Friday, November 27, 2015

Don't Need a Bootlace That Bad

Good Friday to you, Dear Reader!

As usual, I worked this morning (horses gotta eat, you know), then I came home, where I will stay for the rest of the day.  I am not a Black Friday shopper.  In fact, I went out after work on Tuesday and got everything I could possibly need--food, gas, and otherwise--to get me through until Monday next week.  I don't battle the last minute Thanksgiving ingredient crowds, and I certainly don't take part in the Black Friday shopping mania.

This has always been my modus operandi.  So much so, that all of my kids are also reluctant to venture off property in the days immediately following Thanksgiving.  It's not just shopping that's treacherous, driving is markedly more dangerous in the hysteria of Black Friday.

However, this morning, a little while after I returned from work, DS2 (who is home for the holiday & weekend) asked if I might need anything from the city about 20 minutes away.  "I need to get a pair of bootlaces," he informed me; "one of the laces on my hunting boots broke."

I shook my head.  "Nope, I'm good.  Besides, I can't believe you are going to go in Walmart or Meijer today." He has always been the least social of my kids, the one most comfortable by himself in the middle of nowhere. Maybe living and working in a large city now that he's out of college has changed him, made him a little more used to crowds and heavy traffic.

His eyes widened as realization dawned.  "Oh crap," he said.  "I forgot what today was.  Never mind.  I don't need a bootlace that bad.  It can wait a few days."

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Yarn Along 2015.46: Finished Sock and a Good Book

It's late, but it's still Wednesday, so I'm joining Ginny's Yarn Along again this week.

Again, not much knitting happening this week. I did finish sock #2 of Toad's Christmas socks.  At first, I was a little disappointed that the yarn wasn't self-striping, like the yarn I had used for K3's socks.  But, now that the socks are done, I do like the way the yarn is dyed.  I just wish I had picked up an extra stitch on one side of the gusset and then did a K2tog somewhere before getting to the foot.  Would have avoided the little gusset hole. But, I guess Toad won't mind.

I have some yarn set aside for my next knitting project, which will be a pair of socks for DD1, hopefully in time for Christmas.   I'm going to make them in Knit Picks Comfy, which is cotton, because she complains that her feet are always hot when she wears shoes  and she can't wear the wool socks I made her a few years ago because then her feet sweat.

The colorway is called Blackberry, which is a deep purple.

This week, I read a really good book.  It was my 'hunting' read, meaning it was the book I put in my hunting bag at the beginning of the season, and have read only during slow spells in the tree stand or deer blind.  This week has been really slow hunting, for several days there was no fresh sign at all and none of us saw deer.  So I got a lot of reading done.

Desire Lines was interesting to read, right from the start.  A few scenes were a little more, um, descriptive, than I prefer to read (romantic situation), but mostly it is a mystery type of story more than a romance novel.

That's all for this week; I hear the oven timer going off, which means it's time for me to get back to my pre-Thanksgiving pie baking.  All from scratch, of course: pumpkin, pecan, and dutch apple.  I'll be feeding a crowd of seventeen tomorrow, so hopefully a variety of pies will satisfy everyones' sweet tooth.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Snow Serene

Saturday brought us a lot of snow.  About eight inches, I think, when it was all said and done. It began in the night on Friday, and was supposed to be rain at first, turning to snow.  We were supposed to get 1-3 inches of accumulation, since the ground was still warm (temps were in the low to mid 60's earlier in the week), and most of the first snow was going to melt on contact.

But when it was time to go hunting Saturday morning pre-dawn, there was all ready a good inch or more accumulated on the soft, warm ground.

The snow fell steadily, never really being a gale or storm, just a nice, quiet, serene snowfall.

I sat in the new elevated blind DH built late this summer on the edge of the field, where the woods and field meet, and watched it snow.  For hours.  The sun rose, but the lighting hardly changed all day.  All of these pictures I took, hours apart, while sitting there in the blind.  

I love the way they came out looking like old black and white photos, even though I didn't use any special settings. In fact, they were all taken with the camera on my cell phone just on the standard automatic setting.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Yarn Along 2015.45: Little Socks

It has been a busy, windy, rainy day at this little place here.  I'm sliding into the Yarn Along quite a few hours later than normal.

