Monday, December 27, 2010

Hubby's Christmas slippers

Yet another pair!

This is another pair with the modified pattern of the Two Needle Slipper to knit top-down. I also made modification to compensate for Hubby’s busted up feet. Around heel, left 16 1/2” right 15”; ankle, L & R 12”; ball of foot, L & R 11 1/2”; length, L& R 11”

I also discovered using short rows to get rid of the “baggy” heel. And, the best part? They fit! I may go back and re-do Sister Suzy's to 'tighten up' the heel.

Here's what I did.

Cast on 60 using twisted German cast-on using size 8 needles.
Transfer stitches to size 6 needles.
Mark center front and beginning of round.
Knit 3” of cuff using 3 x 2 ribbing.
Row 1 Knit until 2 stitches before center front; place marker; purl 4 stitches move center front marker to end of purl 4; knit to end of round.
Row 2 Knit to within 3 stitches of marker; make 1 knitting in front and back of stitch; knit 2 move marker; purl 4; move marker; knit 1; make 1 knitting in front and back; knit to end of round.(62 stitches)
row 3 Knit to marker; move marker; purl 4; move marker; knit to end of round.
row 4 repeat row 2 (64 stitches)
row 5 repeat row 3
row 6 and 7 repeat row 2 (66, 68 stitches)
row 8 repeat row 3
row 9 and 10 repeat row 2 (70, 72 stitches)
row 11 repeat row 3
row 12 and 13 repeat row 2 (74, 76 stitches)
row 14 repeat row 3
row 15 and 16 repeat row 2 (78, 80 stitches)
row 17 repeat row 3
row 18 and 19 repeat row 2 (82, 84 stitches)
row 20 repeat row 3
row 21 and 22 repeat row 2 (86, 88 stitches)

row 23 knit 8 stitches place marker 5 times, the 5th marker should be about 2 stitches before the marker for the purl 4; knit the 2 stitches; move marker; purl 4; move marker; knit 2; place marker then knit 8 placing markers 4 more times. At last marker start short rows working evenly from marker to marker on each side keeping the increase pattern of 2:1 going. Finish knitting row 23 after the 5th set of short rows, removing the 5 extra markers on that side. Should have 100 stitches on needles.

EDIT: 12/29/2010 Short row increases are too much. Hubby's slippers relaxed and are too long. I'll have to knit him another pair and get back with you!

Row 24 knit removing all extra marker and replacing center front marker in the middle of the purl stitches.

Rows 25, 27, 29, 31, 33, 35, 37, 39, 41, 43, 45 Purl
Rows 26, 28, 30, 32, 34, 36, 38 Knit
Rows 40, 42, 44 Knit 1, ssk, knit to within 3 of marker, ssk, knit 1, move marker, knit 1, knit 2 together, knit to within 3 of end of round marker, knit 2 together, knit 1

Close sole by using Kitchener stitch. Weave in ends. Rinse and repeat for other slipper.

Have a good day!


Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone, may your life be filled with peace in the coming year!

I was reading Cathy's blog, Keeping It Real at 66 Degrees North Latitude, she has posted a brilliant video. It brought tears to my eyes, it was so wonderful! Thanks Cathy!


Thursday, December 23, 2010

the last of the girls slippers

Yeah! The last pair of planned slippers finished and before Christmas!

I moved the short rows to the bottom of the stockinette. I think it looks better. In the last row of of the stockinette I added short rows 20 stitches long on each side of center. Then in the first row of the garter stitch I added a short row of 10 stitches each side of center.

Hubby wants a pair and at one slipper per day he get a pair for Christmas! Cool!

Have a great day!


Monday, December 20, 2010

more on christmas

These are 4 of the 6 gift bags I made for Sister Suzy's gifts she wanted to give. As I was contemplating on how to wrap the gifts I had a stroke of brilliance and decided to make draw-string bags to put everything in. (I didn't have enough gift bags in my stash.) Sister Suzy was in love with the idea when I demonstrated how it all went together. I apologize for some fuzzy photos I think I was to close.

I fiddled around with size based on the size of afghan. I added 4 inches to the width and 3 inches to the length after making a prototype that I thought was too tight. This will make 2 bags.

What you need: 3/4 yard of material in whatever holiday material you bought on clearance several years ago after the holidays. Thread in a complementary color. (See Mom, I don't use white for everything! LOL) Rotary cutter, mat, ruler, scissors, pins, small safety pin, iron and board, sewing machine and button-hole presser foot. I think that's it!

