Friday, February 27, 2015

Liebster Award

My friends at Winwick Mum and LL Farm have nominated my blog for the Liebster Award.   Winwick Mum sent me a list of questions to answer.  So, here they are.....

1.  If you were down to your last $5.00, what would you spend it on?
Maybe I would buy a cup of coffee and pass it on someway.  I worked at a bank for over 25 years.  Back in those days, people would come in and withdraw their last $1.00 to buy a  couple of gallons of gas (I'm sharing how long ago this was).  It was a sad situation and it's still sad.
 This is the bank I worked at.  It says Bank of America but it was originally Seafirst Bank......

2.  What is your favorite thing to eat?
Oh my, I think I have lots of favorites but I love eggplant and potatoes of course (that's the Danish in me)...

3.  What was the first film you ever watched at the pictures?
I recall it was a circus themed film and performers with a trapeze act.  My father was a policeman and the police station was right next door to the movie theater.  My dad could take my cousins and I to the ticket window (he was in his police uniform) and they would let us in free!  It was an old theater with a huge seating area, balcony and those beautiful old style velvet curtains across the stage.
This is an old photo of the street where the movie theater and police station were located.

4.  If your house was on fire, what one thing other than family members and pets would you save?
I have lots of stuff in my house - maybe too much stuff as my sons says I should become a minimalist....but I would probably take my wedding picture.

5.  What other than your children, is your greatest achievement.
It's not proper to be proud, but I am thankful for the family unit I have been a part of these past 39+ years.  I will have been married 40 years this June to a wonderful, kind, perfect husband.  And, I think we have been blessed with two wonderful children.

6.  What did you want to be when you grew up?
Well, I probably wanted to be lots of things.  But, I am most happy being the housewife and mother that I've been for these past 35+ years.  It's a perfect match for me.  My mother worked - so I was one of those kids who came home to an empty home.  I had wonderful, loving parents but I never got over that my mom was not at home like the other kids.  I chose not to have a career - as my job at the bank was more part time due to my choice.  But, to answer the question...I had a Barbie doll growing up.  One of her outfits was a beautiful long black evening dress with a flounce at the bottom.  She had a microphone and it was her singing outfit.  That's what I wanted to be - a singer.  I would love to be able to sing like Susan Boyle.  But, I can't sing.  So, it's only a dream.

7.  What word would other people use to describe you?
I hope they would say polite and kind.  My children would say I'm eclectic.

8.  How many  WIPs do you have at the moment?
Easy question - three.  A doily, scarf, and another scarf...Here's the link.

9.  What's is your favorite yarn?
Recently, I discovered 6 ply sock yarn.  I love it as it works up so fast.  I love a bargain and I'm a bit of a yarn snob sometimes.  I order all my yarn online and I get some great bargains and get to create items with beautiful yarn.  There's not one particular brand I like.  But, sorry, I'm not a fan of the big box craft store yarns....

10. What tool could you not do without?
That's easy - my vacuum.  I vacuum almost every other day.  I'm a bit fanatic about keeping my floors clean and I hate to see anything on them....especially with my big, beautiful, fluffy kitty Lilly in the house!

11.  What was the last magazine you bought?
If you mean a magazine I actually have in my possession then it's Molly Makes.  I bought it in London in November 2013.  But, I recently subscribed to Taproot Magazine.  I haven't received the first copy yet.  I discovered this great magazine through another blog.

That's it.  I've answered all the questions and I've probably bored you to death.   But, there's more....

I'd like to pass on these questions for the next group of Liebster Awards.
Here they are:
1.  Where would you like to live if you could live anywhere in the world?
2.  What would you like to change in the world?
3.  What's your favorite series on TV?
4.  What could you not live without (either food or item)?
5.  What's the most precious thing you have?
6.  Do you like cats or dogs?
7.  Do you knit or crochet or do both or neither?
8.  What has been given to you that you can cherish for a lifetime?
9.  What is your fondest memory of childhood?
10. How did you start blogging?
11. What inspires you?

