Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving 09 Photo

It is difficult to get all our kids together.  We were able to get a photo of the ones that were at Thanksgiving Dinner with us this year, thanks to a very good family friend behind the camera!

left to right: Prion, Carpenter (son-in-law) who is married to Spunky, me, Hubby, Vet2Be

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Drying Onions

We had a good crop of onions from the garden this year. Not much else grew because I spent so much time going back and forth to the east coast. Oh well! We love onions! The red onions did much better than the yellow. I have no idea why. We planted the same number of each. Perhaps it is the soil in the west, maybe the amount of water, I'm not sure.

Our crop drying on the patio table that we moved into the house.

I thought about braiding the stems, but that would take lots of time. So I have to find someone who has  old stockings. I don't wear them and so I don't have any. Once the onions are dry, I can put them in old stockings with knots between them. I can hang them from the storage room ceiling. Then I can just cut the bottom onion off whenever I need one for cooking.

Anyone have any other ideas on what to use if I can't find stockings?

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Yum! I mixed the chevre I made over the last two days with salt and some herbs and it is delicious! I can hardly believe that I made something that tastes soooo good. I wish I lived closer to my family so I could share with them, they would all love it, too.

Here it is all ready to bring to Thanksgiving Dinner!

I added 3/4 teaspoon Sea Salt, 1 teaspoon Basil, 1/2 teaspoon Thyme, 3/4 teaspoon Garlic powder. It is so delicious that I doubt any will come home from Thanksgiving Dinner tonight.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I am getting ready for Thanksgiving Dinner tomorrow. I'm a bit behind, but no matter! Thanksgiving will come whether I am ready or not.

Yesterday I started some Chevre for Thanksgiving. I am always trying to figure out better ways to drain the cheese. Trying to pour the whey into the cheesecloth is sometimes a bit sloppy. This seems to be the best way yet. I have a spaghetti pot that is tall and narrow. One of my wire strainers fit right into the opening. Then I lay a piece of butter muslin over the strainer.

I let the cheese drain for a while until I stop hearing constant dripping.

Here is what the strainer looks like sitting right in the spaghetti pot opening. I love how the strainer fits into the top of the pot perfectly! As if they were made to fit together for this job.

When the dripping of the whey has slowed down I twist up the muslin and put it between two dowels. Then I wrap a twist tie around the muslin and the dowels and sit it on top of the pot to finish draining for 8-12 hours depending on what consistency I want.

Actually, I drain it in the refrigerator until I remember it! Sometimes it is evening of the same day, sometimes the next morning.

Two things that make the spaghetti pot great for draining cheese is the narrow opening and the deep pot. The narrow opening allows me to use a strainer and dowels across the top. The deep pot allows the cheese drain for hours without having to check it often. If the pot is too shallow it fills up with whey quickly and then the cheese sits in the whey until I remember to take a peek at it.

My favorite chevre starter is found here (at New England Cheesemaking Supply). I love the flavor! It is perfect by itself, makes a great cheese for Chocolate Cheesecake Truffles, and is wonderful when it is mixed with herbs for a cracker spread.

Ahhh..... the magic of cheese!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Teaching Spinning

We try to do fun things when we homeschool. Hands-on projects are favorites. This week I taught the children how to use a carder and drop spindle. Here are a few photos from the day. Thanks to Vet2Be for taking them!

 Charging the carder with wool.

The carder all full of wool. The wool is nothing special, just stuff I use for teaching. It wasn't sheared very well so it is great practice wool.

 Me showing the kids how to card :)

One of the hardest concepts for kids to understand is to not dig the teeth of the top carder into the teeth of the bottom carder! One of the kids had the wool pushed way down into the teeth because she didn't understand that the purpose of carding is just to get the fibers going in the same direction and to get the last bits of vegetable matter out.

Each time I teach something I learn how to explain it better for the next time. This was no exception!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Cornhusk Doll

Last week we made corn husk dolls. This is mine. Her hair is dried corn silk and her kerchief is a scrap of 1860's reproduction fabric.

I have never made a corn husk doll before, but I thought it was fairly easy and lots of fun. I wish I had time to make a Nativity set, or at least some for a centerpiece for the Thanksgiving table.

