Saturday, September 26, 2009

I'm getting ready for Christmas

I have to thank Rose the Sock Maniac for her guest blog last week! I've been really busy with the shop and was struggling to get a blog posted. Rose thought you might like to see her recent sock yarn organization. Her husband built some modular shelving for her and she's filled it in with her sock yarn collection. Happily I decided she still has room for more. Of course her husband said he could stuff some old underwear in the back of each bin to fill it out. (Clean or not, no thanks, Mark!)

We recently got in Judy's Colors Stocking kits and in October we decided to knit stockings at the Thursday night Knit Togethers. I suggested Judy's Colors kits or the Nancy Lindberg stocking pattern for the pattern choices. We carry Nancy's pattern, but I knitted it for my daughter, Katie about 14 years ago. So this time I've decided to knit one of Judy's Colors stockings.

After much mulling, I decided to knit the stocking called Christmas Rose. (I should have saved that one for Rose to knit! Sorry, Rose ...) I got my stitches cast-on this week and have been working on my tension. It's been a couple years since I knitted a Fair-Isle hat for Katie, so my tension isn't perfect. I may rip and start over. Then again, after a good blocking it may not even be an issue!

If you're interested in seeing Judy's Colors Stocking kits and actual samples, come by the shop to see the trunk show of her stockings. We will have them in our shop from Friday, October 2 through Saturday, October 10.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Sock Maniac

I'm doing a guest blog for Nancy so she can continue to knit. Sometimes it's hard for her to stop knitting long enough to write a blog entry. This is my first time blogging!

Who am I? I'm known by many names. I'm most frequently known as Rose, Rosie by my family, or Grandma Rose by my granddaughters.

I'm RosieL on Ravelry. And, for anyone who has made my basic sock pattern, I am RosieL of RosieL’s Socks, the basic sock pattern that I wrote. There are now three versions of my pattern (56-stitch, 64-stitch and 72-stitch), plus Nancy has adapted my pattern for Magic-Loop instruction. It's a good basic pattern, and you can always do your own thing on the cuff as long as the pattern you use is a 4- or 8-stitch repeat. To get my sock pattern, you either need to buy some sock yarn at Knitted Together or take my beginner sock class. So I guess another name for me is “sock teacher.” I've been teaching the beginning sock class on a monthly basis at Knitted Together ever since the store opened. To take the sock class, you need to be experienced enough to be able to knit and purl (as in ribbing), increase, and decrease. I teach the basics with my mini-sock pattern on double-point needles (which I prefer). After you learn the basics, you can try other methods of making socks. Magic loop is very popular, and Nancy can teach you how to move on to that method. I personally prefer working on double-point needles.

I just got back from Stitches Midwest in Schaumburg, IL where I purchased my very first pair of Signature Needles. I haven’t yet, but I’ll soon be casting on my first pair of socks with my new needles and can give you a full report. They're on the pricey side but I have heard rave reviews and really wanted to give them a try. Due to the high price, my husband thought they were possibly battery operated or even knit the project for you, but what would the fun be in that?!

I'm also known as “chief volunteer” at Knitted Together. Nancy and I met through knitting at our church in late 2000 and we have been great friends ever since. I was so excited when Nancy and Tim decided to open Knitted Together. I live less than a mile from the shop and I'm frequently at the shop knitting. When Nancy gets busy with customers, I’ll pitch in to wind yarn and help customers. I eventually learned how to work the cash register so if you're in the shop and someone is checking you out that's not the most proficient on the register, it’s probably me (hey, a little grace, please!).

I most recently became known as “sock maniac” when I attended Stitches Midwest
with five of my knitting friends. My friend, Marsha's fancy phone actually announces the caller, so while at Stitches, Marsha changed my name in her phone so it would say “sock maniac” when I called. This was my tenth time to attend Stitches, and as usual I loved it. It's the most fabulous get away for a knitter. This year almost all of my "market" purchases were sock related. I think it's my duty to try new sock yarns, especially since I have also been called the “sock maven”. I love socks for their portability, and of course, all the fabulous sock yarns that are on the market. I have a sock bag that I always take with me wherever I go that contains a basic sock in progress. I knit other things than socks though. I'm currently working on a man’s sweater for a friend, a baby blanket for my niece, a bag, three other sweaters for myself, and more WIPs than I dare mention.

