Friday, December 31, 2010

Wrapping up the holidays.

We had a wonderful time this Christmas. The Chick arrived on Christmas Eve and since the Hubby was working, we did a little shopping without a purpose, ate out, and went to a movie. Christmas morning and most of the afternoon was spent relaxing and waiting for the NorDak family to appear.
Fam is just a little unsure how to get through Hubby's turkey farm.
Of coarse, the moment they walked through the door there was only one thing to do...OPEN PACKAGES!

The Tiger, NOT happy about the clothes BUT loving the box!
They love the pillow pets The Chick got them...

The Tiger got a frog, who he named Snowflake.
We did a little sledding,
a little skating,
and a lot of just having fun together!

When the family gets together usually the youngest gives the gift of the flu. It marches its way through the entire family, youngest to oldest. This holiday, because Hubby was in such a giving mood,  he couldn't wait to get the tradition underway. We quickly dubbed it the "Fireman Flu". He was sick Monday and Tuesday but wouldn't call it quits and so spent his time on the couch. Early Tuesday morning it migrated over to me and I firmly entrenched myself in bed. There was a quick decision made by The Chick and she included herself in the abandonment of Christmas. Down the road they all went early Wednesday morning, I'm hoping they all saved themselves from the "Fireman Flu." If not, their New Year's Eve will be going up in smoke!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

All 2010 Christmas sweaters are accounted for.

After all the coastal rain, it appears that the California Dreamin' and Oregon kiddos are dry...
Chloe A LittleBit, Christmas 2010
The Pirate, Christmas 2010
Joe, Christmas 2010
Sam, Christmas 2010
and with a blizzard scheduled for tomorrow, the NorDak kiddos are warm!
The Tiger, Christmas 2010
SadieLou Who, Christmas 2010


Looks like everyone is happy, incuding Gramma!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A long line of knitters

This year I added a small item to my Christmas decorations, my mother's mittens knit by my Great-Grandmother Jamison. I love these little red mittens that have been carefully mended.
I have knitting needles that belonged to a Great-Grandmother. The mittens could be construed as proof the needles were Great-Grandmother Jamison's but I know Great-Grandmother Cheney loved to wear hand knit lace because Mom said that my Grandmother spent many hours starching and ironing her mother-in-law's lace collars.
Sadly, I'll never know for sure whose needles they were....
Emily Plowman Cheney
Catherine Hedges Jamison

Friday, December 24, 2010

I'm falling in love!

Have I mentioned before, the only good sock is one on your foot NOT on your needles? For a long time I've felt that a person might as well knit a sweater for all the work done when making a pair of socks!
I have always hated to knit socks, but loved to wear handknit socks soooo…

I found Donna's Easy Sock Pattern, and put them on the needles. They are a breeze! I love all the funky colors out there in the knitting world but a gal has to have some plain jane socks too! This is an easy little sock pattern that will now allow me to fill my sock drawer without frustration!  Life's changing, I'm having a great time knitting these:


This is what I’ll be doing for awhile... NO problem!

Today I received an article from Knitting Daily entitled,10 Tips for Longer-Lasting Socks. There were several tips that I wanted to remember and pass along:

* Don't wind your yarn into a cake until you're ready to knit. Winding a skein into a cake pulls fibers taught and over months the yarn could lose its ability to spring back into shape.

* Go down one needle size (or more) when knitting the feet. If a label calls for a US 2 needle, knit the foot of the sock on a US 1, or even a US 0 so you get a dense fabric that holds up to wear.

* Turn socks inside-out when washing. That way the inside of the sock gets a fuzzy halo over time, and not the outside.

* Lay socks flat to dry. Over time, machine drying will lessen stitch definition and make socks look worn. The intense heat of drying might also break down fibers.

—Allison Van Zandt, Simply Socks Yarn Company

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cheers!

I've been promising a couple of my followers these recipes for quite sometime. The first recipe is a spice tea recipe that the California Dreamin' Gurl brought with her the last time she came up. It is outstanding hot or iced - my new favorite!
Spiced Tea
2 tbs fennel seeds
1 tbs cardamom seeds
1 tbs coriander seeds
1 tbs fenugreek seeds
2 tbs cloves
2 star anise
2 inches of cinnamon bark

I use this recipe and multiply it many times to make a big batch.
Grind in the coffee mill and brew.


