Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Momma Has a New Bag

For the past few years I have sewn bags to sell and gift that are great for small knitting projects.

 The inside fabric is always compatible and the bag is actually reversible.
I have been wanting to design another type of bag and I recently came up with these.
These bags measure 7 1/2" x 4" x 4". 
I think these will be great for an accessory bag. 
I made these three for my coworkers.
They needed a little bit of Texas.

I am now trying to figure out how to set up an Etsy account so I can sell bags online.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Holidays

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

And yes I broke down and bought a small living tree.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Would You Like Catsup With Your Cheeseburger?

In the latest issue of Creative Knitting there is a mention of a Cheeseburger by Anna Hrachovec.

My friend Janice that I work with mentioned how she really loved cheeseburgers so for her birthday I made her one.

 I used aran cotton weight yarn rather than fingering so my burger is a little larger then the original pattern size.  My finished cheeseburger is 1 1/4" tall and 1 1/2" wide.
I also used beads for the sesame seeds for a little bling.

This is a very low calorie burger.

Monday, December 5, 2011

I'm the Grinch

.....According to Jim because I don't want to get a Christmas tree.  It's not so much I'm opposed to putting the tree up, it's that at some point it has to come back down.  I don't like undecorating.

In keeping with the Grinch theme I did make flannel pillowcases for everyone in the family. 

When I was in Texas this summer Dru Ann was making a quilt with this fabric and I just had to have some.
I found the fabric at Thistle Dew Quilt Shoppe in Fair Oaks and bought enough to make everyone pillowcases.

I'm a crafty Grinch.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving.

I am thankful for a wonderful husband, my three talented children, my great friends back in Texas and the caring and generous new friends in California.

I hope everyone enjoyed a lovely meal that included some pie.

The toss up tomorrow morning will be what to eat for breakfast.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Another Pair of Socks

We finished our KAL we were doing at the store for toe up socks and I finally finished my second pair.
These are for me.

 The first pair for Jim was a simple 1 x 3 rib so for my pair I wanted to do something different.
I looked through Knitting Stitches by Mary Webb and decided on the miniature plait, an easy pattern just a little tedious. I don't have small feet, I wear a 9 1/2 shoe, so I ran out of yarn.
 I used Koigu Painter's Palette Premium Merino fingering weight yarn which only has 175 yards in a skein.   I had some left over Madelinetosh fingering weight in my stash that was color compatible so I  used that for the cuffs. I did a slightly larger twisted cable for the cuff.
The socks fit great.
Now I need to figure out what socks to make next.  I'm eyeing a pair in the new Book of Socks by Clara Parkes.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Blackthorn Double Points

I generally use size 0 needles when knitting socks. I have tried many different company's needles because size 0 needles are very thin and I tend to bend and then split them in half. Lantern Moon, Clover, Darn Pretties and Chaio Goo to name a few.    I purchased a set of size zero 5 inch Signature Needle Arts  double point needles last year and fell in love. I made several pairs of socks with them and they never bent or broke.  Unfortunately when I decided I needed to invest in another pair (they were $10 a needle) I found out that Signature was no longer making 0's which is understandable as they were not made out of the same material as the rest of their needles but I was still bummed. 
I had heard about Blackthorn carbon needles and when I was at Vogue Live in LA they had a booth and I was able to knit with their double points.  They are guaranteed to not break or to lose their point.  For you geeks they are made out of the same carbon fiber composite as the Blackbird Stealth Jet.   At the show they only had 6" so I ordered a set of 5" when I got home. The Blackthorn double points are not cheap but still less then the Signature needles.  Shipping was amazingly quick and free and I have to say I have a new love - don't worry, Jim is still my true love - but in needles these are top dog.

I used them to knit the foot and heel of my second toe up sock and like the slight hold they have on the yarn.

 The points are not as "pointy" as the Signatures but still I had no problem purling three stitches together through the back loop.
My only caution is for those people that have an issue with the sound of fingernails on a blackboard, these might not be for them.  The needles don't make the sound but have the feel of fingernails on a blackboard.
Finishing up on the leg of my socks I have now snapped three more size 1 bamboo double points so I think I am going to add a set of size 1 5" Blackthorn double points to my Christmas list.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Hey Kelsey

Kelsey's birthday is in September.  I gifted her a quilt last year for her birthday.  Forward another birthday - she got pillows to go on that quilt to match.  And now I can say the quilt top has been quilted. 

