Monday, September 7, 2015

Quilting and Knitting

After my first quilt turned out okay, I have decided to try my hand at a second one.  I am making myself another one for the couch, and then I am going to make one for a birthday present.  The birthday present is going to be a complete surprise, I think. 

I am also knitting myself a pair of mittens.  They are a much needed pair since I donated my mittens to a needy child.  This year, I will not be knitting for charity since my hand won't let me.  I will try to knit when I can.  I know I want a new pair of socks for Winter.  Since our almanac has predicted that we will have a harsh one, I know new socks will be needed. 

I have also started making my own body butters.  The girl who made all my lotions, creams, and balms, quit the business and I was forced to go find an alternate source.  I decided to try my hand at it and well, I found out that I can make butters that heal my skin so nicely.  I hate cracked skin.  It is the worst.  So, the body butters are doing the trick in keeping my skin nice and soft.  I love that. 

I wish I could upload my photos from vacation but, this software will not work for me. I have tried on three different occasions.  I might have to move my blog to another place.  Not sure if it will work or not.  Go figure. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Summer, No Knitting Involved!

Right now, I am not knitting a thing.  My right hand is so screwed up it isn't funny! I can't even stand to hold my tablet.  My fingers have been going numb.  Not sure if it is the diabetes or the carpal tunnel finally demanding that it be fixed.  I know the arthritis is bad in it.  I have been dealing with that, too. 

I want to knit socks for my charity knitting project.  I look at the yarn, I look at the needles and tell myself, maybe another day.  Sad. 

I have been hitting the waterpark weekly.  I missed last week since it was raining and Tropical storm Bill decided to peruse through the state.  What kills me about this storm is the weather and the news hyped it up to be a category 5 hurricane with all of their warnings and panicking.  Excuse me...what is wrong with these people it was just a tropical storm, no hurricane.  They caused a panic with all the people from other states living here and the grocery stores were packed for all of the people going crazy.  I stayed home and didn't buy anything.  My sister managed to get herself into panic mode, too.  I have some bottled water, I keep it for my trips to the water park.  I knew it would just be wind, rain, and some lightning, the usual stuff.  We get more winds coming off of that prairie than we did during Bill.  My niece, had some trees blown down but, they were young and they haven't had much rain so, the root system hadn't developed properly, yet. 

I am waiting to see what happens when we get a proper hurricane and all of these people from other states start freaking out.  Oh my word!  It is going to be interesting.  Basically, after a hurricane down here, you sweat, find the coolest spot you can, and wait for the power to come on.  You cook everything in the fridge first and then cook the stuff in the deep freeze.  If you don't have a gas stove, you learn to cook on your bbq pit.  Buy a cast iron skillet, it comes in handy during these times.  If you are able to afford one, buy a gas generator or one of those natural gas ones that hooks up to the main line of your gas to your home.  I want one of those.  I told the hubby, that would be awesome.  It would power all of the appliances and I could be happy for a while.  No a/c though so, that would freaking suck but, it could power some fans and that would help. My sister's neighbor installed one.  Then again he plans to live in his home forever. 

Today I am doing laundry, ugh!  I had to get up this morning and go water my plants and my tomatoes.  My tomatoes have a rat in them and he is destroying the whole bed of them.  I really don't think we are going to get any tomatoes this year with that damn thing in there.  I am going to have to set up some traps to get him out of there.  Damn varmint! 

I have been trying to play catch up on my chores.  I haven't been feeling like doing much of anything at all.  We had to go to San Antonio to visit my mother in law and give her her Mother's day present.  It was a nice visit with her.  I wish it could have been a bit longer but, there was a huge weather cell coming in and we didn't want to be on the road when it hit. 

Yesterday, I was a couch potato although I did cook supper and made beef stew, it was so good.  It was a simple recipe and I have left overs.  Tonight is left over night.  I am not cooking.  Usually he is pretty good about not making me cook on the weekends.  I like that break.  Last night, I decided to use up one of the packages of beef shoulder steaks in the fridge.  The other package is in the freezer.  It worked out nicely to cut the steaks into stew meat and it went over well with the dogs, too.  They had some over their kibble.  Percy is starting to get bigger.  He is still lean but, he is getting taller.  He needs some fat on his frame, yet and I am trying to figure out how to do that.  We might have to give him some kibble that has more fat in it.  Although we do feed him a salmon based kibble with no grains in it.  My older boys couldn't handle the grains and when they both passed we decided to keep the corgi on the same stuff since he is 6 and that is usually when the allergies show up.  Not going through that crap again.  No thank you.  So the corgi hasn't had grains since he was 2.  Percy hasn't had them since he has been here with us. 