Square up your fabric. Cut a piece 2 1/4 inches off the folded side which should give you a piece 4 1/2 inches by 27 inches. Cut this piece into three strips of 1 1/2 inches.

Turn your 1 1/2 strips 90 degrees of each other, off-set a little bit and pin

Sew and trim seam allowances to 1/4 inch. Press open.

Fold the strip and 2 large pieces in half and iron.

To make the draw-string fold the edges to the middle.

Fold in two and sew shut.

I don't normally pin making draw-strings, but I needed my hands free to use the camera.

Cut the draw-string in two.

Unfold a large piece measure 1 1/4 inches from selvage edge at the fold. Make a button-hole about 1/2 inch long using whatever method your sewing machine calls for. Cut the button-hole open.

Fold the selvage edge in 1 inch and pin. The button-hole should be centered between the selvage edge and the fold line. Sew it down. To pin or not to pin, I probably do more pinning than most people because my machine feeds the two pieces of fabric at different rates. I pin and stretch the fabric while sewing.

Using the small safety pin, hook one end of the draw-string and feed it through the button-hole. Even up the ends of the draw-string and tie a knot. Finished! Rinse and repeat for other piece of fabric.

Voila! Two draw-string gift bags!

So this is what we ended up with, except the DVD with Sister Suzy introducing some favorite Christmas clips and a greeting. The DVDs were being burned while I was taking photos. And best of all, Sister Suzy is very pleased with the results of our effort of making Christmas gifts that were within what we had to spend.

Have a good day!


Sunday, December 19, 2010

christmas knitting

Five pair done and one more to go. Sister Suzy wanted something to give to her friends for Christmas. She told me about a conversation she had with one of her friends. They were standing in the cold talking after school. She mentioned to her friend she need a Snuggie to stay warm with. We looked for some, the cost was too much and the some of the reviews were not favorable.

So I suggested making slippers and maybe buying some fleece and making afghans.

The pair with a white body is because I go bored looking at the same thing. I wanted to change it up a little. I also added some short rows to the fronts because they pull down a little in the front. Adding the short rows in two places worked out well and I learned something new.

I added several variation of ribbing to the cuffs; 2x2, 3x1, and 3x2. I think the 3x2 and 2x2 ribbing worked the best

This pair was done with two inches of garter stitch at the top. The pattern is written with one inch of garter for the cuff.

The pattern is called the Two Needle Slippers and can be found at The Irish Ewe or Ravelry. I have heavily modified the pattern to a top-down slipper:

Cast on 40 (for a size 5 or a tight 7) using the twisted German cast-on and size 8 needles. Switch needles to size 6. Join, do not twist, using double needles, circulars, or magic loop. Mark beginning and middle.

4 stitches to the inch and 23 rows equal 3 and 1/2 inches. I cast on 44 for a size 7 increasing to 76 stitches. The same cast on (44) for size 9 increasing to 78 stitches.

Knit a two inch band using whatever you like for a cuff.

Body of Slipper
row 1: no increases; knit to within 1 stitch of center purl 2 stitches knit to end of round. (At this point, I add a second marker before and aft of the purl stitches so I don't mess up the center line.)
row 2: knit until 2 stitches before marker, make 1( I use knitting in the front and back of the same stitch because I don't get a hole.) knit 2, slide marker, purl 2, slide marker, knit 1, make 1, knit to end of round. (42 stitches)
NOTE: Knitting 2 stitches before the marker and 1 after the marker gives me a column of 2 knit stitches on each side of the purl column. Your mileage may vary!
row 3: repeat row 1
row 4: repeat row2 (44 stitches)
row 5: repeat row 1
row 6: repeat row 2 (46 stitches)
row 7: repeat row 1
row 8, 9, 10: repeat row 2 (48, 50, 52 stitches)
row 11: repeat row 1 (This is where I added a short row using 10 stitches either side of center.)
row 12, 13, 14: repeat row 2 (54, 56, 58 stitches)
row 15: repeat row 1
row 16, 17, 18: repeat row 2 (60, 62, 64 stitches)
row 19: repeat row 1 (This is where I added another short row using 10 stitches either side of center.)
Row 20, 21, 22: repeat row 2 (66, 68, 70 stitches)
Row 23: repeat row 1


The pattern calls for garter stitch for the sole. To make garter stitch in the round you knit one row and purl the next. (I also go back to just marking center front.) So:

Knit rows 24, 26, 28, 30
Purl rows 25, 27, 29, 31
Row 32: knit 1, SSK, knit to within 3 of center front, SSK, knit 1, slip marker, knit 1, knit 2 together, knit to within 3 of end of round, knit 2 together, knit 1 (66 stitches)
row 33: purl
row 34: repeat row 32 (62 stitches)
row 35: purl
row 36: repeat row 32 (58 stitches)
row 37: purl

Close using the Kitchener stitch or whatever method you prefer.

