Sidelined : (

I have been sidelined from needlework!  I have arthritis in both thumbs that has plagued me for a number of years.  A twice a year cortisone shot in both thumbs when the pain gets bad has done wonders and has kept me happily crafting.

Since moving I’ve had to find a new orthopedist and two weeks ago had injections once again due to severe pain.  Two weeks later I’m still in overwhelming pain.  And because of that I can’t knit, crochet or needlepoint.  Needlework is what I’ve always done.  In the evenings while watching TV I most often have something in my hands I’m working on.  On long car drives if I’m not the driver I take something along. So, needless to say, I’m not a happy camper.  And I’m wondering what is next for these thumbs of mine. I have another orthopedic appointment on March 9th so we will see.

In the meantime my post will be about other things.  For instance:

This morning driving to work in a snowy white world I am reminded of how much I have experienced and grown in the last few months here in Nevada.

We moved here during the summer with temperatures in the 100s.  Today it is a cool 27 degrees.  A really cool 27 degrees.  In this last week we’ve had winds of 70 mph or more, torrential rain, sunshine and an overnight snowfall of 11.5 inches.  Coming from Napa in northern California this is quite a shock. I’m told that the winters are not normally this severe.  We will see when next winter comes next year.  But, at this point you have to wonder when you wake up day after day with changing weather if we may not just continue with winter the rest of the year.  I’m kidding of course but you kind of have to wonder.

However, we are not the only ones socked in with extreme conditions.  News reports show that my home state of California is so inundated with rain that the ground in some areas are giving way. After years of drought the ground just can’t absorb it fast enough.  California also has spillways that have not been used in years seeing an overpowering amount of water and causing one to break.  We/they need the moisture so badly but I feel like the ground needs a break to catch up.  Where my son lives 14,000 people have been evacuated because of flooding.  Where my daughter lives they had so much hail yesterday that it looked like snow. This extreme weather unfortunately has kept me from a few visits to see my kids in California.  So, I’m hoping and praying that this ends soon and is not as bad next winter.

Coming from a place that doesn’t see snow I have learned how to adapt to snow.  Its’ cold, I don’t like being cold. So now, I have a wool coat, lots of gloves, scarves and a brand new pair of snow boots.

20170114_122353                                                                  20161003_074522

The first few snowy days my partner drove me to work. Now I feel very comfortable driving myself.  My little copper penny HHR does surprisingly well in snow and ice I’ve found.  Although, with a 10-15 minute drive to work the heater doesn’t fully get going until I pull into a parking place at work.  So on any given weekday morning you’ll find me in my office at my desk with a portable heater under my desk trying to get some warmth into this body. I’ve also shoveled snow, slipped around on ice and have found some little tricks to make taking off for work a little easier.  FYI: fill a tube sock with cat litter, tie it off, place it up on your dashboard at the window and forget about the inside of your window frosting up. It works!

I’ve also found joy in the little foot prints the rabbits make out in the snow.  So adorable!

20161208_070801

It’s all new, exciting, scary sometimes but overall I’m so happy to be here.  Let me just say that I will be so happy when I can hang my wool coat back in the closet, put my gloves and scarves away and don some flip-flops!  What a day that will be.

So, for now we bundle up, give my hands a rest until I see the doctor again and dream of stitching.

 

Stitch on my friends!!

 

Tracy

Mastering Socks

I am not big into New Year’s resolutions but I have set a goal for myself for 2016.  It doesn’t involve losing weight, saving money, being more social which are the usual vows for me.  In 2016 I want to master sock making.  I’ve always wanted to be able to make nice cozy socks but it always seems a little daunting.  I gave it a try a few years back and that sock (only made one and then gave up) is a golf club cover.

So, with this goal in mind I started out with the easiest pattern I could find.  I used Easy Peasy Socks by Stacey Trock .  I found this pattern on Ravelry.  She is right. These were Easy Peasy! I used size 5 double pointed needles and Heartland by Lion Brand .  The pattern was very easy to follow and the yarn super soft.  I think I did o.k. for my first pair.  Oddly enough I had more trouble with the second sock than the first.  But, I know as I make more I’ll get better at it.  And that is my goal to be able to go through a sock pattern without all the hiccups that I’ve had in the past when I’ve tried knitting socks.