Not a whole lot of knitting in the past week; in addition to the hours upon hours I spent deer hunting, I've also been working on a sewing project and the counted cross stitch project that is beginning to feel like it will never end.

However, I did finish the pair of Jellybean's Special Socks that I was knitting as one of K3's Christmas presents.  In the interest of full disclosure, I was working on the heel of sock #2 when she spied the completed sock #1 in my knitting bag, took it out, recognized it as a sock, and put it on her foot (in the innocence of a 3 yr old, I don't think she ever realized it was a sock for her versus just a small sock).  Well, apparently even though I measured her footprint (on a project she made in preschool recently) and made the sock to that length, when it was actually on her foot, the sock was a little snug.  Definitely no growing room.

So, I made sock #2 an inch longer than sock #1, then went back, took out the toe of the first sock, added an inch to the foot of that one, knit the toe again, and had a matching pair.  Or, pretty close to matching, anyway, as the stripes in the yarn didn't come out quite exact from one sock to the other.

Then I started a sock for Toad, in another skein of Regia with a blue colorway (but unfortunately, not striping; when I bought it I thought it was self-striping like the pink skein).  After K3 had tried on the sock from by bag the other day, he'd wanted it on his foot too (at 15 months old, he's very much into copying everything his sister does).  That size fit him well with some room for growth, so I will make his socks to the measurements I'd originally intended for his sister.

Late last night, (as I was waiting for DH to stop snoring enough that I could get back to sleep), I finished the first sock of Toad's pair.  Didn't get a chance yet today to cast on for the second sock, but the night is young here still, LOL.

Meanwhile, I requested from the library a book recently suggested by a reader of this little place here.  The Soil Will Save Us by Kristin Ohlson.  It came in earlier this week, and so far (Chapter two, I think) I am finding it interesting.

Monday, November 16, 2015

One Less Deer in the Woods

(Warning, parts of this post are graphic.  If you're not a hunter, or someone who has processed their own meat, you may not want to read more than the first dozen paragraphs.  And don't look at the pictures!!)

Yesterday was opening day of firearm deer season here in Michigan.  The weather was not right for it; unseasonably warm with a high that topped out at 63 degrees.  It was also fairly windy, averaging 8-10 mph from the southwest and west-southwest all day with gusts up to 20 mph or so.

In other words, too warm for the deer to be moving around, and so windy that scent (more specifically, human scent) was blowing all over the woods.

But, it was opening day, and we have no venison in the freezer, and it was Sunday so none of us had to take off of work in order to hunt.  So we hunted.  Or, at least, DH and I and one of DH's buddies (aka a 'guest') hunted in the morning.  In the afternoon, DH, his buddy, myself and DS1 hunted.

The tree stand I chose to sit in is in the northwest corner of our woods.  Because it was bought as a Christmas present for DS2 back when he was in high school, it's official location is known as "DS2's Stand".  Now, with the wind coming right off the field from the west, and DS2's Stand being only about 25 yards inside the woods off the field, DH tried his best to convince me that DS2's Stand was the wrong place to sit yesterday.  The wind was all wrong, he said.  I wouldn't see any deer, he said.  They would scent me long before I could see them coming through the woods.

But, I had a persistent feeling that I was supposed to sit in DS2's Stand on opening day.  And when I have a persistent feeling, it is very hard to get me to change my mind.  That gut instinct has proven itself right too many times.

During the four hours I sat in the stand opening morning, I saw six deer, all to the north of me.  Some headed west to east, but most headed east to west.  And none of them came within range of my gun.  But, at least I saw them.  I knew they were there.  A very good sign, since the last two weeks (bow season) DH hadn't been seeing hardly any deer.

Still, when we came in for food and to watch the Lions actually play some decent football on TV, DH tried to convince me I should sit elsewhere for the afternoon hunt.  But no, my mind was made up and I wasn't budging.  Back to DS2's Stand it was, at 3:00.

