Stuttering start

I joined TGKA way back in 2011 and ordered the Master Hand Knitting Program in 2012 but other than gather references, print out the instructions and then reorder the updates each year, I never really started. I have too many goals and two of them are big ones, this MHK and my CEN (certification in Emergency Nursing).  I finally ordered specific yarn for may swatches; Wool of the Andes, bare from Knitpicks, and some Lionbrand fisherman’s wool as back up.  I am not sure why I didn’t choose cascade 220 like most of the people working on this project are using. Hopefully the exact yarn we use doesn’t matter. Last night I started knitting the first swatch and am already noticing every imperfection in my knitting. I have occasional loose stitches in the field and sort of irregular selvedges.  I think I will just keep knitting the first few swatches and block them before I pass too much judgement on them. I keep going to the Ravelry page and reading about what everyone else is struggling with and how they handle it. I find I waste a lot of good knitting time reading when I should be knitting.

Here is the start of my first swatch. Baby steps.

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Felted Slippers

Back in 2002, I made my husband a pair of the felted clogs that were all the rage then. They were made using this pattern by Bev Galeskas for Fiber Trends. They lasted about 4 years without leather soles.  I ended up making them for myself and one of my kids too. Mine and then Joe’s. I added leather soles to Joe’s and they have worn well. The next pair I made for hubby, I put leather soles on and he wears them in the yard and garden and taking out the trash and everywhere. They have lasted about 8 years now, but they are wearing out from the inside. I decided I would try a new pattern and my hubby, who does not do well with change, graciously said he would love any pair of slippers that I made for him.   So I decided to use Julie’s Men’s Felted Mocs at Lavender Hill Knits.

I had some yarn that I purchased many years ago on a trip to Vermont, it would work perfectly. I had already made a hat for a friend from it but I was pretty sure I would have just enough to make the slippers.

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Using the yarn doubled to get gauge I had just enough to make two soles with sides.

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I had just this much leftover! Whew!    So I made the uppers and the heel flaps with some Cascade 220 in a charcoal grey that I had in my leftovers basket. I think it blended quite nicely.

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As with all felting projects, the knitting always ends up looking so huge and I never quite believe that is is all going to work out. Here are the slippers next to MY feet, pre felting.  Granted my feet are smaller than hubby’s feet, but still, they are huge.

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I felted them in my front loading washer.  I usually have good luck with this even though “they” say you can’t use a front loader for felting. I just put them in a lingerie bag, then toss it in the washer with a  beach towel and a pair of old sneakers.  I set a custom program to hot wash and no spin and pray.

Here they are fresh out of the washer, I made Hubby try them on while they were still wet; he is such a trooper putting cold wet wool on his bare feet while I fuss about whether they are the right size or not. They seemed a little big to me but he likes them roomy, so we let them dry in the air for a few days.

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I felt that this pair would look better with the leather patch type soles than the full soles that I usually use. I also used the grey yarn to whip stitch around the uppers and tack down the decorative heel flap. The sides of the slippers curled more than the sample in the pattern, but Hubby is happy with them and has worn them every night since I finished them. He promises these will not go in the garden, he’ll use the old pair for that.

Here are his happy feet.

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Dinner salads for a hot evening

I never seem to get enough salad on these hot end of summer days. So today I made two salads for dinner. I use the website Cookie and Kate as a resource and inspiration. Kate has wonderful fresh veggie recipes, I want to jab at the screen with my fork because her photos are so enticing. I don’t always have the exact combinations of ingredients for the recipes, so I use them as a jumping off point. Here is what I made tonight.

Kale and veggie salad and Quinoa tabouli

I had to pull it all together pretty quickly because I told my trainer, Ben that I would show up for boot camp at six, only an hour to pick stuff from the garden, pull out the veggie drawer in the fridge and chop, chop, chop.  I don’t want Ben to think I’m lame and lazy; I already know that I am, I want to keep him fooled as long as possible so I have to go.

I raided the garden for tomatoes, basil, parsley and mint.

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Rinsed my quinoa and started it cooking.  You have to rinse quinoa before cooking it, otherwise it can taste bitter. How do I know this? I am lazy and one time I didn’t rinse it and it didn’t taste as yummy. 

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I also started blanching my frozen edamame. I  didn’t have shallots that were called for in the recipe, but I found a half a red onion in the fridge and some sugar snap peas.  This time I used the tuscan kale, cutting the leaves away from the tough ribs and chopping the kale into bite sized pieces.  Using my hands I scrunched the kale a bunch to tenderize it.  Added the rest of the bag of shredded carrots I found in the veggie drawer. 

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I added the sugar peas to the edamame at the last minute just to briefly blanch, and ran them under cold water. 

Here is the kale, carrots and onion getting friendly and blending flavors. Oh, and I tossed in the minced basil too,.

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I mixed put the dressing: minced ginger, and cilantro both from a tube I keep in the freezer, a bit of garlic, rice vinegar, soy sauce and olive oil.  I set this all aside with the two ripe avocados ready to cut and mix just before we eat. 

Now the quinoa for the tabouli is done and I set it out to cool and started chopping the veggies. cucumber and red onion go into the bowl.  

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I chopped the tomatoes into small dice, and minced the parsley and mint and tossed it all together.  I raided the lemon tree for a couple of fresh lemons and squeezed them all over the salad, added salt, pepper, a bit of minced garlic, olive oil and a dash of red wine vinegar. Then I quickly shoved the salads into the fridge and threw on my workout clothes and ran to the gym.

