Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A lovely Christmas

We all enjoyed a really lovely Christmas this year. I hope everyone reading this did as well. I must report that I did manage to finish all my Christmas knitting in time. Yay!!

I really overdid it in the baking department and ended up with way too many sweets. Next year I'm going to have to restrain myself. I don't know why, but I think I have it etched in my brain somewhere that Christmas means lots of food and sweets!
IMG_0825Christmas morning we woke up to a wonderful breakfast of cinnamon rolls before we opened up our gifts. Usually I make the short-cut cinnamon rolls every year, but I can't find the big package of Rhodes frozen rolls in my grocery store any more. Last year I made my own dinner rolls and froze them before assembling the concoction the night before. In doing a google search this year I found a recipe for overnight cinnamon rolls on a blog. I was a tad skeptible because the directions said that the rolls raise in the refrigerator overnight and that you light the oven and let the rolls sit out at room temp. while the oven preheats. I followed the directions carefully. The only thing I did differently was making the dough in my bread machine on the manual cycle and I baked the rolls about 5 more minutes than was called for. They were perfect and were enjoyed by all! It was big hit and will now become a family favorite I'm sure. There are a few variations that I would like to try, but not until all of our sweets are gone. ;)

I made the usual apple pie and pumpkin pie. We celebrated my father's 94th birthday, so I had to make his favorite cake (1-2-3-4 cake with buttercream frosting.) IMG_0812and buttertarts andIMG_0813mini-pumpkin cheesecakes. Then we had IMG_0817chocolate chip cookies, gingersnaps, butter cookies, pizzelles, and Aunt Louise's butterscotch cookies. IMG_0815Plus I tried to make some peppermint bark and failed miserablely. I carmalized the white chocolate chips in my microwave by mistake. Next time I must be sure and use a double boiler! IMG_0809 The peppermint bark tastes good and actually the white choolate chips that caramelized taste pretty good as well, but not very pretty to look at. My husband thought it would make a good topping for ice cream.

All in all we had way too many sweets. I gave away as much as I could. We were supposed to visit my husband's family (2 I/2 hours away without snow) on Sunday, but we had to cancel out because of the blizzard. I was going to bring most of the sweets there, but couldn't. It was very disappointing not being able to go. We toyed with the idea of just going anyways, but realized the trouble would have been in trying to get back home. My husband eventually made the decision to stay home. In our younger days we would have attempted it, but it was better to be safe rather than sorry. We ended up with a foot and a half of snow on the I'm glad we played it safe.

Today my baby had his wisdom teeth removed. My middle son had his done back in August before starting college. He had difficultly with the anesthesia and got sick before we even reached the car....he had a tough time of it. I hoped and prayed my baby would have it easier, but actually he had a really hard time waking up and ended up getting sick on the ride home. He is doing much better now, but I'm tired....running up and down the stairs with the ice packs on and off every 15 minutes. I'm just happy it's over and now hopefully he'll be all recovered before school starts again on Monday.

I will end with my ancient Christmas Angel IMG_0808 that I made I think when I was in junior high school. It's made out of a cardboard cone and wings covered with wrapping paper and yarn for hair with a glittered pipe cleaner halo. One of my old hair bows for a collar.  Every year since I was a kid it has been on top of our tree. I carefully put it away each year and she never seem worse for the wear. I'm always amazed that this piece of my childhood has survived. A crafty recycled  item made before recycling was in vogue. A very crude ancient decoration, but I love her just the same and my boys have never objected to her having that special spot on the tipity top of our tree every year :)

Stay tuned....I'll be having more posts about my Christmas knitting.
Happy New Year with lots of happy knitting!

Copyright ©2006-2010 hakucho, All Rights Reserved.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Countdown to Christmas

I can't believe Christmas Eve is just one week away. I've been VERY busy knitting for Christmas. I definitely will have lots to show you after Christmas.

For now all I have to show you is a loaf of bread:

I'm back to making my bread from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking. I used a little bit of whole wheat flour and a little bit of rye in addition to the all-purpose flour. I LOVE this is so good toasted. I find the best way to bake the loaves is on parchment paper. I've tried dusting my peel with flour and corn meal and it always ends up sticking. Since I've been using the parchment paper it's so easy to slide the unbaked loaf on to my stone.

I'm even using the parchment paper for pizza. It makes the crispiest crust. The best recipe for the crust can be found here ( post/Ravelry Link) The only thing I do differently is the parchment paper. I don't have photos of pizza, sorry. It just gets eaten too quickly. One of these days I'll have to take pictures.

