Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Farmer's Market Wednesday and my brave neighbors..........

This week I didn't buy much as I just finished freezing beans and I have plenty of fresh vegetables to eat.  I did get peaches though!
I looked in my preserving books and saw nothing but canning and preserving with lots of sugar but I was really wanting to freeze fresh peaches "as is" so I could use them for whatever I wanted, be it to make jam for Christmas presents or peach pie or as I've mentioned....peaches and ice cream.  You find them in the stores; frozen fruit without any sugar.  So, I googled it and found a great recipe for freezing peaches without sugar yet also keeping them from turning brown.  I haven't used it yet but I will be using it tomorrow and I'll let you know how it goes.  Pretty simple and straight forward actually.  So go out and buy yourself some fresh peaches before they're all gone!
Speaking of Missouri, I have been watching the events unfolding in my neighboring state and my prayers and heartfelt sympathy go out to the Brown family and all the residents of Ferguson and to all who have lost loved ones to violence of any kind.  Those who stand by and are complicit when there is wrongdoing should be held just as accountable as the wrongdoers.  It's the first time in history that Amnesty International has ever been called to the United States.  It's a very sad day in our history and if you think that your democratic rights can't  be taken away in this country.....think again.  Many of them already have been....just ask the people in Ferguson and many other places around this country.
Democracy is not something to be taken for granted.  There are many who gave their lives, limbs, and sanity to preserve it not only in this country but in other countries.  The least we can do is fight to preserve it here at home by taking a stand, having a voice, and doing our part.  I am proud of the people in Ferguson for standing up against injustice, for not giving in even when they were tired and had to go to work the next day.  They should be proud of being part of a community that stands together when tragedy hits.  When I was young I marched, carried signs and protested for rights that are now laws in this country.  I'm getting a little old for the marching now but I still consider myself an activist and I get online and sign petitions and write my elected officials and I VOTE in every election regardless how small.  Democracy is fragile and the young generations today need to realize that and not take it for granted.  March on Ferguson, march on!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

YOP Week #7

Yahoo!  Yippee!  I have enough yarn to do the second sock!  (crowd cheers)...I'll be casting on for that this week............the "weight" is over LOL!  But from now until the end of time I will be using Minding My Own Stitches method of measuring for sock length.  If I had used the method in the pattern it would have been way too big.  Here's her method and I quote....
"A word of caution about the socks. I usually aim for 10% negative ease for a well-fitted sock. For you 10-1/2 foot, you may want your sock to finish at 9.45" and should therefore start the toe section at about 7-1/2" inches. If in doubt, thread a lifeline soon so you can rip back if they end up too big.
Also, weigh your first sock on a kitchen scale and then weigh your remaining yarn. You'll know right away if you're going to run out!"

I used her method and they fit like a dream!  On to the second sock!
I finished the first of the 3 dishcloths for my son's housewarming present.  What is up with these small dishcloths?  Do these designers not wash dishes?  I'll be designing my own after this...stay tuned for "Retired Computer Scientist Turns Washcloth Designer"....more to follow.  Lots of purling in this one too.
I am thoroughly enjoying the shawl knitting and that was the same comment that had me chose this design for my first shawl.  I could sit and work on this all day. I am on row 84 of 118 so it won't be long now!  Except that each row gets longer and takes longer but with this project I will be sad to see it end.....I'll have to immediately start another one in order to prevent any lingering sadness.  Don't worry, I've already "faved" a bunch more shawl patterns. :)
I just have to weave in the ends on this size #3 of the boy's preemie hat.  One more in a newborn size for boys and I will have August taken care of.  As you can see, I am also out of yarn so I'll have to get some in another color this time to keep it interesting.
Remember I told you about all my new yarn that arrived?  Here's another part of it........
This is wool of the Andes Sportweight by Knit Picks for making my Millie  doll!
Her head is finished except for her hair and embroidered facial features and I'm on to the body.  So far so good and it's so much fun to see it take shape so quickly not like blankets or bigger projects that take months.  I am very pleased with the Knit Picks Wool of the Andes yarn and the Brittany wooden needles are a dream to knit with.  They might be my favorite so far and I have others that are more expensive.
In addition, I started a Lalylala pattern, Bina....the first of many, I think, as I am having fun with this one too.  I am not using the required yarn which is more a fingering weight.  I'm using a worsted weight so it will be much larger but I also need to use larger eyes.  I am at the point where the eyes need to be placed but I don't have any so I ordered a variety pack of black plastic safety eyes as I'm not sure what size to use.   I ordered from an Etsy shop in Maryland called 6060.  The price you see includes shipping so it might depend on where you live.  This was the only shop I could find that sold a variety of sizes in one package.  This will be handy for future projects too.

$7.88 USD
Purchased from 6060 on 16 Aug, 2014
I can't wait to start using the brown tweed yarn for the body of the bear.
That's my YOP project roundup for this week.  Happy Trails!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Farmer's Market Wednesday

Did any of you try to see the Leonid Meteor shower this week?  I thought I saw some but it's hard to tell with my  I went to the Farmer's Market today and each week it gets bigger with more vendors....LOVE!!!  I bought a peck of beans to blanch and freeze tomorrow.

