Christmas in July

 


Look at these little socks! Eeek! They are so cute, but then anything in miniature is especially adorable and these little socks make my heart melt. Plus they were fun to make! I used my leftovers of sport weight and heavy fingering weight wool yarns; mainly a mix of Quince and Co. Chickadee, Brooklyn Tweed Peerie, Hudson and West Weld, and Rosy Greens Manx Merino Fine. To unify the look of my jumble of colors, I chose to stripe each sock and to add even more unity to the group, I added the number buttons.

The pattern is free and is knit in one piece with two needles and a seam, but you can easily modify it and knit it in the round with no seam. I used Katrinkles Advent Calendar Buttons and sewed them on with all six plies of DMC six-ply embroidery floss in turkey red. The buttons finish the set off beautifully. My idea is to hide tiny candies in each toe and hang them across my fireplace mantel on December first. I'm thinking of Good & Plentys or M&Ms, maybe two in each sock because these are candies that both my 5 year old grandson and his Papa love. When Carter is with us, he and Papa can have fun finding the right day and share a wee treat. 

Advent Buttons from Katrinkles (I bought the 3/4", 1-25)









I hope you don't think it's too early to be sharing Christmas ideas. As a crafter, I love to get started early on my Christmas crafting. This project has been in my queue for many years and I'm thrilled that I took the time this summer to make it happen. If this project interests you, then with a goal of knitting two a week you will have this done well before Christmas.

Now for something that is more July appropriate--this morning we had our first big tomato harvest and I made summer's first batch of roasted tomato sauce. Within my small circle of family and friends I don't mind saying that I'm a little bit famous for this tomato sauce. It's truly fabulous and fun to make too. Two buckets of tomatoes filled two very large roasters and each roaster made 3 plus quarts of sauce. And the bonus: the house smells divine! We have fewer tomato plants this year but I still hope to put at least 20 quarts in the freezer. For my recipe you can use your own garden tomatoes or farmer's market tomatoes. But now's the time, and here's the recipe! 








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rainbow stash hat and my flower garden

 










This is a little story about how I knit a hat for free, and you can make one too. I did not use a pattern for this hat as by now I've knit so many hats and have such a solid relationship with DK weight yarn that I felt I could give a simple DK hat a go with no problem. It turned out great! But don't worry, if you'd rather not wing it and make it up as you go then I've got some pattern links below.  Just grab your colorful scraps and your needles and download one of the patterns below and knit your own hat for FREE!

is knit with DK weight yarn.

is knit with 2 strands of fingering weight yarn held together.


The last picture above shows a close up of my jogless stripes. They look pretty good and it's a super easy technique.

Jogless Stripes when worked in the round:

-Change yarn color and knit this first round as usual.
-On the next round, slip the first stitch purlwise with yarn in back and knit remaining stitches.
-On the next round, knit as usual but on the first stitch give a little tug to the yarn to help align the stitch from the previous round

This works best for wool yarns and for color change rows that are 3 rows or more.

Our modeling shoot was in the flower garden, and even with our water restrictions we are still able to spare a bit for the flowers. Our flower borders are not as lush as past years, but from a distance they look fine enough. We planted about half of our flower borders and less than half of our vegetable garden and are definitely using less water than past years. 

zinnias in the foreground, shasta daisies in the background




nasturtiums and purple basil




I just finished The German Wife by Kelly Rimmer, published June 2022, and completely loved it. A German family, after surviving the horrors of Nazi Germany, end up in Alabama in 1950 to work on the space program. I was captivated and thought the writer did an excellent job helping us to understand her broken characters and the choices they chose to make. 

I watched half of the new adaptation of Jane Austen's Persuasion. I was so looking forward to it, but what a complete disappointment! I'm only telling you this so you won't have to bother watching even one dismal minute of it. What a mess of a movie in every way. 

We've seen all the summer's blockbusters and loved every single one, although I admit we do have a fondness for summer blockbusters and it's nice to have them back. But do bring your hankies to Where The Crawdads Sing. Don't know if that is considered a blockbuster but it's a goodie. Monday we are going to see Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris. I will settle in with knitting, squish into my big theater seat that I will put on just the right setting, add popcorn and coke and my Monday will be excellent! Hope you also have a good week to look forward to.

xo Kristen



This post has an affiliate link(s). If you purchase something from an affiliate link, I will receive a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you so much for supporting the blog. If you'd like to make a comment, please click here or scroll down. I reply to each comment and that response will appear directly below your comment. If you would like a personal reply, please know that I use the Blogger platform and they do not give me your contact information when you comment. If you would like a personal reply you can contact me using the contact form on the right side at the very end of my websiteIf you would like to receive Knitionary posts by email, please subscribe here 



















Modine






Hello friends. I'm here today with a sweater I made in March and I'm so happy to finally share it with you today, on publishing day! This was a preview knit for Brooklyn Tweed, knit in Dk weight and designed for children with chest sizes 21.5" to 30.5". I made the 4th size for my grandson who just turned 5 yesterday. Happy birthday dear boy. 💖

The pattern calls for Brooklyn Tweed's lovely Arbor, but the BT team encouraged the preview knitters to use whatever yarn we wished, as long as it made gauge of course. I had some fabulous Rowan Softyak DK in my stash and knowing my grandson loves it, I chose this sophisticated color combo. The colorwork is created with slipped stitches so you knit with only one color per row, but you slip the same stitches for enough rows to create a puffy 3-D effect. A little blocking tames it a bit but keeps the pouffy, whimsical effect in tact. It reminds me of Lava Lamps and I love it! If you've ever knit a BT pattern you know that they are written to a very high standard, including the children's patterns.


