Category Archives: Learning New Things

Taking the Plunge

steeeeeek!

steeeeeek!

Monica: That is a picture of a sweater I started a few weeks ago. I’ve had the yarn and pattern in my stash forever and I decided I didn’t want to avoid it any more. The pattern is an old Dale of Norway one that is probably going to be celebrating it’s tenth birthday soon. I just looked on Ravelry for a release date and couldn’t find one but I noticed it’s number 2 in my queue.

The reason I’ve been avoiding it is because of the scary steeking that I will have to do on the sweater. One of my friends at work is working on a Lopi sweater that involves steeking so she unintentionally pushed me into finally working on my project. It’s not a quick project. I already ripped 6 inches because I didn’t read the instructions. But I do like fair isle knitting so I didn’t mind too much.

All That Glitters

Dee: I love to gift.  I prefer to give items that I have made.   Y’all know I love to knit but sometimes, that process just takes more time than I have.  Lately I have really enjoyed fashioning bracelets.  They are fun to wear, they are pretty quick, relatively speaking, and usually one size will fit most which is a bonus.  I really should learn to work ahead and create a jewelry shop of sorts to “shop” when a gifting occasion arises rather than my current process of looking at Pinterest for inspiration and then at my supplies on hand and trying to find a match.  Take a peek at what I have created recently .

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2015-03-26 12.50.54And now…back to the knitting.  I’m currently contemplating my next hat of the month project as I knit on my Colorful Day Cowl using a Sophie’s Toes Magic Ball.   It’s the perfect travel or Netflix binge project.  I don’t mind all the ends since I weave as I go.   Happy Knitting!

Spring Cleaning

Hoarding is not a good thing.  My laundry/craft room is only so big.  I have to make some decisions about what needs to go.  You would think I would start with the stuff you can see but I figured if I attacked the things inside the cabinets that I never go into then I’d have space for the things I can’t find a home for.  So I started with some magazines that I thought I never wanted to live without.  Turns out that since 1988 I have much more creative and crafting skill then the projects reflected in these back issues of a defunct magazine.

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Seriously…this would be the ugliest lamp ever.  Grab some lamp parts, plaster, rope, and a garbage bag and you get a shabby chic lamp?  Nope…not even close.

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While paging through my late 80’s collection of magazines I did learn some interesting things like Pillsbury’s Funetti cake line was new in 1989. Also I could make some nifty looking keepsake frames, mirrors, and boxes by gluing seashells I “found”  while on vacation all over them in a pleasing pattern.  I never want to do that…ever!  I really do like shells though.

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I could make the mother – daughter sweater set…but I don’t have a daughter…

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There are some leaflets and projects that I did do…I made the busts with heads made out of shrunken apples.  In my defense I did this in junior high school.  Sadly I no longer have the bust I made but seeing the project guide brought back fond memories indeed.  I also found a leaflet for making flowers out of pinecones.

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I did decorate a Christmas tree with ribbon garlands cascading down just like I saw in this picture.  It was one of my favorite trees!

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I did come across a real gem in my purging…a leaflet that has real possibilities.  In full disclosure I actually did wear crocheted vests like this made by my mom and grandma when I was in grade school.   I must have been too young at the time to realize that there was a need for bags to carry around your feathered farm animals and rabbits.  Who knew?!  I kept this instruction leaflet, it was too funny to ship off to the Goodwill.

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I ran across my son’s membership packet for the Pee Wee Herman Fun Club…complete with 2 autographed 8 x 10 portraits.  And the purging continues…I’ll keep you posted on anything else of interest that I come across.

New Hat

Twigg Stitch Hat
Pattern: Improvised twigg stitch hat
Yarn: Some random acrylic yarn

Monica: I finally posted the finished Twigg Stitch practice hat I was working on a few weeks ago. Sadly I have been able to wear it often since we are stuck in winter.

Twigg Stitch Hat on head

I like the purple side better. I tried to be creative by adding more rows of the different color. I need to practice this method more because my gauge is still wonky. Also I’m still knitting with one color in each hand and I’d like to be able to use my left hand only for both colors because it would go much faster.

I know I’m supposed to be enjoying the knitting and not rushing it but there are so many projects I want to knit!

Let’s Talk Food

Lynette:  So I’m a foodie – meaning n.Slang A person who has an ardent or refined interest in food.  I love watching food TV shows (I’m a huge Top Chef fan), reading food blogs and biographies by chefs and fictional food books.  However, I wasn’t very creative or inventive when it came to cooking. My meal plan was always the same.  So late last year, I started actually looking at the recipes I’ve read about.  Time to change up my meal repertoire.  It’s all a part of my Learning New Things.