I made homemade pimento cheese the other day and it has been sitting in my fridge for a couple of days getting all yummy!  I love good pimento cheese, bad pimento cheese will turn you off of it for a long time.  It is easy to make and man, when you do it right, it is fantastic! 

I took a bag of shredded mild cheddar cheese, half a bag of  sharp shredded cheddar cheese, lots of Kraft mayo and 1 teaspoonful of pimentos, mix it all together and let it sit covered in the fridge for a couple of days, to meld.  Then mix it up, slap some on some bread, and enjoy!  I have tried it with other mayo and the Kraft mayo is what tastes best to me.  If you are a Duke's fan, then use it.  I have never had it and I love the Kraft mayo.  I have no idea what the measurement of the mayo is, I put in enough to get it all together.  Keep adding until you have the consistency you desire. 

I know that some people have no idea what pimento cheese is...a Southern delicacy!  I had a really good one at a funeral.  I forgot to ask the ladies serving who made it and what her recipe was.  I had been searching all of my cookbooks for a recipe and some of them had no clue and then I found one in a Southern Living cookbook and tried it out.  The mayo was all wrong and then I decided to use the Kraft and that was it, her recipe uses the Kraft.  That creaminess was present, it is fantastic! 

Last night, I was reading in bed and I heard a distinct crash downstairs.  I looked at the hubby and asked if he heard it, yep, he did and so down the stairs we both went.  Sure enough, the cats had killed off a saucer to my fiestaware.  Damn cats!  Between the hubby and the cats, I am losing dinnerware quickly.  I might have to go looking for replacements to my set.  They discontinued the cinnabar and so, I went with cobalt as my new choice.  I have cinnabar serving pieces.  So, now I have the cobalt dinnerware.  I guess we will see how long they keep that one.  sigh! 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Sock Pattern on the House Knitting with 2 Circulars

Plain Jane Sock Pattern

Cast on 54 stitches with US 3 needles, be sure to not twist your stitches as you knit the first row, otherwise, rip them all off the needle and start again.  At the join for the other needle, watch out for the twist or repeat the previous step. 

Join your yarn and start knitting, this sock does not incorporate any form of ribbing.  Keep knitting until you decide that you want to start your heel flap.  I usually try to do about 5 or 6 inches of leg for my socks.  Sometimes, I get bored and decide to just knit 4 inches. 

Heel flap on needle 1: 
Knit across row 1. 
K4, purl, k4 to end the row.
Keep repeating these two rows until you have 9 garter stitch ridges on each side of the heel flap. 

Heel turn:
Knit 17 stitches, ssk, turn.
Slip the 1st stitch and purl 7 stitches, p2tog, turn
Slip the 1st stitch and knit 7 stitches, ssk, turn. 
Keep repeating these two stitches until you are left with 9 stitches on your needles, Knit across the 9 stitches and start picking up stitches on each of the garter stitch ridges on the sides.  You will have 9 new picked up stitches and pick up one more stitch at the top before you pick up needle 2 and knit across the 27 stitches that have been sitting unworked while you have been working on your heel flap.  Pick up 10 stitches with needle 1 on the other side of the heel flap working downwards. 
Knit two rounds.
Knit 1, ssk, knit until three stitches from the end on needle 1, k2tog, k1.
You should have 27 stitches on needle 1. 

Keep knitting in the round with both needles until you get to your foot size, try the sock on.  When your sock is long enough, it should reach to the bottom of your pinky toe.  This is how I size my socks I wear an 8.5US women's. 
This is a simple toe and it works out really well for every single pair of socks that I have knit.  I have knit many pairs. 
Needle 1:  knit 1,ssk, knit until 3 stitches from the end, k2tog, k1. 
Needle 2: knit 1, ssk, knit until 3 stitches from the end, k2tog, k1.
Knit plain around, and repeat these two decreasing stitches every other round being sure to knit a plain round in between the decreasing rounds.  Now, count your stitches on your needles and when you get to 34 stitches on the needles total, so, 17 stitches on each needle, then decrease every round.  If you think your sock isn't long enough, then wait until you think it fits well enough and then start decreasing every row until you get a minimal amount left on your needles, I usually end mine with 10 stitches total, cut the yarn, and then weave in all stitches via Kitchner stitch. 

