Sunday, April 22, 2018

Color Play, Mandala Vest and Springtime Fling in Hemp Yarn

Every once in a while, I like to play with color! This time, I decided to make another Potholder for my kitchen. I decided to use pink, because it is supposed to be spring. I am not complaining, about cooler weather, no siree. :D I love that it hasn't warmed up here for a long time yet. In north Texas we have plenty of heat and it will be here before we know it. 

Another project that I have been busy on, is this Mandala vest. I made it pretty much from cotton yarns in my stash. There are a few round in an acrylic, in a silk and in a linen, but probably 85% is cotton. The pattern is actually a long sleeve sweater and the sleeves are bell sleeves. I decided that being in TX, I didn't need long sleeves for a spring/summer garment. So, I left the sleeves off.  The pattern has you start in the center of the back and work in rounds.

 When I finished the rounds that formed the armholes, I decided to work back and forth in rows. I didn't work across the bottom anymore, because I decided it was long enough for my 5 ft, 1 inch height. I also, wanted it to come around the front a little more than the designer had it do.

With those projects done, I am ready to start a new Springtime Fling! This is actually my pattern design, and I have made it several times, but I wanted to make one out of dark blue hemp for my self. Hemp is a great fiber to use and wear in Texas for the summer. It actually starts out softer than linen and I enjoy working with it. I am participating in  KAL with My Sister's Knitter group on Ravelry.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Pairfect Sock Yarn, Crock Pot Applesauce, Corelle and a New Pattern

I know this isn't a big surprise, but when I was in Minnesota, with Debbie, we went yarn shopping. LOL. We had lots of fun and I did purchase yarn, even though I have been saying that I am using stash only for a while.  I lied....... Hahahaha! I needed to get a souvenir, right? What better than yarn??

I purchased Regia's Pairfect sock yarn designed by Arne and Carlos. Let me tell you, I love Regia sock yarn. It is a durable sock yarn, meaning my socks don't wear out quickly. Sure, it isn't as soft as merino, but merino, IMHO, is too soft to be durable socks. 

Back to this wonderful sock yarn.  It has absolutely NO KNOTS. Wow! They designed it to have no knots, the patterning won't work out if it does.  I watched Arne and Carlos's video on You-tube for successfully using this yarn. I wanted to make sure that the Pairfect Yarn came out Pairfect.  :)

I did change up their directions a bit. They like using the short-row heel for their socks and I prefer making the heel flap when knitting socks top down. I found the yarn easy to use and it was so much fun not having to measure the leg. You cast on, knitting one sock at a time, and just knit until you finish the red striping down near the heel. When the blue yarn started I made the heel. After the heel, I kept knitting across the instep, working those decreases and then knit the foot. I started measuring the foot after the blue yarn started again. They were a totally fun project.

What do you do with apples that have been sitting in the refrigerator and are starting to look old? I had some of those and some newer apples and some granny smith apples, too. I decided to make crock pot applesauce. I love homemade applesauce and have made it on top of the stove more times than I can count, but, I had read that if you make it in the crock pot, you don't have to "babysit" it. Confession: I babysat it anyway, I couldn't believe it wasn't going to stick. But, it didn't!

 I cut up, peeled and cored all the different apple varieties. Sorry, but I am not one of those talented apple peelers, who can peel the apple in one long strip...... I gave up on that years ago. After cutting up ALL of my apples, young and old, I had my crock pot almost full. (Picture above) I poured 1/2 cup of water over the apples, covered the crock pot and turned the temp to low. Then I walked away..... and was back in 5 minutes to check and in a half hour to check and 15 minutes to check.... you get the idea......

I even removed the lid and stirred the apples several times, not believing it wasn't going to stick. It really didn't stick!

It did take about 6 hours on low to get my applesauce all cooked, and it did cook down quite a bit, but applesauce does that anyway. This was definitely worth the wait. I didn't add sugar or cinnamon. I usually add cinnamon in my bowl, because my fabulous husband doesn't care much for cinnamon in his applesauce. :) All that to say, that I didn't even add it to mine. The flavors of the several different apple types blended together was wonderful.

Last Sunday I broke a piece of my Corelle...... Have you ever done that, broken Corelle?  It is vicious when it breaks, I like to say that it explodes.  Flies everywhere and in little tiny sharp pieces too. See those cups, well there is one less in that pile than what was there last Saturday. The cup fell off the bottom of the stack, yes I didn't have my hand on it, my mistake. 

