Monday, September 19, 2016

summer kicked my butt

"summer ran past me and kicked my butt on it's way out"

You know what? I started a blog entry 12 days ago and I never finished it and then oh man.

I never finished it because somehow I couldn't get pictures from my instagram to post here. Turns out that that was pretty much a mobile issue, and if I had just shoved everyone out of the way and used the desktop, I would be fine.

I almost don't want to talk about knitting because I've been knitting all summer long on a pair of socks and for some reason I flaked on numbers and the first sock:

First of the Ballgame/travel socks is done. A little snug.

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Doesn't quite fit. It's a little tight on the heel and ankle. So rather than rip it out, I just decided to make the second sock bigger and then rip. Well I made the second sock too big, but realized it early enough that I only had to rip out about 3 inches of knitting.

So yeah, not the highlight of my summer.

I did however, embark on a new thing for me. I got a pressure canner for Christmas, and after having gotten it checked at the extension service, I dived in and made canned beans!

I was told to Instagram my finished beans. Have heard 7 pings!

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I'm hoping they taste good.

I also did the peaches

Time to put fruit in jars

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I water bath canned them, in the pressure canner because I can do 10 pints instead of 3 at a time. I also picked tomatoes and canned those puppies.

I'm set to have a busy weekend #tomatoes #canning

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That took me 5 days. Seriously. But I tried both pressure canning and water canning and pressure canning sauce. We'll see how it goes.

I've been carting my sock to many many baseball games (minor league), and am close to done. I've also been working on a cowl that I ripped out ages ago. And planning some baby knitting that I should probably just start on. I will try try try not to be so long in updating again. As I should actually have things to show off soon. Things other than vacation:

Oh the mackinaw bridge!

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Thursday, July 07, 2016

Quick note

ust a really quick note to say--I finished the Central Park Hoodie. And even though it is currently 85 degrees F outside right now, I made people model:

Central Park hoodie #finished

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Other people also wanted in on the action. Why yes, we do have AC.

#knitwear on a hot July day

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

June update

So so much has happened since I last posted so I'd better get right to it.

1) My mother in law: Better. She's home now after 3 weeks in the hospital and 2 weeks in a rehabilitation center/nursing home. Yesterday they gave her permission to walk without a walker or a cane, so progress continues!

2) Strawberry season: Underway! I have purchased 2 flats, then we went and picked yesterday and I picked 6 pounds--and I was trying to go light. Here is what I have made so far from all this strawberry goodness:
Jam of course. So far I have made 4 batches. I might be done. Last year I made 6 (plus 1 each of cherry, peach and peach vanilla) and I ended up with extras. I may make one more to be safe. Hey future me--5 might be the sweet spot!

Strawberry lemonade concentrate. I've made this the last few years. Ball's recipe. I find the squeezing of lemons to be the biggest pain in the butt, but worth it. I never get 7 pints out of it though. 5 full canned pints and about 3/4 of a pint that you need to use immediately. This year was no exception.

Strawberry Marshmallows! This was my first year making these and here's the verdict. They were delicious the first day. Then not so much. They got soggy REALLY fast. I can't decide if it was the advice to grease the pan with cooking spray (IF I make this again, I'll use butter) or the humidity. I still am toying with freezing the puree and making this in the winter.

Strawberry marshmallows #yum

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A fresh Strawberry pie! No verdict on this yet as I JUST finished it. This is my mother in law's recipe, as she is the one who usually makes it. She's better, but not THAt much better and I would have hated to say--ok, now that you are up and about could you make me a pie? Instead I said--I'll make the pie, where's your recipe. Since her eyes lit up at the mention of pie and she smiled big when she realized I'd make the pie I knew I'd made the right call. Then when I told her on the phone that it was dinner dessert she told me she couldn't wait--this from someone building their appetite back so good news all around.

3) Sweater knitting!

I've been plugging away (in 90 degree heat at a baseball game even) on the Central Park hoodie for my daughter. I am ready to pick up the ribbing stitches (minimum 300) and because that sounded so exciting, I decided to sew in the sleeves first. Picture? yep:


A photo posted by Jodie (@ja_gardner) on

Yes, it looks like it has 3 arms, because the sides aren't sewn in and so the sides look like arms. MUST MAKE MYSELF PICK UP STITCHES. The pattern claims 300 will do it for this size, but I made it a little long so the plan is to Pick up as many stitches as it takes to get through one side, try for the same number on the other and be sure it is divisible by 4--easy peasy! (eyeroll) Ask me in a week how that went.

4) Landscaping. We had this hairbrained idea to replace the backyard pond we ripped out a few years ago--ok a dozen years ago. I'm attempting to spend at least 30 minutes on pulling up rocks, and weed barrier fabric every day. Failed yesterday. Trying to get the kids to help is hard because they are more scattered than I am. Stay tuned though as I have been taking progress pictures.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Flat sweater

Usually I knit after my girls are tucked in bed and while I watch TV with my husband and unwind. It gets me roughly an hour sometimes less depending. It means projects go slow.

Rare is it that I knit during the day. Maybe I feel it is too decadent to sit in the middle of my (usually) messy house and take time for just me. I do knit when kids are home sick, while they sleep the fitful fevered sleep that only sick kids manage to pull off.

I also knit in public--ball games, waiting rooms. I never feel self-concious about it. In fact, I've never understood why I should. I mean I get that if I am in a meeting and presumably you are paying me to sit in that meeting and be bored out of my skull that I maybe should feel a tad bit self-conscious pulling out my knitting. But at a baseball game? (Now watch I'll be in one of those news clips where somebody throws an arm out in front of my face to stop a fly ball from hitting me and like that poor kid on his phone the internet will chastise me--we do usually sit behind the net though) No.

