Monday, January 31, 2011

Two of the Things That I Enjoy..................

One of the things that I really enjoy in life is driving down dirt roads. Maybe it's the sound that the tires make as they travel over the loose dirt and rocks or the bumpy ride your body feels as you go along. I also love to walk these roads. Sometimes you'll see bird tracks, "doodles" from coyotes, crawling bugs and definitely some pretty little rocks to pick up. I have a thing for heart shaped rocks and seem to find quite a few.

And of course, I enjoy making socks! Did you all know that!!

And speaking of socks, today is the last day to leave a comment on the post called "January 2011 Sock Giveaway" for your chance to win a pair of women's hand cranked socks. Tomorrow's post will reveal the winner.

Have a wonderful day and be sure to check in tomorrow to see who won.

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

Thursday, January 27, 2011

"Ask Mac" - January 28, 2011

Today is Friday and that means it's all about Mac today. Several viewers have some terrific questions for him, so I'll let him take it from here.............

Hi everyone! Last night I was busy helping my mom with these socks. And you all thought that I really didn't know how to knit, right? Well, here's the proof!

So, let's jump right into our question and answer time, ok?

Sue: What am I doing wrong if the rectangle I am knitting is wider on one side than the other? Kind of like a misshapen triangle?

Mac: I used to do this too, when I was a new knitter. When you start, count the exact number of stitches that you have on your needle. Work a row, turn your work and then count again. If there's one more than you started with, it's probably happening at the end of the row when you switch the needle into your left hand. Lots of new knitters take the yarn over the needle at that point and this actually puts 2 threads over the top of the needle. Be sure to just let the yarn hang when you start a new row. It can also happen if you are knitting and purling within the row. Always take the yarn between the needles and treat it as a doorway - never take the yarn over the needle because it will make a yarn over which is the same as making a new stitch.

Heather J: Would you ask Mac if he 1) gets table treats and 2) which of your recipes is his favorite. One other thought - does Mac wear sweaters? Do you knit for him? I would like to knit for a friend's pup and wondered about his thoughts on sweaters.

Mac: I always put on my cute face at mealtime! I love, love, love table treats! My mom is careful tho and makes sure I get dog friendly goodies. My favorite treat is meat of course and steamed broccoli comes in next. Oh yes, I love wearing sweaters. It gets very cold in the California mountains in the winter. My mom made me a cowl and a bright red sweater out of wool. She promised me a new sweater for next winter. I also have a raincoat! Yes, you should definitely knit a sweater for your friend's puppy and be sure to throw in some treats - he'll love you for it.

Tracy: I must ask Mac this.....I'm a crocheter by heart, but is knitting much harder? Also, are there some projects that are just more knit-friendly vs crochet? Thank you in advance, Mac!

Mac: I always tell everyone the same thing with this question. If you can crochet you can knit. Crochet is much faster than knitting, but knitting has so many more patterns to spark your imagination. Both knit and crochet patterns are user friendly as long as they're written correctly. If you find that you prefer crocheting over knitting, that's absolutely fine. Knitting isn't for everyone - it's better to do what you enjoy most in life.

Ripples in Water: Will you ask Mac his thoughts on cats in the home? If you had one would he think of it as a pet for himself, a source of entertainment, a companion, or a usefull furball? I grew up with 2 large dogs, 3 cats and a rabbit that seemed to get along or at least tolerate each other. LOL Thank you!

Mac: I think if you love cats, you should definitely share your home with them. First of all, my mom said that I can't have one because my dad is allergic to them. If I could get a cat, he'd definitely be my best friend. Although, I think having a cat could be scary because Bo told me that cats like to hide and then jump out at you when you least expect it. That scares me!

Laura at Harvest Lane: Will you please tell on your momma? What is the name of the color of DK weight Happy Feet yarn she used in the top photo on Thursday's blog? Thanks Buddy!

Mac: I just looked at the color band and there wasn't a name just a number. It's #63. It was spun in Peru and is 90% superwash merino wool and 10% nylon. It has 262 yards and is 100 grams.