One of the blogs I’ve recently discovered is called Simply So Good.   Her name is Janet and her food looks delicious.  The post that made me want to ‘cook this’ was her Crusty Bread recipe.  It is amazingly simple and delicious!  Originally, I thought to myself I’ll try it but my bread won’t turn out like that.  But yes it did!  This recipe is SO easy, I’ve made it almost every week.  Not for myself but I’ve baked it for my family. It taste so much like the bread they serve at Panera.  I’ve yet to experiment with it by adding herbs, cheeses, raisins, etc. because it taste so delicious on it’s own. You have to try this.

Next up is her Chicken Tortilla Soup and Black Bean Salsa.   Double Yum!  This was one of the most delicious meals I’ve made in a long time.  I no longer buy packaged soups because of the high sodium content and now I can enjoy it the healthy way. There is some prep work and that’s ok.  I’m learning now that all meals don’t have to be cooked in 30 minutes or less.  I’m very, very pleased with the outcome.

There are more recipes from this blog I intend to try.  Here’s a link to the recipe index if you want to check it out.

Onto another blog called The Crepes of Wrath.  The Crock Pot Beer Chicken was calling out to me one day.  So here’s my result.  My pictures don’t look as good as the original, but the taste is great!  The chicken was so very moist and truly fell apart when I tried to lift it out of the crock pot.  My only drawback was that I don’t know anything about beer so I went to the store and bought a can of Miller’s I think.  Next time around, I think I’ll go to Trader Joe’s and get some Lindemans Framboise Raspberry Lambic Beer or some other flavor.  I tried this at a friend’s house, and it was so good.  It tasted more like sparkling wine rather than beer.  I think that would give a totally different flavor altogether.

The last recipe (with pictures) I want to share with you is called Grands! Chicken Pot Pie Puffs by Pillsbury.  Again, it’s super easy, quick and delicious.  My family ate it up within a few minutes.  My son ate his while standing in the kitchen then asked for more.  Here’s my version.  Next time, the only thing I would change is to make two batches or use two cans of biscuits.

These recipes don’t have pictures for it, but I wanted to share them.  I tried the Slow Cooker Pepper Steak by Allrecipes.com.  I served it over rice.  I keep saying the word delicious.  And it was!  You’ll have to take my word for it and try it one of these day.   The last recipe is from a blog I read called Under The Tulip Tree.  The recipe is called Family Pancake, which is basically a dutch pancake.  Instead of cooking a stack of pancakes, I made this on a Sunday morning when everyone was home, and it was a winner.  And delicious!

 

Sunday

Monica: I had a weird dream last night and woke up feeling like it was real. My dreams always seem to make sense in when I’m experiencing but when I describe them out loud it seems like I was on some kind of acid trip! I was about to describe it in detail in this post but I realized that I forgot so many details so it would just be a jumbled mess of assassins, time limits and dobermans.

I don’t have a good segue to the next part of this post. Yesterday was the second and last day of our Twigg Stitch class. It was fun hanging out with Lynette and her friends and seeing Rebecca again. I got to see her circle scarf up close and it’s much prettier in person. I also got to see Finion again.

She was getting so close

Lynette and I tried to stuff him in our bags but he was not interested. I should’ve brought bacon with me. Duh! So back to the class:

Twigg Stitch Class

Everyone was concentrating on the class. I was in between projects so I started a practice hat during the week:

My twigg practice hat

One thing I noticed is my gauge was so off when I was practicing this last week. I can tell that it’s getting slightly more even as I keep working on this hat. Also I see a bias in the knitting and I can’t tell if it’s because I’m magic-looping (yes I just made it into a verb) or if it’s from my knitting. We’ll see how it looks when I’m done. I have a feeling some person working at Goodwill will get it and say “what the …??”

The classes were held at Lynette’s friend Debbie’s house. She was such a wonderful hostess. On both days she unnecessarily provided us with drinks and food. Thank you Debbie!

Get Twiggy With It!

twiggclass1

Lynette:  Yesterday, Monica, Rebecca and I took a class to learn a new knitting technique called the TwiggStitch.  Vicky Twigg developed this new colorwork technique after doing a lot of research and discovered that it hadn’t been done before.  Debbie, from my Panera knitting group, hosted the class for about 12 women in her home.  Thanks Debbie!

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At first glance, the stitch looks like double-knitting.  And I would compare the two except I never learned the double knitting technique.  Once we all got familiar with knitting with two colors, Vicky introduced the TwiggStitch.  There are several ways you can hold the yarn to knit this stitch.  I found that holding my yarn in traditional fair isle way (one yarn in each hand) worked best for me.  Monica and Rebecca found that it worked for them too.

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Monica was working on her tension so Vicky suggested that she hold the yarn around her neck.

