Friday, December 31, 2010

Don't Forget......................

It's now officially New Year's eve and do you know what that means? It means that today is your last chance to leave a comment on the post "December Sock Giveaway" for your chance to win a pair of women's hand cranked socks. Tomorrow I'll announce the winner.

Several of you have asked for more pictures of Doris (our antique sock machine), so here she is. For those of you who are new to our blog, I named her Doris (as in Day) because when she arrived from Canada, I just knew that she'd be able to really hum and sing once I figured out how to make socks! And boy can she crank 'em out!

You can see why we call them "hand cranked socks" because of this crank style wheel that I have to manually turn for each "round" of the socks.

This photo shows the sock beginning to take shape from underneath. Weights are required to keep the stitches from jumping off the needles.

And here's the finished socks that turned out wonderfully well and I might add, just sold in our Etsy shop this morning! I better start cranking some more today!

We've had a doozey of a storm go through here the last couple of days. Here's Rick trying out his new snow shovel. The winds have been so extreme that we've had our wind turbine shut down for 3 days. Just this morning my husband was able to turn it back on. When that happens, we really use up the diesel. Everything in our home runs off our 32 backup batteries and when they get low, the huge generator kicks on as the final backup system. Living off the grid on the side of a windy mountain certainly is life changing, but we feel it's in an extremely good way. Sure, there's disadvantages - like being responsible for your own power and water needs. But, with this being our 4th winter now up here, we're feeling more confident about all of this.

Today we'll run into town for supplies because tomorrow brings in another storm!

I want to wish you all a safe New Year's eve and may 2011 bring special blessings to you and your families.

I'll see you all tomorrow after I randomly draw one lucky name for our sock contest.

See you next year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

And Our Two Winners Are....................

This morning I randomly drew two names for our coffee sock pattern and I'm delighted to announce they are: Suzanne of Blueberry Cottage and Laura of Harvest Lane. Congratulations to you both. I'll send this pattern to you both as a downloadable PDF file to your email addresses this morning. If you have any problems with the download, please let me know, ok? And again, congratulations! I hope you enjoy knitting up this fun little pattern.

We had a small yarn order arrive and I can't wait to get started on some hand cranked socks with it. I ordered more Zino from Plymouth Yarn Company because Doris just loves this yarn. And with Valentine's Day just around the corner, I knew shades of red would be a good move.

In the evenings, I've been working on this hand knitted scarf that has some gorgeous shades of pink. It's filled with lots of nubs and perfect to add to my Etsy Shop for Valentine's.

It's once again pouring down rain here in the Tehachapi Mountains and the snow is due to begin by noon. Definitely a good day to stay inside and make socks, don't you think?

We'll be announcing a new giveaway in the next couple of days, so be sure to check back in.

Til then................

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Pattern Giveaway.............

Here it is the day after Christmas already. I was talking this morning to my dear friend Kathleen (who's really like a sister to me) and we're both eager to start knitting and planning for next Christmas! First I need to "unclutter" my work space and then dig in.

This is also a good time for me to plan out the upcoming year and decide in which direction I'd like Tehachapi Sock Company to go. I love making socks (hand knitted and hand cranked on our antique sock machine) but I also love designing. Hopefully, I'll be able to do some more work for a few yarn companies, but I've decided that I'd like to turn our little sock company into a pattern company. Maybe with lots of encouragement from all of you, we can do just that.

This little "coffee sock" pattern is so easy and quick and makes the perfect last minute gift or stocking stuffer. It would be great to give along with a gift card to your favorite coffee house. I thought it would be fun to use as our next giveaway. So, if you'd like a chance to win this downloadable PDF pattern, just leave a comment on this post today, tomorrow or Tuesday. Be sure to leave contact info in case you're the winner. In fact, to make it even more fun, let's randomly draw two names this time. On Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2010, I'll do just that. So good luck, and be sure to check back then, ok?

Now I'm off to straighten up this room and get busy with some serious cranking. Later, I'll put on a good movie and work on some hand knitted socks.

Enjoy your day and be sure to make some quiet time for yourself.

Til next time..........

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Who Won?

Sorry for not posting earlier, but I made a huge breakfast for my guys and then I've had trouble downloading the pictures. I think it's all this crazy weather. You know it's wacky, because the weathermen have been using terms like "historical" and "Biblical." We're a little over 7 inches in less than a week. Wow! But, the good news is that we've had no problems whatsoever. Everything has drained as it should and we feel very fortunate and count our blessings.