Here are some pictures of how they turned out:

IMG_20160117_144734
The finished socks
IMG_20160117_143723
On my feet

I really enjoyed making these.  It was a nice project to take with me.  I worked on it on my lunch break, waiting for the doctor, while my tires were being rotated.  It’s a nice little project to take with you.

I’m excited to be making these but have decided to take some classes on socks.  Next Saturday at our LYS Yarns on First here in Napa I am starting a three week class on knitting socks and in February when I am at Stitches West in Santa Clara I am taking another class.  It will be nice to see how different people approach knitting socks.

In the meantime I’m going to work on some Knitted Knockers.  Knitted Knockers is an organization that gets knitters involved in making soft knitted prosthetics for women who have had mastectomies.  There are over 50,000 mastectomies performed each year.  Not everyone is a candidate for reconstructive surgery or can afford it or prosthetics.  Knitted Knockers provides knitted breast forms free of charge to those who need them. They are soft as they are made out of cotton and fit easily in your bra.  So, I’m going to make up a couple and drop them off at Stitches West.  If you would like to know more about Knitted Knockers I’ve listed their website below and Stitches West as well.  You can also find them on Facebook.

Knitted Knockers

Stitches West

I hope you’ll take a moment to check out Knitted Knockers.  And if you haven’t registered for Stitches West or any of the other Stitches events take some time to do that now. There are some great classes happening there.

If there is something you  have wanted to master in regards to knit or crochet I’d love to hear about it.

Stitch On!

Tracy

Green Leaf Ear Warmer

I’ve been looking and looking for ear warmer patterns.  I work in a warehouse.  Our office sits inside.  This warehouse stores wine and spirits at a cool 55 degrees.  We may sit in an office but it does get rather chilly in there.  So, I thought some ear warmers would be great.  I wanted knit ones and sort of narrow ones. I have found a lot of beautiful patterns but nothing like what I imagined.  So…I did something I’ve never done before and designed my own.  I think they turned out pretty nice : )

IMG_20151127_154807

This is the first time I’ve created my own pattern.  It’s very easy. Even a novice knitter could do it.  So, here is the pattern.  It has a lot of possibilities to create your own design.

The Pattern

Cast on 20 stitches.

Row 1: knit

Row 2: k4, p12, k4

Row 3: knit

Repeat rows 2 and 3 until piece is long enough to wrap around your head covering your ears.  Mine was approximately 22 inches.

IMG_20151126_103551

Bind off leaving about a 10 inch tail for sewing seam.

Folding piece with right sides together use tapestry needle and tail to neatly sew seam making a loop.

IMG_20151127_140514

Leaf pattern

Cast On 5 stitches
Row 1: k2, yo, k1, yo, k2 -7 stitches
Row 2 and all even rows: purl
Row 3: k3, yo, k1, yo, k3 – 9 stitches
Row 5: k4, yo, k1, yo, k5 – 11 stitches
Row 7: ssk, k7, k2tog – 9 stitches
Row 9: ssk, k5, k2tog – 7 stitches
Row 11: ssk, k3, k2tog – 5 stitches
Row 13: ssk, k1, k2tog – 3 stitches
Row 15: slip the first stitch, knit the next two stitches together, and pass the slipped stitch over.

Cut about 10 inches from leaf and pull through remain stitch and pull tight.  Use the tail and tapestry needle to attach to loop at desired location. Make as many leaves as you like.  Three sounded good to me.  But you can add as many as you like.  Use a variation of the band color or multi colored leaves.

Stitch abbreviations:

K = knit, P = pearl, yo = yarn over, ssk = slip, slip, knit, k2tog = knit 2 together

The finished product

I’m wishing I had arranged the leaves differently.  I may take them off and position them differently.  We’ll see.  I like it and am a bit proud of myself.  People tell me I’m very creative and my response is always “I’m only as creative as the pattern I follow.”  Well, maybe I’ll branch out more and create some more patterns.

I hope you’ll try it and give me some feed back.  Enjoy!  And keep those ears warm.

Stitch On!

 

 

Found treasures

As I have been sorting through my mom’s belongings I have found many things that I didn’t know she had. Some of them were things I didn’t know she had, some were things from our childhood.  One item that just absolutely made my day I used today.  A little background first.

