Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Legend of the Candy Cane

According to legend there was a candy maker who wanted to invent a candy that was a witness to Christ.

First of all, he used a hard candy because Christ is the rock of ages. This hard candy was shaped so that it would resemble a "J" for Jesus or, turned upside down, a shepherd's staff. He made it white to represent the purity of Christ.
Finally a red stripe was added to represent the blood Christ shed for the sins of the world, and thinner red stripes for the stripes He received on our behalf when the Roman soldiers whipped Him. Sometimes a green stripe is added as a reminder that Jesus is a gift from God.

The flavor of the cane is peppermint, which is similar to hyssop. Hyssop is in the mint family and was used in the Old Testament for purification and sacrifice. Jesus is the pure Lamb of God, come to be a sacrifice for the sins of the world.

So, every time you see a candy cane, remember the message of the candy maker:

Jesus is the Christ! 


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

I finished Block 10 of the Brownie Knits Blanket Along. Thank you Gina for a new challenge.  A basic knit and purl pattern that was easy and fun. I'm about halfway through with block 11. I'll show you when it is complete. This year has gone by so fast. I can't believe block 12 and the final construction is only a couple of weeks away!

I was so kindly gifted the Chuncky Ribbed Scoodie by Zoe Deterding. Thank you Amy Gibson for your generous gift. This was an awesome pattern and easily crocheted. I added the simple contrasting edge in white. 

The Simple Scoodie also by Zoe. Less complicated than the basketweave design, it still is a beautiful pattern. I added the shell edging in a buff color.
While I was in the Scoodie mood, I completed

It has been a month of crochet. Maybe that's why the November knit block isn't finished yet. 😉 The next project was the Lace Stripe Ear Warmer.  A quick project that keeps my ears warm. This cute crochet project incorporates the V stitch. The pattern called for a button and button hole. I chose to just join the ends as a regular headband. Not the neatest job I've ever done, but it works!

The latest sewing project is the Bag Minders. Walker and wheelchair safety is extremely important.

 Using both hands is essential.  Trying to hold onto your purse or shopping bag at the same time can be a tricky operation.  The bag minder will secure your bag for a helping hand.  See the demonstration video

Bag minders are not just for the walkers or wheelchairs.  Use it as a handle for carrying several bags at once.  Strap a bag to your cart or bicycle handles. You could even use it a plant hanger over tree branches or deck railings.  The set makes a great gift too!

Wishing each and everyone of you a wonderful Thanksgiving and joyous holidays.  In a world full of terror and evil men meaning to do harm, be thankful for all you have.  Hug a love one today and get past the family drama that so easily occurs and threatens to destroy relationships and joy.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Lady Bugs Everywhere!!

Lady Bugs Everywhere!!

Block 8
I finished Block 8 of the Brownie Knits Blanket Along. Thank you Gina for a new challenge.  The fisherman's rib was easy enough once you knew how to work the stitch.  But don't make a mistake!  Three inches into the block I noticed a mistake five stitches ago. Evidently, the fisherman’s rib does not lend itself to tinking back. I became so frustrated I frogged the whole thing and restarted. I tried to use a life line, but that seemed to distort the stitches. Hopefully it will wash and block nicely. 
Block 9

Block 9 and more cables, but this time they seemed much easier.  Perhaps because there was not as many as in Block 5, or because I felt more comfortable.  Whatever the case, I think it turned out lovely. 

Have you tried Periscope or Meerkat yet?  So much fun!  But beware, it can be addicting.  For those who don't know, both Periscope and Meerkat are apps for your phone or tablet.  They are related to Twitter and part of a social media trend of today. Periscope is the new kid and has grown by leaps and bounds.  Because of the unexpected growth, Periscope is having a bit of trouble handling the popularity. Lost connections are common place and frustrating.  But these are overlooked often times because you're having fun.  Both platforms offer a way to communicate with your viewers in real time.  The viewer types in comments, the broadcaster responds.  Meerkat broadcasts can not be replayed without a third party app.  Periscopes are available for replay only for 24 hours. Check them out and test how strong you are not to drop what you're doing when that notification sound whistles at you.  😉

Wheat Scarf

Aside from the Brownie Knits blanket along blocks, I don't have any finished knitted items this month. I do have a scarf that I'm working on called Wheat by TinCanKnits.  It is a simple "learn to knit" project that I use as my car knitting WIP.  The pattern is easy to memorize and easy to knit. 