Now during the morning hunt, there had been a fairly good amount of shooting going on in the neighborhood.  And by neighborhood I mean a couple mile radius.  Basically as far as you can hear, that's the neighborhood in this instance. I counted 45 shots between roughly dawn at 7:00 a.m., and when I got into the house at 10:30 a.m. (I'd been sitting since 6:20, but not enough light to shoot by until around 7:00).

By contrast, I think I may have heard three shots during my afternoon sit.  Don't know if there were suddenly less hunters in the afternoon, or if there were markedly less deer.  I saw a deer in the woods to the north of me (on the neighbor's property) go from west to east around 4:00 p.m.  Then about 4:45 I saw one of the same size, roughly the same distance north, go from east to west.  My assumption, being that it was smallish and alone, is that it was a button buck just wandering around from one side of the woods to another.

A little after 5:00 p.m., I heard deer coming up from the south, about 40-50 yards east of me.  It took a while for them to come into view, as it is fairly brushy in that direction.  I got a visual on them about 5:20 or so.  In the lead was a large doe, followed by what I assumed where her two fawns.  They didn't seem frightened at all, just on a normal jaunt through the woods in search of food and water.  When they were almost due east of me, I heard another, heavier sounding, deer coming up the same path from the south.  Thinking it might possibly be a buck, I let the lead doe go through my shooting lane and continue northward.  The two smaller deer followed her at a leisurely pace.  By the time the third deer of that group was in my shooting lane, I could see the following fourth deer.  It was good sized, but it was not a buck.  No matter, as I had in my pocket a doe permit too, since I first hunt dinner, then horns.  (DH will not shoot a doe until the final week of November, prior to that he is out for a large buck.)

So, as the front three deer moved out of my shooting lane and into a little more brush, I brought my gun up to my shoulder, and waited for that fourth deer, that bigger doe, to come into the clearing.  To my surprise, she not only came into the clearing, but she turned and headed right toward the tree I was sitting in!

Now, with a wind from the west, and the deer being to the east of me, she was not supposed to do that!  She was supposed to scent me on the wind that blew right past her nostrils. Because I was in the wrong stand for the weather. I don't know if the wind suddenly died off in that moment, or what, but I ended up with a hefty doe standing broadside to me at about 20 yards distance.

So I shot her.  Knocked her sideways, and when her feet hit the ground again, she took off running west toward the field, then changed her mind once she was past my tree and headed south into the brushy cover.  A couple of big crashes, then the sound of dead branches breaking, a little gurgling wheeze, and silence.

That's when I started shaking.  I was shaking so hard from adrenaline that it's a wonder the stand wasn't clanging against the tree.  I did some Lamaze breathing (I tell you, that breathing technique I learned in child birth class back in 1989 has steadied my nerves more times than just the four births I've been through).  I answered DH's text that yes, the shot was mine, and I believed she hadn't gone very far.  Then I waited. And waited.  And waited. Approximate shot time was 5:36 p.m.  Dark fell about 6:05.  I had to wait until dark to get down, so as to not interrupt anyone else's hunting.

Then, once it was dark, and DH walked over to my stand on his way in, he wanted to go in the house and eat dinner before we started tracking my doe.  He didn't want to kick her up and make her run if she wasn't dead yet.  I agreed, as I really really hate tracking in the dark, so I didn't want to risk pushing her from where I thought she was based on the sounds she'd made and the direction she'd run after I shot.  I was pretty sure she was within about 50 yards of DS2's Stand, south and a little east, on the edge of the woods and not in the field.

Earlier, between hunts, I'd put together a big batch of chili and had it staying hot in the crock pot while we went out for the afternoon hunt.  Serving up dinner took only a few minutes, and about fifteen more to actually eat it.  Then I was raring to go retrieve my deer.  I had in my pocket a Ziploc bag to put the heart in, two gutting knives, my doe permit, and a flash light.

It seemed like forever before I got DH and his buddy up out of their chairs and out of the house.  I don't remember for sure, but I might have said something about going and getting the deer all by myself if they didn't get a move on.  They, I'm pretty sure, thought she wouldn't be dead yet (from their collective past experiences with shooting and tracking their own deer and those of their friends).  But I was positive she was.  Her short running distance, big crash of sticks, and gurgle sounded like the last deer I'd gotten, years ago, that I'd clipped through the heart and had dropped and died within a few minutes of being shot.

