Monday, September 24, 2012

Progress on the Tallulah Bolero

Finished the first sleeve tonight. I figured I should post a photo before the Wednesday Yarn Along since I will be working again this week on the good old graveyard shift and will probably be sleeping that day. At least that's the goal...
I just have one more sleeve left (before blocking) and then the border for the edging and then I'll be done! This has been a very fast, gratifying knit. I really cannot wait to sew it all together and try it on. Until next time, happy knitting. PS still reading Jayne Eyre.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Salsa and Marinara Recipes

As promised, here are the recipes for my sauce and my salsa. The salsa is from the Ball's Blue Book Guide to Preserving with a couple minor changes. The sauce is a tomato sauce recipe from a family member that I have changed quite a bit since I like my tomato sauce thick.

First, the salsa. The amounts are slightly different because of the enormous amount of tomatoes I had.

Jalepeno Salsa
8 cups chopped, seeded, peeled, cored tomatoes
5 1/2 cups chopped jalepeno peppers
2 cups chopped onions (we used 2 large onions)
1 bulb garlic
4 Tbsp minced cilantro
4 tsp oregano
3 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
2 cups cider vinegar

This is the recipe from the book roughly doubled, and it is the proportions we used. I wanted a larger tomato/jalepeno ratio. The original recipe called for an equal amount of both. Also, after preparing all the peppers without rubber gloves my hands were literally burning and I kept losing and regaining sensations in my one hand for the rest of the night so I was done with chopping peppers anyway (my mom put on rubber gloves and finished chopping them).

Bring all ingredients to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes. Follow your own canning instructions for processing times. Ball says to process the salsa for 15 minutes at a boil.

Marinara Sauce
I don't know specific differences between regular tomato sauce and marinara, but the man of the house thinks it tastes like marinara so I call it that.
75-90 tomatoes. This is at least 12-13 lbs. Skin, seed, and core the tomatoes
2 bulbs of garlic
1 green pepper
2 large onions
Cook those ingredients together and blend in blender. You may choose to skip the blender and put it through a food mill. We put everything through my food mill this year and it saved time.

Put back on stove and add:
8 oz cooking oil
1/2 cup canning or Kosher salt
1/8 cup pepper
2 cups sugar
48 oz tomato paste
Italian seasoning to taste. I think I added at least 4 tablespoons to my batch this year.
Bring the sauce to a boil. Cook at a simmer for about 2 hours. I process the jars for about 45 minutes. Again, follow your instructions for processing times.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

2012 Canning DONE!

In the last 36 hours we made:

15 pints of salsa plus almost another full pint
2.25 gallons of marinara sauce
16 half-pints raspberry jam plus a spoonful leftover (1/2 pint given to a friend, jars not miscounted)
1.5 quarts applesauce plus enough leftover for breakfast in the morning

Apples, tomatoes, jalapenos, and raspberries all from our garden.

Yarn Along

I'm joining yarn along again this week. I'll be brief though. I'm still reading Jayne Eyre. I've made a bit of progress on the bolero.

Left to right: back, right side, left side. Please excuse the messy sewing table in the background. Once I block it the edges will not curl and it will look a lot better..

Happy knitting! 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


I'm beginning to really enjoy canning. It is only my second year doing it but I actually find it quite fun and relaxing. My mother came over for a few days to help me can all the great produce from my garden this year. We've really only gotten food off our apple tree, raspberry patch and tomatoes. Besides a moderate amount of jalapenos, the rest of our garden has been a bust.

We did the applesauce last night, the jam this morning and the marinara sauce until dinner time. There was one more 1/2 pint of jam but I gave it to a friend of mine who visited me today. This is what we accomplished in less than 24 hours.

I will provide my marinara sauce recipe in a different post and if our salsa turns out well tomorrow I will provide a recipe for that as well.

Until next time.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Finn the Human Hat

Please stay safe if you are in areas of conflict at this time. We are praying for peace at our house. That is all we can do for the time being.

Well I finished the second hat (Finn the Human) for Halloween.

You know you have small children when knitting projects are modeled on stacks of Duplos.

It was pretty easy to make although when I divided off for the nubs I had 8 needles in it, including the one I was knitting with:

I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. I really need to learn how to crochet my edges so they look nicer. I'm sure I'll be able to figure it out before Halloween. Maybe the little guy will wear it enough into submission before Halloween rolls around. At any rate, I'm the only one who is going to care what the edges look like anyway. Maybe I'll finish it with an i-cord.