Tracey: Well Mac, I have a question for you: how hard is it to set up Doris to start knitting socks? I have become quite an admirer of Doris. Please don't take it personal Mac, I think you're great, too, but to turn a pair of socks in 3 hours is pretty awesome. It took me 3 weeks to knit just 1 pair.

Mac: My mom can set Doris up in no time when she starts a sock. Threading the machine takes just a minute and before I know it, she's already working on the ribbing. My mom also likes to run the same yarn type (but in different colors) because then she doesn't have to mess with the tension. You'd think that every fingering weight sock yarn would be the same, but it's not. Each one seems to have a slightly different thickness. There are Utube videos that you can watch that show the whole process of making socks. My mom lets me watch it whenever I want!

I sure enjoy getting "mail" and having my very own Friday "show." If you have more questions for next week, just leave them here and my mom will make sure that I get them. I think that I'll do a little giveaway every Friday for one lucky person who leaves me a question. (isn't that tricky of me to get you all to ask me something!)

So, today I put all the names in my dog dish (it was empty) and I pulled out one lucky name to win this mini key ring purse. Guess who it was? It was Tracey who has a wonderful blog called Clover. Congratulations Tracey! My mom will be sending you an email to let you know that you won. You can then send her your address and she'll put this little key ring purse in Monday's mail. (she'll be out of town tomorrow)

This was oodles of fun for me and I'll see you all again next Friday.


We Have Two Winners..............

As promised, we've randomly drawn two names to win this downloadable PDF pattern for our 9 x 9 felted casserole cover. And they are: Mumsie at Musings from Rosehaven Cottage and Teresa AKA Knittingdancer. If you would be kind enough to send me your email addresses, I will send you this downloadable PDF pattern. Congratulations to you both and enjoy those potlucks!

I've been working feverishly to build our inventory of socks for our Etsy shop. In the evenings while watching a good movie, I hand knit. This yarn is from Plymouth Yarn Co. and it's their Happy Feet DK weight sock yarn. It's a bit thicker and feels so yummy. These will be hard to part with!

And here's two pair (hand cranked on Doris) made from Fortissima from Schoeller + Stahl. Aren't the colors great? The color on the left is called Ayers Rock and on the right - Grand Canyon. Yummy, huh?

Tomorrow is Friday and that means it's "Ask Mac" time. For those of you who are new to our blog, Mac is our Boston Terrier who just happens to be quite the whiz dog. He'll be taking your questions on knitting or whatever you'd like to throw at him! So far, he has two viewers tomorrow with questions. And rumor has it that he'll be doing a little giveaway of his own tomorrow to one lucky person who leaves him a question. If you'd like to ask him something, just post it here and I'll make sure he gets it. (He was up late last night knitting with me, so he just went back to bed!)

Have a wonderful day and we'll see you all tomorrow to find out who wins Mac's giveaway and to read his answers. Please remember tho - he is a dog so keep that in mind if he gives advice!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

How About a Little Giveaway?

Would you like to do another little giveaway for this PDF pattern? It's a felted cover for a 9 x 9 square casserole dish. It's perfect for taking your hot food to a potluck dinner. Yummmmm - the thought of all those different fabulous dishes at a potluck is making my mouth water!

Everyone always makes their very best recipe at such events, and now you can take yours in absolute style! The tie cord keeps the flap secure, but it also holds your serving spoon!

The 9 x 13 version is almost ready, too. I just need to put it into a PDF format. Soon, I promise!

Just leave a comment here today or tomorrow and on Thursday I'll randomly draw two names. You can either leave your contact info or just check back on Thursday when I announce the two winners and you can email me then with it.

Other news:

We'll be drawing one lucky name on Feb. 1st for a pair of women's hand cranked socks, so if you haven't left a comment on the post "January 2011 Sock Giveaway", do so soon.

Also, every Friday Mac has his "Ask Mac" segment. So, if you have a knitting question or any other, please leave him a comment. You can leave it here and I'll make sure he gets it. Rumor has it that he'll be doing a small giveaway on Friday for one lucky person who asks him a question this week.