Now, to the winner of this little mini key ring purse. Congratulations to Heather J of Illinois! I hope we've made your day, Heather. You can email me (shown above) or at my Ravelry site (at the right) with your mailing address and I will get this little purse right off to you. Again, congratulations!

We've had just a dusting of snow on our mountains and here's a snapshot of what it looks like to our north.

And these are the Tehachapi Mtns. to our south. They're calling for more later today, so maybe we'll see some flurries.

I'll leave you now until after Christmas with a little photo of our downtown historical center. I want to wish you all the most wonderful of Christmases.

We'll be back right after Christmas (probably on the 26th) with another giveaway and share our plans and hopes for the new year.

Merry Christmas and may God bless you all.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Last Giveaway Before Christmas.....

I promised we'd have one last giveaway before Christmas and here it is: this little mini key ring purse. Just leave a comment on this post today or tomorrow (Dec. 20 & 21, 2010) and on Wednesday, I'll select one random name to be the winner. Please be sure to leave contact info, so that I can send you an email with the good news. I always look forward to hearing from you all.

With this crazy weather, Mac has been wanting to wear his collection of sweaters. Ok, maybe it's me who wants to see him all decked out! He is a quirky little fellow and as you can see by the photo, I have to turn the end of his sweater up, so that his tail isn't covered. You won't believe this, but if the sweater drapes over his tail, he won't walk. Seriously, he won't move. Can anyone explain this?

If you've been following the nation's weather, you've seen where California is getting hit hard with rain and snow. I was feeling pretty confident that we wouldn't get that much rain, but I was wrong. Last night's local weatherman said that Tehachapi had already received almost 5 inches since Friday. And then it rained all last night and is still coming down. Apparently, this will continue through Wednesday with a two day break and more by Christmas. We might get up to 7 inches or more.

Still, I wasn't worried until I looked out my kitchen window and saw a fire department pickup cruising our area. An hour later I saw yet another one. They seemed to be checking out the sumps and drainage systems that have been built up here. Should I be worried? I told myself that they were probably just tired of being cooped up in the fire house and needed an excuse to get out. Delusional thinking? So far tho, all is well.

We dug this makeshift French drain in front of our house and lined it with cement and it's actually working! We have quite a slope above us and this seems to be taking most of the water off to the side and to the back of the property.

The main road way to our north up to Lake Isabella has been shut down due to mud and rock slides. And So. California is also having their share of problems.

I hope where you are, that all is well. Maybe you can let our viewers know what's happening in your area.

Stay safe and I'll see you on Wednesday.

Til then..............

Saturday, December 18, 2010

And Our Winner Is....................................

Once again I picked one random name to be the winner of this little mini key ring purse and it was Caffeine Girl! Congratulations. I just left a comment on your blog (which just happens to be one of my favorites). If you'd like to leave your mailing address either on my email address (shown above) or on my Ravelry site (shown in red at the right) that would be wonderful so that I can mail this little purse to you. Again, congratulations!

For all you knitters out there who would love to make some of these little key ring purses, you can click on the link in red (on the right) for the patterns. I designed 4 of them for Coats & Clark and they are offering them as free downloadable patterns. They'll make great stocking stuffers or last minute gifts.

You won't believe it, but I found one more little mini key ring purse in my stash of projects, so on Monday I'll show you a picture and we'll do one last little giveaway before Christmas. How does that sound? And even if you've already won one or a pair of socks on our other giveaways, you are very, very welcome to enter again. The more the merrier!

Sorry that I don't have any outdoor pictures for you, but the rains have arrived and it's dark and gloomy outside my door. Guess I'll just have to put on some Christmas music and stay inside and crank out some socks on Doris.

So, please check back on Monday for the next giveaway, and don't forget about our main December giveaway for a pair of women's socks. You can visit the post called, "December Sock Giveaway" to read all the details.

Have a wonderful and safe weekend and I'll see you on Monday.

Til then...............

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Yep, Another Giveaway!

I was going to give this little mini key ring purse to a friend of mine, but then I realized that I'd already given her one. So, you know what that means? Yep, another giveaway! Just leave a comment on this post today or tomorrow and on Saturday morning Dec. 18, 2010, I'll pick one random name. So be sure to check back on Saturday, ok?

