. I LOVE New England! (And Old England too!) Cheerio!

    • Lori from Maine says:

      Hi Dale~Come up to Mt. Desert Island, Maine! In Bar Harbor you can go for a trip on a lobster boat and help bring up the lobsters. There are dozens of lobster restaurants – some crazy expensive – some happily inexpensive. Drive the Park Loop Road and check out some amazing scenery. Go over to the “Quiet Side” and enjoy a day in Southwest Harbor – little shops, great restaurants and beautiful places to hike (easy, moderate and OMG when will we get there). You can get info books from the Chambers of Commerce in BH and SWH. Go on line to request them. Have fun!!! Any questions, give me a yell.

      xo from SW Harbor, Mt. Desert Island, Maine

  5. Karen Carpenter says:

    Hi Susan, Had to let you know about this great scarf that is so mindless to make and is so cute. It is called the Potatoe Chip scarf and so easy. All knit (no purling) and it comes out curled. If you want the pattern let me know. Just adorable. I will have to take a pic and send to you so you can see how great it is. Makes wonderful gifts. Of course in England you will be so busy you won’t have time to knit. I love, love England and had such fun there. Drink some tea for me and enjoy every minute. Karen Carpenter

    • sbranch says:

      The scarf I make is so brainless, it’s just perfect to keep the fingers going and to feel like I’m “doing” something…all knitting, no purling, unless I get fancy for a row! 🙂

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        I like to make triangular shawls for the same reason–all stitches are knit except you knit in the back of the first stitch each row (after starting at the back point with only 3 stitches). Mindless but sort of meditative… 🙂 And nice to have finished shawl in the winter when sitting watching movies at home or reading… 🙂

  6. Fran Bianchi~Palmdale Ca says:


    Love those colors, your scarf will be beautiful. My aunt taught me to knit when I was 17 or 18…made lots of hats and scarves a vest and my biggest knitting accomplishment was a fisherman knit poncho. I’m a quilter now and haven’t knitted in years. Some day I would like to go to England and take a tour of the English Gardens. Send lots of pics and enjoy your trip.


  7. Karen K. says:

    My mom taught me to knit as a little girl too and just recently picked it up again and have only made scarfs (all I know!) Thank you for showing the cute little knit shop and the yarn, makes me smile! Have you read the wonderful books starting w/the Friday Night Knitting Club? They’re so good and it reminded me of your little shop you showed! Check them out! Thank you for brightening my day!!!!

    • Pam G. Canandaigua, N.Y. (fingerlakes) says:

      Friday Night Knitting Club books-thumbs up!

      • Carol from Connecticut says:

        As soon as I saw the pics of the yarn shop I thought of Debbie Macomber’s cutie patootie book, “The Shop on Blossom Street”. It’s a sweet story about knitting girlfriends and their various life experiences. Tra-la

        • Laura Croyle says:

          I like those books by Debbie Macomber too! There’s actually a series of them: “A Good Yarn” and “Back on Blossom Street”.

  8. Susan Cohen says:

    I love projects and knitting. On a trip I always take a book about the destination and a must-read that has been a challenge for me. If it’s the only book available, I am forced to give it my best try! I’ve found some great reads this way (e.g. The Name of the Rose).

    I LOVE your scarf color combination.

    Bon voyage!

  9. Your photo of the hyacinths looks like colorful yarns or ribbons. A lovely lead into the Yarnshop. What a cozy place to knit too. I am sitting here itching like crazy with a bad case of Shingles and dreaming of your trip with you. It all helps make me forget for awhile this miserable Rash all over me. Love the colors you picked for the scarf and your kitty has good taste and knows what goes with her eyes. 🙂 Thanks for taking us with you even in the planning.

  10. Joan B says:

    Hi Susan,

    Loved your post about the trip to England, and today’s post as well – every time you show us a picture and give us a story about Jack, my heart just smiles. You and your blog are so special – you always brighten my day and gladden my heart.

    Joan B.

    • sbranch says:

      Would someone please tell me how I’m supposed to not answer every single one of these. I tell myself, just be quiet, but it’s very hard to do when everyone is so sweet!

      • Joan Lesmeister says:

        OK honey, you’re not supposed to answer everyone of these, except for mine! Just joshin’! Actually, we really do want you to have time to paint, write, fold laundry, cuddle kitties, love Joe, pack, etc., etc………such a lot to do, so little time! xoxoxo

  11. Jen says:

    Yes, I always preface the highly intriguing to men topics with, “I know you don’t care about this at all, but blah blah blah,” and away I go. I have to share my excitement with *someone*! I’d love to have my colors done!

  12. Debra says:

    Very excited about your trip. I’ve always wanted to go to England and for various reasons, it appears I will never be able to, so your trip is going to be extra special for me. Can’t wait! Teacup and P.G. Tips tea at the ready!

    A note to all the Girlfriends who want to learn to knit: do it, do it, do it! Through the wonder of the internet, you can have a personal teacher right in your home. There is a video somewhere on the internet showing you absolutely everything there is to learn about how to knit. I, too, had always wanted to learn to knit and finally took the plunge when the tv show Knitty Gritty was on five or six years ago. Of all the crafts and hobbies I enjoy, it is by far my favorite. My family enjoys receiving knitted gifts and my daughters (all grown up now) are always proud to tell people when they are complimented on something that “My Mom made it.” All you need is a pair of needles and some yarn.

    • sbranch says:

      I so agree, just do it, it’s really fun, relaxing, and at the end of the day, you actually have something you made!

      • christie ray says:

        I learned to knit with the iPad in my lap when i found a you tube video that taught the basic stitches. That was a year ago…I have made a cottage shawl like tasha tudor wore, the triangle shape, for almost all the women in my family…I love making them and they live getting them…win….win;)

  13. Fran Sigdestad says:

    I started a comment this morning and just when I was to put an ending on it, I hit a wrong key by mistake and “Poof” it was gone. So I will try again. My Grandfather come over from England when he was twelve years old. Way back then, sailing the ocean blue was very hard. Lot of motion sickness. That would be my problem. So I will drink ginger tea while we sail. Loved Jack’s look. That alone can melt ones heart. The colors of yarn display would make an wonderful painting. Hard to do though. I am a watercolor dabbler. Just playing with watercolor is so much fun. Do you have a small travel paint kit you take on trips? I think the planning is just as much fun as the trip. Will you be going to any pubs? If Joe is like my husband, he packs in a half hour. Me- I need several days just to decide what to take.

    • sbranch says:

      I need several days or weeks, too! Yes, am packing paints, it’s not that small though, it’s pretty much everything. Which isn’t a suitcase full, but it’s still a lot. We loved the pubs last time, the food was wonderful, so yes!

      • Fran Sigdestad says:

        I have heard that the food in the pubs is great! Can’t wait to hear what you have to eat.

        • Janet says:

          So all the stereotypical jokes you hear about English food being pretty bad is just not true? I loved watching “Two Fat Ladies” a few years back and everything they made looked very traditionally- English and very good!

          • sbranch says:

            NOT true! We were so pleasantly surprised! Maybe it was true at one time, but that time is over!!!

