Friday, May 31, 2013

Normal Routines are the Best.....

All is quiet on the home front - just the way I like it!  Lucy wanted to pose for the camera this morning while the other girls were in their hen house laying eggs.

I snapped this photo the other day of a small low that was going through our area bringing high winds.  Yes, even the turbine had to be shut down for the night.  Today tho, no wind and the temps are finally climbing.

Bo, on the other hand, never likes his photo taken and always turns his head when I try to get a snapshot!  He got in a bit of trouble the other morning, too.  Around 6 a.m. I heard the girls making really strange sounds - sounds that I hadn't heard before.  So I stepped out onto the back porch to see a lone coyote standing next to our back fence staring at the girls.  And where was Bo?  He was on this side of the fence standing there wagging his tail at him!  Now what kind of watch dog is that?  Honestly, I think that Bo thought the coyote was a dog!

With our really dry winter, the critters seem to be coming out more and in to the lower elevations.  The other day I was going down our dirt road and watched as a 3 foot rattle snake slowly made his way across.  That sure made a believer out of our son, because that was the first rattler he and I have seen up here.  When they pose no threat like that, we totally leave them alone because they definitely serve a purpose.  The rodent population would be out of control without the snakes.

The pumpkin and squash patch is a month ahead of schedule which I'm thrilled about.  Although this morning I noticed that two plants were totally gone with a fresh mound of dirt nearby.  Obviously an underground visitor - Mr. Mole!  I will get my husband right on this tonight!  Lucky him!

And as the sun was setting last night, my husband noticed this lenticular cloud to our east.  They are absolutely amazing to see and with our crazy wind currents up here, we witness them frequently.

Most of my outside chores are done for the morning, so it's now time to work on the chart for the sweater front for awhile......

Sunday, May 26, 2013

One Last Peek.....

I was going to wait and show you the back of the sweater once it was totally done.  But, I'm not very good at keeping surprises.  So, here's the back of the child's pullover called, "Mrs. Crumpet's Flock."
One more sheep has been added that's not in the picture.

Remember in the "Crumpet and Tea" storyline, Mrs. Crumpet owns her own yarn shop and doesn't have to dye her yarn because all her sheep come in various colors.  The only sheep that is white is "Tea" because he was never part of Mrs. C's flock, but a small baby lamb that she found in the woods.  What makes "Tea" unique tho, is that he always has cold feet and must always wear hand knitted socks!

I think that you'll really love the sweater front and I hope to start work on the chart on Tuesday.  Tomorrow our grandkids will be here and we will celebrate Memorial Day together.

I've been sewing away on more "Project Bags" and even made a run out to the desert this morning to buy more fabric!  This darling print with cherries all over it has a matching lining only in pink.

This one was just added also to our Etsy shop and more are ready to be cut out and sewn.  I'm already thinking ahead to Christmas and will make some up for the girls in the office where my husband works.  I'll tuck a pair of hand cranked socks in each bag along with some wonderful soaps from Tehachapi Soap Company.  Shhhhhhh, don't tell 'em tho!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

I Couldn't Believe My Eyes.....

Have you ever wondered what happened to the S.S. Minnow?  You remember, the ship that carried Gilligan and the others? On our last trip out to the desert, we spotted it!  Haven't a clue what happened to "Gilligan, the skipper, too, the millionaire and his wife, the move star, the professor and Mary Ann......

Sorry, I just couldn't resist and every time we drive past this old boat I never seem to have my camera ready until now. 

In knitting news:  I'm getting a huge kick out of making "Project Bags" for knitters and will be adding them to our Etsy shop.

Our local quilt shop has some amazing fabrics and I couldn't help myself when I saw this fabric with little buttons all over it.

And you know how your ball of yarn loves to jump out of your bag when you pull some length out of it?  Well, I decided that this small loop might really help with that.

Just thread your yarn end through it, and then knit away!

The child's pullover that I've been making is coming along nicely.  Yesterday the back was completed and now I need to work up the chart for the sweater front and then knit it.  I can't wait to show you!

Have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend.

Friday, May 24, 2013

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

Congratulations to "StaceyKnitsit"!  You won our reversible tote.  Please email me at and let me know where you would like it mailed.  Hope that we made your day!

And Sheila asked what the class was from Craftsy that I took to make this bag.  Sheila, it's called "Bag Making Basics with Kristin Link."  You'll love it.

Tomorrow's post is sure to make you smile a bit because I found something so amazing and I'm sure a lot of you have lost sleep wondering what happened to it.  But, you'll have to check back to see what this amazing find is.  Here's a hint:  It has something to do with a millionaire and his wife and several others!  Any guesses?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Craftsy Tote Bag Class

Have you ever wondered how they get those nice square corners on tote bags?  It's baffled me for ages.  I mean, I don't lose sleep over it or anything like that.  But, it has "bugged" me a bit!

