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Monday, February 24, 2014

Knitting Today: The Sheep Project

It is my privilege to be a special friend to some ladies in our church.  Each month we visit together and watch out for one another.  Sometimes we talk about a gospel principle.  This month we will be having a discussion about The Good Shepherd.  Since not only are we all blessed by The Good Shepherd, but we get to be shepherds ourselves, to care for one another.  This being the case I decided to knit a little sheep for each of the ladies to hang on a cabinet door in her kitchen as a continual reminder to be a good shepherd herself.

This is what I managed to make:

You cannot see their legs because I have them all clumped up together and because they do not yet HAVE legs!  I am going to get pipe cleaners for legs.  The strings on their backs are for hanging.  I hope it works, and I hope they are a good reminder.

Using bulky yarn and a US size 11 knitting needle, I cast on 11 stitches then did garter stitch for 11 garter ridges (22 rows of knitting) then cast off.  I folded the rectangle, stitched around the edges, stuffing with a small amount of fiber that I had from a fleece I skirted, washed, dried, and carded.

The head was knit using a US size 4 needle and worsted weight yarn.  It was a more complicated pattern than the body....!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Newsy Bits: Am I a Wizard, or What?!

When we were ready to install a stove in our kitchen, we chose a General Electric Adora gas stove.  We have loved it for several years.  Recently one of the front burners has failed to light.  Well, for several months it has failed to light.  This morning I had had enough of that failure to perform.

Since I am absolutely sure that the reason the burner failed to light is directly related to my poor housekeeping skills, especially allowing food to boil over the top of the pot, I decided to see if I could fix the problem without calling in the appliance repair man (which would save us lots of money). 

{Perhaps some of the other cooks in the house may have had a hand in this boiling over but I will not be pointing any fingers as I am the regular cook AND I do tend to get distracted by other things, like washing dishes, reading that last few pages of an exciting book, knitting the last two rows of a darling pattern.  (My mother-in-law was such a great example:  when she was cooking, she was COOKING, no resting up or moving on to other things. I doubt if she ever burned a pot of potatoes or carrots or beets or anything else.  I should try harder to emulate that in her!)}

SO, to get to the point of this post, this morning I wanted to boil some potatoes to use in pan fries for breakfast.  (Of course, since it is 10:05 AM as I am writing, it will me more in the line of brunch, or potentially even lunch!)  Having that burner not working was such an aggravation that things finally got to a head.  I removed the cast iron griddle and grates and washed the stove top as best I could without chemicals.  I tried to light the burner again and nothing. 

Next things I tried lighting the burner with a match after having taken off the little round plate/diffuser and I did get a little bit of a flame but nothing to write home about and not enough flame to push out through the holes under the diffuser.  At this point I was at a loss because everything looked ok.

Going onto the Internet I put in a little questions: "Why won't the burner on my gas stove light up?"  Shazaam!  Someone had an answer which did not include calling the repair man.  It was suggested that the use of a sharp hand-sewing needle be used to push through the holes on the unit.  There were two holes in the top unit but nothing happened when I stuck the needle in. One of them looked perfectly clean and the other one didn't.

When I looked down the open hole into the stove workings under the stove top itself, I saw one more little round hole.  It is surrounded by a little washer/nut apparatus, at least that is the best way I can think to describe it.  That was perfectly clean and new looking, but I pushed the needle down into it anyway then re-assembled the burner parts (the unit and the diffuser plate), lit a match, turned on the burner and WHAMMO!!!  Out came perfect flames!  I feel so smart.  A real wizard, in fact.  AND potatoes are boiling on the stove over that burner.  (Oh yes,  I have been distracted by the telling of this story but I have NOT let the pot boil over!)

Now I just need to talk my husband into giving ME the money he would have spent on the repair man.  Well, maybe HALF that money.  I want to subscribe to the New England Historic Genealogical Society.  They have many resources online that would help further my family history research.  Don't you think that would be a good use of good money?  Especially since it did not need to go to an "outside" repair guy?!  I do...

Knitting Today: Baby Janes

Several years ago I came across a knitting pattern for some darling little booties for girl babies.  The pattern was called Baby Janes on Ravelry.  (The actual pattern download is here.) Since then I have knit up probably a dozen pairs in different colors, often in variegated yarn.  Most often I use Caron's Simply Soft yarn because is really is soft and has a bit of a sheen to it that makes for lovely little booties.

This past weekend the young women at our church were having a dance and fund-raiser to help them earn money for their summer camping experience. I made some booties for that.

Here are the Baby Janes:

By using a circular needle and using both ends of the ball of yarn, I knit two of them at once and can easily knit them, including the finishing with button sewn on, in an evening.  At least I can finish in an evening when there are not too many phone calls nor requests for snack options!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Knitting Today: Heart Dishcloth/Washcloth

Around Valentine's Day there are many very cool knitting patterns using the heart pattern.  Usually I see these and get very excited to make some of them as gifts.  Unfortunately, there is almost always no time to knit up the projects in time for Valentine's Day (or Easter or St. Patrick's Day or Halloween or Christmas...).  This time, however, I did get a gift made.  This time a two-day snowstorm which left a foot and a half of snow made driving to the intended recipient impossible.  The day having gone by, I will probably put the gift in the gift-waiting-to-give drawer where I keep knitted gift-items-to-be.