The miracle of this is that the cup actually fell into that jar in the foreground! The handle, however, fell onto the counter and flew all over and of course I was in bare feet...... The second miracle was that I didn't get cut. My hubby was home and like I said, he is fabulous and brought my my shoes.

Even though the cup fell into the jar, it still broke. The clean jar, however, didn't break. It was fine! After dumping the broken cup pieces from the jar, I placed it on the stove top to deal with later. I had a floor to mop and sweep and a counter to clean off. 

When I returned to the jar, it looked like this. All those tiny white pieces are sharp Corelle pieces.... Some pieces are small enough to look like dust. I decided my cookie jar, wasn't worth me getting cut up and so it went off to the trash. I loved my Anchor Hocking jar, and thankfully Walmart still sells them and a new one lives on my counter where the other one used to be.

But, wait! There's more!!! I have launched a new pattern on Ravelry. This is the link to it. The name is Checkers Hand Towel. You do get the pattern for the white towel, the gray dish/wash cloth and the hanging towel.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Where did November go???? and then December?

November started with a TRIP! I had a wonderful time traveling to Minneapolis to visit my good friend, Debbie! She and her husband Jim saw to it that I had a wonderful time. They are great hosts!!! Debbie and I are knitting buddies and we have known each other since about 1996(?), well forever.

Even though it was 20 degrees outside(wind-chill of 5) we went to see the outdoor exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art. I was so excited to be able to enjoy cold weather and wear my hand knits, I piled them all on at one time. At one point you could hardly see me!!!

After de-icing the plane, in Minneapolis, I arrived home safely to temperatures near to 80! Too funny!!
I came schlepping out of the airport with suitcase, coat, hats, scarves and mittens in my arms. :)

Christmas decorations started going up after Thanksgiving and I was SO HAPPY to see my neighbor put these Peanuts characters up again! I see them everyday when I leave the alley behind my house. They just make me smile.


My friend Renee has blessed me this year, with 2 gifts. First is my little snowman ornament. She and I both exercise and try to stay in shape and good health. 

Love the humor!! Wish it was true though.......

 Then she made the snowman which is on top of the bale of cotton and cotton carders, that sits on my hearth.

I set up the Christmas tree before Thanksgiving. I knew I would be working at our store for the Christmas rush and decided I would get it up before I started.  So, I did get the tree up and the house decorated, by Thanksgiving. But, I didn't get the ornaments on the tree. On Thanksgiving Day our daughter Rebekah and her family came over and Claire decorated it with some help from her sister, Nicole and her mom. This picture is the center of the very front.
When we were first married, my mom and Mark, the little boy she cared for, made this nativity ornament for me. I always put it at the center front of my tree. Because, that is what Christmas is all about, the birth of Christ. Without realizing it, I did start a tradition. :) Both of my girls do the same on their trees, an ornament picturing the stable is in the center of the front of the tree.

 Christmas presents are all done now and wrapped. Didn't get pictures of some, will try to do that tomorrow(when they are unwrapped).

However, while working I received an order for 2 scarves from a customer. She wanted them to be similar colors. I decided to make this Pioneer Braid Scarf, with some self striping yarn from Red Heart yarns.

Monday, October 2, 2017

It's October?

As I was opening up blogger and getting the pictures ready to post, I realized that it is October. Well, I knew it was October, so don't think I have lost it..... :) It just hadn't sunk in and it is only October 2 and it is 89 degrees outside. 

But, that realization meant that I needed to find a picture for the top of the blog, so I could take the summery one off. Ack! There wasn't a picture ready in my folder. I thought I could take a new photo of an autumn decoration, but that wouldn't work. My holiday decorations are hiding behind some of the Mr's building materials(read heavy) and they need to be moved. Of course, if I leave them there, I guess I could skip Thanksgiving and Christmas too. LOL! No, I don't think so, well maybe. No.

So, I did what all folks do with pictures in file folders, I found one that I could put into my Gimp program, crop and then posted it. Hence the basket of pumpkins. That is my own pattern, written years ago.

This has been a sad day, as the realization of the shooting in Las Vegas has sunk in. I have been praying for the victims and their families, as well as, the first responders and health care professionals who are working tirelessly to take care of those needing care. 

