wip · yarns

Olivia’s socks

Last week I took a toe-up sock knitting class at my local yarn shop, again. It was two years ago when I took the class the first time. The instructor taught me two at a time toe-up then and I loved it. It will put to rest the second sock syndrome I hear so much about. (you knit one sock and then start another with a new yarn, never to finish the pair) That was two years ago and I’ve forgotten the cast on part. I could watch a video online and refresh, but I like the interaction you get from a class. The owner, Beth, teaches all the classes and she is so much fun. She makes you feel brilliant and reminds you that knitting is only knitting. We aren’t saving lives. Its yarn.

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Speaking of yarn. This is Sweet Georgia, Tough Love Sock. Lakeshore Drive is the name of the color. The sock mini is a fun pop of color by Hedgehog Fibers, Envy. I am loving this yarn! The sock feels so soft and the pop of neon is a fun addition. I still get excited about how a string and a couple of sticks can make something you can wear!

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They will be ankle length and are coming along fast but I am knitting three other projects right now. I need to get a wiggle on because Olivia is circling the wagons on these.

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autumn · daily life · my mother's yarn · projects · treats · wip · yarns · yummy

applesauce cake and a hat

We are messy bakers in this house…

Eva was going to spend the night at a friends house last night and she thought it would be fun to take a homemade treat. September calls for a recipe with nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger. Applesauce too? Even better, you know with that in the mix you will get a perfectly moist cake. We made the Spiced Applesauce Cake. This is a recipe from the Neely’s. Do you remember them? They were on the Food Network for awhile and did a lot of bbq recipes. My youngest loved that show and discovered the recipe while watching one Saturday morning so long ago (not that long since she is only 11). One thing we changed was the 2 cup applesauce amount. We used a cup of canned apple pie filling instead and chopped it small before adding at the end. I make this every year and this was the first year I added the pie filling. I’m so glad I did. Yummy!

Don’t let this picture ruin the recipe for you. I sprayed the pan but forgot the flour coat. The recipe does not tell you to flour but I like to when using a bundt pan. This cake would not even pretend to come out clean. When I tipped it over, only the bottom half came out. And you know that a bundt pan is not a pan that you can easily run a knife around to loosen and release. The brown sugar gives it a dark and lovely color. A scoop of ice cream or whipped cream is a nice side and I discovered this morning ~ cold butter!

I think I may make this cake again today but as a muffin. Maybe put a whole can of pie filling in and no applesauce. Stick them in the freezer for a quick grab and go snack.

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While the cake was baking I started on a hat for my mom. Just a simple and classic knit hat pattern by Marja Suomela, Hattara. I think you could easily make this hat with any yarn or needle size you had, just make sure you change your cast-on stitches accordingly. I used a lace weight yarn* (aka ~ thread with fuzz) and a sport weight** with an alpaca and silk blend. This is going to be a very warm and cozy hat.

I love how the combo of the yarn is making a tweedy fabric. I hope to get this finished in a few days and mailed off. I must confess that this was not my first cast on of this hat pattern. It’s my third. My mom has a small head and I tried the kid size first as that is usually the correct size for her. Me too. If you knit then you understand how the fabric gets bigger as you get into a few inches of knitting. This was not happening with the hat and I had to fiddle with the cast on amount. I am at 120 stitches on a size 3 needle. I think I have the code cracked and should be ok. I like to start with double points and then after I have joined in the round I do the magic loop method.

The yarns are:

*Karabella yarns, their lace mohair yarn, the color is 3519 and I don’t think its available anymore. There is a 3518 that looks similar…a very dark navy.

**Amano Yarns, Ayni  in Quartz Grey.

books · projects · reading · yarns

because it’s pretty

I love Jane Austen books. Love! And wouldn’t you know there are Jane Austen inspired knitting books? See how your world of knitting and reading just expanded? You’re welcome.

