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!