Wednesday, September 29, 2010

More Pictures of "Doris"

Several of you asked for more pictures of "Doris" and I'm always thrilled to share her story. My daughter and I bought her on eBay from Quebec. That can always be "iffy" but the seller had a great reputation, so we went for it. I had researched CSMs (circular sock machines) for quite awhile and had read that the Legare 400 was known as a work horse and capable of producing thousands of socks. Sounded good to me. She arrived in perfect condition and it was at that point that I named her Doris after Doris Day. The reason - I just had a hunch that she'd be able to really hum and sing once I figured out how to work her. The problem tho - the how-to manual was in French! With that, I did more searching on the internet and found a fabulous circular sock machine group on Ravelry that was a tremendous help. They listed several utube videos that I ended up watching over and over.

It took two long months of practicing tubes and heels/toes before I felt confident in selling the socks.

When working the heels and toes, fork weights have to be used to keep a strong tension on this area so that it won't "jump" off the machine. Obviously, they're called fork weights for a reason!

Check out the CSM group on Ravelry because they also talk about "crank-ins" that are held throughout the country. If you can make one of those events, you can see one of these machines in action. There's also several sites where you can purchase one and get lessons, too.

"Doris" came with two cams - one holds 72 needles and the other 54 (or maybe it's 52) - I usually only use the 72 with sock weight yarns. In the photo you can see the ribber that I've put in place. She can do different ribs, but I'm rather fond of working a 1 x 1 for about 20 rows and then jumping right into a stockinette stitch.

I'm always asked, 'how long does it take to make a pair of socks?' The answer - about 3 hours to complete one pair and that includes the handwork to close the toes.

In the evenings I like to handknit, so I'm back to designing some new little purses for key rings for my Etsy site.

Thanks for visiting today and I hope you enjoyed the pictures of Doris.

Don't forget about our September Sock-Give-A-Way. Please read that post for all the details. Tomorrow is the last day to enter and then on October 1st, I will announce the lucky winner of one pair of women's hand cranked socks.

Have a wonderful day.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Grandchildren, Alpacas and Apples Oh My!

Our daughter came up today and brought our three little munchkins, so we decided to visit Field of Dreams Alpaca Ranch for their open house day. I think this guy was the official greeter.

The boys weren't too sure of these four legged little guys at first. But, they soon decided that Alpacas were very cool animals!

And what's a visit to Tehachapi without stopping off at an apple orchard for a huge box of apples. Cheryl was headed home to make a nice yummy apple crisp for their dessert tonight. Our apple pie will have to wait until tomorrow. This grandma is tired!

I'm enjoying all your comments and will be adding more pictures of "Doris" on the next post. And for you new visitors, be sure to read the post "September Sock-Give-A-Way" for your chance to win a pair of women's hand cranked socks. Be sure to leave your email address just in case you're that lucky person.

Hope your week ahead is a great one.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fridays - The Do-All-Day

When the sun first peeks over the mountains to our east, the Tehachapi mountains to our south turn a beautiful golden color - especially in the fall. It's very hard to capture it on a camera, so you'll just have to trust me on this. It's worth getting up early for.

And Fridays just happen to be my favorite day of the week. I love to "deep" clean the house so it's nice and fresh for the weekend (that means no housework on Saturday and Sunday!) And between all that cleaning, I manage to get a ton of knitting done.

Both legs are now finished on Aadyn's monkey. Once he's all done, I'll tell you where you can buy this adorable pattern. (and it's not one of my patterns either!)

I haven't forgotten about the "Tea Bag". I've almost made it to the top of the bag front. Handles and oodles of duplicate stitch left to do, but a good movie will make the time short. (Have you seen "Julie and Julia"? It's a charming movie)

The yarn arrived on Wednesday afternoon for the 40 socks, but enough yarn came to make 50. So, 50 it is! My goal - two socks each day and occasionally three.

Bo dislikes the UPS man IMMENSELY! I think it's the loud rumble of the big brown truck down our dirt road that upsets him fiercely! On each delivery, Bo usually gets a mouth watering (his, not mine) dog treat. This visit produced no treats, which probably made Bo even more upset. Apparently, the truck had been broken into by a band of merry robbers - squirrels!!!! And they ate every treat in sight. Every dog on our mountain was probably bummed that day.

