Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Staying super busy

I decided with all the yarn that was given to me that I would knit hats with most of the yarn.

I used to be addicted to knitting dish cloths, but not anymore. Now it's all about hats!

I knit a hat for my sister to match the scarf that I made her last year. Then, I started a hat for my mom which I finished last week but wanted to show all my knitting friends. I plan to mail it out tomorrow.

If I can remember I'll take a picture of it here before I mail it out.

Then, I started on a hat for Nick. A new pattern that I found here.  I love that the pattern only uses straight needles. Not that I have anything against circulars or dpn's. I just don't have the right size and length yet.

I definitely can't wait to get several circular needles in the 16 inch length and dpn's to match. But until then, I'm busy knitting hats this way.

I was a little concerned about using the ear flap hat pattern because I had never done anything quite like it before. I was so sure I wouldn't be able to figure out how to attach the ear flaps, but I just plunged forward and did it. It wasn't so hard.

After I started Nick's hat, I realized that it was going to be way too small, so I ditched it and started another.

I'm also attempting to knit three hats for my brother in law's three children. Two girl hats and a boy hat. I have never knitted a child's hat pattern before, so I've been a bit nervous about it. But so far it's looking good.

The pattern I'm using is found here. I haven't decided if I want to knit both the girl's hats identical or find another pattern. It took me awhile to find a pattern I liked that fit a wide range of children, so I may just knit it the same.

As far as the boy's hat, I'm not sure yet which pattern I'll use, but I have a few in mind. I had hoped to finish all the hats before Christmas, but it's not looking promising. Perhaps for the new year! lol

I also plan to knit a hat for my niece and nephew. And I'm not sure which pattern I plan to use for theirs yet either. I have one in mind for my niece and even the right type of yarn, but I'll have to see.

Then, (no, I'm not done yet) I also plan to knit a hat for my sister's husband. Dark grey.

After that, a hat for my mother-in-law's son who is three. Light blue. I was told to knit it as for an adult because of the amount of hair the child has. I hope it fits!

And lastly, two hats for my husband's cousins, if they want one. I haven't asked them yet.

I haven't made any items for my etsy shop in awhile, but right now I'm just having fun knitting for family and friends.

The whole reason I ever started selling my knitted items was to always be sure I had yarn to knit something. And right now I'm up to my eyeballs in yarn, so I'm good for now. And having a blast along the way!

Next month, I plan on extending my knitting skills by learning to make baby booties. But that's another story!

Until next time!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Crocheted Rag Rug Tutorial

A friend of mine showed me some rugs she had woven with a loom and recycled t-shirts. I loved the idea, but don't have room to use a loom in the camper so I thought I'd crochet one instead. I had originally hoped to knit one but found my hands aching too much after a few rows.

Here's what you need:
Size Q crochet hook
7-10 shirts depending on size. (might need more depending on size)
Pattern of choice or this leaflet. (which is what I used)
A good pair of fabric cutting scissors

First, you need to prepare your material into "yarn". You do this by cutting your shirts into strips. I found several methods for cutting t-shirts and joining the ends. Which I will talk about here. But, do also check out  this method, which makes one continuous strip of material.

You do this by first laying the t-shirt out folded in half like this. If you notice, I've already cut the hem off. I save them in case I might need just a little bit more material. And if I do, I simply cut it in half. If you have a good pair of scissors, it's not hard to cut out at all and makes the procedure go by a little faster. I've even tried folding the shirt in half again but it's too hard to cut comfortably.

Oh, and I didn't think it mattered if the t-shirt had writing on it, but what happens is that the design especially if you used a lighter color will eventually show through. It really all depends on the shirt. Some printed shirts would stretch with the design on them, while others cracked and did not turn out well. You just have to figure it out for yourself.

I simply cut about 1-2 inch wide strips. I'm not too picky about measuring the strips. I just cut what looks like the right size and set them aside.

Then, I grab a hold of each end and stretch it until it won't stretch anymore. I repeat that process until I've got all the pieces stretched out. The thing I love about t-shirts is that when you stretch it, the ends curl inside and create a nice "tube". This means that your material won't fray. Not that it frays much anyways, but it gives it a neater look.

Shirts awaiting to be stretched:

I like to bunch up the shirts like shown above if I am making a colorful rug so I can see which colors look good together. But most times, I just start crocheting it grabbing whatever color I want and if I don't like the way it looks, I pull it out and start over. 

After that, I use a square knot to hold the strips together. I was using another technique at first but found that the material slipped out and since this is a "rag" rug, I figured that knots were acceptable. When I crochet the rug, I try to get all the knots to the back anyhow. To tie a square knot, learn here. The reason I use a square knot is because it won't slip out. Here is a picture of my square knot:

The actual picture you see above is just an example. Had I used it, I would have snipped the frayed end off that you see. In fact, after I knot the ends together, I snip the material as close to the knot as possible. Once all my ends are knotted together, the "yarn" is now ready. Now, you just need to follow the instructions on your pattern.

Or if you don't want to have to worry about connecting so many strips together, follow this method to create one long continuous strip of material. You'll still have to connect the colors together, but will have way less knots to deal with. Click here.

Have fun crafting!

P.S. I will add that some t-shirts won't make good rugs. Sometimes the material will just fray. I've found that if you look closely at the t-shirt, if it looks like garter stitch it will work. However, if it looks like stockinette stitch, on the inside, don't bother. I made the mistake before I knew any better and bought a bunch of shirts with the stockinette look at a garage sale and was disappointed to find that I could not use them in my rug making. Remember also when choosing shirts, try not to get ones that have too much of a design on them. Even though your material will only show the inside, the printed part often makes the material "crunchy" and won't roll right.

I also made some heart shaped ones and some oval ones.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Cables and looms

I was browsing the Internet this morning and came across a dish cloth pattern rated "Easy" that used cables. So I decided one of my things to learn this week is going to be how to use a cable needle in my knitting. I've come across plenty of beautiful patterns that call for them but have always just skipped right past them because of my lack of knowledge with them.

After deciding that I wanted to learn to use a cable needle, my friend loaned me this book. The book explains how to use a cable needle among other things. There are plenty of basic patterns that I hope to try out including a pair of diagonal knit spiral tube socks.

My friend bought the book for her kids to learn to knit but they decided it was too hard to learn.

It's my fault, really. Since I showed them how easy it was to use my hat knitting looms,  they decided they would much rather use the looms than knit!

And they both have made several hats already. Along with a blanket and baby bunting.

I have since loaned my looms out to other friends who also love to use it. One friend made a lovely blanket using the largest loom. She was able to figure out how to wrap the yarn around the loops halfway. Something I have yet to figure out.

Together we learned how to do the knit and purl stitch by watching youtube videos. How I love youtube! The stitch I learned with is the twisted knitting stitch. Once I get my looms back, I hope to make several swatches with the different stitches for comparison.

The friend that loaned me the knitting book loaned me a flower loom she got many years ago. I think it's similar to this one. But it was actually by the brand, Boye. I had a lot of fun making flowers with it and am kicking myself for not snatching the loom up several years ago. There was a time when I saw these looms at every garage sale I went to. But I thought they were dumb (why!?) and paid no attention to them. I suppose for less than $3 I can't be too angry with myself.

I won't be able to post up pictures of my cable swatches until I get my camera fixed but I'll be sure to post right here to tell of my accomplishments!

Jalapeno Jelly

My neighbor's garden is coming to an end and today he told me I could pick some of their jalapeno peppers. I took a handful and as I walked back to the camper, I thought to myself, "Now what will I do with them?"

No sooner did my hand touch the door a thought came to me. Jalapeno Jelly!!!! So I went back and gathered a few more and now the peppers patiently sit waiting for me to transform them into a yummy treat.

