Saturday, January 2, 2016

Paul's Scarf

A while back I had a friend ask me to knit him  scarf.  That, to me, is an honor.  Most people don't ask me to knit them things.  Below is the pattern.  It's very simple, but it knits up quickly and easily.  It's also perfect for a guy!


1 skein worsted weight yarn (I used an indie yarn that is a South African wool base -) or as much as you desire.  It had approximately 460 yards
Size 9 knitting needles (either straights or a 16" circular)
Darning needle

Cast on 41 stitches

Knit 4 rows

For the remainder of the scarf, this is the pattern:

Row 1:  K6, sl stitch (as if to purl), repeat to end of row
Row 2:  K6, yarn forward, so stitch  (as if to purl), yarn back.  repeat to end of row
Row 3:  K6, sl stitch (as if to purl), repeat to end of row
Row 4:  K6, yarn forward.  sl stitch (as if to purl), yarn back. repeat to end of row
Row 5:  Knit across
Row 6:  K6, yarn forward, so stitch  (as if to purl), yarn back.  repeat to end of row

Repeat rows 1-6 for desired length

At the end of your scarf, knit 4 rows, bind off loosely, weave in ends

Block.  I put wires at both ends.  Pinned one side down and stretched it to the desired length - 84"

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Prickly Pear Jelly

Prickly Pear Jelly:

3 c. juice
2 oz. pectin powder
1/2 c. lemon juice
5 c. sugar

To prepare juice, gather 2-3 qts. of ripe dark purple fruit. Singe off stickers over open flame. Cover with water and simmer 45 minutes. Strain thru jelly bag or several layers of cheese cloth. Bring juice and pectic to boil in large kettle, stirring constantly. Add sugar and bring to full boil while stirring. Boil 2 minutes, remove from heat, skim off foam. Pour into sterilized jars and seal. Water bath. 

Ok - my mom made jelly for years and sealed it with wax. That is how she did this as well. I know that is not the proper way to seal the jars. So, I would recommend wc for the same amount of time you do any other jelly. Enjoy!

Oh, and wear leather gloves while you're messing with the fruit.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Life's a Hoot Shawl

Supplies:  2 skeins of fingering weight yarn (440 yds ea)
Knitting needles:  US 7 circular needles w/40” or 60” cables
Cabling needles
Waste Yarn
Stitch markers, optional
Size 6 beads

Gauge:  Because the shawl is not fitted, there is not a gauge.  If you decide to use bigger or smaller needles, the shawl will turn out bigger or smaller.

Shawl size:  At the base of the shawl it is 8.5” wide.  From outside edge to outside edge at the ends of the shawl it is 57”.

K - Knit
P - Purl
K1fb - Knit one front and back
p2tog - purl 2 together
ssk - slip, slip, knit
RS - Right side
WS - Wrong side
C4F - Slip 2 stitches to cable needle, bring to the front of your work, k2, k2 from cable
C4B - Slip 2 stitches to cable needle, carry needle to back of your work, k2, k2 from cable
sb - Insert needle as if to purl, slip bead to front of work (back of stitch) and then purl as usual.


Slip 42 (50, 54) beads onto your yarn before beginning.  I always thread a few extra, just in case.

With the waste yarn do a provisional crochet cast on.  You will cast on 256 (304, 328) stitches.  256 stitches will have 21 owls, 304 will have 25 and 328 will have 27

Knit three rows (garter stitch)
Row 4 (ws):  k4, p8, *k4, p8; repeat from * to last 4 stitches, k to end
Row 5 (rs):   k1, k1fb, p2, *C4F, C4B, p4; repeat from *  to last 4 stitches, 
  p2, k2
Row 6:         k1, k1fb, k2, p8, *k4, p8; repeat from * to last 5 stitches, k to 
Row 7:          k2, p3, *k8, p4; repeat from * to last 13 stitches, k8, p3, k2

Row 8:         BEAD ROW:  K5, p2, sb, p2, sb, p2 *k4 (p2, sb)2x, p2; repeat                from * to last 5 stitches, knit to end.
Row 9:         k2, p3, *k8, p4; repeat from * to last 13 stitches, k8, p3, k2
Row 10:       k5, p8, *k4, p8; repeat from * to last 5 stitches, knit to end
Row 11:       k1, k1fb, p3 *C4F, C4B, p4; repeat from * to last 13 stitches,       then C4F, C4B p3, k2
Row 12:       k1, k1fb, k3, p8, *k4, p8; repeat from * to last 6 stitches, knit
                     to end

