Sunday, December 31, 2006

All She Wants for Christmas

This year the only thing my nine-year-old daughter asked for was the Singer Knitting Machine that she had seen on a trip to Hobby Lobby (who didn't have this item in their online catalog). Can I just interject how much I adore HL and how very glad I am that they finally opened one here in our state? I used to love to go to HL when we lived in the Denver area. But back to the story... She was quite pleased when Santa brought the treasured item last week. I wasn't sure what to expect. I thought it would be about the same as the hoops (of which we have probably ten or so) but much to my surprise the knitting machine is a lot different! I guess the main difference is the speed. On Christmas day alone she knit two tube scarves and a small mesh bag (using crochet thread, in the picture). The one thing I didn't like about it is that you only have one size option for tube knitting, but it is possible to knit a flat panel which can be stitched together with another panel to make a hat or something. So far she's also knitted two pair of socks, one for her and one for her eight-year-old sister.

I was given a knitting gift as well but seeing as we have to get going on our NYE plans, I better blog about it later. Happy New Year, friends! Many blessings in 2007. I'll leave with one of my favorite passages of scripture as a prayer for the new year:

The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Numbers 6: 24-26

Thursday, December 21, 2006

A Jolly, Happy Soul

Thirty of them, actually. The girls and I made these little fellows to be Christmas gifts for their Sunday School classmates. Our snowmen were patterned after a very similar Frosty my oldest purchased at the Festival of Trees at the end of November. The little pots were painted white by a few cute little elves. The eyes and noses were hot-glued on (Mom's job) and the coal mouths were put on using a black paint pen. They were filled with a small assortment of candies including kisses and my personal favorite mini reese's pb cups (yum!). Finally the little green hats were sewn using a fabric scrap from who-knows-when. Each hat has a tiny red bell which was tied on using red embroidery floss. My youngest says she can't wait for Sunday so she can have a snowman. Being only three-years-old she doesn't quite get that they are for her friends and not her.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas Knitting

In addition to the dishcloths I have had a few other Christmas knitting projects. I was going to make scarves for the girls, but gave up on the idea of finishing them for this Christmas since I have very little time to knit when they are not around. That's ok, there is always next year. I bought this yarn at Hobby Lobby when it was on special for 99 cents a week or so ago. I thought it would make a nice, round scarf using the smallest knifty knitter hoop. My mom had wanted to make some for her friends for Christmas gifts but she really doesn't like the hoop knitting. I don't mind it so much and the girls quite enjoy it, so I told her we'd make her gifts. She mentioned that she had considered making one for herself with the leftover yarn, but the colors she was using wouldn't have worked together, so the girls and I decided to make one for her. These colors are so totally Mom. I think she'll like it. I should have taken an in progress picture (I was two skeins into the scarf when I took the photo of the remaining two skeins) but I will be sure to get one when it is finished. It is so pretty as it knits together. I am excited to give it to her!

My next (and last for this year) Christmas knitting project is a pair of socks for my dad. I found some very soft Trekking yarn at my semi-LYS. I didn't realize that it would knit in subtle stripes when I purchased it. I think the dark colors, even with faint stripes will be fine for Dad, but I'm not totally sure. What do you think? Do the stripes make them, oh I don't know, not dignified enough?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I knew I should have typed the title to this blog entry when it streaked through my head like a flash of lightening, but alas, I did not.

Meet Pepper! He came to live with us yesterday as a slightly early Christmas gift for our family (but mostly the children). We were told he's a pointer/jack russell mix. He is certainly cute and such a sweet little thing. His big sister Tiger isn't all that impressed. She hasn't showed her face upstairs much since the little guy's first paw crossed the threshold. She hasn't hissed at him either though and I'll take that as a good sign. We bought him a purple collar & leash, kennel (a refuge from all of the attention he gets), some crazy Christmas doggie treats, and a snazzy new sweater at PetSmart. Perhaps this is the only kind of sweater I will have the patience to knit? One for the pup? Maybe ... someday ...