Once we'd gotten the tractor from the barn (the loader bucket on the tractor is so handy for carrying deer in from the woods) and driven to the edge of field at the woods, DH wanted to start looking for blood right there where the woods and field met.  I insisted she hadn't run that far.

I walked back to where I'd aimed in my shooting lane so close to DS2's Stand, and turned on the flashlight.  Almost immediately I found the blood trail.  DH's buddy jumped five yards ahead of me, to where a small tree was sprayed with blood, and he practically rushed through the woods looking for my deer.  DH called him off, saying that I was to take the lead and do the tracking.  If I lost the trail, then they would fan out and help look.

I didn't lose the trail.  It was well marked, bright red droplets of blood plentiful in the fallen leaves.  Brush and small trees were splashed with it, clearly showing the way my doe had ran.  It wasn't even ten minutes later that I found her, crawled up underneath a wild apple tree, definitely dead.

At that point, DH handed me the spot light and told me to break a path through the brush so that he and his buddy could drag the doe out to the field for me.   Sounds nice, like I got the easy job, right?  Unless you know that the brush happens to include some nasty stuff with 2" thorns on it.  So, I backed my way through the brush (to protect my face from getting scratched), using my body to break a path for them to follow, and shining the spot light at the ground so they could see what was under foot.

Once we had her out in the field, I insisted on a posterity picture (mainly because the last deer I got--2009? 2010? I can't remember--I never got a picture of because after it was dressed and hung, I went in to wash up and forgot to have someone take a picture of me with my deer).

(of course I had to edit this photo in keeping with my 
no recognizable faces policy on this blog)

Then it was time for the messy job of field dressing her.  I took off my coat, rolled up my shirt sleeves, unfolded the preferred gutting knife, and got to cutting.  She was still hot inside, and that kept me from getting chilled, since the temperature was down below fifty now.  Doing the gutting didn't take long, and when I putted out the heart, I proudly showed off what had sort of become my 'signature': a heart with a top corner shredded.  Ever deer I've harvested (all whopping three of them now) has been shot through the edge of the heart.  Like I mentioned before, I hate tracking in the dark.  You shoot the deer in the right spot, put the bullet through the heart, and it's a pretty quick death for the animal.  Some people bemoan the loss of that section of the heart as meat once it's been shot.  Personally, I'd rather give up a little meat and give the deer a quick death.  I feel it's more humane.  And, it saves me some tracking.

Once she was relieved of her internal organs and other inside partss, I rolled her up onto her belly to let the large puddle of blood out of her gut cavity.  Then we put her in the tractor bucket and drove her up to the barn for hanging.

And weighing.  Several years ago, DH received a game scale as a Christmas gift.  Since then, we've weighed all our deer.  It's curiosity more than anything else;  we tally up the weight of the meat once it's all cut and packaged for the freezer.  It is nice to see the ratio between hanging weight and the weight of the meat procured.

My doe weighed in at a very respectable 125 pounds, dressed.  Not bad.  Not bad at all.

one less deer in the woods

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Living Where I Hunt

To be able to hunt the same land we live on is a privilege.  I believe the vast majority of deer hunters do not have the ability to sleep in their own bed, eat breakfast in their own kitchen, walk out their own back door, go a few hundred yards, and sit down in their deer stand.  At least, the majority of deer hunters I've known are not able to do this. Some might own property 'up north' or otherwise away from their urban or suburban primary residence.  Some rent someone else's property for the hunting season.  Some drive to and from public hunting lands every single time they go out to hunt.

Me, I walk out my back door, across my field, into the woods, and to whichever of our various deer stands/blinds I feel like hunting from that particular morning or afternoon. Or, at least whichever location DH hasn't put dibs on first.  And if any of the kids are home to hunt, I do try to leave their favorite spots open.

Sounds great, right?