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Back from bootcamp and freshly showered I chopped the avocado and added it to the kale salad tossing with the dressing. Then stirred the quinoa salad and garnished it with a couple of sprigs of mint and voila…dinner

 

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Rose and Brian ate leftover pizza with the salads, but I savored the freshness of the salads with a nice glass of Prosecco. yum

 

 

sometimes you need something cute

Our high school is participating in the 1:1 computing program for students. This year  each student received a Google Chromebook with a case to protect it.  We are an Apple family and Rose was disappointed that they didn’t all get MacBooks, though it seems the Chromebook is easier to integrate and much less expensive and for many families, this is their student’s first computer. They are small and cute and have a touch screen. They have many social sites blocked so the kids won’t all be on Twitter and Instagram but then they still all have their phones. However, the case doesn’t fit that well, you have to jam the computer into it and squeeze to get it zipped closed, so Rose asked if I would knit a quick sleeve for hers, and “can you get it done by Tuesday when school starts?”

So we perused my stash and found a couple of balls of yarn that were part of a gift bag from a Mindful Knitting retreat I went to back in 2006. Pink and grey, really soft and just the right weight. I swatched a little to figure out how many stitches I would need to go around the computer. I only had to rip it out once before I got it right.

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I decided to use this project to learn a new technique that I have been meaning to figure out for a while. The Jogless Join. This is where you can change colors while knitting in the round without an obvious “jog” in the stripe. It’s pretty simple once you actually try it.  Here you can’t even tell where the old row ends and the new row begins.

Then we decided we would make the stripes in the Fibonacci series, since this was for school and she’ll be taking calculus and physics and all. I was impressed that she could tell me the code for the series. 1,2,3,5,8,13,21…..  you add the two previous numbers together to get the next value in the series.

The deadline turned out to be no big deal since Tuesday night was a rare slow night in the ER and I wasn’t assigned to the trauma zone.  Therefore I could knit while I watched my admitted patients sleep.

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You can see the Fibonacci stripes marching out nicely, then in reverse so as to use roughly even amounts of each color. The pattern will be available on my revelry page soon.

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If you look closely you can see where the new color joins on each stripe, the beginning of the round moves over to the left one stitch each time. but overall I think it looks better.

The finished product with a garter stitch open edge to prevent curling.  Rose is happy and as soon as she showed her friends they immediately wanted one too. A sure sign of success with teenagers.

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My Candace Shell

I’m trying to work my way through my stash before I spend more money on yarn. I can’t remember what I planned to make with this particular yarn, It is Sirdar Spree, a bulky weight mostly cotton yarn. I made the Candace shell with it, just using about 3 skeins of the wight that I have. You can see it on my Ravelry page here. It was a quick knit on size US 10 needles. The pattern uses 13’s but I must knit extremely loose, I kept going down a size and knitting a swatch and still getting too few stitches per inch.  It will be a great top to wear for the rest of the summer.  IMG_5269IMG_5545  IMG_5376 IMG_5375 IMG_5516 IMG_5543 IMG_5542

 

I might have liked a little shaping at the waist, even with the vertical ribbing, I find the bulky yarn just makes me look bulky too. The yarn is not that fun to knit with because it splits very easily, and catches on everything. The pattern itself fits me perfectly though, I knit it in the second size, The colors will look great with my linen pants. Now on to the next project, another sweater with some more stash yarn or a wrap with the rest of this yarn? 

 

 

What is normal?

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Because it is totally normal that mom and daughter are sitting beside each other knitting in matching dresses.

India bag is done and packed!


Just in the nick of time. I got all the facing stitched down this afternoon. I opted to just stitch the strap onto the bag rather than use some hardware to make it adjustable. I am so pleased, it is roomy with lots of pockets inside and a soft cushy strap.
So Bon voyage my knitty friends. I’ll blog when I get back. I wonder if there are yarn shops in India?

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India bag almost done


Ooh I’m on a roll. Thanks to my knitting buddy Char. She knit the connecting gusset piece, so I have spent the last couple morings assembling, desiging as I go. This photo shows the inside of the bag with 2 bottle pockets, a large front pocket and 2 smaller pockets along the back. After I attached all the pockets to the lining pieces I sewed the knitted sections onto the lining. I reinforced the gusset with a long strip of wide twill tape. It will be integrated into the strap but I haven’t figured out exactly how yet. Then I sewed all the sections together and bound all the raw edges with gosgrain ribbon. I faced the strap with another length of wide twill tape, sandwiching some polyfill in there for cushioning. Now I just have to figure out how I am going to attach the strap. Maybe some hardware.
Sorry only 1 photo in this post. Soon I will post photos of the whole process in case any of you want to make one of these bags. T minus 38 hours till we are in the plane!!!! 4 more hours left of my shift and I am officially on vacation!! Yay. I’m just a little excited, I love travelling to new places. India is going to be a wild experience.

India bag 2


I’m making progress. The front piece is done. The back piece with flap has just a few more inches. And my good buddy and faithful reader, Char is pitching by knitting the gusset. Wonder what I should use to line the bag? Khaki? Maybe some old jeans that already have pockets to fit with the whole recycle theme?

Am getting very excited about the trip. The passports with visa stamps arrived. We are taking our doses of Typhoid vaccine. And I ordered the adapter for my iPhone charger. I’m taking my sock club socks to knit, and a thick book for the plane.

Departure in 9 days. 😀

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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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