Oh yes, I've done a little knitting too. Not much, but a little. Perhaps I'll snap a picture and blog about that soon too. In the meantime -- yay for puppies! And for Christmas time!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Why I want to learn to crochet:

My paternal grandmother (we called her Maim) made this tote bag for my mom a long time ago. Recently Mom gave it to my girls and me. I love it! Green is my favorite color, especially this shade. I'm told Maim could crochet "a mile a minute".

Monday, November 06, 2006

Mom's Brazilian Embroidery

A week or so ago Mom was teaching me how to do machine embroidery and while looking through her sewing stuff we happened upon these beautiful squares of Brazilian embroidery. She said she had made them years ago, most likely with the intention of framing them. I had never seen this type of embroidery before and was quite impressed! I have a good friend who not only does framing but also has a flare for decorating. I asked Mom if I could take them and have them framed for her. Mom agreed. They are so beautiful I had to post a picture of them.

Brazilian embroidery is a craft I would be interested in learning, especially now.

Also pictured (below) is my first attempt at machine embroidery. It was not as hard as I expected. Next time I do it there are a few things I would do differently, but overall I think it turned out pretty good. I will definitely be doing machine embroidery again - I just need to remember to pick up a hoop.

I apologize for so much time going between posts. A few weeks ago I took a part-time job at a local craft store. While I love the job, it takes a lot of my spare time.

edit for clarity: Mom did the Brazilian embroidery by hand. The machine embroidery was done on a regular sewing machine. I need practice though.

Friday, October 20, 2006

finished afghan

Dear Mom,
It is my hope that as you wrap in this blanket, you can know how much I love you. Not a single moment spent on even one stitch was wasted. Each wrap of the yarn around the needle was a prayer for you.

Because I could never thank you enough ...


Well, I wanted this to stay serious but because my mom has such a funny sense of humor, it can't. The pillow reads: "Maybe the Hokey Pokey really is what it's all about!" Mom was given this by a friend one Christmas and faithfully it sits in her living room. She even made a few of her own to give away to other friends the following Christmas. The afghan does not live there on the rocking chair. I don't know that it actually has any one place where it belongs. It kind of migrates around the house as far as I can tell - and that is fine with me.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Gorilla Cookies

Last month I posted a picture of my no-bake cookies (and by the way my brother in law says those are the only real "cookies" a more accurate name for the others would be bakies. He has a very yummy recipe for choco-chip cookies that we call "Sammy's Bakies"). Anyway so after I posted the picture Kim asked for a copy of my recipe. My recipe calls for evaporated milk (do they all? I don't know) and she wondered if it would work to make them with the skim variety (I didn't even know there was such a thing).

During my next trip to the grocery store I was walking down the baking isle when what to my wondering eyes should appear but a can of skim evaporated milk. Now I liked the idea of making my already adjusted recipe even less guiltful but was slightly nervous about making a blind leap from full fat milk to skim. I decided to also grab a can of 2% to try first. Those cookies met with great success, so I moved on to trying the skim milk (each can makes two batches so it took a little while before I used up all of the 2% - while I can eat 2/3 of a batch in one evening, I try not to make it a habit).

The original recipe was one my mom always made when we were growing up. It is the first treat I remember ever making on my own. They used to be called "Uncooked Peanut Butter Cookies" but were renamed by my second oldest brother who renamed pretty much everything and everyone (my third brother was once dubbed "Guybo Wheezie Kubo Sootie Weebo Sautie RAH RAH! A name that stuck, much to his chagrin. We called him Rah Rah for short).

Because I no longer use white sugar for anything (with the occasional exception of powdered sugar for frosting) I found I had to adjust the recipe to suit the changes brought on by raw sugar. My problem was that the cookies weren't setting up. One day I accidentally left out the butter and lo and behold the cookies set! Of course without butter they were a little on the dry side, so the next time I tried using half of the butter called for in the recipe. The end result was a yummy cookie. Success!

Here is my mom's recipe with a few changes:

Gorilla Cookies
boil together for 4 to 4.5 minutes:
2 C. raw sugar
1/2 stick butter (4 TBS?)
1/2 can evaporated milk (maybe 6 oz?)
1 T. cocoa powder

after boiling, remove from heat and add:
1/2 C. peanut butter, stirring until melted then add:

3 C. oatmeal
1 tsp vanilla
Though I didn't have any this day, I also like to add some unsweetened coconut - I'd say in the neighborhood of 1/2 cup or so.

stir until mixed - drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper and the rest is history.

