Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Busy times

This is my twenty third year of teaching and each of the twenty three years has started out mind bogglingly busy. This is the only thing about the beginning of the school year I can count on. There are different rules, schedules, technology, expectations of what is to be taught, and students. It's a great job for a person who struggles with ADD like tendencies, forcing a complete and final finish in June and a bright and shiny future in the fall. But I'm not ADD.  I like having control, starting and completing everything in sequential order!

So in the middle of all the hoo-hah I turned to what gives me total inner peace, you know... knitting! I started and finished several projects:
Scott's Socks
Pattern:Donna's  Easy Socks
Yarn: Austermann Step
Colorway: Black/brown self striping
Amount:one skein
Needle size: US 2
School Shawl
Pattern: Sort of Silk Kerchief pattern but not really. I used the instructions from the Milk Run Shawl to get started then looked at the finished projects and decided to cast off in the crochet edge of the annhelens shawl.
Yarn: Cascade Yarns Heritage Solids & Quatro
          On Line
Colorway: turquoise and comedy
Amount: 2 skeins each
Needle size: US 4
Chloe's back to school hat and mitts
Pattern: Mittlets and Hat in Chevron Pattern from the Teens and Tweens Book
Yarn: Jojoland Tonic
Colorway: Dahlia
Amount: 1 skein
Needle size: US 3
With the leftover School Shawl yarn I am currently knitting a pair of after thought socks. I've been enjoying The Knit Girllls Podcast. The girls talked about afterthought heels and Lala said that she liked to make a mindless tube sock while in meetings and then add the heel later. Hmmmmm, so at the beginning of the year school meetings I decided to give it a try, no loss - just leftover yarn!
  1. I used Judy’s cast on and started with 8 stitches
  2. I increased every other row until I had 64 stitches. (32 on each needle, I use 2 circulars)
  3. I knit until the sock was at the place where my leg attaches at a right angle to the foot and then knit a piece of yarn to 32 of the stitches, then slid them back and knit these stitches with the regular yarn I had been using.
  4. Knit until the piece measures 6 inches above the odd piece of yarn then rib for 1 inch. Cast off.
  5. Take the 32 stitches of odd yarn out. The top stitches will go on one needle and the other 32 will go on another. There will be a gap on either side so pickup 2 on each side. (I crossed them over each other to tighten them up)
  6. Decrease stitches on each side every other row just as you would a toe when knitting them from the top down. I used Kitchener for the last 8 stitches! Easy and I like how the sock fits!
One down and one to go!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The sun sets on another summer...

Another summer comes to a close and...
 tomorrow morning school begins.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Promised recipes - sort of....

Open letter to eldest daughter:

Dear Purl Gurl,

I know I promised you Great Grandmother's Pearl's Chokecherry Syrup recipe but I just can't find it. The paper I thought was the recipe turned out to be your GGGAunt Mae's pickle recipe but the amounts are torn off. So I offer you the following recipes: Great-grandmother Pearl's Ginger Cream Cookies, Mrs Stapleton's Hamburger Relish and Green Tomato Jelly, Marj's Bread and Butter Pickle Recipe. Please don't be mad because you can't make your 100 things in a 1000 days all because of my poor memory.....

Ginger Creams - Great Grandmother Pearl
1 c sugar
1/2 c molasses
1/2 c dark Karo
1c butter
1c sour milk
2 eggs
1t soda
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t ginger
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 baking powder
1/2 t salt
3 1/2 cups flour
Chill dough 1 hour. Spread on cookie sheet cut in square of oblongs or add more flour and cut with cutter.  Bake 10 to 15 minutes. (There was no temperature given - I'm sure that the wood in the stove had burned down to coals and the oven was toasty warm, around 325!)

Green Tomato Relish - Mrs. Stapleton
6 cups ground green tomatoes
6 cups ground onions
6 cups ground green peppers
2 large ground red peppers, for color
Set aside.

2 quarts vinegar
5 cups sugar
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup mustard seed
3T celery seed
1 t cinnamon
1t allspice
Bring to boil, add vegetables and bring back to boil. Put into jars and seal in water bath for 10 minutes.

Green Tomato Jelly - Mrs. Stapleton
5 1/2 ground green tomatoes
4 cups sugar
Boil 25 minutes. Add 1 large package raspberry jello. Boil 1 minute, pour in jars, seal.

Bread and Butter Pickles - Marj D.
 4 quarts sliced cucumbers
1 small red pepper
1 small green pepper
1 quart sliced onions
1/2 cup canning salt
Combine and let stand overnight - then drain off water.

