Snow? Trip

View near the Condo Mammoth Mountain

View near the Condo – Mammoth Mountain

For the past few years my husband’s Boy Scout troop has taken a trip to Mammoth Mountain for fun and to work on the Snow Sports badge.  While the snow this year was ok on the slopes, there was very little snow in town or at the cabin.  (California drought in action)

Years ago I skied, but this trip I was chief cook and dog walker.  Between our girls and another family’s pets, 4 dogs shared our trip.  The five of us took long walks in the meadow behind the condo while the others were on skiing and snowboarding.

Walking the Creatures along the stream.

Walking the Creatures along the stream.

The weekend was sunny and cool, but not cold and the dogs spent hours chasing each other in and out of the stream that followed the walking path.  Sometimes we played ball and sometimes we simply walked.  Then we would head back to the condo to relax and wait for the next outing.

I love to cook and volunteered to make the dinners for the group of 18.  In my down time I planned to  knit a lot (cousin’s wedding looming),  but the meadow and stream called to me every couple of hours and I decided to give in to the beauty and enjoy the outside.

The meals were great and the knitting was completed on time (after the trip).

I never did sit and knit on this bench.

I never did sit and knit on this bench.

 

Posted in Boy Scouts, cooking, knitting | Tagged , ,

Energy Boost for Knitting

Dried Fruit and Nut Bread Photo by Ulli

Dried Fruit and Nut Bread
Photo by Ulli

On a recent Saturday, Ulli, co-owner of Abuelita’s Knitting and Needlepoint, brought in Fruit and Nut Bread.  Wow was it delicious and healthy as well.  Perfect for those days when a quick nutritious snack is needed.

Ulli said this bread is a favorite with her family. The bread provides protein and calories like a granola bar, but isn’t filled with sugar and preservatives. The dried fruit gives the bar just enough sweetness so very little sugar is needed. Best of all, the bread keeps well and the flavors meld nicely on the counter for more than week or for at least a month in the refrigerator.

Everyone in the shop who tasted the bread, wanted the recipe so here is the link to the original recipe:  Dried Fruit and Nut Loaf.

Ulli says she likes to use almond, pecan and cashew nuts. Also, she replaces the dates with prunes as they are a little less sweet.  This weekend I may mix the batter, knit while it is baking and cooling, then have a slice to give me more energy to knit.

I have a secret gift project with a ridiculous amount yardage I want to finish in the next 2-3 weeks, a pattern to write, a pattern to knit, Scout Sunday to attend, and a Beginning Crochet class to teach.  I may need to bake two loaves.

Posted in cooking, family, gift, knitting | Tagged , , ,

Delicate Hearts of Silk and Fluff

Little Hearts - Knit in Cascade Kid Seta

Little Hearts – Knit in Cascade Kid Seta

At least a few times a week I look through Ravelry patterns that are on the “hot right now” or on the “recently added” lists.  Sometimes I see something I love and sometimes I admire the work of designers I follow.  Since I write the monthly email newsletter for my local yarn shop, Abuelita’s, I also look for designs to highlight.

Recently, I noticed the Circle of Love Lace Cowl by Evelyn A. Clark.  The pattern is now highlighted in the February newsletter and I had to knit it.  I chose Cascade Kid Seta (not discontinued as per Ravelry) in Blackberry.  The yarn is similar to KidSilk Haze used in the original pattern.  Previously I knit a scarf out of KidSilk Haze and two different shawls (Dare to Dream and Dancing Crane Stole) out of Silken Kydd.  Of the three types of silk/mohair yarns I have knit with I like the Cascade Kid Seta the best and will use it again.

Since Valentines day is around the corner, I thought I “should” use red or pink yarn, but I fell in love with the Blackberry Kid Seta.  It is a rich purple and I have outfits in my closet that would work nicely with the color.  The finished project is really beautiful and surprising easy to knit (if you know a how to increase and decrease).  Mohair is not an easy yarn to knit with, so if this is a concern, this cowl would be equally beautiful in a different yarn.