Well, we listened to the weather forecast last night and this latest storm will be heading east today, but late tomorrow more rain is coming. And it looks to be soggy for at least 5 solid days. Our snow levels will be high at 6500 feet, so at least we won't be doing any shoveling. I wonder if we'll have a white Christmas.

My son went to Bakersfield with my husband this morning, so it's just me and the dogs today. Mac's asleep by the pellet stove in his red sweater and Bo's under his blankie in the laundry room. The sun is trying it's best to peek out, so maybe the three of us can enjoy some outdoor time today.

Think I'll put on some Christmas music and crank out some socks, too. I'm sure pictures will be coming!

I wish you all a wonderful and peaceful day today. See you on Saturday when I announce the winner of this mini key ring purse.

Til then....................

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Our Second Mini Giveaway Winner...............

This morning I randomly drew one lucky name for our mini key ring purse giveaway and Tracy's name was it! Congratulations Tracy! I will be sending you an email shortly.

I still have one more little item, so I think tomorrow we'll have another giveaway. Be sure to check back, ok? And thank you all for your wonderful comments and for visiting this blog. It's really so fun for me to have visits from all around the world.

Yesterday was a productive day. After we did all our errands to get ready for this storm, I made myself a hot cup of tea and started finishing up some projects.

First up was my grandson's green monster. If you're wondering how his toes and fingers are made - they're I-cords. The toes just contain more stitches and have shorter rows. His fingers remind me of ET's!

Then I proceeded with finishing up this pair of hand knitted socks. The yarn is Fortissima and really worked up nicely.

Then late in the evening (after we had our homemade potato cheese soup) I started a festive Valentine's scarf for my Etsy shop. Pictures will follow once it's completed.

There's still time for you to enter our main giveaway for a pair of women's hand cranked socks. Just visit the post called "December Sock Giveaway" and leave a comment. On Jan. 1st, 2011, I'll announce the winner.

I wish you all a wonderful day today and hope that you visit again tomorrow when we announce our next little giveaway.

Til then...........

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Second Mini Giveaway................

As promised, let's do another little giveaway. It's for this mini key ring purse. Just leave a comment on this post for a chance to win. We'll close this giveaway at midnight tonight (Dec. 14, 2010) and tomorrow I'll announce the lucky winner. Be sure to leave a way for me to contact you. Good luck and I look forward to reading your comments.

I left Sue a comment on her blog that she had won our first mini giveaway, so hopefully she'll be really surprised!

Yesterday was just a gorgeous day up here. So nice in fact, that I went for a little walk on our mountain. The temperature reached 68 degrees and it felt like spring. Even our Western Meadowlarks were singing happily.

It was so warm, that I decided to hang out a load of clothes! Of course, all this delightful weather comes with a price tag. You can always count on a good storm following. Murphy's law for sure!

For those of you who are new to our blog, our family lives totally off the grid here in Tehachapi. That means that we supply all our own needs for electricity and water. Some people ask if we have modern day appliances. Absolutely! We just live a life of "conservation" in our power and water usage. Our wind turbine supplies a great deal of our electrical needs, but when it's too windy we have to turn it off and then we rely on our 32 backup batteries and large diesel generator.

As I've mentioned before, last January 5 turbines broke up here (including ours) because we had wind gusts near 100 mph. We've wised up alot since then and hit the brake switch at the first sign of rogue gusts!

Our home is heated totally by a pellet stove and when I can't hang clothes outside, I hang them on racks inside! Don't ask me why I love this lifestyle, but I do. When we lived in the city, life was too easy and I kept telling my husband that I want to "work" for my existence! And work it is! But, as we make it through each year, we get better and better at living off the grid.

Thanks so much for visiting today. And please check back tomorrow to see who wins this little mini key ring purse. If you are a knitter, you can download free patterns for these little purses that I created for Coats & Clark. (in red at the right of your screen)

AND, if you haven't entered our main giveaway, go to the post called "December Sock Giveaway" and leave a comment there. Someone's going to win a pair of women's hand cranked socks. You can read all about it.

The next storm is due in tonight, so I need to run and get two jugs of diesel, more pellets for the stove and a few things from the store. Snow will be higher up at 6,000 feet tonight, so we'll ony be dealing with rain this time around. Whew!

See you tomorrow................

Monday, December 13, 2010

Our Mini Giveaway Winner is.......................