I nominate the following blogs for this award:
Misty Cottage Crafts
Camberwell Crafts
Morning Musings

The fun part is that this award is also given to anyone else who feels they would like to answer the questions I have posted.  I've recently discovered the blogs listed above and have so enjoyed reading them.  I'm sure you will too.

Enjoy your weekend,
Pat :)

I'm linking up today at:
Joy's Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Norwegian Cardamon Rolls

Hello my dear friends....did you think you would see another "sock tutorial"?  Just kidding, thank goodness I have completed the sock tutorial.  Thank you to everyone who followed along and encouraged me along the way.  Today I'm going to share with you a fast, easy, recipe for rolls.

Last week I attended my monthly lodge meeting at Daughters of Norway.  It's always a potluck and since we meet early in the morning, I find it's easiest for me to make some type of yeast bread that I can prepare the day before, let rise in the frig and bake the morning before the meeting.  So, here's what I made....

Norwegian Cardamon Rolls
2 cups milk (scalded and cooled)
1/2 cup butter
1 package dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon cardamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
6 to 7 cups all purpose flour

Place milk in pan (or bowl) and heat (or microwave) until milk just boils.  Remove from heat and add in butter.  Let cool until room temperature.

In large bowl, add warm water and sprinkle yeast over water.  Add in 1 Tablespoon sugar.  Let sit for about 5 minutes or until bubbly.

Now add in cooled milk/butter mixture, beaten egg, salt and cardamon, sugar and 2 cups flour.  Stir to mix all ingredients and continue to add remainder of flour as needed until you have a soft dough.  Knead well (I make mine in my Kitchenaid mixer with dough attachment).

Shape dough in a ball and cover with plastic wrap and a towel.  Keep in a warm, draft free place for approximately 1 hour or until dough has doubled.

Punch down dough and shape into golf ball size balls.  Shape into balls and place on a parchment lined (or greased) baking sheet and brush with egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 T milk).

Let rise until double and bake in a 375 degree oven for approximately 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from oven and cool on a rack.

These can be frozen after baking or you can shape the rolls and place them on the baking sheet and put them in the frig overnight and bake the next day.

Serve with creamy butter. You may notice that the color of my dough is a bit darker - that's because I used half white all purpose flour and half Trader Joe's "100% white whole wheat flour"......

If you are of Scandinavian descent, you might want to check out and see if there's a Daughters of Norway lodge near you.  It's a fun non-profit organization that preserves and promotes Norwegian culture.

It's been a busy month here at Lilly My Cat.  We spent a wonderful time with my dear son. And, my dear daughter and her husband are expecting their second baby!  So, I'm going to be a grandma for the second time.  I'm so excited as is the whole family.  It's going to be a little girl.  I've already ordered some pink yarn to make a sweater for the little one.  My little grandson, Oliver, is so excited to have a little sister.

And, that means Lilly will be an Aunt, again!  Doesn't she look like a real person sitting there? (she's sitting on my  Coast Ripple Blanket but she likes to "wrestle" with I placed a towel on top)

I'm linking up to some great parties this week.  Here they are:
Wordless Wednesday
Oh My Heartsie Girl
Planet Penny

I'd love to hear what you've been up to.  Free free to comment and say "hello".  I will see you again soon.

bye for now,

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Sock Knitting 101 - Sock Knit Along - Part III - Final Segment

Oh my, I can't believe I've been writing this sock tutorial for these past few of weeks.  Have you enjoyed reading or knitting along?  I hope so.....anyway, this is the last segment and it's going to be easy.  So, let's get started. (if you've discovered this blog, the previous links to Sock Knitting 101 can be found at the bottom of this post)

Note:  I just found out that I made a mistake in last week's post....I called the "instep" the "leg"...I hope I didn't confuse you!  Sorry :(

Last week you had completed the gusset and now we are ready to knit the instep or foot.  Just continue to knit each row in the round until the instep measures approximately 2" from your desired length.  You can measure from the end of the heel.  At this point, I slip the sock on my foot with the needles and all!  It works for me and it's easier to gauge the length.