But lately, we've not been watching TV. Almost 2 weeks ago my MIL had an acute attack of pancreatitis and we've been hospital sitting ever since. She is getting better, but man your pancreas is like Bruce Banner--mild mannered until it gets angry and becomes HULK SMASH!!!

We've settled into a new routine now and so for the last week, I go in for a couple hours and sit and chat if she feels like it and don't if she doesn't and basically I am just THERE for whatever while my husband takes a break from his constant vigilance in this regard. This is why I married him BTW--He is totally the guy who drops everything to be at your bedside. And during this time, I knit.

Specifically, I've been working on the central park hoodie I started for my daughter. More specifically--the last sleeve. Now, when I started the sleeves, I was at book club and every single lady there told me that when they do sleeves, they do both at once so they turn out the same size. And honestly, I do worry about that. Mostly though I was worried about the increases being sort of even, and keeping track of where I was. So I made a chart:

Keeping track of the sleeves

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This has turned into a godsend, because I have carted this page with the sleeve back and forth in my purse to the hospital and I always know which row to increase on!

I've been there enough that today I took the other sleeve so I could get the sleeve caps even. (and we won't discuss how I dragged the whole sweater there, just in case I finished--I didn't).

So that's the story of how I managed to go from the last entry Where I only had part of the ribbing--to today when I only have the sleeve cap left to knit:

Flat sweater

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Discharge is soon, but rehab comes next and so I'm guessing we have lots more waiting. Of course we hit 80 degrees Tuesday and have had 80 degree days every day since. Still, nights can be chilly. Plus we still have several baseball games to shiver through.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Lazy update

Progress continues on the cream sweater. In fact, I am so lazy I didn't want to set it all up for a photo shoot and instead, just sort of snapped it in it's natural habitat.


What you see there is a back, both fronts AND a sleeve. That sort of makes me feel like I am NEARLY done. But it also forgets finishing the other sleeve, sewing it all together, and adding a buttonband AND hood. Good thing it snowed yesterday! (Didn't stick but STILL).


Still so much sleeve to knit....

I have been taking this every where I go, and that usually is a bad thing when you have a sleeve (increase every X rows Y times!), so this time, I made a chart of which row numbers to increase on. And when I took it to the ball park for our first (really cold) game of the year I improvised.


I did end up with 3 too many stitches at the end, but in the interests of finishing, well I just bound off instead of trying to "fix" it.

The other project that is progressing is our caterpillar project. You do remember the caterpillars right? Well the cocoons have been in a tank in the garage over the winter. And last week I moved it outside in case sun was the deciding factor. No action yet, but I understand May is their month.


Monday, April 25, 2016

Cream central park Hoodie

So, I didn't mean to take more than a month to update. And to my credit I didn't just rest on the laurels of a finished sweater either. As I said--I was swatching and thinking about size for the next sweater.

In the end, I decided a 36" Central Paark Hoodie would fit nicely and started on it. To date, I have the back and one of the sides done. I'm at the point in the second side, where I need to set up the patterning. Just to give you and idea though:

Almost to the armhole! #sweater #knitting

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That's the first side, nearly at the armhole. Like I said, that side is done, and the second side is started (ribbing is finished).

My problem is...
This is where people usually interrupt me to nod knowingly and say--yep, summer is fast approaching. Which is not the issue at all. I mean we live in Michigan. And while not Upper Peninsula, still north enough that I'm sure we'll be wearing sweaters at most evening events until Mid July at least.

No, my problem is that I'd rather be knitting socks at the moment. You see I have 4 new (since I started the sweaters) skeins of sock yarn and two more coming (which is not my fault because I'm in a sock club so some yarn just comes to me! and the other is ModeKnit in Purple rain and did I mention that it is PURPLE? I mean, clearly this is not my fault). I think part of the reason for this is that we've reached the time of year when I am a little sick of my current socks AND I have a pile that need to be darned.

So maybe we are fast approaching another "summer of socks"? I don't know. I do think I'd like to try some new sock patterns this summer. I may need two pairs going at once, so I can have something complicated and something easy. I just need to finish this sweater.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

finished object alert

Finished Object alert Finished Object alert!

The other day I sewed in the last end and BAM there was a sweater

Bam! Sweater #finishedobject

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Yarn: Knit picks The Mighty Stitch in Gulfstream
needles: US 7
Pattern: Girl Friday

I made this for my daughter and she's roughly the same size as I am (she's taller and a bit lighter and wears about a size smaller than me) it does fit her, but I'm still hesitant to use her picture here on the blog. So I did the next best thing! I tried it on and Holey Moley guacamole it fits me.

Finished girl Friday sweater

Finished girl Friday sweater

Finished girl Friday sweater

I do think she will probably not wear it as much as *I* would like but that's ok (when she gets tired of it--it fits me!). I also think that the yarn is going to fuzz up . That sort of disappointed me because I would THINK that with a name like mighty stitch that's you'd get some good stitch definition. But alas, I'm guessing you'll get much fuzz and piling. That's based on how it knit and how it was when I handled it. It is soft though and the color will look fabulous on her!

And, I've already swatched for daughter #2's sweater. She wants a Central Park Hoodie only slightly longer than the pattern calls for (17 inch armpit to hem instead of 14 or 15 that her size calls for). I am hesitant to start with hers though. I made her a size 32 CPH out of the same yarn a few years ago (when I measured her chest at 25 and it fit her great up until this last fall). She's a 33 chest size now and I'm pretty close to guage. I know this sweater runs a bit small but I don't want to make it HUGE. I'm debating between the 36 and the 40. Probably I'll stick with the 36.