The other beverage that I have recently discovered is a flavored coffee. I use a 4 cup french press pot (that makes one big mug for me) so you will have to do a little calculating about proportions, but this is what I use:

Spiced Coffee
4tbs heaped full of coffee
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice

Hmmm, good!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas tree hunts of the past.

The weekend that is right in the middle between Thanksgiving and Christmas was a very special one when I was a girl. It was a holiday in my eyes. That weekend my family, my Aunt, Uncle, and cousins would get together and go Christmas tree hunting. My uncle, who was a realtor, often bought and sold land but he had a special soft spot for and old over grown strawberry farm on the Peninsula of Washington and he hung on to that property for many years. This piece of land was his declared "Best Christmas Tree Grounds Ever."
"Little" Auntie Florence, Bill, Kit, Mary, Bob, Uncle Fred, Aunt Merab, Mom, Aunt Kit, and me
My family would wake up and take the ferry from our home in Seattle and across the Puget Sound to the Peninsula. One year I dug a small tree and decorated it for my bedroom. When Christmas was over my mother planted the tree in the front yard and the last time I visited the house it was a mature tree many feet high!!
Uncle Fred, ?, Bill, Kit, Mom, Mike, Auntie, Front row: Mary Judy, back of Steve's head, Bob
Bob (Sam the dog), Uncle Fred, Kit holding Mike, Mary, Judy, Bill, Auntie, Gramma Murphy, Steve in front
After the hunt we would return to my aunt and uncle's house, have chili and cinnamon rolls, then turn on the tv and watch The Wizard of Oz - man the flying monkeys were scary!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Charity blanket number one complete.

Baby Boy's Charity Blanket
Pattern: Moderne Baby Blanket by Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne
Yarn: Red Heart worsted
Color: Eggshell, Bisque, Rose Brown, and True Teal
Amount: Two skeins each color
Needle Size: US size 8

Recently Karen F., a former coworker, called to say said she had many skeins of yarn at her house and wondered if I could use them for my knitting class at school. I arrived at her doorstep to find a box of Red Heart Yarn. The full skeins of yarn were in lovely colors so rather than give the yarn away, I decided to do a little charity knitting and use the yarn for this blanket. 
  
I do prefer knitting with Cascade 220, a lovely wool yarn, but I live by the by saying, "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth." Besides, there were many years I only had Red Heart to knit with.  When you love to knit, a person will knit with whatever is available! I understand that there is a growing group of knitters who knit with yarn from recycled wool sweaters! I am so lucky to have discovered our local yarn store, Wild Purls!

The blanket took sometime to complete because I vowed to knit on the blanket only during my lunch hour at school, however, in November I broke my vow when we went to the Griz/Bobcat game. I thought the roads were going to be dicey and indeed the were. We slid all the way up and back on icy/snowy roads. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to follow a pattern AND watch the roads so I gathered up this garter stitch baby blanket from school and knit all 6 hours to Missoula!  I knit like a maniac and it kept Hubby happy because I co-piloted very little! 

 I love the i chord binding around the blanket! I will use that method again!

So, although this blanket is complete, I've started a new one with pink instead of teal. This should keep me happy and out of trouble for many a future lunch hour!



Sunday, December 5, 2010

WooHoo!!!

Let's start celebrating..........................
Sam's Christmas Sweater 2010
Joe's Christmas Sweater 2010     
The last of the Christmas sweaters are complete! I'm blocking them now and they will soon be in the mail and then under a tree.

Pattern: Wonderful Wallaby with a Western Sea by A&J Starmore flair
Yarn: Cascade 220 in Ecru
          Plymouth Classic Wool in Denim
Needle Sizes: US size 6, US size 8

What can I say…I LOVE this pattern! This time I’ve added a Gansey pattern from A&J Starmore’s book The Children’s Collection (The pattern is: Western Seas). I began with a tunic bottom, knit the lower border pattern from the Starmore pattern rather than ribbing and then attached the front and back of the body adding the charted pattern points in the round.

When knitting the sleeves, I knit 4 inches short of attaching the sleeve to the body and then repeated the Gansey pattern.