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Everyone was so focused on knitting and getting the hang of holding both yarns, there was hardly any talking.  Vicky was great walking around to everyone to make sure we all were getting it.  It was a 3-hour class, and originally I didn’t think it would take that long to learn but by the time we looked up, we had about 30 minutes to go before the class ended.  It was that good and that intense.

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Here’s Rebecca showing off her technique.  Once we all were knitting the TwiggStitch with some level of ease, Vicky asked us to change up the color and stitch.  Here’s where it felt like I was doing brain teasers – seriously. Right-hand purl, left-hand-knit, purl the knit and knit the purl.  Sounds easy but my brain momentarily twisted into a knot.

finion

And on top of all that fun, Debbie has a Westie named Finion that Monica and I both played with while trying to knit.  He was so much fun and very well behaved.

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Next week is part 2 of the class where we’ll learn how to incorporate design and other fun stuff.  Monica had a brilliant idea to dognap Finion.  I’ll distract Debbie while Monica scoops him up.

Taxi, please!

First Pair of Toe-Up Socks
Pattern:  Wendy’s Toe-Up Socks
Yarn:      Crown Mountain Farm Sock Hop (in discontinued Yellow Taxi Cab colorway)
Needle:   Size 2s KP

Lynette:  I’ve been wanting to learn to knit toe-up socks for quite a while now.  I bought Wendy Johnson’s Socks from the Toe-Up a few years ago thinking I’d teach myself but was never really motivated.  I missed a class at Loopy’s last year because of work so a few of the women at my Panera group (Barb and Celeste) showed me how.  I had problems getting the hang of the cast on so I watched a YouTube video for Judy’s Magic Cast on which really helped.

sock in progress

I loved trying on my sock and watching it grow up my leg.  I used almost every bit of it.  I left just enough for darning.  Since I decided I’d use all the yarn for the sock, I used a contrast color for the ribbing.  In order for it to fit over my calf, I knit 3 inches.  For my next pair, I’ll include calf shaping. My calves are huge, and I never knit socks this long before.  For the bind off, I used JSSBO (Judy’s Super Stretchy Bind Off) technique.

This incredibly wonderful yarn is from Crown Mountain Farms.  I remember seeing this yarn early on when I began knitting, and when I finally decided to buy it, it was no longer available.  Years later, I was visiting with Karen NOT to buy yarn, I left her house with it mainly because I could name the yarn and colorway immediately when I saw it.  Thank you!

I love knitting with handspun yarn so much that I began a new hobby.  More on this in another post.  But I LOVE my socks!

Juicing!

My husband Charlie bought a juicer last month to try to eat healthier. He hates vegetables so he doesn’t eat enough. I was happy to hear that he went from getting zero servings of fruits and vegetables per day to 3 or more because he really likes the juice. Except for the chopping part I actually like the process of juicing. Maybe because you have to push some of the ingredients down into the juicer so I can get some of my aggression out.

Ingredients

For this batch we had a lot of fruits and carrots and some green vegetables like parsley and celery. (Do you see Buddy the Dog on the left side of the screen? He loves carrots so I usually give him a stick while I am juicing.)

Here's the waste that comes out

It generates waste when it’s squeezing juice out of the veggies which you can use later – I read that a lot of people put it in their compost heaps. Here’s what the juice looks like.

Juice!

On the left is one made mostly with greens like spinach, collard greens, asparagus, broccoli, and parsley. As long as you add some fruit in it it’s pretty yummy. On the right is a green juice also but we added some watermelon in it. The one thing you have to make sure of is that you drink the juice within 3 days because the nutritional value starts to degrade after that. But I’ve found that we drink it quickly enough that we have to make more every 2 days or so.

Hey It’s Lynette

This year, I promised myself to learn new things-knitting and non-knitting related.  My post shows one of the things I’ve learned so far.

I’ve been living with this secret that no one’s known about until now.  I love knitting.  Anyone who knows me will attest to that. But when I finish knitting a project, I’m completely done with it. And sometimes I wish to be finished before the project is over.  With that said, I have a few projects that have been haunting me, and I’ve ignored for a long time. And I finally  had the courage to do something about it.   Here’s my secret:

socks with holes

I’ve been wearing socks with holes in them.  I know-the horror.  I took the holes in my socks as a sign of love, but maybe it was laziness.  What was I to do? Through them out? So I bought a darning egg and attempted to fix my socks, but the darning egg was too small.  I looked around and ended up using a Christmas ornament. I found this blog and was it was the most effective method for me to repair my socks.  So one pair went from this:

brown holed socks

to this:

woven sock

Voila! A repaired sock. I know it doesn’t look great, but if you read the blog in the link, the woven area will even out as I wear it.  So here’s my after shot of all my holey socks (click for bigger).

fixed socks3

I feel much better getting that off my chest.