Modine designed by Paula Pereira for Brooklyn Tweed

My Ravelry project page

Purchase Rowan Softyak DK at Rowan and also ON SALE at Jimmy Beans.


I've been singing Softyak's praises forever, but honestly once you knit with it, I'm certain you'll fall in love forever. It is a chainette type yarn, a blend of cotton, yak and nylon, is cashmere soft, has a fabulous needle glide, is machine washable and resists pilling. I used Plateau for the main color, a charcoal with a sophisticated touch of teal. This is my grandson's favorite yarn, and at age 5, he is quite picky! We call it pajama yarn because it's so soft. I hope you try it and let me know what you think. I just purchased a sweater's worth in Heath, a muted purple.







This post has an affiliate link(s). If you purchase something from an affiliate link, I will receive a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you so much for supporting the blog. If you'd like to make a comment, please click here or scroll down. I reply to each comment and that response will appear directly below your comment. If you would like a personal reply, please know that I use the Blogger platform and they do not give me your contact information when you comment. If you would like a personal reply you can contact me using the contact form on the right side at the very end of my websiteIf you would like to receive Knitionary posts by email, please subscribe here 



how I went through a mountain of photos and accidentally created the stories of our lives




I just finished the last and perhaps the most difficult and ambitious phase of my years-long declutter journey. I had albums, boxes and bags chock full of photos and family memorabilia. For years I've been waiting for the perfect time to go through them. When that perfect time never arrived, I just decided to do it anyway. Ignoring it made me feel anxious and overwhelmed and it was finally time to preserve the best and toss the rest--one photo at a time. Please read on to see what I did to tame our family memorabilia. 


Three problems screamed out to me:


1) Disorganized,

2) Not accessible,

3) And too much of it, this being the main problem.


I purchased these photo/memory boxes above from Target. Their large size meant that we could save photos of any size, including letters, documents, medals, etc. and neatly organize them. I vowed to keep only what would fit inside and if it didn't fit, it couldn't stay. In the end I would guess we got rid of 75%. That may seem harsh, but while sentimentality has its place in curating family mementos, practicality has to be a part of it too, so we did our best to save the best and toss the rest. 


Whenever I tackle a big job like this I allow myself a good long time to cross the finish line. I gave myself 6 weeks for this and I needed it! I broke it down to two categories:


1) The modern stuff: fifteen photo albums that chronicled our almost 50 years of married life. Also a few DVDs, CDs and thumb drives with photos and videos, plus yearbooks, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, baby books and vacation memorabilia. 


2) The old stuff: same as the above minus the modern technology, and most of it tragically disorganized belonging to relatives who died before I was born. This filled six large banker's type boxes that my mother had taken from her family home and stored  in my attic.


I decided to tackle the easy part first, our family albums, which had not been opened in years. I knew that we would enjoy the pictures much more if there were less of them and were easier to access


First I set up a command center. I took the albums out of their hiding place and for the next few weeks made my living room the work hub. You know I love my timers, so every day I set a timer for 10-60 minutes, whatever I thought I could handle. I pried each photo I wanted to save off its album page and  tossed the duplicates, blurry photos and the cumbersome albums into the trash. Saved photos were labeled on the back with the date, event and the people, I won't lie, this took time, and then I began to fill the boxes I had labeled in advance: vacations, holidays, friends, home and garden, etc.  As the weeks went on, I began to notice real progress; the seemingly mile-high stack of photo albums was finally down to the last one. My husband joined me on occasion and loved seeing our early pictures when we were young and gorgeous (his words)! I didn't worry about putting anything in chronological order and as long as they were in the correct box I was good. The pictures are just for our amusement and if you look through the vacations box, you might pick up a photo of a trip to England in 1975 and the very next photo could be from a waterski trip twenty years later.  


With that job done, next on the list was the dreaded banker's boxes. I waited until my brother could visit, the only other person who had any reasonable stake in it, and we went through them together. For the most part they were full of things from our mother's large family. Over the years I had taken a stab at them hoping to engage mother's help but she always put me off, hinting that I should go through them when she was gone, and that is just what happened.  It would now be up to my brother and me to decide what stays and what goes, what was important and what was not. Prior to us, no one had been up to the task, and we both agreed that a mountain of meaningless memorabilia mixed in with valuable family history was not something we wanted to leave behind. 


We worked over a ten day period and of course set a timer, never for more than an hour at a time. 


We made a box for our father's family and one for our shared childhood. Junk was tossed and saved photos and papers were placed in the labeled boxes. So far so good.