Also, remember my bolero from Yarn Along this week? I'm stuck.

The pattern says,
"At armhole edge, BO 5 sts once, then BO 3 sts once - 31 sts remain."
Below is a diagram from the pattern:
The diagram for the left front piece looks like the decreases could be either all at the beginning or both the beginning and the end, which is why I need advice/input/help!

Am I supposed to be decreasing by 8 at the beginning of the row or 5 at the beginning and 3 at the end? I will have to let this sit until I figure it out. Any help would be great.

Until next time, happy knitting.

Edit: Pattern here. (For Finn's hat.)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Another One Bites the Dust

I finished the Jake the Dog hat last night. This is what happens when I enjoy copious amounts of wine while I's not a good thing for me. Haha at least the little one won't care! 

I will need to add something to keep it on. My oldest stole it when I wasn't looking is modeling it and consequently stretching it out, which it definitely did NOT need. 

So I need to decide if I should knit a chinstrap, an i-cord, or add ribbon to tie it on. Any suggestions?

I am debating whether I want to add felt eyes to it also. We'll see how it looks and I will provide a photo if I change it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Yarn Along Wednesday

I'm participating in Yarn Along originally from Simple Things. It is a way to share current knitting projects and also what we are currently reading. I'm working on two eBooks rights now: The Scarlet Letter on the Nook and Jayne Eyre on my Nexus. I prefer the real thing but I get by with eBooks.

I just started hats for Halloween costumes. Adventure Time is kind of a big deal at my house so my little ones are going to be Finn and Jake this year.

My Jake hat currently looks like this:

I started it last night. I made it way too small so after about four inches I had to rip out the entire thing and start from the beginning again. Ugh. I need to make the two hats and I will probably end up making the green backpack too because I'm pretty sure my son would LOVE a backpack.

Here is the progress I've made on my bolero that I mentioned a couple days ago:

The back is finished but the right shoulder is a little...weird. The piece on the right, still on the needle, is the front left side of it.

So, those are the works-in-progress that I have not shared with you yet.

Happy Wednesday and happy knitting!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September 11, 11 year anniversary

May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of GOD, rest in peace. Amen.

Monday, September 10, 2012

ABC Surprise Jacket

As I mentioned in my last post, I am currently making an Adult Surprise Jacket (pattern by Elizabeth Zimmerman). Two summers ago on my honeymoon I found the pattern in a local knitting shop in Sturgeon Bay  called Spin. I bought it for $10 and while I thought it was a splurge at the time, I think it was worth every penny.

First off, the "ABC" part of the pattern title stands for "Adult, Baby, Child." So now, instead of one project, you now have three different age groups to knit for with excellent instructions on how to obtain the correct sizes for anyone you knit for. The baby sizes are provided.

Secondly, it is all knit in ONE PIECE. And the only type of stitch you do is garter. Beginning knitters out there are perking up I hope. However, you need to know how to increase and decrease well. The drawing below is from the pattern, showing the knitter how the sweater will look before the shoulder seams are sewn together:

Because it is knit in one piece, I was advised by the person who sold me the pattern to knit a baby one first since it is a small project and then it is easier to figure out how to sew it together. I found this to be fantastic advice.

Shown above is the baby version I made for my son. It looks fine in the photo but I did not increase properly in the beginning and at the time it was the second sweater pattern I ever used so I had a little problem with following the directions. I used a toggle and sewed a zipper onto it. What I did wrong was forgetting to increase, and then increasing evenly to compensate, which gave me a very misshapen neckline. To fix it in order for it to be worn properly, I had to fold down the top corners and added buttons to hide the mishap.

Below is a photo of the adult-sized sweater I am currently working on, and it is turning out fantastic.

As you can see I added ribbing to the outermost edge. It is a basic pattern which makes it very easy to add your own touch to it. I am making this as a hooded sweater which is why the needle is at the top.

Due to the nature of the pattern, for the larger sizes the sleeves need to be added to before it is finished.

I highly recommend you check this pattern out if you are looking for an easy sweater to make. The pattern has excellent photos and illustrations so it is very easy to follow.

If you do a Google image search for ABC Surprise Jacket you will find that most people use multiple colors since the pattern is ideal for striping. It was purely personal preference that I used solid color yarns for my sweaters.

If you are interested or have more questions just comment.

