Thursday, August 25, 2011

Yarn Fairy & Goddess Knits KAL

 Yarn Fairy and her Pixies will be dyeing the most scrumptious lace yarn you have ever seen. PATTERN SALES HAVE CEASED as we will be KALing shortly - lovely yarn still available in any color. Two different yarns are available, best yarn and the best designer, who could ask for more?  BTW, these prices are rock bottom, you will not find this quality and quantity as I just like to get great yarn out to everyone. Due to the fact that some wont read everything like I asked.
1) YOU MUST be part of the YAHOO GROUP in order to get the KAL clues so follow the instructions below. 
2) If you ordered and aren't on the group, PM me please or comment below as you have to be to get the clues which start on 10-1-11 and will come one once a week, 5 clues total.
3) The pattern is $6.00 NOT $3.00 - which is a discount from the $8.00 which the pattern will be after the KAL's over.   
4) ALL clues in CHART format ONLY
 Back to your regularly scheduled programing.
1) A blend of 70% Baby Alpaca, 20% Silk, and 10% luscious Cashmere. (limit 9 skeins left)
2) The other is a blend of 80% Superfine Merino and 20% silk for strength, sheen, drape and luxury. (limit 2 skeins left)
     Both yarns have 100 grams and each is 1,312 yards, a nice long amount to finish your shawl with.  Needless to say with these fibers both are extremely soft, both have sheen and drape ability with zero itch.  Each skein has 2-3 different fibers which will all take the dye differently.  The result will be very subtle and delicate changes in color from pale to medium in each skein and so give such NUMMY results! By the time the KAL ends winter will be upon us which is why and where I picked my colors from.  Here's my inspiration, I believe these colors will go with your wardrobe as black, grey and brown are so complementary as accessories are sooo necessary to complete any outfit.

Creamy brown down a country road.

The cool blues of the glacier

A black you can see to knit with
My ideal winter black

Gray strong and unyielding

Gray snowy cream - the palest of grays

Lavender on the ground with hints of violet

Sapphire with cream of the stem

Sapphire in the flower petals, stem and bud

     To join the KAL you just need to click the paypal button (top right) buy the pattern and choose your yarn and color.  The pattern is really $6.00 but I needed to add shipping to the yarn orders so if you are buying the pattern know that it's not $3.00 but rather $6.00.   The pattern will be in CHART format ONLY. Be sure your e-mail and shipping addresses are correct as my Pixies will be using these to fly your special yarn directly to your door.  After you are done at Paypal {wait for it} CLICK THE BUTTON to come back to my blog as we are having trouble getting everybody in. Join the Yahoo group as that's the only way to get the clues.  Then just wait for the KAL to begin, you must join the group to get the clues... the group will dissolve when KAL is over.     
     The KAL will start 10-1-11 so hurry,,,, get your needles (size 4 or 5 USA) warm up your yarn and get ready for one of the best KALs ever!  Gauge doesn't matter so long as you don't go over size 5 so there's no advanced swatching necessary.
      Or we can dye up ANY color in either fiber for you, the above inspiration photos have not been dyed up but the caption shows what colors the yarns would be so if you are interested in any other color feel free to ask.   We now have lavender and sapphire too. YUM!

ONLY LEFT 9-3 are the 2 pinks
Brown not available except in KAL yarn, hot pink is 880 all the rest are 1312 yards and 80/20 merino/silk
     If you purchase yarn and pattern then you can also purchase any or all of these in this photo for the second skein price of $35.00 each, which you can order separately to via Paypal and put which color you would like in the comments and any special directions.  If you would like to only order one skein from the photo here, feel free to do so... just send $35 which will cover my Pixie Dust.  Additional KAL dyed skeins are also available for only $35.00 (alpaca) $30.00 (merino), IF you have already purchased at least one KAL skein.  I wanted to keep the prices as low as possible and I challenge you to find this yardage, hand painted, this quality anywhere else.  :-)  The last two prices are not available on a single skein purchase.  
     BTW over at paypal they charge $3.00 for "postage" this is less then it's costing me to ship.  I pay .50 cents for the envelops, paypal takes $1.50 out of each single skein order and then there's the postage is on top of that.  They don't have a space for "handling" so I lumped it under postage which actually cost $4.50 +/-.  Then too I undercharged on the alpaca as I want to get you all the best pricing available... all of the proceeds will be going to the Pixies (Katie and Shane) as they wanted money to buy presents for Christmas.  So you can feel really good about the fact that you are helping the children (Opps!!! I mean Pixies) out.  Also there are pigments in the yarn that while we try to catch all of them some might get through.  Brown and purples can have a red dot, black/grey can have a blue dot and I believe that's all of the weird ones.  They shouldn't show when you get it knit up though.
     Any questions should be addressed to the Yarn Fairy who can be reached at the above e-mail addy.

