A Labor of Love

 

I  can get inspired so very easily, I guess I am lucky like that. I see something on Facebook or Pinterest and think, “I want to do that.” “ I can make that!”  Then-I dive in headfirst probably without doing much research. I did just that with this such project. The #Gigantoblanket from http://nocturnalknits.com/2011/03/giganto-blanket-pattern-now-available/

I bought the pattern on Etsy and ordered my wool roving from http://www.thesheepshedstudio.com/

I read and re-read the pattern and decided that instead of washing and drying the wool I would use my steamer. I emailed Laura at nocturnalknits and asked her why we must wash or steam the wool. ( I am new to using wool roving) She told me it is to clean and strengthen the fibers of the wool and also to double your yield of wool. I purchased 7lbs of roving and after steaming that 7 lbs I did indeed get twice the amount of wool! My house smelled like a barn after each session of steaming but I am an animal lover so I didn’t mind. Let’s get back to that word “session”. This project, for me, turned into “sessions” because it took A LOT of my time! I would sit each night for an hour or two and steam my wool, let it dry overnight, then split it and roll it into balls. I would guess it took me 6-7 hours to steam all of my 7lbs of wool!

14853113_10208789213862302_8166949874067995706_o

There is all of my wool! Now it is time to knit! Now I am a basic level knitter. I can make scarves and I have made a hat and fingerless gloves but that was pushing my ability level a bit! lol But this pattern was basically K2 P2-that I can do pretty easily!

Let’s talk about my knitting needles. The pattern called for homemade 1.5 inch pvc pipe. That sounded easy enough right? My son picked up the pipe for me and cut it. Initially, it was way to long! He bought me 10 ft pvc pipe so 5 ft long needles was just way too hard to handle! I cut about 2 ft off of each one. I then wrapped duct tape around the “tips” and found it too “sticky” to work with so I cut the toes off of a pair of panty hose and covered the duct tape and wrapped an elastic around them to held them in place and wrapped smooth clear tape over the elastic part so the wool would move over it smoothly. (I am so smart sometimes, I impress myself!) I worried I would loose my “work” off the ends so I ripped a rag into about a 2 inch diameter and tied it at the end of the needle and then wrapped in duct tape. The finished needles is this!

IMG_0342IMG_0343

They certainly aren’t pretty, but they worked! However, I had no idea how hard knitting with these big, heavy “needles” would be- hence which brings as back to the “sessions”. I physically could only knit 3-4 rows at a time because my hands and arms would get very tired and cramped! My dining room table became the safe place for this baby while I slowly worked on it. Inevitably, every time I sat to knit, my black lab  would sit at my feet with this beautiful, fluffy, white wool draping at my feet. *sigh*14890494_10208801247363132_8025725778198747583_o

I am not exactly sure but I would guess it took me at least 6 hours to knit the blanket. I understand now why the creator of this pattern sells these blankets on Etsy by commission for $699.00!  It was hard work!

This finished product is gorgeous though! That is why is was a Labor of Love for sure! My only dilemma is that I cannot use it downstairs because it will be destroyed by my kids and dogs! So upstairs it will live on by bed in my newly renovated bedroom!

15039641_10208903785566523_3342460285272558452_o

15000714_10208903793366718_198697839081761057_o

IMG_0351

These Aren’t Your Momma’s Sloppy Joes! (well,my Mom anyway)

I grew up on Sloppy Joes or “Manwiches” as they were called in the 70’s. I loved them, they were better than the chicken liver my Mother made us eat! And they were cheap, hence why we were eating them and I suppose forced to eat chicken liver too…. but I digress. Sloppy joes! My Mother-in-law is the best! A few years back she made all of us a book of recipes from her kitchen, which I thought was very thoughtful and something I will forever cherish. In that book was her Sloppy Joe recipe. My family loves this! It is way better than Manwich from a can that is for sure! I want to share it with you! (Diane, I hope you don’t mind;-)

What you need:

  •  1-2 lbs of Hamburger (I used 85%)

  • 1 Green Pepper

  • 1 Onion

  • Buns

  • 1 cup Ketchup

  • 1 Tbsp Mustard

  • 1 Tbsp Brown Sugar

wpid-20141016_164148.jpg

The actual recipe card in the book with her writing!


wpid-20141016_163835.jpg

You saute the pepper and onion first in a little butter or olive oil, then add the meat. Notice that handy dandy tool in there? That is also from my Mom-in-law! It is awesome!

wpid-20141016_163805.jpg

 Once the meat is browned, you throw in the ketchup, mustard and brown sugar! Let is simmer for a little bit-like 10 minutes or more and Voila! You are done! Serve on hamburger buns. They are messy, so I eat mine with a fork!

Enjoy!!

Finding a Passion

Sometimes passions find us and sometimes we find them. But either way, when you are at it, making it, living it-The Passion is what makes us feel alive. It is the essence and meaning to our being. It is the “good stuff.”  When we can witness it, it is also the “good stuff” and quite a blessing.

BettereditMatte