Uncategorized

Inverness

Today’s road took us to Spean Bridge, Urqhart Castle, Loch Ness, Culloden Battlefield, and Inverness. I made friends with a weaver who taught me to stick weave, and we ended the day by River Ness, listening to traditional Scottish music and enjoying a dram.

Ft. William

Our least planned day will probably be one of our favorites of the trip…wandering through glens of grazing sheep, lunching in a train car (the best tomato soup I’ve ever tasted), hiking along a Highland trail, seeing the Jacobite Train cross the Glenfinnan Viaduct, visiting the memorial to Bonnie Prince Charlie, and afternoon tea and shopping in Ft. William.

London, Day Two

We ate breakfast at Lundenwic Food and Coffee in Holborn.

We perused the Borough Market for cheese, meat, bread, and wine, and enjoyed a mid-day meal of beef sandwiches there.

We crossed the Thames River and got a look at London Bridge and the Tower of London.

We strolled though the British Library for a browse through their special collections; my favorites included the Codex Sinaiticus, Tyndall New Testament, First Edition of the King James Bible, and The Magna Carta.

Sidenote: Before leaving London, I have to mention that I completely forgot about visiting the Churchill War Rooms on our first day, the underground bunkers where British men and women planned and strategized during World War II. The film “The Darkest Hour” told this story and several bits of the movie were actually shot here.

My brain is so full.

We walked to Kings Cross Station to catch the train to Edinburgh.

And we had a lovely trip to Edinburgh, feasting on our picnic, knitting (of course), journaling, and meeting our neighbors.

For anyone interested, Tif is knitting Handbrake by Kay Jones in Malabrigo Merino worsted Cabernet, and I’m working on the Magnolia Socks by Curious Handmade in West Yorkshire Spinners Cherry Drop.

This Glaswegian family delighted us with tales about their kin and Scotland. Please meet Brian, Jenna, and Sarah McNeil. They had been to London on Easter Holiday to shop and see Hamilton. They asked, “Where are you from?” We answered, “Indiana.” They asked, “What do you have there?” We said, “Farmland.” They said, “Oh.” I think they were hoping for something more exciting. Regardless, we now have friends in Glasgow!

We crossed into Scotland and were met with foggy vistas and glimpses of the coastline. Simply magical. A short walk to our Air BnB and quick supper in the neighborhood ended the second day of our trip. We’ll awake to our first full day in Scotland.

London #alltheplaces

Our UK adventure begins!

We are a walking advertisement for Osprey.

After a great flight from Nashville to London via NYC, we hit the ground running with a full day of sight-seeing, determined to stave off jet lag by staying vertical as long as humanly possible. That included:

a wonderful brunch,

the Horse Guard Parade,

a two-hour visit to Westminster Abbey,

and the Two Chairmen Public House, which began quietly enough but filled when Parliament adjourned.

(Clay recognized Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party)

(Here’s my Merrie Dancers Toorie beside a pint, because I’m a knitter and the knitwear is important)

After liquid fortification, we walked to Buckingham Palace,

took the tube to Coventry Garden,

and had a proper English dinner of meat pies.

Then we crashed. And crashed hard, having made it to 21:00.

It’s amazing what sleep will do. And a very good cup of coffee.

Team USA Olympic-Inspired Hat

The 2018 USA Olympic Team uniform designs have been released and I don’t know about you, but I always look forward to their reveal! I have been a life-long fangirl of Ralph Lauren and his American-West-inspired lifestyle esthetic (not to mention his views on raising kids and the importance of family…check it out). We knitters are not disappointed by the inclusion of a gorgeous stranded-knit sweater design that will be worn by Team USA athletes at the opening ceremony in PyeongChang on February 9th.

There’s been some spirited discussion about the gloves but personally, I like them and think they will look fabulous on TV.

Those will be some warm, toasty hands.

There’s also a lot of chatter about the textile technology that will keep our team warm in South Korea. Also fascinating.

Inspired by the splendid colorwork sweater, I challenged myself to sit down and chart the motifs of the sweater using Stitch Fiddle, an easy-to-use chart-generating program. Wouldn’t it be great to have a hat inspired by the Olympic team’s sweater, I thought to myself?  Why yes, it would!

The men’s and women’s sweaters are not identical but feature many of the same motifs. I picked and chose the motifs I liked and placed them into this hat design.

IMG_1355

Knit with DK weight scraps from other projects, the hat is a generous beanie with some slouch that will fit most medium-sized adult heads. The size can be altered easily by going up or down a needle-size, or by lessening the number of repeats of the biggest motif, which is 18 stitches; please note, however, that if the cast on number is changed, some of the smaller motifs will not repeat evenly. If that jog doesn’t bother you, you can modify the overall size that way.

IMG_1372

Using less than 20 gram scraps of each of three colors, you can knit this hat now to wear during the Games, or cast on as you watch the opening ceremony.  This hat would be a great project to knit while viewing your favorite events……curling anyone?

You’ll find the hat pattern and color work chart at the link below.  USA, USA, USA!!!

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/team-usa-2018-hat

The Pudding Experiment

It’s been a very festive day, indeed. We started the morning at church with the children’s Christmas program where we were delighted by an especially jubilant little penguin in the front row who sang his heart out. He knew every word and he wanted to make sure that even the folks in the back row could hear each one. What a joy!

