Nanas Knitting Shop

Life, Dinner Parties and Knitting Seen Through My Eyes

Terry’s Famous Dinner Party

dinner-partyIf there’s one thing my friends and family know about me, it’s that I love to entertain guests. There is nothing I love more than being with those who know me the best and sharing laughs and good conversation over good food and drinks.

Once every couple of months, less now that we have been dealing with the kids, I like to invite people over cook up a storm. Good food and good coffee are another passion of mine, and I like to share that with others.

I know some people can be overwhelmed with the idea of cooking AND entertaining for a large group of people, so I thought it would be a great post if I broke this down into simple steps. After all, if all you are doing is worrying about making everything perfect and stressing over every little detail, there isn’t really a point in doing it at all!

So without further delay, here are Terry’s simple steps to throwing a dinner party.

K.I.S.S. (Keep it Simple Stupid)

Most dinner parties start with either drinks or cocktails. In my experience. it’s best to just choose one. Trying to go after both will only drive your crazy and also affect the quality of whatever you decide to serve your guests.

Choose Something Different

Parmesan-spiked-relishDon’t go for the same old tired cheese and crackers. Get creative, but keep it simple, with something like a parmesan spiked relish of bacon wrapped dates. Check out this list of 11 great but quick and easy recipes.

Great Guest Make the Party

Don’t forget why you are having your party in the first place! Make sure you invite the guests well in advance so everyone has time to plan and make sure they can attend. I have found that 8-10 people is the real sweet spot. Any less and the party feels a little dead. More than that and you are in for a real headache when trying to prepare for that many people.

Don’t do EVERYTHING Yourself

Realize that you are only one person and play to your strengths. If you have people that can assist, let them! Plus having people there to help you is an awesome way to spend more quality time with people you care about. Remember, this is about human interaction after all.

Prepare the Main Course Well Ahead of Time

Pick a dish that you can prepare the night before and that will get better with time. Something like a stew works well for this. You’ll rest easy knowing that it’s out of the way and taken care of. Knowing that this part of the evening cant go wrong will be a huge load off of your shoulders.

Don’t Forget the Music

When it comes to the music, it’s best to pick something that you can put on and never have to think about again. Find a good Spotify playlist like this one that is centered around some light jazz or easy listening and call it a day. The last think you want to have to worry about is playing DJ all night.

The Dessert

Everyone’s favorite. Again, you want to pick a dessert that you can prepare ahead of time. This is going to save you tons of stress and worry. Good options here and a cake or pudding that can be made the day before and set aside for after dinner. Again, you’re going to feel a lot bette knowing this is taken care of.

After Dinner Coffee

caveman-coffeeEvery know’s I’m a total coffee snob, so making sure that we have the finest coffee to share with friends is important to me. This is a crucial part of the evening as everyone will be high of a delicious meal and ready to relax and chat over a delicious cup of perfectly roasted coffee. My personal favorite is Caveman Coffee out of Santa Fe, New Mexico. I know one of the owners and they have an incredibly high-standard when it comes to selecting and roasting the coffee beans. They also have a coffee subscription service where you can order it online and every month they will ship it right to your door!

Famous Hollywood Actors and Musicisans Who Knit

Knitting is not only a pastime for the working class, but also for big time Hollywood actors who like to use it to unwind on set or after a long day. Some have called knitting the “great unifier,” and I would have to agree. I thought it would be interesting to highlight some of these actors that we have come to know and love and learn a bit more about them. When I started to research these actors who shared my love of knitting, I started to respect them even more!

So here in no particular order are actors who love to knit just like you and me.

Kurt Cobain

cobain-knitThis one I was definitely surprised by! You typically don’t think of things like arts and crafts when talking about famous rock stars, but Mr. Cobain is certainly as exception.

Kurt was beyond his years in more ways than one, and this just proves it even more. He was a gentle soul that left us too soon.