This year we started the “KT-Socker Club” at Knitted Together where we are knitting patterned socks. If you're curious, ask Nancy about it or check the Knitted Together Events Page (listed as K-tog #2 on Tuesdays each month). Maybe I’ll save details for that in another guest blog spot if Nancy invites me to blog again.

Nancy frequently closes her blog with a recipe. I’m going to share my favorite cookie recipe. I have made this recipe for years. They are simply delicious cookies as the name implies and the recipe makes more than enough to share! I make them for my boss (of 30 years) for his birthday ever year.

Delicious Cookies (Note: recipe was corrected at 1:05 PM on 9/19/09)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup margarine
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cream of tarter
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup Rice Krispies
  • 16 ounces chocolate chips

Cream sugars and shortening. Add egg, vanilla, salt, soda and cream of tarter. Mix well. Add flour. Blend in oats, Rice Krispies, and chocolate chips. Drop by teaspoon onto cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

Rose, RosieL, etc.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I'm never to busy to knit!

I've been neglecting my blogging duties in favor of knitting. Shocker there, right?! I'll try to do better in the future.

I thought you might like to know I finished my sock yarn scarf last week and started a new one. The one I finished (shown below) is perfect for a man, as it's a little too wide and a little too short for a woman. I also chose a yarn that was more masculine in pattern. My husband wasn't interested in it until it was bound off, washed and blocked. It was then that he immediately decided it's his. I told him it's going to live at the shop for awhile, since it's the perfect gift idea type of project. As for the new sock yarn scarf I'm knitting, it's narrower and I'll ruffle both ends. I'm using Knit One Crochet Too's Ty-Dy Sox. Wow! It's so soft and beautiful. I'll give you a pattern when it's done one of these days. The beauty of these scarves is that you don't have to think. They are the perfect TV-watching project!

I'm including the pattern for my men's Sock Yarn Tube Scarf(done in Opal Rendez-vous color 2064) just in case you want to make one. Opal sock yarn is one of my favorite sock yarns, because the designs are usually incredible, and it's become collectible. They collections aren't created in large quantities like many other sock yarns, and they are only available for a limited time, increasing MY frenzy to get the ones I want right away.
Sock Yarn Tube Scarf

Finished size of scarf shown: 7x55 inches.

  • 2 balls of Opal sock yarn or the equivalent in yardage (you need approximately 930 yards total)
  • Size 3, 16-inch circular needles and extra pair of Size 3 straight needles or 32-inch long circular for 3-needle bind off.
  • Stitch markers
  • Tapestry yarn needle

Cast on 90 to 100 stitches (the scarf shown is 100 stitches for the width and length given). Carefully join to work in the round, placing a ring or pin marker for the beginning of the round. Knit all rounds, attaching a new ball as necessary. After about 6 inches, use yarn tail to weave open end closed. Knit to desired length, leaving enough yarn to work a 3-needle bind off. Place half of the stitches on one needle and the other half on another needle. Use a third needle to bind off the stitches from both needles. To find out more about 3-needle bind off click here.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Sale yarn ... stash enhancers

There's nothing wrong with a little stash yarn, is there?! Long before I opened my shop I had accumulated quite a bit of stash (I filled 4, well maybe 5 or 6 of those JUMBO Rubbermaid containers). Since then I've continued to add stash to my stash. Sometimes it's just my need to own a particular yarn, other times I have plans (possibly distant plans...) for a specific project and NEED that particular yarn. I've also bought sale yarn and stashed it. Sale yarn is one of those things that can be good, but can also present problems. It's hard to know how much you'll need unless you know exactly what you're going to knit. You can always guess, but what if your guess is SHORT!? I always say, buy an extra ball when you buy discontinued yarn!

