Friday, March 27, 2015

MORE socks

On Saturdays, when the gurls were young I'd often make waffles for breakfast and just for short time called them "Awful Waffles." Until middle daughter, who HAD loved them for breakfast, no longer would eat a single bite! Oh my, it was because I'd been calling them awful for several weeks, and years later she still claims not to like waffles....

I've improved my sock knitting technique in the last few years. When I began this sock knitting adventure they all went into my sock drawer but as I got better at knitting socks, they became gifts for friends and family. Now, as I look at the socks in my drawer, I long for the much improved versions!

Kendy, from the WyomingCowboyFamily, has told me on several occasions that although she has been receiving her Birthday and Christmas socks she'd never turn down sock drawer hand-me-downs.  I'm pretty sure that she should be looking in the mail for a package soon!
And then I'm adding these socks to my sock drawer...
Pattern: Blueberry Waffle Socks by Sandy Turner and Fish Lips Kiss Heel
Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine
Colorway: 1294
Needle Size: US Size 1

An easy pattern to remember and an overall fun knit.
This pattern has been tossed about lately on various podcasts.  I thought the yarn The Chick bought for me for my birthday would be perfect to use when knitting them up - and it was.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The end product to a spring weekend

This weekend my creative juices were really flowing. I decided to try a new dyeing technique I'd read about, ice cube yarn dying.
I froze concentrated grape, strawberry and apple-kiwi koolaid into ice cube trays. Then I placed the ice cubes on the moist yarn. I placed the yarn in a low temperature oven for about an hour. The results were horrid, blotchy yarn in dull purple, BRIGHT red and splotchy green.

Today I used a technique called tonal dying in an attempt to over dye the  yarn. I used blueberry koolaid and placed the dry yarn into a pot to simmer. I like the result...

Monday, March 23, 2015

My biggest fan

Every Christmas I have the blog entries printed into hard copies for the family. Somehow this Christmas my biggest fan didn't get his usual edition.

When I was cleaning up Christmas wrap in the fiber room, there was The CaliforniaDreamingFamily's copy hidden under the mess! I didn't miss the opportunity to get it down to California last weekend when Bri was visiting.
I was happy to get this photo of The Pirate. I see my fan club continues!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Spring has sprung in Montana!

After a LONG winter, Friday brought spring not just on the calendar but also in the weather and my temperament! Friday I cleaned house like a maniac so the weekend could be "my own".  Saturday I did a little "junking." Years ago Mom and I used to do this every once in awhile but I really haven't done it since The Chick moved into her own place and needed a few things to round out the first apartment. (black paint always coordinates everything!)

I found a frame and original painting dated 1966 of an aspen grove and teepee for $6 by someone I hope never rose to fame and fortune in the artistic world because...
I did a DYI project for my fiber room.  I'm going to add a quote on the blackboard after the paint cures a few days.

The blackboard paint was so fun and easy that after I made instant Chi Tea and Cappuccino I sprayed the lids and added the name of the contents and amount needed for a cup!

Chi Tea
1 c. nonfat dry milk powder
1 c. powdered non-dairy creamer
1 c. French vanilla powdered non-fat creamer
2 c. white sugar ( I used a sugar substitute)
1 1/2 c. unsweetened instant tea
2 t. ground ginger
2 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. ground cloves
1 t. ground cardamom

Place into jar and shake, shake, shake!

1 1/3 c. white sugar (I used a sugar substitute)
1 1/3 c. French vanilla powdered non-fat creamer
2/3 c. nonfat dry milk powder
2/3 c. instant coffee granules

Place into jar and shake, shake, shake!

I found a wooden Easter decoration. Years ago I noticed how scratched the front door got with my seasonal decorations. I bought an old window frame and now use it on the front porch.
Also, there is a new piece of petrified wood added to the collection. Hubby brought it home from his latest adventure. (Some boys never grow up and will always bring home an interesting rock or bone!) I love our rock collection on the front porch welcoming all visitors. They have a reason for being there other than just a display - Pirate I bet you know!

