knitting

India bag


Joe and I are making a trip to India in a couple of weeks and I’ve been trying to figure out what bag to take with me. I have a large backpack and many totebags but none of them seems quite right. I plan to take my big camera, my knitting, my iPhone and a moneybelt. I’m not taking the laptop (aaaahhh). I’m told there are many Internet cafes around. Anyway, I had these balls of yarn made from recycled saris that I bought at stitches LAST year. It would make a perfect messenger bag. So I started searching for a pattern. There are lots of patterns for felted bags but not much for what I have in mind. So I am making it up. I started with the strap 12 stitches on size 7 needles in garter stitch gave me a 3 inch wide strap. Then I used that guage to figure that 60 stiches ought to give me a 15 inch wide bag. So here is what I have so far. I like the density of the fabric. It seems sturdy. I plan to line the bag and put pockets on the inside. Now the question is, do I have enough time between now and our departure to get the bag done. Or will I be at REI on the last day franically looking for something that fits my idea.
Stay tuned

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Rose gets slippers

I have knit a couple pair of felted slippers for Brian. I knit three more pair before I got one to come out right for Joe.  (luckily one of those pair fit me, so I got some too) And now finally I finished some felt slippers for Rose.  She didn’t want the clogs that I have been making so I had to search for a more stylish pattern. I found one at French Press Knits that are just like the flats she wears to school every day. Rose picked out some hot pink yarn for her slippers.  They are knit in sections, two soles, four uppers and two flaps. The soles and uppers are sewn together before they are felted except for the flaps.  They are felted separately and sewn on later with the buttons. Here are the prefelted slippers. It never ceases to amaze me that these huge ugly pieces of knitting turn into something adorable after being felted!

I have had good luck felting in my front loading washing machine, set for a hot wash with no spin.  I throw in a pair of old sneakers for a little wool abuse, then squeeze out the excess water with a rolled up towel. Then I let them dry overnight on the stove (off, of course!). Our old gas stove has pilots that put out a fair amount of heat for drying dishes and felting projects.

 
That blue thing in the back is a small envelope purse I made for an evening bag. I want to decorate it with needle felting and beads as soon as I can get around to it. More photos of that when I get to it.
I went through my old button jar with Rose and we picked out some cute leather buttons. Voila! Here are her happy feet in nice warm slippers.
 
Next a pair for Pat. I may have to make them look like Birkenstocks to get him to wear them!

Pot scrubbie


For years we have used the pot scrubbers from Trader Joe’s that have a sponge inside a wirey plastic cloth. They have gone the way of so many of my favorite things, no longer available. Since I already make our kitchen dishrags I was mulling over how to knit a scrubber from old plastic bags. We don’t have many of those any more, we carry our own bags. But it suddenly occurred to me to try plastic lanyard.
Here is my test swatch I whipped out before dinner. I knit it with plastic lanyard held with a strand of sugar and cream cotton. I had to piece together a few lengths of the lanyard since our craft box only had scraps. The family will test it on the dishes for awhile and see how it works and holds up. I will keep you all posted.

I’m a Ravelry Designer

Not that this is a huge deal, it looks like there are over 500 pages of designers.  But I think I am the only one with a design for a stethoscope cozy!  Here is the pattern.

Stethoscope Cozy
Yarn: Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille
Needle size:  6 (4.0mm) either long circular or double points
Gauge:   4 stitches = 1 inch,  5 rows = 1 inch
Skill level: beginner

Cast on 16 stitches, divide among dp or ends of circular
Join without twisting.
Knit rounds evenly until piece measures 18”
(or long enough to cover the straight length of your stethoscope)
Bind off.
Weave in ends.
Remove bell of stethoscope, slide cozy on, replace bell.

For those of you who read my blog and are not knitters, Ravelry is a community site for knitters, kind of like FB but with more useful information and connections.  You have a name and a page there where you can keep track of all of your projects, patterns, and stash (that is what we call the yarn we own that is not being knit). Other Ravelers can look at these and this way we can see what other knitters are making. We can share ideas and tips, there are chat rooms and groups. And you can get patterns from other designers that either have them for sale or up for free downloads.  My designs so far are free, they are pretty simple, but maybe over time I will come up with some that are more unique and worth selling.  It took me a while to figure out the process of setting up my design site and uploading my patterns even though I consider myself pretty web savvy, it took me a while.  So come see me on Ravelry, my name, of course is knitwitmama.

Holiday Food and old stoves

Not much knitting has been happening here lately.  I have made gifts for my friends and family and I will blog photos of those after they have all been delivered.   Right now I just want to share a story about  the baking we have been doing.

      The story begins actually before we were married.  Brian and I like old things, we live in an old Victorian that we are still rehabbing, after all.  Twenty two years ago our church was remodeling their building and was getting rid of the old stove from the 1940’s.  It is a Wedgewood 6 burner, two oven, two broiler model. We put our name on the list to get it but we were #10 or 12 and didn’t really think they would call us.  One day they did call us at work to say that if we could get over there and remove the stove before the end of the day it was ours.  So we bugged out of work, got the pick up truck and dragged it home.  It was the quintessential “used by little old ladies on Sundays” item and was in remarkable shape.  We cleaned it up and stored it in our garage for a couple of years while we got married and bought our house and got enough of the remodel done that we could move in.  It has been serving us faithfully ever since.
       Now if you know us at all, you know we love to cook, bake, can, and entertain, so this stove has gotten a workout over the last 20 years.  Many loaves of bread (Brian bakes all our breads) countless quarts of spaghetti sauce, soup, chili, pickles, salsa, ketchup, relish, veggies, fruit and jam have been canned, and many meals have been cooked on this faithful appliance. It has required little maintenance over the years and it is a good thing because the closest (and only) repairman for these stove is in Berkeley.  Well, last month Brian took a week long baking class at the San Francisco Baking Institute.  It is a French baking school and he spent the week perfecting baguettes.  Ever since he has been baking his breads using a pan full of stainless steel bb’s in the bottom of the oven that he sprays with water to create the steam needed for the first 5 minutes of baking. This makes the perfect crust. He used to just open the oven door a crack and spray water in every minute for the first 5 minutes, but the BB’s make more steam.  Of course just before I planned to do some cookie baking, one of the ovens stopped working!  The steam had blown out the oven pilot and it wouldn’t relight.  So we called the guy from Reliance Appliance   to come out and he replaced some things like this thermocouple. 

