Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Knitting Review

Socks: 22 pair, 1 single Christmas sock
Fingerless Gloves: 4 pair
Sweaters: 8
Scarfs/Shawls: 10
Hats: 4
Baby Blankets: 2
Misc:3
     Grand total of knit items knit in 2011:  54

Favorite knitted item: Beautiful yarn brought back from Germany by a friend. I also learned how to knit beads into my work on this project.

And The Tiger's Bluie III because he loves it so!

Favorite photo prop for a knitted item: A split rail fence...
Craziest thing knit this year: Opposites Attract Yarn in Anthony and Cleopatria.
Favorite hand spun item: Mitts in my own pattern Beartooth Mountain Mitts.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

A week's holdiay

Hubby worked on Christmas again this year. So The NorDak Family decided to celebrate the 25th with the other side of the family and come to Montana on Wednesday. The Chick and I lounged all Christmas morning, Hubby nephew dropped by and then we went down to the fire station and had a lovely dinner.
Hubby's good friend, McKinney, will be changing shifts this next year and so this is possibly the last time they will be working at the station together.

When the family arrived the 26th the kiddos couldn't wait to open their gifts. They were excited about the future wagon train trip but even more so when they found out the cousins will be going as well. The kiddos were especially happy to see their Auntie!
Our days were filled with Uno and Ticket to Ride. Grandpa took the kiddos out one day to sled. When they were back in the house for hot chocolate The Tiger reported they had all taken one "really fast" ride down the hill. His Mom said how she'd like to have taken a photo but The Tiger replied, "Grandpa said THAT won't be happening again!"
Sweaters one and two are photographed, one to big and one just fits...
The Christmas tradition continues, the tree was taken down last night by the kiddos. The family left this morning and all is just about back to normal. Cats are asleep, Netflix is on and knitting is in hand....

Thank you family for a great holiday!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Verb of Keeping Warm...

KNIT!!!
Pattern: Nalu
Yarn: Skein
Colorway: Tuscany
Amount: 34 grams (really!)
Needle Size: US Size 3

These were a fun and fast knit. California Dreamin' Gurl and The Chick Who Flew The Coop both had their eye on these mitts as they were being knit up and happily I can provide both with their wish! These mitts took very little yarn and are lovely.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Gifts from Christmas past

Recently,  Franklin Habit wrote a post about some old magazines that were a standard in his family home. It brought back a Christmas memory I had forgotten.

Every year I looked forward to the Christmas issue of Family Circle to arrive in the grocery store. Hubby and I were broke college students and newlyweds and this magazine virtually guaranteed I would find an inexpensive Christmas gift for some family member.
One year I knit Dad golf club covers from a pattern in the magazine. They were gold covers with brown purl rowed stripes to show what wood it was. I didn't play golf and I wanted Dad to have a great gift. Four covers were okay but he had many more clubs and isn't more always better?? Dad laughed so hard but used all the covers with much teasing from his golfing buddies.

I also knit my brothers ties from the magazine. In fact, a tie was my first commissioned work. I still have the pattern for the tie in my pattern collection.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve 2012

It's going to be a white Christmas!

Many Christmas' ago, Hubby brought home a Santa hat. He thought our little girls would love to play with the red and white hat until "the big day." I suggested we hang the hat on the coat rack Christmas Eve and let the girls play with the Santa hat every Christmas after. 

We never thought it would be so effective! Christmas morning we waited and waited for the girls to gather around the tree - finally we decided they had slept long enough and put on Christmas music and began to make lots of noise around the house, hoping to wake them from a sound sleep. The girls came running up begging us to be quiet. They explained they had been awake for hours but were hesitant to get up because earlier in the morning they had spotted Santa's hat and thought he was delivering the goodies. They didn't want us to scare him off before he left the intended presents!
The next Christmas the girls carefully put the hat back on the coat rack so Santa could take the lost hat home with him. It actually was a big deal when Santa didn't take it and I had to explain that Mrs. Claus had evidently made him a new one and Santa wanted them to have the hat.

The grandkiddos love to wear the hat during the Holidays and this has become a family tradition that the NorDak Family have carried on at their house.