Results: With the skim milk I found it took longer to set up than I am used to, but I think it is worth it in the long run.

by the way Pampered Chef makes my very favorite measuring cup for PB or honey or any of that sticky sort of thing.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Shadow Knitting - Illusion or Reality?

Ok, cheesy title. I know. Because I have a few knitting friends whom I can't help but copy nearly everything they do (knitting and otherwise) I determined to give illusion knitting a try. The particular friend who most recently brought this cool technique to mind does not have a knitting blog but her mom and sister do. A while back her sister knit a really cool scarf. While I admired it greatly, I did not think I could ever pull off such a knitting feat. This was, after all, almost a year ago (can I say that when it was actually only 10 months ago?). I am much less knitting timid with all the practice I've had this year.

So recently when this friend started talking about doing some illusion knitting of her own ... well. It got the better of me and I decided to see if I could figure it out.

Now I really don't learn well by reading. It makes little to no sense to me. Knowing this about myself I picked a simple heart cloth (pdf) with written instructions (the charts brought on nothing but stress and confusion). It only took a few hours to knit this and the girls and I are really pleased with how it turned out. Even my husband was impressed!

I decided to use some very old fingering weight acrylic and give it to my daughter to be used as a blanket for her little tiny dolls. It was a lot easier than I imagined and now that I have got the hang of it, I think I may be ready to make up my own shadow knitting pattern! What shall I knit? ...

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Tiger says Muu(Muu)

Now I admit that "muu" is not normally what you would hear coming out of a full-grown cat - perhaps a kitten, but even then it is more of a "mew". At any rate... a fellow knitting blogger and I were having a bit of a chat about our cats (cats, ya gotta love 'em!) when she suggested we knit sweaters for our (uh-hem) darling feline friends. It reminded me of my childhood when, much to our brothers' chagrin my sisters and I would dress our family cat (named Barkley after the dog on Sesame Street - it suited him as he considered himself at least as tough as any dog) in our doll clothes, including booties (how were we to know he'd slide all over the kitchen floor?). What self-respecting male cat (pure black even) would be subject to such humiliating and degrading acts?

Meet Tiger (please forgive the slightly blurry picture - I had to sneak in my daughter's bedroom and take this in the pitch black). She is a little over five years old and was born in the closet of my daughters' room. She is pretty lazy, despite the name. She's a good mouser though, as we've never had a single rodent in the house (well once I thought I heard one, but it was soon gone, so I assume it either never existed or Tiger got it). She has left us a few rodent gifts at the back door. Once she tried playing with a black widow (*shudder*) but thankfully quickly realized she wanted nothing to do with the creepy black thing and backed away allowing my husband to kill it instead. Tiger doesn't care much for children, but does know her place as pet. We feed her, change her litter box and don't allow her to abused. In turn she allows the girls to play with her sometimes never meowing just occasionally shooting her death glare around the room. If looks could kill...

So about the muu muu you ask? Get to the point? Ok I will (I really should go wash the dishes anyway). I did a little search on my favorite free pattern site: Knitting Pattern Central under pets and found they have recently added a pattern for a cat muumuu.

So what do you say Knit a Little, do you think Roland (scroll down a bit for his picture) is man enough for a muumuu?

Ok, perhaps I'll keep looking for a cat sweater...

Monday, September 25, 2006


Afghan. The word sounds intimidating, almost as frightening as “sweater”. I am an in-the-moment kinda gal. I don’t tend to be especially patient and this shows through in my knitting. I like to knit things that I can finish quickly. I do not want to spend a large amount of time on any one project. The idea of a full-sized baby blanket practically sends me into a panic attack. Can you imagine spending an entire week or two of knitting time working on one project? Perish the thought.

But what do you give someone who has a terminal illness?

For Mothers’ Day I did not know what to get my mom. I ended up having the girls make her a stepping-stone from a kit I purchased at Michael’s. While the girls and I worked on the project in the back of my mind I thought of the day I would get it back. I wished that I didn’t have to be so aware that such a day would come.