The pattern doesn't call out the decreases in the sole. I have added them because we don't like the pointy toes and heels (elf look) of the original pattern. The best direction (videos) for the Kitchener stitch and short row I have found were on

Have a good day!


Monday, December 13, 2010

I'm still alive

I'm still alive! Confession! I suffer for the chronic mullygrubs (dysthymia) . The other day it finally dawned on me as I was wallowing around in the pit of despair, again. I came up for air and started to call the doctor for an appointment for meds. Then, I started grousing about the side-effects and why I had quit taking all the different pills before. So I decided to do some research out on the web looking for holistic alternatives for the pills. I had forgot about St. John's Wort and I found some acupressure points. I am feeling better and can begin to see over the edge of the abyss again.

I found some interesting facts while wondering out on the web. Two to three time more women than men suffer from Dysthymia. (Let's see. Yup, I'm female!) If you have chronic health problems (asthma and diabetes) you are prone to it. In the case of diabetes when you are depressed you don't metabolize carbs as well. (That's a nice vicious cycle!) If you are asthmatic taking Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors like Prozac; it causes too much serotonin in the body which triggers asthma attacks. (Wonderful! No wonder I felt like crap!) A family history of mental health problems. (If they weren't locked up, they were killing themselves!) Addictions (Yup! Drunker than old Hooter Brown!) And a few more I can't remember right now.

So I am on a knitting marathon and when I get all the slippers knitted for gifts for Sister Suzy's friends I will post pictures and my changes to the pattern. (It just wouldn't be me, if I didn't change the pattern to suit me. LOL)

Have a good Day!


Thursday, November 25, 2010


Ah, the Thanksgiving feast is over and everyone over the age of 20 is down for their nap except me.

The menu was:

Au Gratin Potatoes
Green Bean Almondine
Rancho Canyon Cookbook: Simple Sourdough Bread

Pickled Beets
Bread-n-Butter pickles
Pickled Mushrooms
Kosher Baby Dill Pickles
Chocolate Chiffon Pie
Sweet Potato Chiffon Pie
Apple Pie with Lemon Cream Sauce
Iced Tea with Mint

The Au Gratin potatoes, Chocolate Chiffon pie and Apple pie with Lemon Cream sauce recipes all came out of my 1963 edition of Pillsbury's Family Cookbook. When Mother was a housekeeper for the Wichita Public Library she found my cookbook in the trash. Other than a few stains it was in pretty good shape. I've had it over 40 years. If I want to make good solid American food it is the cookbook of choice.

Sister Suzy lobbied for a chocolate pie, so I, being a wonderful mother and all (tongue firmly in cheek, cough, cough), added another pie to the dinner. My twist on the chocolate pie was to use 2 Abuelita Mexican Chocolate disks instead of 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate squares and to cut the last 1/4 cup of sugar out of the egg whites. It was still plenty sweet. I bet I could have cut 1/4 to 1/3 more sugar and it would still be sweet enough.

I was going to link my Green Bean Almondine recipe but guess what? Nobody has a recipe the way I make it. So here is how I make it:

Green Bean Almondine

2 15 oz cans of green beans or 1 lb bag frozen, your choice of cut
1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 lb bacon, chopped, fried crisp, drained or Ham, cubed
1 tsp bacon drippings
1/4 cup sliced almonds
2 or 3 mushrooms, sliced
salt to taste

Put everything but salt in a 2 quart sauce pan. Cook until onions are translucent. Taste for saltiness and season accordingly. Serve

My twist on the sourdough bread was to replace 8 oz of plain flour with 8 oz. of whole wheat. This is the best bread recipe I have ever tried. If you have trouble making a decent loaf of bread try this one. I think my problem with baking bread is I don't knead it long enough. This bread isn't kneaded at all, yeah!

