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Archive for the ‘Knitting’ Category

I’ve been on a sock knitting kick (no pun intended) lately.  I made myself 2 pairs of socks in 2 weeks…I should take pictures of those.  I have slowed the pace, and haven’t started the third pair for me yet, but took a little break to make that hat I listed, and a pair of socks for Istra.  These whipped up in 2 days, because they are toddler socks, and they are made with worsted weight yarn.

I made the little sock blockers out of cardboard.  I traced the sock, then I measured the tracing based on her foot measurements.  Her foot is 6″ around, so I made sure the blocker was 3″ tall (1/2 the circumference of her foot), then I made sure the length was right, and then I cut out based on the measured lines.  Wet the socks, and inserted my little blockers.  They blocked perfectly and fit just as they should.

When I was making them, I tried the first one on to be sure of the size.  After asking Istra several questions about the fit, and determining that the sock was just as it should be.  Istra sat for a moment with the sock on her foot, and then said “Mama, can you make me another sock?” I guess she feared I thought my job was done with just the one.

The microgreens received a light today.  I just hung one of my photo lights, with a small CFL bulb above them.  It was amazing to see the pale yellowish new leaves turn bright green in only a couple hours.  It’s amazing how fast things change with seedlings.

The radishes are far out pacing the broccoli. I guess I did know that would happen, radishes are super fast/efficient little plants.  In the garden my dad says it’s best to plant your carrots and radishes in alternating rows.  The carrots take a dogs age to come up, but the radishes sprint to the surface making their place, and flanking the carrots so you know where they are until they find their way up.  I’m glad I planted them in halves on the tray, and not integrated.  I’ll be able to harvest at different times, so it will all be fine.

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No announcement here.  The hat is for a friend to give to a friend.  I have a lovely friend, who loves all the knitted/sewing goodies I make for my girls, but also loves to tell me she doesn’t make anything (This of course isn’t true, but she doesn’t do the “domestic” crafts like knitting and sewing) has someone in her life who is having a baby, so she asked if I’d be willing to knit something for them.  I normally don’t knit for others, because I have too many things I want to knit for myself, so taking time away from that is usually not something I’m willing to do.  But I like her, and it’s a baby hat, afterall.  How long could that take (2 1/2 hours, is what it took).  Besides, I’m past the baby knitting stage in my life, but who doesn’t like to knit a little baby garment!

Here is the hat.  I went to pull the pattern off the internet, and it’s not available anymore. I had to paw through old pattern printouts in my craft room to find the hard copy I had.  It’s a little fiddlehead fern motif with the curls at the top.  I used some Malabrigo twist in “lovely autumn leaves in New England” colors.  Love it!

This is the same pattern I used for the hat that Istra wore home from the hospital, and probably every day there after for a few weeks. Here’s a little memory shared.

Not much cuter than a baby surrounded in knitted goodness.

The microgreens are taking off.  The book indicated the broccoli and radishes should take about the same amount of time, however the radishes are really moving much quicker than the broccoli.

Radish

Broccoli

 

 

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I started, in January, attempting to make a pair of socks, for myself, each month.  I only made one knee high in January, but did complete February, March, April, and today I finished my favorite so far, my May socks.  This may be the last pair for this monthly challenge.  The other knitter that was doing this has stopped, so the idea isn’t as fun…besides knitting socks has taken up a lot of my less abundant knitting time, and I have sweaters to make to keep my growing girls cozy this Fall, which is just around the corner.  I figure if I look at it that way, I won’t be so focused on the oppressive heat that is descending even sooner.

Back to the socks, they were completed on the trip to bring Nellie home.  So I think they might be a bit overshadowed, in the big picture, but they are wonderfully comfortable, I love the colors and they fit perfectly.  Aaaah..  Happy feet.  The yarn is Claudia, from my favorite yarn store.  The pattern is free on Knitty, and is titled Java Socks.  What inspired me to make them was how stretchy the description indicated they were.  I find it hard to hand knit socks and have them fit properly.  These do.

We have a cow.  I waffle between excitement, and the haunting thought that I might be in over my head.  She is about as sweet and gentle as a few hundred pound animal with horns and a will, can be.  But that is the point.  She weighs a few hundred pounds, has horns and an idea of what she wants to do.

My friend Wendy and her husband John came with us with their livestock trailer.  It was perfect, Nellie was loaded up with a little convincing, but she did alright.  We chatted with her current owners, who were fabulous.  Very helpful, and were clearly happy to see her join our little homestead.  Her travel home was uneventful, and she was greeted by little people with fists full of grass.   John took the lead and brought her out of the trailer and down the driveway.