This wash cloth/dish cloth was knit with Sugar 'n' Cream cotton worsted weight yarn.  Peaches 'n' Cream yarn could also be used, or any other cotton worsted weight yarn.

My heart cloth did not look fat and happy like the one shown on the pattern, but then, I thought I was out of time so I stopped knitting increases early....shortcuts often are not worth the saved time!

The pattern is found here.

It only took an evening to get it knit up.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Food: Chocolate Cookie Heart Treat Boxes

A couple of weeks ago I found a Woman's World magazine at the check-out counter at Hannaford''s Supermarket.

There was an advertisement on the front cover about the paleo diet, a topic in which I am somewhat interested...imagining that it is instructive of healthier eating, something we could use here!

Inside I found a recipe for Chocolate Cookie Boxes!  Ever so healthy!  Not really, but a nice treat for young people.

Finally, several days after Valentine's Day, I found the time to make these cookies.  I think you could probably use most any sugar cookie for this.

My cookies did not turn out very beautiful and sleek like the ones in the picture.

 Things I did differently:  I could not find my icing squeeze bottle nor any of my decorating bags and tips...having done too much moving of stuff around recently...so I just used a teaspoon to dribble the "glue" frosting on the cut-out hearts.  The icing with the meringue powder worked really well to harden up and hold the cookie layers together.  Looking at the box of meringue powder makes me think I could have used one egg white instead of spending a fortune on the powder!  Next time.

The final different thing I did was that I used Wilton's Candy Melts for the icing on top.  I microwaved one $2.50 package (12 ounces) in a glass bowl in the microwave.  I used the defrost setting on the microwave and cooked for 30 second intervals, stirring in between intervals, until the disks were melted and smooth.  At that point I spooned on the melted candy and spread it around the cookie box tops (and on the tops of the small cut-outs) with the spoon.  It worked but is not beautiful.

This is another recipe that I am glad I made,  but having made it once, I think I will not make again.

Perhaps yours will be much more beautiful.  Even with their ugly duckling/Velveteen Rabbit appearance they were well received by the recipients.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

A Hectic, Activity, Learning-filled Day!

Today was one of those days when there were way more activities calling me than I could possibly do, so I had to make some choices.  Not being the best of travelers, it was not as hard to fink out on the trip to Boston.  The Joann Fabrics and Crafts people wanted me to come and knit with them at their monthly open house.  That was not possible to choose because at the same time was the annual knitting retreat in Hanover AND the last day of RootsTech 2014 in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Each of the three days of the conference there were multiple live sessions streamed over the internet.  Each day there were some that I really wanted to attend, the most of which were today, so...no open house.  It was possible to go to the knitting retreat for a couple of hours, but then I headed for home, via the gasoline station as the truck was operating on fumes....

At the retreat I love to take some knitterly things that I no longer needed or loved to put on the "Re-Homing" table.  Sometimes there are things on this table that I want to bring home with me.  Today I found some yarn to use to make a prayer shawl for the church which so kindly hosts the retreat. I also found a skein of dark green Bartlettyarn which I had looked for in my own wool stash to make another watch cap, but only found a partial ball, even though I was sure I had a full ball.  Now I do.

Rushing home I was torn up because the internet was not working!  I could not believe it.  After about six or eight minutes the internet finally lit up the screen.  By that time the opening session (about becoming an Ipad genealogy power user!) was surely well started. I saw a black screen such as you see on YouTube but nothing was showing.  After a few minutes I noticed the tweets on the side of the webpage where someone mentioned that they had had to restart their webpage. Immediately I did that and clicked on the little right-racing arrow and immediately Lisa Louise Cooke was there in full color.  At that moment I realized I could have just clicked on the little arrow at any time.  Was my face red, and was I ripped with my ignorance.  That particular session at RootsTech was fabulously useful...as were some others.

Because I am working on my Family History Writing Challenge this month, I still needed to make the recipe for today, so during the break between sessions I quickly made  up the batter for Chocolate Crinkle Cookies and, in lieu of putting in the refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight, I put it into the freezer for one hour (during the second session!), then during the break started baking cookies and washing dishes.

The cookies all came out well.  I was able to finish the tubular cast-on for another watch cap that I started at the knitters' retreat, and then pulled out because I had forgotten the critical point of only casting on half the total number of stitches.  The second time I cast on for it I made another gross error and pulled it out.  The third time I cast on, I decided to do something else.  This was all happening during the introductions part of the program at the retreat.  I had started by ripping out a previous hat I had made which was big enough for a lion or some other great creature but not for any humans I have ever met, more is the pity because I was pretty pleased with it.  Just goes to show:  knit a gauge swatch. ALWAYS!

So after the third cast-on of the watch, I picked up some cotton yarn and knit up a round washcloth from memory. It looked like it was right. I finished it during the Lisa Louise Cooke session of RootsTech.
Size 8 needles with cotton yarn and casting on 15 stitches.