     He's just saying hi!  No that's not a spear!  It's a tooth pick... no, didn't make him, just found him adorastinkingble!!!! and had to share.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Fresh Bread and a new free pattern

 Hello you wonderful peeps!  Just had to pop in and let you know that my sons GRAND!  He made fresh bread! From scratch!  He's been working on a sourdough from scratch.  He used the pineapple method which can be found on along with so many other ferments that are going in my home of late we have his sourdough and soon to have an Amish Friendship starter which DH says he can eat alone so DS has to make ALL of them, none for sharing.  HAHA oh me!

Wanted to pop in and let you know that I have a few book/pattern of sorts that DD wanted me to write you all up.  It's all my beading techniques and tricks to make the beads stand out in your knitting.  What I show are my beaded toe up cuff socks.  What follows are two examples.  If you want the little booklet it will be up on Ravelry for free.  On Ravelry I'm WendyMcD and you can see my designs are under Wendy McDonnell.  In the mini e-book I teach you how to bead on the correct side, placement method of beading, how to bead your cuff, how to make a ruffle or a beaded picot bind off.  Lots of fun and many photos to show each technique... such as these.  Hope you are having a lovely day!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

MS24 and AMS10

Well I finally knit AMS10, I thought it was 9 and didn't make enough repeats.  Should have added another repeat of clue 4 as it's really smaller then I'd hoped.  Should have known as I only used about 500 yards of my bare.  Well it was bare before we dyed it.
Here's DD modeling for you.  She'd just found out that her photo of a fire made the front page of the local newspaper.   I used a purple iris iridescent bead on this shawl that I really love.  It's for Betty who I seem to have made a big impression on at the wedding.  :-) She's really sweet.  I will have to make her a full on triangle in XL but not right now.  Later.
 This one is MS24 clue 1.  The clues for these KAL's all come out at about 11am PST every Saturday and I'd flip if I didn't have something to look forward to so I knit. :-)  As you all full well know.
This style of shawl will eat up miles of yarn by the time I'm done but I really like the full coverage it gives.  With about 30 more rows increasing like mad,,, I expect to run out of yarn for this one.  I have like 700 yards and the clue calls for 880 but I really think it's going to be cutting it short as Claudia says... "chomp, chomp, chomp" it's just eating it up.
    Finished a pair of vanilla socks in Emily's yarn Harlequin in a color very similar to the first one.  Unfortunately the color wasn't set through and I now have a matching pair shadowed into my sink top.  Cest La Vie we loves some socks.  Almost finished another pair in a green that I've worked up a new beaded b/o technique for.  Burns through the beads and looks smashing.  DD says I should put it into my book but it really needs a sock and it really needs a cuff... as I'm doing all colorwork that doesn't fit.
     Ordered some fine cobweb for my Queen Susan.  Looking forward to starting as I have finished so many things lately and just need the diversion from all things terrible in my life that knitting brings.
    Been working hard on my book.... keep thinking of one more thing to put into it SHESH!  If this doesn't stop I will never send it to the publishers!

Monday, August 15, 2011

MS23 and Kombu pics

Ok Kiddies, here we go here are the photos I promised you. Here's MS23.

Completed in 7 days.  Various shades of purple, light to dark, in sock yarn on size 6 needles.  YUP SEVEN DAYS!