I had hoped to machine quilt it myself.  I even got a new Juki sewing machine for my birthday but was somewhat stymied as to what design to quilt.

While visiting Texas in August I went with Dru Ann to one of her favorite quilt shops, The Needle Niche in Athens, Texas.  They have a couple that does long arm quilting for a very reasonable price and I decided that rather then make Kelsey wait probably another year that they would be the best option for getting her quilt finished.

And finished it is.  I mailed the quilt top, washed quilt batting and fabric for the binding to Dru Ann to take it to the Needle Niche to get quilted.  Letting go was hard but I knew it was the only thing I could do.

And here is the finished quilt in all it's finished glory.

I have signed myself up for another class to help me choose a quilt design for my quilt tops.  There is more machine quilting in the horizon.

Thank you to Charles for the pictures!!

Friday, November 4, 2011

First Haircut

Millie got her first haircut yesterday.

                                                                 You can see her eyes now. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

 Happy Halloween to all!!

Created by Hagen, age 5

Hope your day is filled with lots of treats.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

KAL Cupcakes

At the lys (local yarn shop) I work at part time I've been leading a KAL (knit a long) for toe up socks.  Today was the last official meeting for this group and I thought we needed to celebrate with some cupcakes.  Of course being that this is the month of October I found another recipe for pumpkin cupcakes.  As I've mentioned before I follow several cooking blogs.  This recipe for Pumpkin Brown Butter Cupcakes with Cinnamon Frosting comes from the blog  SprinkleBakes

I actually followed the recipe as written.  This was my first time to make a cooked frosting and the flavor is light and not really sugary sweet.  And the best part is the cupcakes are delicious.  I must confess I had one for breakfast and another after lunch.  And since a few did come home with me I am seeing another breakfast of cupcake tomorrow.  Life is good!!

Speaking of toe up socks,  the general consensus of the group is we all prefer knitting top down socks.  After a pair and a half I am still a fan of the top down.  I am on the look out for a different heel for a toe up so if you have any suggestions please share them.  We used the pattern from Ann Budd's On-Your-Toes Socks from Interweave Knits, Summer 2007

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Happy Birthday Hagen

My youngest "child" turns 18 today.

Happy Birthday Hagen!!
We love you.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Apple Hill

Since moving to California people have mentioned visiting Apple Hill.  Sunday was a beautiful day and so Jim and I headed out to Placerville to see what the hype was all about.  As the name implies Apple Hill is about apples but there are also Christmas tree farms which will open the day after Thanksgiving and wineries. So guess where we stopped first - Wofford Acres Vineyard.  Just when we thought we really did not know where we were going we found the winery.

Petite Sirah grapes

Nebbiolo grapes

We had a wonderful time at the winery.  The view was outstanding and the wine tasty. We bought some great Zinfandel.    I see a picnic lunch planned for the future.

Our next stop was for apples. 
We stopped in at El Dorado Orchards which had a craft fair also happening.  We bought 20 lbs of Fuji apples.
Fuji apples

On the way down the hill we stopped at Fenton Herriott Vineyards. Unusual for us, we left without purchasing any wine - need I say more.

And this is my new bird house purchased at the craft fair at El Dorado Orchards.  A little late in the season but I'm looking forward to housing a bird family next season.
Miss Millie. She just makes me happy.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes

I am leading a KAL (knit-along) at the LYS (local yarn shop) that I work at part time for a toe up sock.  It was one of the attendee's  birthday this past Thursday so I had a good excuse to bake.  I found a delicious sounding recipe for Vegan Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes on one of my favorite blogs Desserts For Breakfast
I followed the recipe for the cupcakes which turned out very moist and tasty.  The frosting I did change.

Vegan Pumpkin Frosting
1 cup solid white vegetable shortening
1 tsp. butter flavoring
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
Scant 5/8 cup canned pumpkin
1 lb. confectioners sugar
1 tb. meringue powder (leave out if you want vegan frosting)

Cream shortening and flavoring together.  Add dry ingredients and mix on  medium speed until all ingredients have been thoroughly mixed together. Slowly add canned pumpkin, continue mixing until well blended.