Today I decided that I'm staying home all day and will crank out some socks on "Doris" (our antique sock machine), do a bit of housework and definitely take a mile hike up our mountain.

See you all on Thursday to let you know who wins this PDF pattern.

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

Friday, January 21, 2011

"Ask Mac" - 1/21/11

Hi, my name is MacIntosh (Mac for short) and my mom is letting me have my own column every Friday so that I can answer your questions about knitting or whatever. I'm almost 5 years old now and live a very wonderful life in the Tehachapi mountains. I've learned all about coyotes and snow and even rattlesnakes! I really know lots about knitting too, because I've watched my mom do it all my life. Do you like my new cowl?
My mom said that I received two questions so far, so she read them to me and here's my answers:
Suzanne: "Well, inquiring minds want to know if he helps with the knitting? And if so, how does he do it, with paws?
Mac: "My mom lets me supervise everything. I seem to get tangled up with the yarn, so I let her fiddle with that. I help her to pick out colors for the socks and always hang out in her knitting room while she cranks out socks."
Sue: "I have a question for you Mac, you little cutie. If a person is just starting to knit, what is the best thing to learn first? I'd love to knit a sock but it might not be the best thing to try first. Is there a good book to look at that has real beginner instructions? Written for adults but laid out and explained as if you were a child? That's what I need, short of an actual teacher. Any recommendations, Mac?"
Mac: "I think that you need to take puppy steps first. If you go to Michael's or JoAnn's, they probably have some really nice "Learn How To Knit" booklets for beginners. There was a really good one written by Evie Rosen, but I'm not sure it's still available. I think maybe a first project might be something that has no shaping in it - like an easy scarf. You could just pick some fun yarn and cast on as many stitches as you want the width to be and then knit every single row. That's called garter stitch and it makes for a nice flat scarf.
If you have a yarn shop nearby, you could go there. Lots of shops offer free help when you buy the yarn and needles from them. Even Michael's and JoAnn's has knitting classes that you could sign up for."
If anyone else has questions for me, please just leave me a comment here and I will answer them next Friday.
Now I'm going to bed because I had to go to Bakersfield with my mom today to take care of the grandchildren and I'm one tired dog!
See you next Friday.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Another Great Day to Make Socks......

Just finished this pair of socks for our Etsy shop. They're made with Plymouth Yarn Company's "Sockin' Sox" yarn. It's a wool, bamboo and nylon blend and works really well on our antique sock machine. As you can see, I never try to match up the color sequence. I think it's rather fun to just let the yarn do its own thing!

While I sit here and crank out socks, this is the view that I enjoy. Doubt that I'll ever get tired of it!

We're up to 4 pair of socks for the month so far. Today should add another pair!

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Brand New Day...............

The other night we had some winds kick up that brought in some very eerie clouds over the mountains. Didn't amount to any weather, but these clouds were amazing to see.

I've been hand knitting and cranking out socks like crazy. I thought it would be fun to see how many pair I make during the year - so far - 3 pair!

Mac has received two questions for his new "Ask Mac" segment that will be posted each Friday. Suzanne from Blueberry Cottage and Sue have written him. This Friday he'll respond - should be interesting to hear from a dog's point of view! If you have a question for him, you can leave a comment this Friday and he'll do his best to answer it on the following segment.
Other news............
If you'd like a chance to win a pair of women's hand cranked socks, please leave a comment on the post "January 2011 Sock Giveaway." On Feb. 1st, I'll be announcing the winner.
Today Rick and I are headed to the gas station to get a couple of jugs of diesel fuel. The 55 gallon tank needs to be topped off. Wouldn't be pleasant if we ran out. That would cause our entire system to shut down and I haven't a clue on how to re-program everything! There's been little wind too, so the generator is getting a good workout. But, the good news - we've been in the upper 60's, the meadowlarks are singing and so am I! I know this is just a tease of things to come, but I'll enjoy every minute of these warm and sunny days!
Have a wonderful day!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Ask Mac.....