Washed and then poured hot water over my counter cleaning between.  Then PLOOP out popped the bestest kombucha mother grown in green tea and honey.  The kids started laughing so hard when she plopped onto the counter with this ploop noise. She was even whiter yesterday before I plunked her into the green tea and sugar batch.  But as you can see she's still pristine and lovely.  PURDIEST thing ever.  This is at only 6 days.
The Queen Susan has been messing with my mind ALL DAY LONG!  I finally just printed out the 2 different center charts and wrote to Colourmart looking for more cashmere!  UGH!  Pulled out 2 different needles and I might cast on.  :-(  WEAK I am!  Didn't get any work done and it's 5pm!

The Queen Susan Shawl

Monday morning again and man what a day.  Took too many pain meds by mistake yesterday and cleaned for FOUR HOURS!  OUCH I'm so sore!  My neck and pectorals are killing me.  DD and DS were in there with me most of the time so we got a really good deep cleaning done on the counters and put a bunch of stuff away... tossed a bunch.  I run this way though.  In the winter it will all creep back in with the doilies and all the heavy quilts... then it will all go away by summer again.
Fell in love today!  With the Queen Susan Shawl OH MY!  My friend (UGH!!!! really!!!!) Gail showed it to me after I had told her that I'd been drooling over the Magikal Earth Shawl from A Gathering of Lace.  WHY!?  The Queen Susan is done on size 0 needles in gossamer thread.  I believe I have a cone or two of cashmere around here that would fit the bill and I have those lovely wooden circs from KP in a size 0.  I downloaded the 42 pages of love that the girls on Ravelry made off of the Heirloom Knitting group there and well... "I'm calling youuu hoohoohoo!" In a big way.  Shawl photo  I have been whipping out lace shawls in 10 days and it just feels like time to step back and make something that is more then useful... I have always looked to "useful".  If I could only corral all of this energy and pack it we'd be rich.  Not energy... insanity!  HAHA that's still not the correct work.  OBESSESIVNESS!  HAHA oh yeah that's it!  Oh man I could so cast that shawl on right now!  sigh  but the book really needs to come first.  Perhaps I can just gather all my tools now and as soon as the last patterns written then that will be my job well done gift to myself... to cast on.  Meanwhile it wouldn't hurt to swatch would it?

DD's out with the pony.... strange sounds coming from the corral right now.  The winds whipping through here like mad.
The ferments are doing well.  Made up another large batch of yogurt today as DS used it all in a chicken bake recipe from Alton Brown the other day.  I'm just glad it's useful.  I found over night and all day long to be about how much time it needs to have it at the consistency we like it at.  Got in a massive amount of water grains and they are doing the little WKG dance on the super clean kitchen counter right now!  So happy to have them all playing. OHH and the first batch of Kombu was pulled yesterday.  Well the two batches.  The green tea and honey one made another fat white mother and the black/sugar made a messy mother.  I just kept them all in there and added more teas.  Everyone had a problem with the berries.  Either they didn't melt fast enough or they were grainy or they stuck to the teeth.  Can't have everything come out right the first time I guess.  So we are going to have to work on that one.

Queen Susan is calling.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Kombucha and Kefir

WOW if you know about Kombucha you know how many great advantages there are to it.  But did you know that a designer actually made clothing from it! Watch Video here