Rows 13, 15, 17, 19:  k2, p4, *k8, p4; repeat from * to last 2 stitches, k2
Rows 14, 16, 18, 20:  k6, p8, *k4, p8; repeat from * to last 6 stitches, k6

Row 21:        k1, k1fb, p4 *C4F, C4B, p4; repeat from * to last 2 stitches, k2
Row 22:        k1, k1fb, *k4, p8; repeat from * to last 7 stitches, k to end

Row 23:  Purl

Rows 24-34 as follows:

Wrong side:  *p2, k2; repeat from * to end
Right side:  *k2, p2; repeat from * to end

Knit two rows
Bind off loosely.


Remove the provisional crochet cast on and slip each stitch individually onto your needles.  You will probably have to “flip your stitches” when you go to knit them.  They will probably be twisted.  Make sure you check.

Once you get your live stitches on your needles, count them to be sure you have the correct amount 256 (304, 328)

Starting on the front of the shawl:
*Row 1 Knit
*Row 2 Purl
Row 3 - K131 (155, 167)  stitches, turn
Row 4 - p9 stitches, p2tog, turn
Row 5 - k9 stitches, ssk, k3, turn
Row 6 - (you will have 12 stitches on the needle) p12, p2tog , p3.  
Continue short rows as established

*If you want to make your shawl deeper continue with Rows 1 and 2 for 10 or 12 rows, then continue on to row 3

When you get to the last 2 rows, you will have 4-6 stitches on each side.  Go ahead and knit (or purl)  to the end of the row, turn and complete the last row.  Bind off.

Block in crescent shape.  When blocking, run wires thru the short ends of the shawl.  Pin down in a crescent shape.  When you block, pin between the “posts” under the owls’ feet.  This will stretch your shawl out and you will not have to pin the top or inside of the crescent down. 

If you want a more rounded shape and not such strong points, after you pin under the owls go back and pin at the bottom of the fence posts inbetween.  This will give the shawl a smoother edge or bottom. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Owl Cowl

My daughter is a Chi Omega and she is fascinated with owls.   My mom used to collect owl stuff, so I thought it was only fitting I design a cowl for both.  My mom would have loved it.

LaDonna Maxwell

1 skein fingering weight yarn
1 size 6 circular needle - 16”
1 stitch marker

sb - slip bead
C4F - Cable 4 front - place 2 stitches on a cable needle, hold in front of work, knit 2 stitches then knit the 2 from the cable needle.
C4B - Cable 4 back - place 2 stitches on a cable needle, hold in back of work, knit 2 stitches then knit the 2 from the cable needle.

String 24 beads on your yarn.

Cast on 144 stitches on size 6 needles using the long tail cast on method.  Join, being careful not to twist.  Place your marker.

Purl 4 rows
Knit 6 rows
Purl 4 rows
Knit 6 rows
Purl 4 rows
Knit 6 rows

Owl Section:

Row 1: p2, *k8, p4 - repeat from * to last 2 stitches, p2
Row  2:      p2, *C4F, C4B, p4; repeat from *  to last 2 stitches, p2
Row  3:      p2, k8, *p4, k8; repeat from * to last 2 stitches, p2
Row  4:      p2 *k8, p4; repeat from * to last 2 stitches, p2

Row 5:       BEAD ROW:  p2, k2, sb, k2, sb, k2 *p4 (k2, sb)2x,* repeat to last 2 stitches p2
Row 6:       p2, *k8, p4; repeat from * to last 2 stitches,  p2
Row 7:       p2, k8, *p4, k8; repeat from * to last 2 stitches, p2
Row 8:     p2, *k8, p4; repeat from * to last 2 stitches, p2
Repeat rows 7 and 8 one more time.
Row 11      p2 *C4F, C4B, p4; repeat from * to last 2 stitches, p2
Row 12:     p2, *k8, p4; repeat from * to last 2 stitches, p2

For the next 12 rows, p2,* k8, p4; repeat from * to last 2 stitches, p2

Row 25:        P2 *C4F, C4B, p4; repeat from * to last 2 stitches, P2
Row  26:        P2, *K8, P4; repeat from * to last 2 stitches, P2

Purl 1 row

Knit 6 rows
Purl 4 rows
Knit 6 rows
Purl 4 rows
Knit 6 rows
Purl 4 4ows

Bind off purlwise using a stretchy bind off.