Tomorrow I hope to get started on my cookie baking. I don't think I'll be making as many cookies as I usually do...there is just not enough time this year.

Hope everyone is happy and enjoying the holiday season.

Copyright ©2006-2010 hakucho, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Gift Bag Pattern

I'm at a loss for material for a blog secret Christmas knitting is to blame. I had thought I would post about the Christmas stockings I knit many, many years ago, but I did that post four years ago. I can't show you any of my current knitting, so then I remembered I wrote up a pattern two years ago when one of my readers asked for the pattern. I sent her the pattern and she was supposed to test knit it for me, but unfortunately she never did and I did not hear from her again. Guess she changed her mind.

Here's the pattern:

Click here "DYO"(Design Your Own) Drawstring Bag to download pattern in PDF format.

ERRATA******Please note that this pattern was corrected 12/16/2010. One more decrease row  of k2tog has been added. Sorry for any inconvenience. Many thanks to Nancy. She found the error in knitting her bag. Check out her beautiful bag here. ******

In the future, I think, I'll need some test knitters to check out my patterns' accuracity. Please let me know if you are interested and I'll make a list and contact you when and if I have another pattern to post. Thank you :)

spiral rib drawstring bag
spiral rib drawstring bag

I'm calling it "DYO"(Design Your Own) Drawstring Bag Pattern, because it is pretty much a simple pattern and it is easily adaptable to any stitch pattern that is a multiple of 10. Lots of possibilities :) Check out my original blog post, 3 years ago--yikes!
If you want a gift bag this holiday season, this is a pretty fast and easy bag to knit in holiday colors and it will be an extra little gift for that special someone.

Hopefully the pattern is without errors, but if you should find that you are having trouble -- please let me know.

Happy Knitting :)

Copyright ©2006-2010 hakucho, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope you are not disappointed as this is a non knitting post. I've been busy knitting Christmas presents, which I can't show you just yet. Instead thought I'd show you what's been going on in my kitchen. I've been busy making pumpkin bread (recipe here):



...and granola: (recipe here)


...and in preparation for Thanksgiving,

pumpkin pies:

...and apple pie:

...and jellied cranberry sauce: (recipe here)


...and a birthday cake: (My baby turned 16 yesterday, but we celebrated it today as he was born on Thanksgiving Day 1994)


We had a wonderful day today. There is nothing better than having your family all together for a holiday. I'm exhausted, but it's worth it! Hope those of you who are in the States today had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day as well.

Now back to my knitting...happy knitting :)

Copyright ©2006-2010 hakucho, All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Long overdue PSI KAT Report

I can't believe it's been a whole week and half and I have not reported on my trip to the Massachusetts State House in Boston for the 2010 Pine Street Inn Knit-a-thon on November 7th! It is truly paralyzing when you actually think about how fast the time is flying by. With Thanksgiving approaching and the fact I still have so much to do as everyone is coming to our house to celebrate, I just had to squeeze out a little time to fill you in on the big KAT day before the weeks turn into months as we ease into the Christmas season.

Let me start with where I left you last. My last square was finished in time for the KAT, but unfortunately I only had 32 squares; three shy of the 35 needed to complete a blanket. I was a bit sad because it would have been nice to keep all my squares together in a blanket. Next year my plan will be to start earlier and try to put a blanket together before the KAT.

The very last square
When we arrived at the State House I dutifully handed over my squares and the squares (totaling almost 400) from my church to be sorted by the volunteers. They sort by color and wash-ability. Groups then find a table and choose a collection of 35 squares to assemble into a blanket. We chose a pretty pink combo. Given the fact that among the 5 of us only 3 knew how to crochet, we decided to sew the blanket squares together using mattress stitch. Crochet would have been much more time efficient, but you do what you have to do, right? The process seemed a little slow for us this year. There were many more distractions and a few of us had headaches. In the end we didn't quite finish putting together one blanket because we left early. Almost finished...I'd say we were about 75% done. My friend brought it home to finish. Last year we were able to finish one and a half blankets.

Here's the blanket we were working on. You can see how it's not quite finished:
We got lot's of compliments. Everyone loved the shades of pink!

I brought home a "to-go" bag. This will be my big project for January. I can't even think about it until after the holidays are over. I need to lay out all the squares on my dining room table. That's what I did last year and that seemed to work out well.IMG_0769


This next photo is one from the PSI KAT Facebook page. In it you can see that four of my squares are on the corners. I wonder what the finished blanket looks like?

 Not my photo - Can you see my squares on the four corners?