 The photo above shows the instep is completed and ready for the toe decrease.  We will continue to work with three needles.

Toe Decrease:
We are going to be decreasing stitches, similar to how you decreased with the gusset but the decreases will be taking place on each needle as follows:

Row 1:  Knit each stitch
Row 2:  Needle 1:  Knit to the last 3 stitches then K2tog, k1
             Needle 2:  K1, SSK, knit to the last 3 stitches then K2tog, K1
             Needle 3:  K1, SSK, knit to end

Repeat these two rows until you have approximately 12 to 16 total stitches remaining.  The stitches remaining will be sewn together with the kitchener stitch and become the toe.

 Above in the photo you can see the completed toe decrease.

Kitchener Stitch:
The kitchener stitch is a seamless grafting technique that allows you to weave the live stitches on your needle so that it looks like it was knitted.  It came about during World War 1.  Socks played a big part in the war and the seams of the socks would irritate the soldiers feet.  Thus, they came up with this seamless toe.  This particular stitch is to obtain a "knit" or stockinette type weave.  It's a different technique if you are purling.....

To begin, after you have completed the toe decrease, knit across the stitches of needle 1.  You should now have only two needles with an equal number of stitches on each needle.   Cut your yarn leaving approximately a 12" tail.  Thread the yarn through a tapestry needle and begin following the directions below.

Holding your two needles with wrong sides of fabric together (as shown in the photo above), start the following steps:
Step 1: insert the needle as if to knit through the first stitch on the front needle and let the stitch drop from the needle,
Step 2: insert the needle into the second stitch on the front needle as if to purl and pull the yarn through, leaving the stitch on the needle,
Step 3: Insert the needle into the first stitch on the back needle as if to purl and let it drop from the needle, then
Step 4: insert the needle as if to knit through the second stitch on the back needle and pull the yarn through, leaving the stitch on the needle

Repeat steps 1 through 4 until all stitches are gone.  Thread in tail of yarn and secure.

Notes:  Please adjust your tension as you go along in this process.  Also, it's best to perform steps 1 through 4 without any interruption or you may get off track.

Sorry that this is not such a clear picture as my black yarn is hard to photograph.  But, you can see how it looks when completed.

Your sock is now complete!  You can celebrate or you can start on the second one.....
I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial.  It's been fun for me to share my passion of knitting socks.  But, I have a friend who is really an expert in this field and she will be bringing out an e-book for sock knitting.  I highly recommend that you bookmark Winwick Mum and keep in touch for her upcoming sock tutorial.  I'm sure you will enjoy it so much.

I'm linking to Handmade Monday  Until next time, happy knitting and thanks again for reading along. Also linking to Frontier Dreams.


In case you just discovered this post and wish to follow the sock knit along from the beginning, you can click on the links below.....
Part 1
Part II

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Sock Knitting 101 - Sock Knit Along Part II

It's been a week since I posted Part I of this sock knit along.  Are you having fun knitting socks?  Today, we're going to continue forming our sock and the next part is....

Heel Flap:
Count the number of stitches on your needles.  Divide that number in half.  (I have 44 stitches on my needles; 11 stitches on each needle).

1.  Your live yarn is at the end of needle 4.
2.  Transfer the stitches from needle 2 to needle 1 (I now have 22 stitches on needle 1)
3.  Just leave needle 3 and needle 4 alone at this point (don't worry about them for now)
4.  You now will be working on the stitches on needle 1 (needle 2 is no more for now....)
In the photo above, needle 1 is in the front of the photo with needles 3 & 4 crossed behind.  You are going to ignore needles 3 & 4 and only work on needle 1.

The first rows of the heel flap will be worked as follows:
1.  K1, *K1, S1*, repeat between * * to end of row, turn
2.  S1, P to end, turn
3.  S1, *K1, S1*, repeat between * * to end of row, turn
In the photo above, I have completed the heel flap and did 1 row of straight knit.