Happy knitting!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

My Current Projects

I usually work on a couple projects at a time when I have a big project, like sweaters. Currently, I'm working on the Adult Surprise Jacket. I bought the pattern on my honeymoon in Door County and for $10, it was money well spent. I will write about this awesome pattern later on.

I started this sweater for my husband a couple years ago and now that I stopped procrastinating, the body is done so the end is in sight.

My other project is a beaded bolero. The pattern is from Knitting in the Details by Louisa Harding. I love every pattern in this book, and since I got a great deal on it from Amazon, this was also well worth the investment. The pattern I'm working on is called Tallulah and since I couldn't find a better picture online, my blurry tablet photo will have to suffice until I write more about it later. I love this bolero because the edging is beaded and it is so simple.

I haven't figured out how to format this better. I rotated it properly before I uploaded it but it was turned on its side again when posted. My apologies. I just finished the back and started one side last night so more on this at a later date too. I will probably do a book review for Knitting in the Details because I just love it.

Happy knitting! Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Baby Cardigan

Thank you to Jennifer Little of Looking Glass Knits for this pattern. I hope you do not hold it against me that I am sharing this pattern here.

As you go, you will notice that my finished project deviates from the pattern in the following ways: I was not paying attention and forgot to add the rest of my buttonholes (hence my reminder to you) and I did not continue the eyelet pattern on the sleeves (which I think I discuss ad nauseum, just to warn you).

While the following is NOT MY PATTERN, I am fairly certain it is okay for me to reproduce since the author had it available for free when I found it a couple years ago and she adapted it from a free pattern she had found.

I used size 2US needles, but again this is more of a guideline. Obtain the needed gauge.
2 skeins of baby yarn or "fingering-weight substitute"
Buttons (I used 1, the pattern calls for 5-6)
Stitch holders (can make these from waste yarn. Make them long enough to hold your arm stitches)
*The pattern calls for a tapestry needle although I ended up not using it.

Size: 9 months, Gauge: 8 st to 1"
CO 84 st and work 3 rows in Garter stitch  (knit all rows).
Row 4: Make a button hole as follows: k2, yo, k2tog, k remainder of row
Knit 4 more rows (garter stitch).
Rows 9, 11, 14: K4, p to last 4 sts, K4
Rows 10, 12: Knit. Increase by 8 evenly across row. Avoid increasing in the first 4 and last 4 sts (button band). This will keep it looking consistent.
Row 14: Knit, increase by 7 evenly so you have 107 sts.
Rows 15, 17: Knit
Row 16: K4, *k2tog, yo, repeat from * to last 5 sts, k5
Row 18: Knit, increasing evenly by 16 so there are 123 sts
Rows 19, 21, 23: k4, purl to last 4, k4
Rows 20, 22, 24: knit, increasing evenly by 8
Rows 25, 27: knit
Row 26: Knit, increase evenly by 8 so you have 155 sts.
Row 28: k4, *k1, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk. Repeat from * to within last 4 sts, k4
Row 29: k4, *p2tog-b, yo, p3, yo, p2tog, repeat from * to within last 4, k4
Row 30: k4, *k1, yo, k2tog, yo, slip1-k2tog-psso, yo, k1, repeat from * to last 4, k4
Row 31: k4, *p1, yo, p2tog, p1, p2tog-b, yo, p1, repeat from *, end k4
Row 32: k4, *k2, yo, sl1-k2tog-psso, yo, k2, rep from *, end k4
Rows 33, 35: Knit
Rows 34, 36: Knit, increasing evenly by 16
Rows 37, 39, 41: k4, p to last 4, k4
Rows 38, 40, 42: k, increase by 8 evenly
Rows 43, 45: Knit
Row 44: k4, *k2tog, yo, repeat from *, end k4
Row 46: Knit, increasing evenly by 24 so you now have 235 sts
Rows 47, 49, 51: k4, purl to last 4 sts, k4
Rows 48, 50: Knit, increasing evenly by 9. End with 253 sts total.

Divide for arms:
Row 52: K39 (front), slip 51 sts to holder (arm 1), k73 (back), slip 51 to holder (arm 2), k39
Make sure you don't neglect counting again once everything is divided up so that you have the correct amount of stitches where they are supposed to be. I only say this because I always miscount, not because I don't think you CAN count.

