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?

There was an error in this gadget