At the neck opening, I did not garter stitch in the center front as written in the Wallaby pattern but continued to decrease at the sleeve markers to the designated stitches to begin the neck opening. At that point I increased 7 stitches in the center front (knit 1, inc in same stitch), split them evenly with the new stitches to the back and began knitting in rows. (Using the neck opening stitch pattern of the Starmore pattern) When I got to the neck on the smaller sweater:
1. I increased every other stitch of the ribbing in the last row. (Purl one, increase one, knit one, purl one, increase one, etc.)
At the neck of the larger sweater:
1. I increased every stitch of the ribbing in the last row.
And then I knit the collar as described in the pattern.

Let the "devil-may-care" knitting begin! For the rest of the winter I will follow my bliss; knitting anything I care to and trying any new technique that intrigues me.  There is always charity knitting to provide an owner.  Hmmm...to ravelry, and to all a good night!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

It's a perfect winter weekend!

Our feathered friends have been here to visit and enjoyed a good morning's breakfast...
The Famous Buckhorn Exchange Bean Soup is in the crockpot...
 Outside it's a winter wonderland....
And "Christmas Sweater Knitting" is coming to an end...
Life is grand!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A busy holiday week!

Last Friday Hubby and I went up to Montana's equivalent of the Super Bowl: The Griz and Bobcat Game. Because we have season Griz tickets we also get tickets to this game when it is hosted in Missoula. I left school at 11:30 and we set out on some of the slickest roads I have ever been on! We weren't 40 miles out of town before I had lost count of rollovers, slide offs, and accidents involving multiple vehicles. I hung on for dear life and my knitting needles flew, row after row!
First Montana snowstorm 2010
Both the weather and the game went downhill with the coin toss. It was a hard fought game but the Bobcats were a stronger team and will be going on to the championship play offs.
Griz vs. Bobcats 2010
After the game we drove to The Chick's house and spent two nights there, waiting to see if the weather would change. In the end we slid home with The Chick's kitty serenading us in the backseat. We were hoping that would help make a less stressful trip for The Chick later in the week.

We weren't home long before the NorDak crew drove in, the last fifty miles for them were memorable, but they arrived safely. They had planned on making their trip a few days earlier but the roads had delayed them. We planned meals for the week, shopped and began working on the number one thing everyone had been planning on doing - relaxing! The Chick arrived after dark with only a few horror stories about her travels.

Thanksgiving was delicious and we were happy to be together. The kiddos did spend some time outside sledding as the temp rose above zero and they were going a bit stir crazy.

We went shopping on Friday - Purl Gurl was in charge of the alarm clock and getting The Chick and I up, sadly she set the alarm on her phone and that was set for North Dakota time - so we were up at 2:30!! With the early start we were forced to go to Kohl's for items that weren't high on our list, but it was a good lesson. The crowds were thick and the lines long, so we abandoned our low priority purchases and drove to the stores with our "must have" items before the stores opened. Each of us had our designated items to find, and the first person done got in the checkout line with the others catching up as they finished. Cell phones came in very handy! It was a very successful seven hour trip and I have all my shopping done except for one more item for Sadie Lou. The men did a great job running their Daddy Daycare. The kiddos were happy and had stomachs full of pancakes.
Black Friday, 2010
I made good use of the last day with the family....we cleaned, rearranged furniture, and decorated for the Christmas season. The Viking set the tree up and strung it with lights, Purl Girl wrapped my packages, and the kiddos decorated the tree - they were excited to think that they would decorate two trees this year.
The Tiger
SadieLou Who 2010
The Viking is such a good guy. The Chick and I both got some new electronics and needed his help. He good naturedly went from one to the other all afternoon and evening helping out and tutoring this gal. I'm now the proud owner of an itouch - mostly because Hubby got surround sound for his TV and I heard the great sound coming from the speakers!

We've been watching the road reports carefully. This morning, one car went east and one car went west. The Chick decided to take a two lane highway to avoid the black ice and snow. She was successful avoiding weather but ran into a cattle drive! We just heard from the NorDa Family and they are home and settling in for a week of school...

So everything is now back to normal, I have a cold - school is back in session tomorrow, with early morning duty outside for me - and it's snowing like it's winter and the holidays are coming!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

It's hard to see into the furture with this Tea Leaves Cardigan.

