Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Knitting, Spinning and Baking

Last winter, wow! that seems like a long time ago, when I was carding some batts and working with the red fiber, I carded this batt. It consists of a very soft white shetland and some of the excess colors from my licker drum of the carder. The licker drum is the smaller of the two drums. Not knowing what to do with the wool pulled off of it, I thought I would blend it with this white and spin it very fine. Fine, that is the operative word here. Joanne does fine, slowly. Cause she does sometimes get bored with it and wants to hurry it up to move onto the next project. So, I leave it on the bobbin and do move on and come back to it. The red is STILL waiting to be spun, by the way.

These are two pictures of the same skein. The skein weighs in at 1 0unce of yarn and has 270 yards of yarn in it. I spun it very fine, and then plied it with sewing thread for an interesting texture and so that I would have more yardage in the skein, without having to double it up for plying on itself.

There are several different colors in this yarn and even some sparkle.

Meet Playtime! This is my newest pattern. It can be made for a boy or girl and the directions are for sizes 6 months, 1 year and 2 years. This can be found in my TerrificCreations shop and on Ravelry under TerrificFibers or Joanne T (designer). Worsted weight yarn is used for knitting all sizes of this sweater.

I saved the best for last. :) Yesterday I was looking for a different cookie recipe to make. I was looking through a Mennonite Cookbook, that a friend gave me. The first printing of this book was 1950 and the one that I have is 1978. I just love old cookbooks!

The cookies are great by the way. Even The UPS Store guy liked them, and so did the employees.

Cinnamon Cookies

2 cups of sugar
4 eggs
3 cups of flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon soda
½ cups chopped nuts (optional)
Combine sugar and cinnamon.
Beat eggs until light and add sugar and cinnamon mixture.
Sift flour.
Measure and add soda. Sift again.
Add sifted dry ingredients and stir until smooth.
Add chopped nuts and blend into dough.
Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased baking sheet, spaced 2 to 3 inches apart.
Bake at 375 F for 10 – 12 minutes or until lightly browned.
Makes 3 dozen cookies.

Note: I am not Martha. :) I didn't sift flour and then add baking soda and sift again. :) I stirred the baking soda into the flour with a teaspoon. There really is no shortening/butter in this recipe.

I hope you enjoy these cookies. We are.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Happy Time

Every once in a while you receive a link to a perfomance that happens in a mall, train station or another public venue. It seems to be somewhat of a surprise to the people around but, in the end you see those people relax, smile and be happy, while watching art in one form or another.

I hope you will enjoy this little clip of art and it will help you to relax and smile today. :) If you don't see the whole video, try clicking on the video itself, after it starts and the whole picture should show up.

On Saturday, April 24th, the Opera Company of Philadelphia teamed up with the Reading Terminal Market Italian Festival for a large-scale "Flash Opera" event! Over 30 members of the Opera Company of Philadelphia Chorus and principal cast members of LA TRAVIATA performed the famed "Brindisi" in the aisles of Reading Terminal Market, entertaining hundreds of Philadelphians, and proving that the perfect accompaniment for all things Italian is a little Verdi! The Opera Company sincerely thanks members of the Opera Company of Philadelphia Chorus and cast for generously volunteering their time and talents... BRAVI TUTTI!! LA TRAVIATA ran from May 7 - 16 at the Academy of Music. For info: operaphila.org

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Before and Almost After

When we moved to the house in the woods, several years ago, we knew we were buying a fixer-upper and that it would take time, money and energy to get the house to be what we would like. But, we were both willing for the challenge and took the plunge.

So, I "got a bee in my bonnet" back in November, 2009, that I wanted to paint the paneling in the sewing room. I wanted to see in there. The 1960's paneling is all over this section of the house, with an old gold and brown rug. Talk about dark.

Well, the UPS Store guy said, "we should just do it right and take down the paneling and put up wallboard." So, we(he) did just that. There were a few trials along the way, aren't there always?
Then he decided the rug should go too. I would've ripped it up for him, I was so anxious for that to go, but he said that he would do it. And he did.