Just before Christmas last year my mom was diagnosed with systemic sclerosis (or scleroderma), which had triggered pulmonary fibrosis, an incurable lung disease. It is fatal. Always.

Another aspect of the systemic sclerosis is raynaud's syndrome. Mom is always cold. I had in mind that I would like to knit an afghan for her birthday, as intimidating as they are. Mom and I share a favorite color: green. I knew the blanket must be green. I found a free pattern (pdf) that I liked online. The pattern is knit with a cable running the length of each of the eight strips that make up the afghan. The yarn I chose to use was Caron Simply Soft in two shades of green along with a raspberry and bone. Each color would have two strips.

I spent not just a few weeks knitting this one project, but an entire summer. I finished the final strip late last night. I did knit other things from time to time, for a change of pace and because I have knitter’s ADD. I can’t have just one set of needles busy at any given moment. The afghan though, was the project in my bag. It was the one that went everywhere with me.

Many hours were passed knitting in the car to and from Southeastern Utah. It went to the library many times, to the children’s museum, to riding lessons, gymnastics, once to a political meeting but most often to church. There was something comforting about working on my mom’s blanket while listening to a teaching of the Word of God.

The eight row, repeating pattern is now burned into my brain. In the beginning I counted every row. Then I went on to only counting every cable twist. Eventually I just knit until it looked like I was close to the end of the strip and counted. I only over-knit once!

I will miss having Mom’s afghan with me, but at the same time I dread the day I'll get it back. While at gymnastics this evening I glanced into my bag and saw the bamboo size 10.5 shorts that I purchased specifically for this project. There they both sat, unemployed. It made me feel a twinge of sadness. Finishing the strips is one step closer to finishing the blanket, which is one step closer to giving it to her, which is one step closer to saying good-bye to her. I sighed and went back to work on another dishcloth.

The pictures above: first, the finished eight strips; second, the final order for the strips - this one was suggested by my husband with a little help from my daughter (it was the fourth one tried); third, the stitch pattern

Sunday, September 17, 2006


Yum - peaches! Saturday we went to a wedding in a small town about a half an hour north of us. This little town is known for their peaches and actually host an annual event called "Peach Days". We decided to buy half a bushel while up there. Oh. My. They are absolutely the tastiest peaches I have ever eaten! I will be going back up there on Tuesday to get more to bottle and make jam.

This bowl of milk and peaches was my dinner tonight. Inspired by Mama Bear's yummy end of summer fruit pictures, I decided to immortalize my evening meal today. Unlike Mama Bear I don't peel my peaches as the furry skins have never bothered me. Call me crazy.

If this keeps up I may consider changing my blog to "anteat" ...

Thursday, September 14, 2006

C is for Cookie

If I made them with half as much butter, does that mean I get to eat twice as many cookies?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

more with the dishcloths

Kinda feels like I fell off the blogging face of the earth. We had some seriously annoying internet problems for a while. We still have trouble from time to time, but nothing like it was so I won't complain.

I have been knitting though, and I guess that is what's important, huh? I've finished a bunch of our Christmas gift dishcloths. All of the patterns I have been using are from The Dishcloth Boutique. I may try some more patterns in the near future, but the three I've made are Textured Slip Stitch, Grandmother's Favorite, and my latest favorite: a modified version of Chinese Waves. I have a Chinese Waves cloth on needles right now. I like the variegated greens of this yarn. When I'm finished I will give this one to my sister. Over the weekend I did another in the rainbow yarn (I think it's actual name is Fiesta, but I'm not sure) for another sister. We were all out of town together for the weekend so I was knitting everyone dishcloths. I still have a lot of cotton that can be knit into dishcloths. I don't know that I will get it all done by Christmas or not. My favorite is the multi-colored variegated cone. The yellow variegated cone has the beginnings of a cloth my nine-year-old is knitting. The other colors I've enjoyed knitting include, fiesta, the green variegated, and white. I wouldn't have ever considered that the color of yarn would have an effect on how I felt about the knitting, but it does.