  14. Priscilla says:

    Neat post and funny too! Knitting is so much fun and therapeutic too. I am currently working on mouse slippers for my grandson in grey wool that I will felt when they are completed. By felting the yarn will turn fuzzy and look like mouse fur. Making little round ears, eyes from buttons or stitched on and whiskers too.
    All the best,
    Priscilla in SD from So. CA.

  15. Terry says:

    Hi, Susan!

    Thank you for showing us the yarn shop. It is my dream to own a yarn shop some day. I am only an intermediate knitter, but I have a passion for it, so I know I will be a good shop owner. I have the perfect home to become a shop. However, right now I don’t think my husband or my four twenty-something children would be to crazy about the idea. Still, I can dream. I think your scarf is going to be gorgeous! Please post a picture when you are done.

    Happy Thursday!

  16. Jacquelyn Wirthlin ... Las Vegas, NV says:

    Love the knit shop pictures. So reminds me of high school home ec. Back in the day, I knitted a long sleeved pullover sweater for my “semester project” … I just knew enough about knitting and reading instructions to require a lot of direction from the patient ladies at our “Knit Shop” (also in a home) every Saturday … It was a deep Claret colored mohair (which hides a lot of oh-ohs” ) and I knitted and “unknitted” til I was blue in the face but finally got it completed. My wonderful teacher gave me an “A” for effort (certainly not for the quality of my work LOL ) and I don’t believe I’ve knit anything since then …. found I was better suited to crochet work…lol Can’t wait for “our” international adventure to begin and read your travel blog. Thanks Sue and Joe for taking us along. Everyone have a wonderful evening.

  17. rosemary says:

    susan, i received one of your books many years ago and i pull it out so faithfully every christmas. i now live in new zealand, am a native californian, i met my very english husband on the net, and voila, here i am, bag and baggage, for the last nine years. we’ve always wanted to visit the uk again, to his native somerset, maybe one day. we have a beautiful tudor style home in the city of wanganui, and i try to ‘susanbranchify’ it always! life takes us down so many paths. ive been to england many times and adore it! everytime i’m there it feels like i’ve ‘come home’. no surprise i also met an english prince. lol your trip sounds just wonderful, i love your home, all your goodies, and you’re very enviable lifestyle. you go girl! bon voyage, will keep on watching!

  18. Libby Pasztor (Grayslake, IL) says:

    What kind of yarn did you get??? My mother taught me to knit, too, when I was about 10. . . . so no, I wasn’t sitting on her lap, but still. . . 🙂 I’ve been knitting ever since, and your purple looks GORGEOUS. You are so funny, talking about not going to prison, or what you’d do if you ever did——–! 🙂 My husband and I are planning a trip to England and Scotland, one of these years soon before we get too old to do lots of walking; my dad was born in Scotland so there are MANY places I want to see. Can’t wait for your travelogue!

    • Pam G. Canandaigua, N.Y. (fingerlakes) says:

      my hubby and I would like to go also before we get too old-hopefully in the next few years God willing. I want to see the whole of Briain including Scotland, some of the islands and perhaps even Ireland if we can manage it. I can’t wait for Susan’s trip-I am such an anglophile.

  19. Dawn from Minnesota says:

    This is all so amazing to me!!!! For many, many years I have read your books over-and-over-and-over at home. I have brought “you” everywhere… as I waited in dentist offices, doctors offices, in the car waiting for childrens carpools, at the beach, etc…etc….!!! YOU have been my comfort when I was anxious, my teacher-of-fun-things for my children, my party planner, my answer to the question, “What’s for dinner?”…and my artistic inspiration!!!! It’s funny…you will never know me… but you have been “REAL” to me. I have looked up to you;
    because….YOU DID IT !!!!! And now this blog has brought you to life!!!! The pages of Susan Branch are real!!!! And I’m invited to follow your beautiful life as it moves along!!! It just amazes me…all of these women….spread across this big wide wonderful world …sharing so many things in common……and basking in the brightness of YOU!!! What an exciting time for you……..for all of us!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I feel as amazed by it as you are! We’re so lucky to have this venue we never had before! Love it so much; I’ve always felt connected to everyone and now I really am!

    • Margot says:

      I agree with you Dawn. It is truly amazing how one could bring so many together. A talented and generous heart. And some think making a house a home/homemaking is a lost art! We “Girlfriends” maybe Renaissance Women!!!
      Margot in VA from WI

  20. Donna Ray says:

    Such a fun post, Susan. You cracked me up….. “I’d need prison for that!” And showing your yarn to Joe….reminds me of that soup commercial where a woman can fit into her jeans but gets a guy on the phone who just doesn’t get it…..she asks, “Is there a woman there?” …..because it’s women who get it about finding just the right color….and ROYAL, to boot! My little Welcome Garden is full of various shade of purple and chartreuse (lime) flowers. It’s such a lovely combination……a little wow in my garden, a big WOW on you, I’m sure. I’m a knitter with a group of retired educators……we tink about as much as we knit because we’re all talking so much. (For those of you who don’t know tinking is taking stitches off your needle when you’ve discovered a mistake…the reverse of knitting.) Thanks for all the fun! Oh that Jack!
    As always, DonnaRay

  21. Lee Bowers says:

    Sooo what books are you taking? May I recommend “The Language of Flowers” by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. I loved it and now my 21 year old granddaughter is reading it too. Check it out!!
    Learn to knit socks on circulars and your life will be perfect. Love your blog. Blessings, Lee

  22. Wendy Louise says:

    Beautiful shop, I love knitting and crocheting, my wonderful grandmother taught me both. I only do simple things like blankets, scarfs, hats and neck warmers. It is a wonderful mindless thing to do when you are out of your element. I like to make blankets in the winter when I am cold, they keep me warm. It may be cool on the boat so your scarf may keep you warm too. I am so excited to follow you on your wonderful trip, I’ll be working in my garden breaking for tea and happily waiting for your blog. My husband and I sail in the summer on a much smaller boat but big enough to sleep on and enjoy the wonderful Atlantic with the land close by. We usually go out to the Isle of Shoals, Rockport, Portsmouth, Kennebunkport. A few times we have gone to Nantucket, maybe someday we will sail to Martha’s Vineyard and visit you and Joe. Now that would be a dream come true !!!!! Oh Susan you are making life for so many sooooooo exciting. Ships Ahoy, and don’t be late, you wouldn’t want to catch the ship via helicopter like someone we know ? !!!!!!! 😉

  23. Jody says:

    Like most, I learned to knit from my mother, as well as sewing. I branched out into needlepoint, quilting and rug hooking. So happy for you Susan, on your trip and cannot wait to come along.

  24. Marion Powell says:

    My daughter recently got a wonderful Beatrix Potter video for her first graders. I thought you might enjoy it, if you don’t already have it. I loved it. This is the information on the cover: “Beatrix Potter, The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends,” BBC Video. There are three stories included: “The Tale of Peter Rabbit,” “The Tale of Flopsy Bunnies and Mrs. Tittlemouse,” and ” The Tale of Tom Kitten and Jemima Puddle-Duck.” The art work and music are beautiful!