Repeat rows 2 & 3 until heel flap is approximately 2" to 2 1/4" long.  (I had 11 repeats of rows 2 & 3).  At this point, end with a completed row 2 (purl row) Then do 1 row of straight knit stitch across needle 1.
 We are now ready to start turning the heel.  This begins with the wrong side of the sock.

Turn Heel:
You should have ended up with your work now on the wrong side (purl side).  We are going to "turn the heel".  Basically, you are going to work a set number of stitches in the middle.  One of these stitches will be combined with a stitch on the side by either K2tog or P2tog, until all stitches are used up on the needle.

To better explain what I just's a photo of Row 1 of Turning the Heel.  You can count the slip 1, purl 12 stitches on the right needle.  Can you see the white yarn markers in the middle?  There are 4 stitches between the white markers.  And on the left needle, there are 9 stitches and on the right needle there are 9 stitches to the right of the right side markerThis photo was taken before I completed the  P2tog,P1 of row 1.

Row 1.  S1, p12, p2tog, p1, turn (this is based on 22 stitches on needle)*See Notes below
Row 2.  S1, k5, k2tog, k1, turn (6 stitches at end of needle before turning)
Row 3.  S1, p6, p2tog, p1, turn (4 stitches at end of needle before turning)
Row 4.  S1, k7, k2tog, k1, turn (4 stitches at end of needle before turning)
Row 5.  S1, p8, p2tog, p1, turn (2 stitches at end of needle before turning)
Row 6.  S1, k9, k2tog, k1, turn (2 stitches at end of needle before turning)
Row 7.  S1, p10, p2tog, p1, turn (0 stitches at end of needle before turning)
Row 8.  S1, k11, k2tog, k1, turn (0 stitches at end of needle before turning)

 This photo shows how your stitches should look at the end of Row 2.  Do you see the pattern of 6 stitches to the left and 6 stitches to the right?  You will continue purling two stitches together or knitting two stitches together until there are no stitches left.  You will end up with all the rows completed and if you started with 22 stitches, you will have 14 stitches left at the end of row 8.

Here's a photo of the completed heel.  You should have a nice little "cup" shape for the heel.  If it doesn't look OK, feel free to unravel your stitches to the beginning of this segment and start again.  I've done that many times....
Notes:  When you are slipping stitches, be sure to keep the tension tight on the slipped stitch.  You don't want "gaps" in the heel.  Also, these numbers listed above were using 6 ply yarn or worsted weight yarn.  You may have more stitches.  If so, your "middle group" of heel stitches may be increased one or more stitches.  Just be sure your stitches are evenly grouped so that your heel will be even and not lopsided.

This is a fun part of the sock to compete.  Don't be worried....we are going to be working with stitches placed over 3 needles....but we will adjust the stitches to the appropriate needle.  But, first we have to pick up some stitches.

 You are going to be picking up stitches from the edge of the heel flap.  I usually pick up the stitch towards the "outside" of the stitch.  I picked up 13 stitches but it depends on what size your heel flap is.
Here is the needle showing the 13 stitches that have been picked up.

Here's what you are going do:
1.  With a new needle, pick up 13 stitches (or how many you need) from the heel flap.
2.  With a new needle knit across the 22 stitches from the instep of the foot.
3.  With a new needle, pick up 13  stitches (or how many you need from the heel flap, and knit 7 stitches from the heel.  Place a marker at this point since this will now be the ending of each row.
4.  You are now going to do 1 row of knit all the way around but there is one more needle to adjust the stiches on....
5.  You are now going to begin a new row (count this row as Row 1 - see below), knitting all the way around.  With a needle, knit the 7 stitches from the heel and with the same needle, knit the 13 pick up stitches from the instep.  This now completes stitches for needle 1.  With needle 2, knit the stitches across the instep of the foot. With needle 3, knit the pick up stitches from the instep and the 7 stitches from the heel.

