Scarving Children, Sleeving Sweaters

If you haven’t watched the new Bob’s Burgers yet, you should. Bob (my Bob) said he had to stop watching it until we could watch it together.

I snagged this image from ergoiknit on Instagram, who is also excited that Linda is a knitter.

I am not knitting nearly as much as I should be if I am going to finish a sweater and hat in the next two weeks.

Hello sleeve! All I have to do is finish this sleeve, knit another one, sew them on, and then I’m done! (I sound a little like Linda when she said scarves are a cinch.)

Here’s a gratuitous scrunchy kitty face pic for your amusement.

Knitting Friends

Nothingbutknit graciously offered to participate in a holiday swap with me. It all started when I wanted to send her some shea butter lotion chips made by local women. The challenge was to send a skein of local yarn.

Here is a photo of the beautiful things she sent me. (Except for the candle which I made with a pottery cup gifted to me and handmade by my stepson.)

Isn’t this red yarn festive and lovely? It’s also soft enough to wear around my neck, so I think I want to knit a “hap” with it. (Props to Kate Davies for reintroducing the word to our vocabulary.) I didn’t know a small shawl or wrap had a name, but sure enough, if you look it up, the third definition is “clothe, cover.”

Here is my favorite “hap”, which was the start of a lace shawl that I cut short because I’d had enough of knitting it many years ago.

I wrap this around my neck once or twice, and it’s the perfect scarf. This is knit from Jagger Spun Zephyr Wool Silk, which has really withstood the test of time.

But back to the red! Aren’t the gold flecks lovely on this Campfire Knits yarn? The hand dyeing really stands out too. This is “Winter Cranberry.” I’ve already cast on a simple eyelet increase triangle scarf, but I’m not sure how I feel about the garter stitch.

And I love these stitch markers which were included in my package, made by her husband. So festive! They make me crave peppermint.

My issue with lace is I prefer for my knitting to be intuitive. I like to memorize the pattern so I’m not constantly referring to the chart or instructions. And because I’m old have short term memory challenges, I need the repeat to be about four rows. So I am looking for a simple, all over lace pattern. I’ll keep looking! Maybe my fabulous red hap will be done in time for Valentine’s Day!

Thank you, nothingbutknit! I’m grateful for your friendship. It is always encouraging knowing someone is reading and paying attention. Thank you for the beautiful things and for being willing to participate in a gift exchange with me. ❤️

Say Yes

carbeth shoes

Although November ended on a sad note, I have to say I’ve had a really great year, and December has been the cherry on top.

  • I went back to the gym.
  • I secured a studio space near my house.
  • I sold two of my art pieces.
  • I signed up for two 2019 knitting clubs.
  • Not only did I finish the work budget, but I also pulled together our household budget and got it all entered into Quicken. Yay, financial literacy!

As mentioned, the Blendon Woods I pair of photo and felt painting were sold today. It made me very happy, and I can use the funds to purchase a work table and pair of comfy chairs for my studio space.

At the beginning of 2018, I chose my words for the year. They were, “doing it all.” I worked hard to be promoted to Executive Director at work. I started knitting in earnest again, and even managed a successful design. I made art and participated in an art show. I started a cooperatively owned business with two other women. On top of taking care of kids and being in a relationship with my spouse, that was a lot, and I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to pull it off.

I chose to take the same path that I had been taking with my work over the last few years, which led to the success of our new store. That path is, “say yes whenever possible.”

I know saying yes too much and too often can get you into trouble. It’s important to know and respect your limits. I’m not going to pretend this approach didn’t take a bit of a toll. I worked my ass off, and it’s not something that can be sustained forever. But this year, whenever possible, I said yes and reached out and grabbed with both hands whatever opportunities came my way, and it really paid off in a multitude of ways.

candles and knitting at preserve

Here I am at my side hustle, knitting and selling my aromatherapy candles for Haven Herbs! Look how happy I am! I look a little dorky, and I am a little dorky. I can own that and still be happy. Also, check out my great earring game.

My Christmas Cactus is blooming with gratitude as well.

img_1320

Decisions, Decisions

I am making progress on Kate Davies’ Goats of Inversnaid hat for Hans. I won’t have any trouble finishing it by Christmas if I stay on task.

I wasn’t sure if the Milarrochy Tweed yarn would work for the crisp design, but I kind of love it. I think it gives a more grown-up look to it. I’m also thinking about changing the hearts at the crown to a star, because Hans is 15. I don’t need to say anymore than that, right?

There are two knitting clubs I want to participate in for 2019, and I can’t make up my mind.

Kate Davies has an upcoming club that looks to be more design oriented, and includes an awesome journal.

Knitspot is offering the School of Wool where you learn about American sheep breeds and fibers, and you get undyed yarn to play with.

I want to do both. I can do both, right? Can I afford to do both? (Can I afford not to do both?)

RIP Rudy

rudy arm knitted blanket

We lost our beloved cat Rudy on Friday. He was older and had some chronic illnesses, and finally succumbed to one of them. He was the kind of cat that never demanded anything, so when he wanted something like the arm-knitted wool roving blanket you just finished, you gladly let him have it. He was gentle and handsome, and always looked forward to couch time. We love you, Rudy! We’ll meet you in the next life.