All year long I have missed eating Habenero Jelly from Burt Craig Farms. Brandi hasn't made any this year so I could not buy any from her.  But the craving was still there. So, I guess my jalapeno jelly will have to do.I just hope my batch of jelly can be half as good as hers!

My favorite way to eat it is to dump a jar on a block of cream cheese and enjoy with Ritz crackers. Yum!


Plantain is my friend. When I'm itchy from a mosquito bite, I rub some of her leaves on my skin and she takes the itch away.

I like to make salve with her leaves. I soak them in olive oil and mix with beeswax. Great for dry skin and chapped lips.

Wasp bites are no bother with plantain around either. The juice from her leaves brings relief.

And she grows all around me. Plentiful.

Thank you plantain.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Finished rug pics

I crocheted two rugs this week. The first one went so fast. The last one took the longest. I don't know why but I had to take it out at least 5 times. The holes weren't lining up and I was afraid I'd never get it done. I just had to take a break from it and try again. This time no problems! I took some photos of the first one which was black and red, but none of the pictures turned out. Here is the purple, pink and white one.

I'll try to post up pictures of the first one before it gets sent to its new home. While I love crocheting rugs, I think I'm ready to take a break for now. It makes such a mess and Nick was complaining of the mess I'd made. I had little fabric strips EVERYWHERE! (even in the bed since the last place I was crocheting was there.)

For now, it's all packed away but I'm sure in a few days I'll have it all unpacked and will be cutting strips again. I still want to crochet one for our living room. The two above have homes spoken for already.

If anyone is interested in buying one, contact me for more information.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Keeping hands and mind busy

I've been staying busy lately with crocheting rugs out of t-shirts. A friend of mine shared this idea with me only she uses a loom to make her rugs with. I had planned to knit the rugs originally but finding that I can make them a lot quicker and easier by crocheting them.

I can't believe how time consuming it is to cut the shirts into strips. Then knot them all together. Then finally crochet it. Actually by the time I get to crocheting it, it's a piece of cake! So relaxing and enjoyable.

The next rug I'm making is for a friend of mine's son. I'm hoping to start on it tomorrow after I get more strips wound up. I'm hoping to post up pictures from start to finish, so I'll try to remember to have my camera handy when I start tomorrow.

I've learned many lessons since first starting this project a few weeks ago. I've made a few mistakes and learned some good tips which I'll share later.

I've also been working diligently on the two prayer shawls I started almost a month ago. Wow! Has it been that long already? Yes, it was September 7th that I went to my first meeting. I have decided to try and knit at least 5 inches a day on it. Hopefully knit 9 inches a day and have one done per week.

I've been having so much trouble with the Homespun yarn that I was about ready to just give up altogether with the yarn in general. Then tonight, I rewound it into a ball and so far I haven't had any trouble with it bunching up. At least not in the way of stopping me every other knit stitch and having to unwind the twisting. I wish I thought of this awhile back. Things are going much more smoothly now.

I'm planning on knitting a hat for a friend with some of the Homespun yarn and anxiously awaiting to try it now that I know some of the tricks and tips for using the yarn.

Until next time!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Losing my mind

So, I was sitting at the table with my knitting watching a youtube video on continental knitting. I was hoping to see more videos on how to do it so it would stick better in my mind. And while I was sitting there, this ad popped up while the video was playing. I thought to myself, what in the world? I did not click on the ad...

I closed the ad and went back to watching the video when it opened again. Both times in a new window. I thought to myself, perhaps this has a bug in it, and I was already getting the hang of knitting the new way, so I just quit Firefox altogether.

Nick had said he wanted to watch a movie on the laptop and hadn't retrieved it yet, so I asked him what he was doing and he responded, "Just playing on my ipod." Now, if I had been paying attention, I might have noticed that his voice sounded different and strange, but I was consumed with my knitting.

Anyways, I was sitting there knitting when all of a sudden Safari opened up. I remember thinking, that's strange, I did not open it. But like I said I was busy knitting and not doing much thinking. Then, I heard music and thought Nick was playing some through his ipod. I happened to look up at the laptop screen and behold Itunes was now open and playing a song.

About this time, I turned around to look at Nick, (perhaps I heard a noise) and was shocked and surprised to see him laughing!  Then,  it dawned on me. No, the computer was not possessed. Nick was using his ipod as a remote and trying to trick me! It worked. I kept thinking I was going crazy or something.

We laughed for a long time about it!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

I miss...

I made a few friends in Kansas before we moved back here and I miss them a lot. I miss riding my bicycle all over Independence with my friend Suni. I miss walking all over the downtown with her and enjoying drinks at Anna Mae's. I miss laughing and having a good time at the Farmer's Market and exploring the Arco Building. I miss hanging out at her house and making Kale chips.

I miss talking to my friend Brandi and hanging out at her house drinking hot tea and talking. I miss interacting with her kids and holding her baby. (Though she's quite grown up now)

I miss canning and preserving with my friend Jill and babysitting her daughter. She's long since moved away from the old neighborhood, but I miss her still the same. I miss walking with her and her dogs. I miss taking care of them and bottle feeding the newborn puppies.

I miss the knitting club in Kansas and the friends I made there even if it was only for a short time.

I miss the co-op and helping out at the divide. I miss laughing and joking with Dalton while we divided up the food. I even miss being able to order through Frontier! lol

I miss riding my bicycle and staying in shape and our late night trips to Walmart on the bikes.

I miss shopping at Magnolia Health and Home and going to the Farmer's Market.

And yet, while I miss all these things and more, I do love my life here in Missouri. I missed it so much when we moved away. And wished that we could move back. And here we are.

I'm so thankful for the memories I have from Kansas and hope that I can always keep in touch with my friends.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

the makings of grape jelly

This afternoon, my friend and I went and picked some grapes to make some grape jelly with. I had just been down to the place a few days before but was in a hurry and didn't have time to pick much. I wish I had! When we went to pick the grapes today, there were hardly any left! It seems some animal must have beat us to it. Perhaps a deer or a flock of birds. The grape clusters were still there but the fruit was missing!

We got them washed and ready to go and took several breaks throughout the afternoon.  We used her awesome Champion Juicer (still want one badly!) to make the grape juice. It was so much simpler than cooking them and hand pressing them through a strainer. We did have to let the juicer cool in between but I didn't mind the break of sitting, resting and watching a movie.

I saw my first Doris Day movie. I had only heard of her from my friend's daughter who loves to watch her movies. I didn't watch the whole movie but what I saw I liked. It was a pretty funny movie that kept me chuckling throughout.

We got the grape juice made and then started the jelly making process. I had no idea how much sugar it took to make one batch, which is usually 8 jelly jars. Almost 4 pounds of sugar! The first batch made 10 jelly jars and the second batch made 9.

It seemed to take forever to get the mixture boiling but after that it went by quickly and soon the jars were coming out of the canner. The sound of plinking could be heard throughout the house.

Spending the afternoon/evening with my friend made me realize how much I missed canning. We did not have a garden this year so there wasn't any produce to put away. Although I did buy a few handfuls of zucchinni from the Farmer's market and made some refrigerator relish with it. That turned out yummy!

It also made me realize how much I have missed having a friend to hang out with.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Taco Bell and knitting lessons

We met grandma in Nevada for lunch today at Taco Bell/KFC. I had never gotten the KFC lunch buffet before and was pretty impressed with how yummy it was. I ate too much as usual, so when we all went to Dairy Queen afterwards for dessert, I had to decline. My stomach hurt!

Nick's lucky he has a special compartment in his stomach for dessert. Not me!

I met my friend again today for a lesson in purling. She has learned to knit quite well and was ready to try the next thing. I also taught her how to bind off, but I am afraid I might have confused her on showing her two new things. I meet her again on Monday so I'll have to see what all she remembers.

