Journey-Along | Giveaway & a Peek...

Well, I somehow managed to relax on our vacation to visit my Colorado family this last weekend. I'm not good at relaxing, so getting in the car and leaving Wisconsin was a great way to force me to sit still for a bit (15+ hours of sitting still). I'll share more details on our trip in the near future...

Remember the Journey-Along July Giveaway that's coming up on July 15th? Well, here's a peek at the prize:

JAL - July

The winner will be randomly selected on Tuesday, July 15th. To be eligible for this and all giveaways, just make sure you've filled out this form and have cast on a Journey project (you only need to sign up once). Don't forget to check in on our Journey-along Ravelry thread and tag your projects with the hashtag #journeyalong. Full Journey-along details can be found here...

I do still have Inland on my needles, but working on a bulky-weight, one-piece, long-cardigan didn't seem to be the best car project, so today I want to show you these:

Climb v3

Yup, I'm working through Climb (for the 3rd time) and I cast these on in Colorado for my 'non-thinking' knitting - these will actually be for me. The yarn is Regia's Fluormania in the Neon Rainbow colorway - I'm a huge fan of Regia's super-durable sock yarn and this bright version is extra fun!

I didn't have time to wind the yarn into 2 balls before we left on vacation last week, so I decided to get crazy when I cast on and just 'go with it'. I'm working from the inside and outside of the ball so the stripes aren't matching up - deep breaths - but now they're both starting to stripe orange, so I'm feeling like there's a little less chaos here. lol!

I do have a couple other projects that I cast on when we were in Colorado and some other goodness to share, so stay tuned!

I'm off to try more of that relaxing thing. Cheers!

Treats and Driver's Seats

I found this "recipe" for crock pot dolche de leche shortly before the holidays and decided to give it a try. Simply pouring sweetened condensed milk in some jars and putting them in the crock pot for a few hours with water seemed way too easy. BUT... I figured it didn't require too much effort on my part, so it was worth a try. Good news! It wasn't too good to be true and it made great holiday gifts (2 batches worth) and I made another batch last week. This is what you do:

Dolche Recipe

Yup, simple. I used 3 cans of sweetened condensed milk for 4 half-pints and this leaves just a wee bit leftover (perfect for coffee or tea). After filling the jars, into the crock pot they go, cover them with water and set on low for 8-10 hours (adjust the time depending on how dark you like your dolche de leche). Tip: add a splash of vinegar to the water bath to avoid sediment adhering to the jars and crock pot. 

Dolce done

That's all there is to it and it's absolutely delicious! I've been enjoying in on apples and I can't wait to try it on some ice cream!

On a healthier front...


I decided it was time to use up some of the last of our CSA carrots for this Carrot Butter recipe. I used cashews instead of macadamia nuts and, of course, I used some of our precious homemade maple syrup I blogged about back in April.

Carrot Butter

After trying to patiently wait for the carrot butter to cool, we finally enjoyed it with a baguette and a healthy handful of chopped parsley. We still have quite a bit left from our late season CSA deliveries and I'm already planning something with squash for this weekend - a soup, perhaps?

And... much to the pleasure of my feet during the Wisconsin winter, I finished these socks:


They fit great and I love the longer cuff! I also made some progress on hubby's worsted weight socks that I mentioned last time. He tried on the cuff and it fits perfectly so I'm confident it will be a great fit for him (and a quick knit for me). Onto the heel!

I'll leave you with this, and hopefully my guy makes you smile:


Logan is quite the car companion and he's recently discovered that he can manage to fit his 112 lbs into his new favorite place - the driver's seat. 


Sock Weather

It's cold here in the Midwest. Currently it's 19 degrees below zero. Yes, -19. It. Is. Cold. Logan is hanging with me today as I work from home. Something outside is apparently stare-worthy - I saw nothing beyond the frost covered window, but I didn't ask questions.

wpid-IMG_20140106_094529.jpgEach summer I hope and dream of heading into winter with stacks of hand knit socks for myself and hubby. Over the last year, Susan B. Anderson began posting tantilizing photos of her overflowing sock drawer and it's impossible to not be sucked into the world of socks after seeing all that beauty.

I was inspired, motivated, and I had dreams... I also have a job and it takes time to knit a full drawer of socks. Winter is obviously here (remember, -19) and I'm down to only a couple pairs of hand knit socks, so I'm frantically clicking away between other projects. I cast on a new pair of socks while we were in the car heading to hubby's Grandma's for Christmas, completed the cuff on the way back, and I turned the heel that night when we got home.


Nice long cuff on the finished sock, right? Yeah, about that... I was knitting on a 9" mini-circ in the dark on the way home and had no idea of how much progress I was making. Upon our arrival home, I was pretty excited to see it was nearly 10" long, then... I cast on the second sock and realized I would have to do it again. LOL! It's okay, I'll get there. Eventually.

A couple questions have come up since my last post with the darning poll (results are coming, just keep reading...). The questions were:

  • How did I knit that much so fast? Well, it's a sport weight yarn knit on a US 3 (3.25mm), so they knit up really fast. This particular yarn is Regia's 6-ply that comes in 150gr balls and they've really expanded their 6-ply line over the last couple years - with our shop inventory expanding proportionately. *eek*
  • What pattern do you use? My "go-to" sock pattern is Churchmouse's Basic Sock. Not only is it my personal "go-to" for socks, it's also the pattern used in the Top-Down Sock Workshop that I'm teaching again in just a few weeks and the pattern I recommend at the shop to new and seasoned sock knitters because it's just simply a good basic sock pattern. Churchmouse dubbs it, “The sock we return to again and again.” This is SO true!


This pattern is the closest to a "perfect" top-down sock pattern that I've found in my 12+ years of knitting socks. I knit and teach these socks exactly as the pattern is written, with ONE exception:

  • I pick up ONE extra stitch at the top of the gusset. I've always done this on top-down gusseted socks and it really helps to close up that pesky little hole that can appear. Picking up one extra stitch really makes a HUGE difference for me and it really helps the students in class, too.

I've taught a variety of sock classes at Firefly Fibers from the beginning and as luck would have it, a little over a year ago, the timing worked out that I would solely lead the sock classes (sock/sole, get it?). I decided then that I wanted to offer a sock class of some variety on every class schedule and each of those classes have been a huge success! I just really love hand knit socks of all varieties and I love teaching sock knitting - check out the Top-Down Sock Workshop details and contact the shop to register if you're in the area and interested in joining me in the upcoming class! It's a good time with plenty of tips and side-by-side assistance along the way.

So, before I get back to work on my cuff or get distracted by something else:


The results of the darning poll (which I'm leaving open in case anyone else wants to add their input): 

Sock Knitters, what do you do when hand knit socks are in need of repair?

  • 57% Knit a new pair
  • 38% Darn them
  • 5% Other

I'm a wee bit surprised that so many of us do the same thing and just knit a new pair - I'm also a wee bit comforted that I'm not alone. Granted, there are variables with darning: quality of the remaining sock, repairs needed, etc... I have some socks that I have darned and some that really just aren't worth it. But still, my first inclination is to just knit a new pair.

I'll be back soon with a couple more sock tidbits as I get ready to cast on another pair!

Cheers! Alisa