I was given some tips for working with her.  Hold her halter, or the leash close the halter, to control where her horns go.  That, and keeping her feet off mine, seem to be the greatest goals.  She responds well to a firm and kind manner.  I, on occasion, had to use my weight to get her to move where I wanted…making this one of  the few times in my life that I’m happy I’m not a little woman.  She was thrilled with the grassy spot, and happy to graze.

After grazing we wandered over to the barn ( I use this term loosely and wantingly…this barn I refer to is an 8×8 shed, and I so long for a real barn.  One where I can store straw and hay, where the cow will have a stall and the chickens can have pens…but I digress).  Once at the barn, she came in pretty easily, without the bribe of grain.  My dad and father-in-law built a fabulous ramp for her while we were gone, and it was perfect!  She was introduced to the broody Muscovy who is in a nest box on the wall.  Neither seemed interested in the other, so I’m hoping they do okay together.

Nellie was left with some water, hay and grain, the door half open so she can survey her new surroundings, as she prepares for sleep, in her new home.

I think I was pretty well prepared for her arrival, for a girl who has never really been in the company of cows.  Curling up with Keeping A Family Cow, a cup of tea, a blanket and cozy feet.  Today is a good day on the homestead.  Especially when we went out to put in the ducks and though we needed to herd them, they did herd easily into their new house!!  That was a relief.

While we were gone the rabbits had some new arrivals of their own.  Josie kindled 7, of which 5 lived.  One of the sister’s kindled 4 in the nest box, of which 2 lived, which was her first litter.  The other two seemed to have wiggled away from the group.  Her sister is due tomorrow, with her first litter.

 

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Brookford Farm had their Heifer Parade today.  A female bovine that has not been pregnant is a heifer.  When they get to go out to pasture for the first time since the Winter started they are very excited.  To mark this monumental occassion, the crew at the farm put together a fabulous event.  We all met at the barn at 4:30.  The hiefers were led from their barn, up the street to their new pasture.

It took a few of them a little longer to understand that it was time to head out.

We all followed behind, as closely as we could, but with the anticipation of new grass and the fact they have 4 legs, they got to the pasture well before we arrived, despite how enthusiastic we were.

Once we arrived the girls were all out on the grass, but there was still a little kick left in them as they ran about looking for the choicest greens.

My girls were amused and curious.

After several pictures of these beautiful girls we headed back to the barn.

They had a couple areas set up for the kids to enjoy, including a fort making area with milk crate building materials.  My hands on farm girl was right into that, mud and all.

Decorating a Spring Cow was great fun for my little artist.

Dinner was amazing.  I’m pretty sure all the food came from the farm, including Brookford’s very own rolls!  This was my first experience eating dandelion greens with potatoes.  Delicious!  I’m gathering some tomorrow and am very happy I picked up potatoes at the market today!

There was music to accompany our dinner.  We left before the barn dance started, because the girls were ready to hit the hay themselves, so we said good by to the cows…

…and headed home, where they were cleaned up and tucked in, with smiles on their faces from time on the farm.

Another reason why I love Brookford Farm!

Today was also the first Farmer’s Market of the Season in Portsmouth.  I started my day there, where I had a great chat with Jeff at New Roots.  I am trying to figure out how to manage my land, and what animals would compliment it, and he was not only helpful, but very willing to share his thoughts and experiences.  He has given me some great options to look into…let the research begin!  I also very much enjoyed a hot dog from his farm, cooked at the Market, with a Chai from White Heron Tea.

On my way out, I glanced over to see Liz from Riverslea knitting, which is not an uncommon sight, but I was immediately drawn to what she had her yarn sitting on.  This thing is brilliant! It turns freely as you knit, unwinding the ball easily and smoothly.  I love it!  It was also made by a man in his 80’s by the name of Walter Sanderson, and his name is carved into the bottom of the stand.  That made it even a smidge bit more endearing.

Oh, by the way, I’m loving the knitting of this sock.  The pattern is free, Java, from Knitty.com.  I’m using Claudia HandPaints Sock yarn, and it’s working up beautifully with the yarn.  I started these May 2.

Finally, for today, I started Violet Syrup.  The violets are steeping right now.  I half gallon jar filled with violets, and 4 cups of boiling water, covered overnight.

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In an attempt to eat fewer carbs…I really miss you, Irma…and eat more fats and protiens, I decided to pull out my two egg cookbooks. The Farmstead Egg Cookbook, by Terry Golson, and The Good Egg: More than 200 Fresh Approaches from Breakfast to Dessert, by Marie Simmons.  Both are fabulous, and have some interesting egg recipes.