  25. Joanie B from San Diego says:

    I think that all cats get that “innocent” look when they have been into something that has been left by us. My cat has sat on the clothes that I have laid out to wear for the day, I learned my lesson quickly. I have a tuxedo cat too, love him so much, but the cat hair floating everywhere? Oh my….thanks for brightening up my day. I don’t ever expect a reply for goodness sakes, you have hundreds of girlfriends on this blog and I would rather that you didn’t go bananas. Thanks again. 😀 I may take the plunge and learn to knit, ooh, the colors and textures!

  26. Amy says:

    I love to knit and crochet! Looking forward to your posts of your England trip! Kind of off the subject, but I know you love Beatrix Potter. Jelly Belly’s has a collection of Peter Rabbit Jelly Bellies. There are sweet little boxes with Peter Rabbit on them, and larger boxes. Saw them in a store today and thought of you! I’ll try to post a picture on the F.O.S.B. facebook page! Happy Easter!

  27. Elaine Thornton says:

    Most importantly Susan – as I am preparing for my trip too – is what shoes to bring! How to look a little stylish while spending so much time walking in those sweet villages on cobblestone! Do you have favorites ? ( shoes that is!)

    • sbranch says:

      Been looking at shoes, it’s very possible to get cute comfy shoes these days. I just brought home a pair of orange, now I’m looking for purple. We shall see what sticks! Try and — for starters!

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        Not to sound like a commercial (can I even say something like this on your blog?), I have a pair of Keen sandals from Zappos that are GREAT for walking! 🙂

      • Susan, Clarks have so many different colors/styles and I saw a purple color last season, and they are very comfortable. I have several different styles of Clarks and they wear great and feel wonderful on the feet.

        • Elaine Thornton says:

          Love all the “shoe” suggestions! I have purchased 2 pair of Keens – one a mary jane and the other sandals – can’t wait for my trip ( and to wear the shoes too ! )

  28. Pam G. Canandaigua, N.Y. (fingerlakes) says:

    having no local knitting shop anymore I envy you! It used to be like a bookstore for me-a place to go and spend a couple hours looking, touching and deciding. Me-I knit huge afghans totally in garter stitch because I love mindless knitting, love garter stitch and love color-All color. I never can make up my mind so I put them all in. I love your purple lime combo. I do confess purple is a favorite and I love red best in all its shades.

    • sbranch says:

      My grandmother knitted countless afghans; I call them nap blankets and have them all over my house! All her grandchildren do! Love them!

  29. Ohhh Susan, I love ya for so many reasons…..and now you just went up yet another notch in my book (and they said it couldn’t be done)! I loooove yarn and had to smile hugely when I saw your yarn shop pictures. I took very similar pictures this past Tuesday at my favorite yarn shop, too! My mind SPINS when I go in there. There really are infinite possibilities! Do you know that this yarn shop owner has skeins in there that are $100? Hand-painted yarn. $100 per skein. Wow!!!
    Your purple and green scarf will be maaaahvelous! Love those two colors together. I crocheted a Kindle Fire pouch today. Pink with a giant aqua button. 🙂

  30. Jen Krein, Warrington, PA says:

    If you need someone to carry your bags, I’m sure I could make myself available! 😉
    Hope you have a wonderful trip!

  31. Marianne says:

    Love the yarn shop! I love to bake and to read, so my dream for the past 10 years is to find a quaint little shop in Cambria, CA. and open The Bookery (a combination bookstore and bakery). An inviting little shop it will be with lots of comfy chintz-covered chairs for customers to read away the hours in and table-cloth covered little window tables in the bakery portion. Rows of books, new and used, exotic coffees and cases full of muffins, scones, coffee cakes, cupcakes, sweet breads….. I’d do a tea service, too. I’m thinking Starbucks would be very sterile by comparison. Speaking of Cambria, several years ago I bought one of my most prized posessions at Heart’s Ease (?), the gift and garden shop in the East Village: a copy of “Heart of the Home”, autographed by sweet you! I’ve been a Susan Branch fan ever since!
    Dreaming is half the fun….and I’m dreaming of the trip to come–looking forward to your posts from England!


  32. I would not normally even try to comment about the subject of knitting; because I think it would make me nervous and therefore I would not enjoy this hobby?? Well, yesterday Jim and I were out in the garage trying to clean it out and maybe someday he can have his “man cave” hmmm anyway, we find his Mother’s bag of knitting “things” like needles, a wooden frame (is that for crocheting?) and different colors of yarn….mostly in yellows and oranges (not my colors) and some projects she started and never completed. There are several knitted afghans again in colors I’m not crazy about; but, there is no way I can part with them because she made them and none of the Grandchildren want them?? I must say she did lovely work so I am going to wash them and put them away. I come on here tonight and low and behold here you are talking about knitting and the girls are all saying “do it” so, I think I will hold on to her needles just in case!!!! I love all your colors and I’m pretty sure they would be mine?? I went outside today and tied all my daffodils in small bunches does anyone else do this?? I saw it years ago and have done it ever since…all you do is gather a small group of the leaves (remove the pods so it forces the strength to the bulbs) bend them in half and take 2 leaves and wrap around the bunch and take the ends of the wrapped leaves and tuck them inside the 2 leaves….it makes the area look much neater and doesn’t look so messy while they are wilting…I have had people out walking ask me about it and now I am seeing it done in the neighborhood!!! If you have a group that won’t stay together with the 2 leaves you wrapped with, you can always use rubberbands…..have a good evening all. I may begin knitting in the Winter if you inspire me Susan????

    • sbranch says:

      Wooden frame is probably for embroidery, maybe needlepoint, could be for rug making if it’s big. I’ll do my best to inspire, it’s pretty easy and rewarding!

    • Susan says:

      I’ve seen the stems of bulbs braided after they flower. Gorgeous!

  33. Sandy Richmond says:

    Oh, I love to knit! It is so relaxing… And good for you Susan, supporting a local business! My cats used to sit on my lap while I was knitting, and grabbed at the yarn as it moved along.. Miss my cats, but love seeing what Jack is up to. I am excited for you, and looking forward to your travelogue..

  34. Janet says:

    So Joe is the baby in his family – and you are the oldest is yours, right? That’s a VERY positive thing in the world of relationships. Almost always successful when an oldest girl gets together with a youngest boy [or vice versa]. FYI – I only know this because I was a psychology major & always wrote on birth order whenever I could choose my own topic [I’m the oldest of six].

    Looking forward to “our” trip to England SO much. And Susan, I don’t think it’s going to matter too much if the wi-fi fades away at times [at least it won’t to me]. With your mighty talents of description, you’ll still be bringing all of us along for every sight, taste and sound. PS – with all the talk of tea today, I have a question. What is your favorite? I am a Twinings Earl Grey groupie myself. I promise I do not work for a tea company – just always been curious.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m an Earl Grey girl too, now; I’ve gone through tea phases in my life. Right now, my favorite is Earl Grey with Lavender and Rose Petals. I’m taking it with me, I love it so much!!!! It’s very strong, I call it “dessert tea” and have it at 4 pm every day.