 

 

Uma Thurmun

uma-knittingUma Thurmun is an actress who has a great range to her and can channel a lot of different characters, so it’s no surprise to me than she is a deep human that loves to knit! I have loved all her movies, especially the ones she did with Quentin Tarantino like Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill. What a laugh it would be to see her on the set of those bloody and violent movies just relaxing and knitting away.

Grace Kelly

kelly-knittingNow we are getting to some of the classics! Grace Kelly is such a timeless actress and beauty. I can remember watching her movies as a little girl and just being totally enamored by her poise and grace. Me and my father Both Loved “To Catch a Thief” and I still watch it pretty regularly till this day. Seeing these shots of her in old movies not only brings back great members, but also cements in my mind what a true giant this woman really was.

 

Marilyn Monroe

monroe-knittingAnother classic actress who was incredibly multi-faceted. She played so many different roles and touched the lives of so many people, even until this very day. Like Grace Kelly, I was always fascinated by Marilyn and her presence, as I think man other people were as well. I recently came across this interview with her whole looking around for this blog post and and I could it to be just incredible. Such a smart and articulate woman.

 

Martha Stewart

martha-knitHere is one we can file under the “no duh” category, but I thought it was good to include her because she’s been such a great influence on me and some of my friends. Not only is she a strong women, but she is incredibly business savy and one heck of a craftsman. I would have loved to reached where she is at in here career and no post about knitting would be complete without her!

So there you have it! This is far from a complete list and maybe I will do another one down the line but it’s pretty eye opening to see how people people this craft and hobby has touched.

Knitting- How to Begin

Starting to knit can be an overwhelming process. There are so many thing to consider when you are first starting out that you could potentially just forget the whole thing altogether. But never fear! I am here to help break down the process and simplifying things for you. Remember all your really need is ball of yarn and knitting needles to get started. I will walk you through everything step by step so you can focus on what’s most important–being creative and expressing yourself through knitting.

Selecting Your Knitting Yarn

wool-688113_960_720Even as someone who has been doing this for a long time, I can get a little overcome with all of the great yarns that are out there for purchase. Once you decide on one thing you like such as the color, there are all sorts of other things to consider like the type of the texture thats best for the project.

But for all general purchases the best place to start is with a medium weight yarn. If you are sure how you know, you can always just look on the package and it will tell you right there. Sometimes this can be a little confusing, however, so if you need more information, just check out this handy guide to reading a yarn label.

My other tip for all people just starting out is to choose a yarn that is just one single color and preferably a light one. This way when you get deeper into the stitch it will be easier to see you stitches and therefore have a better looking end result.

Another approach is to find a yarn that is smooth when you touch it. Wool will typically be good for this, but there are definitely others so its best to experiment on your own and see what you like best. I also want to warn you against choosing a cotton yarn as they are really hard to manage and knit with. I would say as you become more experienced transition to more cotton, but in the beginning stages stick with wool.

Choosing Your Knitting Needles

knit-799004_960_720Obviously, you cant knit if you don’t have any knitting needles! The options here can feel endless, but most commonly you will see needles made from aluminum, wood, plastic and bamboo. Again, you should experiment with what you like and what fits your personal style. If I were you, I would just buy a pair of each because you will end up using them at some point anyway.

Since this is a guide for beginners, I would recommend wither bamboo or wood when just starting out. Like the wool yarn, they are easier to manage and hone your skills with. Other needles can be very slippery and much more difficult to knit with in the beginning.

Needle Size

Here is another common question when people first start: Which size should I choose??

Generally, a medium size is best. These are going to be the easiest to find in your local store and also feel the nest in your hand. The actual length of the needle will vary too, but try a 10″ one at first. This seems to be just the right size for most people. Just one thing to keep in mind about this is that as you advance as starting knitting larger items, you will need a larger needle.

Check out the video below which has some great info in it about this too.

Wrapping Up

This is far from a complete guide, but this will absolutely help you get started. Just knowing where to begin can be tough, but the information here should at least get you out of the doors of your store.

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