The only modification I made to the pattern was to cast on 144 stitches vs. the pattern’s 108.  Mohair is a bit warm and I didn’t want the cowl too close around my neck.  During blocking, the cowl stretched quite a bit so I don’t know if the extra stitches were necessary.  When I knit it again (and I purchased ITO Sensai to do this), I will probably cast on a few less stitches.

If you are in Pasadena, the cowl is on display at Abuelita’s for the next couple of weeks then I will enjoy wearing it for the rest of the winter.

Circle of Love Lace Cowl by Evelyn A. Clark

Circle of Love Lace Cowl (on a miniature manikin) by Evelyn A. Clark

Posted in Crafts, knitting, lace | Tagged , , ,

Helpful Hint: Pretty Edges

Many shawls and scarves have garter stitch borders which help to minimize rolling edges. But sometimes I want a cleaner edge that a garter border produces.

Normal Garter Stitch Edge

Normal Garter Stitch Edge

One of the favorite techniques for a pretty edge is to “slip the first stitch purlwise with yarn in front” on each row. That is a mouthful and what it does is give you a smooth almost braided look to your edges since the yarn is passed between the first and second stitches rather than around the edge.

Edge with first stitch slipped purl wise with yarn in front

Edge with first stitch slipped purl wise with yarn in front

Don’t worry too much about the mechanics. Designers will usually tell you what variation of “slip the first stitch” they want you to use.   Sometimes the first and last stitch every other row is, sometimes the first stitch on every row.

When in doubt I revert to my favorite “slip first stitch purlwise with yarn in front.” You will recognize this in my new pattern Diamond Eyes Scarf available on Ravelry.

Be careful when you slip the first stitch as it can give you tighter edges on some projects depending on your tension. Best to swatch and see if you like the slipped edge – sometimes I like it and sometimes I don’t.

I will post more about my new pattern, but here is a photo of the scarf – and the model is my handsome son now away at college in Durango Colorado.

Diamond Eyes Scarf

Diamond Eyes Scarf

Posted in knitting, pattern writing, technique | Tagged , , , ,

Life Changes Quickly …

My family came first during the last quarter of 2014 and I took a break from blogging. Just 5 days after my last post, my dear cousin’s wife passed away leaving 5 children ages 11, 10, 8, 3, and 5 months. Patricia was fine when her husband (my cousin) left for work and sometime in the next hour or so she died from unknown causes. The family lives about 6 hours away (driving), and this fall I spent time with them and then the family came to my house to celebrate Christmas.

Poor Elly wasn't feeling well during Christmas.  Mary didn't mind holding her.

The baby wasn’t feeling well during Christmas but there were lots of arms to cuddle her.

With the new year, life is getting back to a “new normal” for my extended family. My husband and I will continue to go up north regularly to help with the family and keep up with the daily lives of the children.

During my time off from blogging, I managed to knit quite a few items and developed many ideas for designs. Now that the holidays have passed, I am ready to start posting about yarn, knitting, and family (expect a few cute baby photos).

Posted in family, knitting | Tagged , ,

The Great Pomegranate Caper

The pomegranate /ˈpɒmɨɡrænɨt/, botanical name Punica granatum, is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree growing between 5 and 8 m (16–26 ft) tall. In the Northern Hemisphere, the fruit is typically in season from September to February,[1] and in the Southern Hemisphere from March to May. Pomegranates are used in cooking, baking, juices, smoothies, and alcoholic beverages, such as martinis and wine.  (from Wikipedia)

Remember this photo posted here of my pomegranate bush at work?

Pomegranate - How do I tell when it is ripe?

Pomegranate – How do I tell when it is ripe?

Well I will only eat these from the store or similar ones from the farmers’ market.

Vons Poms

Grocery Store Pomegranates

My work bush is no longer….  Someone decided they needed it more than my office did and carted it away.  Not only was the bush big, about 5 – 5.5 feet high, it was in a 25 gallon pot and the roots had grown a bit through the bottom.

To carry out “The Great Pomegranate Caper”  someone needed a big car/van.  The bush was there in the morning and not there in the afternoon meaning the criminal carried out the theft during the middle of the day.  No one saw it happen.  I have visions of watching security footage (think Criminal Minds) looking for the vehicle, tracking down the license plate, and confronting the villain…  instead, I will accept that the plant is gone.  (The fact that there is no video camera in the back of the building might make watching footage a bit difficult.)