What turns a yarn into a SALE YARN? Sale yarn can be a discontinued yarn style or color from the manufacturer, which is when it's really important to know you've purchased enough! Sometimes sale yarn is just on sale because shop owners (like me for one) have decided certain yarns need to move on, since there's always new yarn that needs a home on the shelves! Be sure to check out our Sale section for special buys. We'd love to enhance your stash with discontinued yarns that need a good home! Occasionally we'll offer yarns that are ONLINE ONLY sales. You'll find the special deals on the online store when you click the "SALE" button. Remember, the Online Only Sales yarns are full price in the shop.

With Labor Day coming, I decided I needed to post another one of my favorite recipes. I got this one from the Lutheran Church of Hope cookbook. (I think church cookbooks are my favorite kind of cookbooks!) If you head to the Farmer's Market, pick up your sweet red bell peppers there!

Zesty Stuffed Bell Peppers

  • 2 (2 cup) bags boil-in-bag rice (Uncle Ben's brand is what I've found)
  • 4 large red bell peppers
  • 1 lb. Italian sausage (if you live in or around Des Moines you must use Graziano's sausage!)
  • 1 can Ro-Tel diced tomatoes & green chilies
  • 2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • Jar marinara sauce (this is my addition as it adds a little more sauce, *especially if I'm baking it low and slow)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare rice according to package directions. Remove the tops and seeds from the peppers; slice in half. Blanch the peppers in boiling water for 5 minutes. Brown sausage and drain fat. Fold in tomatoes and rice. Heat through. Add cheese; heat until melted. Remove from heat; divide mixture into prepared peppers. Place peppers in baking dish, and if desired, spoon a little marinara over the peppers. Bake for 15 minutes. (*Sometimes I've covered the pan with foil and baked this dish at 325 degrees for an hour or more if I'm not in a big hurry.)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Knit-Together Nights

Every Tuesday and Thursday evening from 6-8:00 PM we have a lot of fun knitting together on our projects. On Tuesday night we have two groups meeting. The KT-Socker Club meets in the section of the shop in front of the fireplace, and every other month we start a new sock pattern (hopefully giving everyone a chance to finish a complete pair). The other Tuesday night group meets at the large table on the backside of the fireplace. Each month we pick out projects to knit on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. To find out what the monthly Knit-Together projects are, check out our updated list on our events page.

The groups of knitters that meet here have created a wonderful community. We support each other in our knitting and in our lives. Most of the time we hear some hilarious stories about Dana's kids which usually has us all laughing uncontrollably! (You see Dana's kids are really smart, and some of the conversations are just plain funny.) The even funnier thing is that at one point as we were working on our website, my husband and I were talking about Skyping the knit togethers (a.k.a. K-Togs). Can you just imagine some of the bizarre conversations that all the K-Tog voyeurs would be able to watch?!

If you're looking for a community of knitters and lots of wonderful (and possibly silly) conversation, you should come to one of the knit togethers. Beside the friendships, conversation, and laughter, you will learn so much. When someone new comes to the K-Tog who considers herself a beginning knitter, with no more than basic skills, we love to teach her new skills that helps her move forward.

Now, I have a confession about the scarf that I started last Friday using Ella Rae Lace Merino. I ripped it out today... I would have ripped it out sooner, but I didn't want to do it until I got confirmation from someone else. The pattern was just too much. When I knit lace I prefer to have a pattern row and a purl row. That scarf was all pattern! I'm going to try something else, and when I figure out what I'm doing, I'll let you know. On a happy note, the fact that I couldn't work on the scarf this weekend was a good thing. I actually finished my Mountain Colors Moguls Moebius. Today I brought it to the shop for a sample, so come in and see it. It was good to get a WIP off my list! I also worked more on my circular sock yarn scarf. It's almost done, so I'm making a commitment to complete it in a week or so. As soon as I do, I'll post a picture for you, plus tell you how to make it. It's the mindless project that everyone should have in their car!