1 quart vinegar
4 1/2 cups sugar
2 t ground turmeric
2 t ground ginger
2 t black pepper
1 t ground cinnamon
2 T mustard seed
2 t celery seed
Bring to boil. Mix the two combinations together and heat to a boil. Pack into jars, cover with liquid.  Process 15 minutes in hot water bath. Makes 8 pints.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Charity knitting 2011

The end of summer is crashing down around me I had planned one last Wednesday visit to the yarn shop for charity knitting. This summer I have been spending most Wednesday afternoons with a group of ladies that I have become very attached to, The Charity Knitting Group. On Monday night I realized that I had a committee meeting at school and will me unable to attend, a sure sign that summer is at an end.......

Since Christmas, I spent most of my lunches at school knitting this charity blanket. When summer came I decided to carry it over into Charity Knitting Group. Only allowing myself to knit it on Wednesdays. I would prefer to knit a project and get it over with so this proved to be a good lesson for me, patience!

It is finally done as is the summer. This coming year I'm going to knit baby booties!

Pattern: Modern Baby Blanket
Yarn: Red Heart Acrylic
Colorway: Pink, bisque, eggshell, rose brown
Needle size: US 8

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

There's a new "old" project in the works

The Pirate's sweater should have been thrown overboard sometime ago but he loves it so and the captain of the crew (Mom) can't ever seem to get it off his back. I was surprised when we were on a walk and someone stopped us to compliment The Pirate on his sweater. The California Dreamin' Gurl says it happens quite often, she thinks its because the sweater is obviously much loved AND he wears it in the 75 degree weather. They asked if someone had made it for him and his reply was to sweetly tip his little face up to look at me lovingly!

During the visit I tried a quick fix on the cuff of the left sleeve, it's now about an inch shorter than the right cuff.

Before I arrived he told his parents that he was going to ask me to make him two more pirate sweaters: one JUST like the current sweater, then another just a liiiiitle bit bigger! I asked if I could knit the new sweater a different color, perhaps navy...red....gray? But he wants it in the same yarn or as close as possible. Don't worry Pirate, I went to the LYS and got JUST the same yarn! I'm gong to start the sweater today and hope that I can complete it before school starts, I'm sure the staff at school will be appreciative!
 The Pirate with his two favorite things, "Lank" and The Sweater!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Stash Dash 2011 complete

August 15th marks the end of the Stash Dash for the Knit Girllls. I finished the Dash knitting 8120 yards in the 3 month contest, about 2,000 yards over the goal! Knitting right to the end, I completed the last two projects yesterday and today, The Pirate's Christmas Sweater and a shawlette:

Pattern: #111 Children's Henley Top Down
Yarn: Cascade Pacific Yarn
Colorway: Deep Red (just can't seem to get the color right in the photo!
Amount: 5 skeins
Needles: US 5 and 7

 Pattern: Began with Milk Run Shawl Pattern, Lace edge with Multnomah
Yarn: Tag ends of 75% wool and 25% wool sock yarn, and Red Heart Heart & Sole
Colorway: Ivory base
Amount: 2 skeins ivory and @ 200 yards of tag ends
Needles: US size 5

The timing for this challenge was perfect for me, summer. I always try to do most of my Christmas knitting in the summer so there will be less pressure in November. I knit four Christmas sweaters,  four pairs of mitts for Christmas, one pair of mitts and one shawlette for me, one shawl for the NorDakPurl Gurl, two charity baby sweaters, one pair of socks for The Oregonian,  and one Aunt Tilly baby blanket to go to England! Wow! a very busy summer!

Friday, August 12, 2011

One to check off the bucket list

The California Dreamin' Gurl asked if I would like to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge. My immediate response surprised her. I didn't agree to the walk but said I'd have to give it some thought. I had visions of a chainlink type railing and a walkway that would allow you to peer straight down into the bay! I did later agree to going there and perhaps walking across if I deemed it safe and secure. One step on the bridge and I knew the walk would be fine...
 It was a great 1.7 mile walk across the bay. The only worry, avoiding bicycles and oncoming pedestrians. Once we were across I snapped this pic, you can see how excited the kiddos were once they realized they had to walk the 1.7 miles back to the car!
I didn't even know this walk was on my bucket list until it was accomplished! California Dreamin' Gurl, I'm so glad you thought to ask me!
Dahlias for Jo to enjoy!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

California or Bust!

