Thursday, February 26, 2015

english or continental style

I was taught to knit many years ago by a kind woman in my church. She taught me to knit by holding the yarn in the right hand and "throwing" the yarn, commonly known as the English/American style of knitting. Several years back I discovered Elizabeth Zimmerman's book, Knitting Without Tears, and here I read about her preference of holding the yarn in the left hand and "picking" the yarn with the needle, the Continental/German style of knitting. I  easily taught myself how to knit with this technique, and I will consistently switch between these two knitting styles. But I had become totally flummoxed when it came to purling in the continental style. One evening last week through sheer determination akin to the Little Engine That Could, I set myself to not give up until I could purl with the yarn held in my left hand. 

Finally, success was reached and even though my method might not be the conventional way, it works for me. A new project was then deemed necessary so I could practice my new skill. A sweater in Cascade yarn for Charlotte was begun. After the initial garter stitch knitting on the bottom edge, it will enable me to knit row after row of stockinette stitch, giving equal rows for knitting and purling in the Continental technique. 

I am always on the lookout for books to read during the Lenten season that help to keep my heart and mind near to the cross. I found an excellent one this year entitled, Jesus, Keep me Near the Cross. It is edited by Nancy Guthrie and includes compilations written by several Bible teachers and theologians. These meditations will draw you to the passion of Jesus on the cross, and they will enliven you to the power of His resurrection. This book leaves me in tears as I read it; what my Lord did for me on that cross, it will never loose its power!

 (top photo) You must bring the yarn in front just as with any technique of purling. The needle goes under both strands of yarn when picking up the new stitch.

(bottom photo) Now here is what I do, using my finger, index or middle, I push the strand of yarn down, then  use my needle to go back through the loop.  

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

darning socks 101

Rilla whirled into the shadowy kitchen at Ingleside, where Susan was prosaically darning socks..."
Rilla of Ingleside
Lucy Maud Montgomery

I like to knit socks. And the fact is, if you wear hand knitted woolen socks, I can guarantee you will over time wear a hole in the heel long before the sock wears out.  Of course, this too could be true about any pair of woolen socks you might own. To even consider the thought of tossing out a pair of socks you have knitted is unthinkable. What I have done through the years is wear them until the hole gets rather large and then retire them to the dark corners of my sock drawer. 

This is the winter I have become occupied with learning to darn socks. I'll share some of the things I learned along the way and display several socks that needed darning, some obviously worse then others. 

Number one: Darn the sock as soon as a hole becomes evident.

This sock had a small hole that darned up beautifully, my very first try at darning, so not the best, but I was onto something.

Number Two: Get yourself a Darning Egg.
While it is not completely necessary to have one in order to darn your sock, still it does help when you begin the process of weaving the threads.

                      Number three: If you do not have any leftover bits of the original yarn, or if the socks were a gift, then find a color that matches as close as possible. 
You might want to choose a little heavier yarn. It works fine. I did this with one pair I darned.

I wore them out Saturday to breakfast, perfectly warm and comfortable they were to my feet that cold morning.

              Number Four: The only other materials you will need is a pair of scissors,
 and a yarn needle,
                   I found a needle with a bent edge at the end works best.
Number Five: Cut away any loose threads or fuzz. 

I learned this from trial and error.
See those loose threads? 
                              Snip them from the beginning instead of trying to darn around them.

                                            Number Six: Work from the outside of the sock. 
             I tried both ways. Personally, I found that working from the outside of the sock 
    versus having the sock turned inside out,
         made a better mend.

The sock on the left was darned from the inside, the one on the right was darned on the outside.

                                 Number Seven: There is no science to the matter of darning. 
                                                           You will simply weave across the hole. 
You begin by going beyond the hole and picking up stitches with your needle until you get to the hole. At this point you proceed to run straight lines of yarn across the hole, this is your warp. From there you start to weave under and over, your weft. 

I was thinking of frugality and the days of my grandmother who lived through the Great Depression. Oh, the stories she could tell. Yet, she never really wanted to remember those hard times. But, nonetheless, those days with all their economic trials were etched deeply into the lives of that generation. I wished my grandmother was still living so she could teach me her skill in darning socks. She would be able to share with me the little things she learned along the way.

Happy Darning!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

black ashes and white snow

Ash Wednesday is what it is called.  I am convinced that growing up in a denomination that did not participate in Ash Wednesday and Lent left  holes in my spiritual life, a time included in the Easter season of which I now look forward to as a highlight on the church calendar, adding great depth to my celebration of Easter.

Lent was traditionally associated with a time of repentance, fasting, prayer and the giving of alms. It was given popularity by the church sometime around the middle of the fourth century. I purposely set myself to study church history, the origins of the church councils, the leaders of the church, the effects of how history in general has been affected by the church, etc. This includes the good, noble, and worthy as well as the evil, crooked, and distorted of all concerned.

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy 
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Psalm 51:1-3

I do not attend a church that has an Ash Wednesday service. It does not matter. I have been preparing myself for the upcoming Lenten season and this morning I awakened and called out for His mercy, just as I do every day. I reflect on the beautiful terrible cross upon which Jesus died, and I rejoice in that atonement that purchased for me justification and eternal life.

Pleased I am that there is snow covering the ground this Ash Wednesday. When I go outside I secure a wool hat on my head to keep me warm. A simple hat knitted from the wool I spun from my own flock of Romney sheep many years ago.

"Though your sins are like scarlet
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool."
Isaiah 1:18

Monday, February 16, 2015

belated xoxo wishes

A dinner table for two set as the afternoon sun glowed off the crystal stemware. And the later arrival of  long-stemmed red roses that adorned the table.

Beef fillet
Baked potato
Molten Chocolate cake with strawberries

A recipe for the perfect Baked Potato

 Scrub a evenly formed russet potato hard under cold running water until clean; one of the best parts of eating a perfectly baked potato is the skin, therefore, you do not want to leave any dirt on the skin. Nip away any blemishes or discolorations. Slit about four to five one" slashes around the potato, rub it with olive oil and roll in coarse or sea salt.
Bake in a 400 degree preheated oven for 45 minutes (five ounce potato), turning it over halfway through baking time. You can test for doneness by gently squeezing the middle of the potato. You are looking for a crusty skin and soft, tender middle. Do not overbake. I have found a convection oven needs to be lowered to 375 degrees and baked for 45 minutes.
Top with favorite toppings....delicious.

Wishing you love
( and perfectly baked potatoes)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

hearty yarn-along

Whatever you might think of Valentines Day, or how you choose to acknowledge it, as February 14  approaches I usually find myself thinking of hearts, chocolate too for that matter, but that's another train to venture on at a later time. But I thought I would share some crocheted heart coasters with you just in case you might have an inkling to make some this Valentines Day. The pattern is found here. If your yarn stash is even slightly like mine you probably already have some red or pink yarn, so it might not require a run to the store to purchase the yarn for this project. 

 One day a few weeks back I was perusing the shelves at my local library, and this book caught my eye. I think the word daughter might have grabbed my attention at first.  The Daughter's Walk by Jane Kirkpatrick is based on the true life event of Helga Estby and her daughter Clara who walked across the United States from Spokane, Washington to New York City in 1896. This book is a good read and a truly fascinating story.

Joining with Ginny's Yarnalong this Wednesday in February. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

postcards of my day

In the morning...

In the afternoon...

In the evening...

A.M...Ruby red grapefruit, homemade wheat bread drizzled with our very own harvested honey

Afternoon...Crocheting red and pink hearts while watching Ligonier Connect Teaching Series

P.M....Red dutch oven recently scrubbed after braising chicken for our supper

Thursday, February 5, 2015

the coffee/hot chocolate bar

When discussion began in earnest about what extra things were desired for the reception, Rose's mind grasped her guests would be coming out on a cold winter evening. She proposed a coffee/hot chocolate bar with all the fixings.