Other knitting I've been working on includes a burial gown and a preemie blanket, both for LucyBug. Also, there is a light at the end of afghan the tunnel. I am nearly finished with the seventh strip, and the pattern calls for eight. I may do one or two more, as it turned out I accidentally knit it a bit longer than it was supposed to be. We shall see how it goes.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Ambush Knitting

Last December a friend came over to learn to knit. There were a few problems, one: Not only am I left handed but I knit weird to boot. At the time I didn't know that either (well, I did know I'm left handed *wink* but was unaware of my strange knitting styles). two: She was going to try knitting a scarf on Size Enormous needles (maybe 15's?). Those are awkward enough as it is, but for a beginner, UGH! I had never tried them myself so I didn't know how hard they would be to use (I've never used anything larger than 10.5).

So long story short, she was frustrated, I was frustrated. She gave up and swore off knitting. I was so sad.

Fast forward to yesterday ... we don't get together often lots of kids, lots of activities, just life. So we were talking and I invited her and her kids over to play today. This morning before she got here I ran to the craft store and picked up some size 7 bamboos and a ball of cotton. My local craft store is so cool and always offers a 40% coupon. I love that place!

Anyway, so she got here with her kids and I told her I wanted to try teaching her to knit just one more time. I showed her the needles (bamboo are so much nicer to use than metal!) and yarn plus the very simple dish cloth pattern I printed off of The Dish Cloth Boutique. She agreed to give it another shot. Yay!

The knitting went pretty well. I even pulled out the very first item (a dish cloth of the same pattern) that I had ever knitted (five years ago). That is it up at the top. As you can tell, it wasn't and still isn't beautiful. The yarn has long faded, it used to be pink and white (apparently I'm not very good at laundry). There are some missed YO's and at least one dropped stitch in the middle (not to mention the tension issues!), but you know, it's functional. And it doesn't matter that it isn't lovely. I told her in five years she may just pull out her dish cloth to show someone she is teaching to knit. :)

Today I had time to knit another dish cloth. I'm knitting some to give
away (like at church and such) as Christmas gifts this year. "Washing you a Merry Christmas" or "We wash you a Merry Christmas". ha.

Monday, July 31, 2006

So there really can be a difference between dye lots

As it turns out, there's a reason you ought to check dye lots. Hm. Evidence: these poor booties! I didn't have enough yarn in my first ball to make the mate to this poor top bootie. So off I ran to the craft store to grab another ball. Of course dye lot did not even cross my mind. Fortunately it is just a small bootie so I wasn't out much time. I made two booties from the newer, more white and less cream yarn. The first? Well, perhaps I'll make another bootie out of some other left-over cotton and give them to the girls for their dolls.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

this and that

I mentioned in my previous post that I've had a lot of knitting time lately. I have made good progress on my mom's afghan (pdf), it is nearly halfway knit! Should we have a poll to see how many people think I will be able to wait until November (her birthday) to give it to her? (shh, I would probably vote against myself.)

I am using Caron Simply Soft yarn in sage, bone, dark sage and raspberry. I had wanted to use autumn red, but it was out of stock when I placed my order. I think the raspberry will be fine. I am knitting the individual strips on Clover bamboo single point needles size 10.5. The Clover bamboo needles are my favorite.

My other project has been wash cloths for my little niece.

I used a larger size needle to make them a bit bigger for bath time. They were knit using Lily Sugar 'n Cream yarn The pink cloth bears Baby's first initial. The variegated cloth is knitted to look like baby feet. I think if I knit this one again I will knit it with a solid color yarn. The white cloth spells love. These cloths were designed by Rhonda K. White.

My potter friend (I believe I mentioned her on my old blog) makes these darling little baby plates. A couple of weeks ago my sister-in-law and I went over and had her take a print of Niece's foot on a plate. My friend then added the baby's name and birth date. The plate is now finished and I have it along with the cloths to take down to my brother's house. Hopefully I can do that this afternoon.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

For all of you Preemie Project knitters...

Check this out: preemie Santa hat

How cute for December, huh?

I have some actual knitting content to post soon. I've been working on a few different things. The girls are in VBS and because I don't want to drive there and back and there and back I just pack along my knitting to work on while I wait. I also got in a lot of good knitting time during our long weekend to southeastern Utah (read: lots of time in the car on the way and also during the return trip). Here are a couple of shots of the beautiful desert off of highway 191, just outside of Moab, Ut.