I have worked this single gusset decrease sock several times and with the high instep people I knit for, they love it.  I have a high instep and I actually love this one stitch gusset. 
The heel is a Dutch heel and very simple to knit.  It is my go to heel. 

The heel flap with the k4 on each end, to mark the end of the k4, place a stitch marker, otherwise, it will make you crazy!  I always add on a stitch marker to help me remember to do my final k4 on the purl side of the flap.  It also makes it so much easier to pick up stitches with this decorative edge. 

If you have issues picking up stitches with a needle, then please by all means use a crochet hook in size e or f.  I used to use one before I had been doing a lot of crochet and realized that the same wrap stitch in crochet could be used with a knitting needle.  I also love to anchor my heels with two rounds of plain knitting before I start the gusset.  No holes this way and it also has more give. 

If you have any questions, please leave me a comment and I will try to get back to you.  I know sometimes people just want to knit a plain sock with no ornamentation and I was asked to write my pattern down. 

The US 3 circular needles need to have a 24 inch cord.  I use Addi turbo rockets, which are great because they have super sharp points which really get under the stitch.  They are most excellent on lace. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

More Drama

I had hurt my right knee last month and I put it in my brace.  Well, it seems I hurt it worse than I had thought. I took myself off to the doctor Tuesday per the hubby's recommendation and found out that I have torn my meniscus.  Oh boy!  So, I am on crutches until the swelling goes down.  I have muscle relaxers and I have an anti-inflammatory pill. 

I am working on knitting hats right now for charity.  I will need a bunch of items for the kids this year.  We talked about it last night and we are donating to one school.  I am hoping that the kids will have Christmas presents this year, again.  They are so poor, last year when we sent boxes of goodies, I was sent a letter back that stated the kids had Christmas presents for the first time.  That statement brought tears to my eyes. 

In other news, my sweetheart, my Bootsy was put down on March 17th.  He was so old and his poor old body couldn't do it anymore.  He had a strong will to live but, that just didn't work for his body.  He was 14 years old.  Gary had to deal with it since I was at my doctor's appointment.  He brought him home and we buried him next to his best friend, Napoleon.  So, they are both out there in the back yard.  Ody is lonely.  We are looking for a puppy from a shelter in Austin.  We hope they give us a call and let us know if we are acceptable to them as parents. 

Today is Ody's 6th birthday! My little boy is growing up.  He is something else.  I love that little doggy.  It doesn't seem like 6 years with him.  I remember holding that wee bit of nothing in my arms when he was a puppy and my heart melted for the little guy.  It was love at first sight. 

I have to go to garage sales to find a play pen for our new puppy.  We will get one eventually if the adoption doesn't work out with the Austin shelter.  The play pen will be in the family room with pee pads lining the base.  We have been through this before.  Ody scaled the walls on his play pen.  He was so freaking cute with that chubby little belly and those itty bitty stumpy legs. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

My First Quilt, Ever in Progress

My backing fabric

My patchwork top

Another view of my quilt top, in progress.

I love how well the top of my quilt is coming along.  I have more strips to sew onto the big piece and then I will be measuring to see if it is the right width.  I need 45 inches wide and 60 inches long.  I am using a fussy cut ruler for this project. 

I chose pink, black and white because they are such great colors together.  I found really cute fat quarters on Zulily and most of them came from Adorn It!  The pink sparkly damask fabric came from Hobby Lobby.  If you want really cute cotton fabrics, that is the place to hit.  This will be my throw quilt to snuggle up under on the couch.  I was reading a quilting magazine and their advice, which I loved, was..."keep your first quilt so, you can go back and look at how much you have improved."  I loved that advice.  I am going to keep this one and then go on to another one after this one.  There may be a bunch of patch work quilts floating around the family until I get really comfortable and branch out to the really fancy ones. 

I taught myself to sew.  I haven't had any classes or anything.  I just sat down one day and figured it out.  I think I am doing pretty well for someone who hasn't had a teacher. 

I decided to make a quilt when I had the tennis elbow from vacuuming too much with my DC 59.  I still love that thing but, I don't get to use it as much since the arm can't handle it.  So, I took my sewing machine out and started to sew.  It worked really well to fill my days up and keep my creative juices flowing.  I am so glad that I did.  I am learning new things every day. 

I will keep everyone posted on my progress with my quilt. 

One Finished and the Second One Almost Done

The Kathleen sock is almost completed.  I so can't wait to finish them.  If you want a copy of the pattern, it is for sale in my Etsy shop.  The pattern is for experienced chart readers and lace knitters.  If you want to bead the sock, then you will need some experience with a steel crochet hook and the pattern requires size 6/0 beads.  I highly recommend Dyna-Mites because you get a lot for your money and they are super cheap on Fire Mountain Gems.