    • Debbie P Weedsport, NY (near Syracuse) says:

      Hi, Janet~
      I’m the oldest of seven; George is the youngest of three. We’ll be married for 36 years this summer! We are always asked for our “secret” and now I have an answer….Thank you!

      • sbranch says:

        I think it works for me too!

        • Carol from Connecticut says:

          I was introduced to ‘Constant Comment’ tea (Bigelow, I think) by a girlfriend a jillion years ago. Love the spicy aroma…mmmmm, and the name suits my personality to a tea! hee hee. I LOVE putting a Constant Comment teabag into a mug of hot apple cider when the weather is frigid outside and Thanksgiving and Christmas come along. You simply must try it girlfriends.

      • Janet says:

        Hi, Debbie! 36 years – that’s really great. Congratulations on a terrific achievement, especially these days when couples have these weddings that look like MGM musicals [and cost as much] – then get divorced as soon as they realize “wow – maybe this is going to be hard work after all.” A very smart person I know once told me we do marriage backward in the US – that it should be difficult to get married, but very easy to get a divorce. A good idea, I think.

        PS – I know Weedsport! My college roommate is from Moravia. I visited her during Bathtub Races weekend one summer and had the BEST time. You’ve probably been to them a million times! Say hello to everyone in the Auburn area!

        • Cindy Tuning says:

          My college roommate was from Weedsport and my “bestie” in school was from Auburn.That was 1973-76.spent many weekends in Auburn @College Inn in Seneca Falls back in the disco days…..yuk!!! But they sure were the good old days for me.

  35. Rita from MN says:

    I have never knitted or attempted any yarn craft but after your trip to that delightful yarn store I might just have too. 🙂

  36. beebarbs says:

    Great Britain in May — how fabulous that will be! And you’re taking us along with you — I can hardly wait. I love love England — the last trip we made, we were able to go to the Hampton Court Flower Show — it was Very Special! Thank you for wonderful tip on the forsythia wreath — I made one!

  37. Sandra says:

    Knitting is so soothing but once I learned to knit, then I got sheep…be careful! love your colors, they’ll look wonderful on you.

  38. Susan Edwards says:

    Have a wonderful voyage and trip around England. If ever I had the opportunity to go overseas it would be on a sea voyage. I am so envious 🙂
    As an amateur knitter, I am also envious of your knit shop … would love to have a shop like that to enjoy. Looking forward to enjoying your posting of the journey to England 🙂

  39. Mary Cunningham says:

    Hi Susan….love the colors you picked….we also live in a village where most of the shops used to be homes…fun to imagine what the original rooms were….if you are ever in central Indiana…pop in to Nashville….half way between Bloomington and Columbus….you can buy fudge,yarn,tea and coffee…and lots of other fun stuff…and we are only 15 minutes from Culvers….lol Can’t wait to sail with you and Joe!

    • sbranch says:

      We love to drive across country so you never know!

    • Hi Mary, I love to visit Nashville our last trip was in Oct. 2011 to celebrate my husband’s birthday….we bought “me” jewelry and also some warm cashews and caramel corn. I live in New Whiteland so not to far away from you. Susan would so enjoy going through this village!!

  40. What a lovely cozy place! I loved looking at the pictures.

    And, we are finally in Park City, Utah (from Boston—long drive with all of our animals) ……and….(drum roll)….. we have a new kitty, too! Her name is Gizmo and she is now 10 weeks old and soooooo cute. A grey persian. Our other cat, Russell, ignores her pleas to play or cuddle, but he is slowly warming up to her.

    And I am totally jealous of your trip abroad…..did I read right you are staying for two months? How fun is that!!! Look forward to reading all about it.!!!

    Oh, and ordered the Grandma book…love it and will be giving it to Grandma to fill out soon.

    XXXXooooo to your blog……love it so much.

  41. Gail in the Garden State, NJ says:

    I love all things Beatrix Potter. My daughter was left my mom’s Beatrix Potter figurine collection ( almost 50 figurines) , and she is sharing it with me so far. I am thrilled we will get to visit her home with you! Thanks so much for sharing this with all of us!!

  42. Susie says:

    Hi Susan I am so looking forward to going to England! I’ve never been there before. In June Pat and I are spending two nights in a beach house right on Lake Michigan! I am really looking forward to that. The trip to London will be like the icing on the cake (and we won’t even have to leave our dog and four cats for that trip). Could you do me a favor, Susan? I’d like lots of photos of local English Pubs. I’d really want to make our basement into a pub. When we retire, a bunch of us plan on retiring to the same retirement village and there has to be a pub so we can gather in the afternoon/evening and just hang out together and enjoy each other’s company. And, I’m a crocheter and not a knitter, but I love the convenience of being able to take a project along wherever I go (I think I could even work on a project in a pub, sing, and drink a pint, and visit with friends – a friendly local pub has it all). Susie

    • sbranch says:

      We loved the pubs last time, you’ll definitely see photos of pubs on the blog! I do some of the bar so you can see how it’s decorated!

      • Karen P - Wisconsin says:

        I liked that you could get tea in the pubs because I don’t like beer and that was a HUGE stop for my brother-in-law and hubby!

  43. erin says:

    I’m a knitter living halfway across the world from you and I loved this visit to your yarn shop. Such a friendly place. It’s nice to bring some knitting along on your trip. Enjoy!

  44. Pam T. says:

    Oh that Jack! 🙂 My 10 yr. old human Jack gets that same look in his eyes on occasion! LOL! Dark purple is one of my favorites…gorgeous! My grandmother taught me to crochet granny squares and a sweet lady on our street tried her very best to teach me to knit. I can make a reasonable granny square, but knitting I never did quite get. My grandmother also could tat. I have some beautiful lace from her…such a treasure. Soon you’ll be happily knitting your way across the sea!!

  45. Rachel says:

    OOoooh, pretty yarns! My current knitting project is a rather nice vintage (1950’s) pattern for a cardigan. it’s slow going but looks good!
    I envy your knitting shop withing walking distance. that must be so nice!

  46. Catherine says:

    I still dream of going to Beatrix Potter’s House! How very lucky you are and a scarf is the perfect project to work on during your trip. I can never sit still and must always have busy work to do.

  47. Lisa G. says:

    What a wonderful thing for you – and it will be terrific to “go along” on this trip with you!

  48. Darlene H. (way out west) says:

    Howdy Susan! Every time I see Jack’s face, I have to LAUGH. I don’t know why but it is sort of unexpected after seeing quaint houses and colors of yarn and then, THAT FACE! Too funny. Don’t forget to get him a little souvenir!

    • Janet says:

      So agree! That face on Jack is the best! I just love how he always looks so surprised – with those big round green eyes – and a little bit like “Who – me? Naw… I didn’t do it…” Is Girl giving him any encouragement at all these days? Or is she still giving him a wide berth? Poor little guy – he just wants to play!

  49. D Sorenson says:

    Hi Susan,
    It’s been a long time since I visited England, too long, am I’m thrilled that you are taking us with you via your blog! It’s wonderful we will get a visual taste of your experiences, and it will bring back such great memories for me, possibly seeing some of the places I loved to be. Enjoy every funfilled minute, you lucky girl!! My thoughts are going to “Scones with clotted cream” and “Steaming Hot Tea”- yum!!!! Jack’s mustache reminds me of Poirot!!