It is.  Sorta.  Except by hunting from the same property I live on, I don't get the advantage of being on vacation or going to hunting camp like the hunters who have to travel.  I still have to cook the meals, clean the floors, take care of the livestock, raise the children (when they were still at young and at home), and all the other daily chores I normally do.  That includes work during the week.  Hunting is something extra I'm trying to squeeze in, not something that I get to say "everything else doesn't exist right now, it's hunting season and I'm going hunting."

It also means that we frequently have 'guests' popping in during the deer hunting season.  Those 'guests' (and I say that tongue in cheek, or maybe biting my tongue, since they don't behave like normal guests, but like they can do what they please while at my home) are friends of DH's who don't have hunting right out their own back doors.  Well, actually a couple of them do, but are more limited in which direction they can shoot by more densely populated neighborhoods than what we live in.

For many years, these 'guests' settled themselves into the deer stands on our property, and if there was an open spot left, then I got to hunt too.  Meanwhile, I was feeding them dinner, washing up the dishes they ate off of, washing the bedding they used when they stayed overnight, cleaning the bathroom & restocking the toilet paper they used. . . All for last dibs on the hunting spots on my own property.  While trying to keep up with all my regular daily responsibilities.

Then, one year, I pretty much blew a gasket.  I told DH that if things were going to continue this way (the prepared meals, the housekeeping service, the priority hunting spots) that he needed to charge his buddies a fee for the privilege of hunting our land.  Especially since at least one of them all ready rented other land but still came to our place and enjoyed the hospitality plus took home our venison.

It was not a discussion you would have wanted to witness, as it got a little heated. I knew from experience that traditionally the guy at hunting camp who was elected to do the cooking and cleaning for the rest of the hunting crew was referred to as the 'camp bitch', and I may have said something about showing DH's buddies a real 'camp bitch' if I continued to be disrespected in my own home while footing the bill for their non-charged hunting experience. . .

But, things did change. Some of the 'guests' suddenly were less interested in taking deer from our woods.  Kind of ironic, how once some courtesy was enforced, hunting at my house became less desirable compared to hunting on the lands they were paying money to use.  When the free meals stopped, and quiet time was nine p.m. on school nights, it just became too far for them to drive just to hunt for an afternoon a handful of times during season. Some guests stopped living with us (interrupting our family life/schedule, since the kids still needed a quiet bedtime so they could get enough sleep and be up and at school in the mornings) quite so much.  The ones who did stay for days started bringing 'gifts' of groceries and packages of toilet paper.

And, wonder of wonders, I stopped being the last person who got to claim a hunting spot.  In fact, I moved up to number two on the list when it came time to choose blinds. And immediately after me on that list, was which ever of our children were old enough to hunt and were home for that particular hunting time.  IF there was any room left in our woods after that, then DH's 'guests' might be able to have a spot.

There is a difference between being hospitable and being taken advantage of.  It's a fine line. And, unfortunately for those of us who hunt where we live, it gets crossed more often than it should.


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Flannel Hankies for Hunters

Last winter, I made myself a few handkerchiefs out of some scrap flannel I had from old sewing projects. I tested them out at work, since being in the cold for hours straight tends to make anyone's nose run, and I decided I much preferred a handkerchief over a pocket full of Kleenex that invariably ended up soggy and shredded.  (Not to mention what a mess it made in the washing machine if I forgot to empty the pockets of my barn coat before washing!!)  Nope, Kleenex is out; I'm sold on hankies.

Which led to me deciding that this year I should make some flannel hankies to give as gifts to family members who also spend quite a bit of time outdoors in the colder season of the year.  Which led to me hunting down some camouflage patterned flannel in order to make hankies to give the sportsmen in my life (pun intended, ha ha).

Why would a hunter want to use a flannel handkerchief?  Well, I thought of a couple of reasons:

  1. No wads of soggy tissue to try to fish out of coat pockets and unfold with gloved hands.  When hunting, the less motion the better for maintaining your "I'm just a tree, don't mind me" persona.
  2. Flannel is nice and soft and warm feeling.
  3. A tissue is white, or some other pale color.  Who wants to create a flash of white when they are sitting in the woods dressed in clothes meant to make them look like a tree?  A deer's tail is white, and it is used to signal "Danger!" to other deer.  A camo hankie would be less noticeable when in use.
Seemed logical to me.  I guess time will tell if the recipients of my camo hankies agree or not. Anyway. . . 