The beads on this sock are cobalt blue with a rainbow finish.  I also knit this sock in Clementine with root beer colored beads with a rainbow finish.  There are some really cool seed beads out there and some of them are expensive!  My eyes nearly popped out of my head when I saw the ones that are gold over glass....$30 for those.  Uh, I can't do that.  My hubby wouldn't understand that one at all. 

I decided to offer the sock pattern up for sale only in my shop.  More patterns will be coming soon.  I have to write down the ones that I have knit recently and only have my charts and notes on them.  One pair I am wearing right now, is the Jolie sock.  I did a test knit of the charts and I need to write it down before I offer it up for sale. 

After I finish this sock, I have plans to knit my niece, Maribeth a pair of socks out of Beauty Queen Gone Bad.  I painted her a special skein of the super wash merino/nylon.  I am hoping she is going to love her socks. 

Next on the list will be a pair of Jolie socks for Ms. Jolie herself.  I custom dyed the yarn pink and I am using a silk eggshell colored seed bead for her socks.  No beads for Maribeth's because I am sick of beads right now.  Too many pairs knit with beads.  7 pairs to be exact.  Oh my word!  No more. 

My sister showed me her socks today that I had knit for her.  I totally forgot that I knit her a pair recently.  That should tell you how many socks I have knit.  I can't keep up anymore. 

I am working on my first quilt, ever.  It is coming out really nice.  I am working on getting the top sewn together.  Then I will put the batting down and next will be dealing with the backing.  My patchwork quilt is in the colors, pink, white, and black.  I found really cute fat quarters on Zulily.  They have fabric and sewing machines on there every now and again.  Janome basic sewing machines in colors for $62.99 was on one of the last sales.  I don't need another sewing machine but, that is such a great price for such a great machine.  It is more of a starter machine.  I love the Janome line up.  I have a DC1050 and I love that machine.  I came from sewing with a Singer and that damn thing clacked no matter how much I oiled it.  It drove me around the bend.  I sold it to my niece for $20.  She was using it to make all sorts of things.  When she gets better, she can buy herself a better machine.  I love the drop in bobbins on the Janome.  If you have ever had to fight with a front loading Singer, then I feel your pain.  I hated that part of the whole operation. 

Pictures will follow of my quilt top when I find the time to take some of it.  I found my camera. 

I need to dye some single colors of yarn for the patterns that will be coming up for the shop.  I am so behind right now.  It is crazy how things are going around here.  I went shopping today with my sister and bought my nephews some Easter candy, one loves chocolate, so, he is so easy to buy for.  His brother loves super sour and super sour is hard to find these days.  I found him some War Heads and some Super Sour bubble gum.  I am hoping that will work out for him.  My niece was so easy, I bought her a cowgirl hat, and I filled it with candy.  She loves her hat and she loved her candy.  The biggest hit is the chicken that clucks and lays jelly beans.  My sister had to buy more jelly beans for the thing.  I saw it and knew she would love the thing.  If you want interesting Easter candy, check out the Cracker Barrel near you.  They have candy from when I was a kid.  Dr. Pepper Hubba Bubba bubblegum.  I haven't seen it in years, they have it.  Or at least the one here in Cypress does. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Pictures of the Kathleen Sock

Cobalt blue beads with a rainbow finish

Front view center

Here are the pictures that I promised.  I am almost finished with the first one.  I am on the toe section right now.  I decided last night to sit down and work on this sock. 

The yarn is a custom color, aqua green, I knit this pair on US 3 Addi turbo Rockets, 24 inch cables.  The beads are 6/0 and applied with a size 9 steel crochet hook.  The yarn is a merino/silk sock.  The heel is one of my favorites, a Dutch heel and the heel flap is stockinette stitch with a knit lead in. 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Knitting Fever and Quilting

I have one pair of socks on the needles and I have holes in my finger so, I am waiting for those to heal before I start working on that sock again.  I have a Selbu mitten on another set of needles, they are wood so, the points aren't sharp and this works out well.  I am also taking time to work on my first quilt. 

New for me...glasses!  Reading glasses only!  I couldn't read a box at the grocery store so, I knew something was up.  I went ahead and found an eye doctor, and managed to get the hubby an appointment as well.  We both need reading glasses, he is less blind than I am.  So, I found myself a package of 5 for cheap on Amazon.  They work well. This means I have a pair in each room where I need to read. 