Hope you counted your blessings and Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Well as you can tell I have been playing with the format of my blog. What do you think? I'm kind of liking it. It looks clean, easy for me to read without my glasses. I have most of the blogs I read listed. I do have a few that I can't get Blogger to list. Strange. I would love to add a quote-of-the-day or something similar as a top gadget but not if it includes an ad. You know rearranging the furniture on your blog is a whole lot less stress on the old bod than moving furniture in a house! LOL Off to play some more.

Have a good day!


Derek's quilt update

Quick note:

I saw Derek's mama today. She tells me that Derek loves the quilt. It fits his bed perfectly and is on his bed. And I got a bunch of hugs! Of course, she and I do a lot of hugging whenever we see each other, but still, pretty cool! I must confess I was afraid he would be somewhat embarrassed about the theme, because of his age. His mama said he wasn't, so double cool!

Have a good day!


T-shirt quilts

I got this comment from Kristin that reads:

Kristin said...

I saw your T-shirt quilt on Crazy Shortcut Quilts. I wanted to know if you liked doing it that way. I make T-shirt quilts and have never done a "quilt as you go" quilt but saw this and thought it might work. How did it do for you? How does the back end up turning out? They only have one picture posted. If you have more I would love to see them. Also if you have any advise for doing a quilt as you for T-shirt quilt that would be GREAT! ...

I thought my response would make a good blog post. So here it is.


I did not make the quilt you are referencing in Marguerita's blog, Crazy Shortcut Quilts. Jean N. made that beautiful quilt.

However, if, I were to make one(I have one in mind for Sister Suzy when she graduates this spring.) I would use the Crazy Shortcut Quilt method to set the quilt together. I find this way of quilting and setting a quilt together to be the easiest I have ever used.

This is how I would do one, after I had decided what size of quilt and blocks I wanted. I would stabilize the t-shirt material with a light weight fusible interface. I have found that I only need batting and backing that is 1/2 inch larger than my block for the front. (I don't like to waste fabric.) I have also found the traditional thickness or weight of batting is the easiest to quilt, in a regular sewing machine, with the least amount of bunching and puckering. I have to pin the quilt lines themselves to get everything stable enough to quilt without the bunching in thicker battings. (see: Sept 22, 2010 post) I can not recommend Poly-fil's Quilter's 80/20 traditional batting because I thought it was too 'dusty'. As you cut and handled it, it released too many loose fibers into the air stirring up my asthma. I used this batting for Derek's quilt.

I would also use a woven backing for the stability. I would have to play with a block or two to decide if a reversible quilt (t-shirt on both sides) would be feasible. I think one would look great! I would then set the blocks together using the Crazy Shortcut Quilt methodology.

I might have to make the setting strips a little wider than recommended if there were a lot of curling of the single knit edges. However, I wouldn't think so, if you fused an area a bit larger that the block you were wanting to cut from the shirt. I do think using a different width of setting strips would look interesting. I would think, you would just figure that into the border you left around the t-shirt block you were cutting.

Anybody out there have experience they would like to share with Kristin and the rest of us on making t-shirt quilts using the Crazy Shortcut Quilt method? Or, your experience with any quilt-as-you-go methods for t-shirt quilts?

Have a good day!


Sunday, November 7, 2010


I have been hungry for nachos. So last week I bought tortilla chips and the fixings for salsa. Today I had a chance to cook. While the skinned chicken thighs were simmering I made salsa. My recipe is a variation of one that I made while I was a cook in a night club.

Jack Mann's Salsa

3 lb jalapenos
3 lbs green peppers
3 lbs onion
1 No. 10 of stewed tomatoes

Trim tops off jalapenos, seed green peppers, remove onion peels. Cut everything to fit in the chute of a meat grinder. Grind in order of ingredients. CAUTION: Wear rubber gloves and DO NOT sniff fumes while grinding or mixing. Will make about two gallons.

A teaspoon is absolutely delicious on a bowl of chili.

My variation:

4 oz jalapenos
8 oz green peppers
8 oz onions
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp liquid mesquite smoke
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
1/2 - 1 tsp salt
2 15 1/2 oz cans stewed tomatoes or 2 - 3 lbs of fresh tomatoes if you have them

Seed green peppers. Chunk onions, garlic, green pepper and put in food processor; add liquid smoke, salt. Decide how hot you would like your salsa. I have people who don't like much heat(wusses) so I seed 3 of the 4 jalapenos before putting them in the food processor. Run food processor until everything is medium to finely chopped. Scrap into a medium bowl. Dump tomatoes and cilantro (if using) into food processor and give it a whirl. Scrape into the medium bowl; mix well. Get out chips and taste. Adjust salt and heat. Taste some more. Makes 1 to 1 1/2 quarts.