Ella will sit on the sewing table for a while, and then I'll store her in our box of Pioneer clothing. From time to time people ask to borrow period clothing or toys and Ella will be a perfect addition to a little girl's outfit.

Here is where we found the directions:  NativeTech

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Experiment

I wanted to see just how well Hubby's sanitizing solution worked on the does' udders so we did an experiment last week.

I washed the does' udders in the sanitizing solution, all of them with the same solution using the same paper towel. Then I took the water into the house and Vet2Be put 1ml on a petri dish and set it in the incubator (not for chicks, Hubby is a chemist, we happen to have an incubator for incubating other experiments :).

The yucky water after we washed the does udders with it.

Vet2Be incubated the sample for 3 days.

The incubator.

The sample Vet2Be put in the incubator. I should have taken the lid off because all you see right now is the condensation.

Nothing grew! That means that when we wash the does udders we kill all the bacteria and viruses that are present!

Clean udders are one of the steps in clean, great tasting milk!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Marshmallow Guns

A few years ago I sent marshmallow guns to my nephews for Christmas. A close family friend asked for the instructions and I thought they would be fun to post here as well.

Here is the note I sent along with the marshmallow guns!
Your new Marshmallow gun comes partly assembled! Just fit the pieces together as shown. Place a marshmallow in the mouthpiece and blow REALLY HARD! Shoot your brother, the cat, your Dad (but not your Mom unless she says so.) Definately not Grandma or Aunt E, but Uncle D would probably laugh alot if you shot him! Just make sure he gets a turn to shoot back at you (maybe you could let him use your Mom’s marshmallow gun)

You probably better practice shooting outside so your mom doesn’t find marshmallows all over the house. Also, the animals love the leftovers (especially the racoons) or if the marshmallows sit on the grass, they disolve in the rain and snow. That is much better than having marshmallows in the house for the mice and ants to find.

This is really fun for Cub Scouts, too!

My sister never lets a package stay un-opened so they opened the Christmas gift the minute it came in the door. The kids were thrilled! When Dad came home they were all hiding behind chairs and the shot him as he came in the door. Oh, how I would have loved to see that! He thought it was great fun (he's a big kid himself). When the kids asked Dad to guess who sent them the guns for Christmas, he said, "Aunt TJ!" Of course it would be me that would send such an off-the-wall gift!

The finished project (minus the mouth piece).

Here are the instructions I drew up for the marshmallow guns:

Sorry the instructions are sideways. If you click on the instructions they will come up full sized, then you can print them out.

Do you have any other great ideas for off-the-wall gifts that are fun? I'd love to hear your ideas! Christmas is coming, soon!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Next project... done!

Over the weekend I knit three more Christmas stockings for a friend who lives about three hours south of here. She wanted some for her family similar to the ones I knit for my family last year. She bought the yarn, I did the knitting.

Last year I made matching, but opposite coloring, socks. Each couple had the same colors, but the colors were reversed. Each of my children got to choose their two favorite colors. I also knit pairs of stockings for the children who are not married so that when they do get married, I'll already have the stockings for the new couple!

I knit ten more large stockings between last Christmas and today. I knit in the winter when there is no outdoor work to do, since it snowed on Saturday, I had the perfect opportunity to finish up the last three stockings. I had seven done from last year, it was nice to have more than half the project finished when I got back to it this weekend.

I wish I had taken a picture of them. I was so excited to get them done and packed in a box that I forgot the picture. Maybe she will send me a picture when she hangs them on her mantle.

One wonderful thing about winter is I get to work on my indoor projects! I love checking things off my project list!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Hard Work...

Our whole family laughed at this quote ... then we got back to work.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Little Stocking

My neighbor-niece, CutiePie, came over on Thursday morning to learn how to knit Christmas Stockings on the knitting machine. I spent about 1 1/2 hours teaching her how to use the knitting machine and make a stocking. She is only 10 and the daughter of a dear friend. All her children call me 'Aunt' and my children call her 'Aunt' as well.

CutiePie came over because she wants to help me with a bigger project. In a few weeks we will be having a class on dying wool. My 'brilliant' idea is to have enough mini-stockings knit in white wool so that each child can dye their own stocking! I'm not sure if that will happen since I will need to have 15 stockings made by then. When CutiePie heard my idea she said, "I can help!" So of course I wanted to let her help. Hopefully the learning curve won't take too much time!

