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!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Thanksgiving holidays

   The turkeys are here, let the festivities begin!
 
There will be plenty of time for eating, games and shopping!
What a fun week!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A real beauty will take every opportunity for a photo-op!

Why do kitty cats come out of the woodwork when a camera is in hand?

Last time California Dreamin' Gurl was home I led her to my stash and told her to choose what she wanted for whatever her heart desired. She chose this beautiful yarn and wanted socks. I’d hoped to use it for a scarf but I had to live up to my promise and they did turn out well.
I don’t think the colorway has a name but I’ve received several comments about how beautiful it is! Beautifully knit up and I expect the 80% wool and 20% nylon to hold up well!

Pattern: Vanilla Latte with Fish Lips Heel
Yarn: Vice Paradigm - fingering weight
Colorway: Beautiful
Amount: 1 skein
Needle Size: US O

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Bake Sale Betty look out!

Upon my arrival to The Bay Area we quickly decided that a visit to Bake Sale Betty's was in order.  As you know, we do love her chicken sandwiches and ginger molasses cookies to distraction!  In fact, I had been told by Hubby not return without a dozen cookies for him.
Waiting in line at Bake Sale Betty's
It was a beautiful day and a very nice one mile walk to her shop. As usual there was quite a line to the counter. I know the routine, when placing your order there is no messing around.
1. State your order.
2. Fork over the money
3. Move aside!
Before I stepped up to the cash register I mentally practiced my order. "Three chicken sandwiches, two dozen ginger molasses cookies and three lemonades, PLEASE!" Pay, Step Aside!

But when I got to the two dozen ginger cookies things fell apart.
"We have Oatmeal Raisin, or Chocolate Chip - no Ginger Molasses."
"Will you have some tomorrow?"
"Maybe, or sometime next week."
"Can I order some for tomorrow?"
"No. Your order is $27."
"Are you open Monday?"
"No."
"But Hubby said I can't go home without Betty's Molasses Cookies and I'm headed back to Montana early Tuesday morning!"
She shrugged, the sandwiches were paid for and I stepped aside...
The sandwiches were delicious, even without the lemonades, and we began plotting our return.

The next day I cut to the head of the line and asked, "Any molasses cookies? PLEASE???"
The same lady was at the cash register but no sign recognition crossed her face from yesterday's incident, "What we have is on the list." She pointed to the hand written sign on butcher paper... no Ginger Molasses. I slunk away.

The California Dreamin' Gurl did her best and made a batch of molasses ginger cookies that afternoon. We did enjoy them. She tried to convince us Hubby would would never know the difference but... they weren't Betty's.

On Monday morning The Pirate woke up with a mission: DUPLICATE BAKE SALE BETTY'S RECIPE! There was no putting him off as he excitedly danced from one foot to the other until I agreed. Off we went to Trader Joe's to pick up a few necessary items and it was then that a few more pieces of the puzzle became clear. California authorities  have found traces of lead in candied ginger and pulled the product from shelves of many stores. I'm sure Betty doesn't want to get involved and has just ceased making our beloved cookies. But The Pirate and I were not detoured. Perhaps Trader Joe had no candied ginger and we try the local produce grocer with success!

There were two test batches. Not only were we experimenting for taste but for looks. We decided on the second of the two test batches.  The Pirate was excited to share the recipe and wrote out several recipe cards for me and his aunts. I love the name he thought up for our recipe. Lucky you, I'm sharing!!
Fake-Sale Betty Ginger Molasses Cookies
Fake-Sale Betty's Ginger Molasses Cookies
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup candied ginger, finely chopped
4 tablespoons molasses
1 1/2 teaspoons soda
2 1/2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg, beaten
2 cups flour
pinch of salt

Cream butter and sugar. Add egg, molasses and spices. Then add candied ginger. Lastly add flour, soda. Roll 1/4 cup dough balls into sugar. Bake at 335 degrees (sea level) 320 degrees (high altitude) for 11 minutes.

I texted Hubby that Betty sent her regards. We were careful to pack the cookies just the same way we always do. When I arrived home and was unpacking I realized "the cookies" were slightly squished and told Hubby. He immediately came over to inspect them then carried them off to the kitchen.

Later. as he was eating his second cookie I asked, "Are they as good as you remembered?"
His answer? "Absolutely."

Hubby doesn't read my blog and I'm NEVER going to tell. Now you, too, are bound to secrecy!

                    

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Another pair of socks!


Wow! I'm really getting lazy...
These socks are knit with some yarn from Germany...
In my own original pattern....
For someone, someday...
In size US 1needles

(I can't believe I didn't keep better track!)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Quick trip to sunny California

Last Friday morning I got up before dawn, something I haven't seen since retirement, and caught a flight to California.  Although there was a delay in landing because for weather and a small fright to the California Dreamin' Daughter (At one point flight arrival was estimated for 01/01/2070, code for disaster she was sure) we had a great weekend.