Amazingly enough, my local Walmart currently is carrying flannel in the wooded camo type pattern (think of you major camo brands, it looks like that) and it is of nice quality. So I picked up a yard, and was able to get a dozen camo handkerchiefs out of it.  That's not a bad return on investment if your budget is tight and you are looking for a token gift for someone on your Christmas list. (And for those who don't hunt, just choose some other color/pattern of flannel!)

I make my flannel handkerchiefs just a little different than my 'regular' cotton ones (both are of 100% cotton fabric, but flannel behaves differently).

(See this post for info on how I make hankies.)

You see, normal fabric will unravel on the edges, especially the more it gets washed.  This is why most things are hemmed or have the edges serged.  Doing so prevents the fabric from unraveling.

Flannel, however, is more resistant to unraveling (also known as fraying).  So, for my flannel hankies I forego the hemmed edge and just run a zigzag stitch on all four sides.  Faster and easier.  I like fast and easy (caveat: as long as it produces good results).

So, all I did was wash, dry and iron the fabric.  Then I cut it into 10" x 10" squares.  Then I zigzag stitched around all four edges of each square.  Some I did in a 'natural' (ie. beige) colored thread, and some I did in black thread (because I ran out of natural, which is also my go-to color for piecing quilt blocks).

just two of the many camo hankies I created

Can't get any easier than that.  And did I mention I got a dozen hankies out of one yard of fabric?  That's a whole lot of gifts.  Of course, I plan to keep a few of those for myself.  Because when I'm out in the woods next week trying to get myself some venison, I don't want soggy, white, wadded up tissues scaring off the deer when my nose gets a little drippy!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Yarn Along 2015.44: Christmas Gift Making is Underway

We are having a beautiful weather Wednesday at this little place here.  Cool and frosty this morning turned into a light drifting fog as the sun climbed in the sky, and then into clear blue skies with sunshine streaming all around.  The air is up to nearly fifty degrees now, which is what our forecasted high temp is supposed to be.  And then, watch out! tonight, rain and cold and wind, wind, wind moving in.

But, for now, it is a gorgeous day, and I'm once again joining Ginny's Yarn Along.

I received my much needed skein of yarn last Wednesday afternoon, so I was able to finish the thumb for DD2's glove, and now those are done.

I also finished my brightly colored double bump dish cloth, then made another one in a turqouise-y blue.

Then, I could no longer fight the urge to knit socks, so I picked a pair off of my Gifts to Make list.  There are several small pair of socks on that list, and it was easy to get right to work on a pair of Jellybean's Special Socks for K3, using a small skein of Regia sock monster in a pink and purple stripe (purchased while shop hopping).  I did make a few modifications to the pattern, because I'm not a super fan of short row heels (namely wrapping and then picking up wraps), and because the last time I made a pair (back when K3 was still a toddler) I thought the toe came out rather pointy.

But, anyway, it took about a day and a half to knit the first sock, and I am all ready to the heel turn on the second sock. Gotta love little feet!  Whipping out a sock in only a couple days makes me feel so accomplished, lol.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Grass is Always Greener. . .

. . . where the chicken poop is.

Seriously, though, chicken manure is super high in nitrogen.  Plants love nitrogen; they grow more and larger leaves when they have an abundant supply of nitrogen.  Grass blades are the 'leaves' of the plant.

Everywhere my broiler pen sits during the course of raising our meat birds each season later tells the tale.  I can look out at my orchard and see every single spot the broiler pen was parked.  Because the grass is greener.  Way greener.  And thicker.

My hope, in using the orchard as the location for the broiler pen, is that some of that nitrogen from the chicken manure is soaking down into the soil, where the fruit tree roots can soak it up and nourish the trees, making them strong and healthy.  And more resistant to disease and insect pests.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Garlic Experiment Concluded

Actually, the experiment concluded several months ago, since garlic is harvested in mid-summer here.  I just haven't gotten around to finishing up writing a post about it.  (In case you missed my other posts about my garlic experiment, quick click and read here, here, and here!)