We continue to explore Tennessee.  Husband's job took him to Signal Mountain.  He took me up there the following weekend to explore. Some very nice homes and very nice views!  We also found the Spaceship House". It looks like a flying saucer, complete with retractable stairs. Sort of reminds me of the Jupiter 2 from Lost in Space. 😱

I have been keeping busy with sewing a couple more project bags, more seat belt pockets, and dpn holders.  I fell in love with some lady bug fabric.  Can you tell?  Everything listed in my Etsy shop is available for immediate shipment, of course, but they are also examples.  Feel free to contact me to customize an item especially for you.  This form may make it easier for you to convey to me what you're looking for in material, prints, size and accessories.  


Saturday, August 1, 2015

It's Been a While!!

Brownie Knits Block 6 

Brownie Knits Block 7

I finished Block 6 and all caught up!  Thank you Gina for a much easier block after the cables block. This was easy to memorize and an easy knit. I may have made it too long. Blocking will tell.  I can always rip back a few rows.

Block 7 was released a week or so later.  Again, an easy block.  I followed the written directions, rather than the chart.  I just wasn't ready to learn that option.  I'm sure I'll get it eventually, in combination with the written directions.  In crochet, I used them in combination.  They are very handy, especially when the written instructions are a bit confusing.

Cooler Liner/Pot Holder
I picked up the crochet hook for the first time since March. Husband wanted a liner for his cooler to absorb the condensation from the ice packs. Last time I used a dishcloth pattern, but this time I thought I would make it a bit thicker. I choose The Best Crochet Potholder by Heather Tucker.   I've made this pattern before for potholders. It creates a very thick and dense fabric.  After the first row of single crochet, you actually crochet two rows together for the rest of the project. Easy and quick, check it out.

Corner to Corner
Corner to corner baby blanket.  I've never done this technique and really enjoyed the process. I started the with a huge ball of Jo-Ann's Rainbow Sensations. Not really knowing how much yarn a baby blanket would take, I just thought a big ball would do a small blanket. Wrong!  This yarn was part of my stash and out of production.  Since it was a discontinued line, I went searching for some left overs on Ravelry. A gracious Ravelry member sent me her leftovers, however, not quite enough. I stumbled upon the “revised version” in Jo-Ann’s. Although it is still a number 5, it seems smaller. Can you tell the difference from the stitch marker to the corner?

I put this into hibernation since I didn't have a designated recipient and hadn’t decided on a border. Now that my niece is due in August, I decided to add the basic border demonstrated by Mikey of The Crochet Crowd.

Perk Me Up
I finished the Perk Me Up cowl written by Erin Donahue of GimmeYarn418 on YouTube.  It was an

easy knit, especially for a beginner. The pattern was super easy to follow and came with a chart. I've never knit from a chart before, but because the cowl is knit in the round, I found myself using the chart automatically. I used Caron's Simply Soft in soft pink.

Seat Belt Pockets!! Seat Belt Pockets come in three styles: The Two Pocket Bi-Fold, the Three Pocket Bi-Fold, and the Three Pocket Tri-Fold. The bi-fold two pockets are good size and will hold my iPhone 6. The tri-folds are more snug

around the belt making the pockets a bit smaller and tighter. The three pocket items have a full size pocket on the back. I like to use mine for a notions bag when I'm not traveling. All of these Seat Belt Pockets attach with magnetic snaps for an easy on/easy off operation. Each style will fit around the shoulder belt and can be positioned where it is most comfortable for you. But don't limit this item to your car, it can be snapped around the strap(s) of a shoulder bag, luggage or project tote.

I put together a couple more project bags. These are a bit smaller than the trave bag. I like this size for the smaller projects, and they can double as a purse. Throw in a wallet and go! The inside pocket is perfect for your DPNs.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Cables and Hats and Bears! Oh my!!

Cables and Hats and Bears! Oh my!!

I did it!! I made my very first hand knitted hat!! The first time I used double pointed needles also.  Wow, did I feel clumsy.  I'm so excited.  Such a feeling of accomplishment!  Silly? Not for this old goat!  :)

The pattern was Barley by TinCanKnits.  It is part of a learn to knit series by The Simple Collection.  I used Vanna's Choice colorway beige.  I enjoyed the pattern, it is a simple knit.

Finished Block 5. Cables!  I understood the concept from crochet and loom knitting, but the needles made it challenging. I zigged when I should have zagged at one point. When I noticed it several rows later, I was afraid to frog, not knowing where in the pattern I would end up. Then closer to the end I doubled a couple of rows. I couldn't leave it, so I frogged. It was hard to find my place, but I think it turned out ok for a learner project. 

Recently, I had the great privilege to make a travel project bag and notions pouch for Codi Knits.  He was very enthusiastic about the new design for the notions pouch that I spoke of in my last podcast and blog post.   What a joy it was to make something for someone who would really appreciate it!  I made it right away and mailed it out.  He let me know he got it and was very pleased with it.