This morning I took my very first Craftsy class on how to make a reversible tote, taught by Kristin Link.  I totally enjoyed doing this.  I was smiling the whole time!  AND, she showed exactly how you "box" a corner.  So simple, even I can do it.

I had lots of apron fabric sitting around and thought that it would make a marvelous bag, plus I had bought some lining on my last trip to JoAnn's Fabrics.

Even a nice size pocket was added with knitters in mind.

And VOILA!  Now that the basics are out of the way, I can embellish the next one and the one after that, too.  This first one may not be perfect, but I totally had a ball making it.

And since we haven't had a little giveaway for ages AND since tomorrow is our son's 36th birthday, how about if we have a little giveaway for this tote?  How does that sound?

Just leave a comment on this post and if you love to sew, tell everyone what you enjoy making the most.  If you don't sew, just make something up!!

On Friday, May 24th, I'll randomly draw one lucky name from all the comments (well, that's if anyone leaves any!) and announce the winner that day.

See you all then.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

A Darling Gift & Sweater Embellishments

If you're new to our blog, this is Doris our antique sock machine.  She's somewhere close to 100 years old and makes fabulous socks.

This afternoon my childhood girlfriend came up and brought me an absolutely darling gift.  Dena frequents a shop in Utah called "Wood Creations" and decorated these letters to form the word "Doris."

She first paints each letter with an acrylic paint and then uses modge podge on the front and adds regular scrapbooking paper on top of that, followed by another coat of modge podge.  Once they're dry, she adds a ribbon here and there.

Pretty cute, huh?

I just love 'em and will have to find the perfect place in my office for them.

The other day I showed you one of the sleeves to our "Mrs. Crumpet's Flock" sweater.  Sleeve #2 is now complete and I thought it would be fun to add a few embellishments.  Even tho the actual chart will not show this, I'll add extra notes in the pattern with pictures to show how to add these little extras.  I think getting the knitter to participate in part of the design process is great fun and really encourages them to step out of their shell a bit with their knitting.

I use the same weight yarn with the duplicate stitch or French knots and thread the needle so that two strands are used.  Pick any spot and bring the needle to the front.............

Wrap the yarn around the needle twice and then insert the needle back in to the sweater just a slight distance from where you had brought it to the front.  Don't go back into the same spot, or you will undo the French knot.

Give it a slight tug once the yarn has been taken to the back, and there you have it - a French knot.  I love to make bushes out of these knots and it adds a 3-D element to the sweater which is even more fun for kids.

Once the bush is done, I do the same thing with a different color to make flowers.  The only difference is that instead of having the yarn doubled, I use just a single strand.

And there you have it, a couple of extra bushes for the sheep to graze on!

I think I'll keep one sleeve plain without any French knots to give just a slight variance to the two sleeves.

Another thing that you can do with a sweater like this is to add French knots to the actual sheep to "puff" them out a bit.  Adding embellishments is quite fun and will really make your sweaters unique.

Well, now that both sleeves are done, I will begin work on the sweater front and back.  I'm afraid the pictures will have to stop here until the entire sweater is completed.  I can't give too much away or you won't be surprised when it's all done!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

First Sleeve Completed..............

Here's the first sleeve for the "Mrs. Crumpet's Flock" sweater.  A little Intarsia, a little duplicate stitch and VOILA!  I'm trying to keep the two sleeves fairly simple because the sweater's front and back have a lot of detail work to them. So, now I'll hurry and make the second sleeve because I can't wait to get to the good stuff!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Mrs. Crumpet's Flock........

Every so often, but less often than often, we happen upon a magical place.  But, in our haste, we scurry past and fail to catch a glimpse.

'Tis a magical world you now enter - one worthy of your glance.  It's where dreams and adventures await you.  It's the world of "Crumpet and Tea."

These characters will enchant you and even inspire you.  You'll travel along on their knitting adventures while being caught up in the magic of it all.

And when it's all said and done, you may just find that you've fallen in love with knitting all over again.....

That was the introduction to our "Crumpet and Tea" collection that I began over a decade ago.  I once tried to get the entire concept published.  While the publisher sent me an amazing letter telling me how enchanted she was with these characters and their storyline, she said it wasn't the type of book that they published.  She gave me two other sources to send the idea to, but for some reason I didn't.