Well, Mac didn't receive any questions this week, so I asked him if there was anything that he wanted to talk about. But, he's bummed and said he has nothing to discuss!

So, maybe some of you could send him a question for next Friday's question and answer segment on "Ask Mac." I even tried giving him a cookie, but he wouldn't eat it!

As for me, I'm busy finishing up my inventory counting and just received an order for four pair of socks. That should keep me out of trouble for awhile!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Two Reminders.............

Just wanted to remind you that Mac's new column, "Ask Mac" begins tomorrow. So, if you have a question for him, be sure to leave it here. He has an opinion on everything and anything! But, do remember that he is a dog, so don't take his answers too seriously!
Also, if you haven't left a comment on the post "January 2011 Sock Giveaway" please do it before the end of the month. On Feb. 1st, I'll announce the winner.
Mac and I will see you all tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Since moving to the Tehachapi mountains, we've only encountered "Pogonip" twice. The first time was when we went up into the mountain park at a much higher elevation. It looked like it had just snowed, yet there had been no snow storm. It was then that we read in the local paper about Pogonip.

Then this past foggy Sunday as we were doing errands, we saw it forming all over town. When I got home, I decided to do a search about it and learn more.

It comes from a Shoshone Indian word for "cloud," or "frozen fog." Apparently it's a rare occurrence because the air must be extremely cold with practically no humidity. In other words, it forms without any water in the air. Valleys and mountains in the western U.S. are areas that you might see it.
What's really neat about it is that it only forms on one side of objects (usually the west side). These ice crystals form as this extreme dry, chilled air blows. It's absolutely gorgeous to see.

From a distance, many people think that it has snowed.

This was truly one of the coldest days that we've encountered up here and we didn't stay long outside to snap these pictures!

Now for some other news.......

Many of you enjoyed Mac's opinion on cowls, so I talked it over with him and he's decided to do a little column each Friday called, "Ask Mac." So, if you'd like his opinion on something like a knitting question or whatever, just leave him a comment. Try not to take his suggestions to heart tho, because afterall he is a dog! Each Friday he'll answer a few of your inquiries. Should be fun to see what he comes up with!

Have a great day!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

What Is It About Cowls?"

I'm having trouble understanding all the "hoopla" with cowls. Everywhere I look, there they are. Now, it's probably rude of me to be so judgemental when I haven't even made one. I mean, afterall, I have a thing for socks and many of you might ask me the same question over them.

So, I decided to make a mock one for Macintosh (Mac for short) and ask him what's so great about 'em.

Me: "So Mac, now that you have one, what's so great about 'em?"

Mac: "I look cool and the other dogs on the block will think so, too."

Me: "Yes Mac, you indeed look cool." ( I didn't have the heart to tell him that the only other two dogs on the block are Bo, who thinks that Mac is nothing short of a dork, and Daisy who lives next door who thinks of Mac as totally inconsequential)

Me: "Anything else you really like about wearing one?"

Mac: "I love the mohair and it keeps my ears warm."

Me: "Ok, I like that answer."

Me: "Anything else that strikes your fancy over one?"

Mac: "I love it because you made it just for me."

With that answer, he got two cookies. Now why can't my friends and family be as excited over receiving a knitted gift from me? Do I need to entice them with cookies, also?

I have to admit, I did see a finished cowl (and now I can't remember where) that really appealed to me. Guess I'll have to revisit some of the sites I was on and see if I can find the pattern.

In the meantime, think I'll make a pair of socks on Doris today.

Just a reminder, if you haven't left a comment on the post called "January 2011 Sock Giveaway" please do so for a chance to win a pair of women's hand cranked socks.

Friday, January 7, 2011

An Idea for Your Projects.............

Instead of cramming all my knitting projects into one bag, I prefer to keep them all separate. That way they don't get scrunched and don't require a ton of blocking out the kinks, wrinkles and crumples.

You know those zippered cases that new sheet sets come in? They are absolutely perfect! They make it easier to take your project with you and keep everything nice and clean, too. Some of these even have a little front pocket slot.