I like that she just wants to learn to do the stitches and is not particular with keeping any of it on the needles. Once she gets several rows going, she pulls it out and starts over. That's what I did when I learned to knit. It was a long time before I was ready to make a project. I just wanted to do the knit and purl stitches over and over until I was comfortable with it.

I have really enjoyed teaching her to knit. And to see her smiling at her work is great!

Until next time!

Prayer Shawl

I thought I'd post up a picture of the prayer shawl I'm working on. It's measuring at 17 inches. Only 43 more inches to go.

The yarn may be hard to work with but it's so lovely and soft!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Knitting shawls

This was my second week of visiting the prayer shawl ministry meeting and I am loving it! Everyone is so nice and friendly!

Everyone gathers and knits their shawl and when there is one finished, afterwards we all gather around and pray over it. Pray for the one that will receive it.

I was sent home with some yarn to start my first one. I don't care to use metal needles but went to Walmart and got a pair. My wooden ones were too small and I didn't have enough money to get another pair. The yarn I'm using is Lion Brand Homespun yarn. I find it very difficult to work with but it is so soft and pretty!

I worked on it the day I got home and parts of the next day and then I got so busy with other things that I wasn't able to work on it until the following Tuesday. Now, I am committing to work on it every day and do at least 3 inches if not more. Eight inches is my goal per day. I am having problems with the Homespun yarn bunching up. It really seems to slow me down having to unbind it every few inches, but other than that I like the yarn.

One of the ladies brought some yarn and a shawl that she had started but did not finish for one reason or another, so now I've got more yarn to use when this one is done. I had started knitting it with size 13 needles, or at least I think that's what size it is, but it seems too loose, so I may have to take it out and start again.

The other yarn is Red Heart Super Saver and such a beautiful variegated color of brown and turquoise.

I will post up some pictures later this week of both the shawls.

The homespun yarn is at 14 inches now. The pattern says to knit until it is 60 inches long. It seems like it will take forever to get to that point but it is coming along nicely.

I am really glad I finally made it to the prayer shawl meetings.

I do miss going to the knitting club and hope to make it the next time around. I miss my friends from there!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Prayer Shawl Meeting

Tomorrow will be my first time going to the prayer shawl ministry that meets in town. I have been wanting to go for some time now but hadn't been able to for one reason or another. I have missed going to the knitting club that meets on Mondays (twice a month) because it's the same day that Nick works at the college. I haven't had the desire yet to just stay in town the whole time and wait until he gets off of his shift. I did it all last year but lately I have just felt the need to stay close to home.

The prayer shawl ministry meets every Tuesday and the timing couldn't be more perfect. It's during the time Nick drives the school bus.

I'm really excited to meet everyone and see what they do. I also love the idea of making things for other people.

I'll post after I get back from there.

Until next time!

Rose granny square afghan

Many years ago when we lived in Texas, I had a crochet pattern for a rose granny square. You could make several and turn it into a blanket if you wanted to. I absolutely loved the pattern but decided to get rid of it along with the roses I had started. At the time, I did not like to crochet because my hands would ache after just a few stitches. I would have to stop and massage them before starting again. This made completing any project unbearable.

I always figured I could just google the pattern when I needed it. A few years later, I wanted to try making the squares again and got on the internet to search for the pattern. No matter what I typed in the search box, I could not find the pattern! I found several look alikes, but not that exact one that I had fallen in love with so long ago. It would have helped had I remembered the title of the pattern but could not.

Each year, I would look and google the pattern but never had any luck finding it, so I gave up. Then, after learning to knit and switching all my needles over to the Brittany brand. I decided to try one of their crochet hooks. I soon found as I told earlier that I could crochet for hours and not have any hand pain at all! It was great. I had long forgotten about the lost pattern until today.

I received a box of yarn from one of Grandma's friends. In the box were not only colorful balls of yarn, and a few started projects that the lady had started, but in the bottom of the bag, there was the pattern I have been looking for all these years!

Called Rose in Bloom Afghan.

That made my day!!!

The pattern:

Afghan measures approximately 47" by 62"

Red Heart "The Pounder"
4 ply worsted weight yarn, 16 ounce 457 gram skein

Amount: 2 skeins Burgundy CA, 1 skein Hunter CB, 2 skeins cream CC

Crochet hook size I-9

Gauge- motif= 7 1/2" x 7 1/2".

Motif (make 48)
With CA ch 8; join with a sl st to form a ring.
Rnd 1: [Sc in ring, ch5] 8 times; do not join.
Rnd 2: *(Sc, hdc, dc, hdc, sc) all in next ch-5 sp; rep from *around; do no join-- 8 petals made.
Rnd 3: Holding petals forward, sc in first sc of Rnd 1, ch 4, * sc in next sc of Rnd 1 between the petals, ch 4; rep from *around; do not join.
Rnd 4: * (Sc, hdc, 3 dc, hdc, sc) all in next ch- 4 lp; rep from *around; do not join.
Rnd 5: Rep Rnd 3, working sc in sc of Rnd 3.
Rnd 6: *(sc, hdc, 5 dc, hdc, sc) all in next ch--4 lp; rep from *around, join to first sc. Fasten off.
Rnd 7: With right side facing, attach CB to 3rd (center) dc of any petal of Rnd 6; ch 3, holding back last lp on hook, 2 dc in same st, yo and through all 3 lps on hook-- beg cl made; ch2; holding back last lp on hook, 3 dc in same st, yo and through all 4 lps on hook-- 3 dc cl made; *ch3; working tr cl and dtr cl in the same manner as dc cl, in 3rd dc of next petal work (3-tr cl, ch4, 3 dtr cl, ch 4, 3-tr cl)-- corner group made; ch 3 **, in 3rd dc of next petal work (3 -dc cl, ch2, 3-dc cl); rep from *around, end at **; join to top of beg cl. Fasten off.
Rnd 8: With right side facing, attach CC in dtr cl of any corner group, (ch 3, 2 dc, ch3, 3 dc) all in same st, [3 dc in next sp] 5 times; *(3 dc, ch3, 3 dc) all inr cl;  [ 3 dc in next sp]  5 times; rep from * around; join to top of first ch-3.
Rnd 9: Ch3, work dc in each dc and (3 dc, ch3, 3 dc) in each ch-3 corner sp around; join to top of ch-3. Fasten off.

Finishing: Holding wrong sides together, sew motifs together with CC through back lp only of each dc and each ch in 6 rows of 8 motifs each.

Edging: With right side facing, attach CC in any st, ch 3 and work 1 rnd of dc, working (3 dc, ch 3, 3 dc) in corner sps as before; join to top of ch-3. Fasten off. Weave in ends.

beg= beginning
CA= color A
CB= color B
CC= color C
ch= chain
cl= cluster
dc= double crochet
dtr= double treble
lp= loop
mm= millimeter
rep= repeat
rnd= round
sc= single crochet
sl st= slip stitch
sp= space
st(s)= stitch(es)
tr= treble crochet
yo= yarn over
*or**= repeat whatever follows the * or **as indicated
[ ] = work directions given in brackets the number of times specified.

Please let me know if you find any errors.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Goal for the weekend

Finish my pink and blue wash cloth set.
Knit a set of fall dish cloths.
Knit a set of holiday dish cloths.

Take better photos of my work. (To do this I really need some poster board, so I will probably have to wait on this one until we go into town on Tuesday)

It must be the week for knitting lessons because I found another person who wanted me to teach her how. She wants to teach her children to knit and had bought this cool book. I had seen an older copy of it at the library but the newer version is so much better!

I found several projects I'd like to try out myself! The way they taught to cast on was different than how I do it, so I showed my friend my method and she liked it better. Before I left, she was casting on by herself and promised to work on it tonight so that tomorrow I could show her how to do the knit stitches.

