Sock Yarns

Hi Sis,

I have been adding sock yarns to my Etsy shop! It has been fun learning how to do indy dyeing, or should I say playing around and making random art. lol 

I wasn’t pleased with my first few hanks, but I really like my last few. I am learning not only what colors look good together, but how concentrated dye can be and how sometimes adding one color on top of another, doesnt always produce the color I originally wanted. 

Love Jamiegoof


Knitted Opera or Traveling Hood

Hi Sis

I figured it was about time I put up one of my favorite historical hood patterns! 

This winter hood is seriously one of the lightest and warmest hoods I’ve ever worn. It is hand knit with wool yarn, lined in smooth silk taffeta, and the border is ultra soft, fluffy, and wind blocking turkey down. Now on to the pattern!

Knitted Opera or Traveling Hood

Adapted from: Godey’ Lady’s Book & Magazine, 1862

Material List
1 Hank (1.8 oz) of Burgundy & Antique White
2 – Feathered Boa’s (These are special boas… not sold at craft stores)
2.5 yards 2 inch silk or poly ribbon
Size 2 knitting needles
Embroidery and Sewing Needles
Blocking Boards & Pins
Silk Thread and Silk Taffeta Fabric for Lining
Cotton for cord, or thin silk ribbon (tiny drawlstring)

Note: Want to use thicker yarn! That is fine, the pattern is created through measuring instead of counting rows!

Abbreviations and Stitches:

k = knit
kfb = increase, by knitting in the front and back of the loop
k2tog = decrease, by knitting 2 stitches together


Cast on 4 stitches
Row 1: Knit till last stitch, kfb 
Row 2: Knit till last stitch, kfb
Row 3: Knit till last stitch, kfb
Row 4: Knit till last stitch, kfb

Change color: Don’t be confused by images, you are NOT doing stockinette! 

Row 5: Tie on new color of yarn, knit till last stitch, kfb
Row 6: Knit till last stitch, kfb
Row 7: Knit both colors of yarn into first stitch, this will help you carry your yarn. Knit till last stitch, kfb
Row 8: Knit till last stitch, kfb, swap colors
Row 9: Knit till last stitch, kfb
Row 10: Knit till last stitch, kfb
Row 11: Knit both colors of yarn into first stitch. Knit till last stitch, kfb
Row 12: Knittill last stitch, kfb
Repeat rows 9 – 12: swapping colors every four rows, continue until you measure 21” wide on the side.

You are now half way done knitting your hood! Now instead of increasing at the end of the row, you will do a decrease. Like this

Decrease Rows

Row 1: Knit till last two stitches, k2tog
Row 2: Kni  till last two stitches, K2tog
Row 3: Knit both colors of yarn into first stitch, knit till last two stitches, k2tog
Row 4: Knit till last two stitches, k2tog
Repeat decrease rows 1 – 4: swapping coors every four rows, continue until you have 4 stitches a the bottom. Bind off.

Yay!!! You have finished knitting your hood! 

Blocking Your Hood

You will be using the water method to block your hood. Since you are working with wool, you must use cold water. This is because hot water could felt your wool. 

You can block your wool in two methods. One is putting it in cold water, and gently wringing out all the water you can. The other method, is pinning your hood to a blocking board, and misting it with cold water from a spray bottle. 

You should bock your hood to be 21’ x 21’


Step one: Round the top portion of your hood slightly, so that you don’t have a triangle forehead that flops all over the place. Do this by folding over the fabric and pinning. 

Step two: Measure silk taffeta and cut. (Make sure it is 1 inch larger then your knitting, about 22 by 22 inches. This is so you have a half inch to fold under for all seams. You will be rounding the one corner so you don’t have a pointed head!

Why Line Your Hood– Most knit hoods are were not lined, so why do I recommend lining this hood? One, it is not double knit. So, it will be a thin and cold hood without the silk. Two, the silk is an excellent insulator, and great at blocking wind… even better than double knitting. Three, you need to add a drawl string to your hood, or it will fall off your head, and it looks better if you have a lining and casing… vs. weaving a drawlstring in and out of your work.

Don’t want to use silk? A light wool, or perhaps a cotton. Tight weave or a flannel would be great. You don’t want a thin broadcloth. 

Step three: Sew on your taffeta!

Step four: Time to sew on that fuzzy boa! By the way, this will take forever! Try not to pin down your fluffies while sewing.

Step five: Sew a casing and add your drawlstring. I did mine about five inches from the bottom. This string will drawl the hood around your head, so that it doesn’t slip!

Step six: Sew on your fashionable 2″ silk or poly ribbons. I sewed mine about 2.5 inches from the bottom.

Step seven: Gather the very center of the hood. For me this was about 14 inches from the center and pointed bottom and rounded top. And about 10 inches from pointed both sides. 

Step eight: Make a bow and attach it about 11 inches from the pointed bottom. Never made a ribbon bow before? Try with some ribbon you don’t care about first. It doesn’t have to be 2 inch ribbon, some 1 – 1.5 inch scrap would be fine. 

Enjoy your winter hood!

A look into the historical pattern 

I’ve had people ask my source for the turkey down: Swamsdown was what was used historically, and it is no longer sold today. Thus, turkey down is a substitute.

The historical pattern calls for two yards… but, you need closer to four yards of down, unless you are making a childs hood. Don’t fuss over your stitch count, just measure your work. However, your stitch count will be closure to 200 than 100.

Cerise is red. You can make you hood whatever color(s) you would like. I recommend staying away from heathers (use solid colors) as that is a more modern yarn type. Also, keep in mind feathered down only came in white.