  50. Cheryl says:

    “We’re going to Beatrix Potter’s House.”
    {{{happy squeals}}}

  51. Siobhan from Santa Monica, CA says:

    5 weeks! The anticipation will kill me! Oh, almost forgot to tell you that I made the carrot cake cupcakes for Sunday night…we were invited to a Mad Men dinner and I wanted to bake so badly, and they popped into me head. It rained here all day, and the music was on, and the apartment smelled so good. I made them mini (dozens of them…shared them with my mom and three sets of neighbors!), and inspired by your chick toppers, I made the “falling man” toppers for mine and everyone loved them, and was so surprised…all Susan Branch inspired! Thank you!!

  52. Kirsten Anne Wichert of So. Calif. says:

    Love your choice of yarn……that green really is the color of Jack’s eyes! My grandmother taught me to knit much the same way with me sitting on her lap. She was from Denmark so she taught me the continental method. I find it much easier than American knitting. I find knitting very relaxing. I tend to be type A personality…..I can’t waste time or sit still for very long. After I became disabled it helped to calm me. Waiting in dr.s offices for appts. have become easier knowing I’m actually doing something. We’ll all be counting the days for our adventure with you to England. How exciting!!

  53. Brenda says:

    My Mom also tried to teach me to knit or was it crochet. Whatever it was she was trying her best to teach me how to make granny squares, trouble is mine kept coming out as granny rounds (tee hee). After much frustration on my part I finally gave up so she decided to teach my brother who picked up on it right away. (I don’t know if he still knows how because it was sooooo many years ago). I guess it was just not my craft or my idea of relaxation but I loved watching her knit and crochet and I know that she put all her love into everything she made for me and my kids.
    P.S. I love the colors you chose for your scarf!

  54. Dinahsoar says:

    Jack cracks me up…such an adorable ball of fur and while I normally don’t like facial hair on men, his is awesome. LOVE the colors of your scarf! And the island beauty with the blooming flowers is eye candy. Also love shops in big old houses. You live in paradise! I certainly enjoyed our little trip to the yarn store and can’t wait to head out to England…I love Peter Rabbit so I’m looking forward to visiting Beatrix Potter’s House….From the hills of TN.

  55. WOW!! See what happens when I don’t check in for a few days (another heart surgery for hubby, so I’ve been absent everywhere)…Big news!!

    I’m so excited for you, and happy we’ll all be able to get a little glimpse into your adventure through the wonder of the internet! A crossing to England has been a long time dream of ours too. My husband is from Lancashire, and longs to visit again.

    LOVE the knitting project you’ve chosen too. Scarves are perfect for traveling – so portable.

    Wishing you both a grand adventure!

    ♥ Carolee

  56. Sheila Brazzell says:

    LOVE the colors you picked for the scarf! It makes me want to start a project but it’s already hot here in South Carolina (81 today). Can’t wait for your trip. I’ve started the countdown clock. You and Joe are such dears to share your life with us. Hope you know how much all the “girls” appreciate it. Looking forward to an Easter post. Bet it will have lots of bunnies in it.
    Have a great day,

  57. Cindy says:

    Just the other night I was leafing through “Beatrix Potter – A Journal”, getting sucked by into a “gentler time and place.” It’s a work of fiction but it is based upon her journal and letters. This book is not only delish to hold in your hands but is eye candy from start to finish. I just love books that have flaps to lift up, envelopes to open, old-timey looking photographs, drawings …… excuse me, I think I’m drifting off to old England as we speak. If your travels haven’t taken you to Bath – just GO THERE – make a jog in your itinerary and GO! Even though Miss Jane A. wasn’t thrilled with the place, it truly deserves the title “Enchanting.” There’s just something about the light on the old cream-colored stone buildings, the Crescent’s architecture, the winding High Street (it’s those cobblestones). The British who live surrounded by history can’t appreciate it like their cousins from across the Pond, to my way of thinking. Enjoy your preparation time. I think the time leading up to a trip, the envisioning, the planning is almost as much fun as going……well, ALMOST. Bon voyage!

  58. Miss Pat says:

    Be sure to take time to visit the yarn shops you will pass in Great Britian. I came home with some wonderful yarn but beware, not all of our needles (pins?) can translate to their patterns. Also, if you have time, look at the preserved knitted garments in the museums. I was amazed at the finenss of the stitch and the detail. Stockings knitted with the smallest of needles which is why they were called “pins” in the beginning. I’m talking full-length stockings, not socks that some of us knit on a constant basis. Can’t have empty needles. That’s like not having a book to read! Looking forward to sharing your visit.
    BTW, a friend gave me a small card with an artists drawing of Fred Astaire and the small poem, “When I die and get to Heaven, and I’m all settled there, may I dine with Mr. Disney and dance with Fred Astiare.” That, would be Heaven for me.

    • sbranch says:

      They both gave us such happiness. Love them! Thank you Pat!

    • Janet says:

      Love that! Going into my “Quotes” journal right away. I have 100s of entries in it but it started when I realized how much I liked SO MANY of the quotes Susan uses in her books – “I have gotta get all these down somewhere…” So thanks Miss Sue – you helped start me on a little hobby that doesn’t take up lots of time and costs almost nothing – but has provided hours of enjoyment [even comfort on some occasions] for many years.

      • Jill Delgado says:

        Oh, Janet!!
        What a lovely idea. I started my own “quote book” with Miss Pat’s and am going to give my daughter a pretty notebook to start a book of her own.

        Who would have thought I would get so many ideas, inspirations and prospect of good times when I opened Susan’s Blog, this morning. I even have a cup of Earl Grey on my desk.

        Life is good…but even better with girl friends and Susan Branch.

        ps..Life would be perfect if Susan would make a quick little film of using her little finger to throw the yarn, As an avid knitter for over 70 years, I’ve never seen anyone do that. Never too late to learn a new way of doing things. 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          I think I said it wrong, it’s wrapped around my fingers, woven around; I used to drop the yarn every time and then pick it up to wrap it around the needle — what I do now is so common to the rest of the knitting world, there’s nothing fancy about it, it only took me abut 40 years to find out how to do it! 🙂

          • Jill Delgado says:

            Thank you, dear Susan.

            It makes me feel so good to know that you and I do something the same way!!!!


  59. Darlene says:

    I so love the look at Jack’s face! “I didn’t touch it…honest”! So excited for you…I know you will both have a wonderful trip!

  60. Nellie says:

    What a neat shop! How thoughtful of you to bring a “toy” home for Jack!:-) It sounds as though you are making some good preparations for that trip!

  61. Betty Marie, Pennsylvania says:

    Your Blog, just restores my spirit.
    I am sure others could say the same. Always love seeing Jack and of course Miss. Girl Kitty. By the way how are the two getting along? Have they decided to be BFF?