The amount of blankets finished at approximately 3:30PM.

The next photo I thought was very impressive.

  Not my photo. This says it all....a very productive day!

Be sure and check out the KAT's facebook page. That's where the two photos, that are not mine, are from.There's lots of great info and photos about Pine Street Inn KAT and the people they help. (It's never too late to donate to such a worthy cause.) I also don't want to forget to tell you about the wonderful lunch of delicious wraps, sandwiches and cookies provided for by Abundant Table, another Pine Street Inn Enterprise.

Last but not least, on the Tuesday after the KAT,  my phone rang with a wonderful surprise. I had bought some raffle tickets at the KAT, never thinking I would actually win anything...well, to my great surprise --  I won!  Check out all my loot in a large craft basket! It will certainly keep me very busy :) Many thanks to Loraine of Stitches by the Sea in Winthrop for her generous donation to the raffle prizes for the KAT. I'm very appreciative!

 Not my photo.  My winnings :) 


Since the Knit-a-thon I've been busy with my Christmas knitting, but all of it is going to have to remain top secret for the time being. I'm not sure what I'm going to blog about over the next few weeks, but I'll try to come up with something :)

Sure hope everyone is happy, enjoying the coming holidays and knitting happily away!

Copyright ©2006-2010 hakucho, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Need to do one more square!

 Pine St. Inn Knit-a-thon
 I have managed to finish another seven squares for the 2010 Pine St. Inn Knit-a-thon. That makes a total of 31 squares. I'm planning on making one more today and tonight if all goes well. I didn't quite reach my goal that I set for myself this year of 35 squares. The reason why I wanted to knit 35 was because that it's the number of 9 inch squares needed to make one blanket.

Pine St. Inn Knit-a-thon

For the fun of it I placed the squares on my dining room table to see how they would look if I were to sew them into a blanket. I think they look pretty good. Next year I'll have to get started a little earlier and try and complete a whole blanket. Maybe I might even try to sew them all together before the knit-a-thon.
Pine St. Inn Knit-a-thon

All my leftover yarn is pretty much gone - at least all the really good colors, that is! I have a year to try and save up some more odds and ends. This year I pretty much wiped out all that I had been saving. I LOVE using odds and ends...makes for a wide assortment of colors and makes it really fun to figure out what colors to use. It's really is a fun project.

Pine St. Inn Knit-a-thon

Now once this last square is finished, I have to get going on my Christmas knitting. Christmas is right around the corner so I have to get cracking!

Thought you might like to take a peek at my Christmas, no Thanksgiving Cactus this year. I'm not sure if you remember seeing it in the past or not. Part of it is the plant my husband gave to me when my youngest was born on Thanksgiving Day, 16 years ago and the other part, the peachy colored blossoms, was a piece of my mother's plant. Originally they were 2 separate plants, but a few years ago I decided to plant them together in one huge pot. It has worked out well and the plant enjoys spending the summer outside...the only drawback is that the pot is so heavy that I need someone strong to bring it in for me.
2010 Christmas Cactus

Well, must get going on that one last square and get ready for tomorrow. Will write more next time about the knit-a-thon.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend....happy knitting :)

Copyright ©2006-2010 hakucho, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Your wish is my command!


You are probably wondering if I'm getting close to finishing all my squares for the Pine Street Inn Knit-a-thon. Well I have added a few to my pile. Total count so far is 24 squares. I need 35 to complete a blanket and I so want to reach my goal. With 7 days left to knit eleven more squares...I'll be sure and do my best.

I'm should I would have, should have had more done by now but I had a request from my college freshman son: a hand knit hat! How could I refuse a request like that. My needles knit as fast as I could possibly knit and I had the hat ready for him in less than a week. He was pleased with it and hopefully it will keep his head and ears warm on his early morning walks to his classes. I used my favorite hat pattern and some Paton's Classic Wool, by the way:
Fig and Plum's Cashmere Ribbed Hat

Now I had better get away from this computer and get going knitting the rest of the squares! Next Sunday is the big event at the Massachusetts State House...can't wait :)

Until next time...happy knitting :)

Copyright ©2006-2010 hakucho, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

More squares!