Both ladies I'm teaching how are left handed but it hasn't been a problem since both hands are used. I suppose there might be a "left-handed" way to knit but I don't know how. This way seems to be working just fine.

Yep, it's going to be a busy weekend for me, but I will love every minute of it!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Bright Pink dish cloths

This week I bought some yarn. Bright pink, bright blue, green, brown and burgundy. I'm hoping to knit some fall colored dish cloths but am having trouble decided which design to do. Yes, you read right, I bought some bright pink and bright blue, not for fall but because I wanted to have a wider variety of colors to show.

One of my problems is that I sometimes will buy cone yarn and then I am stuck offering way too much of one color. Even if it's a different design, it gets boring. At least to me. By the time I'm done using the last bit of that color, I'm so ready to get something else. I have also found it's not that much cheaper to buy it in the cone size. I thought it was but after a few calculations, it isn't. The problem is that some of the colors I want aren't found in the smaller size.

So, I've got some pink dish cloths on one set of needles and trying to decide on which fall theme to do next. I really need to get busy with it. I feel very behind since Christmas stuff is already out at the stores!

I did knit a sage green flower dish cloth yesterday at the bus barn and while knitting it, a lady commented on how much she wished she could knit. When I told her I'd teach her how, she was thrilled!

So, we had our first lesson today. It lasted ten minutes, because she was running late, but she figured out really quickly how to cast on. I told her that after learning to cast on, I'd show her how to knit, then purl then bind off. Maybe not even in that order. That is all I learned to do before I was venturing off to try more challenging patterns. I think with the basics in mind and a right attitude you can learn anything!

There is still some things I find challenging like making sweaters for other people. My mom really wants me to make her a sweater. I am just having a hard time finding "the" right pattern. She doesn't live close, so for her to try it on as I go is not an option.

I recently read articles about intarsia and fair isle knitting both of which intrigue me greatly. But I have so much on my plate right now, (so to speak) that I don't know when I'll learn either of those types.

I've been working this week on redoing my pictures for etsy. You'll have to check it out. I've decided that a white background looks better than anything I've done before. I haven't been able to completely re-edit all my pictures but slowly getting it all done. It would sure help if the sun shone a little! I don't care for artificial lighting.

I've been hanging around on the forums on etsy trying to learn all that I can. I've also been learning to let my feelings go when I find someone else on etsy that is selling something of the same pattern for so much less than me.

I've learned that I can't compare my prices to anyone. I have figured my cost of the materials, etsy fees, paypal fees, and time it takes to complete a project and feel I have accurately priced my work. Some might think my prices are too high. Others still insist to me my prices are too low for the work that I make.

I read an article the other day about someone who complained over the high cost of another lady's craft item and the lady explained that she didn't expect them to work for pennies per hour, why should she. It is work to make a dish cloth and just because I enjoy what I do, doesn't make it any less.

Until next time!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

More sudsy sacks and wash cloths

I've been busy knitting. I made two yellow sudsy sacks, a purple and green one, a cream colored one with brown flecks of color, and a pink, green and blue variegated wash cloth.

Right now on my needles is another wash cloth. I'm planning on making one of each design in the Leisure Arts booklet I've got since there are some patterns I've never made before in it. Actually the link is not the one I am using though I do own that booklet as well. I couldn't find the exact link for it.

I plan to knit some hats this week using my knitting loom.  After that I'll be trying to use some light weight yarn for a project yet to be determined.

Here are the sudsy sacks I made.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sudsy sacks with a bar of soap

I've decided to start offering bars of soap with my sudsy sacks. For now, these are purchased through Simply Cleansing. I have a few other friends who also make their own soap and plan to offer theirs as well. This way I can offer variety to my customers.

I wasn't going to offer the crocheted sudsy sacks and planned on replacing them all with my new knitted ones but decided to offer both instead. I like both patterns!

Lately, I've been trying to decide what I want to knit next.  I started this morning on knitting another towel set, but haven't been able to get into it. Perhaps, I'll rip it out and make a dish cloth instead.

I wonder if any of my readers have suggestions on what I should offer next on my etsy shop. I was thinking of making a set of wash cloths and a bar of soap for those that prefer that instead of a sudsy sack.

Until next time!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Color changing and new sudsy sacks

It's late, and I should be in bed, but I wanted to post up some pictures of my creations from this week.

I knit this dish cloth set and had fun learning to mix colors. This has really opened up a new world for me. No more having to use variegated yarns. Unless I want to!

I wanted to try knitting some sudsy sacks since before all I made were crocheted ones. I like the stockinette stitch design but it's hard for me to remember which row I'm on and I find myself ripping out more rows than I do knitting. Plus, I love knitting with double pointed needles and just knitting in the round.

I have no idea how knitting in the round makes it look like a stockinette stitch but it's cool! I also like the idea that when I'm done I don't have to stitch up the sides and bottom of it. I just do the three needle bind off and ta da! I'm done!

I'm looking forward to knitting several of these this weekend.

When I knit this one I thought I'd do away with the drawstring but decided I liked it too much to leave out. The next ones I knit won't have as much draw at the top since I plan on keeping the drawstring in.

Any ideas on colors to make next??

Friday, August 6, 2010

Hanging towel set

Thanks to a friend who gave me the great idea to offer knitted towels and dish cloth sets, I made this one.
Not everyone likes hanging towels though so I also plan to offer just plain knit towels and dish cloths in whatever design you want. I plan to post up more pictures as I get them done. In the meantime, be sure to check out my etsy shop to see what new things I've made.

My next order is a sage colored towel with a heart dish cloth which I'll be happily knitting the next few days.

I'm also working on another pair of socks. I figure by the time I get done with several more pairs, I should be able to knit a sock without having to concentrate too much. Right now, the whole process is still new to me, but soon it will be a normal part of my every day life!

Until next time!

Ipod cozy

I finished making my first Ipod cozy. If I make another one it will be a bit more narrow and a tiny bit taller. I have so many plans for this yarn that I used to make the cozy that I'm not sure how much will be left to make more cozies. I guess it depends on how many orders I get...

I also might use some leftover sock yarn to make a few cozies with.

Here is a picture of the ipod cozy but I have to warn you the picture did not turn out very clear and the color is not the same as what I have. Perhaps I need my hubby to take a better picture for me!

First pair of socks

I finally finished my first pair of socks. I am not counting the first sock I ever knit because I didn't make a set. I really enjoyed using this yarn. It was the first time I have ever used sock yarn like this. The kind that makes a pretty pattern. Sock yarn is surprise yarn to me because I never know what the pattern will look like.  To be quite honest, I thought the socks would look like a zebra!

I've already started making another pair for myself and I have yet to figure out what it will look like exactly. There are shades of brown, green and purple in it. I think it will make an interesting looking pair of socks!

I bought that yarn because I was so sure that the first pair was not going to fit Nick and so this was going to be his pair, but as it turns out the socks fit him great! So, I guess I'll take this second pair. Seems that the purple is more dominant anyways.

Monday, August 2, 2010


There are things in the camper that I sometimes forget to do, or put off because of the task. Like dusting. Or cleaning the toilet!  I used to have tasks that I would do two or three times a week but found that there isn't any reason why I can't do it every day.

So, the other day I made a checklist for myself.

Daily Checklist:
Make bed
Open curtains (yes, I know that seems ridiculous, but the whole place looks so much better when I do- yet often I just don't bother)
Hang up clothes (can you believe I often just shove clothes in the bottom of my closet?)
Gather up knitting and put back in its place. (Yes, I tend to leave my yarn all over the place!)
Pick up bedroom
Do a load of laundry. (one load a day is better than seven at the end of the week)
Clean toilet, tub and sink
Sweep cobwebs in corners
Do dishes
Put away dishes (sometimes I let them drip dry for too long!)
Clean living room
Put away yarn stash
Put away books
Throw away junk mail and recycle magazines
Hang up wash.
Prepare meals. 
Clean and shine sink
Put away thai pillows
Clean windows and mirrors
Vacuum fan blades and a/c filter
Sweep outside carpet area (need a new broom first)
Fold laundry.

