Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 Knitting Review


Adult Sweaters; 2
Socks: 37 pairs
Slippers: 7 pairs
Baby Sweaters: 4
Baby Quilts: 7
Toys: 1
Christmas Sweater Ornaments: 9
Hats: 5
  Preemie hats: 69
Cowls: 1
Scarves: 2
Mittens: 3
Cat Beds: 21

Grand Total of knitting in 2017: 161 items

Favorite items:
So proud to have protesters in the family!
Favorite photo prop for knitted item:
Knitting on our trip to China 2017
Craziest thing knit this year:
Favorite hand dyed item:
Only hand dyed item I knit this year
Dumbest mistake: Starting and ripping out 3 sweaters. ( So bad there are no photos!)

Saturday, December 30, 2017

A wonderful Christmas surprise

The Chick came home a few days before Christmas and told me she had a friend who was going to have twin boys and surprise! They were born a bit early, the Wednesday before Christmas.
Pattern: Five Pound Baby Cardigan by Carole Barenys
Yarn: BernatSoftee Baby Solids
Colorway: Blue
Needle Size: US Size 3 and 5

I love knitting quick, impromptu, projects over the holidays and so was more than happy to knit up these little sweaters for the new babies. The projects aren't finished, finished, finished…I still have to find 10 little buttons sew on the two sweaters but I’m currently snowed in and do not mind staying home one little a bit!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Christmas 2017

Another wonderful Christmas is in the books. We missed the California Family this year but the ballerina was busy performing in not one but two Nutcracker ballets. She was Mother Ginger in her school's performance and King Mouse with the Oakland Ballet Company. She spent several days  including Christmas Eve dancing.

The Chick came into town on Wednesday and we planned out meals and did the shopping. (What a great help) I was pleased when she wanted to get yarn to knit a baby sweater. There isn't a more satisfying way to spend a snowy holiday than to cuddle up and work on knitting.

The NorDak Family arrive Friday and we decided with all the decorating I had done around the house previously, we could forgo having a tree this year in order to have kittens who didn't electrocute themselves!

I was relieved to have SadieLou around to make Chex Mix and decorate cookies.
 
We enjoyed putting puzzles together, playing cards and renew an interest in Mexican Train Dominoes.
It took jitterbugging in the kitchen to Rocking Around The Christmas Tree, in order to get the kiddos out of bed on Christmas morning. They had a great time opening gifts and could hardly believe.....
THEY'RE GOING TO HAWAII!

Grandkitty Zoey had a great time playing with her little shadow Polly,
The gingers taking a break before the next rumpus
 and Denali was her usual cheerful self hiding under the covers or bed the entire holiday...

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Almost went sking at Red Lodge

We were going to renew a tradition and meet the WyomingCowboy Family to go skiing on Christmas Eve. There would be a new generation going for the first time and when we planned it, the trip sounded like a great idea.

The youngest member of the WyomingCowboy Family, little Kynlee, was visiting from Reno and I thought she could use an Elf hat to keep her warm on the slopes.
My best stranded knitting yet!

Pattern: Norwegian Star Earflap Hat by Tiennie
Yarn: Cascade Yarns, Pacific
Colorway: Red and Cream
Needle Size: US 8

But alas, plans fell through - the weather was just to cold for this family to brave a day of skiing. The WyomingCowboy Family went without us and were quite proud of themselves. Despite the weather they skied for an hour and a half.
 Polly thought the pompom was pretty special, grrrr!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

It's baby quilting time again!

I've been wanting to sew another baby quilt for a few months. There was a mess in the fiber room and I've had a busy fall coming and going visiting the girls, so I put any thought of a quilt on the back burner. But this week with all the Christmas gifts wrapped and goodies baked I decided to kick back and enjoy the season by following my bliss.

