Category Archives: knitting

The Concept of Cable Knitting

I’m taking a class at my local yarn shop to learn the art of cable knitting. We are using Debbie Macomber’s Cabled Sampler Scarf pattern, available for free here. I was intimidated by cables at first but now I’m two thirds of the way through the second cabled section and it is coming very easy to me. You’d want to follow a pattern the first time you try cables but in case you’re not sure what they are or how they work let me introduce you to the process.

This is a cable needle. It is short in length and the ends are bit thicker than the middle. I bought a package with small, medium, and large (thickness) needles. They are not sized and so the size does not have to correspond exactly to your project needles. I’m knitting my scarf on size 6 US double points so I picked the medium size cable needle.

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To start with you knit like normal, using just your dpns and going back and forth, knitting and purling as directed. You only use your cable needle in one row out of several which was a surprise to me. Eventually you’ll reach a point where the patterns says, for ex., “C6B” meaning “cable 6 back”. You divide the 6 in half equaling 3. Slip three stitches from your left hand needle on to your cable needle. Then slide the stiches to the middle of the cable needle so they stay (thus the thicker ends).

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Now in this case I was cabling 6 back so I’m going to let the cable needle hang out behind the other needles. (In a cable forward you would flop the cable needle out in front of the work.) Now go ahead and knit 3 more stitches off of the left needle on to the right. You may need to snug up that first stitch since this is kind of awkward to do.

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At this point I have knitted the 3 stitches from the left hand needle. See how the cable needle is just hanging out in back of the work? Now I’m ready to go back and use those stitches.

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Slide the stitches on the cable needle down to the right end of it. Pull it over and place it in your left hand just like you would do with your left hand double point needle. Now you would knit the stitches off of the cable needle on to the right hand needle. This is my favorite part: once you knit the stitches off the cable needle there is nothing left on it so you can sit it aside for now. Then you can just continue knitting as the pattern suggests until you reach another “C6B” or other cable pattern. For some reason I pictured multiple cable needles holding stitches all over my work which is, thankfully, not the case at all.

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This is what a “C6B” does as part of the sampler scarf.

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I don’t know about you but I would often come across beautiful cable patterns and wish that I could knit them. I’m excited to finish this scarf so I can use my new skill on other projects. Do you have any experience with cables? If not, I hope you’ll try it!

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A Weekend’s Work

This is what I accomplished over Saturday and Sunday…


33 quarts of pears in all. They are chuck full of pears too since I hot packed them, the only one with much free space is that one there in the front since it was my last jar. Yesterday was my Grandma’s birthday so I took 3 quarts back to her (they’re from her tree!).


When pears were finally done I literally ran to my knitting…I was having withdrawals. I whipped up this little booty for my friend Maria. One more to go and I can seam them up and they’ll be done.

I hope you had a great weekend. Back to work today for me. We’ll be busy getting things done around here all week and then Friday morning we head out for vacation!! Wahoo!

It Has Begun…(drumroll please)

What is IT? Canning season that is. And no, that’s not why I’ve been missing. I’ve been missing because my blogging addiction has given way to a Ravelry addiction which has led me to begin knitting everyone’s Christmas presents now, while I’m still motivated and sort of have the time.

I promise to post more soon. My order of peaches came in tonight which will lead directly in to apple and tomato seasons which might clash slightly with the vacation to who knows where that we’re taking the week of Labor Day. That will all keep me busy but it will give me lots of blog worthy material too.

I leave you with this. Anyone who can tell what it is gets an imaginary pat on the back from me. 🙂

Today’s To-Do List

Monday is my day off and I’m staying super busy! This is more for my purposes but in case you’re interested, here’s what is on my agenda:

-Can more green beans (they’re on the stove now)
-Bake bread
-Call the builder
-Call the plumber
-Call on prices for an automatic cattle waterer
-Balance the checkbook/pay bills
-Find the title for a trailer we’re selling
-Call the orchard to order peaches (Mmmm!)
-Scope out vacation destinations online (this is coming up fast!)
-Make the weekly menu plan
-Make granola bars if time allows
-Finish knitted baby shower gift and make progress on wedding gift

The bathroom needs to be painted and the landscape worked on but it is incredibly hot and humid/sticky so I won’t be doing either of those things today. I’m hoping to bust through the rest of the list so I can just knit and work on the bread.

I’d love to hear what you’re doing today! 🙂

Free TV: Getting By Without Cable


We haven’t had cable or satellite TV service since we moved to the farm almost 2 years ago. Brian had satellite at the old house and when we moved we called and “suspended” it. The company offered to install it at the farm for us but we moved in the midst of harvest season and knew we’d be way too busy to watch much TV. As we approach another fall we both agree that life without a TV bill is totally doable.

The Digital transition really threw a wrench in things. We used to get 5, 12, 19, 25, 28, 46, and 66. After the digital transition we get only half of those plus their “extra” channels (19 now has 19.1, 19.2, 19.3, 19.4, often all with separate programming). We can still get most channels but we have to adjust the antenna constantly depending on what we want.

We’ve developed a few strategies that help us deal with the “welfare TV only” lifestyle.

First, we subscribe to Netflix during the winter months when we aren’t busy and are stuck in the house the most. We do the 2 at a time plan for $14.83 per month. Wayyy cheaper than cable. We keep a notebook in the living room and when we see previews that we like we jot down movies. That way we keep a good list going in Netflix and see all the “new releases” when they come out to rent. I’ve been very happy with Netflix service. If I put a DVD in the mail on Wednesday we have a new movie on Friday so we have new movies at least every weekend. Plus they have a lot of movies available instantly over the computer. They even offer a lot of hard to find, interesting documentaries. When farm work picked up again this spring I called and canceled our account. They will save our list so we can pick up where we left off as soon as I call them back.