I love how I can do all these things daily and it not take me more than an hour. Then I have the rest of the day to do as I please.

Like spend time knitting socks.

I love my small home.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Banana Whips

Makes 2 smoothies

2 bananas
1 cup milk
1-2 T. honey
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon (if desired)
1 cup ice cubes

In blender, place bananas, milk, honey, vanilla and cinnamon. Blend on high until smooth. Add ice cubes and blend until icy cold. Pour into two serving glasses.

Can use frozen bananas. Add 1 cup frozen banana slices in place of one regular banana.

Banana Toffee Chocolate Bites

3 large ripe bananas
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 T. canola oil
1/2 cup toffee bits

Peel bananas and cut into 1 inch slices (can also leave as larger pieces). Place on baking sheet and freeze 30 minutes.

Melt both types chocolate with oil in bowl over simmering water, stirring often. (double boiler pot).
 Stirring often. Remove from heat. And stir in toffee bits, allow to cool slightly.

Remove bananas from freezer. Dip each slice into chocolate mixture, allowing excess chocolate to drip off. Return coated bananas to wax paper lined baking sheet. Return to freezer for several hours until bananas are frozen. Transfer frozen treats to air tight containers and keep in freezer until serving.

Chicken Quesadillas with Chipotle-Cilantro Cream

1 tsp. olive oil
4 7 -8 inch whole wheat tortillas, folded in half
1 cup black or pinto beans, rinsed, drained and mashed
1/2 cup montery jack cheese
1/2 cup shredded queso cotija or queso fresco (or monterey jack)
2 cups shredded cooked chicken

Chipotle-Cilantro Cream
1 chipotle en adobo
(removed from one 7 ounce can)
3 sprigs fresh cilantro, stem ends removed
3/4 cup low fat sour cream or plain Greek yogurt

Preheat electric frying pan to 375 or a stovetop frying pan to medium high. Add olive oil to pan, when hot add folded tortillas, curved sides out. (you may need to do this in batches if they don't all fit)
Open tortillas and fill with beans, cheese and chicken. Cook until golden brown; then flip and cook other side. Repeat with remaining quesadilla ingredients if necessary.

In a blender puree chipotle, cilantro, and sour cream or yogurt until smooth. Season with salt. Drizzle over hot quesadillas.

Pantry Ready Black bean soup

From Delicious Living May 2010

Serves 4
Great with cornbread muffins

1 tsp. olive oil
1 medium red or green bell pepper, chopped
2 tsp. chopped garlic
1 14 ounce can chopped tomatoes with juice
1 4 ounce can chopped green chilies
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 T. dried thyme
1 T. ground cumin
2 c. vegetable or chicken broth
4 16 ounce cans black beans rinsed and drained

In large pot over medium heat, combine oil, bell pepper, and garlic. Saute for a few minutes until tender. (don't let garlic brown)

Add remaining ingredients and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Puree 2 cups of the mixture in a blender and return to pot. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and more spices. Heat through and serve.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Working on foot

Yesterday I started knitting the gusset part of the sock. I was nervous to do it because I wasn't sure if I could remember how it was done. It turned out to be super easy. Today I've been knitting the foot part. I'm really hoping to get it completely done tonight so that tomorrow I can work on the other sock. It's just seems to be going really slow though. I still have 1 1/2 more inches to go. And I started knitting three hours ago! (8 inches total)

I'll post up pictures when I get it done. After that just the toe part and closing it up. Not much longer...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sock- second time around

So as you read earlier, I took out the first sock I was making and started over...

So far so good. I'm just now working on the heel flap. When I start working on the gusset I will take pictures of that process, since this sock looks so similar to the first one.

I've really been taking my sweet time with it. I don't want to mess up on it again. So, I've been knitting a round dish cloth. This is my 8th or 9th try to make a round one and so far so good. I only have a few rounds left.

I will definitely be posting up some pictures of it when I get it done. It's not a hard pattern but it takes all my concentration to do, so I doubt I will be making any more of them. I really like the simple knit and purl designs.

I got some cotton yarn on sale at Pamida's on Tuesday. And what a great deal it was! But it's not for my etsy shop. I'm not ready yet to reveal what it's for, so you'll just have to wait and see!

Until next time!

Caplinger Mills

On Tuesday, Nick took me to Pamida's. A store in Eldorado Springs, MO. Every once in awhile they will have my favorite yarn on sale and that happened to be the last day of the sale. I really like that store except that they tend to have a lot of weirdos that hang out there. It reminds me of a Big Lot's. Anyways, afterwards, Nick said we were going to take a drive. I love country drives!

We got turned around at one point and missed our turn so we just drove out in the country and it was so beautiful! Then, he told me of a place he wanted to take me. Caplinger Mills. They have canoeing and fishing there. I told him at first I didn't want to go just to take a look. I wanted to be able to go canoeing, but that wasn't possible.

So, we went there and looked around the tiny town. I loved it! It was fun! We walked along a bridge and saw the dam there. We could peer over the bridge and see fish swimming below. The water was pretty clear. We stopped in at two RV resorts and asked about their prices. We stopped in at one place and found out the canoe rates. It's definitely a place I want to visit for the weekend or a couple of days during the week, (which would probably be less busy)

One place had cabins to rent that seemed nice. In fact, the canoe place told us of two different RV sites that were in competition with each other and always raising their prices. That seemed a bit backward. I would think they would be lowering their prices! lol One of the camping places even has a yurt to rent. I've always thought it would be neat to live in a yurt, so to camp overnight in one seems cool! But they were closed that day so we didn't get to look around much. The first place seemed nice and more secluded.

Even though it was very hot, I had a good day walking around and exploring. I definitely can't wait to go back. I think it would be awesome to have my sister's family come out and stay in a cabin with us. Go canoeing and swimming and fishing!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Roasted Banana Buckwheat Pancakes

2 ripe bananas, unpeeled
2 large organic eggs
2 Tbs. canola oil
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 1/4 cups organic 2% milk
3/4 cups buckwheat pancake mix (such as Hodgson Mill)
maple syrup for drizzling

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place unpeeled bananas on baking sheet. Roast in oven until blackened and soft about 10 minutes. Cool until bananas can be handled. Slice peels open and squeeze cooked bananas into small bowl. Reduce heat to 175 degrees to keep pancakes warm.

Whisk together eggs, oil and almond extract in medium bowl. Whisk in milk, then pancake mix, then bananas. Let batter sit at least 5 minutes.

Spray large non-stick skillet with canola oil cooking spray, and place over medium heat. Makes pancakes in batches, using scant 1/4 cup batter for each pancake. Transfer cooked pancakes to platter in oven as you go.

Serve with warm maple syrup on side!

From: Better Nutrition April 2010 issue

Chipotle Chicken Wagon Wheels

I clipped this from a family circle magazine.

1 T. veg. oil
1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 can (14.5 ounces) tomatoes, drained
3/4 cup fat free half and half
2 chipotle peppers in adobo, seeded and chopped
3/4 tsp. salt
2 T. chopped cilantro
1 pound wagon wheel pasta

heat a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add oil and chicken. Cook 5 minutes, turning after 3 minutes. Add onion and garlic, cook for 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, half and half, chipotle and salt. Simmer uncovered, 4 minutes. Stirring occasionally. Add cilantro.

Cook pasta according to directions, about 12 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the liquid.

Toss pasta with sauce. Add reserved water as needed to thin out sauce.

Shells with White beans and beef

From a family circle magazine April 2010.

