Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Making Headway.......

I feel like I'm finally nearing the end of the spring house cleaning. What is it about kitchens and dragging your feet to get them organized? I know, it's all those cupboards and drawers! I did manage to finish the pantry and it looks quite spiffy now, don't you think.

This pair of women's socks are just about dry and ready for our Etsy shop. The yarn is called "Zino" and it's from Plymouth Yarn Company. If you haven't tried it yet, I highly recommend it.

I finished the Wool-Ease socks this morning for a friend of ours and ran them through the washer and dryer. If they look big, it's because they are! He wears an 11 1/2 shoe! Thank goodness it's worsted weight yarn and they went really, really fast.

I've decided to start some new designs and the only hint that I can give you is that they will be for dogs and cats! Mac is helping with some input from a dog's point of view, so hopefully they will be quite fun.

Monday, April 25, 2011

A New Week Ahead

Each morning we've been waking to beach-like weather. Tons of clouds and lots of wind. Yesterday it howled all day long with gusts close to 50 mph. That's a bit hard on the wind turbine, so we shut it down and did our best to conserve our power. Rather hard to do tho when you have a ham to cook! It all worked out fine and we had a wonderful Easter Sunday.

In the evenings, I've been working on a pair of men's size 11 1/2 socks. I'm using some leftover Wool Ease, so they're going really fast. They're for a friend of my husband's, so hopefully I'll get them done in a couple of days.

I've taken some time off from Doris (our antique sock machine), but maybe I can get a sock or two cranked out today. We're expecting more yarn for a large order, but it hasn't arrived yet. So, I should make the most of this in-between time.

Hope your week ahead is a great one.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Weekend

Today's winner of the Mug Rug pattern is Anne. Congratulations Anne! I'll send you an email and attach it.

Yesterday we spent the better part of the day outside and totally enjoyed it. I snapped another picture of the Lilac bush with its gorgeous blooms that are about to burst open.

Then in the afternoon we drove down to the Clydsdale Farm to see what their two new babies were up to. It was nap time! Gosh they're cute!

Today we're headed to Lancaster and will stop and visit the Poppy Reserve. If you haven't visited this California State Park, it is so worth it this time of year. The hillsides are aglow in orange and you can see it from miles away.

May you all have a blessed Easter with your loved ones.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Twice Knit Mug Rug Pattern

I'm supposed to be finishing up my spring house cleaning - the kitchen is the last room to tackle! But, somehow I got sidetracked and decided to get this pattern up and running on our Etsy and Ravelry sites. I made myself two of these little guys and just love them.

It might be a new technique to some of you and is called "twice knit". It makes the knitted fabric more dense and actually appears more woven than knitted. Really perfect for mug rugs!

How about if we do a little giveaway of this pattern? Just leave a comment on this post and on Saturday (the day before Easter), I'll randomly draw one name to be the winner. Please leave an email for contact to make it easier for me. The winner will receive this pattern as a downloadable PDF pattern. My printer is down, so I don't have the ability to mail out a hard copy for this giveaway.

Good luck and I'll see you all on Saturday.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Two New Designs Now Available

Several months ago I did two designs for the wonderful folks at Coats & Clark and they're now ready on their site as free patterns. I wasn't sure that I should put the pictures on my blog, so instead I'll give you a link to our Ravelry site that shows the designs and from there you can click over to the Red Heart page.

One is for an Easy Cuffed Hat

and the other is for Lacy Knee Highs.

Hope you like 'em!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Tax Day Winner

Congratulations to Emily who is our winner today of a pair of women's hand cranked socks! I sent you a message via Ravelry, so I hope that we've made your day!

And for everyone else - don't give up, we'll have more giveaways! But, for now, I must get back to my spring house cleaning and also a pattern that I'm working on for our Ravelry and Etsy sites.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Another Day to Stay Inside

We have yet another system making its way through our mountains today. In fact, I can't even see our mountains! It's 44 degrees out there with high winds. They warned of gusts up to 55 mph, so we trudged out early this morning to turn off the wind turbine. That means we must conserve our power today or have the diesel generator run and run.

Thank goodness my plants are starting to sprout inside. That makes me so hopeful that spring will come and stay with us!

The herbs are doing nicely and I need to plant some more varieties this weekend.