  62. Carol from Connecticut says:

    With all the talk about cupcakes, carrot cake (oh yum!), and Peter Rabbit, I wanted to share this with anyone who needs to laugh today. I just can’t help it. I subscribe to Betty Crocker’s website and this cake recipe was a feature for Easter dessert baking. I couldn’t……..stop…….laughing !! Every time I look at it I laugh. The image reminds me of when Peter was diving under the fence while escaping from the wrath of Mr. MacGregor. So……if you need a laugh today then take a look at this legitimate, easy to make recipe. I’m going to bake it using Susan’s Carrot Cake recipe. You could have a B B Brunch !! Ha Ha Ha and a Tra-la-la

    • sbranch says:

      Ha Ha — I sent that out on Twitter the other day, isn’t it hilarious???

    • Kerry S. from San Pedro, CA says:

      Carol –
      Thank you! Today is my b’day. When it fell on Easter ( in my youth) my mom would make the bunny cake shown in the right margin of this link – complete with tinted green coconut and the jelly beans! So today seeing that cake was like a little birthday card from her from the beyond!

    • Tawni urrutia says:

      Oh my gosh…that is so darling! Thanks for the link, i’m making that for Easter for sure! 🙂

  63. Mary says:

    Oh how I hope you have a wonderful time in England! How exciting to do all the planning!

    Love the yarn store . . . just wish I could knit! It’s on the bucket list!!! LOL!!! Once I finish this Master’s degree! Yay!!! Should be graduating in May!!!

    Have a wonderful weekend!


    • sbranch says:

      Yes, I do think, if you must make the choice, the Master’s Degree comes first!!! Congratulations Mary!!

  64. Elizabeth says:

    The colors are beautiful and what a cozy welcoming shop. I’m wondering what my colors are….. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Every one of my girlfriends is thrilled that we did this. We talk about it all the time, it’s made such a difference! Just to know. You go to for shoes, you don’t want to see anything but the blue and orange (or whatever) — because those are your colors!

  65. Cindy Maulin says:

    hi susan!! i loved this post.. i learned to knit as a Camp Fire Girl way back and have taken it up again….sort of..i found out that i need a refresher lesson!! But i LOVE it..and my normally supportive engaging husband..i found out..has an adversion to my knitting!!!! drives him crazy..he says!!!! hahaha.. weird..i think!! anyway..forging forward anyway and re-inspired to visit our local yarn shop to gets some tips…i had taken it back up over the so-called winter ( that we practically didn’t have)..but this is a great idea for a project on a trip…love the colors too…. i am so excited for you and England….and planning for it is half the fun…take care..and oh…try to stay out of prison over the week-end!!! love, cindy

  66. Sheila Mainous says:

    You MUST take along some knitting mystery books by Monica Ferris–her shop sounds just like this one!! And I love the green and purple–the colors in my living room!! I just KNEW we were kindred spirits!!

  67. Pat Mofjeld says:

    I re-read your posting this morning and got the absolute giggles regarding your comment about prison. Guess I read it yesterday but didn’t really think too much about it. It struck me today that the only way I would get thin or learn French would be to be in prison, also, or some terrible occurrence equally bad. (I’d say another case would be if I was shipwrecked on a desert island–my standard comment–but seeing as your sailing trip is coming up, I won’t!) 🙂 (And, incidentally, that is the ONLY way I will ever travel, too–on a ship–no airplanes for me, either–so I am looking forward to seeing and hearing your experiences on the trip!) I have a good friend in Sweden that wants us to come visit and it is not going to involve wings! Norm tells me that “Some people eat to live and some people live to eat”, that is, some people have no care or interest in food and others both enjoy food more and see it as a way of expressing love and caring. Interesting thought…

  68. Sharon says:

    I am getting ready to go to Disney World tomorrow morning with my husband and 2 daughters! We will be eating at the English Pub at EPCOT tomorrow evening for dinner! I will toast you when we get there, Susan!!! And yep – I totally agree – I would need prison to learn to speak French or become thin, too!!! You really made me laugh – thanks!! I LOVED the photos of the knitting shop – absolutely adorable! Good luck with your scarf – it sounds awesome!

  69. Christie Ray says:

    Oh, how I would love a knitting shop down the street, in an old house with a cozy kitchen. When I had just learned to knit a year or so ago, I thought of opening one…but decided it would probably work best if I knew how to actually knit more than a dish cloth…
    So I found a sweet one not very far from our home…and it is a quilting store as well, even better, huh? I must look for that shade of green…it is gorgeous! And I will think of your handsome little man’s beautiful eyes:)))
    I have meant to tell you, I found, on ebay, a little sewing kit of yours…with the quote you ended with. It is tied with a pink bow and absolutely darling. I was tickled to pieces to find miniature wooden spools of thread inside. When my tailor of Gloucester arrived the other day, from your sweet girls in California, I set him next to my lady mouse and the tiny spool of pink thread, a tiny little thimble I have, and a miniature scissor, which is silver plastic. Such a sweet little vignette sitting atop my treadle sewing machine next to a chamber candlestick. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you came upon a Tailor’s shopped tucked away on a cobblestone street…oh, but my mind can dream…you are going to have such an incredible time, dear Sue!!!
    And those hyacinths you photographed are gorgeous!!! I’m adding the to my wish list in my gardening journal…I only have one that appeared this year so I know now I need more…lots more;)
    Hugs and blessings….(and, btw, we are still enjoying those carrot cupcakes! Grandson comes this weekend…the dancing chicks will make their first appearance;)

  70. Ema says:

    I do love how your mind works! Comparing prison & a long trip, but admitting that you won’t be coming home from your trip speaking French or thin ~ adorable! We love you just the way you are.

  71. Barbara Thomas says:

    Barbara from Lodi

    Your yarn shop reminds me of the book I read this winter, “The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club”! Have you read it? Your pictures bring that book to life! What a lovely shop for them to own, and you are lucky to live so close!


  72. Kim S says:

    I swear I am as excited about you going to England as if I were going myself! I can’t wait to see Beatrix Potter’s house! I like the yarn. I am a quilter and have been crocheting lately and have made two granny square afghans for my granddaughters (one more to go). I wish I lived near such a great knitting shop. Thanks so much for sharing!!♥

  73. Cyndi in NC says:

    Oh your trip is going to be so exciting! Years ago when I was 16 I sailed from Hawaii to California. It was so much fun once I found out this time I wouldn’t be seasick! Two other trips on Navy ships as a child didn’t do so well. Yes, dependants used to be shipped to where ever they were going to be stationed by ship most of the time. People didn’t fly like they do now in the early 60’s. I am hoping to do a cruise to Alaska in the not too distant future. *L* But to England oh yes!! Can’t wait to hear all about it. BTW, Jack says he was just doing what kittens do. *LOL* Have a great day and a super weekend all.

  74. Starr miller says:

    You and Joe are going to have a fabulous trip. Thank you for taking your girlfriends with you.
    Now IS the time to travel. GO GO

    You will returned inspired to start a hundred new projects!!


