Stocking Test Drive

Okay, so I make these knee socks – mostly as an experiment, and to use up some extra yarn I had. I was just being silly and all and figured I’d be wearing them around the house. They’re made of worsted weight yarn, and are a lot thicker than you usually make socks.

So, I needed to go to the fabric store to get some elastic to make some sock garters. I went wearing these under a skirt.

Holy-moley. These suckers are warm! So much so that I’m going to make another pair out of some more leftover yarn I have. They’re awesome. I mean, we’re talking New England winter here, but a skirt was perfectly comfortable outside.

Now, the question is, do I make goofy stripes, or try for a more serious look?

Knee Socks and Garters

I like to wear skirts, especially broomstick skirt. Yes, I know that it means I’m not fashionable. I don’t owe the world fashionable, but I think I owe me what I like. So, yeah, broomstick skirts.

I also like to wear them in the winter. I live in Northern New England. So, you can start to see a bit of a problem, right?

Now, you can wear long johns under a skirt, and certainly you’re warm. But white long johns peeking out underneath my skirt hem offends my limited fashion sense, and I’m not hipster enough to want to wear colorful leggings under a skirt. Sure, it can look cute. It just doesn’t happen to be my thing.

My solution is knee socks. I knit, so why not, right? They fit over the long johns, and add some extra warmth (ahhh, wool socks).

What they don’t do all that great on the rounded limb is bloody well stay up.

Now, when I was a Brownie and Girl Scout back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, the official uniform included a knee-length jumper option with knee socks and these little sock garters with a flappy thing that I’m too lazy to look up the appropriate term for. Scottish men in formal kilts wear them. I’m sure some of my costumer readers know this term off the tops of their heads.*

I could also sew the elastic into the sock. I know some knitters knit elastic the last few inches at the top, but didn’t have any thin elastic on hand or a way to get it, so I didn’t try that method.

So now, I am wondering whether to make sock garters or sew an elastic band into the sock. If I sew it into the sock, the sock would have to get lost to lose the garters, but it’s only good for that one sock. If I make garters, I only have to have a pair or two.

I’m probably going to go with garters, just for fun. Maybe even a Maureen Johnson version, but they’d have to be blue instead of green. 😉


* Yes, it would have been quicker to look it up than write what I did. I like to indulge Geek Answer Syndrome when I can. Call it a public service. Ever kind, considerate and thoughtful, that’s me!

The Bean Factor in Frugality

Quart mason jars with black beans, white beans, red beans, and mixed beans
Aren’t they pretty in the jars?

We’re expecting a snowstorm here where I live and it’s coincided with time for a big shopping trip. No, we didn’t go shopping for Snowmageddon. But I did get enough materials to make a bunch of freezer meals for the household.

I like this a lot better than Once a Month Cooking, I have to admit. I guess I just like things cooked reasonably fresh in the crock pot.

But one of the big reasons I’ve been keeping on with doing it is that my husband is fond of it. I was away from home last week, and those freezer meals made life a lot easier on my husband and son. Oh sure, both of them can cook a meal just fine, but when you’re gone all day, there’s nothing quite so nice as dumping a meal in a crock pot in the morning and coming home to it being cooked that night. Anyone who is busy loves a home-cooked meal they didn’t have to prep while tired, after all.

I’ve been trying to come up with about fifteen different dishes so that I can have a month’s worth of meals in the freezer, if I do two each. I didn’t quite manage it, only coming up with ten. But I’m pretty cool with that. That’s still twenty meals squirreled away that I don’t have to spend a lot of time on during the day.

This has been saving me an enormous amount of money. I’m a little surprised, as I thought I was careful – buying meat on sale, meal planning to sales, buying whole chickens, you name it. The only thing I can figure is that I am more organized and take fewer trips to the grocery store. You do spend less money the fewer times you approach the cash register, I do know that!

Though as I think about it, many of the recipes involved beans, so I’m not buying as much meat, and I’m still getting reasonably hearty meals. They’re great in crock pots and are very inexpensive, especially the way I buy them. Dried beans in my area run about a buck fifty a pound. Cheap, cheap, cheap, as that yields a whole lot of beans. They’re not too hard to deal with, either. If you’re used to canned beans and want to try dry beans, just remember a half a cup of dried beans cooks up to about a 15oz can. Throw ’em in some salted water, bring to a boil and simmer for an hour or so while you do other stuff, then they’re all ready to add to the freezer recipes.

And because every time I talk about freezer meals, someone asks for a recipe, here’s mine for chili. Or at least, I do this sometimes when I feel like it. (In reality, I follow whim when making soups and stews).

Noël’s Occasional Freeze-Ahead Chili

  • 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 lb hamburger, browned
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 c. diced bell pepper (color doesn’t matter)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped (if you like it spicy. If not, leave it out)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2T. Cumin
  • 1T. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2t. black pepper
  • 2t. salt
  • ½ c. dry red kidney beans, cooked (yield cooked will be about a cup and a half or so) or 1 15 oz can red kidney beans
  • (optional) ½ c diced carrots. This is good if you’re trying to sneak vegetables in on picky eaters.

Throw in a gallon freezer bag, and freeze. Thaw out the night before you want to cook it and throw it in a crock pot. If you have any red wine or beer (especially a dark ale) on hand, throw a half a cup or so in with this and then cook on low for 6-8 hours. The alcohol isn’t absolutely necessary, but it gives it a nice flavor.

The Knit Kit

I indulged in a gadget fetish. I probably shouldn’t, but I did.

This is a Knit Kit – a compact device about the size of my hand that I keep in my back pack (which serves as my office, knitting bag and overnight bag) and holds various little items that you might need for a project, but are easy to lose.

This is the front of the kit, where you can see a stitch counter at the top. To the side is a small, swivel-out thread cutter. It cuts yarn pretty well. On the right is a curved crochet hook with a hook at each end, small or larger, depending on what you need.

There is also a very useful retractable tape measure – always needed when working on any sort of garment. It pulls out to an ample 60″ and retracts with ease.

When you flip the kit over the first thing you see is a needle gauge. I love this, as I am always wearing the markings off of any needles I’m using, so having this most useful of knitting accoutrements takes some guesswork out of my projects.

Opening up the back you’ll find a foldable pair of scissors that are billed as being TSA compliant, two tip protectors, a darning needle and several stitch markers. I love this thing. Truly it is the Swiss Army knife of knitting gadgets and has a welcome home in my bag.

Oh, and for all that it’s totally cliché? I like the pink, too.


No, I wasn’t paid to write this, nor was I given a free one. I just like the gadget.