Gluten Free Rosemary Shortbread Stars

I haven’t been knitting much lately due to work. But last night I did bake some cookies for Holidayville, our neighborhood’s Christmas shopping event. Shortbread is my favorite cookie, and rosemary is my favorite fresh herb, and I’m pretty sure I’ve had herb infused shortbread before. It sounded delicious, anyway.

First I cut and chopped fresh rosemary from my plant and made a compound butter with some Irish butter. I specifically chose non-US butter because I recently heard on The Splendid Table that European butter has a higher fat content by law. I thought, that’s gotta be a good thing for cookies, right?

After the butter had been infused for about 48 hours in the frig, I followed this recipe using my rosemary butter. However, I used Trader Joe’s gluten free flour mix, and I have learned that flour mixes are the kiss of death for gluten free cookies. But I didn’t have time to go to the natural food store and get all the right flours, and I did have xantham gum to add.

These cookies came out okay, but they were crumbly until fully cool, so I had to be careful transferring them to the cooling racks. The Irish butter makes them so rich you only really want one. If I were to make them again, I would use plain old unsalted American butter and go shopping for the individual flours like I should have done in the first place.

After Holidayville today, I plan to come home, plant myself on the sofa, watch goofy Christmas movies and knit until I pass out. I think tonight I’ll watch Christmas with the Kranks, one of my goofiest favorites. Bob will probably let me have my way, even though he doesn’t enjoy the dumb Christmas movies like I do.

Maybe next Saturday we’ll invite the kids over for Rare Exports, our most favoritest Christmas movie ever. We also enjoyed Krampus, and I think that should be queued this holiday season as well, even though it isn’t as well done as Rare Exports.

Do you have a favorite holiday movie? Is it silly and fun? Or serious and sacred? Or a horror, like ours?

Wovember Day 27: Transform

Today’s prompt is transform.

I am slowly transforming this Coopworth fleece into yarn with my drop spindle. I do this when I need to be active in my office while at work. Moving around helps my brain work more better.

Right now I’m sitting in the car, waiting for it to warm up so I can head to our local store for work.

Welcome Old Man Winter! Glad I have my wool to keep me warm.

wovember 2018, Day 26

I’ve noticed Daughter of a Shepherd sharing #wovember2018 posts on Instagram. I didn’t realize it was something anyone could do.

Today I joined in with pics of the oldest wool thing I own: my Mother’s boiled wool coat:

I also have a mohair shawl, cashmere sweater, and tartan scarf and tam of hers:

I believe these are all from around the same period, early 1960’s?

I have worn all of these things from time to time. The boiled wool coat is gorgeous and comes in handy on below zero days, but we don’t get too many of those.

I wore the sweater in the 1980’s when the 1950’s were back in for a bit. We used to have 1950’s dress up days, and I would wear this sweater with a pencil skirt and a black beret, and go as a Beatnik.

Both the coat and sweater are too small for me now. I can wear the coat, but the shoulders are tight.

I think I wore the shawl once when I lived in San Diego in the 1990’s, but the mohair is so itchy, I never liked it. But it is beautiful to look at. You can see how fine and sheer the fiber is woven.

I wore the scarf a lot in high school, and there is red spray paint on it from when we painted the streets my senior year. (Yes, that’s something they used to let you do.)

I can’t find the tam for a photo, but I never wore it as it is very sit atop the head with a big pom on top type of tam. I have often joked that if I learned to play golf, I would wear that tam.

All of these treasures are beginning to look a little shabby, truth be told. I should probably wrap them up carefully in tissue and put them in my cedar-lined drawers.

Are you participating in wovember2018? Do you have any favorite wool heirlooms?

Gluten-Free Gingerbread

This year I adjusted our gingerbread recipe so I’m going to post it here.

Cream:

3/4 cup coconut oil

with

2/3 cup blackstrap molasses

1/3 cup sorghum

(You can use all molasses.)

Add:

1/2 cup whole cane sugar

1 egg

Mix well.

Sift together:

4 cups gluten-free flour mix

(I added brown rice, tapioca, and sorghum flours to my regular mix.)

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons ground ginger

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/2 tablespoon ground cloves

(We like our gingerbread cookies really spicy. Also, look for fair trade spices, coconut oil, sugar and molasses.)

Add dry mixture to wet and mix well. While mixing, add hot water one tablespoon at a time until dough is no longer crumbly. (I added three tablespoons.)

Refrigerate until stiff, 2-3 hours.

Roll out to 1/4″ thick and cut into shapes.

Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes.

Makes a lot of cookies.

I mixed butter, powdered sugar, milk, and meringue powder for the frosting and decorated with candies. Look at these holiday candies I found at World Market this year!

They don’t break your teeth either. They have the consistency of, and taste like, a fun dip stick, according to Hans.

Carbeth

I finally cast on Kate Davies’ Carbeth in the red Targhee wool from Yarndaze. I decided I want to finish it before Christmas because it’s a gorgeous holiday red. I hear it’s a quick knit.

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. We had a full house here, with lots of food, family, and friends. I had such a good time I forgot to take photos. We played a fun but morbid game called Gloom.

I’ve been working the last two days, but I am looking forward to a fall hike today, and baking and decorating gingerbread cookies with my youngest. It’s one of our traditions.