I also found two great baskets. One is handmade and I'm going to use it for my ongoing Down The Rabbit Hole Blanket project. The other is an old picnic basket (dated 8-1-41 on the bottom). The stories I could make up about where that little basket has been but I'll just use it for yarn storage in my fiber room for now.
I like the idea of using old picnic baskets for storage and will keep my eyes open for more in the future.

I also got the courage to look at my Kombucha in the cupboard. It  has been left to take care of itself since Thanksgiving. Oh my, the SCOBY looked like a dog chew!
 In desperation I texted and SOS to The CaliforniaDreamingFamily  asking for H-E-L-P!! I was told they thought the SCOBY was a lost cause but SCOBIES are hard to find around these parts and I had read about buying dehydrated SCOBIES so I plopped it into warm water.
After some soaking I pulled the baby SCOBY from its mother, tossed Momma to the turkeys and am now brewing a new batch! I had to pour a four month bottle of Kombucha in the batch, it was hard because it's the best Komucha I've ever made!

While at the store I found some pansies pleading to go into my cart and be planted. It's a little early but I needed to get my hands into the dirt and pansies are a hardy bunch so...
I cleaned out the front flowerbed for the daffodils and columbine to grow and added pansies to the three pots out front (Chicken wire?? you ask. Yes, to keep the deer out. It seems they don't like columbine or daffodils but love pansies!) Then off to the deck where I added three more small pots of pansies near the back door. AHHH, Spring!

I'm not done yet but I'll write about the current project when it's done!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Toddler tube socks

I've been wanting to give baby tube socks a try. They take just a bit of leftover yarn and are a quick knit for a shower gift....
Pattern: My Own
Yarn: Patons Kroy 4 Ply
Colorway: Sporty Stripes
Needle Size: US Size 1

Cast on 20 stitches using Judy’s Magic Cast On.
Increase every other round until there are 40 stitches
Knit 4 rounds
Knit 2, Purl 2, to length desired
Cast off loosely

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Happy Birthday Girls!

Denali with her birth Mom
Nine week old Denali on her arrival from Alaska
Look who's 1 year old today!
Our SadieLouWho and little Denali share the same birthday.  Sadie has brought this fact up several times throughout the year and so it was easy to remember Denali's first birthday!  No gifts for her today, hubby is away but truly every other day of the year would be a birthday if it consisted of only gifts - he continually showers her with presents.  I will admit to a neck-rub and a verse of "Happy Birthday" for her in honor of the day!

Lucky socks for a lucky boy!

When visiting the NorDak Family last month, The Tiger asked me to help him get his socks on. They were the birthday socks I’d made him in the fall and man, oh, man, his feet had grown! So when I settled back home his name went to the top of the list for a new pair.

The Tiger’s handknit socks are very important to him, he believes they are “Lucky Socks” bringing him luck on spelling test day. Not only are these socks lucky because Gramma knit them but because they are lucky shamrock green!
 G-O-O-D-L-U-C-K    T-I-G-E-R!!
Pattern: Stashbuster Spirals
Yarn: Cascade Heritage Sock, Schoppel-Wolle Crazy Zauberball
Colorway: Moss, Cinnamon and Blue/Green
Needle Size: US Size 1

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Where is your favorite place to knit?

Chico Hot Springs!
Chico Hot Springs was originally visited by the Native Americans where they would soak in the warm waters. In 1900 a couple built a hotel, dining room and plunge pool. Later rooms were added for a hospital wing. Currently it is a popular weekend retreat for area families and provides a restful soak for tourists leaving The Park.
Lucky for me I'd brought my knitting. There was an unfortunate accident in the pool involving a kiddo (no blood) and the pool was closed for the first half of our stay. Getting creative we headed for the Boiling River on the 45th parallel in Yellowstone Park. "A sign north of where the road crosses the Gardner River marks the 45th parallel of latitude. The 45th parallel is an imaginary line that circles the globe halfway between the equator and the North Pole. Bathers must walk upstream about a half mile from the parking area to the place where the footpath reaches the river. This spot is also marked by large clouds of steam, especially in cold weather. Here, a large hot spring, known as Boiling River, enters the Gardner River. The hot and the cold water mix in pools along the river's edge."
Months ago the girls had planned this quick trip around The Shamrock Run in Bozeman. They ran a half marathon with little training and unfortunately the soak did them little good. They both were soon hobbling around making me look like a youngster!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The laugh was on us!