I thought I had enough scraps from previous quilts to make another quilt and was quite happy I had taken the advice of another quilter by pre-cutting all the extra quilt fabric into 7", 5", 3.5", 2.5" and 1.5"strips. I even had leftover binding cut and ironed, ready to be sewn on.  All I had to do was thread the sewing machine and get to sewing!
I'm beginning to understand why a quilter has a stash just like knitters. While I was sewing this quilt I ran out of green, yellow and orange material making a to run to the store for several half yarn pieces necessary. Once again I have extras of these colors and I realize my scrap stash will never be all used up.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Bunco Gnome

 I’m already thinking of Christmas 2018. For Christmas’ 2015 - 2017 I’ve knit the Bunco Gals little ornaments, Christmas stockings, hat and mittens, and a sweater for their trees. They seem to love them and I'd like to continue the tradition but I've knit all the usual tree ornaments and I’m not sure what to knit for next Christmas. I thought maybe a gnome could be cute and found this pattern. It’s crocheted so the gnomes would make up quickly. But in the end, although the little gnome is cute, he’s to big to hang on a tree. 
Pattern: Christmas Gnome by Liesbeth Braam
Yarn: Rauma Finuligarn
Colorways: Dark Olive and Burgundy
Needle Size: D

I’ll continue my search for that perfect little gnome, I do have a year!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

A new style of sock heel


I saw this new heel on The Knit Show which featured a segment on short rows. They used this sock pattern to highlight the technique. 

Fish Lips Kiss Heels are my "go to" heel but I was willing to give this new heel a try. They are knit from the toe up and use short rows to make a gusset. Although the pattern calls for a picot edge cuff the yarn was just to sturdy and I chose to knit a regular ribbed cuff. These socks are shorties - just the kind SadieLouWho loves - but could have easily been extended into regular length socks.

I'm happy to have this technique in my bag of tricks. I will be listening to the family to hear if any have a bit of difficulty getting them over their "cankles".
Pattern: Picot Socks by Lydia Gluck
Yarn: Patons North America Kroy
Colorway: Winter Eclipse
Needle Size: US Size 1

Monday, December 11, 2017

Just a bit to big for my britches

While visiting the family, California Dreamin' Son-in-law asked if there was a way to mend his socks, the balls of both were just about worn through. After a quick disclaimer I  picked up the stitches above the worn areas, cut the worn bits off, and even though they had been toe up socks, I knit down to the toes and Kitchnered the ends together. An easy fix on the socks and a happy son-in-law.
Later in the week I was folding clean laundry and saw more almost worn out socks.  This time the worn spots were on the heels of the socks but I thought it would be just an easy fix and I could repair the socks before the son-in-law came home from work. I started ripping the heel, and then ripped some more, and a little more...these socks were just to far gone - and I hadn't asked for permission to operate on them.
"No worries," I thought. "I have some more of the exact yarn at home and I'll just knit another pair and pop them in the mail."

When I got home I did indeed have a skein of the exact color but this particular brand requires two skeins for a pair of socks. Again, "No worries," I thought. "I'll just pop into one of the big box stores for another skein."
So I cast on and merrily began knitting the first sock. However, when I did go into town to purchase the yarn there wasn't a single skein of the color. "No worries," I thought."I'll go online and order the yarn from there." No one had the color online until I checked Amazon. Score! I ordered a skein and because we have Prime - no postage, GREAT.

The next day I was just finishing the first sock when I began to have second thoughts. - Had I really ordered the correct color? With some careful checking I wanted Brown Striped Ragg and sadly I had ordered Blue Brown Marl. "No worries," I thought I'll put out an SOS to the knitting ladies and ask if I can buy or trade for a skein of their Brown Striped."

The gals slowly texted back....."Worry," I thought... No one had a skein!

So when the different color arrived I knit it up and although it's different I'm hoping my son-in-law will forgive me and wear these "Conservative Berkley Socks." Next time I'll ask permission before applying scissors to a pair of his socks.
Pattern: Pin Striped Socks by Julia Swart, Fish Lips Kiss Heels
Yarn: Patons North American Kroy Socks Ragg
Colorway: Brown Striped Ragg, Blue Brown Marl
Needle Size: US Size 1

Friday, December 8, 2017

Trial run for the runner

While visiting the CaliforniaDreamin’ Family I was asked to knit a lined hat called The Frontier Tuque
One size fits all
8” crown height
19” opening
Inner Layer:
35% Qiviut, 35% Cashmere, 30% Merino Wool
Outer Layer:
100% Merino Wool