  75. pat addison says:

    hello susan, good morning to you and good morning everyone. love the look on the lil rascal’s face, kitties and yarn= snarls and tangles, i know.. been thre and survived it. i keep old yarnballs for the cats to swat around the house and hope they leave my yarn alone. doesn’t always work so i hide it in the closet but the lil rascals have figured out how to open doors, gets very embarrassing when one is in the potty room. love it when they do it to guests and the guests come and tell me my cats opened the bathroom door. life with cats, its never dull. have a great day everyone and a great weekend. hugs…….. 🙂

  76. Jennifer V. says:

    I would love to live down the street from a yarn store! I love the one close to you.

    We enjoyed a family reunion on a cruise to Mexico this past January. I did bring my knitting along but never found anytime to sit down and knit! There was so much to do and see and so many kids to keep up with. I even lost weight which quite surprised me considered how well we all ate!

    I told my son (13) that we should look into saving for a Cunard cruise. He already knew everything there is to know about their ships. He was so taken by our cruise ship that he has been reading about ships and has decided to be a captain some day. He’s even looking into the Coast Guard Academy! Who knew that a family vacation would inspire such dreams in a boy that had never seen the ocean before January? What dreams will your cruise/vacation inspire in you? I am so excited to live vicariously through your trip. Maybe one day, I’ll follow in your footsteps.

    • sbranch says:

      Love hearing about your boy being that inspired . . . lucky children who can start aiming for something when they are young!

  77. Linda says:

    OMG – How are ever going to leave Jack for that long????? He is so handsome! I also have a 8 month old male kitten (Cheetah) that is the love of my life. Like Jack he is most happy when he is right beside me! Sorry about the guilt trip!!!

  78. Susan, promise, promise you will take lots of pictures and tell all about Beatrix Potter’s house! Going to the Lake’s District is one trip I would love to do…maybe someday. Have you ever read the Cottage Tale series by Texas author Susan Wittig Albert? They are fiction, but based on the life of Beatrix Potter…and they are wonderful!! Susan and her husband lived in that area of England for a short time while she did her research. And…one of the best parts of the books…the animals “talk!” (There are village cats that are quite clever) I think you would really like the books.
    Can’t wait to hear all about it..thanks for taking us along! 🙂
    Linda from Dallas

  79. Janis says:

    Oh, I love the yarn store!!! 🙂 That is definitely my kind of place. Can’t wait to see your pretty purple and green scarf as it takes on a life of its own. Keep us posted. ♥

  80. Kate says:

    Planning and packing for a trip is almost as fun for me as the trip itself. I am so excited for you, one would think I am going with you. I will have many questions when you get back about where are good places to stay, where to get some great food and where the gardens are in England that you will be visiting. I have a bee in my bonnet about planning a trip of our own for our fiftieth wedding anniversay. England has always been a dream of mine. I hope you will have time to post alot of pictures.

  81. Jack says:

    Something my dad, your grandfather, used to say: ” Anticipation is greater than realization!” In this case, he could be wrong! Godspeed you on this travelogue from the Queen Mary and the beauty of England!
    Your Dad

  82. Rosanne, Keizer, Oregon says:

    You have always been a girl after my own heart. I am thrilled to be invited along on the Queen Mary, and will be peeking over your shoulder as you knit your memories into a lovely warm scarf. I learned to knit 5 years ago at age 60 when my granddaughter was born, and it became an instant passion. It’s never too late! How lucky to have an adorable yarn shop just a block from home! Looking forward to following you on your travels, and for what I know will be a darling diary.

  83. Anne says:

    Just catching up on the wonderful news! HOW exciting and romantic – sailing to England! Can’t wait to go with you Susan! The anticipation must be too much… planning a project is very wise. Scarf is good – you can make it as long as you want 🙂 I love your knitting shop – very cozy…..looks just like the one my Mom goes to. Bye for now!

  84. Carol C says:

    Thanks for the motivation! We’re not going to England but on a 2 week tour of civil war sites and wineries in Virginia. I’m going shopping in my sewing room and collect the small UFO’s (unfinished objects) to work on along the way. We just recently got a motorhome and will be able to take along our two furry girls. So looking forward to this trip and will be so happy to have finished up some projects when we get home!

  85. Mary A. Brown says:

    Your knitting shop is delicious! I’m a quilter but I promised myself that I will treat myself to knitting classes when I retire. You have to set goals 🙂 I’m thrilled that you get to go back to England but I’m jealous too! I will definitely be hanging on every post about your trip. Lots of pictures, please, for us who have to be armchair travelers.

  86. Suzanne in Sydney, Australia says:

    Hi Susan, my computer had a senior moment last week and I hadn’t read about your trip OR the Joe-love-story, so tonight has been a real treasure for me. Thereis always someone very special for each of us, we may not find them the first time around but when we do life is a whole lot better.
    I share your travel excitement as I fly from Sydney to London mid May. This is out of my comfort zone as at 64 I’ll be flying the 24-hr trip from here alone, but I HAVE TO GO FOR ME. Four years ago when my daughter was living and working in London I had promised myself I would go over, visit her and we would celebrate my 60th birthday visiting Venice. That didn’t happen for family reasons and I’ve felt “if only”. Well that same daughter who lives back here now is flying to Paris for a wedding first weekend of June and she asked me to come meet her and we’d spend my 64th birthday having dinner in Paris!!!! How often will I get an offer like that. So I fly out on my own on May 17, three days in London, then a 12 day tour of Europe including Prague, Venice and Lucerne (also on my bucket list) and I leave the trip in Paris and meet up with my daughter on my birthday (31 May) and spend a week there with her. The fear of touring alone is surpassed by what is ahead. How lucky am I. THEN after we fly back to London and she is catching up with friends and work colleagues she met during the years she lived there, I am doing a bus tour of Devon and Cornwall. We fly home separately but what the heck. I had planned to go to the Lakes District, but had to cut right back on tours so I will check your blog when I get back and read about your visit. Sometimes we have to step out of our comfort zone, stop wondering where the money will come from, and/or should I spend money on myself at this time of life AND JUST FOLLOW OUR DREAMS. What is life without a dream.
    Thank you for sharing your Joe love story, and your upcoming trip and sorry this is sooooo long, but my heart nearly burst with excitement when I read your blog entry! Please let us know when your travel book is out in print, I have to add it to my collection. Love xxx {I promise NEVER to write such a long comment again 🙂 }

    • sbranch says:

      You are very brave (I’m proud of you!)!!! And I’m just sure it will all be worth it. You are going to pack in some memories! I’m as excited for you as I am for me!!! Paris for a Birthday dinner. Just wonderful!!!!

  87. Suzanne in Sydney, Australia says:

    Wow, your dad commented on your blog. Lovely

  88. Linda P says:

    Haha!! So cute and innocent that little Jack face!! What a perfect match for his eyes – you shall think of him and miss him much on this trip!
    Fun to read how you will be prepping for the trip.
    I’m a knitter-wannabe – maybe I could manage a scarf…….. next fall. For now I want to be in quilting mode, as I’ve been away from my beloved machine for a few weeks, hubby’s computer has had gremlins and you know who has been parked in front of it…………. today is sew day for me – Yippee!!!

