Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A New Tool: Pressure Canner

While we were having our snow day on Sunday, I decided to try out pressure canning for the first time.

3 quarts of Chicken Stock, safe for the shelf. :-)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Snow Day

We finally had a proper snow day yesterday.

Not sure if you can tell in this photo, but three dogs were having a wrestling match... until they discovered I was taking photos of them...

Hubba did some plowing... most of the snow went into a pile in the middle of the basketball court.

The Alpaca Dog helped out while everyone else continued to play in the snow.

The boys are building a snow fort...

It snowed some more... about 12 inches total.

And then the morning after... Bright blue skies and fresh white blankets of snow.

The boys hollowed out their fort today...

We love winter in Colorado and are so very happy that it has decided to spend some time with us.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Fiber Arts Friday: Wingspan, part 9

Thanks to everyone for your suggestions and support regarding my Wingspan last month.

I confirmed that starting with the other end of the yarn should have resulted in a better transition.

So I decided to rip out what I knit with the second cake and re-knit starting with the other end.

After ripping it out and replacing on the needles... about 7 1/2 wedges from the first cake.

I am into wedge #8 and am pleased to point out that the cake transition in the middle of the last wedge on the right is no longer obvious.  :-D

I plan to knit wedges until I run out of yarn on this cake.  Hopefully that will result in a scarf that I'm much happier with.

Happy Fiber Arts Friday.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Fiber Arts Friday: Pay-it-Forward, part 1

In early January I signed up to participate in a Pay-it-Forward project.

As a participant, I will receive something nice at some point in 2013 and offered to provide five somethings nice during the course of this year.  I had four takers and have finished the first project.

The first recipient is our Massage Therapist.  She's a generous soul and I completely adore her.  Her heat went out more than once (so far) this winter, so I decided to make her a cosy scarf.

I chose the The Minimalist Scarf and had a good amount of an Autumny Manos del Uruguay yarn in my stash that was waiting for the perfect something... some yarns have to come home with you even if they have no specific project.

I was about 1/3 through this project when I realized the error of my purling ways, so I continued to knit standard and purl through the back loop.

It's a little wider and a lot longer than the pattern called for.  Just the way I like it.

I hear she likes it too.  :-)

Happy Fiber Arts Friday.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Things that Work: Biting a Match

I had heard that biting on a match while you are chopping onions helps to take the sting out of your eyes.

I had not tried it because (maybe I'm weird but) onions don't really bother me.  But I had an especially pungent group earlier this week...

Biting a match while chopping onions most definitely takes the sting out of your eyes.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Garden: Planning for Planting

My seed order arrived at the end of last week so I spent some time over the weekend putting together a matrix showing sun and water needs against planting dates and then sorting them in a box.

I'm quite surprise at how many can be planted in mid-March.  I have been a post-Mother's Day (mid-May) planter since we moved back to Colorado.  So it will be interesting to see how things go.

There are still a few varieties that I'm unsure about when to plant.  The information I have is for seedlings or for starting inside and then transplanting outdoors.  I don't have a place for seed starting yet, so I will need to figure this part out... or at least commit to a WAG.  ;-)

I've started thinking about where to plant what and how best to do some succession planting, but I suspect this will be pretty squishy until I layout the rows and start the actual planting part.

I'm hopeful that this will yield better results than last year, especially since it looks like we're facing a continued drought.  We have had some snow and certainly some wintery temperatures, but for the most part this winter has been pretty dry.  They are forecasting a little snow for this afternoon, but it doesn't look like much is happening to the west yet.

Keep your fingers crossed for us.  :-)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Fiber Arts Friday: Swatching and Purling

After I ripped out my Bandana Cowl last week, I spent some time swatching and practicing a proper purl stitch.

Still 4 stitches per inch (too big), but the stockinette looks much better.

This one gave 3 stitches per inch.

Both swatches were made on the same needles.

I only have one skein of this Malabrigo in the SFO Sky Colorway.  It's quite soft and I think will feel nice in a cowl.  So I am trying again.

Happy Fiber Arts Friday.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Fiber Arts Friday: Following Instructions

I've mentioned more than a few times that I'm not very good at following directions.  I blame it on being an engineer.

The first time I tried the Bandana Cowl I was using smaller than recommended yarn and needles.  I made adjustments to the pattern but had not read the instructions properly so my adjustments were not quite right and the cowl was giant and by that, I mean GIANT.  So I ripped it out.

This time, I am using the recommended needles and apparently, a thicker than recommended yarn.  I got a lot further, but the cowl is still quite large.  I took it off the needles and reviewed it with my Comadres earlier this week.  My gauge is 3 stitches per inch instead of 4... so a frogging it will go too.  :-/

Should be ~19 inches around.  The ruler shows it is more than 2 feet.

I also learned that for my entire knitting career (4-5 years) I have been doing my purl stitches incorrectly.  I have always purled through the back loop.  Which is a perfectly legal and proper stitch, but not the correct purl stitch and does not give you stockinette when knitting short rows... assuming your knit stitch is proper and not also through the back loop.

It's a cool fabric... but as you can see there is a difference between the short rows at the bottom and the knit in the round at the top.

I will be reclaiming this yarn and then figuring out how to purl properly.  In the meantime, Happy Fiber Arts Friday!