Traveling Socks

The recent trip to San Francisco was taken on a very reasonable flight. SO reasonable that I could only take one bag onto the plane. Even with the limited space I absolutely couldn't travel without a knitting project. Socks are a knitting traveler's best traveling companion.

Normally I use my knitting to keep busy and a way NOT to have to engage in conversation with others. But, this trip I met the nicest lady at the airport while waiting to board. She was a new knitter and painfully knitting her little niece a pair of slippers. She introduced herself and we had a wonderful visit, we quickly found that we had many things in common. She was impressed with the socks and amazed that I finished the mid flight. I do believe that if Glen from Madison, Wisconsin, lived here we would become good friends. Knitters are a wonderful bunch of people!
Pattern: Honey Badger Socks - with a Socks On A Plane beginning! (But The Honey Badger don't care)
Yarn: Schoppel-Wolle Crazy Zauberball
Colorway: It just keeps changing all through the ball - Honey Badger don't care!
Needles: US 1

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Just what the Doctor ordered!

Last weekend I was in rainy San Francisco. The Wednesday before I was to fly down I was gifted  with a cold and laryngitis - again, the second time this school year. With some quick reflection and a little math I realize that I have 700 pupil contacts a week and I'm sure that they aren't all healthy and germ free. When I started my teaching career every year for the first five years I was sick by the third week of school - Open House night was always timed right in the middle of my cold, cough and laryngitis. So I guess it is reasonable the when serving that many bodies a week I will have to boost those immunities.

When, over lunch hour, my cold turned into laryngitis I paniced! I had been so looking forward to my trip to see The California Dreamin' Family! I wrote up Sub notes and decided that I would stay home Thursday and Friday, not talk to anyone, and hope for the best, After all the cold would be almost a week old.....

By Friday I was better but not even functioning at 75%. I called daughter and she said, "Come anyway, if you don't feel good we'll stay home, eat soup and play board games."

What a novel idea!!! Going to daughter's to be nursed over! I loved it! We had a great time and I left feeling much better! I'm hoping/praying that I didn't pass the bug to them!

Chloe rehearsed and performed in The Nutcracker again this year, a real treat for this Gramma to see! While she was away I loved watching The Pirate play.  He loves games but also loves to get them out and build, he'll construct for hours.
We played Ticket to Ride and Dread Pirate, too.
(Notice a repetition in The Pirates clothing? Yes, he still LOVES his pirate sweaters! This Gramma will always make him one when requested!)

The California Dreamin' Gurl remembered I had mentioned wanting to go to A Verb For Keeping Warm, a yarn shop I had heard much about on several podcasts, and so off we went one of the mornings...
The yarns are beautiful and the owners are lovely. 

We also dropped in at Trader Joe's, walked from the house to a bookstore and manicure shop. SO different from Montana!

A great time. Thanks Family!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Hand Spun Mitts

I justified learning to spin by making a pact with myself:

If I learned to spin I would also have to knit the handspun into items.

Although I haven't spun as much as I would like I did have some yarn to knit up. Right now there is so little yarn is each amount I spin I have to knit small projects...
Pattern: Beartooth Mountain Mitts
Yarn: Hand spun
Amount: @ 250 yarns
Needle Size: Size 6

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I had been fending off the Pinterest craze for sometime. I love Ravelry, my knitting community, but it does cut into my knitting time and I knew that Pinterest would as well. Finally I broke down when the teachers all around me began saying what a great source of lessons there was on Pinterest. I have picked up a few lessons but what I feared has happened! I've begun working on projects from Pinterest...

I have snowmen all over the house and keep them up until February so when I spotted this simple project I had to add it to the collection.
Easy, with fun foam and my NEW glue gun!
Also, there have been many entries on using Sharpies on mugs and plates to make personalized items. This has been an interesting project. I've gone everywhere trying to find the necessary items. I'm currently doing a "Test" project to see if it works!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Yee-Haa!

