Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Knitting Chronicles--Introduction

I have decided to take up knitting.  It has proven to be a comical journey to this point.

I pinned this pattern from Pinterest for my first project.  I know enough about knitting to be dangerous (basically knitting and purling), so I figured an easy new stitch (seed stitch) and a new technique (knitting on circular needles in the round) might be just what I was looking for.

"Blue Agave" roving yarn
As I was ready to start my project sooner and not later, I journeyed to the craft store and selected this roving wool yarn (the color is "Blue Agave") by Martha Stewart/Lion Brand Yarn.  The pattern only calls for one skein; I hope it's right, because that skein is awfully small.  I might be learning another new technique--how to add another skein of yarn while knitting :-)

Lesson Learned #1:  I CAN cast on like the method described in the book.
And I must say they look nice and even and consistent.  I had no idea I could do it!

Lesson Learned #2:  There are different lengths of circular needles.
I had my 49 stitches cast on as described in the pattern I chose.  The pattern said you could cast on extra stitches as long as you kept it to an odd number so that the pattern would be effective.  So I kept casting on because I couldn't reach one needle with the other (a circular needle is two knitting needles joined together by a thin plastic cable, so that you can knit in the round).  After a while of still not being able to reach the other needle, I set my work down and read the book more carefully.  Well, it so happens there are 13" needles (the size called for in the pattern), but they come in different lengths (which I didn't come to until the comments section of the pattern).  I needed a 16" needle and I had bought a 29" needle.  Oops!  I got the correct length needle and yes, it does make a huge difference.

The good thing is that I think I can just transfer the cast on stitches by sliding them carefully off one needle and onto the other, then undoing the extra stitches I had cast on in order to get back to 49.  Oh well, it's a learning process, right?  I just hope wool roving yarn is forgiving enough to not lose its shape.

I am planning to share my knitting victories and defeats with you on this blog, so I hope to have something more to share with you soon!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Good Advice

I need to memorize this.  I've already posted it in my office so I can see it every day.  Now, just to follow it...

Monday, January 21, 2013

Quote of the Day

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

--Martin Luther King, Jr.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Blessing

Last Sunday (January 13), I had the extraordinarily good fortune to be invited to a dear longtime friend's house blessing.

Joni went through the Habitat for Humanity program to serve others and eventually become a homeowner.  Her lifelong dream came true last fall when her house started construction from the concrete slab upward.

Joni's new house!  Isn't it gorgeous?
The amount of sweat equity that she and others in the Habitat program devote to building houses for those who need them is just amazing and, frankly, awe-inspiring.  Taking home maintenance classes, home ownership classes, actual labor building houses, and labor in the local HFH's ReStore had to be a lot of time and a lot of effort--but look at the payout!

The house blessing ceremony was just as wonderful.  The HFH representative I talked to at the door estimated that at least 140 people were in that home on that blustery, snowy, icy January day.  He ran out of programs; he said that had never happened before.  There was lots of love and happiness in that little house that afternoon.  Blessings, gifts, and hymns all were said, given and sung.  It was a lovely ceremony and lovely celebration for someone that deserves all the good that happened that day.

Laurie and Joni holding happiness :-)

There are five of us--Joni, Linda, Karrie, Stacey, and me--that have been friends since high school.  We were in the same youth group at church and have kept in touch, especially with the coming of Facebook.  Linda, Karrie, Stacey and I went together to buy Joni a housewarming gift (or rather a flowerbed-warming gift)--a 20 lb. decorative stone with the word "Happiness" etched on the visible part of the rock.  I've posted a photo of Joni and me with "Happiness" for you to see as well.

The house blessing also blessed me just for being there.  I felt a lot of love for a person dear to many people, a lot of community, and a lot of unselfish, unabashed happiness for a person's good fortune that day.  It touched me then and continues to do so today.

I've also posted a photo of Joni's new house in this blog post so you all can admire it for yourselves.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Recipe--Traci's Cheesy Floret Soup

Christmas Eve Day 2012 found me in the local grocery store getting some ham at the deli and a half-gallon of milk in preparation for a "blizzard" that every meteorologist in the universe was calling for on December 26.  Well, what they call a blizzard and what I call a blizzard (note:  I lived through the Blizzard of 1978) are two completely different things as it turns out, but I digress.

I don't know what it is about snow, but everytime the forecast calls for 2 inches or more, I get the urge to make a big old pot of soup.  One of my favorite recipes made me sidetrack to the produce department for the fixins for Traci's Cheesy Floret Soup.  "Traci" is Traci Bratton, the owner of Walnut Street Traditions in Lafayette, who loves to share yummy recipes in her e-newsletters from the shop.

It's easy and it's yummy; you can't ask for more than that.  Here it is:


3 C fresh broccoli florets
3 C fresh cauliflower florets
3 C diced celery
2 C water
1/2 t celery salt

In large saucepan, combine first five ingredients; bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 12-15 min or until veggies are tender.

3 T butter
3 T flour
2 1/3 C milk
1 lb Velveeta

In saucepan, melt butter; stir in flour till smooth. Gradually stir in milk; bring to boil; cook and stir 2 min or till thickened. Reduce heat. Add cheese; cook and stir till cheese is melted.

Drain veggies; add cheese sauce and heat through. ENJOY!