We made one mini-stocking on Thursday. When I am knitting by myself, instead of teaching, I can get about 4-5 stockings knit in an hour. It takes me another 10-15 minutes to stitch up the toe and the side of each stocking.

Hopefully one day I will write up my pattern notes into a real pattern that someone else can follow. When I do, I will post it to my blog. For now, here is a photo of the stocking we knit.

This mini-stocking is about 10" long. It isn't too hard to adjust this pattern to make other sizes. The number of stitches cast on is the same as the number of rows for the leg. The number of rows for the cuff is the same as the number of rows for the leg (the cuff is doubled over so it looks as if it has fewer rows).  The number of rows for the foot is 1/2 the number of rows for the leg.

Photo of the inside of a mini-stocking after it has
come off the knitting machine.

  Photo of the right side of a mini-stocking after it has
come off the knitting machine.

When our children were younger I would knit three stockings for each child to give away to their favorite friends for Christmas. The stockings were filled with small candies, pencils, erasers, small toys, or anything else that our children could think of for their friends. When I meet one of my children's childhood friends, they often let me know that they still have the little stockings that were knit for them so many years ago. That brings a smile to my face every time. I'm glad to know that it is something that they treasure and have fond memories of.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Quick and Easy Shelter

A few weeks ago Vet2Be and I built this quick and easy shelter. It did very well through the snow that we had a few days after we put it up. It did surprisingly well in the wind storm that came a few days later.

We were told about this type of shelter from someone who uses them for cattle on the range in the winter. We needed a way to keep the rain and snow off a feeder in this pen. The little red goat house works well for the goats to get out of the weather, but it is much too small to put their food in. It was built for Nigerian Dwarf goats for a fancy facility down the road. They decided that they wanted something different for their Nigies. Commercial operations have a bit more cash available so that they can change their minds. Being the cheapskate that I am, I said that I would love to have it! The full-size dairy buck that we have doesn't have any problems getting on his knees, crawling inside the little goat house, and turning around. It surprises most people who come to visit that two full sized goats can fit inside.

It took Vet2Be and me about an hour to put this up. It took one wire livestock fence panel, two 5' x 8' tarps, lots of 'farmer's friend' (baling twine), three stakes, and two 4' T-posts. It is erected so that the north wind hits the tarps.

We've used it for over a month now and it keeps the hay out of the weather very well. The goats like stand under it to get out of the sun as well as to stay out of the rain. The only thing we would have done differently is to use two wire panels side by side. It would have made the shelter twice as big.

You can see the two T-posts that hold up the fencing in this photo. This side of the fencing is also held down by three 12" metal tent stakes. We can get some fierce winds in our town and I would hate to see this turn into a kite and take off down to the neighbors.

We tied the other end to the existing fencing. If we hadn't had existing fencing we would have used two more T-posts to hold the other side down. You can see the white salt block in the feeder--the goats don't pull the feeder all over the pen with a 50 lb block of salt in it, and the salt block keeps them from using the feeder as a bed.

This is the same type of structure we built for our quick and easy grape arbor (but without the tarps), which worked very well this summer! If I still had little children at home, I would probably put up another one over the sand box in the summer.

I also think it would work well to store wood out of the weather. We use tarps to cover the wood right now, but I think that this would work much better because there would be no tarps sitting on top of the wood pile. If we have time, Vet2Be and I might get around to building one for the wood and then moving the wood-pile. We'll see if there is time before winter hits this weekend.

There is always something more to do!

If you have any other ideas for this type of shelter, I would love to hear them!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Eagle Scout!

On Wednesday night Vet2Be went before the Eagle Board of Review and had his Eagle interview. He passed!

We are so excited for him!

His Eagle Guide told him that the hardest part of getting his Eagle would be the paperwork that followed the project itself. She had no idea how hard it would be for him to get his project approved! She put in hours and hours of work helping him get the project approved earlier this spring and then many more hours helping him fill out the mountains of paperwork over the last 6 weeks. Every 't' was crossed correctly, and every 'i' was dotted with ink, every signature was on the right line, and every date was in the right place!