Lastly we created a box for our mother and a second box for our mother's extended family. Mother's box was easy--she had been a cheerleader and a beauty queen and was the youngest of seven children and the only daughter. She was a very spoiled gal and there were many fun pictures and mementos and we had a good old time filling that box.


As for the larger family box, we saved the following:


-All correspondence.

-A few pictures of our grandparents as a young couple and several more over the years to represent their lives together.

-One or two pictures each of the members of our grandparents' extended family.

-A curated selection of large family gatherings, picnics, birthday parties.

-Formal family portraits

-Photos prior to 1900.

-Early California, charming with orange groves, empty beaches and California missions before they had been restored.

-Family homes here in California and also in Tennessee, including our grandfather's family home in a pretty hollow on the western slope of the Appalachian Mountains near Knoxville, TN.

-Lastly and most importantly, any document pertaining to family history and lineage. We had to take care going through the boxes because our grandfather's family has been in America since the 1600s and we didn't want to accidentally throw out anything that might include family history. Our family tree, somewhat disjointed with accounts written in many hands, is early on filled with huntsmen and trappers, but would later boast one but maybe two (needs research) Revolutionary War veterans, plus Civil War veterans, a senator, a fire chief and a judge.We can also claim a distant relation to a US President and a full blooded Cherokee Indian as an ancestor. Both my brother and I were delighted to find we have a smidge of Native American DNA to prove it! Anything that pertained to our family history is now gathered in one place and it will be a future task of mine to study it and try to decipher fact from fiction.  It's been recommended that my boxes be firesafe and I'll have to think about that.


Even though it was mostly tedious everything was going well until the day I opened the box that contained my deceased uncle's belongings. By this time my brother had gone home and had given me liege to do what I felt was best with the rest. I knew this box would be sad. I had four uncles who died young, one in high school, one in college, and two in WWII. As I handled my oldest uncle's photos and read his letters, I could sense the heartache my grandmother would have felt as she packed up her son's belongings for the last time, a freshman at The University of Southern California at the time of his death. No wonder my mother would not go near these boxes, it would have been far too sad for her. Even though my mother was young when her brothers died, she had her memories, and the one I always found so heartbreaking was how she described her mother, crumbling and shattering, almost disappearing after each dreadful loss of a son, all four in the span of a mere decade. Could my grandmother ever imagine that these boxes of sad mementos and tragic stories would eventually come to her granddaughter whom she would never meet? It took me a full week to get through the box because I had to stop often and collect my wits and wipe my eyes. Growing up, I often gazed at my uncles photos resting on grandad's mantel and listened to countless stories of "the boys". Telling and retelling stories were comforting to my grandfather, my two remaining uncles and my mother. So for my uncles who remain perpetually young in my mind, I gave each a manilla envelope. Inside are their personal letters, awards, silly poems, photographs of capers at the malt shop, and newspaper clippings of fancy country dances and happy days. Their stories are preserved and neatly organized and I feel that by doing this I honored my grandmother and my darling grandad, and that was important to me.


As I wrapped up my project, I realized that I accidentally captured the stories of our lives; those of my husband and me and our shared lives together, my mother's and father's stories, and the stories belonging to those I never knew. My family history became alive and meaningful to me. These boxes hold treasures that are accessible to anyone who is interested. That may only be me, and that is fine, whatever happens to them after I die is none of my business. This I did for me.


As a side note, my brother owns NO PHOTOS. Over the years he has scanned everything he wants and stores it in the cloud. This visit, when he found something he wanted, he set it aside and scanned it later that night and, wham-bam, just like that he was done with it. 


Lastly, I apologize for making such a long post. I couldn't find a way to shorten it. If you've read this far, perhaps it's because you have a similar overflowing photo situation at your house. I hope my story encourages you to get to it. You can do it! I'd love to hear your declutter and organizing stories!



Shopping Links


I purchased these Target Paperboard Storage Boxes, set of 2


 But I LOVE these products from Amazon:

3 Pack Document Storage Boxes

15"x13" Linen Storage Box


I also found these from Joanne's.

12"x12" storage box from Park Lane

12"x12" three drawer photo box from Simple Life


Now for something entirely off topic, I'm leaving you with some pretty photos of flower arrangements I like to keep next to my sink.


shortbread with cosmos and dahlias

a large summer squash leaf, dill, dahlias, zinnias and pink cosmos


close up of foxglove and dahlia

shasta daisy, foxglove, dahlia, hydrangea, white cosmos and dill

yellow nasturtiums, shasta daisy, hydrangea, oregano, white cosmos and a tiny yellow lily

roses, shasta daisies, zinnias and a foxglove

magnolia

roses, shasta daisy, hydrangea and an unknown green filler

roses, oregano and an unknown green that hangs over our fence.

roses and olive branches



This post has an affiliate link(s). If you purchase something from an affiliate link, I will receive a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you so much for supporting the blog. If you'd like to make a comment, please click here or scroll down. I reply to each comment and that response will appear directly below your comment. If you would like a personal reply, please know that I use the Blogger platform and they do not give me your contact information when you comment. If you would like a personal reply you can contact me using the contact form on the right side at the very end of my websiteIf you would like to receive Knitionary posts by email, please subscribe here 




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