Inspired by a some of the poaching ideas in the Egg Book, I warmed up some tomato soup* that I made a couple days ago.  I did not add the cream to the soup, when I made it, instead just added it as I heated it up, and I was glad I did, because I was able to heat the soup to a good boil without worrying about damaging the cream.

I heated the tomato soup to a boil, then laid eggs on the surface.  They dropped into the soup and then began to cook.  Once they were done, I removed them to a plate, I let the soup cool a little, then stirred in cream.  Spooned the soup into a bowl, topped with a couple poached eggs, and a little homemade yogurt.  Yum!!  This made a great lunch.

I have several recipes I want to try, and thought it would be a fun way to get back into blogging.  If all goes well, this week I will share a different egg recipe or idea.  Afterall, the eggs are plentiful with the increased day light!  It’s amazing that just about 2 months ago it was getting dark around 3:30!!  I’m so thankful for longer daylight hours.  Time to bring on the seed starting!

*The tomato soup was very simple and I didn’t use a recipe.  I grabbed 2 quarts of jarred tomatoes, 1 quart of jarred tomato juice and 1/2 pint of jarred tomato paste**.  After I sauteed a finely chopped onion, with some garlic and a grated carrot***, in butter, I added the tomato items, along with some dried parsely, oregano, basil, garlic powder (because you can’t have too much garlic), salt and pepper.

I added about a tablespoon of honey, because I grew up on Campbell’s tomato soup so I like it slightly sweet.  Simmered together until I liked the consistancy, then using an immersion blender I broke up most of the chucks, leaving it rustic, rather than smooth.    When I’m ready to serve I stir cream, which is to taste, and not necessary. (Onions, garlic, tomato ingredients, carrot, honey, parsley, basil all locally grown, and most processed for storing, by me.  Salt is from Maine, and the pepper, garlic powder, oregano aren’t local.)

**My tomato paste is actually skins that are removed during canning, that I then puree in a vitamix and can it in 1/2 pint jars, following tomato paste guidelines.  This keeps me from wasting the skins, and they really do make a nice paste.

***Grating carrots in any tomato dish adds a little sweetness and seems to also take away any unpleasant sharpness that might be present.  I love grating carrots into my pasta sauce and it worked well in the soup.  For sauce I use a regular grater, but for the soup, I wanted it fine, so I used a micrograter.

Not sure where all those footnotes came from.  I’ve never used them before, but they seem like a cleaner way to go off topic.

Check this out…a blogger, who blogs in Italian, and shops at my local yarn store, blogged about her Tea Leaves sweater with the handmade glass buttons!  So fun.  We met at the Button Demonstration I did last weekend.

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My friend decided to start a personal challenge of knitting a pair of socks each month for 11 months, in 2011.  The ommission of December is because, well who wants to have anything uneccessary to do during that month?  When I heard, I thought it was brilliant.  I could use more socks, and once you’ve worn handknit socks, the rest don’t compare.  I decided to jump on the bandwagon.

My progress has been modest, but I’m still in the race.  January socks were to be knee highs, made in a worsted weight yarn.  I did one, and then lost interest in the second.  I still want to finish, but I decided to start February first.  Well, now the weather is warming, so I’m looking to lighter weight, cooler socks, so I’m not sure what to do with January…It will wait for now.

February socks are done, and I’ll show you those another time.  Today, I worked on March socks.  I started them March 1, and I have completed the foot on the first sock.  The pattern is called “Catnip”, and is available for free.  I’m using my favorite sock yarn, Claudia fingering weight.  The yarn was purchased so long ago, I consider it to be free yarn.  It feels great and I’m excited to knit it, as the pattern is pretty simple and very fun.

I’m thinking of starting some regular posts, that aren’t necessarily what I did on that day.  I have a couple ideas and wondered, do you want to hear what I did during my quiet months, despite the fact it wasn’t what I did today?  I’ll still keep you up to date on what is happening now.  We are going into the new breeding/planting/gardening/building season, so I will keep up with that, too.

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It has not taken the place of the February Lady Sweater, made in a very deep aubergine color, as my favorite, but it’s pretty sweet. I am very pleased, it fits nicely, is very comfy and warm.

I don’t have any marvelous pics, since I finished it well after the sun went down, but I did managed to make the buttons, earlier today, so it is completely complete, knitting and buttons.

The color combo on the buttons is perfect, even though they came out of the kiln looking a little different then I expected. That’s okay, it happens a lot. Glass is like that. Kind of like pottery glaze. You have an idea, but the reactions with other colors and the temps the glass reaches can effect the color it becomes.

All, in all, I’m pleased.

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