Makes 8 servings

1 Tablespoons olive oil
1 pound beef fillet cut into 1 inch cubes
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
2 ribs celery with leaves, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
2 cans (15 ounces each) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon each: dried oregano and basil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound medium-size shells
Grated cheese (optional)

Heat oil in large non-stick lidded skillet over medium high heat. Season beef with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Add to skillet and cook for 2 minutes. Turn and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove beef from skillet to a plate with a slotted spoon. Keep warm.

Add onion and celery to skillet and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, beans, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer covered for 12 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to directions on package, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the liquid. Place drained pasta in pot. Add bean mixture, cooked beef with accumulated juices and the reserved cooking water to the pasta.

Serve with grated cheese if desired.

Chicken Vindaloo

A classic spicy curry

1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon each: cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, cloves, cumin, paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped yellow onions
3 medium cloves garlic minced
1 Tablespoon grated gingerroot
1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
2 large yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 14.5 ounce can chopped tomatoes, drained
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 Tablespoons wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 bay leaf

Heat large saucepan over medium low. Add turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, cloves, cumin, paprika and cayenne, and gently dry roast 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add oil and stir to mix. Add onions, garlic, and ginger. Stir to coat. And cook 3 minutes.

Stir in chicken, potatoes, tomatoes, broth, vinegar, tomato paste, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer covered until potatoes are tender, 12-14 minutes.

Remove cover and cook 5 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper, add more cayenne, if desired.

Divide among four bowl and serve with Indian flat bread. (roti) if desired.

Butternut Squash soup with leeks and ginger

I clipped this from an unknown magazine and thought I'd post it here. In fact, I found a stash of recipes I've collected over the past few months and thought I'd type them all up today. Otherwise, who knows when it will get done!

Here is this yummy soup recipe:

Serves 8

2 medium butternut squash
2 Tablespoons organic canola oil
3 large leeks, white parts only, sliced and rinsed
1/4 cup peeled minced fresh ginger
7 cups organic low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1 1/2 cups peeled cored and chopped ripe pears
1/4 cup light organic coconut milk

Preheat oven to 375. Line rimmed baking sheet with tin foil.

Halve squash vertically, remove seeds. Place squash cut side down on prepared baking sheet. Pour 1/3 cup water around squash. Bake 45 minutes until soft. Cool slightly. Peel and mash.

Heat oil over medium heat in large heavy bottomed pot. Cook leeks 8 minutes until softened. Add ginger and stir 2 minutes. Add broth, orange juice and zest; bring to a boil.

Reduce heat. Simmer 10 minutes. Add squash, and simmer 10 minutes more.

Remove from heat add pears and coconut milk. Puree in batches in blender, return to pot. Add salt and white pepper to taste, if desired. Keep warm until serving.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

yarn stash thoughts

I decided to be practical with myself with all the free yarn I received from friends and keep only what I knew I could use.  I plan to knit several scarves, hats, and other small things with the yarn I'm keeping. And I passed on the rest to a fellow crocheter. It's a good feeling to share with others.


It's been awhile since I last posted, I know.

Thursday I rode along with Emily to a blackberry farm and picked blackberries. It rained lightly so other than getting soaked and having my glasses fogged, I came home with half a gallon of berries. The lady that let me ride with her was going to give me an entire gallon but I knew they'd just go to waste so I let her keep my other half.

I just wanted them for fresh eating and Nick isn't much of a blackberry person. I did crush some and added some sugar and used it for cheesecake topping which was really yummy!

Other than that, I've just been enjoying eating them fresh. I hope to go in two weeks to pick more for fresh eating. I can't decide if I want to make some freezer jam with them. Probably not.

The blackberry farm has a share program. Pick three gallons and keep one for free. I love it when people do share programs!

I was impressed by the Emily's kids who were there picking with us. The littlest one was riding along in a baby carrier  and though he was soaked from head to toe, didn't make a peep. He even fell asleep while in it. Every once in awhile I'd see Emily hand him back a blackberry. The other three girls picked berries and talked to us as we picked. The thing that stands out is that they were content. They didn't care much for getting rained on, but they didn't complain and made the best out of a bad situation. They carried buckets of berries back to the weigh in station and made the time go by quickly.

By the way, Emily is the one who makes her own soap

All in all, I had a great time and can't wait to go back!

Friday, July 9, 2010

One of these days...

I will learn to let things be. There was a loose loop on my sock. I had help on the way. (Monday to be exact) But nooooo.... I couldn't just let it sit over the weekend. I had to try and figure it out. And what happened?

I took the needles out and began pulling. I took out the heel parts and left myself with just the leg part and then I tried to put the needles back in but they loops were so tiny I couldn't get it back in. So I unraveled the whole thing!!

Starting over from scratch, I decided to do a different rib for the cuff. Rather than a single rib, I'm doing a triple rib. It looks more like stockinette so I'm told. There isn't as much of a draw in as there was before.

If all goes well, I'll have it back to where I started by Monday. And I'll post up pictures since it looks a bit different.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sock pics- Cuff to heel turn




Heel turn:

Hiya Hiya Puppy Snips

I bought these a couple of weeks ago. I wanted a small pair of scissors or some kind of cutter to snip my yarn ends with. Being a dog lover, I thought these were too cute!

It's small enough that it doesn't take up much room in my bag. I also like how the blades are protected so I don't have to worry about anything accidentally getting snipped in the bag or getting my fingers cut!

You just squeeze the ends together and the dog's head comes off which is the blade protector. The blades are sharp and get the job done!

Aren't they cute?

Tape Measure

Granted, I've only had this new tape measure for a day but I already know how much I'm going to love it! For one thing, it's small and fits in my accessories bag. It's white and pink. I like that it's soft. I had looked at several small tape measures at the hardware store but they were nothing that I wanted to wrap around my head for measuring for a hat. And best of all, it has a push button to retract the tape in when I'm done.

I bought it at the local yarn store for less than $6. Now what else can I buy to fill up my accessories bag with...

Accessories Bag

When we were in Joplin a couple of weeks ago, I bought the perfect little bag to keep all my knitting accessories in. I found it at the christian book store at the mall. It was even on sale!

Right now I'm using it to hold my sock that I'm working on. It fits perfectly inside.

And it has one of my favorite verses on the bag:

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Never lacking in yarn

I'll never be lacking in yarn again since I've got such nice friends that give me their extra yarn. At the last knitting meeting, two ladies gave me a ton of yarn! One lady bought a whole suitcase worth at a garage sale for only $1!!! Another lady had a huge bag of cone yarn. Mostly sport weight, which I'm told is good for lace projects. Not quite sure what that means yet, but I've been looking on the Internet for patterns to use.  Any ideas?

I did find a pattern in my stash for a lacy looking scarf but not sure if this yarn is the right type. I'm experimenting on it this week. Check back later for pictures.

I plan on sharing most of this bountiful yarn with a couple of friends of mine who like to crochet and knit but who are like me- on a tight budget. I plan to use up what yarn I keep so I don't have a cupboard full of unused yarn.  Isn't that what I'm supposed to do anyways? lol

Knitting scarves is next on my list to do.  A lot of the yarn is fuzzy and I can already imagine it being knit with some encore yarn. Before winter comes, I'll have plenty to give away and keep us warm!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Sock cuff

Here is the cuff of the sock:

The opening looks very small, so I'm thinking it won't fit Nick. Phooey! These were supposed to be for him! Rather than take it out though, I'll make these for myself and pick up more yarn for Nick.

I decided not to do the low cuff design and just follow the pattern exactly. When I get more practice then, I might start changing things up a bit. 

I should have done a different rib pattern. I did single rib and next time I'll do the double rib. Live and learn!

Until next time!

Happy Knitter's Group

If you live in or near Nevada, Missouri and love to knit or want to learn how, come to the Happy Knitter's group. We meet every two weeks at the Episcopal Church.

