Your greatness is not what you have, it's what you give.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Small items this week and another interview

Kathleen finished another reversible stripes scarf this week and right there next to her on the couch is the Guernsey Sweater she is working on right now. She'll probably have it finished by next week.

Elaine brought in a bunch of hats...

and is catching up on the peach shawl. She is thinking about a few eyelet rows inserted here and there to break up the field of garter stitch.

Sheila is the newest Chick in the group and also a newbie to knitting. Because of this her interview is rather limited until she expands her knitting experiences. And we're working on that together.

Interviewer: At what age did you learn how to knit?
Sheila: I learned just this year.
Interviewer: Who taught you to knit?
Sheila: Jody taught me and is still teaching me. My friend Barbara (another Chick) was so enthusiastic about knitting that she talked me into trying my hand at it. And I was very interested in the charitable aspect of donating the finished projects. I have many friends who knit when we travel and the portability of knitting seemed so sensible that I couldn't resist.
Interviewer: What was the first item you completed and for whom did you make it?
Sheila: I made a scarf which I was going to donate but then I heard how everyone keeps the very first thing they make, so I gave the scarf to my husband who wears it with pride. I have just finished my first donation scarf using the "Mistake Scarf" pattern and denim blue yarn.
Interviewer: Where is your favorite place to knit?
Sheila: I look for a cozy spot with lots of natural sunlight.
Thank you Sheila for sharing your thoughts with us.
Check out next week's entry to see who will be next.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Moose!

Happy Birthday Moose! My Moose is three years old and we visited him this weekend to help him celebrate. His friends joined him at his local YMCA for fun and games.
I knitted a sweater and matching hat for him which he conceded to model for me, with a little coaxing.
And for all of you doubters out there who thought I was knitting the hat too large...take a look.
What I should have done is knitted the neckline much larger to accomodate his head! With a little stretching we finally got the sweater over his noggin!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Visitors This Week and Interview with a Chick

Kathleen's daughter, Pat, is an honorary Chick now. She traveled a little further upstate to visit this week. She lives in Pawling, which to the city dwellers downstate is considered upstate. So the NYC residents must think we're at the North Pole! LOL! Pat is working on a reversible stripes scarf using a self striping yarn that changes colors periodically making the scarf very pretty.
Sheila has made much progress on her "Mistake Scarf" and we're all thrilled at how well she is doing with her knitting skills.
Karin, on the right, brought her neighbor Linda to visit this week. Karin made the green hat for our inventory and....
a pair of mittens using the remnants from previously finished projects. We try not to waste any yarn so these mittens are made up of three different yarns. Cute!
Judy's donation scarf was made using a bulky weight yarn so it knitted up quickly. That will keep someone toasty warm.
This week I'm starting something new which will continue each week until every Chick has had her turn. I'm going to give you a glimpse into the knitting world of each of us with a little interview. First up is Kathleen Corrigan. We joke that she is who we aspire to be when we grow up. Her bubbly personality and winning smile always light up the room when she arrives. She thought she was done knitting and gave all her needles and other knitting tools to her daughters, but when she read about the Chicks in a local newspaper the knitting bug took hold of her again. She finished a Gansey sweater that some lucky child will get to wear after our next delivery.
Interviewer: Kathleen, at what age did you learn to knit?
Kathleen: I taught myself when I was in my 20's, married and raising my five children, all under the age of 7! I can't remember how I learned though. My mother never knitted but she was an avid crocheter. She taught me how to crochet and I crocheted an afghan that lasted 50 years before it fell apart.
Interviewer: What was the first item you completed and for whom did you make it?
Kathleen: As it was so long ago, the best of my recollection is that it was probably a sweater that I made for one of my children.
Interviewer: What was you favorite item knitted?
Kathleen: Actually, my favorite handmade item was actually crocheted. It was a tablecloth with a pineapple motif which, after taking it out of storage, I found had a few stains on it. I gave it to my daughter Pat, who was able to remove the stains and restore it to it's original white and we used it for the last two Thanksgiving family gatherings. My other favorite crocheted item is a bedspread which went to Margaret, another daughter. The tablecloth and bedspread were both made while I raised the five children, under age 7 at the time.
Interviewer: What was your most challenging project?
Kathleen: That had to be the Entrelac blanket that I decided to learn how to make when I joined the Chicks. It was very challenging (added by Jody: she did a fantastic job and we're so proud of her!).
Interviewer: What took you the longest to knit?
Kathleen: I don't remember how long it took to make but the item I have knitted numerous times is a Fisherman Stitch Afghan. I have made it at least 25 or 30 times and given it away as gifts for weddings, showers, engagements, and college grads. I've made it so many times that I know the patterns by heart.
Interviewer: What do you like to knit now?
Kathleen: My favorite knits now are childrens' clothing for charity. I don't have to worry about knitting something exactly to size because since it will be donated, it will fit somebody out there. And knitting for charity interested me because I could use my skills to help out someone in need. After all, my family doesn't need any more knitted items!
Interviewer: What is your favorite fiber to knit?
Kathleen: I think my favorite fiber is wool. I like the feel of it and after watching the DVD of Elizabeth Zimmerman's "The Opinionated Knitter" I like the idea that it is a renewable resource.
Interviewer: Where is your favorite place to knit?
Kathleen: I like to sit in a cozy spot in my living room in the evening with my kitty nearby.
Thank you Kathleen for letting us into your world of knitting. Take a peek at next week's entry to see who will be the next Chick we visit.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

An angel visits and a gift for you!

Last Tuesday Joyce's granddaughter joined the Chicks for a short visit. Judy brought along a good book for Ellie to read while we knitted.

Ellie found the best chair in the house for storytime.

Grandma Joyce brought along lots of finished scarves for donation.
And Grandma wasn't the only one who got to model some of the fashions.
Joyce's cozy cowl with a fashionable button was a crowd favorite.

Judy finished a cute hat and mitten set to send along with Joyce's scarves.

We had fun watching Ellie entertain herself while we knitted.

Ellie you are welcome to visit anytime!

This winter I've been on a roll with making homemade soups for those cold snowy nights. One of my favorites this season has been a variation on a Portuguese Kale soup. So I'm offering my version of the recipe if you'd like to try it. Even my DH who hates kale loved this soup.

canola oil

1 large onion, chopped

3 ribs of celery, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

5 cloves of garlic, minced

1 large head of kale, washed thoroughly and chopped to bite size

4 to 6 sweet Italian sausage links

1 cup brown rice

2 quarts chicken broth

Marjoram or Oregano

Salt and pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, heat 3 tablespoons of oil and brown the sausage on all sides. Set aside sausage and pour off fat from pot. If needed, add a little more oil and saute over medium heat the onions, celery, and carrots until translucent. Be sure to scrape all the delicious brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the minced garlic and cook another minute, making sure not to let the garlic get brown and bitter. Meanwhile, cut the sausages into 1/2 inch slices and add back to pot with the vegetables. Add the chicken broth, rice salt, pepper, and marjoram and stir together. Bring to boil and add the kale. Let it cook down and stir occasionally, letting soup cook about an hour or until the rice is cooked. This amount will serve 6 to 8 people. I serve my family and leave the rest for lunches during the week or freeze the leftovers for another night.

Make sure you have a crusty loaf of warm Ciabatta bread to serve on the side and enjoy!