I started the spring house cleaning and almost half the house is done. Gosh that makes me feel good! As each room is dusted from top to bottom and windows and blinds scrubbed, the finishing is steam cleaning the carpets as I go. I was going to do the carpet in our bedroom, but it's just too cool and I want it to dry thoroughly in one day. Maybe the sun will shine tomorrow.

So for now, I'll get back to cranking more socks. This "Step" yarn is a delight to work with. Have you tried it?

Oh, and one last reminder before Tax Day - be sure to read the post "April Giveaway" for a chance to win a pair of women's hand cranked socks.

See you again on Friday to let you know who our winner is.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Craft Show

This past week was filled with two major deadlines - the large sock order and getting ready for the craft show yesterday. Thankfully, we did it! The socks were mailed out on Wednesday and arrived safely on Friday. That left me a couple of days to crank out two more pair of socks for the craft fair and get everything packed up.

The space we had was rather small, so all of our displays weren't needed, but we had plenty of inventory and everything looked fine. By days end yesterday, our sock supply was pretty much wiped out! YIPPEE! What really helped too, was that we had a dusting of snow the night before and the weather was downright chilly. I think everyone's feet were cold!

The craft show was held over in Bear Valley Springs which is a private community with some absolutely gorgeous scenery. Isn't this old oak splendid?

This event benefited the Pony Club and I was told that 1,000 horses live on the valley floor of Bear Valley Springs. It seemed like most of the homes had barns and corrals with some amazing looking horses. Very fun day!

This week I'll be between sock orders, so it might be a good time to start the spring house cleaning. Let's hope some warmer weather arrives, too!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Heels and Toes

One of our apple trees is doing its best to jump into spring. Unfortunately, the weatherman last night indicated another cold front is dropping down and might bring us some mountain snow Friday and Saturday!

Some of you have asked about heels and toes on antique sock machines. It was hard for me to imagine too, when I first got Doris. If you can picture the machine as a face on a clock, we paint with fingernail polish 4 markings. One each at 3 and 9 o'clock to indicate the half way point and then another marker at 5 and 7 o'clock.

The back half of the needles are raised up and then are out of work. This allows me to work just on the front half of the needles to form the heel or toe. I crank back and forth, raising one needle up with each row. That slowly brings me down to the two front markers which indicate the center of the heel or toe. Then (wrapping as I go to prevent a hole) I slowly start dropping one needle on each side to work my way back up to the half way point.

This forms the gusset.

When I'm back to the 3 and 9 o'clock markers I place the back needles into working position and work one final round. Then I add about 5 rnds of waste yarn and remove the sock from the machine.

At that point I place the needles onto double pointed needles and close the toes by hand using the kitchener stitch. Voila!

I decided to put some leftover sock yarn scraps out for the birds to use in their nests. So far tho, none have taken me up on my offer!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

April Giveaway

Since it's a new month, it's time for a new giveaway. And since this month brings the dreaded April 15th (Tax Day), let's turn that day into a fun one for one lucky winner. Just leave a comment on this post for a chance to win a pair of women's handcranked socks. The winner will get to choose a women's size (S, M or L), and I'll choose the actual pair from our inventory. On April 15th, one name will be drawn and I'll let you know who won. Please be sure to leave contact info for me, ok?

Have a great weekend.

Friday, April 1, 2011

It's Giveaway Day

Today's April 1st and that means it's April Fools Day AND it also means that a winning name has been drawn to win the 2 skeins of yarn and knitting needles that are shown above. Are you all ready? Ok, here goes: It's Meg. I will be sending you a message via Ravelry, Meg. Congratulations to you!

Every Friday I'm trying to remember to show you a snapshot of one of our Lilac bushes so that you can see it's life cycle throughout the year. We've had such up and down weather that it's not sure if it's spring or not! Would you believe more rain this weekend and then another chance mid week? Last I heard we were just over 21 inches so far for this season. That alone is quite a record!

I've been cranking away on Doris and I should have all the yarn (so far) made into socks. More yarn is coming, but I wanted to get these all finished and then I'll just have a few toes to close up, wash and block 'em and hopefully have them in the mail by Wednesday or Thursday.

Here's a few drying away on the rack.

Tomorrow we'll announce our April Giveaway, so be sure to tune in, ok? And congratulations again to Meg!