I spent the early years of my marriage in England.  My husband at the time was in the Air Force.  When we got there our first task was finding somewhere to live.  We settled in a little village called Henley.  It was just a short bus ride from Ispwich where I did a lot of my shopping. When we were settling in I had come across a magazine that was focused on tea.  In it was this fabulous recipe for banana tea bread.  It was the best recipe I had ever tried.  I made it many times to have with our tea.  Somewhere along the way I lost the recipe.  I tried to replicate it but it just wasn’t right.  Every once in a while I’d get on the internet and google it.  Still couldn’t find anything quite like it.  It didn’t help that I couldn’t remember the exact name of it.  So, as I have been going through mom’s things I came across a little recipe file. In it was mostly recipes from magazines, newspaper, etc.  It had my grandma’s tamale pie recipe in and also her divinity recipe.  Among those recipes was a pink folded up piece of stationary.  I opened it up and there it was:  Banana Tea Bread.  Really liking the recipe as much as I did I must have sent it to mom for her to try.  All these years of wanting to make it and not having the recipe it was nearby all along.

The long lost recipe
The long lost recipe
DSCF3142
The fresh loaf of tea bread.

I was so excited!  The thing that makes this recipe so nice is that sour cream is added.  It gives it a nice, moist texture and just a little different taste.  You can put either 2 tablespoons or rum or milk in it.  I use rum.  Absolutely perfect with a cup of your favorite tea.  Today I’m drinking tumeric tea with my slice of warm tea bread.

If you’d like to make it your self I’m sharing the recipe.  I suggest If you like it as much as I do make sure you send it to your mom : )

Banana Tea Bread

1/2 cup butter

1 1/3 cup sugar

2 eggs

¼ cup sour cream

2 cup sifted flour

1 ½  tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

1 cup mashed banana

2 Tbsp light rum or milk

1 tsp almond extract

1 ½ cup chopped walnuts

Cream butter and sugar together, beat in eggs and sour cream.  Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Blend into creamed mixture alternately with masked banana.  Add rum or milk and almond extract. Stir in walnuts.

Turn into greased 9×15 inch loaf pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Remove bread from pan; cool.

Just before serving, lightly sift confectioners’ sugar over top of bread.

Hope you enjoy it!

Now on to some knitting, tea and banana bread.  As always Stitch On my friends!

Tea, banana bread and knitting
Tea, banana bread and knitting

Knitting again

I’ve taken up needles and yarn again.  It’s been since my mom was in the hospital in early July since I last worked on anything.  I just don’t think I’ve had the heart. It’s been an exhausting time both emotionally and physically. So, much so that the fibromyalgia that has been my companion for 17 plus years has reared it’s ugly head and taken me down.  During those times finding joy in the things I love to do is not an easy thing.

So, I decided I needed to get back the needlework for myself. To fell better. My daughter and I were at Michael’s and I came across the Lion Brand Brandagram yarns.  They are Woolspun colors that are prints and mixes and very easy to match.  I have a use single colors out of fear of not matching multiple colors up. This was on one of the end aisles and has four yarns side by side in the same color scheme.  So, all you need to do is put those ones that are grouped together on the shelf and you’ve got matched colors and patterns.  There is a booklet I got that has an easy scarf and hat set that uses one skein each of the four yarns in the scheme.  My 16 (soon to be 17) year old daughter liked the blues called Ocean.  Very easy pattern with beautiful results.  Given that the yarn was a dollar off each skein and I had a 20% coupon it was quite a deal.

So I bought this:

IMG_20150903_184712

Spent a little time doing this:

IMG_20150903_184639

And ended up with this:

IMG_20150908_203630          IMG_20150908_203546

IMG_20150908_203706

Of course Candace (the cat) had to get into the mix of things.  She’s not a big fan of me crafting because it doesn’t leave much room for her on my lap.

Anyway, that’s it.  Didn’t take me long which is what I wanted.  I just wanted a little project that could get me back into the swing of it and encourage me to do more.  After-all it was Mom who taught me to do all these crafty things and I really can’t (and won’t) let fibromyalgia get the better of me.

Next to work on…..maybe one of the numerous projects that I have to finish up. Or some socks. Or….who knows.  But, I will keep the momentum going.

 

Stitch on my friends!