Time to hang out two loads of clothes and then crank out a sock. Thanks for visiting today. Have a wonderful weekend. (Tonight it's homemade pizza for dinner - YUMMO)

AND, don't forget to read the post "September Sock-Give-A-Way" and enter for a chance to win a pair of women's hand cranked socks!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Great Day to Make Socks....................

It's been a very chilly and windy day, so I decided to stay inside and crank out a pair of socks on our antique sock machine, "Doris." I used Patons Stretch Sock yarn and it worked nicely through all 72 needles! Not one glitch whatsoever. I just listed them on our Etsy site (link is above) and am about to quickly wash and block them.

Since it's so cold today, I thought some homemade meatloaf, garlic mashed potatoes and steamed squash from our garden would tasty extra yummy tonight. My hubby will be smiling.

Rick and I will make a batch of snickerdoodle cookies for our dessert. Is your mouth watering? Mine is!!!

Still haven't received the yarn for the "40 sock order" but I sent out an email to have them check on it.

I also wanted to remind you to enter our "September Sock Give-a-Way". Just go to that post and leave a comment OR you can email me at: and I'll place your name in the hat.

Hope your day is wonderful and I'll write again soon. Til then..............

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Fall is Arriving...........................

Most of the apple orchards have now opened here in Tehachapi. One of my favorites is R & B. On many visits, you can smell her apple pies baking in the outdoor kitchen and sample their yummy cider. It's also a great stop for visiting school children.

I bought a small bag of gala apples and proceeded immediately home to start my baking.

I've always said, "if you're gonna make a mess, make a BIG one!" And that's exactly what I did. The afternoon produced 2 loaves of pumpkin bread, two loaves of French bread and of course one delicious apple pie with a buttermilk crust. Heaven! The French bread tasted mighty good with the big pot of spaghetti that was made, too.

Living off the grid always makes me use the oven wisely, so I try to make as many things as I possibly can while it's on.

Nothing announces the arrival of autumn better than the smell of apple pie and pumpkin bread floating through the house!

Knitting news - more yarn is due in for 40 more socks! I'll give myself 20 days to complete the order. Be watching for the photo when they're all done.

AND, don't forget that we have a sock give-a-way going on. Go to the post called "September Sock-Give-A-Way" and read all about it. Leave your comment there for a chance to win. Please be sure that you leave an email address in case you're that lucky winner. Or, you can email me at and just say "socks" and I'll put your name in the hat.

Hope the rest of your weekend is wonderful and that you have a great week ahead. And don't forget to make time for a little knitting. (tonight I'm starting a sock monkey for a darling little boy named Aadyn)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Typical Day Off the Grid.............

Everyone has a different idea of what it means to live off the grid. We hear often, "you still have electricity tho, right?" Yes, we do have electricity, but we have to make our own. There's no water lines, power poles or gas mains up here. We are on our own. I thought it would be fun for you to see what's inside our pump house. This is where the "brains" to our entire system resides. Here you can see our 32 backup batteries. The wind turbine charges them and our electrical needs draw here first. During heavy usage, our large diesel generator will kick in and restore the batteries capacity. The generator is next to the pump house and under a covering for protection against snow and rain.

Because we're an "all electric" home, the system required two inverters. The manual for these is quite thick, but we're getting better at programming them when necessary.

Our water filtration system is also in here along with a small pump. During the winter we have to monitor the temps so that nothing freezes up.

You never know what to expect each day. This evening we were taking Mac out for his walk when my husband says calmly, "we have another snake." Yep, sure enough. A two foot King. Once gain, we had Bo get into the backseat of the truck just so we could get him out of the picture. He would kill the snake and these guys are good snakes to have around.

My husband got a very long tree branch and managed to pick the little fella up and place him inside the trash can. He was then transported down the dirt road to a safer location. Poor Bo tho, he thought he was going for a ride!

So, this is just a little of how we live each day and some of the creatures that cross our paths.