  89. Kathy in San Diego says:

    All your descriptions of MV make me want to move there! Love the knitting shop and love your excitement over the cozy things in life…i.e.knitting, baking, recipes,…well, just everything! Can’t wait to be a “part” of your journey to England. What fun! Give Jack a kiss right on those sweet little whiskers for me! (Girl-kitty too….!) and have a wonderful, hyacinth-filled Sat!

  90. Cathy McC. says:

    Those are the most magnificent colors of yarn, Susan. I hope we get to see a pic of your finished product! I haven’t knitted since the 70s and soooo want to take it up again. I keep hearing about those cute ruffly scarves that aren’t supposed to be all that difficult. Hmmm –I’m the one who took on the 70 cupcakes and succeeded, so maybe I should try this, too. Wishing you an early Happy Birthday, a fabulous trip across the pond, and a big THANK YOU for including all of us dreamers along your way. Easter blessings to you from northern Indiana!

    • Cathy McC. says:

      PS. Yesterday I stayed cozy in bed (rainy, dreary day) and watched 84 Charing Cross Road. What a heart-warming day it became! Thank you for making it all possible by filling me in with the movie title. I think Helene treasured the old English volumes the way I treasure your books and those of Gladys Taber.

    • sbranch says:

      If you can do 70 cupcakes, you can do anything!

  91. Charlotte Birdwell says:

    From Feb. 26th through March 4th, my husband and I took a Caribbean/Bahamas cruise in celebration of our 40th wedding anniversary (which actually is June 10th). We had a wonderful time.

    Back in November, 2001, I was part of a Foreign Studies group from our high school (where I taught English to 9th graders before I retired in Jan., 2011). We traveled in England/France. The countryside was gorgeous and the food was wonderful and the museums/landmarks were so inspirational.

    I am delighted to hear about your upcoming trip. Thanks for sharing details with us. If I ever have the opportunity to return to England, I certainly would love to visit the special places you plan to see.

    The yarn shop was so pleasant. I recently met a lady whose family raises Alpacas and also saw/felt some of the yarn from their first year’s shearing. Amazing stuff.

    I did not realize that the COLOR me beautiful information was still “out there.” I believe I would be classified as a WINTER; I do so love the purples and greens–well, really, ALL the bold and rich jewel-tone colors.

    Blessings on your day!
    Thanks for somehow managing to be a true encourager to so many people.


  92. Sandra Gillanders says:

    How lovely are those colors? Oh and England, wow! You will of course spend time with dear Rachel, which will be wonderful. Can’t think of a better trip to take than sailing aboard a beautiful ocean liner with kitting in hand, a few good books and time to just knit and read and eat good food. Hope you have a glorious time and I am definitely looking forward to some fabulous pictures of all your adventures.

    • sbranch says:

      Rachel definitely. We’ll be seven days on the ship, with nothing to do by BE. It’s going to be nice!

  93. Dear Susan I am so excited for both of you, on your visit to England. If you pass through the beautiful Yorkshire town of Ikley on your way up to the Lakes, please pop in for a cup of tea with me, it would make my day.
    Bertie x

  94. Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

    “Did you hear about the cat who swallowed a ball of yarn? She had MITTENS!” Sorry, Susan, I couldn’t resist :>)

  95. Kay in UK says:

    Susan, I only know you through your blog, but I am delighted that you are coming over here to England in May. I think I’ve told you before that my husband and I live in the most south-westerly county of England (Cornwall) which you might know from T.V. programmes such as ‘Doc Martin’. We live about three miles from the north coast.
    We live in a very modest bungalow, but if you decide to visit Cornwall you are welcome to stay for a few nights with us. Please contact me via email if you are interested and I’ll give you the relevant details.
    The country is gearing up for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, so there should be lots going on when you are over here.

    • sbranch says:

      We visited Cornwall the last time we were in England, we stayed in a tiny town called Portwrinkle. It was beautiful but we weren’t there long enough!

  96. I have a question for anyone who might know the answer…please. I’m planning on making the Carrot Cupcakes next Friday and don’t have my grater (not packed in the move); but, I do have a small food processor and tried chopping up a few carrots and they came out as “bits” vs thinly grated like the recipe calls for? Will this be a problem?? I don’t want the carrots to be hard when people eat the cupcakes is all. Thanks!!!!

  97. Ann Y. (Adamstown, PA) says:

    Oh, Susan…have so enjoyed reading about your trip ! And loved this post about knitting and having something to do on the ship. You made me get out my dvd of Miss Potter to see where you may be traveling. We went to London two years ago and just loved it. How can you not love a country that does such a great job with tea. We have always wanted to take a boat to Europe, but I think that is going to have to wait till we retire…which is catching up to us – quick. Meanwhile, we love to travel on little trips and enjoy all the tips you give for things to do, see, enjoy ! I have a travel journal – paper – and I can’t wait to see you post your travel musings online. Wishing you the BEST time ever…getting ready, getting there, being there, and then adding it to your wonderful memories !

  98. wendy says:


    I just now was able to check your latest post, I coordinate biannual craft shows locally and we just finished our spring show. Put to bed so I now can catch up! I am not a knitter so I enjoy your photos of the shop more than some perhaps! Scrumptious colors and overall display. One of my vendors makes wonderful felted bags, some much work! I love your color choices, purple and sea foam, lime, however the eye sees the color! Jack must have had fun! I know you will keep us posted since we are as excited as you and Joe, and look forward to your adventures and updates. Thank you!

  99. Linda in Texas says:

    It’s hard to be jealous when you are so graciously sharing everything with us. So I just won’t be. But I guarantee that I’ll be stopping by here regularly to see what your latest British adventure will be. Thank you for taking us along.

    Love your hyacinth-inspired colors for the scarf. Hope to see the scarf in some photos.

  100. Dawn (Elmhurst, IL) says:

    Hi Susan,
    We just returned from our Spring Break visit to Arizona to see my parents. We had such special days together! Of course, I had to tell my dad about your Kitchen Garden post and we looked over your photos together, remembering how your plan in the Summer book inspired us to build a picket fence garden together. My mom and I enjoyed looking through your books on her bookshelf. They were gifts from me over the years. The desert is just beginning to bloom now and my mom’s garden is filled with hummingbirds. You will never know how many lives you touch in so many ways, Susan!
    Tonight I’m catching up on all of your EXCITING news!!!! I’m really looking forward to seeing England through your eyes. What a joy it will be!! Planning is always one of my favorite parts of travel. John and I are busy planning a September trip to Germany. It’s a special trip to celebrate my upcoming retirement after 35 happy years of teaching second grade! We have decided to stay in beautiful little town on the Rhein for several nights. Then we will visit with very dear friends near the Black Forest for two weeks. This will be my 14th visit to Europe and I’m just as excited as the very first time!! I’ve never been to England though. So, your travels will be a WONDERFUL inspiration for a future trip for us! Enjoy every moment of planning and dreaming, Susan. Wishing you and Joe the most memorable trip ever! Many, many thanks for sharing your adventure with all of us!!
    Warm hugs,

    • sbranch says:

      Oh thank you Dawn. Be sure and say hello to your parents from me! Your trip sounds just wonderful . . . I have always wanted to go on a Riverboat Cruise here. Maybe someday, if I can ever get out of England!

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