I work on the mitten in front of the tv at night.  I try to work on my quilt during the day.  After several false starts, I finally found my niche.  I swear, that rotary cutter was a nightmare at first, I know you are thinking, how can that be since it looks like a pizza cutter?  Uh, a pizza cutter is easy compared to getting used to this thing.  I finally think I have it down pat.  I am using a square fussy cutter for my pattern.  My batting is 48 inches by 60 inches.  I am using polyester batting for my first one and will save the expensive cotton batting for a bigger one down the road. 

I had planned to make each of my dogs a quilt but, since the loss of my hound dog, that blew that out of the water.  I lost interest and now, I am making a lap quilt for myself.  I have also realized how damn picky I am when it comes to the colors in my quilt and the fabric choices out there.  My first one is going to be pinks, blacks and whites.  I am searching for my perfect backing fabric next.  That is the hard part for me.  I am looking for the perfect one. 

The Selbu mitten is going for charity.  I have started my charity knitting for the year.  I hit a sale on sock yarn on Zulily and decided to use it for my charity knitting.  I have one hat completed and now I am working on the mitten.  After the mittens, I am thinking, a neck cozy out of stash yarn.  I have way too much yarn and I need to use it.  So, the kids who are needy will be getting items from me out of it. 

I have plans to knit a custom pair of socks for a dear friend's daughter.  I want to knit a pair for my niece, Maribeth.  She needs a new pair.  The pair of the needles right now, are going to my niece, Kate. 

With the cold the way it is these days, one minute it is warm down here and the next, cold.  Freaky weird weather for Texas.  Seriously!  I have my tomato plants which I grew from seed, they have to be hardened and I can't set them out until all freeze warnings are no more.  I need to get these babies into the ground.  I also have some basil and parsley that I planted.  I love fresh flat leaf parsley.  It is really fantastic in tempura.  It makes it creamy tasting when it is fried in tempura batter.  The hubby and I love it. 

I want to see if I can knit projects for charity out of a bin of yarn at a time.  I want to empty a bin and then move on to another bin.  I tried to see if I could do this in a month, it didn't work.  So, I am going to try and see if I can do it and how long it takes for me to use up the yarn in one bin. 

I need to knit myself a new pair of mittens, I can't seem to find mine.  I lose everything. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Sock Knitting Due to Freaking Cold Feet

I have been trying to sit down and work on my newest sock, I am knitting a pair for myself.  Right now, I am wearing two mismatched wool socks.  I have no idea where their mates are so, I am desperate to keep my feet warm.  Hence the mismatched socks.  I decided to start knitting when this problem came to light. 

So, I started on the Meagan sock with beads.  I thought my yarn was slightly off and then realization hit, it wasn't my favorite merino/silk sock yarn...nope, it is some other blend and for the life of me, I can't even begin to guess what it is, I dyed it up in a beautiful periwinkle color and no idea what is in it.  There might be some angora in it.  I am not sure.  Don't you hate when you dye a yarn up and can't remember what the fiber content is?  Am I the only one this happens to? 

I have been dealing with antibiotics.  I was at the ER last week  Monday with my current woe.  My doctor was booked solid and I was in agony.  So, I told the hubby we were going to deal with it.  I couldn't take it any longer. 

I sleep most of the day away on this particular antibiotic and the current ailment was kicking my ass.  I have never seen the like before.  I will say that I do not want this back...ever!  It literally sucked the life out of me for a while.  I am getting better and I am trying to work around it.  I do two house cleaning items a day and that is it for me right now.  Nothing more.  Sad but, true. 

I haven't given up on knitting, yet.  I am still an avid participant with it.  I am not buying any yarn this year, I am using stash yarn.  What I have is it.  I have way too much yarn as it is and I have plans for it.  I think I am going to start knitting mittens with some of it for the unfortunate children that I collect items for and send them along for this year's campaign.  I also have plans for hats and neck warmers.  I am not a fan of the scarf, too much material and way overrated.  I might even delve into gloves. I just know that there are a lot of needy kids with nothing.  Maybe this will help those kids. 

I wish I could sit down and spin because I have a lot of fiber that needs to become yarn.  No idea when the arm will heal for me to sit and do that.  It was getting better and then I over did it, again.  Grr!  Isn't that the way it goes?  I thought it was healing and took off the ugly brace...bad idea. 

Hopefully, I will have enough cuff of the sock done soon, and I will take pictures for everyone to see. 

Have a wonderful week and happy knitting!