Chloe A Little Bit will have a new Christmas sweater this year. I'm no fortune teller, I don't read tea leaves laying at the bottom of empty tea cups, and so I wonder - will she like this sweater or not?
Chloe's Christmas Sweater 2010
Pattern: Tiny Tea Leaves Cardigan
Yarn: Plymouth Encore
Colorway: Deep Purple
Amount: 4 skeins
Needle Size: US 6, US 7

I am not pleased with the underarm stitch pick up. They look like they will pull and and be uncomfortable once they are on Chloe A Little Bit's arms. I can't wait for the final verdict to come in!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I've been busy!

It's a good thing that I cleared out all the UFO's (unfinished objects) before school started because once again there is a basketful under the family room table! I've put Chloe A-Little-Bit's Irish knit sweater on hold. By the time got to the armholes it was obvious that the sweater was to large. I finished the back of the sweater, put it aside, and will finish it after Christmas. It will be among my stash of completed items until my little grandgirl grows a bit more.

This created an immediate problem. What to knit that would provide the little gal with a cute sweater but wouldn't cause the Gram to much stress. (I like to have all Christmas gifts done by Thanksgiving) Any knitter knows this means a visit to Ravelry's pattern section. The tiny tea leaves cardi looked like a cute and fast knit. The pattern was bought, the color and yarn discussed, and finally the sweater was put on the needles:
Tiny Tea Leaves Cardi
I wish I hadn't gotten such a solid colorway - however, what little girl doesn't love purple?

One of my coworkers had asked if I'd knit a sweater for a soon to be born nephew. I love the Telemark and knit it up over the weekend. She loved it!
Telemark
Pattern: Telemark
Yarn: Plymouth Encore
Colorway: Ruby Tweed
Amount: 2 Skeins
Needles: US 5

Recently a former coworker called and said that she had come across over twenty five skeins of yarn and wondered if I'd like to have them. Does a turkey have feathers? Certainly I wanted the yarn. I couldn't - wouldn't - turn her down! At first thought I would use it for my knitting class. But then I saw the colors and thought The Chick might like the skeins. Finally, I couldn't stand it and began knitting a charity baby blanket. Only on lunch hour -  at school, you understand.
Moderne Baby Blanket
Pattern: Moderne Baby Blanket by KY Gardiner and Ann Shayne
Yarn: Red Heart Acrylic
Colorway: Soft White, Beige, Brown, Blue
Amount: 2 skeins of each colorway
Needle Size: US 8

And The Pirate has been busy too.  Not only has he lost another tooth but he's been working on getting the new ones grown in.
The Toothless Pirate!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The last of my Halloween treats have arrived!

The wicked witch
The Incredible Hulk
The Hawaiian
Cleopatra
And proof of what to much candy can do!

Monday, November 1, 2010

It Was a Dark and Scary Night - The second generation!

Halloween 2010
 What a scary surprise to find a Halloween story  and letter in my mailbox. The ghosts flying around on the stationary were very spooky! Thank you Pirate, I love to get mail from you!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

It was a beautiful and warm evening...

In the Peanuts comic strip by Charles Schulz, Snoopy often began his stories with "It was a dark and stormy night..." People think that a good Halloween story must include that setting. Mine, however, is just the opposite...

When we built our house fifteen years ago, we chose the location because it is out in the country and surrounded by nature. Beautiful sunrises and sunsets, a view that allows you to see forty miles to the north, and animals everywhere.

A few miles to the east is the Crow Indian Reservation and forty miles further is Little Bighorn Battlefield. The moment I set foot on the property I felt a presence. I envisioned a young Indian brave sitting on the edge of the ridge keeping watch over the valley, perhaps patiently waiting for another tribe, a group of warriors or a wagon train to come into view and move slowly westward along the Yellowstone River.

 Although the house has central air conditioning I enjoy the clean fresh air. I quickly discovered that if I opened the bathroom window in the southern part of the house and the dining room window in the northern part of the house it creates a wonderful breeze throughout. I also found that just before sunset my young brave would come to visit and begin his song. Now, you may think that it was just the wind blowing through the house at a certain time and speed, and I was able to believe that MOST of the time.

These visitations went on for several seasons. Sometimes I enjoyed his music but sometimes it bordered on scaring me. One evening when I was alone and the haunting melody became more than I could bear, I decided to have a heart to heart with the young brave, "Please understand, I know that this was your land before I arrived. Your people walked upon this land for centuries before we came. We will not disturb the land further. I love it just as much as you and promise to care for it as you did. Now leave in peace."

His lonesome chant has not been heard again.