Some itsy bitsy cherry tomatoes..actually they're the normal size.  I've only had one from my plant so far...I got a late start planting.
Some wildflower honey...........
A melon...Arkansas is pretty famous for it's melons...around here anyway.  Probably loves the sandy soil.
Farm fresh eggs that I found out I will be able to get from right here in town all year long! Hallelujah!
I got more eggplant, a light green zuchini and a couple summer squash.  The eggs are just peeled hard boiled that I sat there after rinsing.  I've found organic eggs are harder to peel and I read somewhere how to make it easier but dang if I can remember what it was.  Refrigerate before peeling?  Does anyone know? 
I'm making egg salad for supper and this is from my celery plant.  Remember I planted it last year?  Just take the bottom of your celery that you buy at the store when you're done and plant it in a pot and you have celery whenever you need it.  It is thinner than the big stalks but it's plenty for me and has a great flavor.  It's easier for salads as I don't have to splice it down the middle like I do when the stalks are so big.
I put it outside for the summer and it's doing great.  This is a picture after I cut what I needed.   You might need more than one plant depending on how many are in your family and how much you use celery.
My tomatoes are late but then so was I in planting them.
When my daughter came down she brought me some great Iowa sweet corn and rhubarb from her garden.  We blanched and cut the corn off the cob and froze a bunch and then I chopped and froze rhubarb.  I freeze amounts based on the recipes I use them for usually; like my Mediterranean Salad which gets 2 ears of corn off the cob and my rhubarb cake which gets 1 1/2 cups of rhubarb. 
 My daughter taught me a trick when she was here.....she single bags all the corn and uses a drinking straw to suck the air out of the corner and then seals it completely (we used the zip lock type bags) and then each one is labeled with the date, amount and what it is.  When they're all done (I like to double bag to prevent any freezer burn) she puts all the smaller bags into one big zip lock (gallon size) and then not only is it double bagged but all your corn is together and all your rhubarb or whatever.  Who said you can't teach an old dog new tricks?
The larder is filling up and I'm like a squirrel collecting nuts.  I have this feeling that we are going to have an early Fall and Winter.  I've already seen a few sassafras leaves turning and they are one of the first to show signs of Fall.  
I hope you are having a good week and Happy Trails!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

YOP Week #5

(Whoops!  It's week #6....I missed a all didn'
 Humor me please while I show a few pictures of the "grand boys"....breakfast is WAY too early for me but I managed to rustle up oatmeal for these growing youngsters...........

unfortunately this is what happens when you feed them! LOL! 
They have way more energy than Grandma but occasionally they slept....LOL!
They're actually very well behaved and we had a great time but it will take me a few days to recover...ha! ha!
I was surprised that I got any knitting/crocheting done but in the afternoon my daughter took the older one to the pool and to the beach while the little one napped and I babysat.  It was too hot for me and I don't do water much (except baths).
Before they arrived I had finished my first sock.........and a BIG shout out to Minding My Own Stitches who gave me some advice about the length and caught me just in time.  I followed her advice (my sock guru) and it worked out perfectly and fits like a dream!  Thank you SO much as it would have been too big if I had followed the original instructions.  If you want to know her measuring technique for length just check out her comment on last weeks YOP post. 
I have not weighed the sock and the remaining yarn to see if I have enough for the second's a "nail biter" that you will have to tune in next week to find out.  Meanwhile everyone please say a prayer that I have enough!
My yarn arrived that I ordered from Knit Picks.  I should have taken a picture of it all in the box but I was so excited I forgot.  This is just some of the Dishie washcloth cotton yarn.  This is my favorite and pretty much the only one I use for cloths anymore.
 I started Kay's Tess D'Uberville   shawl and what fun shawls are to knit.  Now I know why you all are always knitting shawls and I'm pretty sure I will be too from now on.  I'm using a Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in I forget what color but I will update my project page today with all the info.  LOVE!!!!
The older grandson (just turned 7) wanted me to teach him how to knit so I thought I would start him with the spool knitting like I had as a child but he quickly lost interest but by that time Grandma was "hooked"!  This is what I should have used for my chair pad much easier on the hands and I am using a worsted weight and getting the same size as I did using needles and bulky yarn..go figure?  Secretly, I'm glad he lost interest otherwise I would have had to go back and buy another one for myself. LOL!
I also managed to get my #2 size preemie hat done for the first week of far I'm staying on schedule.
Lat night I started one of 3 dish cloths for my son's house warming present. I'm using this pattern and each cloth is a different pattern and a different color.
I frogged my earlier rug start up as it was more place mat size.  I was able to get the same dye lot in some additional yarn and made it twice as wide as the first one.  Grace is watching (see her little paws in the picture?).  She's learned not to bother my yarn although I can tell she is VERY tempted! Ha! Ha!  This is not an easy or fun project as you have to manually place each stitch over the very large P size hook.  It's not that it's too tight either but you go in the back loop of each stitch and the yarn is soft.  If you went through both sides of the stitch like you would normally maybe it would be easier but that's not what the pattern calls for.  Do any of you have an easy pattern for making a rug?  If it was enjoyable I would make lots of them as I need them myself but at this rate this may be the only one I ever make.
Well, that's all for this week but I should have 2 more new projects cast on next week as I have all this yarn....I just can't help myself!  I've missed you all this past week and can't wait to catch up with everyone.  I hope you are all "fine and dandy".
Happy Trails!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

