Saturday, January 11, 2014

Knitted and Crocheted Soap Bags

I write about a craft project once in a while but I haven't for quite some time.  Today is a good day for it.  We went from bitter cold temperatures last week to temperatures hovering around freezing the last two days.  Last night we had freezing rain which made the roads almost impossible to drive on and the sidewalks really slippery.  It was a good day to stay home and create.

Knitted and crocheted versions of a soap saver.

How many people use bar soap?  I usually don't but the men in my family do.  I think it's more economical to use bar soap than body wash.  The only problem is when the bar gets small, it breaks.  It leaves a sliver that most people throw away.  We throw them, but not into the wastebasket, we throw them into a little bag.  The soap lathers up nicely in the soap bag, and the bag has texture like a washcloth.  It isn't slippery so you don't lose your grip as easy.  It doesn't gunk up the soap dish as much either.  Just be sure to rinse it well.  We had purchased little bags in the past, but today I decided to make some new ones.   I used yarn.  In the future I will look for something that dries more quickly, but the patterns turned out.  Maybe I should use nylon yarn or tulle cut in strips like the nylon netting strips I use for scrubbies.

The scrubbie nylon netting would be too rough on the skin but tulle would be softer.  These bags would even fit a whole bar of soap. 

Knitted Soap Bag

Any type of yarn will work.  Heavier sport weight or worsted is best.  If you use wool, the bags will felt and get smaller as they are used.  Cotton yarn takes a little longer to dry so they should be hung up to dry or they will smell musty eventually.  If that happens, just remove the soap and wash in the washing machine with your laundry. 

You will need 4 double pointed needles in a size 3 or 4.  I changed to a size 3 circular needle-9 inch after the increases.  You could use two needles and knit a rectangle.  Then just sew a seam.

Cast on 9 stitches.  With 3 stitches on each needle, knit around increasing on the last stitch of each of the three needles as follows:

Row 1:  Knit 2, inc. 1 on next stitch (4 sts.), repeat on needle #2 and needle #3.  12 stitches total.
Row 2:  Purl around
Row 3:  Knit 3, inc. on next stitch (5 sts.), repeat on needle #2 and #3.  15 stitches total.
Row 4:  Purl around

Continue in this manner until 10 stitches are on each needle (30 total).  Then knit 1 round andpurl one round until the bag is 4 inches long.

Next round K1, YO, K1, YO etc.  This will make holes for the draw string.  Then knit each round for 3 or 4 rows.  Bind off loosely.  Hide the loose ends and close the bottom of the bag.

Make a tie either by crocheting a string of about 70 chains or try this fun technique.

Cut off about 6 feet of yarn.  Tie one end to a door knob and the other end to the middle of a pencil.

Pull the yarn taut and begin twisting the pencil in one direction.  After a while fold in half and the yarn will twist on itself like a rope.  It makes a sturdy tie.  Thread the tie through the holes in the top of the bag.

Crocheted Soap bag

Use the same type of yarn as mentioned for the knitted bag.

Size "J" crochet hook.

Chain 10 stitches.  Start with a half double crochet in 3rd stitch from hook.  Continue hdc in each chain stitch across and then on opposite side of foundation chain.  You should have 16 hdc's.  Slip stitch in top of starting chain, ch. 1 and continue around.  Work several rounds until the bag is about 4 inches.

Next round:  hdc, chain 1, skip 1 hdc, repeat around.  Single crochet around for 2 or 3 rounds to finish.

Make a draw string in the same way as the knitted bag and thread through the holes.

Update:  These bags work so well, I use one for the soap nuts I use for laundry.  I blogged about using soap nuts.  If you want to read about it, just put soap nuts in the blogs search box.  