This past weekend Hubby asked if I'd like to head to Yellowstone Park and see how the critters had fared over the winter. We have been noticing a little spring popping up around home and so I was good to go. With very little planning, we pulled things together - Leftover pizza for lunch and corn beef and cabbage for dinner, some warm blankets and off we thought we'd go.

Do you remember Denali is supposed to be a traveling cat?? She headed west for all the Grizzly Games last fall. However, this time she had other ideas for our spur of the moment trip. (I think Hubby was just a little to intimidating in his noisy nylon jacket and quick movements.) As he tried to put on her harness, off she ran hiding anywhere we couldn't get to her.  We hung around for an hour or so but I decided we needed to be off on our adventure and "Sorry little Denali, you'll feel very sad when you're left alone at home!"

As we went out the door I'm pretty sure I heard a little kitty belly laugh erupting from her....
and at midnight, when our heater quit working, I'm sure she was a happy kitty in her warm little bucket. The joke was definitely on us!
Eye to eye with a mountain sheep.
Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone Park, naturally!

Yellowstone National Park was signed into law by President Grant on March 1, 1872.  It was the first national park in the world. Yellowstone National Park spans 3,468 square miles of canyons, rivers and mountain ranges. It is centered over the Yellowstone Caldera - the largest supervolcano in North America! Even with the threat of a volcano erupting in our backyard we are lucky to have such a large wilderness so close to home!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Once upon a full nest...

Recently, we received some photos in the mail. Hubby's cousin was sorting through three boxes of photos her mother had taken years ago. The ones in the envelope were from a visit Hubby's Aunt Martha had made to Montana years ago. Great Aunt Martha came out west to visit her sister-in-law, Hubby's mom. This coincided with our visit and we had a great time. Martha must have thought so as well because she came back for another visit again a year or so later.

Martha took these photos so we don't have a photo of her. But what fun it is to see a happy Gramma with her beloved Grandchildren!
These photos brought back a memory of the night California Dreamin' Girl fell out of bed THREE times but out of sheer stubbornness she rode out the night on the top bunk !

Great Aunt Martha was sleeping in the double bed in the "guest room" with a crib, and a bunk bed as well. The Chick was in the crib, the NorDak Purl Gurl was on the lower bunk and The California Dreamin' Gurl insisted on sleeping up top. Twice we heard a crash but nothing else. Then the third time the crash was followed by Aunt Martha coming out of the room shaking her head...she'd been picking  The California Dreamin' Gurl up off the floor, and each time offering to trade places with her for the night. But at California Dreamin's insistence she was put back on the top bunk each time.

The third time proved to be a charm and everyone stayed in their assigned bed the rest of the night.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination

Apparently, The Pirate is changing his M.O.! 
Recently his school decided to set a new record for the largest Einstein gathering for the Guiness Book of World Records.
They now, unofficially, hold the record - with plenty of help from their parents!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Saint Paddy's Day Socks

I just finished another pair of sock for myself - must be the year of self indulgence!
Pattern: Vanilla Bean Striped Socks by Emily O'Grady
Yarn: Cascade Heritage Sock and Fishknits Strong Heart
Colorway: Moss for toes, heels and cuffs and Fuji Fight Like a Girl for the main construction
Needle Size: US Size 1

I’ve had this yarn for a while and from the beginning I wanted to make St. Paddy’s Day socks. This just seemed like the time. My feet will be dancing a jig wearing these in a week or so!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Where is your favorite place to knit?

Just another day at home!
And exactly why I love to be at home, because you just never know who's going to stop by!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Family Matters

For the last few months I have been spending time with family and frankly to busy to be blogging.  I'm not going to dwell on the situation but things are settling down now, and getting back to normal!

