Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Knitting Review

Socks: 26 pairs
Clogs: 5 pairs
Mittens: 1 pair
Fingerless Mitts: 2 pair
Hats: 8
Baby Items: 3
Scarves/Shawls/Cowls: 4
Dishrags: 6
Project bags: 12

(Mitered Square Sock Blanket: 186 squares)

Grand total of knit items for 2013: 53 plus (186 squares) and a dozen project bags

Favorite Item: Beautiful yarn given to me by Yarn Lovin' Lizzy creator of Vice Yarns

Craziest thing knit this year: Socks for my brothers

Spider Socks
Old/New Griz Socks
Favorite photo prop for knitted item: Daisies

Favorite hand dyed item: Socks in the Poolside Bitch Colorway

December 31st filled with firsts and lasts

A first:
The California Dreamin' Gal has been singing the praises of Kombucha for quite some time. It is an acquired taste and on the last visit it finally happened! I like the fizziness and when it is a batch that has been brewed for a short period of time there is less vinegar flavor - delicious! SO this Christmas I received everything needed to start brewing my own Kombucha:

The "mother" arrived. I let it brew for three weeks, mostly because I knew the bottles were wrapped and under the tree!
Yesterday was the bottling day!
Sterilized bottles:
There's now a new batch of tea with mother and baby safely inside:
Just a sip or two for tasting, a little tart for my taste - but three weeks in the brewing!
My first Kombucha off to the refrigerator!
Another six bottles next week!

And a last:
Usually when I start a project I stick with it until it's done. This one was rather frustrating, I envisioned the finished project differently than it actually turned out. The problem? I really didn’t take gauge into consideration when I set out to knit this sweater.
I thought the spider I had used on a pair of socks would easily fit onto a sleeve but in the end it would have totally wrapped around the arm. My next thought was to put the spider on the back of the hood, but when I got to the hood I realized the spider would again wrap around most of The Tiger’s skull! So in the end I only put the spiderlings on the pocket and as the saying goes “What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him.” 
Pattern: Wonderful Wallaby
Yarn: Plymouth
Colorway: Blue
Amount: 5 skeins
Needles: US Size 6 and 8

Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas 2013

Sadly, this year I didn't follow my own favorite advice to Grammas - I didn't have the kiddos decorate the Christmas Tree the night before they left after Thanksgiving. So, instead, the night the kiddos arrived for Christmas holiday the decorations went up!
Now, it's time for the family to leave and it just doesn't seem right to take the tree down after such a short amount of time. BUT next year it's back to Gramma's Favorite Piece of Christmas Advice!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Sewing up a little Christmas goody bag

Earlier in the fall the NorDak PurlGurl and I had a great sewing session making these sock project bags for the gals in my knitting classes:
I appreciate the help that DD gave me and it made me realize just how much I needed a new sewing machine!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Fish Lips with a twist

Just loving doing my own hand dyeing! The colorway is "Poolside Bitch" because at our retreat last June I took a skein that was all tangled. I was just going to cake it later but Darlene and Jo spent 3 hours one evening getting it done. By the time they were through words were flying and the name just stuck!
From this: 
To this:
This pattern is with the Fish Lips Template but I used my new stitch pattern book and found a pattern I liked, WHAT FUN!

Yarn:Knit Picks Bare - Superwash Wool, Nylon Fingering Weight
Colorway: Hand dyed by Emptyknitster in Poolside Bitch Colorway
Amount: 1 skein
Needle size: US Size 0

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Clogging through the Christmas season

Over a year ago The Chick bought some yarn to knit herself a pair of clogs. She'd worn out the original pair I'd knit her and truthfully there isn't a slipper out there that is any warmer.  The pattern is a little difficult and the Chick never did get very far on them. When I began singing the praises of the pattern Easier Clogs for Men and Women she asked if I'd knit a pair for her. 
They're now done and keeping her feet toasty!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

A long winter ahead

That's 20 degrees below zero folks!
Looks like a long cold winter!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Christmas socks for Issac

While the NorDak Family was home I made templates of their feet as suggested by The Sock Therapist of Fish Lip Heel Fame. It became apparent that the pair I'd thought would fit The Tiger would be sadly to small and so it became necessary to knit another pair quickly before Christmas.
Pattern: Fish Lips Heel Sock Pattern
Yarn: Patons North America Kroy Socks Stripes
Colorway: 55520 Rusty Stripes
Amount: 2 skiens
Needle Size: US 0

I've finally moved down to a size 0 and like the tight fabric it produces.

After Christmas note: The boy loved his new socks and wore them 4 days straight! Everyone commented on the great fit of their socks, smaller needles AND the great template really helped me to knit socks that fit!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Turkey Trot 2013

This year marked our family's First Annual Virtual Turkey Trot. All family members were invited to partake. Each family's time would be averaged for the 5k to find the winning team. (We were estatic to hear of The California Dreamin' Guy's sore back - it gave all the rest of us a chance!)
The winners of this year's race are the members of the NorDak Family! Go Team! A big thanks goes to The Chick for all the encouragement given, the kiddos couldn't have done it without you!

PS: To my knowledge the Oregonian Family are still out there on the track!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Pirating Trader Joe's

Recently the Oregon Family sent me a Trader Joe's care package. It was filled with wonderful things that only Trader Joe can produce. Coffee, chocolate covered almonds with a hint of salt, natural licorice, Himalayan salt. But the package also had cookies and while most items couldn't be replicated the Trader Joe's Kona Coffee Shortbread Cookies were worth a try.
Pirated Trader Joe's Kona Coffee Shortbread Cookies

    1c butter, softened
    1/2c brown sugar
    2c flour
    2T coarsely ground coffee beans
    1c white chocolate chips or white candy melts

    Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
    Cream butter and sugar. Gradually stir in the flour and coffee until combined. Knead 3 minutes.
    Roll into a 1/3-in. thick rectangle measuring 11 -in. x 8 in. Cut into 2-in. x 1-in. strips. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheet.
    Bake for 25 minutes or until bottom begins to brown. Cool for 5 minutes; Remove and cool completely.
    Using double boiler melt chips and dip each cookie in white chocolate on the diagonal.
    Store in airtight container.

The knitting ladies loved then as well as the NorDak Purl Gurl. They were delicious and worth adding to my list of quick and delicious treats.  Give them a try and let me know what you think!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

A great Christmas discovery!

Recently, I found a new clog pattern and have now opened a clog knitting factory! One Christmas I knit 17 pairs of clogs. They were a more difficult pattern but this new pattern is quick and easy!
Pattern: Easier Clogs for Men and Women by Kris Basta
Yarn: Cascade 220 WOOL
Colorway: Stash=buster
Amount: Less than three skeins a pair
Needle Size: US Size 11

Are you running out of time for those much in demand handknit Christmas gifts? Then this is  the perfect pattern for you!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Sadie was dyeing for yarn

For the last few of visits Sadie has been talking about learning to knit. I thought she might also like to dye her own yarn. So one afternoon during our Thanksgiving visit we did just that.  Sadie dyed a skein of 4ply and I dyed some more sock yarn - because if you are knitting a mitered square sock yarn afghan you can NEVER have enough sock yarn!
In the end, the dyeing of the yarn was the easy part- knitting, well it's evidently not as easy as Mom.Auntie and Gramma make it appear!