We have been having a great deal of fun with it of late in our home.  First thing I did was make up the black and green teas for my home grown Kombu mothers.  I'm so happy!  There are now 2 small mothers from the beginning of this experiment.   I'm still experimenting with the green tea as I haven't used this before.  Black, sugar and me go way back.  So I did up 10 bags of the black with my normal sugar, don't measure as I have a cup in my canister of sugar which isn't a measuring cup and I have always used 2 of those.  So the green got 8 bags and about 12 oz of commercial honey.  It did REALLY well making the mother so I'm thinking it will work even though all the web sites say don't use honey.  Ya'll know me by now... against the grain and the biggest thing is to PLAY AT WILL!
Kombucha: green and black teas.
Kefir: water, rice milk, regular milk
After the Kombu was done I wanted to go hard into my water grains.  I figured out a lot of things.  First let me tell you that there are 4 of us who want to drink the WK here.  We have real grains that I bought from two different growers, the last one should be here by tomorrow. Eventually I need to have 4 different jugs going every day.  I have been playing with the recipe of the fruits to satisfy everyone but that's not what I wanted to talk about.  I re-read Dom's site site and it hit me that my WATERS not optimal for GROWING the grains.  So today I boiled a dozen eggs,,, ONLY 4 are left uneaten, I guess I should boil eggs more often.  BUT the fun I had getting the shells off for my kefir!  I found that under the strong stream of water out of the sink was the best way.  I unzipped them from around the middle of the shell by getting that inner skin off and then gently prying my nail under the shell and the water lifted the entire shell out of the egg!  Incredible!  What fun we had - all of us learning how to "unzip" our eggs to keep the shells whole.  Till I get my plastic strainer I'm not too thrilled about having tiny things in my grains.  All that just to say that I added a shell to my recipe.  I also added the 1/8th t. of baking soda.  Then I figured I was done... but continued to think about our water.  We are on well water that's poisoned with uranium and fluoride,,, overly much eh!  So we have had a softener and a reverse osmosis for drinking.  There's NOTHING in our water,,,, nothing good,,, nor anything bad... so I remembered Concentrace (if you go buy it there put the code WEN537 in and they will give you a discount) which is a liquid mineral for those drinking RO water.  I added that in the end, what FUN!  YUP this is the kind of stuff I get off on.
My Kombu teas are cooled and combined with the tiny mothers I made from the tea DH purchased from the market.  We are now at day 2 photo above, you can see the thin mother forming on the surface and you can see me in the reflection if you look hard enough.  I figure on trying them at about day 5, I used to go to 7 but till everyone's acclimated 5 might be better so I will start testing them.   
OOOOhh I almost forgot, the thing that took the most amount of time!  See my family doesn't like my plain 7 day Kombu which is very like Apple Cider Vinegar!  I love it but it's too strong for teens and my mom who all love sweets.  BUT in all fairness they did like the stuff from the store with the elderberry's.  So here's what we did.  We had this massive bag of frozen berry's from Costco.  It has raspberry's, blueberry's and blackberry's in it.  We defrosted the berries in a bowl and they hit the blender.  DS is very good at blending fruit into liquid!  He kept ramping it up till they were all liquid nummies, which we then put through a strainer with a spoon and pushed out the liquid fruit.  NUM!  These went into ice cube trays, 5 in all and those went into a freezer bag.  Easy access and can now be put into the finished Kombu for those with more delicate sensibilities.
I'm so thrilled!  I found the plastic lids and the small strainer I needed as well as a set of corked 32 ounce bottles!  What a boon that was for secondary ferments!  This will be for adding flavor! Oh and I'm getting a pound of hibiscus flowers and rose hips too!  Which is what you put into the 2nd ferment for more flavor.... less like tea more like herbal tea which the SCOBY's don't like.
Found a small downloadable booklet on Sugar Kefir Grain's too! download the book here
I hope this URL works for you it's from if it doesn't work.  Gives a plain SKA recipe and one for Coconut and a bunch of what ... how... I dunno, claims of what drinking kefir can do for you.  I'm making a book of recipes and all the goodies (only 15 pages so far) I can find all about fermenting as it's just flat out TOO MUCH FUN!  It comes in doses that I seem to be able to maintain what with not being able to walk/stand for long.  So this is an ideal "hobby" life style to adopt again.  We need to clean up our act even more around here so I'm really excited to get "cooking". 
We eat a lot of yogurt too so I'm looking forward to getting all of this down pat and getting the 5 pack sample of the different cultures.  I found it on eBay of course! Oh dear,,, now I can't find him.  There were 5, Villi, Caspian, Piima, Fil Mjolk, and one other.  Oh dear.  Really should have bookmarked it.  Sigh I did make up a batch of plain yogurt from the store in my crock pot and found a girl who will be able to ship me the various types of yogurts to try.  I'm really excited about all this as I'm sure you can tell.
If anyone needs anything I should have plenty to share soon.  Way too long as always, have a great weekend.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