After a hearty lunch of leftover Tortellini and Kale Soup, we began the pudding experiment which in truth began yesterday.

For you see, it was the day to drive our Christmas cards to Spencer County for that special postmark from a real Indiana town named Santa Claus. While there, we almost got in line for the town’s Christmas parade and that would have been a good time if we hadn’t had so many other things to do. With Eric in the driver’s seat and that white beard, we looked right at home.

Wave to the kind people, honey.

It was a quick trip to Monkey Hollow Winery for our annual stockpile of Winter Warmer. By this time it was spitting snow. Now my cousins to the south, like far-south near Atlanta, were getting a blizzard this December 9th but we here in a Southern Indiana could only boast of flurries and quick snow squalls that didn’t accumulate. It did, however, add to the very festive vibe of the day. That and our Holiday Classics on iTunes Radio.

We had hoped to make a trip to the Ferdinand Antique Emporium one last time before they packed up and moved to their new location up the road. We also hoped to snag some bargains from vendors who wanted once less box to pack. We were not disappointed.

We filled a large cardboard box with many treasures but by far the best find of the day was a vintage German pudding mold.

Now you already know that we’re into all of the German things because this time last year, we were in Berlin sipping Gluhwein at German Christmas Markets and buying all the sheepskins. Hygge. We’re homesick for Germany this Christmas season.

Pudding molds are beautiful and this one deserves a holiday home. And a bath.

Not content to resign this beautiful mold to a shelf in the kitchen, we decided to mix up a pudding and put it to work. Eric asked a very good question; he said, “I wonder how long it’s been since a pudding was cooked in that mold?” We like to ponder those kinds of things when we purchase well-loved or well-worn items with stories hidden in every crevice.

Thanks to The Google, we quickly found what sounded like a yummy recipe (how can one go wrong with things like molasses and cinnamon and plump raisins and freshly grated nutmeg?) and we collected the needed ingredients.

I had just the right pot to fit the mold with plenty of room for three hours of bubbling steam and the smells, oh the smells. It’s supposed to sit and season for a bit to fully age. How long do you think we can hold out before taking a bite?

Childhood Dress to Table Runner in Three Easy Steps

While cleaning out some boxes in our basement this holiday season, I came across one with “vintage clothing” inside.  That’s what you call anything worn in the 60s or 70s.  It sounds much fancier than “old clothes”. 

At the top of the box was a red Christmas jumper; it was one of two identical dresses ordered from The Sear and Robuck catalogue for my sister and me to wear on Christmas Sunday, I’m guessing, in about 1970 or so.  Sidenote:  Did you know that you can look at old Sear and Robuck Wishbooks online?  Check this out and plan to spend a few hours there http://wishbookweb.com/  You will soon discover that plaid was a big thing then.


Even for boys.  Gotta love the Toughsins.  We all had ’em. 


Now back to my project…

While still in fairly good condition, the fabric on the bodice of the dress was degrading and as result, it was shedding copious amounts of red dust on everything it touched.  


Because of the mess, I was tempted to toss the garment right into the trash, but the plaid fabric was in such good shape that I hesitated for a moment or two.  I LOVE plaid and while I’m unsure of the fabric content because all of the labels had faded, it was most likely a polyester of some kind.  The woven fabric was in excellent condition and caused such sweet memories to tumble through my head.  Was that the year that I wanted an autoharp for Christmas?  I think it was.  

Obviously, there were too many wonderful memories tied up in that dress to simply throw it away.  So here’s what I did…

Step one:  Salvage the fabric.

Using my seam ripper, I got busy separating the skirt from the bodice.


This was a little fiddly and messy but easily accomplished while listening to Christmas music and having a cup of tea.

Then I gave that skirt a nice bath.  


Again, unsure of the fabric content, I used a mild detergent in cool water and allowed it to sit for a bit.  

I carefully rinsed the fabric and rolled it up in a fluffy towel to absorb most of the excess water.  Then I hung it on the rack to dry.  

Step number two:  Give that fabric remnant a new life.  

Now clean and dry, I carefully pressed the plaid fabric with a medium-hot iron to steam out wrinkles and open up the old hem, which promptly came out with a pull on the line of stitching.  

There was enough usable fabric for a small pillow or a doll blanket, which would have been equally endearing, but I quickly decided upon a table runner because of its obviously long and skinny shape.  Perfect.  

Following the lines of the woven plaid, I trimmed the fabric to its maximum length and width following the straight of the grain.  Then I serged the edges with the serger to keep them from unraveling.  Back at the ironing board, I turned in about 1/2 inch along all edges and mitered the corners, pinning them in place.  A straight line of stitching with white thread secured each edge.  Small lengths of red pom pom trim on each end provided the finishing touch! 


Step three:  Enjoy!

The table runner now sits on my farmhouse table under a piece of wood that was once part of my grandmother’s quilting frame.  Fat candles in thick,  seeded-glass holders line up on top.   There is so much sentiment and satisfaction in that simple centerpiece, now completed with the addition of the plaid runner.  I may trek out into the woods for a few sprigs of cedar, too. 

I think I love it.  

Merry Christmas!