I wanted to do a test knit before I committed to the expensive Qiviut yarn. I found a pattern and decided to use my own handspun yarn for the outer shell but bought some really soft Llama for the inner shell. I followed the pattern exactly on the hat but used a double strand of Llama with the size 8 needles on the inner shell. The pattern will work well for the Son-in-law. 
Pattern: On the C Train by Espace Tricot
Yarn: Handspun and Illmani Yarn ECO-Llama
Colorway: Natural and Bone
Needle SIze: US Size 7, and 8

Now, I just have to try to find some Qiviut/Cashmere/Merino yarn!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Thanksgiving slippers

I was going to an off the grid farm in Oregon to celebrate Thanksgiving this year and I thought slippers for everyone would be fun. To bad I thought of it 5 days before I left! I used 80% Acrylic/20% wool worsted AND sock yarn intertwined so there would be no shrinking of the slippers when washed.
Seven pair knit - only photo of one.
Pattern: Simple House Slippers by Simone A.
Yarn: Lion Brand Wool Ease, and Leftover colorful sock yarn
Colorway: A great stash buster - all yarns were on hand and the sock yarn was just leftover sock yarn added for color and warmth!
Needle Size: US Size 6 and 7

In the end I didn’t knit slippers for all just most and they seemed to like them. If I make more for myself I’ll knit them a bis smaller, they seem a bit floppy.

Mysterious lady socks

The last pair of sock I knit while on my travels weren't completed until after I arrived home but they did facilitate a lovely conversation with the lady across the aisle on the plane. I seldom talk to anyone while flying but this was such a easy and enjoyable conversation. Her name was Katie and she was the same age as The Chick. She showed me photos of her boyfriend visiting in California while making notes of different places to visit in Montana. She shared with me that her mother's name was Judy and we laughed at the coincidence. Katie met her boyfriend at Salt Lake City for some mountain climbing and hiking and I continued my jaunt home. I think we both thought under different circumstances we would have become friends.
Pattern: Vanilla, Fish Lips Kiss Heel
Yarn: Carlton Sock Yarn
Colorway: Birthday Cake
Needle Size: US Size 1

Friday, December 1, 2017

Stranger Things

While in California the kiddos introduced me to Stranger Things. The show had caused quite a stir Halloween week when Session 2 was released but I didn't know if it was just in my world or universal. The kiddos assured me it was universal and we started watching one night, "just to see what the big deal was." We couldn't get enough of Will, Eleven, and the rest of the cast and tried to squeeze an extra episode in every night. The last night I was there the California Dreamin' Gal cooked dinner AND did the dishes so the three of us could finish Session 2.
 I also knit The Pirate a pair of socks during my visit, finishing them just in time.
Pattern: Broken Ribbed Socks
Yarn: Carlton Sock Yarn
Colorway: The Blues
Needles: US Size 1

Sunday, November 26, 2017

California here I come

Although I missed ChloeALittleBit's birthday by a few days we still celebrated! She chose stuffed pasta for dinner and brownies and ice cream for dessert. Then we were off to the ballet. The Joffrey Ballet was performing in Zellerbach Hall at Berkeley and gave a wonderful performance. Although trained classically they perform contemporary dance as well. My exposure to ballet is limited and so I was a bit surprised at the contemporary aspect of the performance. My favorite was "Joy" where everyone was on their toes including the men in high heels shoes!
The kiddos had the week of Thanksgiving off from public school and so we had time to enjoy each other between working hard to complete homework, Chloe's ballet classes and both of their on line classes. The Pirate taught me to play the board game, Dominion and I even won a game or two!

For the last five years the California family have traveled to Southern Oregon to meet with The Oregon Family for a few days over Thanksgiving. They have found the nicest place to stay, Witt-Willow Ranch, totally off the grid and the owners meet you with a dozen eggs and a half gallon of goat's milk (just the best in your coffee or mueslix).