Congratulations to Sue U. for winning our mini giveaway of a mini key ring purse. Sue, if you'd send me your mailing address (you can click on my email above or to my Ravelry page at the right) I'll get it right out to you. For those of you who are knitters, you can download the free patterns for these that I created for Coats & Clark at the right.

I think tomorrow's post should contain another mini giveaway, don't you?

Remember the green monster that my 7 year old grandson wants? Well, I'm back to finishing it up. He just needs two arms and then I'll take it down with me on Christmas morning and hide him in his room somewhere. It's not a Christmas present, just a little something that he asked me to knit up. Photos will be coming when he's all finished.

Well, I have socks to make this morning so I better get cranking.

Congratulations again, Sue!

Be sure to visit again tomorrow when the next giveway is posted.

Til then................

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Mini Giveaway

I thought it would be fun to do a "mini" giveaway this weekend. This is one of the mini key ring purse samples that I'd done and maybe (just maybe) one of you would like a chance at winning it. So, let's do it this way: just leave a comment on this post either today or tomorrow and we'll close this little giveaway on Sunday (Dec. 12, 2010) at midnight. Monday morning I'll announce the name that was randomly drawn and notify them by email. Don't you love giveaways! I sure do!

Good luck and I'll look forward to reading your comments. Have a great weekend and I'll be back on Monday with the good news.

Til then..................

Friday, December 10, 2010

Tax Day

Yesterday was a no knitting day because I had to ride down to Bakersfield with my husband. We prefer to pay our property taxes in person and have that little receipt in hand. It isn't that I don't trust the postal service, but it always seems like the really important items get lost in the mail - like last month's house payment! San Diego (for the house payment) is just too far to deliver it in person, but Bakersfield is a 50 minute drive down the mountain.

If I begin to rant about this town that I always refer to as the "pit", it's for good reason. I lived there for 35 very long years and probably sang the words, "I gotta get out of this place, if it's the last thing I ever do" each and every day. Oh, my poor husband! And yesterday just confirmed all those feelings. The amount of traffic is totally ridiculous, the crime rate is downright scary and the poor air quality is like in the top 10 for the nation. Other than that, I'm sure it's a fine place to live!

On on our way out of town I commented that I could never work for Bakersfield's Chamber of Commerce. My husband added that I'd be fired within an hour!

Needless to say, my spirits lifted as we headed east and up the mountain.

As you first start the climb up, the hillsides are filled with many varieties of oak trees and dotted with small ranches. The scenery begins to relax you and you can feel your blood pressure returning to sustainable levels.

Today will be a knitting day for sure. I've got to get back to Mitchell's green monster that he wants me to knit and a pair of socks need to be cranked out on Doris. So, I better get to it before this day gets away from me.

Have you remembered to leave a comment on the post, "December Sock Giveway?"

Til next time.................

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Trees, Cards and Coffee Socks...........

Last night I sat by the tree and finished addressing our Christmas cards while listening to Karen Carpenter. What a beautiful voice she had. Early this morning I dropped them down the shoot at the post office and crossed that off my list of things to do!

"Doris" popped out another "coffee sock". I used Red Hearts's Heart & Sole sock yarn. I think the colors are nice and rich, don't you? I should be cranking out socks, scarves or something, but it's been so nice just to relax lately.

The weather's been absolutely delightful up here and we have no rain in sight for the next week. In fact, this weekend we're supposed to be near 60 degrees. Totally unheard of for this time of year in the California mountains.

I hope that all of you are finding some relaxing time also. It's good for the soul.

Til next time................

Sunday, December 5, 2010

New Pattern Up and Running...........

Yes, this is a shameless plug for our newest pattern on Ravelry. Even tho "Doris" (our antique sock machine) cranked out some great "Coffee Socks," I wanted to write a pattern for you handknitters, too. It's a super easy pattern and mighty quick - perfect for those last minute Christmas gifts. I even made one for my husband!

I guess this next storm is doing its best to roll in, or I should say blow in. We had 3 extreme gusts hit the house and out to the pump house we ran to once again, turn off the wind turbine. Apparently, this storm is coming in from the south and that always means trouble up here on the mountain. It'll either usher in lots of rain or blow the storm apart. Kinda too warm right now for snow, but maybe by nightfall we'll get some way up high.

Before I forget - have you left a comment on the post "December Sock Giveaway?" If not, don't miss out on a chance to win a pair of women's hand cranked socks.