Instead, I've released the designs as single patterns.  Last night, I decided to redo a child's sweater pattern that is in this collection called, "Mrs. Crumpet's Flock."  I thought you might like a sneak peek at the chart for the sleeve.  It took me several hours yesterday to get the chart just the way I wanted it using Adobe Illustrator.  Even then tho, I made the command decision to change out one of the colors.  (can you see my hand written note there on the edge?)

Lots goes in to creating a design, especially an Intarsia one.  This sweater will be written for sizes 4, 6 and 8.  I'm hoping to use my youngest grandson, Carter, as a model.

The storyline tells of how Mrs. Crumpet is an avid knitter and a yarn shop owner.  Since she is an imaginary character, so are the things that surround her.  She never has to buy dyed wool, because her sheep naturally come in assorted colors!

Will this collection and storyline ever come together as a book?  Who knows.  But, that sure would make my day!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Craft Shows and Etsy.....

Saturday's craft show was a total bust.  I mean, it was downright depressing.  There were hardly any vendors or attendees.  But, now I know not to do that show again.  Fortunately, it only lasted until 1:00 and we were out of there.

We decided to go home the back way up and over Alpine Forest from the Cummings Valley.  It's quite scenic and I thought that you'd enjoy seeing the countryside.

Lots of ranches are scattered throughout this area.

After leaving the Cummings Valley and Alpine Forest, you come down in to Brite Valley which also has lots of small homesteads.

Since I was so busy this weekend, I placed our Etsy shop on vacation mode, so will spend some time this afternoon re-opening it and re-listing some of our products.

Since it's so hard to sell winter items during this time of year, I'll come up with more creative items to sell in our Etsy shop.  During this time I hope to spend some serious time coming up with new patterns to sell, too. 

Leisure Arts has eluded me and I am so determined to get something published with them.  I've got a few crazy ideas spinning around right now and will focus on that this summer.  Cross your fingers!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Last Minute Projects......

I'm still adding a few last minute projects to my inventory for Saturday's craft show.  These knitted bracelets only take about an hour to make and sure use up my leftover sock yarns.

And those darling buttons that I bought at JoAnn's Fabrics are perfect for that special added touch.  Being a teenager in the 60's and loving folk art and music is probably what inspired me to create these.  I love making them!

And when you're busy with such serious knitting, it's important to make some hearty meals!  This is the Pioneer Woman's Beer and Beef Stew and it is one absolutely satisfying meal in a bowl.  YUMMO

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Need for Color in My Knitting............

Sometimes I need something full of color to bring a smile to my day.  And using up leftovers just makes that smile even bigger!  This scarf is made with random colors of worsted weight yarn that I practically selected with my eyes closed.  Really, there's no need to try and make the colors match up - that just defeats the purpose of it all.  I used to call this the "Leftovers Scarf," but I now think of it as the "No Two Alike Scarf." 

I did cheat and made it on my flatbed knitting machine, but you can also handknit one just like it.  I prefer tube scarves to flat ones - I think they hold their shape better and are much warmer.  Just decide how wide you want it and figure out your gauge.  If you want it made in a tube, be sure to double the amount of stitches for the width since it will have a front and a back.

Now, go through your bag of leftovers and select a good 10 - 15 colors.  I have no set number of rows for each color and find that each segment should be quite different in length.  Once it's the length you want, bind off and then cut fringe using all the colors and add to each end.  There you have it - your very own "No Two Alike Scarf!"

This one will be heading to the upcoming craft fair this weekend over in Stallion Springs.

Ok, I have a confession of sorts......I definitely have a thing for buttons.  Yesterday I drove out to Lancaster to JoAnn's Craft Store and found all their buttons were half off!  Seriously, half off!  I'll use these to place on my mug wraps and knitted bracelets.  Aren't they fun?

And speaking of mug wraps, this one just came off the needles and will also be added to the inventory for Saturday's craft show.

I see tons of these cozies on Etsy and many are made to fit right up to the top edge.  How are you supposed to drink your coffee or tea with your lips on yarn?  When designing patterns, it's really important to look at all aspects of the final design.  That means even acknowleging faults that you may find.  The good news, redesigning and fixing the flaw is easy!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Could We Really Have an Early Spring?

Living at an elevation of about 4,500 feet in the California mountains can be a gardener's nightmare.  The locals all say never to start your garden until Memorial Day.  But, this winter and spring have been so different than the last 5 years that we've been here.  The weather is unusally warm and winter had very little snow.  So, yes, I'm tempting fate and have started planting. 

The peach tree above has more peaches than ever before.

The apples also are plentiful.

Even the pear tree is making me smile with delight!

And the two bareroot nectarine trees that we planted last year have fruit.

And if your son doesn't get carried away with his weedeating, you'll be blessed with an abundance of California Poppies.