I've knitted a few more squares for the Pine Street Knit-a-thon. I now have a total of 15 squares knitted. Thirty-five squares makes a blanket, so I have a ways to go. I'm hoping I can make 35 squares this year...we'll see. I have 28 more days to go. Sure hope I can do it!
KAT squares

My pile is growing bigger and bigger.
KAT squares
New pile

Pine St. Inn Knit-a-thon 2010
Old pile

...and I made an apple pie piled high with fall apples:
home made apple pie

...and I've been thinking of Christmas....Christmas knitting! My daughter-in-law has given me her knit list, which is a wish list of knitted items. Am I blessed or what? She loves and appreciates everything I knit for her. Can't wait to get started on her list, but first things first...

Hope everyone is enjoying lots of happy knitting :)

Copyright ©2006-2010 hakucho, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Operation K-A-T 2010

 Pine St. Inn Knit-a-thon 2010

In preparation of attending this years 4th Annal Pine Street Knit-a-thon (Operation K-A-T) November 7, 2010 at the Massachusetts State House, I've been knitting my 9x9" squares. I'm proud to say this is my fourth year of square knitting for the Pine St. Inn Knit-a-thon. I'm very excited to go back again this year to help put the blankets together. We had so much fun last year I just had to do it again. Besides it is such a great cause and Farley does such a great job organizing the event. I'm certain this years K-A-T will be a great success.

Usually I just knit plain garter stitch squares, but this year I thought I would try knitting them in the round after seeing the patterns listed on the Pine Street Knit-a-thon website. You know me...I LOVE garter stitch, so I made some modifications to the pattern doing the whole square in garter stitch. The first one I did I cast on so as to work from the outside edge to the center, but found I liked starting in the center and work my way out to the outside edge much better. I even learned how to use two circular needles instead of double points because my aluminum dpns were so slippery I got very frustrated and thought that it was time to learn a new way! Check out this website which makes it very easy to learn how. I have no idea why I never tried this small diameter circular knitting technique earlier. Live and learn.

Pine St. Inn Knit-a-thon 2010

Stay tuned...there will be more squares to show you. I'm not finished yet
happy knitting :)

Copyright ©2006-2010 hakucho, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

What a relief!

Yes, it is a great relief to finally finish these socks. While I am happy with the finished product, I do have to admit that I did not enjoy knitting them. I based my socks on the stitch pattern from the November Sock pattern. Way back in July, the 10th to be exact I began these socks. I used the basic toe-up sock recipe from my toe-up totem pattern, figuring two maybe three weeks tops and they should be done, but that was not the case. All I can say is that the stitch pattern was just plain awkward to knit and I would get tired of them and give up. Well, I trudged on and I am now so glad they are finally finished. I think I'll refrain from any sock knitting for a while. Here's the finished product:

November Socks
November Socks

I really like the yarn though. It's "soles and more" from Joann's. It's an inexpensive yarn, but is so soft and enjoyable to knit. Did you notice....both feet match? This time I was very determined to make sure both feet matched. Now I know to never forget an important step before knitting socks with a pattern or stripe. Take a few extra minutes to pull your yarn out from each skein and match it up with each other. The first ball I used from the center pull and the other I had to start from the outside in order to make it match. I found it amusing to think that if I had knit them as is, both from the center pull, they couldn't possibly ever had matched. I am really excited this tedious project finished. Now I'm free to pursue other projects.

Happy Knitting :)

Copyright ©2006-2010 hakucho, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

A very fast summer!

I can't believe just how fast this summer went by! This post is long over due. There was so much I had planned to do this summer, but not much got done including knitting. Now that school has started I am hopeful that I can get into some good routines that include keeping up with my blogging. Things are good, very good right now. Hope it lasts :)

What did I do over my summer? Now let me think. I rushed my husband to the hospital because he was in incredible pain....low and behold he was passing a kidney stone, a first for him and hopefully his last. Here's the proof:

I moved my father again, but this time it was a good, very good move. I can report that my 93 year old Dad is finally doing very well. He had his gangrenous finger tips amputated and now he has pain free fingers. Hind sight is 20-20, and we now acknowledge that this surgery should have been done sooner. He has healed beautifully and is much happier now that he has been moved back into a regular room at his assisted living, playing bingo, etc. I even like his new room better than his old one.
Things work out for the better most of the time.

We spent 2 weeks on Cape Cod, one week in July and one week in August. Left my middle son home alone for the first time. He got a job finally(!!!) and was lucky enough to work full time all summer. Working agreed with him and he seemed to be a much easier kid to get along with.

I also nursemaided my middle son after he got his four impacted wisdom teeth removed. The oral surgeon really had to dig out the teeth on the bottom and he had a bad reaction to the anesthesia. He didn't have it easy, but he survived.