FREE sock pattern Crashing Waves

Ok Knit Sibs, another free pattern for you.  :-)  The thing that took the longest wasn't finishing the socks but doing the photo shoot and uploading the photos and pattern DUH can you say puter challenged?  I can!  LOL But here they are... my Crashing Waves.
 A pattern I have wanted to play with for many years.  I love texture in my knitting and I adore the way this pattern makes a scallop in the knitting.  I added extra repeats of the pattern after the ankle through inserting more stitches.  Amazingly it worked.  These are made with Maizy by Crystal Palace which makes such a wonderful summer fabric.  Since I purled the soles it's like they aren't even there.  Stunning for something you can't even feel on your feet.  A fun, fast, addictive knit. 
And for fun I leave you with a tiny Hedgy!  He's adorastinkinble!!!!! So very tiny.  Cute lil guy.  Short post from me for a change, have a wonderful day!

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Wedding

WOW so it's taken me 5 days of sleeping 14 plus hours every night to finally have some semblance of a brain in order to sit down and write about it.  The day was a flat out miracle for me, I have been praying for some relief from the constant pain, I got more then that!  I got to WALK! and DANCE! but I'm getting ahead of myself aren't I?     
     It was incredible.  I cried literally all morning long while trying to get ready as I knew I was going to see some much beloved people that I haven't seen in a good 16 or so years.  So I was a blubber ball and it really didn't stop til we left in the evening!  HAHA but then ya'll know I'm a mess so no need for explanations, right?
     DD got to go down the day before for the mani/pedi, errands and all.  She settled into the family very well from her mindset.  I was so happy to get a phone call from her saying that her new sister (Val) was doing her hair and had straightened it.  Fun girly stuff that she's only done so far with me.  So now she's got 2 new sisters (well Kimmy's always been one) and a new older brother (Bowdien AKA Bubba) as well. She was so happy to be paling around for a change.  They went to the rehersal and dinner.  The next day she got her hair done, they all had soft curls and a sweep to the right hanging down with tons of bobby pins and a little "gem" thingy,,, they were all so cute.
     We were among the first to arrive at the church, along with the photographer and so he got a shot of me in my wheel chair, not fond of it... we're skipping that one.  The church is massive, turned out that I was familiar with it as my old boss was on the Board of Directors there for a many years so I had been there off and on for various events.  Funny how life comes back round again. 
      The flowers were out of this world, they really did a stunning job on them, tons of roses and of course the star lily which the color of the dresses came from.  They smell unbelievable all these days later as Jewels had me take home a centerpiece.  I WALKED down the aisle to be seated!  MIRACLE!  Still can't believe it but I didn't need my chair all day long!!! and I didn't get fatigued like I normally do.  

     Mimmy (bride) picked out the perfect dress it has a chiffon overlay and lots of beads and sequins on the empire waist, perfect!  The groom was impeccable but then he always looks good to me,,, might be slightly biased.  By the time they got to their vows everyone near me was in tears.
Then we spent some time at the house while the kids went to the arboretum and took a few shots there, this one's my favorite.  Well take your pic they are both great.