I was met at the airport by California Dreamin' Son and Chloe ALittleBit. We had a great morning and then picked up The Pirate after school.  After a quick stop at the ice cream shop we headed home to play some cards. Chloe had ballet and happily it was family watch night:
 
The Pirate went to a workshop on Saturday morning to build a gravity machine:
Later in the evening we played a cooperative game revolving around buying stock, Airline Europe. A fun game with many layers.

We went on a hike Sunday...
and later to Berkeley Playhouse to see The Little Princess. It as everything I would have expected for a Berkeley play, innovative sets, interpretive dance and interesting production.
 
We had another relaxing day on Monday because it was Veteran's Day. Baking, a walk and more game playing.

Thanks Family for another fun visit!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Wagon train quilt square complete!

For me, our wagon train experience is finally coming to a close. I have completed the quilt square I promised in June. All pioneers were asked to contribute a square, but many knew that upon their return to the real world the everyday pressures would return and a quilt square would be impossible. Feeling the new freedom of retirement, I was easily talked into the project - after all it isn't due until December and I had all the time I needed with the start of school no longer looming over me! Surely my friend and quilter Linda would tutor me though appliqueing a sun bonnet girl.

But at the auction for next year's owner of the upcoming quilt, the square took a 360 degree turn. What had started out as a quick project, turned into an important heartfelt acknowledgement of an important person on our adventure. Our wagon master, Marcus, outbid everyone and bought the quilt. Marcus had been so friendly and kind to the kiddos. He was patient with the four kiddos, chatting, answering questions and patiently letting them drive the wagon and teaching them how to care for the horses.
So I've been plotting on just how I could make this a special tribute to him and hopefully let him know just how the six of us felt.

It started as a sketch...
Then many stitches...

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Mitered sock yarn blanket update

This blanket is a long term project. Originally I thought I'd just give it a try and perhaps end up with a pillow. My mistake was adding a random big black square. I soon realized it takes real planning to do random!
So I added another big black square a little bit down the row and will add them in intervals up the blanket. So my pillow has now grown to a blanket the size of a queen size bed!

My goal, since starting this project, has been to knit thirty squares a month or one a day. So far I've been able to keep up. To date I have a total of one hundred and four squares! I now realize that although I have quite a few bits and pieces of sock yarn I don't have near enough. I've taken Blooming Knitter's advice and started dying yarn in nine gram bits.
 
I have a couple of books on order. Dyeing... another new hobby is born!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Warm thoughts and best wishes...

California Dreamin’ Daughter has a good friend recently diagnosed with breast cancer. She is in need of something to keep her noggin’ warm. I was happy to knit the hats for her as well as give a nod to October Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Of the four Shea loved the purple hat the best. Doesn't it just suit her?
 
I also started on a crocheted hat in orange but it soon became apparent the yarn looked like candy corn and therefore, Halloween! Also, I think I would have run out of yarn before I finished the hat. Rather than rip it all out I ripped just a little and a dishrag was born!

I had enough to make the Crocheted Flower Dishcloth pattern. I haven’t crocheted for such a long time that the next morning I woke up with a sore thumb!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

My good luck continues

My yarn winning streak continues! Recently my name was drawn by The Traveling Sock Knitter for two skeins of yarn! One is Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light and a second skein of Malabrigo lace! I look forward to Hannah's weekly video podcast (Hannah and I have a lot in common,we also love to knit socks and have cats that think they are entitled to do as the please!)
I also won the beautiful cat knitting bag featured in the photo! A member of art science nature knit podcast offered this bag as a prize in a drawing. We were to take a photo knitting out in the great outdoors.

A few days after I'd told Hubby I won these prizes he asked about the photo he'd taken while we were visiting a ghost town. I don't usually request photos of myself and at the time I'd told him I was going to use it as an entry to a contest. When I said the photo had been drawn for the knitting bag he kiddingly claimed it as his after all, it WAS his "photographic ability" that won the prize!

PS I love the new orange kitty that Sadie Lou Who gave me... she'd heard me say someday I'd like a little orange kitty.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Another pair of Christmas socks!

I hadz enough yarn from my last socks to make a second pair of Griz socks. These are for a brother who appreciates the Griz and missed the last minute of the game and overtime due to the TV station!! One of the best games EVER! Hope this helps bro’!
Pattern: Stashbuster Spirals with Fish Lips Kiss Heel Pattern
Yarn: Cascade Heritage Socks Yarn
Colorway: Cinnamon, Burgundy, and Slate
Needle Size: US size 1