You can adjust the length of the your cowl by adding or subtracting 12 stitches.

You can also increase the size of your owls by adding rows in the body section (rows 13 - 26).  Just keep repeating p2, *k8, p4, k2, repeat from * to last 2 stitches, p2.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Liebster Award

This award is given to new or up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. The award is then passed along to other bloggers in the same category to help spread the word and support one another.
1. Answer the questions the tagger has set for you.
2. Then, create 11 new questions for the bloggers you pass the award to.
3. Choose 11 new bloggers (with less than 200 followers) to pass the award to and link them in your post.
4. Go back to their page and tell them about the award.
5. No tag backs.
for the nomination.  Now to the questions and answers:

Christine knows I knit, so most of these questions concern knitting, so let's get started.

1. Natural fibers or man-made? I love natural fibers.  I never really knew anything other than acrylic (man-made) until about 7 years ago when I learned how to knit.  I do like acrylic for some items, like baby hats or something that you know a child will be dragging thru the dirt and it's easy to just toss in the washing machine.

2. Cables or lace?  Can I say both?  Cables used to terrify me, but after I saw how they were done, I am much less intimidated by them. I still get a bit worried when I see a pattern with cables in it, but it doesn't intimidate me anymore.  Lace is something I have grown to love.  It amazes me how you can put stitches together and form beautiful flowing patterns to form something so beautiful that it makes you want to knit it.

3. What is your favorite color or combination of colors?  Well, I used to have just two favorite colors - purple and pink (as a young girl, who didn't??).  Now, well, I still like them both, but I have since added lime green, royal blue, caribbean blue, bright yellow.  I guess I like them all.  Right now I am infatuated with lime green - anything with lime green.

4. Top-down or bottom-up?   I am assuming this is either socks or hats or even shawls.  Hats I prefer bottom-up, just so much easier and I feel like I am accomplishing something when I see those decreases happening.  Shawls, it can go either way, I have cast on 3 stitches and I have cast on over 800.  They both have their appeal, so I can go either way.  Socks - hmm, I'll let you know.  I'm going to be attempting socks this year.

5. Seamless or knit in pieces then sewn up? Well, I guess seamless - I have sewn up very few items and it's not my favorite thing to do, but I do want to make a top down seamless tank for this summer, so I'm hoping that encourages me to expand my horizons.

6. Coffee or tea?  I like them both - just depends on who I am with and where I am at.  I used to only drink coffee if I was at church or at a coffee shop, or someplace I could buy a cup of coffee.  I recently bought my first "real" coffee pot.   I have also discovered peppermint tea.  I really like it and have added it to my collections.

7. What is your favorite season and why? This is the easiest one to answer by far. I grew up in the northern part of the state and we hand a lot of snow and cold winters.  I LOVE winter.  Where I live now I crave cold.  When it's 115 or more outside, I dream of living somewhere that has lots of snow where I can bundle up and just enjoy the cold.  You can always add more clothing, you can only take so much off.

8. What crafts do you enjoy besides knitting?  I've done so many.  I've done ceramics (own molds and a kiln), rubber stamping (own thousands of stamps), scrapbooking (own thousands of stickers), cross stitch (used to own hundreds of patterns and just as much thread).  But really, I've just gotten to where I focus on knitting and I guess baking.  I love to bake and even though you might not consider it a craft, it can be and I love it.

9. What are you reading right now?  I try and only read one book at a time.  Right now I am reading The Hunger Games on my Kindle.  I like my Kindle, but it doesn't make up for the smell or feel of a real book.  As for a real book - I've been working on Atlas Shrugged for a while.

10. How long have you been a knitter? I became a knitter in the fall of 2007 after my mom died from a 12 year battle with multiple myeloma (a blood cancer).  I learned to knit for two reasons - one was to keep my sanity during the pain and loss of someone who meant the absolute world to me and whom I missed and still miss daily and the other was because I wanted to make hats for chemo patients.  I have never looked back.  Knitting has kept me sane thru some really hard times.