Caramel Apple Cheesecake Fluff with Pretzel Brittle

Dear Sis,

Tonight our neighbors joined us for dinner. We made Chili and Sweet Spoon Cornbread. For desert, we tried something new that went with our fall comfort food nicely.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Fluff with Pretzel Brittle
Serves 4
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Pretzel Brittle
  1. 1/3 c coarsely crushed pretzels
  2. 1/4 c crushed pecans
  3. 1/4 c unsalted butter, melted
  4. 1/4 c dark brown sugar
Apple Fluff
  1. 2 c diced apples
  2. 1/2 (8 oz) tub whipped topping
  3. 4 oz soft cream cheese
  4. 2 T refrigerated caramel sauce
Pretzel Brittle
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Combine brittle ingredients and spread over a jellyroll pan.
  3. Bake 5-7 minutes. Watch closely to avoid burning!
  4. Cool. Break into pieces.
Apple Fluff
  1. Beat together whipped topping, cream cheese, and caramel sauce.
  2. Fold in apples. Spoon into serving dishes. Top with brittle, apple slices, and heated caramel sauce.
  1. * Nut Free - replace pecans with additional pretzels
Adapted from The Gunny Sack
Adapted from The Gunny Sack
Tag Sis, You're It!



Working with Dry Beans

Dear Sis,

I was frustrated to discover that both the “quick-cook” and “traditional cooking methods the kidney bean bag were deficient. Here is what I learned:

Cooking Dry Beans

  • Bag instructions say: cook “soaked” beans, but does not specify how long or in what quantity of water.
    • Beans should be soaked at least overnight, and may be soaked as long as two days before cooking.
    • Start with double the volume of water, as bean volume. Add more if it is all absorbed.
  • “Quick-cook” method is a laugh! 
    • There is nothing quick about preparing dry beans. If you want quick, buy a can!!!
  • “Traditional” method implies that 2-3 hours should do that trick, but instructions do not allow for variables that effect doneness. 
    • The variety and size of bean you are working, is also a unstated factor to consider.
    • Cook time fluctuates depending on, how much water was absorbed during soaking.
    • Cook time is also affected by cooking temperature.  
      • For example, 1/2 a pound of beans soaked overnight, simmered on the stovetop at medium low heat took double the suggested cooking time.
      • 1/2 pound of beans in a slow cooker set on high took triple the suggested cooking time. Making chili? Beans cook down in chili in about 9 hours on high.
      • Although, I haven’t tried it… because I do not own a pressure cooker. I think a pressure cooker would be the only way to cook the beans faster, without making a mess on the stovetop, as the pot boils over. 

To sum things up: Soak them as long as you please and cook them until they are soft:)

Storing Cooked Beans

1 lb. dry kidney beans expanded to about 9 cups cooked which is just over the volume of 5 (15 oz cans) of kidney beans, each containing about 1 3/4 cups beans. 

  1. Place 1 3/4 cup cooked beans in a labeled sandwich bag and seal as airtight as possible. (equal to 1 (15 oz can) when used for cooking)
  2. Place up to four bags of beans in a gallon size freezer bag to further protect from freezer burn. Use within 6 months.




New Arrivals

Hi Sis,
I wanted to share our homes new arrivals this autumn. A little over a month ago we adopted Gizmo, the pup! He is an adorable little mutt, that is sure to keep us on our toes. Gizmo is doing pretty well in his training, he knows come, sit, lay (by hand signal… he is still having a hard time with actual word), and is currently learning both heel and stay.  He still has accidents every once once in awhile, but he has started to bark at the door when he needs to go outside.  We are very happy about that progress!!!!

We also got twenty barred rock chicks! You know I’ve been wanting the old heritage line of barred rocks for about five to six years now, and just haven’t had any luck getting my orders through with breeders. Turned out the Old Shepard line of rocks had fertility problems, and my orders kept getting canceled. This time, I got chicks that are a mixture of Old Shepard and Duckworth. I can’t wait to see how they grow up! 

For some reason they are super quiet babies! I thought they were dead when they arrived at the post office. But, I opened the box and all twenty were healthy and hungry. I rarely hear a peep out of them, unless they are eating. They are also super calm, I never see them pecking one another!




Why Wires Makes Me Crazy!

Dear Sis,

All the wires under my desk make me crazy! They have always been a tangled eyesore and now they are a baby disaster waiting to happen. Thats why I decided to try to manage them a bit. A spray painted shoe box with some notches cut into it, has helped a bit. 

It is easier for Mr. Baby to understand that he is not allowed to mess with the box than it was to try to teach him to leave a mess of wires alone. He views them as one now… instead of individual things he can’t have.




Adding a Drawstring to Baby Pants

Dear Sis,

Mr. Baby is long and thin. Last well check he was in the 13th percentile for his weight and the 97th for his height. The result… loosy-goosey pants that are too short before they fit in the waist!!! Carter’s is the best fit for our long tall baby and they do make some adjustable waist separates, but I find myself buying sets to save money. In past months, I was taking his pants in, but I thought, “There must be an easier way!” 

So, How did I do it, with no seam ripping, trimming, and sewing?

I used, a really BIG needle, some 1/4 – 3/8 inch ribbon, scissors, and a lighter!

Insert needle on the left side of the center of the waistband, in the space between fabric and elastic, to the center back. 

Thread needle with ribbon. Pull through. Reinsert needle in the same hole, again traveling between fabric and elastic, to right side of the center of the waistband. Retread needle and pull ribbon through. 

Holding the ends of the ribbon to assure that they don’t slip back into the waistband. Flex the waistband, and center ribbon. Trim ribbon tails a few inches beyond the crotch of the pants. Prevent fraying, but singeing ribbon ends.