But before we left California there was some food prep for Thanksgiving Dinner. I volunteered to make my mom's infamous Cranberry Salad. Mom insisted on making this salad every year and over time I really have made fun of this concoction. First presentation -Thanksgiving. Second presentation - Christmas. Third presentation - New Years Day. Fourth presentation - in the garbage.
Mom's Cranberry Salad Recipe:
With NO "how to"'s! 

Mom used to grind the cranberries with a meat grinder.
I don't think they were cooked in any way. She just stirred the four ingredients together...
    ( I bought a can of cranberry relish instead and eliminated the sugar.)

My finished product wasn't as fluffy as I remember, so here is how I think Mom's salad preparation went down:

Mom: "11/2 cups of marshmallows - what will I do with the rest of the package?" - she then dumps the entire package of marshmallows into the bowl.

Mom: "Forget whipping the cream, just use Dream Whip."
           "How much is a 1/2 pint of whipping cream, whipped?"...
           "An entire tub of Dream Whip!"

When the ingredients were all mixed together Mom would put it into a Tupperware cake sized container and freeze it, pull it out and refreeze it, pull it out and refreeze it, pull it out and throw it away. But this year the last instruction proved totally unnecessary because the joke was on me..... THE FAMILY ATE ALL THE SALAD!

Hubby flew into Medford on Thanksgiving and then flew home on Sunday. Those kitties are well loved and get lonely so quickly!
We played a few games, read, knit and relaxed. It was fun to see how this part of the  family has spent their last few Thanksgivings together and how comfortable they are with one another.

Friday it was necessary to work a little of Thanksgiving Dinner off the waistline, especially knowing what was for dinner that night. The families share food and cooking responsibilities and did we eat well! Chloe and Joe make fabulous pies!


Sunday, November 19, 2017

Finishing on a jet plane

I was leaving to visit/help the California Dreamin' Daughter who was recovering from a knee surgery and knew the current pair of socks I was knitting wouldn't last the fight out to California. Packing for a two week adventure always includes yarn and so I not only had yarn in my suitcase but in my purse as well.

Happy to have finished this pair for the Birthday Granddaughter, I cast on another pair for The Pirate while waiting for my connection in Salt Lake City.
Pattern: Vanilla Socks with a Fish Lips Kiss Heel
Yarn: Carlton Yarns Sock Weight, Cascade Heritage Sock (black)
Colorway: Wild Flowers, with a Black heel
Needle Size: US Size 1

Friday, November 10, 2017

Giving a little Christmas Knubbelchen

This is the second little Knubbelchen I've made. I think a baby will either love them to pieces as a favorite toy or the Knubbelchen will end up at the bottom of the toybox, nothing in between. Hoping AnnaMarie will love this little guy...
Pattern: Knubbenchen by pezi888
Yarn: Patons  Kroy Stripes
Colorway: Mexicala Striipes
Needle Size: US Size 1,5

I plan on getting Knubbelchen and the sweater wrapped and popped into the mail next week...one down and ??? to go!


Sunday, November 5, 2017

Back on the Wallaby train!

It had been a few years since I'd knit a Wallaby. It was a sad day when The Pirate outgrew the need for a continual Wallaby on his back. (I'd been hoping he'd go to a college with a Pirate mascot so I could knit them for him forever!)

BUT, I'm happy to have a Grand Niece to knit for. AnnaMarie was born this year so she is just a little mite and will be sweater worthy for a long time.
Pattern: Wonderful Wallaby
Yarn: Knit Picks Brava Stroll
Colorway: MC: Celestial
                  Stripes: Orange, Rouge, Freesia
Needle Size: US Size 6

Friday, November 3, 2017

Bunco Gals Christmas 2017

The last two years I've knit ornaments for the Bunco Gals. The first year I knit cute little Christmas sweaters and last year I knit hats and mittens. This year I knit Christmas stockings for them. All are darling!
Christmas Stockings by Jude
Yarn: Bits and Bobs
Needle Size: US Size 1, circular needle

Directions:
Using Turkish Cast On, cast on 4 stitches on each needle
Increase every other round to 14 stitches on each needle
Knit for about 1 inch
Knit a Fish Lips Kiss Heel
Knit to about the same length as the foot
Rib 4 rows
Cast off in “old Fashioned” cast off (not stretchy)

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Halloween 2017

Halloween and black cats a scary combination but not when you have lucky socks!
Pattern: Fish Lips Kiss Heel
Yarn: Carlton Sock Yarn
Colorway: Emerald City
Needle Size: US Size 1

(No Trick or Treaters again this year! Resulting in a happy Hubby because he'd bought full size candy bars, "Just in case!")