11. If you could go anywhere right now, and money was no object, where would you go?  I guess I would say Italy.  Both sides of my family are from there and I would love to take my daughter to go see my family on both sides.  I have never been there and it's always been a dream.  I am very proud of my Italian heritage and I would like to meet my family "in the old country".

My Nominees:

My questions to all of you:

1.  I know some of you knit and some write and some bake and some quilt or scrapbook.  What do you like the most about your craft?
2.   How do you come up with your ideas for the items you create?
3.  Who taught you how to knit, crochet, bake, etc.
4.  How long have you done your craft?
5.  What is your favorite book?
6.  If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
7.  Many times people talk about role models, who is your role model?
8.  If you could DO anything in the world what would it be?
9.  If someone walked up to you and told  you that you were their role model, what would you say or do?
10.  What are your favorite foods and colors?
11.  If you could use your craft and develop it into a business, would you?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Santa Baby/Toddler Hat

Yes, it's true.  While sitting at the craft fair last weekend, I knitted up two hats to be felted (they are drying as I type).  I also came up with a baby Santa Hat.  Started and finished the first one in one day and then started the second one the next day.  If you find a mistake, be kind and let me know.  I just jotted this down as I did it.  So, here's the pic

You can get at least 2, possibly three hats from these two skeins.

Santa Baby/Toddler Hat

Here's the pattern:

You will need

one skein each of I Love This Cotton Red and I Love this Cotten Shiny White (Christmas white - it has a sparkle strand thru it).

Size 5 or Size 7 dpn or 12" circular (depending on which size you want to make)

One stitch marker

One 7/8" black button

Small had uses size 5 needles.
The additional larger sized hat directions will be in ( ).  - Use the size 7 needles for the larger sized hat.

Cast on 76 stitches (82) with the white yarn - DO NOT JOIN.  Leave a long enough tail to sew the tab down at the end of knitting.

Knit 12 rows to create a garter stitch brim

Bind off 10 stitches so you will have 66 (72) stitches on the needle.  Join in a circle.  Change to the red yarn.

Knit in the round for 3 (3.5)" from the top of the band.

Decrease as follows:

(K10, k2tog), repeat around - (THIS ROUND AND THE NEXT IS ONLY FOR THE BIGGER HAT)
(K9, k2tog), repeat around - This round and the rest are the same for both hats.
(K8, k2tog), repeat around
(K7, k2tog), repeat around
(K6, k2tog), repeat around
(K5, k2tog), repeat around
(K4, k2tog), repeat around
(K3, k2tog), repeat around
(K2, k2tog), repeat around
(K1, k2tog), repeat around
(k2tog), repeat around

Run tapestry needle thru stitches, pull tight and tie off.

Make Pompom and add to top of hat.

For tab on brim:  Take your extra tail from the cast on and stitch the tab down.  Add button.

Merry Christmas!

Dyeing Yarn and Felting Hats

Happy Thanksgiving!

Time seems to have flown by.  I can't believe I haven't been keeping my blog up lately.  It seems like I have been so busy.

Since February 2012, I started a yarn dyeing business with a friend.  We specialize in hand painted and hand dyed yarns.  Here is a link if you're are interested.  I am in the process of building our web page, so right now we are on Facebook:

Below are some pictures of some of our yarn:

So, there you go - I've been playing with wool and dye!

The other thing I have been doing lately is getting ready for a craft fair.  Here are a few pics of my felted hats.  Can I say I think I'm addicted to felting???

And before you say anything, yes the shower curtain is upside down - that's what your father gets when he goes to a dollar store.

So there you have it.  Dyeing and felting.   Opening a business and trying a new knitting technique - what a way to spend a year!!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and Memories...

It dawned on me a few days ago that I can no longer remember my mom's voice.  As I type this I am trying not to cry.  I loved my mom so much and no matter what anyone says, you will always miss your mom.  On August 21 of this year, she will have been gone for 5 years.  It seems like only yesterday.  I lay in bed at night straining to remember what her voice sounded like.  I can see her in my mind, but I can't hear her anymore.  I never thought that would happen.