I just finished the second wagon train shawl! This one is for Chloe.
Pattern: Knit and Crochet Shawl by Diane Moyer
Yarn: Plymouth Yarn, Encore Tweed
Colorway: Denim
Amount: 2.5 skeins
Needle Size: Size 8, Hook Size I

I'm hoping the NorDakPurlGurl will bring her sewing machine at Christmas. The next item I want to work on for this trip is an apron for myself. It has a large pocket to hold needles, yarn and the project. It was a free pattern from Cast On. And then we need to make some sunbonnets!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Westward Ho, The Wagons

Last summer while visiting the NorDakPurl Gurl we visited a wagon train the night before setting out on their week long journey. The kiddos fell in love with the idea of a pioneer journey. When I asked the NorDak Kiddos at Thanksgiving if they still wanted to go, there was a resounding YES! I gave the California Dreamin' crew a call and my reply was, "I thought that was a for sure, the kiddos are planning on it!"

I’m going wrap up a shawl for each of the little girls for Christmas to symbolize the upcoming trip we will be taking. And each boy is receiving a cowboy shirt!
Pattern: Knit and Crochet Shawl
Yarn: Plymouth Encore
Colorway: Ruby
Amount: 2.5 from the stash
Needle Size: Size 8 (not the 9 recommended), crochet Hook J

Monday, December 3, 2012

Quick "Treat Day" recipes

The last Friday of each month is treat day at work.  I have a couple of old standards I enjoy bringing and was asked to share them with the crew. What an easy way to get copies to everyone!
Microwave Carmel Corn
Kathy W.

Combine in 2 quart microwave dish:
1 cup brown sugar
1 stick margarine
1/4 cup karo  syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
Bring to boil, then cook on high for 2 minutes.
Stir in 1/2 tsp baking soda.

Put 3 quarts popped popcorn in brown grocery sack. Pour mixture over it. Roll bag shut and cook on high for 1.5 - 2 minutes. Shake bag, cook 1.5 minutes more. Spread onto cookie sheets and cool.

Pumpkin Bread
Caroline K.

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons cinnamon
2 cups white sugar
2 cups pumpkin
4 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups oil
1 cup chopped nuts

Place all dry ingredients in mixing bowl, with a spoon make deep well in center.  In well place all other ingredients. Stir carefully - just enough to dampen dry ingredients. Pour into 2 loaf pans.

Bake at 325 degrees for 55 minutes.



Sunday, December 2, 2012

Another Stashbuster complete!

I finished another pair of socks. These Stashbuster Socks are the greatest! You need three balls of leftover yarn from previous socks. I like to use two variegated colors with one similar color running through both and a third yarn in a solid color. This seems to keep the colors in the socks "toned down" and not looking like what the knitting community calls "clown barf"!  An added plus is for every three pairs of sock yarn bought you get a third pair free!
Pattern: Stashbuster Spirals
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Multi and Solids
Colorway: Maple Grove, Specially dyed Wild Purls, Off White
Amount: Leftovers from 3 previous projects
Needle Size: US1

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Rednecks in Montana...

What do Rednecks in Montana do on December 1st when the temperature hits the 60's?
Go to the shooting range!

The Cat Whisper

Last Saturday The Chick Who Flew The Coop was gathering up her things to make the trip back to her house, clean laundry (check), Black Friday sale items (check), and finally her kitty - Babycakes.  Babycakes loves her mom, her apartment, and our house but she HATES what is between - the car travel!

So when The Chick said, "Okay Baby, I know you won't like this, but it's time to go home." Baby looked at her, tucked her tail between her legs, bolted for the basement stairs and yowled one long yowl all the way until she was under The Chicks bed!

There was a quick discussion and we decided that she could stay with us until after Christmas. A hour after The Chick left, Babycakes appeared and life has been great ever since. Baby goes out on our deck and takes in a little fresh air every morning but what she loves the most is Hubby. She sleeps on him, follows him everywhere and is only two feet away whenever he is home.
Hubby has already bought her a cat bed that will fit into her cat carrier to make the trip home "less stressful". He truly is a cat whisper - not a cat he doesn't love - or vice versa.... Oh, wait a minute I need to write about our other grandcat, Hannah, but that is another story and one best left for Halloween - a true horror story!
Nikko in the new cat bed - Grace is hiding somewhere pouting!