His project was called, 'Education Day at Welcome Home Farm'. He had volunteers at 8+ stations throughout the farm where visitors could go and learn about how to raise and care for the different animals we have here. The preparation work for the project was massive and included the spring cleaning of stalls and pens after the winter, building new pens for the animals, advertising, and asking for donations from 4 businesses (one to donate the copies of the map of the farm for visitors, one for pizza for the volunteers, one to donate soap and paper towels so people could wash their hands after they touched the animals, and one for chicks to give away in a drawing.) He also scheduled a port-a-potty for the property so we didn't have a bazillion people coming in the house to use the bathroom.

The prep work also included making information sheets for the volunteers that included information on raising and caring for chickens and chicks, ducks and ducklings, llama and alpacas, poo in the garden, lambs, dairy goats, bees and beekeeping, and bunnies. He had friends come to help build new pens which meant teaching boys how to drive T-posts and tie up fencing. He had his scout troop come which meant he had to teach boys how to clean out stalls (really! there were boys who had no idea that cleaning out a stall meant taking all the gunk out and putting it someplace, then laying down new straw!) He also had the cub scouts in our area come and pick up sticks, rocks, and garbage from around the pasture area. KidChef and his younger brother came and helped repair fencing as well as help clean up the inside of the barn. There were hours and hours of prep work getting the farm ready for visitors.

The flyer that was posted throughout our town to advertise the day.

As I look back on the project and the day I am amazed that it went so well, especially because the day turned out to be rainy and muddy! There were about 120 visitors that day, there would have been many more if the day had been good weather. In the end, we were very grateful that the weather was bad that day, even though we were cold and wet. Vet2Be did a spectacular job running from station to station making sure the volunteers were doing well and had everything they needed. He made sure that 'events' went as planned (we docked lamb tails, gave shots, milked goats, sawed the bucks horns, trimmed hooves, and had the chick drawing). He adjusted the schedule during the day when changes had to be made. And he slept really well that night when it was all over! He really was a wonderful leader that day and has showed his perseverance while he has waded through all the paperwork and signatures that followed.

Way to go Vet2Be! He is now an Eagle Scout, just like his big brother and his Dad!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Never enough...

Some days I feel as if I am far behind and will never catch up. Some days I wonder what I have really accomplished during the day, the week, the month, or in the past year.

One nice thing about blogging or journaling (yes, I keep a journal, too) is that I can look back and see that there have been many things that I have done over the past year. There are things I have learned and things that I have accomplished.

Winter is coming, perhaps that is the reason I look back and wonder if I got enough done through the spring and summer. It seems that there are never enough hours in a day to do all the things that need to be done.

The good thing is that I am never bored and I don't have time to watch TV. I find joy and satisfaction in the many other things that I do each day, knitting, quilting, making cheese, making soap, playing guitar, visiting with friends, helping neighbors, teaching Vet2Be, spinning, and blogging.

We were told in a recent sermon to find some quiet time each day to listen to the Holy Spirit and to learn more of what our Heavenly Father wants us to do. It is a blessing to have to milk every morning and to spend time with the animals each day. It gives me and Vet2Be a chance to ponder and meditate while our hands are busy.

Work is a blessing. I am grateful that we have so much of it in our lives.

Monday, November 9, 2009

New 'Feeders'

Vet2Be's 4-H leader uses wire livestock fencing attached to the walls of the goat shelters as hay feeders. When we took care of her farm in July I really liked them and thought they worked well. I've been trying to figure out a way to have good feeders here, too.

A good feeder is one that the animals can get the food out of without making a mess or wasting lots of hay. Also, a feeder should be built in such a way that the animals can't get into it and take a nap in it.

I noticed that the gates (which have some livestock fencing attached so that kid goats can't escape) were about 8" away from the wall when latched open.  Hmmmm......, I wonder if a flake of hay would fit between the wall and the gate? If it did, voila! an instant feeder!

It turns out that 8" wasn't quite enough space so I tied some baling twine (otherwise known as 'the farmers friend') to the eye bolt in the wall, then latched the gate to the baling twine. It gave it just enough room to fit in some flakes of hay! We have used the new 'feeders' for about a week now and have really liked them. The goats can pull out bits of hay without making a big mess. It will also be easier to clean up inside the stall rather than underneath the feeder that is outside. The outside feeder is on dirt, our barn has mats since it was originally designed for horses.

