24 Hours #ForTheKids

Hello, Knitters!  It's Mike here & I'm going to write a blog post.  I read through a lot of Alisa's before she posts them, and I did actually write one other post a couple of years ago, but it's still kinda weird.  I don't want to intrude on Alisa's site so I make sure to only ask to contribute a story for something really important like beer, or helping kids.  This post is not about beer.

For the last few years I've watched from the sidelines as other individuals and groups have participated in the annual event called Extra Life.  Instead of trying to use my brain to make up words to describe Extra Life, I'm going to copy/paste the blurb from their website that says, "Extra Life unites thousands of players around the world in a 24 hour gaming marathon to support Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. Since its inception in 2008, Extra Life has raised more than $22 million for local CMN Hospitals."

That's right, a gaming marathon.  Some people raise money for causes by running in actual marathons, but I really dislike running.  On the other hand, I really like games...video games especially.

This is the part where I hope to tap into your generosity.  All Extra Life donations go to Children's Miracle Network affiliated hospitals and each participant gets to choose the hospital their raised funds go to.  If you donate through me, 100% of your tax-deductible donation will go to Children's Hospital of Wisconsin.  Every penny you donate goes to the hospital, nothing you give will be spent on administrative costs or overhead by Extra Life.

I've set a pretty aggressive goal of $750 for my first year & I'm really happy with the progress toward that goal.  Here's where we are so far:

To make this entertaining for you as well, I'l be live streaming the entire 24-hour event over on my Twitch channel.  My plan is to start the marathon at 10am on Saturday, November 12th.  Feel free to stop by on Twitch to keep me company in the chat, or just hang out to see how things are going.

I appreciate any amount you can give.  I also totally understand if you aren't able to contribute financially right now.  In either case, it would also be helpful if you could share my effort with your friends and family.  Please consider sharing my donation page by email, or through your social media sites.

If you have any questions (or game suggestions), you can comment through my donation page using Facebook comments.  I'm really looking forward to this event.  Let's do this #ForTheKids

~Mike

Off the Needles | A super awesome green sweater!

This last spring, Woolstok arrived at Firefly Fibers and I didn't even consider casting on a small project, I knew I wanted to knit a sweater - sometimes the yarn just tells you what it wants to be. After much debate, I settled on Pink Memories by Isabell Kraemer and named my version, Green Mountains (shockingly, it's even updated on Ravelry page) because I was going to have it done in time for my family trip to Grand Lake, Colorado in mid-June. I'm nothing, if not optimistic, about the time it takes to knit an entire sweater.

I cast on June 10th and I was leaving on the 22nd, so I knew this was a VERY ambitious goal, but Isabell's sweaters are enjoyable knits that seem to fly off the needles. I spent every waking moment away from work knitting on this sweater and I set my goal for a week. It even went to a Horicon, WI park with me for a special Canyon Spells show.

But, alas... even with taking this with me everywhere I went for almost 2 weeks before my trip, it wasn't done in time. So, I took it on my trip with me and it was awesome to be sitting on the deck at our Colorado cabin knitting away with this amazing scenery. Maybe it's more special to have a little it of my home state knit into it?

So, even though I was actually binding off the last sleeve on the plane on the way back to Wisconsin, knitting this gorgeous sweater in 17 days, really wasn't so bad. I love it even more than I thought and would and when I think of the places it went with me, I love it even more!

It was much too warm to wear it upon my return (we had a crazy hot summer), so it was displayed at the shop for a few months and finally came home with me the beginning of October just in time for Kraut Day

I'm now on my 3rd Woolstok sweater and I might need an intervention, because more are planned in my head. 

CHEERS!

Leisure Time | Kraut Day

It might be hard to believe, but my family has an annual Kraut Day. What is Kraut Day, you ask? It's the day that we get together with Mr. Yarnista's family and make sauerkraut. It's a really awesome thing. There was some debate at this year's gathering about what year this was and (thanks to my ridiculous skills for keeping track of things), 2016 marked the 6th Annual Kraut Day!

 
Mr. Yarnista shows off his coordinated Port Huron Brewery attire and beer, while holding a 10lb head of cabbage (and this was one of the smaller ones).

Mr. Yarnista shows off his coordinated Port Huron Brewery attire and beer, while holding a 10lb head of cabbage (and this was one of the smaller ones).

 

 It's a day that we very much look forward to and, either others were simply curious or we made it sound like loads of fun, because this year, we had 18 family members attend! The OKT (Original Kraut Team) formed in 2012 with 5 members and has grown a bit each year, but the 18 attendees this year, made it clear that this really is a thing (or maybe we're just really popular). 

 
 

So, how do you make kraut, you ask? First you need a 5 gallon bucket, then you need cabbage, pickling salt, and a food processor. Oh, and beer. Kraut cannot be made without a beer in the hand. Optional items are: rubber gloves, carpet square (for the knees), and knee pads.

 
 

Once you have all your supplies, you'll shred cabbage and begin layering cabbage and salt in your (super fancy) bucket. With each layer, you'll do a bit of smushing so the cabbage releases water. You'll continue repeating this layering process until your bucket is full'ish and then top it off with a bag of water to seal things up while the fermentation is in process. Kraut Day is early in October and the kraut should be ready for canning or freezing at the end of the year. It's SO good!

 
See, it's all very fancy and scientific. 

See, it's all very fancy and scientific. 

 

If you want to try making your own sauerkraut, thekitchn.com has a recipe for a smaller batch in a mason jar - I realized that not everyone is crazy about kraut and "needs" a 5 gallon bucket of it. I love fermenting in small batches and currently have a jar of homemade kimchi in process - I tried a new recipe this time and I'll share that once I can test it out for taste. 

Do you ferment? If so, what's your favorite to make?

This year's Kraut Day was October 1st and it was cool enough for me to wear a new sweater. The light rain gave way to a beautifully sunny afternoon, so I'll have FO pics of my new sweater to share with you next time...

CHEERS!