And yes, I had one for breakfast the next day!!

Saturday, October 1, 2011


                  At the farmers market today I saw these at one of the booths and wondered what they were.
I was told they were jujube which have a short growing season of about six weeks and taste similar to an apple.  The health benefits of the jujube are also plentiful.

According to ehow " jujube contains potassium, phosphorus, manganese and calcium.  They are also high in sodium, zinc, iron and copper. Jujube also contains vitamin c, riboflavin and thiamine. It contains 20 times the amount of vitamin C as citrus fruits. The vitamin and mineral content of the fruit helps to soothe the stomach, ease sore throats, suppress the appetite, support cardiovascular health, enhance metabolism and cleanse the blood vessels."

They are ripe when they are totally brown but still edible when they are green.  They do have a seed inside.  They are a bit pricey at $4.00 a pound but I will be buying more next weekend as they are quite addicting when you start popping them in your mouth.  If you get a chance try them.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

LA Update

Last Thursday Cathie and I headed to Los Angeles for Vogue Knitting Live LA

The view from our 11th floor room at the Hyatt Regency Century City.
Can we say smog?

On a clear day according to Cathie you can see the ocean.  That did not happen while I was there.

We had taken an earlier flight then needed so we could visit Mood Fabrics.  Using an app on Cathie's phone we were able to find the bus needed to take us to Mood.
The store is overwhelming.  Since we didn't really have any projects in mind we simply wandered the store in awe, fondling all the beautiful designer fabrics.  I found some beautiful dark purple Ralph Lauren cashmere I would loved to have brought home.
I did get a tote bag for myself and Rachel.
And also got these wonderful leather buttons that will be appearing on some knitted garment in the future.

Friday at 8:00 a.m. we began our class with Catherine Lowe on The Basics of Couture Knitting.
After fifteen hours of class through Sunday I have a greater appreciation for the finer details in constructing a couture knitted garment.  Catherine is a wonderful and informative teacher and I'm looking forward to purchasing her yarn and pattern for the fiesole coat in red.

Our classroom was in one of the suites at the hotel and we came to call our group Room 1802.  This is a picture of our class. 

Friday after class we headed to the vendor area.  A good portion of the vendors were knitting shops which really did not offer any new yarns but there were a few independent sellers. 
I did meet Anna Hrachovec and got her to autograph her new book, Teeny-Tiny Mochimochi.
They all are so cute.  My favorites are the caveman and the dinosaur.
I couldn't resist buying the kit for the Seaside Shawlette from the Knitters Brewing Company .  I got the color Jungle Juice.

I also got a lavender scented Lo-Lo Bar and the colors just called to me for the lace weight yarn in color grapevine from Freia Fine Handpaints.  I can envision a lacy cowl.

I attended Vogue Knitting Live LA to take the class with Catherine Lowe and it was everything and more than I anticipated but I do not expect to go the Vogue Knitting Live in the future.  I much preferred the venue and atmosphere at Madrona.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I'm Leaving on a Jet Plane....

Actually I'm leaving on Southwest Airlines tomorrow for Los Angeles for Vogue Knitting Live LA.  Cathie and I are heading to Mood Fabrics on Thursday to check it out then we will be spending 15 hours with Catherine Lowe over Friday, Saturday and Sunday learning the Basic Techniques of Couture Knitting.  My homework swatches are drying, my knitting is ready and my bag almost packed.  Looking forward to a fun and mind numbing jam packed few days of learning.

I'll post next week how our adventure turns out.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Low Calorie Knitting

Someone mentioned (Janice) that I recently have had more cooking content then knitting content so I thought I'd share a just finished knitting project. 

Okay, it looks like food but it is knit.

  This very low calorie, truly delectable deliciousness is the Cupcake Pincushion from Spud & Chloe that I made for a very special friend for her birthday.  I used some Plymouth Fantasy Naturale which is 100% cotton I had in the stash on a US 4 needle.

It just needs a birthday candle.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Four Pounds of Tomatoes

What do you get with 4 lbs of home grown tomatoes?

A pint and a half of basil garlic tomato sauce.

I think Saturday I will be going to the farmers market to buy a larger quantity of tomatoes.  My two tomato plants are just not producing enough fruit to make canning worth my while.