And speaking of socks, think I'll go put on a good movie and try to finish that pair that I've been handknitting. Pictures to follow as soon as they're done.

Have a great weekend.

Friday, December 3, 2010

It's Called a What?

It's called a "coffee sock." There's a perfectly good explanation why I decided to name it that. First off, you start it just as you would for a sock. You begin with the ribbing for the "cuff" and then you proceed to stockinette for the "leg." The only difference? With a coffee sock, you never make it to the heel because there is no heel! You just bind off and let the top edge roll.

This green "sock" was made on Doris. She just loves experimenting with new ideas and can whip these little socks out in no time.

So then I decided that I should create a handknitting pattern for this and created this blue version with Plymouth Yarn Company's "Happy Feet" fingering weight yarn. I had my hubby go to his favorite coffee house this morning and order a "Venti" so that I could see if my pattern will fit that size cup. Yesterday I had him buy a "Tall" and the coffee sock fit it perfectly. I figure if it can fit these two sizes, it will surely fit the "Grande" size in between!

My goal is to get the pattern up on Ravelry by Monday morning. In the meantime, I'll keep crankin' more to put in our Etsy store.

That's about all that's going on around here today. We're expecting rain for the weekend with snow higher up, but we still filled up on diesel and wood pellets.

Have a great weekend and be sure to leave a comment on the post "December Giveaway" for a chance to win a pair of women's hand cranked socks!

Til next time..........

Thursday, December 2, 2010

December Sock Give-A-Way

We all seem to be enjoying this monthly sock give-a-way, so let's do it again for December, shall we? Ok, so here's how it works (if you're new to our blog). Just leave a comment on this post during the month of December. And on Jan. 1, 2011 I will randomly draw one name who will win a women's pair of socks. (hand cranked on our antique sock machine named Doris) I get to pick the socks that will be won, but the winner will select the size. (S, M or L) Even if you've already won a pair, you still can enter each month. So, good luck to everyone and I look forward to your comments.

Yesterday I was busy adding some items to our Etsy store. This is one of my favorite scarves.

I finally finished this pair of socks and did a sewn off bind off for the cuff. This is a great technique, but you really have to do it loosely. Not sloppy loosely, but evenly loosely. Don't you hate when pattens use the term "loosely." I use it too, in my patterns, especially with the cast on instructions. I guess once you've made a gazillion socks, you totally "get" what the term means!

The same applies to "bind off loosely." Sometimes it'll say "evenly." Pretty much the same idea. Have you ever bound off a neck edge only to find out you can't get your head through the opening? I hate when that happens!

This scarf was also made on Doris with nothing but leftovers. Who would've thought all these colors could go together so well.

This morning I want to experiment with a new design and I'm hoping "Doris" will help me out. If all goes well, I'll show you a picture tomorrow. Cross your fingers!

Thanks so much for all your kind and wonderful comments. I enjoy this sock give-a-way just as much as all of you. So, keep those comments coming and I'll add reminders with each post.

Have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

We Have An Announcement......................

Today's the day that you've all been waiting for. You remember, right? Our November Sock Giveaway! I wish so much that I could give all of you a pair each month, but it just can't be. But, look at all the fun we all have waiting to see who wins. And so, I'm thrilled to announce that Lynn from No. Carolina won November's contest. Congratulations Lynn! I sent you a message via Ravelry just a few minutes ago.

I'd hoped to finish up these socks last night, but by time I gave my hubby a haircut and Mac (our Boston Terrier) his weekly bath, I ran out of steam. I love the 3 x 1 ribbing because it gives the socks such a nice snug fit. Unfortunately, on these antique sock machines, this type of rib won't lock at the top. So, it has to be finished off by hand. No problem tho, just takes a few extra minutes. Today I'll do that and close the toes and remove all the waste yarn. If you're wondering what yarn it is - it's Plymouth Yarn Company's "Zino." And it's a fabulous wool!

For once, we're early with our tree up and decorated. I think they always look so cheerful from outside at night with the front blinds open. My husband has an hour's drive home each night and half of that is driving up the mountain. So, this is kind of my way of that burning candle in the window for him. When he comes up our dirt road, he can spot our tree shining brightly just for him!

See you tomorrow when we give all the details of our next giveway. Have a wonderful day today. And thank you too, for all your wonderful comments - I love reading them.