The other great thing about the door feeders is that the taller animals can eat over the shorter animals. The goats can eat over the top of the sheep, and the llama and huarizo can eat over the top of the goats. In the evening there are about 4 flakes of hay in each gate, two flakes on top and two flakes on the bottom. Everyone can reach some dinner in one stall or the other!

You can't see the hay flakes in this photo, but there are two flakes that landed at the bottom of the gate.  Blackie, my favorite lamb, is in the front. He is still so sweet and loves people!

Another view of the gate feeder.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Oregon Trail Quilt: Farmer's Daughter

Here is the block that was 'due' in November so that we could get the next kit free:

It is called Farmer's Daughter.

Here are the pattern instructions we received in class:
You should be able to click on the image above and then right-click and save as to your computer.

It really wasn't too hard to do, which is great because I was so busy this month that I didn't finish my squares until this morning about an hour before class! It is made of 3 half-square triangles and a solid square, then edged with strips to make each block 6 1/2" (6" finished block).

Quilter's Cache has a pattern that is similar to the one we were given. You can find it here.

I have been very happy with the fabric and color choices that the store has chosen this year. The fabrics they have picked for their blocks are wonderful.

 My last minute blocks! It took only about one hour to sew all four.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Home-made Drop Spindles

I was intrigued by the idea of making drop spindles using old CDs for the whorl. I have seen instructions on the internet to make them and thought I would try my hand at a few since I will be teaching a spinning to some children in a few weeks.

There is big difference between something that is home-made and something that is hand-crafted. All my drop spindles are home-made. Not one of them is beautiful, and not one of them took me more than 15 minutes to make. They aren't beautiful, but they work well. I've spun enough on one of my home-made spindles to knit a small back-pack, so I know they work just fine.

I found the instructions for CD drop spindles at Lifestyle Studies helpful, but I didn't follow them exactly. They do a good job with instructions, so if you are interested, take a look at their link.

I was able to find some old CDs as well as some cup hooks at home. I had to purchase a dowel and a few rubber grommets at the local hardware store. I found the grommets by the electrical supplies. They were only 35 cents each.

I didn't use the blind well nuts as directed in the instructions on Lifestyle Studies, mostly because I'm a cheapskate. I teach for the fun of it and generally don't charge 'tuition' so if I can keep my cost down, then I feel better about my hobbies.

I glued 2 CDs together with some E6000 Crafter's glue and let them dry overnight. I brought my glued CDs to the store, stuck the grommet in the hole and found a dowel that would fit through the hole.

At home I cut the dowel into 12" sections and sharpened one end with a pocket knife. (Vet2Be helped sharpen a few, too.) Then we put the dowel shaft through the CDs with the rubber grommets in place. Since the fit was snug, but not tight, I decided to run a bead of E6000 Crafter's Glue around the bottom of the grommet where it meets the dowel. It made the whole contraption much more secure.

One of my Sheepy friends said I could probably use masking tape to enlarge the dowel to fit in the CD as well. So I also gave that a try, too. I still had two sections of dowel left as well as a few more CDs and cup hooks. I'm almost always willing to experiment, and this experiment saved me 35 cents!

One of the blogs I visited said that she didn't like the CD whorl because it wobbled. I was concerned about that since having a fairly well balanced spindle makes it much easier to learn to spin. It is hard enough to teach kids to spin with a drop spindle, if I give them a spindle that wobbles I would be setting them up for failure. I would much rather have students (children or adults) succeed. In order to get the shaft straight so it wouldn't wobble, I put the drop spindle together with glue around the shaft, then put it in a jar to get the shaft straight. I lined up the shaft with a corner (most of my house is plumb) and let the glue dry overnight.

This is one of the CD spindles with tape around the shaft sitting in a jar to make sure that the shaft stays plumb while the glue is drying.

When I tried the spindle the next day I found that it wasn't wobbly at all. I did end up with one drop spindle that was a little wobbly, but that is because I wasn't careful when I glued the two CDs together. One CD was shifted just a bit to the side.