To my surprise, a few days later came a wonderful package in the mail. To say thank you, Mr. Codi sent a thoughtful thank you gift of fabrics and teas and notions and chocolates!  Wow! He sure knows how to spoil a girl! Isn't that bear fabric just adorable?

As I was digging around in my stash of fabric, I came across two panels of cat fabric.  I have no idea how long I have had those panels. Since I was in need of new project bags anyway, I thought they would do nicely.  I lined it in gray cotton fabric,  added a couple of handles, included an inside zippered pocket, and voila, a good size project bag I can toss in my phone and ID and I am off.

We continue to explore Tennessee.  Recently we took a day trip to Sevierville to visit the flea market and ended up at the Tennessee Air Museum afterwards.  Husband found it very interesting.  They had a huge area where they stored all sorts of planes.  I understand they take a few of them to air shows as well.

On our way to the museum, we saw that the traffic was backed up for miles in the opposite direction, to get back on the interstate.  The only thing we could figure would cause that on a Sunday, was a traffic accident or the construction that was blocking some lanes.  Not wanting to get involved in that mess, we decided to take the back roads out of town.  Wouldn't you know it, just as we were waiting for the light to turn, an ambulance went around us and turned down our route.  A mile or so down the road we were at a dead stop, for 45 minutes.  I'm so glad I had a knitting project with me! My only fear at that point was that I may run out of yarn before we got home.  :)  But I didn't, so I still have my sanity, so to speak.

 Thank you to all who watch, like, comment and/or subscribe.  Feel free to comment and make suggestions.  I appreciate the feedback.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Happy Memorial Day Weekend

Happy Memorial Day Weekend

I would like to say a BIG Thank You to all of you that commented on the Crossword Puzzle blanket shown on my YouTube channel.  They were all so kind and encouraging.

After a coupon code was shared by Amy, Green_Feather7 on Instagram, I decided to place my order for some gadgets I found on Knit Picks.    I had been wanting a ball winder for some time, but all I could find was an electric one for way more money than I wanted to spend.   After seeing the crank ones on YouTube, I went searching for the cheaper option.  Of course, I found other items I had been craving like Wonder Clips and a yarn stranding guide.  The coupon was for a free ball of Lindy Chain, which I got in Whisper, a shade of lavender.  I actually got the free yarn, free shipping and tax.

The Wonder Clips are great for holding two fabrics together before sewing.  I use them for sewing and for crochet and knit projects.  I searched high and low for the stranding guide in stores with no success.  I wanted it for protecting my fingers when working with holiday yarn that has the strand of metallic thread.  While making my Christmas tree, I had to place bandaids on the fingers that the yarn was wrapped around.  That strand was making my fingers raw.  I'm hoping this will solve the issue.

I also bought a Try It Needle Set.  It contains one set of size 6 Caspian Wood tips and one set of size 7 Nickel Plated tips, with a 24" cable and 40" cable.  Since I am so new to knitting, I thought this may help me decide what type of needles I like best.

Block 3
Block 4
The Brownie Knits Blanket Along blocks are coming along nicely.  I've learned so much and I'm getting plenty of practice.  I finished block 3 and block 4.  I'm about halfway through with block 5.  I am some what behind.  I am slow compared to a lot of knitters, not just because it's a new skill, but that's how I roll with all crafts.

I finished the Bakery Bears Handbrake Cowl last week.  It was a fun and easy knit.  Thank you YarnieLadyBug for gifting me the pattern.  In return, I will also gift the pattern to three Ravelry members who would like the pattern.  All the proceeds for the sale of this pattern will go to cancer research.  The first three that ask in a comment posted on my YouTube video and who give me their Ravelry name, will receive a pattern download email.  I would love to see your finished projects.

Since I don't like guessing and wasting yarn, I have been a bit frustrated with the long tail cast on.  I haven't done much research on the subject, but what I have seen and heard is that it's a best guess as to how much yarn you leave to accommodate the cast on.  When you're casting on a great many stitches, it's a pain to redo it until you've got it right.  I tried to take the mathematical approach.

I casted on 5 stitches and removed the needle.  Grasping the tail at the first and last stitch, I unraveled them to see how much tail yarn was used.  I measure this bit and came up with about 3 inches.  Dividing the total number of cast on stitches, (120) by the 5 that I used to gage my tail length gave me 24.   That is 24 three inch sections.  24 times 3 is 72 inches of yarn for a tail.  I added another six for sewing in, just it case it worked exactly.  To my surprise the cast on was a success and I had only a couple of more inches left to my original addition of six.  I tried the same method when I casted on the Brownie Knits Block 5.  Again, a success.  Was this a fluke?  Has anyone else tried it this way?