The next meeting is on July 19 from 12:30-2:30. If you can't come at those exact times, that's okay. Some people leave early or come later.

It's a great way to meet other knitters, swap stories, share projects and just hang out.

Hope to see some new faces!

Cowl instead

I was right, the hat is way too big. I'm not sure what I did wrong since I used the right sized needle and casted on the right number. The only thing I can think of is that I used the wrong type of yarn. I found a different pattern for using that exact yarn- Lion Brand Homespun and it said to cast on 56 with size 10 needles. The pattern I used said to cast on 78 on size 8. I guess I'll have to get a size 10 after all.

Janet, one of the knitting ladies from the Happy Knitter's group who also happens to own the local yarn store. suggested I make a cowl. What a splendid idea!!

So, that's what I plan to make instead. Perhaps a couple of them since I have plenty of yarn.

And Nick really wants his hat made out of Plymouth Encore yarn anyways. (to match his scarf)

Until next time!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Lionbrand Homespun Yarn- Prairie color

Here is the hat I started for Nick. I am not sure why it looks so massive. This is just my practice hat which is good since I've already messed up on it. I'm supposed to do a rib pattern until the hat measures 11 inches and somehow I've messed up the rib design. Not enough to make me take the whole thing out. Not yet...

I like the yarn as it's very soft but hard to work with. I find myself pulling on it too hard and I have to loosen it as I go otherwise, it all bunches up. Maybe I'm doing something wrong...

Variegated gray sock yarn

I started knitting a sock last week but messed it up so I had to take it all out. Then for some reason I couldn't figure out how to do it again.

I watched youtube videos one after another and couldn't find one that made any sense. Some talked too low to hear anything. Some shook the camera so it was fuzzy. Some talked too fast. One lady just plain creeped me out!

I read article after article and tried to figure out which pattern to follow from my book. Then I tried to cast on and knit some rows and I just couldn't get it to work. I started to get pretty frustrated, and was about ready to give up when I took a break from it and then tried it again.

Worked fine! I don't know what my problem was. Just needed to clear my head I guess.

I started to make a gauge, but hesitated because when I start out knitting something new and different it is awkward and knit tightly. Then, when I get used to it, it is almost too loose. I knew if I did a gauge it wouldn't be as accurate, but to say that I did one. I did. It came out to 7 stitches per inch, so that is the pattern I am following.

I want to make this pair a low cuff sock but not quite sure how. I guess I'll just have to ask the knitting ladies tomorrow. I just don't know how long to make the cuff before I start in on the heel flap.

I do know that I'm excited to give sock knitting another try. I'm tired of knitting dishcloths for now. I'll still sell them on my etsy shop but ready to branch out to other things. I like that socks are easy to knit. (for the most part) They are portable and don't take up as much space as let's say a blanket. I found a cute pattern for baby socks too, which I plan to try once I use up this sock yarn.

I am very glad I bought brittany needles for my socks. I had wanted to buy Lantern Moon needles. (don't laugh) mainly because of the cute bag they came in! I know, I'm pathetic! But they were also on sale 50% off! The reason I'm glad I bought the brittany's is because they come with a 5 year replacement guarantee.

While I was knitting tonight, I thought I heard a cracking sound but didn't notice anything unusual. Then, later I was knitting and watched as the yarn started to snag. I looked down closely to see that the needle was split all down the middle!! Good thing they came with a spare needle otherwise I'd have to wait until the next one shipped out.

And I suppose I can sew up a cute bag for the needles to go in...

Here is the sock I've started: 

Keep checking back for more pics...

Until next time!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Knitted kitten

Well, I'm not sure what I think of my first knitted kitten, but it was fun to make anyhow! Do you think the eyes look scary? Some have said they do! The directions said to embroider a face after it was sewn together. I can see how easier it would have been to do, before it was stuffed, which is what I plan to do on the next one. Yes! I plan to make more of them! Much more! lol

Friday, June 25, 2010

Knitted hat and kitten

I bought some Lantern Moon circular needles yesterday from the local yarn store for $11!! I had to choose between four different brands (if you know me at all, you'll know that I'm very indecisive!) and I'm very pleased with these.   I wasn't sure what to think of them at first, but I love them now! The wood  is very smooth and easy to knit with. Sometimes the yarn snags a bit on the ends where the circular part starts, but I think a lot of that has to do with the yarn. I am finding it extremely hard to knit with since it snags like crazy!

If I wasn't so anxious to try out this pattern, I would have ripped it out by now. In fact, at one point, I accidentally increased by one and wasn't sure where my error was. I  thought I was going to have to start all over which was making me angry since I had worked on it most of the afternoon.

I started out this morning and worked on Nick's socks. I got a few rounds done (about half an inch) when I got confused as to which row I was on and still don't know. I need to google some information about it and see where I messed up. I am however really liking the needles. I thought it would be harder to knit with such tiny needles and yarn but it's not bad. In fact, I'm really liking the shorter sized needles which surprised me because on my other needles I preferred them longer.

Anyways, later on in the afternoon, I located that knitted kitten pattern I found months ago and tried to knit a cat. I'm not sure what I think of it but will post up a picture when I'm finished with it. All I have left to do is put a face on it. I tried embroidering a face for it, but should have done it before I stuffed it. (but I was just following directions...)

So, I've got these three projects to keep my busy this weekend while Nick's at work. I am hoping to have something worth taking pictures of by Monday.

Until next time!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Socks and circular needles

I bought some smaller sock needles here this week and plan to use the sock yarn that I bought last year. I am still making the gauge but once I get started on it, I'll post some pictures up. If I can remember I'll post up pictures as I go so you can see it from start to finish.

I'm using this book and also looking here for tips along the way.

I'm going to try and knit them with a shorter cuff than the ones I made before and if all works out these should fit Nick. If, he doesn't mind the crazy colors!

I also bought my first circular needles size 8,  32 inches long.  I've never knit with this type before and anxious to try them out tonight. Once I get more familiar with using circular needles, I may try to knit some socks but that won't be for a long long time! I got these needles to knit a hat for Nick- something he's been asking about for awhile. I plan to use some of the Homespun yarn for practice and then buy some gray Encore yarn. Nick wants his hat to match his scarf which is what I used for it.

Until next time!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Brittany Crochet hook

It never occured to me that Brittany made crochet hooks. And why not? I've seen them on their webpage before.

So, I finally went to the local yarn store today and picked up a size "H" which is the size I use the most.  By the way, I heartily recommend shopping local if you can for all your knitting and crocheting needs.

The hook part is a bit difficult getting used to because it's hard to get the yarn to stay where you put it, but so far I love it! I like the way it feels in my hand. And did you get a look at it? It's so pretty!

Now on to crochet some sudsy sacks!

Yarn donation

So, I went through the new yarn stash again and started thinking of all the things I wanted to knit and crochet next.

Looking at the stash: (sorry the picture looks a bit blurry)

Not to say I won't change my mind later, but here's what I've decided so far:

The 3 skeins of Red Heart dark blue yarn towards the back on the left side is the exact color I was wanting to buy to make my crochet towel toppers. I have been collecting towels to make for the past few months.

Next the Mary Maxim white skeins in front of them I was going to use for a few towel toppers as well.  I'm pretty sure they are more of an off white color which matches some towels I found today at the dollar store. I'm not sure what I'll make with the rest of it. I do have a knit pattern for a cat that I was thinking my niece would like. Maybe some ornaments for christmas as well... Hmmmmm. I'll have to think about it awhile longer.

The purple bumpy yarn reminds me of Lion's brand Homespun yarn. Any ideas for what I can do with it? The black mohair yarn next to it, I plan on double stranding it and using it for my scarf. (the one I was going to make last year but never did) It's got some gray in it so it will be perfect to go with the gray Encore yarn I love so much! It will match Nick's scarf but with the two strands it will be enough to tell them apart.