After several days with my brother and family it was time to move on to California...
We spent a lovely morning walking through the Berkeley's Botanical Gardens:

Then we stopped by Boalt Hall and the new Law Library at Berkeley. It was nice to see where The Claifornia Dreamin' Gurl has been spending so much of her time these last couple of years!

The Pirate couldn't let me be in California without visiting Bake Sale Betty - it was every bit as good as I remembered and she now fries tofu for the vegetarian set. California Dreamin' Gurl finally understands the lure of the sandwich!
We spent time painting by numbers and playing Left, Right, Center.
I wish we could be together more often. The time, it sailed by! Thanks, I had a great time with you all!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Lewis and Clark, revisited

On July 25, 1805 William Clark arrived at a place on the Yellowstone River we now call Pompey's Pillar. He left the only mark that is still present today scratched into it's side:
Hubby and I went to the Pillar for the 205th celebration of their expedition and stop at the National Monument.

Hasan Davis portrayed Clark's slave York. What an outstanding performance! His discussion will help provide a different prospective to Black History Month in my third grade classroom this year. York was born a slave and as a young man went on the expedition without being asked or paid. The thirty other men went knowing that there was a grave possibility that they wouldn't return but York wasn't given that choice. As they went further west into the unknown York was given more and more freedom, once even allowed to vote - something never allowed a slave. In Hasan's portrayal the listener understands York's feeling of complete freedom for the first time in his life as well as frustration when they arrive back in Saint Louis and he becomes a slave once again. The other men were given 360 acres of farm land for the two year trek. York, who had worked side by side and gone step by step with the other men, became a slave once again.
Hasan brought a new and interesting discovery to this talk. Recently there were letters found in an attic in Saint Louis. The letters were from Clark to his brother stating that his life long slave, York, had become surly and uncooperative since the expedition.  Clark asked his brother to take York and show him what being a slave was really like. York went to the home of Clark's brother and became a field hand but was eventually set free. No one knows what happened to York but I like to think he made his way back to this part of the country where he again knew freedom and was once again welcomed by the Native Americans.

Just a week later I was at Fort Clatsop where Lewis and Clark spent their winter on the Pacific Ocean before returning to St. Louis.

The fort is located six miles inland. Over the winter the men boiled water to make 20 gallons of salt!
The forest between the fort and ocean...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Vacation Knitting

Scott, The Oregonian, admitted voicing his wish to learn knit was initially just to humor me but he soon caught the knitting bug. He was surprised how relaxing it is to knit.....
First attempt
He began knitting on Sunday afternoon and finished the cap on Tuseday, an outstanding student!

Just wanting a warm noggin' 
He'd like to make several more hats and move on to socks! Yea, I hope I have created a knitter!

I had been working of on a pair of mitts when The Oregonian told me he really liked the socks I had made him a couple of years ago but he kept them for "special" because he didn't want anything to happen them. WOW! Any knitter knows that if they have a recipient like that, you knit for them! I started on a pair immediately...
Pattern: Donna's Easy Socks
Yarn: Austermann Step (from the Mariners Stitch and Pitch)
 Colorway:Self striping in black, brown and denim
Amount: 0ne Skein
Needles: US size 2

Misako kindly found the sweater that I had knit Scott when he was a baby. Mom had carefully lined it with fleece so that The Oregonian could wear it throughout the cold Montana winter. This is the first project I remember knitting and certainly the oldest project of mine to have survived....
The Scottie dogs are white not the usual black in honor of our dog at the time, Willie, a West Highland Terrier. I loved the dog dearly but Scott does not remember him with such fondness probably because he got stuck dealing with the "mature" dog and I was a young bride living hours away!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

On the Oregon Trail

For the last week and a half I've been making the rounds visiting the Pacific Coast Families. My first stop was to see The Oregonians. The weather was outstanding, and Mount Hood was beautiful as I flew in:
Mt. Hood
I had a great time in Astoria. The family really kept me busy. The first day we went hiking. A six mile hike from Fort Clatsop to the Pacific Ocean through beautiful forests and meadows.
Misako, Sam, Joe and Scott
Each night we played games. They introduced me to Ticket to Ride, and I introduced them to Left Center Right adding interest by using nickels!

Misako fixed some favorites dinners of mine including pork chow mien. We also had fish and chips at The Bowpicker, which is a local favorite and mine too.

In Oregon looking across the Columbia to Washington

Another day we went to the beach and enjoyed sitting and watching the boys play in the sand with the pelicans gliding by with very little effort.

Thanks family for a great time!