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Not that I wear this period’s fashions but the shawls in this book are so lovely. The author  has snippets written of what life was like during Austen’s time. A bit of history about the fashion to be knit tucked between patterns. It is a sweet book. There are several designs that I plan to knit.

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Margaret Dashwood’s Shawl. I had yet to knit anything from this book so I chose something simple. I purchased some inexpensive yarn from the craft store ~ a whopping $2.99 plus a 40% off coupon! Yep. This little gem was almost free to knit if you consider how much I have left on the 678 yards skein. This yarn…so incredibly soft. Washable. Perfect for this project. I’ll hand wash this like any other hand knit. I did put some effort into it and I like it to last as long as possible.

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A bit of blocking may be a nice idea, but Olivia does show this well. I like how it drapes around her shoulders. She won’t wear it though. Says it’s an old lady scarf. Awesome.

daily life · the garden

bits in the garden

I was out looking in the back yard and was surprised to see tomatoes growing from our (1) plant. I had given up on our little tomato even though it was growing. There are no signs of withering but there have not been any blooms either. Zilch. We purchased it late, and it has given us one tomato ~ back in June after we brought it home. The garlic chive from last year is just starting to bloom as well. I figured the season was over for these two plants and we would have to continue to take hand-outs of tomatoes from our neighbors. Apparently, we are the only ones that grow garlic chives…and we don’t having anyone knocking down our door for them.

Our raspberries are about to produce again. We have a pair of two-season producing bushes and we love to pick some berries every morning. Blackberries are doing awesome but I think those are fall plants? I’m not surprised by these plants doing so well in mid August.

We did not plant much this summer. First in many that we don’t have pumpkin vines winding and stretching to grab the grass beneath, neither is there a multitude of flowers scattered around in pots, or the three different types of tomatoes we like to eat. I miss the pumpkins and we will plant them next year. I do not miss the tomato varieties or all the flowers. I don’t feel one bit the botanical Scrooge either. I’m what you would call a ‘terrible and forgetful plant waterer’. We had a very dry summer.* When I say dry ~ I don’t just mean lack of rain. We had a strange summer of consistently low humidity which is unheard of in our state. Anything we have growing in our yard is by grace, including the thriving rose bush.

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Lack of rain and humidity has stressed the trees. This is what we saw driving home from the grocer. Drastic color change happening here. Yikes!

*(Still can’t figure out why no one is taking about the fact that it has been less than 50% humidity most of this summer.) Maybe they are too focused on how dead their grass and plants are. No amount of watering seems to have helped most of the landscape around town.

daily life · the garden

no apples tree

This is a very sad tree indeed. When spring arrived, this little gem was full of buds. One afternoon I was looking at it, checking to see when the buds would open and the very next day…every single bud had died. The very next day! Now, I know this apple tree was old. But to die like that the next day? I was baffled and sad.

IMG_3326I took the above picture after a rain storm the other day, feeling the gloomy sky portrayed perfectly our dismal fruit tree

My husband would very much like to cut this huge stick down. I told him if he waits a month or so all the trees in the neighborhood will look like this. Where am I to put my bird feeders if he cuts it down? I am impatient and can’t stand the thought of waiting for a new tree to grow. I love looking out the kitchen window and seeing the hummingbirds and all the little chick a dee’s flitting about. I have cardinals and gold finches, blue jays and red breasted gross beaks not to mention all the little sparrows and house wrens. One year I had and indigo bunting come to my tree twice and the next year I had a cedar waxwing. There will be other birds that I am sure I’ll remember later…red bellied woodpecker, nuthatch, downy woodpecker. Sigh.

This is what the tree looked like last summer…

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It’s hideous in the current state and makes me laugh at how incredibly ugly it is. Which is why I have a pretty little wind chime hanging in it. Lipstick on a pig, as they say. We will look for a good size tree over the next few weeks as most garden centers are having sales. Something will fit the bill, I’m sure.