There is a black colored Lion Brand Homespun and a variegated one on the same column. I tried to knit that teddy bear again using the black but could not figure out the pattern. Maybe a black cat?

Starting at the back of the second column is Red Heart Fiesta in cream and pink. (the pink is between the four balls of cotton- 2 green, red, blue) I don't know what I'll do with these yet, but any leftover yarn from it and I might crochet a few hacky sacks.

The four skeins of mercerized cotton I want to crochet or knit a bag. The kind with the holes in it that stretch nicely. I found a crocheted pattern for a produce bag but have yet to figure out how to do the adjustable loop.

I'm going to have a fun weekend teaching myself some new things!

Next is some purplish colored Mary Maxim yarn. It came in the same bag with the white ones. My niece loves the color purple so I wanted to make her something with them. I'm just not sure yet!

And lastly is more Lion Brand Homespun yarn. The skein that hasn't been used yet, I'm going to knit a hat with. I found an easy cowl pattern awhile back and now I can't find the pattern for it, but if there is enough I'll use one of the other skeins for it.

Well, that's what I think I'm going to do with this yarn. Who knows what I may come up with next?

Keep checking back here to see what I've been up to!

The yarn came in this really cool bag:

I'm going to start using it for my knitting bag to take to the meetings with.

And, Karen- if you're reading this: Thank you!!!!!

Until next time!

New yarn stash

The coolest thing happened today. One of the knitting ladies from the knitting club asked me if I was interested in some free yarn! Of course!!! This wasn't even the lady that said she had some for me the last time we met.

There was a huge kitchen sized trash bag full of yarn. All different colors and weights. I sorted through it when I got home and have already been dreaming of the different things I plan to make with some of it.

I've been wanting for some time to branch out and knit items other than dish cloths, but haven't had the money to buy any other type yarn. And I had been so focused with using up my cotton yarn stash that I hadn't even thought of anything else. The timing is great because I am about out of my cotton yarn. I have as many dish cloths that I want out on etsy right now. Maybe a few more designs...

I didn't realize how much I was used to knitting with non-stretchy yarn until I was playing around with some of the new stuff It will definitely take getting used to but I'm looking forward to it, that's for sure!

Give me a week or so and I'll have some pictures to share of my newest projects...

Until next time!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Hearts and birdhouse dish cloths

I've really been enjoying knitting with my size 6 needles. I don't know why. I think it's because I can make two dishcloths with a ball of yarn and the image seems to stand out more with the tighter weave.

Here are three dish cloths I knit within the past few days using up some yarn in my stash.

The neighbor's pup refused to move out of the way of the picture! lol

I am really wanting to buy more yarn but I have so much that I need to use up first. Not sure how long I can last though!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Thanks, Fly lady!

Well, it's about time. I finally have learned some techniques that have stuck with me all week thanks to fly lady. In the past, I've spent the weekend cleaning up the place only to have it messy the very next day. My biggest problem I think is not putting something away when I'm done with it. And before I know it the place is a wreck! Sure enough, though, when I get done putting everything back where it goes, it's all clean again.

So for the past week I have been very careful with putting things away the minute I am done with them. And the results? A clean home. Always able to find exactly what I'm looking for whenever I need something. Which is usually rare around here! In fact, a few times I searched high and low for an item only to find it in its proper place surprised and forgotten that I put it there in the first place!

So, thank you fly lady! Now, I can spend more time knitting and less time cleaning over the weekend.

Just a few minutes a day keeps the mess away!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

First etsy sale!

I'm excited!! I just got home after a long shopping day at Walmart. (don't get me started on the remodeling!) I walked in exhausted and just wanted to go to sleep.

But I cooled off with some water and decided to check my email. A note from paypal awaited me and brightened up my day. I sold my first item on etsy! And with luck, it's only the beginning!

Now, I know what I'll be busy doing this afternoon and tonight. Crocheting more sudsy sacks to add to my listings.

When I go to Kansas City at the end of this summer, I plan to find some organic cotton yarn and see if it'll be worth it to make some sudsy sacks from it. The yarn is three times if not more than what I'm paying now and I don't want to charge much for the things... But I'll just have to see... I might just get it on sale or with a coupon and when they're gone they're gone!

Until next time!

Needles and yarn

The needles that I prefer knitting with are Brittany needles. I buy them from the local yarn store. The prices are very reasonable and since I've made the switch from metal to wood, I'll never use metal again! I love the way the wooden needles feel in my hand, not to mention the fact that the yarn doesn't slip off the needles.

I also like the fact that the needles are made in the USA. They are a family company committed to using recyclable materials for their packaging. The needles are made of birch. The best part I love about the needles is that they come with a five year guarantee against flaws and breakage from normal use. For more about this great company go here.

The yarn I've been using for my sudsy sacks and wash cloths/dish cloths is Peaches and Creme. (unless otherwise noted) The peaches and creme yarn is made in the USA. To learn more about the company go here.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Lupine dog collars

When we first got our dog we went through a lot of dog collars. Most of them he outgrew very quickly while others just simply fell off. Then, I discovered Lupine dog collars. The thing that sold me on them was that they were guaranteed for life, even if chewed! Who can beat a guarantee like that!? They come in all shapes, sizes and colors.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Fern and Rouser

Rouser is much bigger than Fern. I think he hogs the food when they eat. I've heard him snarl and growl at her before. You can tell a difference when you look at them. Fern is so much smaller than he is. Course, she was tiny when they got them to begin with but it's like Rouser grew and Fern stayed the same size.

Those puppies chew on everything! Garden hoses, bags of trash, you name it, they've probably sampled it! lol They were even found peeling up a dead toad in the middle of the street the other day! Ewwwww! Of course, they tried to bring it to me as well.

They have another dog too, Cider. He's such a great dog too! If there is one nice trick they taught him it was "Easy." When you give him a treat and don't want your hand bit off, tell him, "Easy" and he will pull his lips over his teeth and ever so gently take whatever you are giving him. But watch out, if you forget to tell him that, you may lose a finger or two!

Sometimes I think I really want a dog of my own. I'd spoil him rotten! But then I come back to reality. Our lives can't handle a dog right now. We want to do some traveling eventually for up to 3 months at a time. It wouldn't be fair to kennel a dog for that long. So for now, I'll just have to make do being happy with the neighbor's dogs.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Rouser and the bicycle

The other day I was talking to Rouser (one of our neighbor's beagle puppies) through the window in the bedroom which is raised since we live in a fifth wheel camper. The more I talked to him the more I laughed because he kept turning his head from side to side trying to figure out where I was. I went into the living room to tell Nick about it and just a few seconds later, we heard him barking. We went outside to see what was up, only to see him staring at the bicycle which leans up against the camper right below the bedroom window with his fur standing on end.

It was hilarious! I guess he couldn't figure out why and how the bicycle was talking to him!

Order finished for Magnolia Health and Home

Here is the order I finished yesterday for Magnolia Health and Home.

All you SE Kansas folks, be sure to stop in and see the products! They also sell other wonderful items such as soy candles, herbs, teas and more!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ballband dish cloth

As promised, here are some pictures of the ballband dishcloth I made awhile back. I used variegated colors on them but plan to try changing colors on the next batch.

I have just been busy filling my order for Magnolia Health and Home. I had written a few days ago about having five sudsy sacks done but I found a better pattern for them so I had to start all over!

The good news is that I have finished all ten of them and have only three wash cloths left to do. I plan to finish them this weekend and mail them out on Monday or Tuesday.

Here are the ballband pics:

Cell phone zippered pouches

Last week a friend asked me to sew her a cell phone holder that she wanted to give to a friend. So I took out my supplies and started to d...