The other lifesaver is our computer. We have a wireless router so the computer often sits here with me while I knit or can. Here are some of my favorite websites to watch “TV” on:

-The major television network websites are the most reliable and have most of the current shows available. I have had excellent luck with ABC.com and they are very good about adding the newest episodes right away.

-Try some of the cable channel websites too. I’ve been playing around on TLC.com lately. I really enjoy 18 Kids and Counting and Jon & Kate Plus 8 (does anyone else follow them, BTW? I’m a big fan and am so sad that their marriage is suffering!). The shows tend to take awhile to load and pause a lot but there is good content there if you can connect. They have a lot of educational type things too not just reality TV drama.

-Here’s a new favorite: Hulu.com. You can watch a ton of The Dave Ramsey Show on there. Right now I have that running in another tab since it is mostly a talk show anyway. I highly recommend it.

I’m not so much encouraging you to get high tech or spend all your time on the computer. However, if you spend as many hours as I do sitting or standing doing one continuous job it is sometimes nice to have something else going on.

Enjoy!! Just think – if you’re spending $45 a month on TV you could pay a different bill with that or sock it to your debt…

Any other ideas for cutting bills or living without paid TV?

Farm Update

I’m still here! Haven’t posted much this week due to the time change (I think!). I seem to be stuck in my old schedule and going to bed much later which means I’ve been dragging and tired all week. We’ve also been pretty busy, so I thought I’d fill you in with what we’ve been up to:

I know the video is a little dark but can you hear the little lamb sounds!? We had twins born yesterday. The mama had me worried as she started to have a vaginal prolapse a couple weeks ago. We fitted her with a harness truss, which is basically baling twine tied around her in a way that encourages her insides to stay in. The harness truss worked well, so well in fact that it was trying to hold the babies in! Brian came home to find feet poking out, cut the twine, and helped to deliver the first baby. Then, when he had me on the phone, another set of feet appeared! Both mama and babies are doing great, and she is showing great natural mothering instinct.

So, we only have one ewe left to lamb and I think she’s getting close. She showed some aggression towards the other lambs so right now I have her in a lambing pen while the other mothers and babies can be together in the main pen. I hope that she is gentle with her own lambs or we may have some problems.

Today I went to my Dad’s for a family gathering and bought a great little flatbed trailer from him. It will make a perfect base for an eggmobile. I’m expecting my order of heritage chicks in May which we will add to our layer flock. I also need to get in gear and build a pen for some broiler chicks, I’ve been talking about it for a long time and have a lot of interest already.

Brian is working like mad on the burnt shed now that warmer weather has come. He already filled one dumpster himself and is working on another. At first he planned to burn the old, singed lumber in his shop wood stove. Unfortunately, the foam they use to put out the fire also doesn’t allow the wood to burn. He called the foam manufacturer and was told that the foam is biodegradable so no special disposal is necessary. I can’t believe how much progress he is making! Right now we’re still unsure of exactly how we want to rebuild but plan to put a new roof on the entire building, rebuild and expand the lean to on the back, and then add siding later on. We’re still unsure if we’re going to use the excess insurance money to build a separate building for livestock or use it elsewhere and then build as we can afford it.

Brian is also getting ready to start conventional farming for the year. He spread some fertilizer on our wheat this morning and has more to do when he gets the time. We’re still not sure how much corn to plant since corn prices are soooo low, the current prices barely cover our expenses. We still have 3,000 bushels of corn from last fall that we’ve haven’t sold yet. This is also the first spring we’ve had square bales of hay left. We have about a 1,000 to sell and have had a lot of calls from one little ad on craigslist.

I’ve been knitting like an addict in my “free” time. I have the tote bag for Brian’s Mom done and one of the two handles knitted. Now I just have to finish the other handle and felt it! I have a lot of work to do on Brian’s slippers yet and have started a pair of socks for him as well. It is such a great hobby – I highly recommend it!

I’ve also borrowed a lot of books on Once A Month Cooking from the library, went grocery shopping today, and plan to make a bunch of meals to freeze tomorrow. The idea has interested me for a long time so I hope it works out. Any tips from the pros?

Even with the joys of spring I feel a teeny tiny bit sad that the lazier days of winter are over. There’s nothing lazy about summer on this farm! What about everyone else – are things getting hectic yet?

Knitting Socks


There has been a long running joke, or at least a funny saying, going on between my Mom and I. She tells everyone that her daughter is “growing” sheep, and she is learning to spin yarn and make socks from their wool. Everyone laughs and thinks that is the cutest thing, but it is true. My Mom took one step closer to her goal by attending a spinner’s meeting and learning the basics of that art. Now she really wants a spinning wheel but they are quite expensive. As another step on her path I surprised her with a gift certificate for Christmas. It covered the cost of a class where we are learning to knit socks! My best friend got the same gift and was also very excited to learn with us.

The first class was last Saturday and we had a blast! At first we all felt like fools as we tried to piece together the information we had learned from books, the internet, and each other. It is nice to learn all those little tips and jargon you can only get from a real professional. Our teacher, Faith, is just wonderful, and so is the shop where class is held.

In the above picture you can see how much progress I’m making. When I got the first sock to the stopping point I took a leap and started the next sock on my own. I’m not sure that it is perfectly right, but I’m enjoying the project even if I have to redo some of it. I’m quite sure that the second sock is one stitch wider than the first but I suppose that will be okay.

I told all my friends and family to expect gifts of homemade socks from now on. We have been to about a dozen weddings in the last couple years so when the dozen baby showers start up I’ll be all ready with lots of little baby socks. I’m already interested in another class on making slipper-type things, I’ll keep you posted.

What do you like to knit? Were you surprised at your abilities? How did you learn your hobbies?