Thursday, September 19, 2013


I was going to write this entry in the car dealership while waiting for them to diagnose the "weird burning smell" (front axel bearing thingy), but there were too many people in the waiting room to whip out my computer and start typing madly away. I could have knit and people watched too, but these were the most boring people ever. I read my book instead.

I am steadily working away on my Dahlia cardigan, I currently have one side done and I am working towards getting to the other side.

I have had a lot of ups and downs with this sweater. First off the center panel took forever for me to make it past the 7th row. Things kept slipping off the needles or getting twisted or what have you. I conservatively estimate that it took me 20 tries to get past row 7. Then I had trouble because of gauge.

What happened was that because of the construction of the sweater and because the center lace panel turned out so big, it meant that bottom and top panels that I used to check gauge were so tall that the sweater would have been somewhere in the neighborhood of 23 inches from my neck to where it ended. Basically a HUGE droopy sweater. Obviously, I didn't want a huge droopy sweater, so I went and looked really hard at the pattern and figured, hmmm I can kind of wing this! So that's what I did.

If you want to have a better idea of what I'm talking about, you should check out the Interweave knits blog post on it. What I decided was that the little strips that you knit separately and then join to the life stitches of your lace panel to create a huge opening that then becomes the side, well those could be shorter. Like shorter than the smallest size. The only rub would be figureing where the afterthought sleeve should go.

So I eyeballed it. dahlia

and I don't think i did terrible, but it wasn't quite what I wanted. So guess what? I ripped it out. And I started over. I left the top section as it was, but I made the bottom section as long as the smallest size. I had the armhole where I wanted it, so I just figured out where that would be with the new size and bam I was knitting. Knitting stockinette over a huge number of stitches.

Dahlia in progress

(Sorry about the picture quality, but I actually want to finish this entry).

I'm now starting to make my way to the other side. Although, I broke one of the needles I was using (sat on it--or rather kneed it) AGAIN. Also the miles of stockinette looming ahead is making me wish for a car trip or something.

Just in time to start using all my free time on Halloween.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Fixing a shirt or two

What I did on my summer vacation part 2.

Maybe you all know this, but if you shop at Kohl's during set times and you spend $50 or more you get $10 Kohl's cash to redeem later. Maybe you think this is a scam. Maybe you've been at the checkout and your total came to $46 and you were tempted to run back for one more thing. Well, this summer I discovered that if you come back with your $46 receipt later and buy $4 they will give you the Kohl's cash. I discovered this when I did this and the next day decided that while my girls were in camp, I would buy them each a shirt from the slut juniors section. I picked what I thought was an innocuous enough shirt--a v-neck that says Hogwarts. Bought two and skedaddled.

So imagine my horror when I discovered V-neck in juniors section means cleavage bearing. How low was it?


That's one daughter wearing it with a shirt underneath.

But at this point there is no returning them (not the least of which was the Kohl's cash) because both girls are in LOVE with the idea of owning a Harry Potter Hogwarts shirt! And really the shirts fit every where else. So I got a little creative.

First I took the shirts to the fabric store and found, to my delight, t-shirt fabric in the exact same yellow!
Is that a match or what?!

I bought half a yard, but really I only needed a quarter. I then hemmed one end and sewed it across the v-neck.
We won't mention that I had that color of thread. I did though--isn't THAT crazy.

Then I basically sewed all along the edges were the original stitching was--along the pin line here: after

I wish I had an after picture, because it turned out great. Both girls love these shirts, neither looks provocative, and my mother in law actually asked me what the problem was with the shirts--she hadn't realized I had FIXED them.

I do have to add though that I am majorly disappointed with the juniors section at Kohl's. My girls are 10, they are tall for their age and are aging out of children's clothes really fast. The juniors section is full of short shorts and these v-necks and camis. We actually had better luck for shirts in the petite section--although many of those are kind of matronly. There has to be in my mind a middle ground, otherwise I'm not sure I'll ever shop enough to get Kohl's cash again.

P.S. Spent my KC on a new vacuum that I think I love more than I should.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013


One of the problems of not blogging for a long time, is that you aren't sure if you should start withe the projects you finished in your absence or the projects you are working on now. At least that's my problem. I think though I'll solve it by dealing with the now and hopefully catching up now that I have more time.

Oh who am I kidding, every summer it is the same for me. I spend summers with the children, being present, doing things and not really spending too much time in front of the computer. I put off all non-essential stuff saying--I'll get to it when school starts. And then school does start and I spend September rushing around like mad catching up from the last three months of neglect.

So we had lots of fun this summer, and I have two projects I want to write about at a later time, but now I want to talk about the issue that has taken over my life lately: canning.

Maybe this always happens and I just don't notice it but this year peaches AND tomatoes are both in high season at the same time. Last year I canned both for the first time ever and let me tell you--it was a long hard winter rationing out the peaches and tomatoes. So this year, I decided to make more. Last Saturday we purchased a bushel of peaches from our favorite orchard Christofferson Farms(sorry facebook link), and I spent labor day and the first day of school chopping, peeling, pitting and canning.

How many peaches in a bushel you say?

After filling 15 cans, I had only made a dent:

So maybe a bushel was going overboard. Maybe.

For the record, I had done a small batch a few weeks ago, and a batch of honey spiced peaches too. I gave away 2 jars of the first batch in a thank you basket I made for an aunt who invited us to spend a few days at her cottage on Lake Michigan so I have now 31 jars of regular peaches, and three honey spiced.

I made one batch of jam earlier too. I have enough peaches left to either freeze, make more jam, or make lassi for dinner tonight (to go with the eggplant curry (you can see the eggplant in the first picture).

One thing I like about canning, besides what people usually say they like about canning (it tastes better, you know what is in it, no metal cans, etc.) is how it gives me a real appreciation for the past. Particularly women of my grandmother's generation, who canned from their gardens to support their families. Canning is hard--I estimate I spent 6 hours on those 30 jars (all pints). My back ached, my fingers got chapped, and I was stuck at home on some really nice cool days. And all those jars? Well we eat basically a quart at a sitting between the four of us, so that's two pints every time we have them. So those 30 jars represent 15 meals. Out of how many in a year? I could never ever can enough food to exclusively feed us. And I don't think my ancestors did either--although I'm sure they ate less. But it gives you a real appreciation for just how much work can go into feeding your family.

Today I am off to pick tomatoes at our CSA. I love love love our CSA. In addition to the fresh vegetables (and melons) grown and handed out every week (buffet style so you don't get stuck with tons of stuff you don't like--even though I do it like a buffet and sample), during high season you can go out to the farm and pick if you are putting up. So a month ago, people who pickle could go out and pick bushels of cucumbers. I don't pickle. I do make sauce and can tomatoes though so, now that tomatoes are bountiful, I get to do the real farm to table thing.