But now, here it is: the conclusion!

I'll start with a picture of the harvest.

Not too bad.  Most of the cloves I planted out in the spring lived and produced heads.  And the heads were actually pretty close in size to what I've harvested in previous years, when I had planted the cloves at the proper time: in the fall.

So, what I learned from this experiment, and am passing on to you, the reader, is that if for some reason you forget or are not able to plant your seed garlic at the right time, all is not lost.  If you have a cool place to keep them until spring, you can plant them in some potting soil in plastic cups (or even yogurt containers; the cloves did not grow much over the winter while sitting in the cellar) and then plant them outside as soon as the ground thaws.They should grow pretty much as normal after that point.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Yarn Along 2015.43: Yarn Chicken and Switching Gears

For November, we sure are having beautiful weather at this little place here today.  The sky is blue, there is no wind, the winter wheat in the field behind the house is bright green, and the temperature is touching seventy degrees.  There's even laundry hanging on the line! I'm joining Ginny for the Yarn Along this afternoon.

I had planned to show you a pair of finished gloves today, and tell you how I had mailed them off to DD2 on Friday, and she had received them on Tuesday, and that she absolutely loved them and thought they were the coolest gloves ever.

Except on Thursday I found myself playing yarn chicken against my will.  For those who might not know, yarn chicken is when you find yourself nearing the end of your yarn more quickly than you seem to be nearing the end of your knitting.

The right glove that I only had three fingers and a thumb to go on for last Wednesday's yarn along post now had three completed fingers, and I was halfway done with the pinky finger.  That's when I noticed my skein of yarn looking awfully meager.

I got the pinky finger finished, and still had yarn left.  Not a lot of yarn left, in fact I'd say less than 24" of yarn left.  But, I rationalized, a thumb is only a few inches long, so hopefully I had enough.  So I started knitting the thumb.  And got about 1/3 of the way done when I *gasp* ran out of yarn!  Oh no!

I had no 'scrap' yarn from previous projects that was the same weight and coloring to substitute in.  I could not finish the glove until I bought more yarn!!  But the yarn store I had purchased it from was 30 minutes away, and not in the direction I usually go. (I bought it while shop hopping with my Mom last month, remember.)  I got online, and went to that yarn shop's website, hoping they might offer online shopping.  No deal.

So then I started looking into where online I could purchase the yarn.  Not from the company, apparently, they only sell to stores.  What do you do in that situation?  I'll tell you what I do.  I looked on etsy, but didn't find any of that colorway.  Then I looked on Amazon, and bingo!  Winner!  So I ordered another skein of yarn (I'll knit the thumb for this glove, then use the rest of the skein for mittens for the grandkids) plus a few other things on my wish list in order to bring the total order to the right dollar figure to qualify for free shipping.

And then I switched gears from glove knitting to dish cloth knitting while I await the arrival of my yarn.  I decided on dish cloths because they knit up quick, and because I am planning to make quite a few to give as gifts this Christmas.

First was a garterlac dishcloth in red, white and green.

Once that was done, I stared on a Double Bump dish cloth in a rainbow colored skein of cotton.  I have about a dozen rows to go on that one, and it will be finished too.  Hopefully my delivery from Amazon will show up this afternoon and I can get back to knitting that glove as soon as I'm done with the rainbow dish cloth.

I'm still reading Murder Tightly Knit, just not very quickly.  It's been a pretty busy week, and I haven't spent much time reading.  I am enjoying the story, though, even if my husband does keep making fun of my 'Amish murder mystery' when I'm reading by saying things like "It was Jeremiah, in the kitchen, with the pitchfork." and "It was Samuel, in the buggy shop, with the scythe."  If he keeps up this way, it will be Kris, in the living room, with the knitting needles!  :0)

Monday, November 2, 2015

Apparently It's Time For New Curtains

I'm not much for following trends.  I prefer to decorate once, and be done with it.  When we built the house at this little place here, and I painted the interior top to bottom (yes, yes I did, we cut the painter out of the construction budget and  since I have some artistic talents that include a little dabbling in painting, I volunteered to paint the whole blasted house).  Once I had primed and painted every room, every closet, every stairwell, and stained every door, window trim, and the wooden edge on my kitchen counter top, I declared that I had used colors I liked and did not plan to repaint the house ever.  Ever. No matter how long we lived here (at that time, our estimate was 15 years or so). Not even for resale.  Whomever bought it could paint things whatever color they liked, I wasn't going to repaint just to please someone else.