Well, here are the before pictures. They are taken with a flash and lights on. The almost done pictures were taken with lights off and no flash. :)

Damage on this desk. You cannot really notice but all the paneling was pretty scratched up too.
The desk is a great built in. We left it.

Here's the during! The toe moulding and flooring aren't in yet, in these pictures.

All of my knitting books have fit into the shelves above the desk! For the first time, all of them are in the same room! No more running around the house, looking for just the one. Well, of course, that is assuming I don't leave them out somewhere. :) The front of the desk is navy blue, with the insides white.

Walls are a VERY LIGHT light blue. Notice the new window and the frame around it. When he took out the single pane window, he replaced it with a longer one. The flooring is in below, but still no toe moulding.

Better picture of the window, with the view of the woods and pond. :) That's the flooring on his table.

Now I am busy loading it up with my things. I will get more pictures soon, so you can see it. This room is now officially the STUDIO. Where I will be writing patterns, designing patterns, sewing, and any other project I can come up with. The UPS Store guy says, "Great, she will be too busy, to design another room." LOL! But, I can multi-task, he'll see.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day and A Basket Class

First and foremost on our minds today is: Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there. My dad passed on in 2000, but I still think about him on this day, well and on many other days too to be honest. My dad was a great person. He taught me about God. He taught me how to love people unconditionally. He taught me to be honest. He taught me to be funny and love God, family and country. He was a WWII vet. He is always in my heart.

Today I wish a Happy Father's Day! to my husband, son-in-law, brothers and nephew and any other guy that might find this blog. :)

Here are two special dads. The UPS Store guy and our son-in-law. Thank you, both, for being the men that you are. :)

Well, one of the crafty things that I have been doing lately is taking a basket class. I love baskets. They are all over my house. I haven't really ever purchased an expensive basket, but I love the ones that I have. At spinning one day, the subject came up, "Let's make a spinner's basket!" We all thought sure, we can do that! It didn't matter to us that most of us had NEVER made a basket, we knew we could do it. Piece of cake. (hahahaha!) I now know why baskets are expensive. :)

So, we scheduled the class and about 12 of us showed up for that class. The instructor was/is great. But, we needed a second class. So, we went back in shifts. 12 people, most beginners, was really too much for one class.

The day arrived for my second class. It had rained and a cold front had moved in. Yipppeeeeee! A cold front in TX in June is a miracle. The temperature was about 78F, when I arrived and arranged my things.

One of the first things that I saw was a hummingbird. Just lovely and I had to share it.

Here is my basket. The basket is made in two levels. At our first class we made the bottom level and the second class was for the top level(which is attached to the bottom level). Not really for beginners, but our teacher, Nancy was great about it and helped us! She is a spinner too.

Notice the ice water, ice melted. The spray bottle was used to spray the reeds and to spray ourselves. Our cold front quickly heated up to 95F and sunny.

Kate is working hard on her top basket. We made the top basket and attached it to the bottom basket at the same time. (Notice another spray bottle) It was hot.

Kay finished her basket, isn't it pretty!!! (notice water spray bottle and 2 water bottles to drink from, remember it is TX)

Kate's basket is finished! Just wonderful! On Kate's you can see the dowel rod that sits into the handle, to hold your bobbins.

Laurie finished her basket too. She did some fancy weaving on the bottom of her top basket. Pretty isn't it? (another spray bottle) :)

On to my basket. From the top. I put in a little bit of extra on the bottom of the top basket too. The holes in there were pretty big.

When we made the second basket that sits on top of the bottom one, we could add more color, I used more blue and some orange with it.

Here it is all finished, ready and waiting for spinning fiber!

Before leaving, Nancy, gave us an ice cream cone! Thanks Nancy! We are so grateful to her, that she was willing to help about 12 spinners make a spinner's basket, and that she has E-Z pop up tents, so we could work in the shade.
Oh, and we told her that we would love to come back (in the fall) and take a beginner class now. Seriously, we did tell her that and we do mean it. It was a lot of work to make this basket, but it was fun.
And you know, I love baskets. :)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

New and Old

Just a week or so ago, we had Camp G-G going on here. I think it is safe to say that we all had a good time. The day that their dad and mom came home, we had gone to the house and turned up the air conditioning, it was 95 F outside, and then we were able to get everything unpacked and ready for their dad and mom's arrival. We even hung Welcome Home signs around the house. I had thought that that would be a good activity for the day, because I could just see them standing and watching the clock allllll day, and running to the front window, waiting for the magic time. This way I kept them busy and before you knew it their dad and mom walked through the door. :) Sneaky Gramma, aren't I?