Moved my middle son into college. It was a very easy move compared to when my older son moved into college. He is pursuing engineering like his older brother, though he is not sure of the type of engineering yet. He started classes this past Wednesday and seems happy. He is only an hour away from home, so he can come home whenever he wants.

My youngest started his sophomore year in high school, also this past Wednesday and seem very happy with all his new teachers. He'll be playing tuba this year in band and hopefully trombone in the jazz band. I've been helping with the band uniforms (fitting, altering, etc) again this year. I was more involved start to finish which included taking and picking up all the uniforms from the cleaners. Having only one son home this year should prove to be much easier with less driving and fighting and cooking ;)

As far as knitting goes, I don't have much to show you except for another finished baby prayer blanket for church:
and a stack of washcloths....very boring. IMG_0656
All white ones, except for the last one I used scrap yarn to finish because I ran out of white yarn. Sometimes though boring knitting is good for your psyche, but I must admit there is nothing like an exciting project to get you motivated. Looking forward to becoming motivated again ....soon!

I am almost finished with a pair of socks. I've been trying to finish them, but I can't quite get there. I am not liking the pattern I chose very much, but will stick to it until the end....I am almost there! This has not been a summer for knitting unfortunately! My sister who lives in Oregon sent me another skein of her handspun yarn for my birthday in June. She never forgets me :) IMG_0639
Look how soft it is...I really need to find a project for all of her handspun yarn that I have been hoarding. Must put my thinking cap on some day and find a pattern(s).

In my future I do see lots of knitting, so hopefully I'll have more to blog about later. Until next time...happy knitting :)

Copyright ©2006-2010 hakucho, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

One thing after another

There is never enough time to do everything that I want. Blogging seems to be the thing that gets put on hold just because it lets me. Things are getting better and it is starting to slow down, so I am hopeful that I'll be able to post more regularly soon.

First of all my Dad is improving, thank goodness and thank you all for your thoughtful wishes. His fingers started to get infected, which in a way was a good thing because it helped him make the decision to amputate his two finger tips. He now is in much less pain and the fingers are healing nicely. Hopefully soon he'll be able to return to a regular room at his assisted living residence.

My middle son graduated from high school
and is working full time for the summer. We are sharing my car, which makes it hard with his hours being all over the place. He does not work a regular schedule. We're hoping he'll be able to get a car soon. I know it will make our lives easier.

My youngest has volunteered to play tuba
in his school band next September. We had to scramble to find a tuba teacher so he can have a few lessons before pep band camp in the middle of August. He's a trombone player, which he will continue play as well. Can't play tuba in a jazz band! He is borrowing the schools tuba for the summer and it takes up half my living room...but I'm not complaining mind you...we are fortunate  that we don't have to buy or rent a tuba.

My oldest son and his wife are now proud homeowners.
They closed yesterday on their brand new home, just in time to take advantage of the first time home buyers tax credit. They are ecstatic! Tomorrow we are helping them move. We wish them the best of luck. Good thing they both have good jobs, because they can't count on us for help...we'll be struggling with college payments soon.

My old gas oven in my stove called it quits,
so I had to make finding a new stove a priority. That's one thing I can't do with out. I ended up with a Frigidare gas range
and so far I love it. It was very reasonably price, but looks like an expensive stove. I'm looking forward to lots of cooking and baking.

I have been knitting. The only thing that was slightly exciting was a summer top for my son's wife for her birthday.
I love to knit for her as she always appreciates everything I have knit for her so far. When I saw the Blissful Blue Top pattern I immediately thought of her. It was an easy knit and I enjoyed working on it. The next project was a trio of bibs for a gift for a baby that is due July 6. An old standby...the Mason Dixon - Baby Bibs of Love.
I don't know the sex of the baby so I thought the yellow and orange color combo would be cheery. I'll get the package in the mail once I get the news of the baby's arrival. To be honest, I really have been very uninspired lately with everything I'm knitting....I'll show you what I'm working on right now later....but believe me you can don't hold your breath.

Remember the blanket
Parker's Blankie
I knit for my friend's grandson....well, as a thank you Parker gave me a gift of some fancy cookies
from a local bakery.
Very unexpected, but greatly appreciated. It's nice to know that my knitting the blanket was appreciated. The little boy was sick in the hospital and they made the point of telling me he had his special blankie with him.

Hopefully it won't be too long before I can visit everyone and get inspired to start some new projects. I definitely need to see what everyone has been up to. I'm still playing catch up here at home and the rest will come along as well, slowly, but surely...I hope.

Happy Knitting :)

Copyright ©2006-2010 hakucho, All Rights Reserved.