I have a similar line of thought on curtains.  I don't plan to change the style, color, etc, every handful of years (or decade). Not every window in this house has curtains yet, and that's because I haven't made (or purchased if I can't make) the ones I want for that room yet.

So,  when I made a set of curtains for the master bathroom a year or two after we moved in, I didn't think that I would ever change the window treatment in there.

Until a few weeks ago, when I was doing a semi-annual deep cleaning of the master bath, and washed the curtains.  When I took them out of the washer and hung them on the clothesline to dry, I found out I would indeed be getting new curtains.

um, this curtain didn't look like this going into the wash

definitely not going to be putting this one back on the window 

I guess the fabric, which had originally been a bed sheet, had sun rotted after all those years of hanging in the window.  

I would have to dig through my stash of top sheets and find one to make a new set of curtains with.  You see, when I have a set of sheets that the bottom sheet wears out on, rather than throw away the pillow cases and top sheet too, I save them to use the fabric for other projects.  There is a whole lot of fabric in a king sized sheet.

It took me a few weeks to actually get around to digging through my stash, but I finally got that new pair of curtains made today.  It was pretty easy.  They aren't anything fancy.

(And I forgot to take pictures of the process).  

But all I did was measure the window top to bottom and side to side, to refresh my memory on how big the curtains needed to be. Then I added two inches to the length for hemming.  I didn't add anything to the sides, because I wanted my curtains to be 'bunchy', so extra fabric on the sides was a good thing.

After that,  I chose the sheet I wanted to use, and folded it in half side to side (matching the left and right edges from top to bottom).  From there, I measured down from the bottom of the doubled over part that makes up the decorative top edge of the sheet, to the length I wanted my curtains to be.

Hope that makes sense.  In other words, I didn't start my length measurement at the very top edge of the sheet, but about 4-5" down from the top, where the stitching is.  I made this measurement in several spots, putting a light pencil mark at each one, then used a yard stick to draw a line connecting those dots.  Following the line with my fabric scissors, I cut the sheet off at that length. 

Then I carefully cut up the fold, to make my left curtain and right curtain the exact same width. Again, side to side measurement didn't matter because, since I was using a king sized sheet, I knew I had more than enough fabric there to cover the width of the window.

Now that I had my two pieces to work with, I basted a line 1/2" from the bottom on each piece.  Then, like when making my hankies, I folded under and pressed along that line.  Unlike the hankies, I folded a second time, to conceal the cut edge.  Then I stitched this hem down about 1/4" from the bottom on the 'curtain'.

After the bottoms were hemmed, I made a similar hem on the cut side-edge of each piece. Each piece had one original side hem from the sheet, and I matched the size of that hem, which was 3/8".  If you want to make curtains using this method, measure the existing side hem on the sheet you are using, and make the other hem to match.

Now that all the cut edges were finished, it was time to make the rod pocket.  I wanted to make mine with a little ruffly part on top, so I folded that decorative finished edge at the top of the sheet on the line of stitching that was there.  Then I sewed that down about  3/8" from the part that used to be the top edge.  Turning my curtain so that the new top edge lined up with the right edge of the foot plate on my sewing machine, I sewed another line of stitching.  This creates the rod pocket with the ruffle above it.  If you don't want yours ruffly on top, just skip this second row of stitching.

A quick ironing of each piece, and my new curtains were ready to hang.

(Funky lighting in the picture, the walls aren't peachy, they are beige.  And the curtain isn't white, it's pale green with stripes. Although, peachy doesn't look too bad; I might have to reconsider my stance on painting. . . )