However, I'll say I've learned a few things over the last three months. The biggest is just how much family matters. We've always been a close family, which is an easy thing to write in good times and a statement this mom says with pride after our stressful situation. It was a time our family just naturally pulled together and all our strength and resources  were pooled, working toward just one outcome. Hubby, daughters, son in laws and grand kiddos showed their strength. Thanks and much love to everyone!  When times got tough this family really stepped up!

Knitters gotta knit, but in times of stress this knitter REALLY got her needles in gear. Nonstop to the point I knit a blister on my thumb! (not to mention sore wrists and joints) So here is the fashion lineup from January 1st to date:
Project: Vanilla Latte Socks by Virginia Rose-Jeanes with Fish Lips Kiss Heel
Yarn: Patons North America Kroy Socks 4ply
Colorway: Singin' the blues stripes
Needle Size: US Needle Size 1

Project: Vanilla Socks with Fish Lips Kiss Heel by Sox Therapist
Yarn: Patons North America Kroy Socks 4 ply
Colorway: Mexicala Stripes
Needle Size: US Needle Size 1

Project: Vanilla Socks with Fish Lips Kiss Heel
Yarn: Patons North America Kroy Socks FX
Colorway: Clover Colours
Needle Size: US Needle Size 1

Project: Socks on a Plane with Fish Lips Kiss Heel
Yarn: Patons North America Kroy Socks 4 Ply
Colorway: Flax
Needle Size: US Needle Size 1

Project: Modified Socks on a Plane with Fish Lips Kiss Heel
Yarn: Zwerger Garn Opal Sweet & Spicy 2
Colorway: Cake Pops
Needle Size: US Needle Size 1
Again I modified this pattern by using slip stitches where the cables should be. Probably won’t use this variation again but fine for a one off.
I bought the yarn is Fargo North Dakota during an emergency visit to the not so LYS. While knitting a pair of socks my needle had broken leaving me needle-less for three days! THERE ARE NO SOCK NEEDLES FOR SALE IN JAMESTOWN! While at the yarn store I bought the yarn and also TWO pair of sock rockets so that I will never be left in this stressful dilemma again

Project: Modified Socks on a Plane with Fish Lips Kiss Heel
Yarn: Patons North America Stretch Socks
Needle Size: US Needle Size 1

Project: Basic Ribbed Socks with Fish Lips Kiss Heel
Yarn: Patons North America Kroy Socks 4 Ply
Needle Size: US Needle Size 1

Project: Basic Ribbed Socks with Fish Lips Kiss Heel
Yarn: Patons North America Kroy Socks 4 Ply
Needle Size: US Needle Size 1
Not an error!! One pair for Son in Laws January Birthday and another for a gift later!

Project: Groovy Socks
Yarn: Patons North America Kroy Socks 4 Ply
Colorway: Sporty Socks
Needle Size: US Needle Size 1
Love this pattern! What a great alternative to vanilla stripes!

Project: Mock Cable Socks by Wendy D. Johnson with Fish Lips Kiss Heels
Yarn: Patons North America Kroy Socks 4 Ply
Colorway:Gentry Grey
Needle Size: US Needle Size 1
An easy pattern to do and remember. This is definitely a pattern I will use again with a solid sock yarn. I used the 68 stitches required in the pattern but would perhaps use less next time because the cables give the sock a lot of stretch.
Project: Star Shower by Hilary Smith Callis
Yarn: Havirland
Colorway:Starry Eyes (version 2)
Needle Size: US Needle Size 1

NorDak Purl Gurl gave me this beautiful yarn for Christmas. I knew this yarn was dyed for the pattern! I LOVE THIS SO MUCH AND WOULD LIKE TO KNIT MANY MORE!!

I quickly knit this up making a few changes as I went:
Larger needles starting with 7 and changing to size 8 needles when I began the rounds.
At section 4 I increased again at round 12
and knit an extra section of rounds 1-4
Sections 5 and 6 had extra rounds of 1-4
I bound off in the stretchy bind off and would encourage anyone knitting this pattern to do so as well!