Body (151 sts):
Repeat the following until body is 10" long. Also, don't forget to make buttonholes.
Row 1 and all odd-numbered (WS) rows: k4, purl to last 4, k4
Row 2: Knit
Row 4: k6, yo, sl1-k2tog-psso, yo, *k5, yo-k2tog-psso, repeat from *, end k6
Row 6: k7, yo, ssk, *k6, yo, ssk, repeat from *, end k7
Row 8: Knit
Row 10: K5, *k5, yo, sl1-k2tog, psso, yo, repeat from *, end knit 10
Row 12: K11, *yo, ssk, k6, repeat from *, end k4

After 10", work 3 rows of the following:

Feather and fan edging:
Row 1: Knit, increasing 2 sts
Row 2: K4, purl to last 4, k4
Row 3 (buttonhole row ): K5, (yo, k1 three times), (k2tog six times), *(yo, k1 six times), (k2tog six times) repeat from * to last 7 sts, (yo, k1 three times), k4
Row 4: Knit.
Knit 2 more rows (garter stitch), and bind off.

Put the sleeve sets (51 sts) from your holders onto your needles. This is where my finished project differs from the pattern. I used dpns so I could work the sleeves in the round, while the pattern instructs you to use straight needles and then sew them later using the tapestry needle. I chose not to add the eyelet pattern since I could not figure out how to apply it when knitting circular (my count was off, which is why this happened; I also had issues maintaining my pattern when decreasing so I ended up ripping a lot out just knitting it plain).
Here are the original pattern instructions:
Work eyelet pattern as you did for body, omitting the 4 button band sts on either end and centering pattern between extra sts (you will have 2 extra sts on each end at beginning of arm).
After first pattern repeat, dec by 1 every 6th row (knit row) until 39 sts remain.
Continue eyelet for 4 pattern repeats.
Knit 8 rows garter and BO.

Good luck! Keep those little ones warm and stylish. A baby bootie pattern will be posted sometime after the weekend. If you use the same yarn you can make a set.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Basic, Toe-Up Socks

I learned last week while knitting my first sock that making socks is not for the faint-hearted.

1 skein of sock yarn per sock (I used Paton's Grace Sock yarn)
Double-point or circular needles, size appropriate for your yarn (I used US size 3 dpns)

Here is a pattern I put together from a couple different patterns. This is what I used to make my sock:

CO 20 sts using Judy's Magic Cast-On so there are 10 sts per needle.
Row 1: Knit
Row 2: *K1, inc 1, K to w/in 1 st of end of needle, inc 1, K1* Repeat for sts on second needle.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2, increasing at the sides of the sock (will be 4 every full way around your needles), until the toe is wide enough to fit over the widest part of your foot.  For my foot it was wide enough at 64 total stitches, 32 on each needle.

This is the point at which I stopped increasing and knit in the round.

Knit in the round.
Stop a couple inches from the back of your foot, approx. where your heel meets the arch of your foot.

This is where I was at when I began my heel shaping. Try your sock on periodically as you work because everyone's feet are just a little different.

Heel Shaping:

On half the stitches, knit within the last stitch of the row every time you go back the other direction. Instead of wrapping the stitch when you change directions,  slip the stitch you just knit back to the needle you just knit it off and knit the rest of the row.  You basically are working a short rows in a triangular shape.

This portion of the row is about as long as when you began at the toe (for me this is 10 stitches, half the total number from CO). When it is at that length you will begin picking up the stitches you have been ignoring.
At the stitch you need to pick up again, K2tog, then pick up a stitch between the K2tog and the next stitch. Doing this will keep your heel seam even and you will still maintain the same amount of stitches you started with. Do this until you have knit the entire heel portion.

This is a really great video tutorial I used for the heel: Heel Shaping for Toe-Up Socks which I HIGHLY recommend you watch. It is the technique I attempted to explain for this pattern.

Once you've finished the heel, continue knitting in the round:

The Cuff:
You can make this in stockinette like the foot of the sock or make it with ribbing so it stretches. Knit to your favorite length of cuff.

Cast off using the Yarn-Over Cast off: I did not use this. I bound off very loosely, which is probably the reason why my cuff turned out wavy. The link I provided is for a tutorial I found most helpful. Gotta love YouTube.

So here is the finished product:
Try to knit your seam tightly right before you begin the heel so that it doesn't stretch too much. Otherwise you will end up with holes like in my seams.

Good luck! Happy knitting!

Look forward to sweaters for my next few posts. Fall is beginning and I will provide you with patterns and pattern resources for sweaters for the entire family.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Next week: Socks!

Here is a photo preview for the post I'm planning for next first attempt at SOCKS! Hope you enjoy the long Labor Day weekend!