It's a great life!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Swayin' In The Summer Breeze.................

Ok, so now you've probably realized that I have a warped sense of humor. I just thought it would be funny to see what 60 socks look like hanging on the clothes line. But then, that says something about my husband, too. Because he was laughing the whole time we were hanging them out.

I wasn't worried about dropping them in the dirt. I was more worried about a flock of birds flying overhead and using my socks as target practice.

Tomorrow morning I'll be at the post office as soon as they open to ship them off. If you're wondering what yarn made up these totally fun socks - it's called "Zino" from Plymouth Yarn Company. There's a 10 color line and I love 'em all! Run to your yarn store and see if they carry it. (Honestly, I'm not a sales rep!)

Tomorrow the yarn should arrive for the next project and I will be knitting like crazy to get it to New York by Sept. 20th for the photo shoot - cross your fingers and toes that I can do it.

And don't forget about our September Sock-Give-A-Way. You must go to that post, read all about it and leave a comment. If for some weird reason you're unable to leave a comment, just email me at and just say "socks." I'll put your name in the hat.

Have a great, great day!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Almost Done With Time To Spare..............

Remember my goal of finishing up these 60 socks by Sept. 14th? Looks like it's gonna happen. I'm cranking like crazy today (between all the chores outside and inside). This pair is now soaking quietly. Never does a pair leave this house without being washed and blocked. (one of my quirks!)

These are blocking out nicely and almost dry. The timing couldn't have been better, too. Yesterday I got a call from one of the yarn companies asking if I could design, knit and get a "project" to New York by Sept. 20th. Absolutely! Is it the rush we designers get meeting strict deadlines? Maybe. But, I find that I get more focused when under pressure and have a great support system. My son Rick, takes over several of my daily chores and when my husband gets home, he springs into action with dinner. Thanks guys!!!!

Once this project has been made public, I can share all about it. The last project is still under wraps but I promise to give you all the scoop on it when I can. Can't wait to see what kind of yarn will arrive. It's at that point that I get a clearer vision of what the piece will become.

And don't forget - we're having another sock giveaway. Just go to the post on the September Sock Give-A-Way, leave a comment there for a chance to win. Gale from Arkansas won the August contest and loves her socks!

Have a great day and be sure to find time for some knitting.

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Lazy Holiday Weekend

Thought it'd be fun for you to see the Clydesdales that live just down the road from us.

Unfortunately, it was time for brunch and they weren't about to smile at the camera.

I'll try again on another day to get a better shot of 'em for you.

We pretty much just relaxed all weekend up here. I did get lots of socks cranked out and should finish up this sock order by week's end. Then I can get back to the "Tea Bag" and start the socks for the Christmas rush. (At least I HOPE there'll be a Christmas rush!)

Don't forget that we have a September Sock Giveaway going on. Just go to that post and leave a comment to be entered. Someone's gonna win a nice pair of women's socks!

Hope you had a great weekend and that the week ahead is a good one.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

September Sock Give-A-Way

September has arrived and that means another pair of women's socks will be given away. Hand cranked socks of course! Here's how it'll work: just leave a comment on this post between now and the end of the month. (one entry per person please) If for some reason you have trouble leaving a comment, you can email me and I will place your name in the hat. On the first day of October, 2010 one name will be randomly drawn. I will email that person and ask what size they would like (I will pick the pair of socks to be given away) and mail them their prize. I'm not sure if this is more fun for me or you!

Doris (our antique sock machine) has been smokin' cranking out this sock order. Some days I'm able to crank 4 socks, some days 3 socks and some days just 2.

So, good luck with our next sock contest.

Have a great, great day.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

And The Winner Is.........................

Congratulations to Gale from Arkansas! Gale won our August sock give-a-way and will be getting this fun pair of hand cranked socks. The yarn I used for this pair is from Plymouth Yarn Company and it's called "Happy Feet." (one of my favorite yarns - but then, I love all sock yarns!)

Be watching for more information on our September Sock-Give-A-Way.

Now, I really have to get back to the order for 30 pair of socks. The bag of sock yarn is diminishing and the completed socks are starting to pile up.

Have a great day.