When we have friends over that I know like some heat I will use 8 oz. of jalapenos unseeded in one batch and then make the milder batch. If I am desperate for some extra heat I will chop some jalapenos in a separate small bowl to add to my bowl of salsa. My sister doesn't like the taste of cilantro so when she comes I leave it out.

Nachos were very good. They hit the spot. I have some left-over chicken and the broth, of course. So, some time next week I will probably make chicken-n-noodles because that is one of Hubby's favorite dishes.

I also baked an apple cake. I found Mayamade's recipe referenced on someone else blog (sorry I have forgotten who's) and it looked interesting.

One Bowl Apple Cake


* 2 cups finely diced, peeled and cored apples (about 2 apples)
* 1 cup sugar
* 1/4 cup vegetable oil
* 1 egg
* 1 tsp. baking soda
* 1 tsp. cinnamon
* 1/4 tsp. salt
* 1 tsp. vanilla
* 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
* 1 cup flour


* Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
* Into large bowl add diced apples and sugar. Let stand for about 15 minutes.
* Pour in oil and egg. Stir.
* Add dry ingredients. Stir.
* Add vanilla and walnuts. Stir. It will be quite stiff, don't worry.
* Pour into a well greased and floured 8 inch square pan. Bake for 45 minutes @ 350 degrees.
* Cool in pan for 10 minutes on a cake rack.
* Dust top with confectioners sugar before serving.

I made it and it tasted good. I thought it was a little heavy and too moist but good. So me being me I made a few changes.

I cut the sugar to 1/2 cup and I added 1/2 tsp of powdered stevia extract.
The flour was cut to 1/2 cup and I added 1/2 cup of almond flour.
Instead of vegetable oil I used used ghee (clarified butter).
I used pecans instead of walnuts.
Then I tweaked the spices. I added a 1/4 tsp of nutmeg, 1/8 tsp of allspice, and 1/8 tsp of cardamom. (from Foods)

Hubby, Sister Suzy and I really liked the changes. The cake was more cake-like, not as dense and moist. I tried to take a picture but they were way too fuzzy!

Have a good day!


Thursday, November 4, 2010

derek's quilt finished

First I want to show you the some of the steps I used to make Derek's quilt. In this picture the block is set together and I am making quilt lines on the block with a graphite marker and a ruler. I marked lines at 45 deg angles.

Then I measured the block and added 1/2 inch to the width and length measurements to cut the backing and batting. I starched pressed the backing; laid the batting on the backing, smoothed out any wrinkles in the batting; finally laying the quilt block on the sandwich smoothing and trying to keep the quilt block centered and square. I started to pin from the center.

Once a row of blocks were pinned and stacked. I would quilt the stack putting them on the done pile.

When finished with a row I would take my 15 inch square and trim up the blocks.

This is the lay-out where I moved some of the blocks around and figured out what size each block would be and how wide the borders would be. I used 1/8 inch equals 1 inch scale. I wanted it big enough to see how it would look and simple enough (1/8 = 1) to make it accurate on the paper I was using. Yes, I really did measure the blocks with the red and yellow strips on them and cut out little pieces of paper to represent the blocks. Don't you just love the little stick figures in the correct colors! I have found the little pieces of paper makes it easier to move the blocks around instead of redrawing the blocks.

I forgot to take pictures of the rows as they were set together.

Finished! Yeah! I took it outside and laid it on the front lawn to photograph. The big old tree out by the street was throwing some long shadows. The only sun with no shadows was by Gracie, our basset hound. She just too excitable.

This is the back. Cool, huh!

I finished it Friday the 29th of October and delivered it the 30th. Two whole days before the deadline! Yeah! I love it when a plan works! Jenny loved it! And the best part is she wants me to teach her how to quilt! So after the first of the year we are going to get together and have some fun!

EDIT: Oh! By the way, the fix with the extra material; Jen didn't even notice it until I pointed it out. Wonderful!

Now to finish Sister Suzy's sweater cause Hubby wants some lounging socks or slippers. He says his feet are cold. We have kicked around me learning to knit socks but I may make him some quilted slippers instead. I have way more experience in the garment making area.

Have a good day!