I won a set of three stitch markers made by Hooked in Yarn.  She does fabulous work in polymer clay.  Crochet and knit stitch markers, buttons and crochet hook handles, all beautifully decorated. Check her out on Facebook.

Several months ago I made a notions pouch that wrapped around the shoulder belt of the truck. Twice I lost my crochet hook in the door frame because I laid it down and it slid off my lap.  It was the perfect size to roll right into the door frame with no way to retrieve it until you opened the door. I designed this pouch based on the shoulder protectors normally found in automotive aisles.  So the pouch has two pockets that hold my crochet hook or knitting needles or scissors or anything else I don't want to fall off my lap when we round a corner.  The back side has a full pocket with a flap.  This serves a notions pouch when not on the seat belt.

Because the normal belt protector used velcro, I used it too on the prototype.  It worked great on the first trip.  Forgetting that yarn and velcro do not get along, I dropped it in my bag open.  It didn't take me twice to remember to close off the velcro before it comes into contact with my yarn.

My aunt gave me a tote bag she had stashed away in a drawer.  I found it to be the perfect size for carrying my yarn projects with me as we travel.  But since it had a giant poinsettia blossom on it, I wanted something a little more everyday.  So I decided to make my own.  I added a pocket to the inside large enough to house my phone and keys.

I decided to use magnetic snaps, most often used on purses today.  Adding them to the tote bag and to the shoulder harness pouch eliminated the velcro nightmare.  That also made it much easier to attach and remove from the seat belt.  I arranged the snaps in such a way that the notions pouch could be attached to the inside of the tote bag when I'm not using it in the truck.  I think it came out great!  As with any prototype, I'll use it and see if there are any improvements to be made.

If you have any suggestions or questions, feel free to comment.  I welcome your input.  Enjoy your weekend, but don't forget the real reason for the holiday: Remembering the people who died while serving in the country's armed forces.  Thank you to all who are and have served to defend our country and our freedom.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Super Secret Project Revealed

Super Secret Project Revealed

Ravelry Page
The secret is no longer a secret!  I gave Mom the afghan on her birthday, and she was thrilled.  This was such a massive project for me.  It was 320 3.5" crocheted blocks, (46 black blocks, 100 letter blocks and 174 white blocks).  I chose the names of the immediate family, Mom, Dad, their kids and spouses, grandkids and spouses, great grandkids.  With 174 blank blocks, there will be room to add more great grandchildren, one of which is due to arrive in August and is yet unnamed.

The party was the following Sunday.  I believe it went very well.  The afghan was on display, per Mom's request.  The party was not a surprise for Mom, but the decorations and guests were kept from her.  We based the decorations around her favorite pastime, working crossword puzzles.  I took most of my inspiration from a blog, I found, Invite and Delight.  I made the pinwheels attached to pencils and placed in mason jars for center pieces.  Everyone had a crossword puzzle they could fill in called "Do You Know Geri?".

I designed a cake top puzzle with Happy 80th Birthday Geri embedded.     Everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves.

Many people came from out of town.  Many she hadn't seen in quite a while.  I had asked that everyone invited bring or send a birthday card.  We gave them to her in a nice box.  She said there was around 75 cards.

After the party, we went back to the house.  We had bought her a porch swing, so we just relaxed in it and enjoyed the beautiful weather.  All in all, she seemed very pleased with her party and gifts.  I'm so glad.  I fretted over every detail with a lot of doubting moments.

Since that is now over, I picked up the knitting needles and started to learn how to make a blanket.  I found a very nice YouTuber, Gina of Brownie Knits, who is designing and conducting a blanket along through her channel and Ravelry group.  I have learned so much, and I think I'm actually getting the hang of it.  Yes, there are mistakes, but that is what learning is all about, right?

Ms Lisa Yates was kind enough to gift me the HandBrake Cowl pattern designed by Dan and Kay Jones of the Bakery Bears podcast.  100% of the proceeds from the sale of this pattern will go to cancer research.  Once I get my hands on the proper size circular needles, I'll cast on.  It will be my first project of knitting in the round!

Spring has sprung and the dogwoods are gorgeous.  They are everywhere!  It seems that every home has a dozen trees planted all in a row.  When the flowers started to shed, the wind would blow them through the air, causing a blanket of blossoms.  So pretty!  Later the maple trees shed their whirligig seeds.  There seem to be as many seeds as blossoms from the dogwoods.  They were everywhere, including in the house.  They tracked in so easily.