This is how your work should look now.  You should have 3 needles; Needle 1 with 1/2 the heel stitches and the pick up stitches, Needle 2 with the instep stitches and, Needle 3 with the pick up stitches and the remaining heel stitches.

I now have the following stitches on my needles:
Needle 1 = 20
Needle 2 = 22
Needle 3 = 20

That a total of 62 stitches and I need to decrease down to 44 stitches.  Again, you will be knitting in the round and doing the decreases at the end of needle 1 and beginning of needle 3. Below is the pattern for the gusset  decrease rounds. You will now do Row 2 (aka decrease row) shown below.

The photo above shows needle 1 of Row 2 before the decrease.  These last three stitches on needle 1 will be worked as:  k2tog, k1.

Row 1.  Knit all stitches
Row 2.  Needle 1: Knit to the last three stitches, k2 tog, k1
             Needle 2: Knit all stitches on Needle 2
             Needle 3: Knit 1 stitch, SSK, knit to the end
Repeat these two rows until there are 11 stitches* on both Needle 1 and Needle 3, for a total count of 44 stitches*.
*Note*  I started with a total of 44 stitches.  I have 22 stitches on the instep (Needle 2).  So I am going to work these decreases until I have 11 stitches on Needle 1 and 11 stitches on Needle 3 for a total of 44 stitches = the same amount of stitches I originally started with.  Your pattern may have 48 stitches, or 40 stitches, so adjust accordingly.

In this photo, you will see the gusset taking shape after doing a few rows of knit one row, decrease one row....

Until finally you have reached the end of the gusset and you have the correct number of stitches on your needle.

If you don't want to wait until next week's post, you can go ahead and start the instep and knit every row until the length is approximately 2" less than what you need.....

Next week I will post the info for Instep, Toe Decrease and Kitchener Stitch.  Please don't be shy - feel free to comment.  I love to hear from you.

Happy knitting,

I'm linking up at a fun, new party over at Lucy Blossom Crafts 
and also at Frontier Dreams 
and today you can find me at Yarn Along

Friday, February 13, 2015

Family Getaway to Rancho Mirage

Hello everyone.  My brain is on overload from "writing my sock tutorial" so I thought I'd take a short break and just post some fun pictures.  Our family took a short getaway to Rancho Mirage recently.  It's just next to Palm Springs and about 100 miles from our home.

 Enjoy the photos.......

This is a windfarm along Highway 10 on the way to Rancho Mirage

Beautiful palm trees against the afternoon sky......

A tall lone majestic palm.......

The view out of the kitchen window........

The ever warming sun behind a palm.......

The golf course view outside our condo door......we don't golf :(...can you see the snow on top of the mountain?

My little grandson swimming in the pool.......

More mountains and palm trees....

We had such a fun time with all the family being present.  I'll post Part II of the sick (oops, I meant socks!) tutorial on Sunday. Have a wonderful Valentine's Day!

Happy hearts,

Oops, I almost forgot that I'm linking up with Happy Friday

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Sock Knitting 101 - Sock Knit Along Part 1

Welcome back to Lilly My Cat.  Do you have your yarn and needles ready to start our sock knit along?  If so, then let's start....

**********UPDATE***********After I wrote this post, I changed the size of the sock and did an initial cast on of 44 stitches; 11 stitches on each needle.  I hope this hasn't confused everyone.  Sorry.

As you know, we will be knitting these socks in the "round" using double pointed needles (DPNs).  So, please mark the end of your row with a stitch marker so that you can keep track of where you are in the pattern. If you missed the intro you can find it here

Cast On:
Depending upon what pattern you have decided to use, you will be casting on your stitches over 4 needles.  I am using 6 ply yarn and I am going  to cast on 48 stitches over four needles, hence 12 stitches on each needle.  Please do not cast on your stitches too tight.  They should have even tension throughout all the cast on stitches.
 Here is a photo of needle one with 12 stitches cast on.  The "tail" is to the right of the photo.