However, I do want to show you some of my current projects. 

This first picture is a Be Simple, it uses sock yarn about 400 yards. I was looking for something to knit with this fabulous Malabrigo sock yarn and Be Simple was it. It is like the Kwoosh, only  with eyelets! I am loving working on this project.

Next is a vest, I think..... I started it about 18 months ago and packed it up to move about a year ago. Unpacked it and left it alone in its basket until about 3 weeks ago. Since I had finished the projects I wanted to finish for the Clear The Needles KAL, I decided to try to finish this. I had only knitted it to just past the first armhole. I have done a lot on it, but the deadline for finishing this was October 1. But, you know, I want to finish it anyway. I not only want to free my needles, but my basket! If I have enough yarn, I think that I may try to add sleeves to it, even if they are short sleeves. All of the yarns, except a solid navy, are handspun yarns from my handspun stash and they are all wool. 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Hot Rod, Socks and a New Pattern

 A couple of weeks ago, we went to an antique car show. We had a great time walking around and looking at "antique" cars. It was funny to think that some of the "antique" cars were built AFTER I was born. :)  Nevertheless, they were fun to see and also, to see the immaculate care and restoration of the cars that the owners take. One of my favorites to see is always seeing the Camaro's from the 1960's.
However, that isn't what I decided to show you. I just was amazed at this lowered Hot Rod! I don't think that I have ever seen a car this low to the ground. Even Jeff's Miata's aren't this low. Truthfully, I was thinking you may actually have to get down on your hands and knees to crawl into it.
Finished my socks! These socks probably have been the quickest socks that I have knit in years! I had decided to knit them on double point needles. When I learned how to knit socks, back in the late 1990's, I had learned on double point needles. When the Magic Loop and Two Socks on Two Circular Needles became popular, I gave them a try. Although it is nice working my socks on them and making two at a time, and working toe up, I was missing my four needles.
I did use only four needles, not five. That is how I learned. My dp's are old, I guess in car terms they are "antiques." I inherited them from my aunt and my mom, so they are metal and came in packs of 4. I just looked and the company, on some of the packets that I have, is named, "Marcia Lynn."
Anyway, I discovered that my suspicions were correct. I knit socks faster on dp's. I guess the fiddling with the circular needles just takes up that much more time and you really don't have to do much adjusting and fiddling with dp's.
I know there are folks that enjoy the process of knitting and I do also, to a point.  BUT if you can finish a project and get another one started, isn't that as much fun?? Finishing and starting!

I just launched this pattern, Springtime Fling, on Ravelry this week. It uses lace weight yarn, larger needles and is worked top down. For the needles you use a smaller size for one row and a larger needle for the next row, then back to the first needle for the 3rd row.
  You alternate needles all the way through the pattern. The smaller needle gives the body that the lace weight needs and the larger gives the shawl/scarf a great airy and lacey feel and look.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Finished Projects and New Pattern

Soooo, this vest has been on the needles for so long, that I really don't know when I started it. LOL! I put January 2016 on my Ravelry project page, but I am not totally sure. It was at least then, maybe 2015.  I joined a Free The Needles KAL with the MySistersKnitter Ravelry group and this is one of my UFO's that I decided HAD to get done.
There isn't a pattern for this vest. I took another vest, which fit well, and measured it. Then did a gauge swatch and the math to make the same size vest. This was a bit tricky, in that I was using a loose gauge and then knitting sideways, so the knitting will stretch and change the gauge.  The vest is long, which I like and it is a bit oversize, but I like that too!
Above is the front, below the back. I did crochet an edging around the neck, down the center front and along the bottom edge. I then added the crocheted lace to the bottom edge.

Another project that I finished, and gave me another set of  emptied needles was the Find Your Fade! I am excited for cooler weather( I know, I live in TX and it is July.... sigh), when I can wrap up in this shawl. It is made from sock weight yarns and feels cozy. Because it is sock weight, I can wear it as a scarf. Here's hoping for a cold winter this year!!

Yarns for both of the above projects were in the stash! I didn't have to buy yarn for either one of them.
Below is a new pattern. It should be listed on Ravelry in the next couple of days. The pattern will include the directions for a larger hand towel, a medium sized hand towel, a trivet(for under a hot pot and a washcloth. These can be a quick gift to make for someone special, or spoil yourself and make them for you! :)

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Macaroni and Cheese Recipe, Weaving, Knitting and Sewing!