     Meanwhile I got to talk with people I haven't seen in like 16 or so years.  It was so wonderful to get a tiny bit caught up.  I spent a few years living with my ex's brothers and so they have been like brothers to me.  For one reason and another I haven't been able to be around I can't tell you how good it was to see photos of their children and to meet their wives.  Then there's Ma, my adopted mother.  She taught me so much, never in a condemning way but gently, subtly through the things she did.  As she walked up to me the water works started.  She came up to me in the church, wrapped her arms around me, crying and said sweetie, I have missed you so much.  Then it was all over, we both cried, exchanged current information and hopefully we will be seeing more of her soon.
     On to the dinner, what a wonderful setting, everything was just lovely.
On the left we have setting for all.  I so wanted to sit next to my DIL's Mom and that's just where I was, happy as a pig in,,, well you know.  I loved talking to her and learning more about her.  What with us living so far away it get's hard. 
This is the bride and grooms table, if you look close you can see their glasses, they are actually the glasses Kim's mother used for their wedding all those years ago.  They have 2 doves down there, just lovely!
Here we have the cake, simple but stunning,  Red velvet! YUM You can just see the tiny crystals strewn throughout the rose petals?  It was just lovely.  Then above is the family heirloom, "the" shawl... and rings.  The food was out of this world and I got to do something off of my "Bucket List",,, I drank a bit of champagne, personally, it's got nothing on Kombucha! :-) 
   Then I got to do something I never thought I would be able to.  Mind you I walked ALL day and I NEVER had even a TWINGE from my back WHAT! WHATS THAT!  It's a stinking miracle I tell you... this was my "le meilluer de tous, la creme de la creme" (best of the best) moment.
Even though triple chocolate cake/pie and red velvet cake followed... this was the best of the entire day, forget that! YEAR!  I got to dance with my son, thank you so much Lord for allowing me a reprieve on the best of all days, the best day for the past year and possibly further back.  Yes I'm an old fool, a sad sorry invalid but hey, whatever else I have I've got a loving family, that's the best I can ever hope to have.  Forget money, jobs, writing books, forget it all and what do you have?  A family and a God who loves you very much.  I tell you it just doesn't get any better then this.  Unless you count in about 20 odd days becoming a GRANDMOTHER!  HAHA yeah baby!  Can't wait for my Kaison to be born!  One last thing on this really long post and I will end it.  DIL came over to me and I put my hands splayed on her belly and said something like I can't wait to see my g-baby.  She said he hadn't moved much at all since the altar hours before... guess what?  He kicked her hard to say hi Gammy! Jes, you can have Poppy if I can be Gammy! I'm thrilled, smiling as I type... wondering what I can knit since I'm so far away and can't stand the inactivity... how bought a Christening gown!  :-) HAHA that's nice and long that should keep me busy!  HAHA and never get finished in time from what Mimmy says today.   

One last thing I want to share with you is this lovely flower.... ain't she purdy!  May God grant you happiness and peace!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Bone Broth from Scratch

Thought you might like this recipe from a good friend of mine... specially you Mimmy darlin! new daughter of mine!  
So how do you make bone broth? recipe by Kimi Wolff
  Get as many good beef bones as will fit into your largest stock pot or large canning kettle. You can save your steak and other beef bones or ask your butcher for them.  This also works with chicken, turkey, pork, whatever broth you would like.... just don't mix the bones, rather make the stocks separately.
      Add in:
2 good sized peeled onions
2 lbs tomatoes
4 carrots
6 bay leaves
several cloves garlic
6 stocks celery
1/2 c apple cider vinegar (Braggs Mimmy). 
     Then bring this to a very low simmer and simmer for about 2 days covered (put in frige overnight). I pour this through a muslin cloth and discard the bones after picking off any meat. At this point I like to cool till any fat hardens on top and remove the fat. This is not needed if you plan on freezing it. I usually can my broth due to lack of freezer space and I do not like the flavor of the broth with the fat canned on it. I save the fat for soap making. I usually have enough meat to make 2 meaty broth jars for a meat based veggie soup.
     My chicken broth is done the same only I do not use tomatoes in that and I stud each onion with 2 or 3 cloves each. I do not save the fat here as it makes too soft of a soap. I will save some if I have good hard tallow and use a tiny bit at times though to help soften the tallow. I prefer to use lard in my soaps, not too hard and not too soft.
    Canning broth is done at 11lbs of pressure for my area for 90 minutes. Some times I will add some onion and celery to the broth base for soups but not carrots as then it tastes like carrot soup when done canning, just add carrots after. 
 NOTES:    If you want to freeze... write on the freezer bag what it is, how many cups and the date.  Then bag, empty air from bag, then lay flat in freezer. Keep for 1 year only.
    Any recipe calling for broth you just whip it out and break off a chunk.  Season with salt and pepper after the fact so that you don't over salt a recipe cause the broth has salt in it.  Also makes a great base for gravies and soups.
     I don't use the tomatoes in my stocks but rather in the soups and beans that are made with the stocks.
     Some people will roast the bones in the oven at 350 for an hour to 3.... they say it brings out the taste, I have never bothered to do this and always have a nice light colored broth.  Enjoy baby girl!