Here is needle 2 with 12 stitches cast on. Do you see how I staggered the needles and bound them together with scrap yarn at the bottom?  This way my needles stay in place and my cast on stitches do not get twisted....

Here is needle 3 after 12 stitches have been cast on.  I added needle three to the other needles and wound my scrap yarn around the base of the needle to keep it in place.

Finally, here is needle 4 with the 12 cast on stitches.  Again, I secured this needle with the scrap yarn at the bottom.  Your "live" yarn is at the end of Needle 4 (along with the leftover tail yarn).

Count your stitches and be sure you have the correct number on each needle.  Note:  If you are doing the worsted weight yarn pattern, you may have 40 or 44 total stitches with 10 or 11 stitches on each needle.

Carefully unwind the scrap yarn and put each needle into the shape as shown below.  Please do not twist any needle or else your stitches will be twisted.

This is how it should look before you slide the stitches on the needles to their correct position to knit....

Now, let see how it looks....

We are now going to knit the first row of the ribbed cuff.  We will pick up the "live" yarn that ended at Needle 4 and use it to knit the first stitch from Needle 1; thus connecting the needles.  We are going to be knitting in the round.  Tip:  I take the leftover of my cast on tail yarn and tie it into a bow.  This way I won't get confused and use it to knit with.

Now we are going to join these needles together.  Remember, there is no yarn between needle 4 (on the right) and needle 1 (in the bottom of the picture).  So, we are going to make the first "knit" stitch into the first cast on stitch of needle one.  Tip:  Your live yarn ended at the end of Needle 4 so you're going to insert your needle into the first stitch on Needle 1 and bring the live yarn over the needle and finish the stitch.  Be sure to keep the tension of the yarn tight on this first stitch since you don't want any holes....

We are now going to knit the first row of the cuff.  The cuff is usually always knit in a  rib pattern to allow for elasticity.  I am doing a "k 1, p 1" ribbing pattern for the cuff.  Repeat each row of this ribbing pattern until the desired length of the cuff. 

You will continue to knit and purl each stitch all the way around Needles 1 through 4.  At the end of Needle 4, place a marker.  As you can see, I use a safety pin.  This reminds you that this is the end of the row.  The photo above shows how your first row should look.  You can see that there are no twists in the cast on stitches.

 Here's a photo after I have knit all the rows for the ribbing.  My cuff is approximately 1 1/4" or 10 rows (using 6 ply yarn).

You will now begin knitting the leg.  Knit each stitch for every row until the leg measures approximately 7" from cast on edge.  I knitted 43 rows.  You can add more rows if you want the sock to be longer.
Halfway done knitting the leg....

Completed leg of sock.......

This completes Part 1 of the Sock Knit Along.  I hope I haven't gotten confused.  The nice thing about socks is that you can adjust the size as you go along; i.e., the length of the leg, the length of the foot.  Sometime, I "try on" the sock as I'm knitting it to see if the size is correct.

SOCK SIZE:  I just want to share a couple of pointers for correct sizing.
1.  I knitted a pair of socks with worsted weight yarn on size 4 needles.  The pattern said to cast on 44 stitches but I cast on 40 stitches to fit a US woman's shoe size 7.
2.  For the 6 ply socks, please do not cast on too tight.  You might want to go up a needle size for the cast on and first row of the ribbing.  I made a second pair of 6 ply socks using a size 6 needle for the cast on and first row of the ribbing and then changed to a size 4 needle.  I cast on 44 stitches for a US woman's size 7 shoe size.  I hope this helps you.  But, of course all of us knit with different tension.

Part II:
On February 15th, I will post Part 2 of the sock knit along.  We will be doing the heel flap, turning the heel, and gussets.

If you have a question, please feel free to contact me via the comments and I will try my best to answer you.  And, feel free to add a link to show a picture of your sock progress.

Until next time, happy sock knitting :)


P.S.  Lilly insisted that I share this week's photo of her.  She loves all the attention she receives via this blog.....

I am joining the Yarn Along today over at Small Things