So, I realized this when I was a thinking about her oatmeal raisin cookies.  They were one of my favorite as a child and as 20something.  For years I thought I had her recipe.  I tried it a couple of times and it just didn't seem the same.  Well, I went searching the recipe box my mom made me when I moved out of my parents home 30 years ago and low and behold the recipe I thought was my mom's was written in my handwriting.  My mom hand typed all the recipes on 3x5 cards and put who she got the recipe from.  (Moms - this is such an awesome gift for your kids - I love this box.  It holds the history of what my family used to cook - both sides of the family, and my mom).   She put all my favorite recipes in there along with family recipes and ones that she liked.  I treasure this box.

Anyway, back to the cookies.  So, last night as I laid in bed trying to remember her voice, I realized I did have a couple of her cookbooks.  So, first thing this morning, I got up and went in search of the books.  I really didn't think I'd have much luck finding the recipe.  As a child, I don't remember seeing my mom use any book to make her cookies, so what are the odds???  The first book I pulled out was one I had never seen her even open. In fact, I didn't know she even had it.  I didn't go thru the index, but I went to the cookie section.  Going page by page, I looked at each recipe.  On one page was a recipe.  I stared at it and wondered.  I went thru the rest of the cookie section and then went back to that one recipe.  It was so simple, just a little reminder for herself.  A simple "x" by the title of recipe in pencil.  The recipe wasn't called Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.  It was called Spiced Oat Drops.  So, I have made the cookies up and can I say, the memories are wonderful!

Here's to you Mom.  I love you and miss you, but you left me a surprise in a book.  Thank you.

Mom's Oatmeal Raisin Cookies or Spiced Oat Drops

1 cup shortening
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp soda***
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
2/3 c. sour milk***
1 1/2 c. rolled oats
1 c. raisins or chopped dates
1 c. chopped nuts

Cream shortening and sugar together.  Add beaten eggs and mix well.  Sift dry ingredients together and add alternately with milk to the creamed mixture.  Add oats, frut and nuts.  Drop by teaspoons onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for 15 min.

**Omit if you want to use "sweet milk" (regular milk)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Peanut Butter Cookies

This is a favorite of mine.  I got it from a magazine a few years ago and it is my go to recipe.  I love that I can make big cookies or small.  It is a soft dough, so don't panic when you scoop it out.  Enjoy!

4 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2  tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 c. creamy peanut butter
2/3 c. sugar
2 1/4 c. brown sugar, packed
1/3 c. vegetable oil
3 large eggs, PLUS 2 yolks
2 T. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 deg.  Place racks in upper and lower thirds of oven.
Makes 40 +/- jumbo cookies

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.

Beat together buyer, peanut butter, sugars and oil with an electric mixer at high speed just until pale and creamy (about 2 minutes in a stand mixer; longer if using a hand mixer).  Add whole eggs, yolks and vanilla and beat until just incorporated.  Reduce speed to low, then add flour mixture slowly, mixing until well incorporated.

Using a large ice cream scoop,  scoop dough and place on ungreased cookie sheet 2 inches apart.  Flatten the cookies with the floured tines of a fork making a cross hatch pattern.  Cookies should be about 1/2" thick.  For smaller cookies use a cookie scoop that scoops 3 T.

To determine the size of your scoop, fill with water and then empty into a measuring cup to see what size you have.

Bake cookies, switching position of the sheets half way thru the baking until they are slightly puffed and golden around the edges.  Transfer to racks to cool.    On the next batch, transfer the racks to the middle of the oven and cook until slightly puffed and golden.

Cooking times:  for jumbo cookies - 18 to 20 minutes
                          for smaller cookies 15-17 minutes

Monday, October 24, 2011

Elongated Stitch Dishcloth

My neighbor asked me to make this for her.  It was a dishcloth that her great-grandmother had for her and she hasn't been able to find anyone to make them for her.  I learned how to make an elongated stitch while learning this.  The dishcloth looks uneven in this pic, but really isn't.   I may have been trying to even it out for the pic and open up the stitches, but it really is square.

Size 7 needles
Cotton Yarn

CO 38 stitches

Knit for 8 rows (garter stitch)
Row 9:  Inset needle into stitch as to knit.  Wrap needle twice, then draw thru the stitch.  Repeat for the entire row.
Row 10:  Knit  row, dropping the extra wrap as stitch is pulled off the left needle.
Knit 7 rows (for a total of 8 knit rows - Row 10-17)

Repeat rows 9-17 to size desired, ending with a garter stitch row (don't end on the wrap row, but the row before).

Bind off