Sunday, October 29, 2017

A quick visit to the mainland

Niece Molly's bridal shower was this afternoon. We had a great time catching up and discussing plans for the upcoming festivities. 
 
Where do couples go for a destination wedding when they live in Hawaii? Montana of course!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Introducing a new member of the family...

The NorDak Family haven't posted about their new kitten yet. They've had this beautiful little, now 13 week girl, for two weeks and I just can't wait any longer! She is one of the most unusual kittens I have ever seen, she's polka-dotted and I already love her from afar....
Look at that mustache...
And the dots....
I even love the reverse widow's peek, Telling everyone to check out the spots!
Her name is Lucy and even Charlotte thinks she's a keeper.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Ancestry

I’ve been working on my families genealogy for many years. It has always been an interest of mine, however, I found I didn't sleep at night when working on my investigations. I either got to caught up with the research and worked most of the night or couldn’t sleep because I was thinking about past ancestors, their lives, and how I could glean more information about their lives.

Now retirement allows for many things, one of them is to pursue my passion for genealogy. I’d been interested in Ancestry.com for years but felt the cost, currently $200 a year, was to much when I had a job which should and did occupy most of my time. Last January I bought a membership thinking I would recover as much information as I could from the site and then pull out. This idea has now been revised however.

Back in the day when I send off a request and three dollars via snail mail I’d wait weeks for get a response. I might get a response if the Clerk of Court took pity on me or I had a relative with the knowledge and time to share. It was a long and laborious process. Now I get information from Ancestry every time I log on. I can even go back to ancestors I have researched previously and still discover new information. I’ve found relatives (yes, I did the DNA) who are third and fourth cousins and are happy to share photos and information I don’t have.
Alfred and Catherine Jamison Homestead in Lyons, Colorado. Thank you, Cousin Clark
The only “down” side I see with Ancestry is as I understand the process, if I don’t renew the membership my family line will remain in Ancestry but the information/research/data will disappear from the site, which is key to family research.

One of the reasons I wanted to get on Ancestry is to share what I have. Currently none of the members of my immediate family have an interest in the family genealogy, their eyes glaze over whenever I bring it up. Genealogy is like a Crime Scene Investigation, you work and work but some of it is theory and it is the theory which needs to be discussed and all sides of the family dynamics must be looked at. Ancestry allows like minded relatives to put their heads together and solve those allusive questions which have been keeping me up at night!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Elk Reserve, Take II

When we got home from the Griz game, Hubby wanted to load the trailer up and take off for the Missouri Breaks. So I spent Sunday gathering meals. I made barley soup with garlic bread, chicken enchiladas, and packed things for Rueben and pulled pork sandwiches. Breakfasts were bacon, eggs and hash browns. I cooked up the bacon at home... place in cold oven then turn it on to 400 degrees, when its done preheating you have cooked bacon, easy!

We took both cats with us this adventure. It was Polly’s first trip and she did well in her carrier until about five minutes before our destination. Rats!  Once in the trailer she was fine. When I was in the trailer she was sitting next to me purring. At night she cuddled up next to me in bed to stay warm. I loved it. Denali didn’t growl but spent most of her time in her little hidie-hole Hubby fixed for her under the couch. Life was good.
The wind blew Monday and Tuesday. It appears the elk would rather stay in the willows than be out in the wind. There wasn't near as much activity as our last visit. By Wednesday the hunters were beginning to arrive and the feel of the reserve changed dramatically. The elk were even more spooked by all the activity. Even so it was good to be out in the wild in our little home away from home.

Sunrises are getting later but beautiful!
Traveling Socks:
Pattern: Vanilla Socks with Fish Lips Kiss Heel
Yarn: Carlton Sock Yarn
Color way: 15 or 2
Needle Size: US Size 1