He told us that our stove was actually in great shape should give us many years of service. This is a good thing because he also told us that the refurbished stoves just like ours that he sells in his shop go for $5-6 thousand! The oven continued to work and we baked and baked.  Then the same thing happened again!  This time the Reliance guy told Brian over the phone how to fix it, and the BB steam method is no more. 

Here are some of the lovely baked goodies we have been enjoying and sharing over the last few weeks.

Spritz cookies dipped in chocolate then dipped in sprinkles.

Thumbprints rolled in sprinkle and filled with chocolate.

Snowballs AKA  Mexican wedding cakes AKA Russian teacakes.

Neapolitans:  Three layers of cookie, chocolate, butter cookie with chopped walnuts and almond cookie with pink coloring.

Gingerbread People

Chocolate Crinkles, a new cookie for us this year

Jelly thumbprints rolled in pecans and filled with homemade blackberry jam

Brians Holiday Meesh

Buccellato

Christmas morning Croissants for our Eggs Benedict
Here we are on Christmas Eve, all together and enjoying our favorite thing as a family, eating and good conversation.

We hope your holidays are full of whatever brings you joy and peace!

Baby Hats!

Someone is always having a baby it seems. Baby hats are so much fun to make; they are cute, small and can be whipped out in a couple of hours. Here is a red one that I trimmed with a little bit of chenille on the brim.  Then here are two that I made for my colleague, Issam. His wife is pregnant with twins, due in January.
The yarn is from Chile, 100% cotton called Antuco. It is bulky weight, 13st to 4 inches and the best thing is, I found it on sale, so I bought several colorways.  each skein makes at least 2 hats. I used US 9 needles and knit in the round. Casting on 40 stitches, knitting until it measures about 5 inches and then decreasing 6 stitches every other round until there are just 7 stitches left. Then run the tail through those last stitches, pull tight and weave in the ends. Voila!
My mom sent me this fabric probably 15 years ago and I came across it a few days ago and decided to make some little tea napkins.  I just cut each square motif out and hemmed it with a decorative stitch.  They are about 4 -5 inches  and will be perfect for tea and cookie time. 
Then here is a scarf I’ve been working on off and on.  I got the pattern from my friend Char after I saw the one she is making.  The hearts look like they are embroidered but they are just made up of slanted stitches.  The yarn is KnitPicks Yarn of the Andes in Hollyberry.  I haven’t decided yet what to do with the scarf when I am done, I think it will make a good gift if I manage to finish it before Christmas.
Well, that is about it, since I am working full time now, I find myself being pretty lazy on my days off. I don’t have much energy for anything but a few chores and a little knitting, so I am not being that productive. I spend lots of time looking at patterns and reading everyone else’s blogs though and have collected quite a stack of patterns I want to make. 

Lazy Sunday

I’ve been working the day shift all week and volunteered yesterday giving H1N1 vaccines all day in San Francisco. 7AM is way tooooo early for me, it is a good thing I only have a 10 minute walk to work. Today I tried to sleep in, which is usually no problem for me, but I tossed and turned and finally just got out of bed. Brian had been baking and this is the aroma I awoke to


Cinnamon buns. Mmmmm. So, still in our jammies, we are enjoying some tea with our buns and lounging on the couch.


I’ve been knitting a bit. But mostly mindless projects. This week one of the MDs was asking about my stethescope cover, and said her mother knits and asked if there is a pattern. He he he. It is just a tube, long enough to cover the straight section of the scope. I’ve been making a few more so that I have extras to be able to wash them more often.


I’m making them out of cotton chennile so I can just throw them in the wash with my scrubs.
Well, wishing you all a lovely lazy Sunday.

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Finished Rose’s pillows


We picked a whole bunch of fabrics in pink and brown and had fun mixing and matching them. We used pink ball fringe as well as piping for trim. We even made our own fabric buttons for a couple of them.


Piping and polka dot button


Now her room is cozy and PINK!


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Healthcare


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jng4TnKqy6A

Healthcare reform, the more I read about it the more complicated it seems. I came across this little video that gives a basic explanation. Simple enough, are the facts he includes true? Medicare uses 2-3%, private insurance uses 20%? Notice that he didn’t include education in the examples of essential government run socialized services. Why not? It has a government option for all, paid for by taxes, and a private option for those who choose to pay for it. Some question about how well it works, clearly many are educated well enough, some manage to get excellent educations and some end up falling through the cracks. It is not perfect, but it functions. Health insurance for all is not going to be perfect either, but hopefully it will function. And function well enough that not too many fall through the cracks and more people get what they need. I am about to become part of the public healthcare system as I begin my new job in the county ER, and I hope to provide care for everyone that walks through that door.