I’m not really angry, ok a bit angry, but mostly I am disappointed that someone thought it was ok to take the plant and pot.  I figure there are two options:  1.  Stay angry, or 2.  move on.

Life is too short to fret over a pomegranate bush (or the small lemon tree that was also whisked away about 5 years ago).  I will move on and replant the remaining pots once it turns cooler.  But I will probably not replant any more bushes/trees unless I put them into the ground.

In the meantime, there is knitting and family to keep me happy.

Posted in garden, Work | Tagged , , ,

Fingerless Fun… or Frostbite on your Digits

Southern California Mittens

While fingerless mitts will not keep the frostbite away if you live in the frozen north, they work well in Southern California where cold is defined as anything below 70 degrees (or 75 at my house).  A bit of warmth on my hands is appreciated as I drive the 3 miles or so to work (I am blessed).  Also, my hands get both cold and warm when hiking or walking in the evening so fingerless mitts work well for me.  If you have a college student around (I have three), these could also help keep hands a warm during late night study sessions, but still allow for typing notes or papers.

Abuelita’s September newsletter, featured several fingerless mitt patterns and I thought you might enjoy the photos and ideas as well.  Knit up a few to give as gifts for this holiday season.

Fetching Mitts - Love the Cables.

Fetching Mitts – Love the Cables.

Fetching (Knit) – by Cheryl Niamath

Published in Summer 2006 Knitty, Fetching (free pattern) has over 20,000 projects on Ravelry.  The mitts take 100 – 200 yards of aran weight yarn.  Other knitters have used worsted and even DK.  The cables at the wrist keep the knit close and warm.  Be sure to read the helpful posts as there are several modifications you may wish to try.

Suggested yarns:  Cascade 220 Superwash, Berroco Ultra Alpaca, Baah Shasta, Ewe Ewe, lots of options

Fishtail Mitts

Fishtail Mitts

Fishtail Wristwarmers (Knit) – by Alexandra Brinck

Not only are these Fishtail Mitts (free pattern on Ravelry) very pretty and cozy, they’re also fun to knit and only use a single ball of fingering weight yarn!

The front features a gorgeous fishtail lace pattern, and the palm is knitted in a twisted, broken rib. The best thing is that although they look rather stylish and elegant, they are surprisingly simple and quick to knit.

Suggested yarns: Baah La Jolla, Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light, Knit Wit Cashy Wool, any fingering weight yarn.

Make-One-In-An-Evening-with-a-Great-Movie-Mitts

Make-One-In-An-Evening-with-a-Great-Movie-Mitts

Make-Us-in-One Evening (Crochet) – by Blowfish Design

The full name of these mitts is “Make-us-in-One-evening-With-a-great-movie-Mitts” and the designer says, “Such an easy pattern, you can do it in only one evening. Open a nice bottle of wine and get started with one of your favorite movies.”

In case you don’t crochet, Abuelita’s is having a workshop (with me as instructor) on September 14th where you can learn the to crochet and make these the same evening.  The pair of mitts take only 100 to 150 yards of worsted weight yarn.

Suggested yarns:  Cascade 220 Superwash, Berroco Ultra Alpaca, Baah Shasta, Ewe Ewe, lots of options.

Hint:  Please check gauge before making these.

Simply Warm

Simply Warm – Free printed pattern at Abuelita’s when you purchase yarn.

Simply Warm (knit) by Ulli Shibuya

Ulli knit these out of Blue Sky Royal Alpaca and the yarn is amazingly soft.  She didn’t have a pattern just knit a 3 x 2 rib in the round, added a thumb hole, knit a bit more and bound off.  While this approach works for experienced knitters, I knew some beginning knitters might need a bit of guidance so I helped her write the pattern.  It’s free on Ravelry.

Suggested yarns: Blue Sky Royal Alpaca, Baah La Jolla, Knitted Wit Cashy Wool, Cascade Heritage Sock, other fingering yarn.

Posted in gift, knitting, lace | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,