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


Last night we were sitting watching TV as we usually do.  It was another cold cold night, but we were toasty warm in the house.  We all sit in different rooms because we all enjoy different shows.  Suddenly there was a loud boom that shook the house.  Mike and I both ran into the room where my dad sits.  I asked if he heard it and he did.  It sounded like our deck had fallen off or something big slid off the roof.  So my husband bundled up, took his flashlight and went outside to investigate.  He looked all around the house to see if anything seemed wrong.  He couldn't find anything amiss so he came inside.  We didn't think much about it again until this morning.  One of the weathermen from Green Bay said that big booms and vibrations were being reported from the Fond du lac area and Green Lake County.  He said that they were called "icequakes".  It happens when pockets of ground water which normally stay liquid become frozen in extreme cold.  When water freezes, it expands, sometimes to the point of cracking.  It makes sense but I wasn't familiar with this.  If I had heard this sound before, I didn't know what it was.  I thought it may have been in the very deep spring fed pond we have.  It usually doesn't freeze over but I hadn't checked during the extreme temperatures from the days before.  I decided to check it out this morning, but there was open water.  The temperature had warmed up a little to -1 degrees F.  Later in the day we heard that many people around town and in the area also heard the boom and vibration.  We have no idea the exact location.  Maybe it was many locations, and it could happen again.

At -1 degrees we have open water on our spring fed pond.

This cold weather is very bad for many people.  It is difficult for people who work outside or those who are homeless.  One of our deer can't stand on her back leg.  I don't know if it was too cold to stand on all fours, or if she is injured in some way.  I hope she gets better soon.

She can't put weight on her back right foot.

There is a lot of beauty too.  Not everything about this polar vortex is horrible.  These are photos I took of a frozen waterfall a few miles from us in Montello Wisconsin.

These frozen waterfalls sure look cold, but beautiful.

Waterfall in Montello Wisconsin with the ducks hunkered down next to the open water.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Cherry Cheesecake Cupcakes

Every Christmas I try to make these Cherry Cheescake Cupcakes.  They are so pretty.  They would be nice to make for Valentines Day which will be here before we know it.  They are gluten free but definitely not dairy free.  I got this recipe over 35 years ago from a friend but over the years I have seen many variations of it. 

Cherry Cheesecake Cupcakes

Bake at 300 degrees for 40-45 minutes.  Do Not Overbake.

3        packages (8 oz.) of cream cheese
1        cup sugar
5        eggs
1 1/2  teaspoons vanilla

Cream the cream cheese and sugar.  Add the eggs one at a time and beat well.  Then add the vanilla.
Beat until creamy and pour into foil lined cupcake papers. 

Fill about 3/4 full and bake.  Cool for five minutes.  They will cave in the middle providing space for the topping.


1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Whip together very well and put in the pocket on the cheesecake.  Then place cherry pie filling on top of the topping.  Bake for five more minutes.

Refrigerate for at least 5-6 hours.  Keep refrigerated and they will keep for a long time.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Record Breaking Cold Temperatures In Wisconsin

3:00 pm on Sunday January 5, 2014

It's January 5th, 2014 in Wisconsin.  Tonight we are supposed to have record breaking cold temperatures.  They have already closed area schools for tomorrow.  Fortunately we are toasty warm here in the cabin.  We have all the stoves going full blast.

All the outside animals are fed.  The bird feeders are full, and the corn and apple peelings are out for the deer.

One of last nights visitors.  Two doe came also.  I'm sure they will be back.

Male Downy Woodpecker and a Mourning Dove

Two bluejays

Now that the stoves are stoked and the animals are fed, it's time to prepare for the Green Bay Packer playoff game.  It is going to be a cold one.  I can't imagine being at Lambeau Field watching or being a player.  It will be interesting to see if some of those tough guys will have short sleeves.  One of the players said in an interview that he wouldn't be wearing sleeves.  We'll see.  

My dad is all set.  He wears the appropriate shirt for the game.  I wrote a little about that earlier.

He has his shirts laid out on the bed.

On New Years Day he put on his Wisconsin Badger shirt.  It was a new shirt and hadn't accumulated it's magic powers yet.  The Badgers lost the game, but he thinks it was because the rest of the family didn't wear their shirts.

 Later on New Year's Day was the Rose Bowl game.  We have family in Michigan, and he wears that shirt whenever Michigan State plays.  After a quick change to the Spartan shirt, he was ready for the Rose Bowl.  This time he pulled them through. 

Now after a few days off from football he is ready for the Packer game.  This is a bonus game that no one thought would happen.  Here we go!

Dad resting before the Packer game starts.

Well the game is over.  Dad is not smiling any longer.  If you notice his sweatshirt, it is from super bowl XXXI.  I guess its good luck vibes have exhausted itself.  Time to look for a new shirt to break in for next year.