YOP Week #4

I am really enjoying this YOP year so far and I feel like I am on track, better organized and totally enjoying all my projects...even my WIPs! LOL!  Maybe it's because I have more knowledge, skills and equipment than I've ever had plus a LYS (local yarn shop) doesn't hurt either.
Another WIP (work in progress) bites the dust!  My leaf garland....... ready to hang on the fireplace this Fall. 
I have 2 more skeins of Noro left .  I was thinking maybe the top one could be some Spring leaves and maybe some Winter leaves could be made out of the blue and purple on the bottom.  A yellow one would be great for Summer.  I love those leaves and I enjoyed doing them too.  But that would have to be for next year's YOP as I am "full up" for this year! LOL!

I finished (yes, another FO!) the doily from the class last week but not thrilled with it.  There were no clear directions for sewing it together and it is rather obvious where the "seam" is.  I like the pattern but I will have to experiment with yarns and needle sizes.  On this one I used 10.5 needles and cotton worsted.  I may try some other worsted that isn't quite so limp.  I need a yarn with more body for a doily....washcloth cotton just didn't do it for me.
I also realized I was not doing enough charity work so I decided that for this year I would do a preemie hat per week so at the end of the year I would have 52 hats to give to my daughter to take back to Iowa with her as she usually visits in July.  I also decided that since there are 4 sizes that one of each would be a "set".  There are also different finishes for the boys hat and for the girls (hard to imagine that the babies would care but evidently their parents or caretakers do) so I am making a set for the girls and then a set for the boys and that is how I will work on them all year.
Here's a girl's set..........
The girl's hats have little scallops on the bottom

The boy's hats have a simple crocheted edging (girl's on the left and boy's on the right below
So...I have 5 hats done for July!
I would have finished my sock but I dropped some stitches and had to get help yesterday to correct it.  One of these days I will remember how to do it.  Meanwhile, I have 7 inches done of an 8 1/2 inch foot before starting on the toe. I measured my foot to be 10 1/2 inches and Susan Anderson said she starts her toe 2 inches less than what her foot measurement is.  I hope that works for me and I pray I have enough yarn for the 2nd sock!  I've also worked on the sweater a bit but not enough to really notice.
I started my stars for my star blanket and I have 12 of 48 done.  Of course, the stars are only the beginning but these are an easy t.v. watching project as is the sock right now.
I took inventory of my projects for YOP this year and got the equipment I needed which was mostly DPN's and one more crochet hook and I have a big yarn order coming in the mail from Knitpicks

They are having a big sale right now with 10% off all yarns and more on some plus 40% off all books.  I have been very happy with their yarns and their price point can't be beat.  Of course, I give my business to my LYS first but if she doesn't have it then I go to Knitpicks.  Webs is also a great online yarn source with clearance and sale yarns that are top quality and they have a great variety. 
I do have another project I'll be casting on today on my "breaks" using this yarn......
I'll save that for another time.  I have company coming this week through the weekend so if I don't get anything published next week I will return the week after.  If  I'm "quiet" next week it's because my daughter and her 2 sons will be here.  I've been busy this week getting ready.  I hope you have a great week ahead!
Happy Trails!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Cool down.............

This morning was sunny and hot and we got to 91 before the storms/cold front came through. 
 Grace sat by the window with some of her friends watching the clouds roll in.
This crow sat up on this pole warning all of the impending storm and making quite a racket.
 I got out early this morning and got my errands done before "the rains came" and boy was it hot! 
 It got so dark in the house after I got home that I had to turn the lights on.
When it started raining this little hummingbird sat outside my kitchen window under the eave to escape the deluge.
I cooked up some banana peppers I had gotten at the Farmer's Market.  I cook them in garlic and olive oil and have a pepper sandwich on the rustic bread I make.....yum!  I had some tomato soup with it for supper and I'll have fresh peaches and ice cream later for dessert.
I managed to do a few rows on my sweater when I took a break.  So far so good!
 Last evening I started on a preemie cap in the next size up.  I think it's a 2

and I started making stars for my crocheted Star blanket.  I couldn't decide on a color scheme so I finally just decided to make all different color stars.  Still not sure about the back ground colors.  I guess I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.  I would like to make 6 each night as there are 48 needed in total.  I'm trying to use up a lot of worsted acrylic I have.  The tips curl but they will straighten out when I crochet the rest of the circle and square around them.
I finished another little book about Laura Ingalls/Wilder.  I have one left to read and then I can give the last 2 of the 5 to my daughter when she comes next week.  She got her presents in the mail today and opened them while we were on the phone.  I think she really loved them all.  I'm so happy!
I hope you had a great day and Happy Trails to you all!