I stayed a few minutes to ask about their trip and hear about the cruise. They did have a great time. Before I could go, I was pleasantly surprised to see this fabulous basket/tote emerge from the suitcase! It was a gift for me! I love totes, who doesn't, AND I love baskets. :) I have it all in one. I was told that they went into a booth and were watching the local women making these totes. They decided to purchase one for me. There was also one there decorated like Dora the Explorer. Phew! Thank you for not purchasing that one for me.

This is the NEW. The new absolutely gorgeous knitting bag! The center of the flower has small sea shells attached.

The OLD??? Well, when I married The UPS Store guy in 1973, Avocado Green was the color of the day. Actually, so was an Antique Gold color. I went with the Avocado Green. No blues, no stainless steel, not even black appliances. Avocado Green. OK. So, when shower gifts and wedding gifts arrived, and they were appliances, family and friends purchased Avocado Green for me. OH, and if you remember or are too young to remember, we didn't have the great registries that are popular now. We couldn't go to Target and sign up and have a list print out for family and friends around the country. Actually, I don't think we even had Target yet. Geeeshh.

So, our moms would keep a list. They would take us to the store, recommend items and write the list. Mine had a notebook she kept the list in, with everything else we had to remember. We didn't have wedding planners(the people) then either. Family and friends would call and ask what was on the list and she would tell them. The choice was made and their name written next to the item. Mind you, we didn't have lots of model choices either, so we didn't have to be too explicit. A green blender. A green waffle maker/ griddle. A green electric skillet.

Also, in 1973 Teflon II was the BIG rage. I received several appliances with that form of Teflon II and I still have them. This weekend I decided that it is time, after 36 1/2 years, to ditch the waffle maker. (I hear my girls cheering in the background) You see, the Teflon II never really worked well, for me anyway. Yes, I seasoned it and seasoned it, and seasoned it, but the waffles always stuck. They stuck on the bottom and the top, so when you opened the maker you had a split waffle.

Appliances have come a long way in the last century, so I think maybe now there might be a better one. I am tired of eating waffle chips, as we named them the other night. They split and I have to stand there and scrape them out.

Say goodbye to the old.

You know, the plates come out of this and flip over to be a griddle for pancakes or a squished sandwich maker(the precursor to the panini).

You ask why on earth did she put up with that for sooooo long????? The answer. I don't know. :)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

New Knitting!

In the creative mind, there are always new ideas floating around, but never enough time to get those ideas produced. At least in my mind and in my time schedule.

I would love to be able to write everything I make into a new pattern. I try, but some patterns take me several months to write and some of those designs, I will actually knit up 3 or 4 times, before I hand the pattern to my trusty test-knitters to knit or editors to read. You see, I do most of the work by myself on my patterns, from the beginning sketches to the knitting, editing, layout, photography, picture editing, tech editing and final printing/publishing. I even do some of the charts, BUT, most of my charts are done by my good friend, Liz. Thank you Liz!

Sometimes, I just have a brain-freeze and need to just create, knit, take notes and NOT write a pattern. It is like a vacation for my brain, I guess.

This project is just one of those times. It is a baby girl dress, made out of cotton yarn. No one in my family is expecting, that I know of anyway. So, I have listed this dress for sale in my etsy shop. It should fit a 3 to 6 month little girl.

It is fun to knit items for babies and try new ideas. I used a picot edge stitch for the hem and for the edgings around the armholes and neckline.

I used the Daisy pattern, that I sell, for the bodice embellishment and then embroidered some lazy daisy stitches on the skirt of the dress. The stripes are knitted in.

Then I thought, what about a shrug for a baby? Not just any shrug, but a lacy shrug???? So here is my lacy shrug. It fits a 3 month old and it is in the etsy shop too.

Here is the back, you can see the lace stitches better on the back.