Thursday, January 15, 2015

How To Make A Knitting Seam

Normally I don't get a lot of views to this blog.  It is mostly my kind Facebook friends and some family members.  I don't sell ads or use it to make money.  It is mostly a journal of this moment in my life.  We turn the blogs into hard covered books.  I imagine future generations won't believe how primitive ma and pa lived in the 21st century.  The blog I wrote for knitting a Christmas Stocking is the exception.  I have over 10,000 views to that blog.  People have asked some very good questions about knitting the stocking and knitting in general.  I am not an expert, unless knitting for over 50 years makes me one.

I usually knit in the round, if I can.  However, some things need to be knit flat and then sewn up.  One question I had was how to sew a neat looking seam.  In order to demonstrate that, I knit two small sample pieces.

The stitch in this sample is called the Stockinette stitch.  It is knit one row and purl one row when knitting flat.  Looking at it you can see the vertical rows that look like a crochet chain stitch, and the horizontal rows look the same only side by side.  These rows are connected by cross pieces that are created by knitting from stitch to stitch across the row.  I use these cross bars to seam two pieces together.  In the picture below you can see the hidden cross bars between the stitches.

To start seaming, I thread a yarn needle with matching yarn.  In this case I am using a contrasting thread to show how it's done.  It will be easier to see this way.

Put your needle under the first bar on the right side piece.

Under the bar on the right, then the left.

Working under a bar on the right, then under a bar on the left, continue back and forth as pictured.  Pull the the yarn tight to close the piece together as you continue.

Pull the yarn through on each side.

Continue until the seam is closed.

I used contrasting yarn but it can't be seen when finished.

Inside of seam looks like this, but the outside is nearly invisible.

I hope this helps those having trouble creating a smooth seam.  You can also pick up two bars on each side if you want a more relaxed seam.  Just be sure to do both sides the same or you won't come out even when you are finished.  

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Honey Oatmeal Bread

Today we were going to have patty melts for supper.  Oops, I can't say supper anymore.  That word annoys one of my facebook friends.  From now on, I must say dinner or evening meal.  Anyway, in order to make patty melts, I needed bread.  I thought of how years ago, when I was a child, my mom would put the bread dough in round cans.  They were either tomato juice cans or Hi-C juice cans.  That was back in the day when we didn't worry about drinking Kool-aid or Hi-C.  Maybe they didn't put all the additives in the juice like they do now.  We used to love that bread, and a hamburger fit on the bread perfectly.

Today my Tuesday recipe is in honor of my mom and her round bread.  This isn't her recipe.  She made plain white bread.  This recipe has a little oatmeal and honey in it to make it slightly more nutritious.  This recipe is based on a Taste of Home recipe but my technique is a little different.  I make the dough in the bread machine but bake it in the oven.

Honey Oatmeal Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup oatmeal (quick or old-fashioned)
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup milk (warmed enough to melt the butter)
1/4 cup warm water
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup honey

In a bowl combine the flour, oatmeal, yeast and salt.

Warm the milk in a measuring cup but do not boil.  Add the butter and stir until melted.

Put the warm milk and butter in the bread machine container with the honey and warm water.
Put in the flour, oatmeal, yeast and salt mixture.  Turn the bread machine to the dough setting and turn it on.  This will mix the dough and let it rise for the first time.  It takes about an hour.  This process can be done in a mixer with the dough hook or mix by hand if you want a workout.

The dough as it comes out of the bread machine.

At this stage you can add more flour if the dough is sticky.  Today it was perfect.  I greased the tomato juice can and put the dough in.  I warmed a little more honey,  brushed it on the top of the dough and sprinkled on a little oatmeal..  I covered it with a towel and left it to rise for an hour or so.  Our house is quite warm so it rose quickly.

The recipe suggested putting a loaf pan of water in the bottom of the oven.  I don't know if it is necessary, but in this case I followed instructions.  I think it adds some moisture to the oven heat.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake the loaf for 45 minutes.

The warm bread was so good, we didn't have patty melts after all.  My husband had tuna fish sandwiches and left over chili.   Dad had leftover round steak, mashed potatoes and blackberries.  I had the best dinner of all.  I had fresh bread, peanut butter and Lingonberry jam that I bought at IKEA.  What could be better than that?

* I made the bread again, but this time put it in a loaf pan.  It turned out great.  The perfect loaf of bread.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Homemade Lip Balm

Last August I made a batch of deodorant.  It worked out very well and one container lasted for over four months.  The only problem I had with it is that a little goes a long way.  If you use too much, the excess collects in the wrinkles of your armpits.  Others may not have wrinkled armpits, and I didn't know I did either.  Fact is, I do.  It is an easy fix.  Either don't use so much deodorant or wipe off the excess.

Today I thought I would make some lip balm.  There are a few different recipes for this, but most are basically the same.  I don't use lip balm much, but my daughters and grandchildren do.  It uses much of the same ingredients used in the deodorant recipe, without the baking soda and cornstarch.  You will need Beeswax Beads, Vitamin E oil, Coconut oil, Essential Oil and empty Chap Stick type tubes, round EOS containers or small jar or tin. 

Melt two tablespoons of beeswax beads, four tablespoons of coconut oil and 1/2 teaspoon of vitamin E oil.  Mix these ingredients together and melt over boiling water or a few seconds in the microwave.  After it is melted put in ten drops of essential oil.  I used peppermint oil.  I have seen it colored with beet powder to make a colored lip balm.  When it cools slightly pour into empty lip balm containers.  These can be purchased online or clean out and wash and dry completely a container you have on hand.  This recipe will fill several containers.

Fill a Chap Stick type tube.

It works in these containers also.

Or a small jar or tin.