We were invited to our daughter's home for a July 4th celebration. In thinking about what food items to bring, I remembered another recipe that I found in my mom's favorite cookbook.
When I originally found the recipe, I found the title a little funny, but maybe it is just me. Remember this cookbook was my mom's favorite. She was using it after I was born, until she stopped cooking in about 2015. :) So, it was at least published around 1950 - 1960. This beloved book has no cover and no table of contents, however, the index is paper clipped to some pages. However, there isn't a print year/copyright year, or even publisher.  All that said, the book is really pretty old. (however, I am not old. Haha!) Back to the recipe title: Old-Fashioned Macaroni and Cheese. When I saw that I chuckled, thinking, "how old is this recipe, when the book was published about 60+ years ago and the recipe was considered old then!" Do you find it humorous, too?
The recipe is super easy and my family loves it! When we left our daughter's home, the dish was empty. :) So, I thought that I would share the recipe.
Old Fashioned Macaroni and Cheese
4 cups cooked macaroni(2 cups dry)cooked according to pkg directions.
2 Tbsp butter, cut in pieces.
1 1/4 cups cubed/grated sharp cheese.
1/2 tsp salt.
1/4 tsp pepper.
2 eggs, beaten.
3 cups milk.
Extra cheese for topping(optional).
Heat oven to 350F. Combine cooked macaroni, butter, cheese and seasonings. Place in greased 2-qt size baking dish. Combine eggs and milk; pour over macaroni. Sprinkle with paprika, buttered cracker/bread crumbs or extra cheese. Bake 40 - 50 minutes. 6 servings.
NOTE: I put the macaroni in a 3-qt size dish, my 2-qt was being used elsewhere. In looking at the picture you may think the dish is too big. Yep, it was, cause Joanne(me) used the wrong size. hahaha!
 Last year, before we moved, I had started weaving the triangle pieces for a wrap/shawl. I had only finished one, when I need to pack up my supplies. Finally, after I had everything unpacked and set up, I  was able to weave the other three triangles needed.  I have a small triangle loom which produces a triangle that has the longest side measuring about 24." 

I decided that I wanted to attach them so that they made the shape below.  I also wanted to crochet lace inserts to be the joining pieces between the triangles and eventually, a lace border around the entire piece. I had used a chunky weight Bernat cotton/acrylic blend for the triangles, and in keeping with the cotton thought, I pulled a cotton yarn off my shelf for the inserts and a cone of rayon yarn for the edging.
The yarn used for the lace inserts was a sport weight and the yarn for the weaving was a chunky weight. The rayon yarn used for the edging was a bit finer, so I doubled it to work with it. I love the different texture that each yarn has brought to the garment. I used a size I(US) aluminum crochet hook for the crochet sections.

Here is the wrap pinned out and blocking. I have crocheted some flowers to embellish it, and should get those stitched on this week.
Next, out of my finished and unloved projects, I pulled this cotton bag, which is lined and even has pockets inside.  I had mistakenly put the wooden handles on in a way that you could hardly get your hand inside the bag to use it! I did try using the bag and it did work, but not conveniently.
So, I tore, well not really, I gently ripped out my knitting and was able to disconnect the handles. I picked up all those free stitches, who were waiting to unravel like little minions and create havoc, and then placed them onto a size 8 (US) needle.
When I decided to fix it, I didn't bother with a before picture, until I had already started to take it apart.

I searched the internet, to try to get some inspiration about how to finish the top of this bag. And came up with some boho/shabby chic ideas.
Using a couple of different yarns, I knitted a top border and then bound off the top. I used the gray cotton yarn and knitted a 5 stitch I-cord for the handle, making it long enough for a cross-body bag. I made a 3 stitch I-cord for the button loop. I also made several fringe/tassel type pieces out of the yarns used, and attached some great beads to them. I attached the fringe to one side of the bag. Then I attached some large sequin type beads to the other side of the front. 
My youngest grandchild is now 2 years old. Her birthday was in June and I decided to make her some summer dresses for her birthday. Here they are! It was a lot of fun sewing these for her and knowing how comfortable and cool they will be for her in her Florida climate.