I'm not sure what this is called, but I found it irresistible.

Wilson Arch

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Fourth of July - a little tardy

Well I know we are a ways past the fourth, but I wanted to post my Independence Day project anyway. Better late than never, huh? In May I saw some patriotic fabric on the $2 a yard table at Walmart. For some insane reason I decided to buy enough to make jumpers for the girls. I phoned my sewing friend in Iowa right there to ask her what yardage I ought to buy (I had decided against patterns because same Iowa friend often makes patternless jumpers for her five daughters). She helped me figure out what to buy and I headed home where I promptly forgot about the fabric and jumpers ... until Thursday June 29th.

My mom offered to help me sew them so I brought the fabric with me for my normal Friday trip. We didn't have time to sew them, but no worries, I could still work on them over the weekend. Except I forgot the fabric at Mom's which is a half an hour by car. Ugh. We were scheduled to go down there on Sunday evening. I couldn't justify an extra trip with gas prices like they are so I waited.

Monday I sewed as much as I could between errands and household things that had to get done. Did I mention that the girls were to be walking in a parade Tuesday? Ha. I did manage to get the dresses finished. I was shocked to come out of the den (where my sewing machine is located) and see that it was 10 minutes to four. Ack! But the dresses were finished. I'm no pro sewer, but the girls liked them and I do think they are cute.

I made the jumpers reversible, though not the way reversible items should be done. Oh well. The smaller two are opposites of each other (one looking like the other when turned inside-out) as are the larger two.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

It really surprises me that I am a tight knitter

My friend's daughter is a knitting maniac. She's fast and furious and uses the strangest method I've ever seen. I can never remember what it is called. One day while knitting around my friend's kitchen table we were chatting about cast-on methods and such. Friend was using the double cast on method for socks. When I commented about how I wouldn't dare use that cast-on for fear I'd never be able to stretch the sock to get it on, Friend's daughter said it was because I am an extremely tight knitter. Huh. The thing is, I can still get the stitches off pretty easily. I would think that if I were to knit much looser my needles (almost typed "kneedles" LOL) would fall right out of my knitting. *shrug*

So as you can imagine being a tight knitter is a bit frustrating to someone who doesn't normally check gauge.

I decided a couple of weeks ago to knit an afghan for my mom for her birthday (and if you know my mom, please, please don't give away the surprise!). A week or so ago I finally settled on a pattern, the cable twist throw. That night I ordered yarn from JoAnn's, which incidentally was my very first internet yarn purchase! Mom can't wear wool so I wanted a soft acrylic. I chose Caron Simply Soft. I wanted 4 colors for my afghan, dark sage, sage, raspberry and then couldn't decide between bone and off white - so I ordered both. And too much of all 5 - plus some yarn to knit up for babies and LucyBug.

I was so excited when the UPS man made a stop at my front door yesterday!

The pattern calls for size 8 needles. Silly me, I tried knitting it on 8's but fortunately this one time I did pause to check gauge. Waaaaaaaay off! I couldn't believe how much smaller my knitting was. The piece was supposed to measure 6 inches across and 1 inch in length. I had about 4 and a quarter or so inches and about 1/2 in. long. Ugh. So I tried again with 9's.

Hmmmm still wouldn't work. I couldn't find my 10's, but did have some 10.5 circular needles. I tried those and the gauge was right on. One problem: I really detest circular needles. No problem, I asked my nine-year-old daughter if she wanted to go to the craft store with me (on the promise of new needles for her too) and she agreed. A while later we were back home, new bamboo straight (phew!) 10.5's for me and bamboo 3's for her (she doesn't like needles larger than 5 but also doesn't care for her 1's very much).

So this is what I have so far. I decided on bone for my fourth color. I really like the color as well as the feel of the yarn. It is so very soft. I can't wait to give this afghan to my mom. I hope it will help keep her warm this winter (her birthday isn't until November, so I ought to be able to get it done on time, right? LOL!)

a close-up of the stitch pattern: