Thursday, June 14, 2018

Looks like knitting is back on the menu.

Yes, I have found a little more knitting time. Enough to finish that pair of socks for my friend, Miche.

Shes says they fit and I'm delighted. I hope they bring her some cozy happiness.

My name is Ellen and I love German sock yarn.
I also started that giant knitting project my mother gifted me LAST year in Germany. I tried to follow the basic instructions/pattern variations/cast on my mother included from the woman who was selling the kit, but I added some stitches for the cast on and settled on doing a stockinette throw. I didn't slip the first stitch, because I read that somewhere in her general instructions, I thought it was a big yarn, big needle directive, but I wished I had. I don't wish it enough to undo what I have. LOL.

The yarn is actually 4 strands that make up an almost ribbon like look. Gives me some idea for some random yarn I have not actually purged myself of yet but I shouldn't get ahead of myself yet, and just focus on finishing this project first, right?

I thought it would go faster than it has, but even though I'm knitting more, I'm not knitting every day. I just can't. That's how it is.

I've already got another pair of socks on my needles for when I'm out and about. However my next thinking project (means home knitting only) will be another baby sweater. People and their babies. Sheesh.

* speaking of menus here was afternoon tea on Sunday:

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Trying to enjoy the hours: Highlights of the happy

It's been a long time since I last posted. A number of reasons. The main one I think is that I'm not knitting as much. I was baking a lot since soccer and softball were underway, but it was much of the stuff I've shared before.

And this is what's been happening, much of the same stuff as I've shared before.

It's ok. I've worked really hard at being as boring as this.

But I'm not bored, and honestly I don't think I'm all that boring. I like stuff, I like to do stuff. I know some nice people that like to hang out :)

(I think I'm pretty funny, but my son thinks my jokes are super bad. Bad like they stink, not like Michael Jackson Bad which is cool. in case you weren't sure what we all mean.)

Lately, I'm trying to think and SAY good things and not just be the natural snarky snot of commentary that runs in the back of my head. It's important to back down if all you are about to do is yuck someone else's yum. I think I have been working on battling some of the inner negative. I was wound a little tightly coming out of the winter, more than I like to admit.

I miss knitting. I started up again this week. Yes, normally I miss a day or two but never as long as it's recently been. I'm knitting some socks for my friend Miche that I hope will fit.

The last pair I knit were for my friend, Georgia.

I still have big knitting dreams, but I'm tired a lot. I sleep better, I exercise more and I'm trying to stay on top of my laundry more. Laundry is so overwhelming it really is. So instead of knitting when I'm watching sports, I've been doing laundry. Remember 1 machine for 6 units in the building, I gotta be on it. ha!

The world, the grind. I'm keeping pace. I'm ok. So here are a few highlights of happy:

Molasses Cookies

Strawberry Buttermilk Cake w/crusty sugar top!

Smitten Kitchen's Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Coffee Cake. You fold the whipped egg whites INTO the batter. FLUFFY.

Any Yay! It's Time for the World Cup!! Send me all your duplicate stickers ;)

Find your happy. xoxo

Monday, February 12, 2018

Buttermilk Biscuits

Since a few of you asked about the buttermilk biscuit recipe. I thought I'd post the link/recipe I used.

Here are a few notes from me.

1. I melt one stick of butter for the actual batter in a small sauce pan to add to my chilled buttermilk. While the biscuits are baking I melt an additional tablespoon to then brush on the finished product. Melting all 9 tablespoons to then divide after seems silly to me, but whatever works for you.

2. My oven doesn't do well over 400 degrees. I rent so getting a new oven isn't really an option and I want my landlord to like me so I do not ask/request much. So I baked them at 400. I just kept an eye on them for the timing. Not a problem. I check them at about the 15 minute mark. If you are not sure how your oven runs, check at 10 mins then 15 and watch the color.

3. I've used these for breakfast sandwiches, fried chicken sandwiches, plain as a side or in the morning just with jam. They definitely stand up by themselves. There are only 3 of us in the apartment so I keep them in a ziplock bag. I will often put them in a fridge if I'm worried about them going off/stale and then toast them back up in the toaster oven. I don't know bread storage rules so I just make up my own.

I think I've posted about this breakfast bread as well that I converted into biscuits, but just in case... Really lovely served with soft scrambled eggs with sauteed veggies. I take the batter and ice cream scoop it into a muffin pan :)

For those of you trying to determine what the posset is like I would say it's a citrus cream with the texture of pudding? Smooth and bright. I highly recommend regular lemons instead of Meyers or mix with the meyers to avoid being too sweet.

Friday, February 9, 2018

This and that

I don't have any finished knitting for you right now. I'm knitting but it's very slow and methodical. A pair or 2 of handwarmers in a chunky-ish weight yarn.

I have not been knitting as much as I'd like mainly because by the time I have time, I'm exhausted.

But you know, I'm busy. It's not crazy. I might be crazy, but things aren't. I'm just busy. But here are a few highlights of the past week. (I know you were just dying  for the info.)

My son has not been very active since Fall soccer finished. We didn't push it. We thought we'd give him some time to continue focusing on his first semester in High School. We thought, you know, he can use this time to maybe see if there are other interests or sports he'd like to explore besides soccer. (We can feel the interest waning)

Well what the heck to parents know? Squat. The Kid does better with some structure. He does not self explore without a nudge out the door.

So I signed him up for a 5k. He was not excited to be there.

I was even less enthused. I've been really good about being consistently active but the running thing? Yeah not feeling it. The things we do out of love ...

I haven't been baking much either. Just biscuits. I'm kind of obsessed with a new to me buttermilk biscuit recipe. It's so easy and so rewarding. But that will change. Next month both soccer for him and softball for me start up. Cookies for spring sports.

The Teen took a turn in the kitchen after his Dad brought home a bunch of lemons. A lemon posset so simple and so delicious. Give it a try. Bonus points if you can get someone else to make it for you.

This Tuesday I went to a Silent Reading Party hosted by some local do gooders. People come together in a public space to read silently for about 2 hours. Drink purchases and donations go towards a local underfunded public school library. I used to tease a  good friend of mine who served as hostess this month about this concept, but I really enjoyed it. I think that I haven't been able to read for more than 30 mins at a time before that. I was home in time to spend most of the evening with my family ... and hopefully I left a small donation that will put a book in some students' hands.

Wishing you all a good weekend. Be happy, healthy and crafty.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Christmas Socks 2017

Considering I finished my 2016 Xmas socks at the end of 2017, I think I'm doing pretty well. I wore those while I knit these. ha!

Aside from the tangle from hell, I really enjoyed knitting these socks.  I think this is the first time I have ever done a contrast cuff, heel, and toe. Can you believe that? I just never got around to it, but I saw the example on one of the West Yorkshire Spinners sites, (website? Intagram?) and was wooed. I didn't even mind weaving the ends in.

Something I'm noticing with my basic sock construction. I like a very wide toe and will decrease until there are still 16 or even 18 left on the needles. It means I need to knit on the foot a little longer than other people, but that's ok. I am here for relaxed toes and not squish squashed ones.

I'll tell you the truth. My love of Christmas socks is something borderline bonkers. I am obsessed with hunting down Christmassy sock yarn. I gravitate towards the red / green/ white combination, but I'm also susceptible to Gingerbread themes. I ordered some that I saw Autumngeisha knit up that just wooed me.

This means I will plan on knitting multiple pairs of Christmas socks for 2018. I will start in October. Really I will! There is a project that I'm hoarding for behind Christmas socks, I am going to eventually (maybe when I retire?) knit a sock square blanket thing that's completely Christmas sock themed. Imagine!

Friday, January 26, 2018

Baby Gramps Cardigan made by a Grumpy Knitter

I'm embarrassed to say I started this in June when my neighbor had her son early. I thought no big deal, I'll finish it way before he can grow out of it ...

And now he is 7 mos old.

I'll be honest. I usually turn to the Baby Sophisticate for my old man cardigan. However ChrisKnits knits up a beautiful Gramps AND really likes the pattern. She found the shape better fitting for babies as well, which was well worth a try.

The pattern is not difficult.

So why was this so hard for me to finish?

1. My first road block came right after casting on and the set up row:

Row 1 (RS): [knit to 1 st before marker, m1, k2, m1]
4 times, knit to end [8 sts inc]

I was perplexed. Then I went to the posts for the pattern and someone else basically wrote what I was smacking the side of my head about:

I cast on the second smallest size. Row 2 tells you to knit until one stitch before marker m1, k2, m1. 
There’s only 2 stitches before the first marker.

The response:
Right, so you will k1, m1, k1, slip marker, k1, m1

It's very hard to feel motivated when you struggle 2 rows or so after casting on.

2. The color I got really tired of this blue. I know, it's Manchester City Blue so I should be like yay!! But I'm a grumpy knitter. I do not have a reason for being tired of it other than it was stash yarn. I need to get over it, because most of the coming year is dedicated to a lot of stash knitting.

3. Halfway through the shawl I realized I hadn't done any of my ribbing with smaller needles AND, I forgot how to properly shortrow when picking up in ribbing. ugh. Thank you Googles.

4. Didn't like the buttons I originally picked out so I had to go to the ... STORE. Where I spent more money than I needed to because where there are buttons there are usually other things too, like fabric, crafts and yarn. (psst, I don't even sew!)

It all worked out.

I have another old man cardigan to knit for a 3 year old and yes, I'm going to use The Gramps pattern again, with stash yarn, but this time, it's a darker heather blue. Maybe I'll wait a few projects before I cast on. Still, feel free to wish me luck ;)

Thursday, January 18, 2018

2 For Friends

I made two pairs of hand warmers with stash yarn:  Lion Brand's Landscape.

I remember loving the colorway when I was in the craft/fabric store with my sister. The colors proved themselves lovable.

It was really fun watching these knit up.

The yarn is surprisingly soft for acrylic and was not as hard on my hands as acrylic can be. I wonder if it's the roving like texture. Regardless I'm pleased with the results.

Two of my friends saw the mitts I made earlier for the holidays and expressed their like so I put them both on my list. They both will do well with this colorway.

I posted one to Spain and one in SF at lunch. I hope they provide some warmth and comfort to 2 people that have always shown me kindness and comfort.

Knex Knitting Steps (yes, I'm knitting knerd enough to put a K in front of anything)

  • I did it ChrisKnits! I have all but finished the Gramps baby sweater. I'll write a full debrief as soon as the buttons are on and the ends are weaved in. Hmm, where did I put those buttons? I hope they fit!
  • Finish those Xmas 2017 socks because the 2nd sock is found and I'm about halfway through the foot ... I feel a finish around the corner.
  • My cousin's Basic Rib hat! Because Little E is adorable.
What's on your knitting agenda?

Friday, January 12, 2018

Back on Track!

Joy of joys. Your good wishes and Kathy B's magic chants have returned the wayward sock.

I came home yesterday and while I was doing the leftover dishes from the morning I asked my son to tidy up the living room a little. I said, "Hey, let me know if you find a knit sock. I can't find one of my Christmas socks."

He wandered off to his room, came back and said he found it with his clean laundry he put away earlier that day. (Of course, he just left it in the hamper) I gave him a big hug. Ah so many things we try to do at the same time, with our hands full. At least this is my excuse for it being in there.

So to celebrate I knit the heel flap last night :)

Don't worry, I haven't forgotten about my gift knits that I said I was going to work on this weekend. I have already sorted two new projects into project bags.

Keep your crafting dreams alive friends! Have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Thursday Thoughts

Okay let's just get this out of the way. Because the thought is just rolling around in my brain like a crazy train.

I have lost a sock.

Yes, remember that Christmas Sock 2017 that I knit but had gotten stuck in a tangle? Well earlier this week, I hung out with my friend Mrs. B. and her sister, Kate. Kate loosened it up with her magic hands and ... I was off knitting again. I brought the other sock with me for some reason, probably to keep my crap together.

So as I was back on track with the leg of my 2nd sock -- while taking a break from handwarmer knitting I realized I couldn't remember how many rows I knit for the leg. So, I went to dig out sock #1 to count and reconcile. Well I couldn't count.

It is no where to be found.

I asked Mrs. B. if perhaps I left it at her house. Negative.


I am hoping it turns up somewhere, but I am preparing myself I may have to play some yarn chicken and reknit it.

Something exciting happened today. My cousin in Colorado texted me that her youngest son who I knit a hat for when he was just a baby really liked the hat, but it was getting too small and would I consider making another in a larger size.


So guess what I'm working on this weekend?

I pulled a groin muscle over the weekend and have not been able to exercise properly since Sunday.

I'm resting. I'm stretching as much as I can. I'm knitting. (I have some ends to weave in, but I'll have 2 more pairs of hand warmers to share shortly). I baked a Chai Cinnamon Swirl Cake.

It was ok. the bake was not even enough.

I also got rid of 2 boxes of STUFF in my apartment. There is so much more to go through and get rid of but I'm pleased with any amount of unnecessary moving out.

Everyone's blogs have me all excited to knit as much as I can. Following other people's leads I am focusing on knitting from my stash in 2018:
  • Lunar New Year red hand warmers for Mama Chang (my friend's mother who always sends me curry soup!)
  • Pre-Schooler hat for my dear little cousin.
  • TinCan Knits Gramps sweater. I have to finish one of these in the name of Chrisknits because I know she loves this pattern. For some reason, I struggle with it.
  • Flaum for a friend of mine who looks good in everything and is perpetually elegant and modern.
  • Ellen Cardigan
  • A Throw
  • A box of socks!! I want to knit all the socks! It may be a small box since I do not plan to knit them all for myself, but who cares! I love socks, I love boxes, it'll work out!
Wishing you good thoughts.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Friday Finish in the past and present

It really is true, there is no bigger thanks for a handknit gift than that of knowing it's used. (For baking I think it's if someone asks for seconds, for you to make it again or for the recipe!)

Thank you guys for the nice words about the handwarmers I've been knitting. I have to admit you might be seeing them a bit on the blog since it seems to be what I've been knitting a lot of.

Here is a picture of my little friend when she was just a wee elementary school lass with her original handwarmers. These were a lovely wool, Crystal Palace yarns I believe.

And here she is photo courtesy of her big brother who is besties with my son after she got them this morning.

Here's to knitting some more happiness this weekend. All the best to everyone.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Handfuls of sunshine

5 years ago, I made my friend's daughter a pair of handwarmers and apparently she's worn them out. Now in middle school she wore them over at dinner the other night, far too tiny for my little friend.

I told her I'd make her a new pair for the new year and asked her for her preferred color choices. She asked for yellow because it's a fun color and it goes so nicely with white. It's another pair in acrylic, for that middle school after school snacking and washing. Also the colors were right in front of my face at the yarn store.

These are more of a slouchy, relaxed style. I thought I'd switch it up a bit. Hope she likes em.

This was my third pair in the past 2 weeks and I have to say, I am completely enjoying my mass handwarmer knit.

I have another pair for another friend on the needles and plan another pair in a bulky weight yarn for my other friend's mom in time for Lunar New Year. Much like socks, the handwarmers are good projects for "to-go" knitting.

I am definitely going into 2018 feeling my knitting mojo. After my small pieces are done, I'm going back to sweaters and socks. Mainly to move the large stash set aside for specific projects. It's a crafty form of decluttering ;)

I'm enjoying everyone's crafty new year fervor in the blogosphere. I hope the New Year finds you looking forward with as much positivity as one can muster.