Two days before the wedding, some of the wedding party showed up at my house to make triple portions of hot chocolate mix, and then they sat at my kitchen table and filled little tins with the hot chocolate mix that were to be given as favors.

Later that day, large marshmallows were dipped in white chocolate and swirled amidst little pearly beads with the sole purpose of being plunked into a mug of hot chocolate, a mass of floating winter charm bobbing in chocolate.

 Hot Chocolate Mix

32 oz. Nesquick Chocolate Mix
25 oz. Powdered Milk
16 oz. Non-Dairy Creamer
1 lb. Powdered Sugar

Fancy Creamers were added to the bar, along with marshmallows, cinnamon sticks and crushed peppermint candy.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

a wedding program

Surprisingly, of all the things I did as the wedding planner for my daughter's wedding, by far the most challenging was the creating and filling in of the wedding ceremony's program. It took the greatest time and effort for me to complete a finished, perfect copy of the ceremony's order of events along with the listing of the wedding party's names.

And I had support and help in a wonderful person who put all my information on the computer for printing. She also printed the first batch of programs, trimming and folding all 200 of them! Yes, I did say, first batch. After several times of proofreading, thinking I was going over them with a fine-tuned comb, having others look at them, still, the groom's maternal grandfather's name showed up spelled wrong on the final copies!

I had to build up nerve to call this wonderful person and ask her if she would please reprint them. Then one evening my husband, Charlotte and I sat at the dining room table and we cut and folded all 200 of this second batch. If I had not already realized it, at this point I was assured this wonderful person did not charge me nearly enough!

But we were extremely pleased with the final program. 

Leslie, will be helping to plan her daughter's wedding in the future. I did this post especially with her in mind!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

"like" button choices

 In this space I share bits and pieces of my life, realizing that there will be some kindred spirits out there that might possibly share, or at least enjoy a common lifestyle with me. I love reading certain blogs and commenting from time to time, and I equally love the times I have received comments from others upon their reading one of my posts.

All that to say, I deleted my instragram last evening. I have yet to begin a facebook account, although I am aware of how it works and have visited from time to time on my daughter's space. Yes, there are times I feel antiquated, or a lone ranger, or (*gasp*) not "in the know". But for the most part I stand ground on the thought of what I don't know won't kill me, or hasn't to this point anyway.

I am not savvy with technology and the communication modes of today. I am not trying to moralize, judge, or stand on any sort of soapbox here, so please fine tune what I am saying. I frankly need to voice these thoughts today for some reason. It is simply a matter of  choosing not to connect with people in that manner. I can't remember why I signed up for an instragram account this summer...maybe a suggestion from someone younger and more "with it" than me...But when I remembered to check that little box on my phone I would find myself flummoxed. If I like something from time to time...wonderful...all I had to do was push the little heart- like button and I had made a statement. Where it began to be a issue was when I did not like something necessarily...and by not liking it would I be hurting some one's feelings? I would read all the names of the others that liked it, and wonder if maybe the thing to do was just always push the like button...but then why have the choice? 

Is our culture's need to become seekers of approval from others so strong that sincerity and honesty have no solid ground upon which to stand? Do we wear masks even as we push little heart -buttons of liking as we view these small windows of other people's lives? And does it hold any clout or give strong meaning to what photos we will actually display on our instragram? 

Thanks for allowing me this bit of bewildered wandering. I am very much like one in the desert these days.

   Totally random photo....  in September we made a trip to Williamsburg, Virginia. 

I posted it because I like her blue ribboned straw colonial hat, and because I like how I caught her looking at a running stream under the cabinet maker's shop. You may comment a " like" if you want to, if you don't, I promise, it will not hurt my's your choice.

at the shore cum amica mea

So it was that on Thursday afternoon we headed out to the beach, two young girls (Charlotte and her friend), me and my friend, and Rancher, ...