My "new bag" contains a sock project. The yarn is Happy Feet from Plymouth Yarn Co. and it's been a delight to work with. I'm just working one row of K2, P1 followed by a knit row (a multiple of 3). It really makes for a nice and simple patterned sock.

I thought this year might be fun if I added a tip here and there. It'd be wonderful if some of you share yours, too. What are some of the "containers" that you use for your projects?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Another Pattern Up and Running...............

Well, here's the first pattern for 2011 that I just listed on our Ravelry site. My heart always beats fast when trying to do this because there's so many steps involved. Patience and fortitude tho! It's a felted cover for a 9 x 9 casserole dish. It's so perfect for transporting a hot dish to a church potluck or other event. Next up will probably be one that will hold a 9 x 13 dish.

Today is bill paying day (crumbug) and then I will work on finishing up my inventory count. After that - it's knitting time! I went through my stash and found some great yarns to make scarves with and will try to get a couple made in time for Valentine's Day. They'd be perfect to add to our Etsy shop.

I wish you all a marvelous day today and hope that you can find some craft time. Maybe you can share with our readers what you're currently working on.

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

Monday, January 3, 2011

First Snow Storm of 2011.....

This morning I went to let Bo out the back door from his laundry room and was greeted with this! Thank goodness it's a very powdery snow so there's no ice. All the freeways are closed so my husband got a snow day! It even snowed in Valencia which rarely happens. With the sun trying to peek out, we thought maybe the worst was over, but the news is saying another round is due in late this afternoon with a possible 6 inches.

Yesterday we started our next giveaway, so if you haven't left a comment on the post, "January 2011 Sock Giveaway", please read it for all the details.

Thanks for visiting today and I hope you're all safe and warm where you live.

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

Sunday, January 2, 2011

January 2011 Sock Giveaway......

Here's a view from across the Tehachapi valley looking south towards the mountains that we live on. My husband just left to get more pellets for the wood stove and diesel since we're under a high wind warning again. This storm has just howled all night long but hasn't brought the predicted snow yet. I'm sure it's coming tho.

Yesterday we said we'd do a one day giveaway for Mrs. Crumpet's Knitting Bag and since there were only two comments, I thought that both InJuneau and Sue deserved to win. Congratulations! I have your email Sue, so I will download a copy to you this morning and I'll leave a message on Ravelry for InJuneau.

Now for the really good's time once again to start our sock giveaway for this new month. Just leave a comment during this month on this post and on Feb. 1st, 2011 I'll randomly draw one name to win a pair of women's hand cranked socks. I get the thrill of picking which socks they will be, but the winner can choose which size (S, M or L). So, good luck and I'll look forward to reading all your delightful comments. Oh, and if you've already won one of our giveaways, no problem! Enter this one, too!

How's the weather in your area today? We'd all love to hear about it.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Our December Sock Giveaway Winner is.........

Today is 1-1-11! I love that! And as promised, I said that I'd announce the winner of our December Sock Giveaway today. Only one name can be randomly drawn and I wish that all of you could win a pair of our socks. But, you can try again starting tomorrow when we announce our next giveaway. Ok, back to today's winner - congratulations to InJuneau from Alaska! I will be sending you an email via Ravelry asking you which size you would like (S - 6 -8, M 8 1/2 -10 or a L 10 1/2 - 12). Or, if you are reading this post you can email me (address above) with your address and the sock size that you would prefer. Again, congratulations!

Since today is the first day of the new year, how about if we do another mini giveaway for today only (contest will close at midnight 1-1-11). Just leave a comment on today's post, and tomorrow Jan. 2, 2011, I'll randomly draw one name to win a downloadable PDF pattern for Mrs. Crumpet's Knitting Bag. How does that sound?
Also, we'll start our new sock giveaway for the month of January tomorrow. Lots to look forward to!
Now, I'm heading to the tv to finish watching the Rose Parade. Happy New Year to you all and I'll see you tomorrow.
Til then............