The other drop spindle in the first photo is made with a round wooden base with a hole drilled in the center. Hubby drilled the hole for me. I found the wooden base at Wal*Mart a few years ago for about $1. I have also used wooden wheels that I found at craft stores for the whorl. The CD drop spindles are definately cheaper.

The only thing I would do differently on the CD spindles is use hardwood dowels. The hardware store only had pine dowels, so that is what I bought. My old wooden spindles all have hardwood dowels for the shaft. I like the feel of the hardwood better. It is also easier to drill a pilot hole for the cup hook in the hardwood dowels.

One thing I did notice about the CD whorls is that they are much slipperier around the edge. So when I 'lock up' the yarn around the bottom, it tends to slip around the CD. The wooden whorls don't have that problem. I haven't thought of a way to fix that problem yet. I know that will make it a bit trickier for students to 'lock up' the yarn.

A view of the bottoms of 3 drop spindles. Left to right: a wooden whorl made from a sculpture base found at Wal*Mart (yes, that is a rubber band holding the wooden whorl on the shaft), CD whorl with tape to enlarge the spindle, CD whorl with a rubber grommet.

I now have 11 drop spindles, 4 made from CDs and 7 made from wooden parts. That's enough to teach a bunch of people how to spin!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Machine Knit Christmas Stockings

This is a pattern I worked up last year, but I thought it would be a good idea to store it here so I could always find it!

Here is a close-up of two of the stockings I made. I think I made over 40 in 2008! Thank goodness for knitting machines!

Wool Ease worsted weight wool from Lion Brand. Also some Patton’s wool.

not really important since these are not meant to fit anyone. I used tension 6 on my mid-gauge Silver Reed knitting machine. Use whatever gauge that gives you a stitch that you like to look at.
  • Cast on 48 stitches with scrap yarn using whatever method you prefer.
  • Set row counter to 000.
  • Using Main Color yarn (MC) Knit leg for 76 rows. Leave carriage on the right if you are knitting the heel on the right. You may knit a solid or stripe pattern. Take MC from the carriage and tuck it under the machine and to the back.
  • Put a contrast color (CC) if you want a different color heel, into the carriage.
  • Set machine up for partial knitting. You will be knitting on the right side of the stocking, the left side is in hold position.
  • Short row heel on right side (it really doesn’t matter what side you knit your heel, it is easiest to pick a side for the heel and toe and stick with it so that all your stockings match). End with carriage on the right. See the end of this post for a description of how I short row.
  • Set row counter to 000. Return machine to normal knitting.
  • With MC knit foot for 34 rows. Continue stripe pattern. End with carriage on the right. Cut MC yarn if you are using CC yarn on the toe.
  • Set machine up for partial knitting. Leave the left half of the needles in hold position. End with carriage on the left so that your tail is by ‘0’. Leave the tail the width of the knitting x 1.5 plus the length of the stocking plus about 5 inches. This tail will be used to kitchener (knit or weave) toe together and sew sides together.
  • You should start with the carriage on the right. That means you must either take the carriage off the machine and put it back on the right side, or you might have a lever or switch on your carriage to move it from the left to the right without knitting or dropping stitches.
  • Short row toe.
  • Knit scrap yarn across all the stitches on the machine and take stocking off the machine.
Production Tip: If you are making more than one stocking, instead of taking the stocking off the machine, knit a row of ravel cord, knit 4 or 5 rows more of scrap yarn. Re-hang the weights above the ravel cord, and start a new stocking. Then pull the ravel cord to separate the first stocking from the second stocking.

For the edging on the top of the sock use size 3 needles, pick up stitches along the top of the stocking. Knit 6 rows of garter stitch starting with the knit side facing you. Bind off.

Kitchener together the toe, sew up the side. (Here are written directions for kitchener stitch.)

Stripe patterns

  • The stockings with a narrow/wide stripe pattern use a stripe pattern of MC 10 rows, CC 2 rows. When close to the heel is reached, divide the MC stripe by knitting 6 rows, knit the heel in CC, finish MC stripe with 4 rows. The heel is set into the MC stripe.
  • The stockings with a wide stripe use a stripe pattern of MC 10 rows, CC 10 rows. Divide the CC stripe (8th stripe) by knitting 6 rows CC, knit heel with MC, finish CC by knitting 4 rows CC, knit foot.
Every other needle cast-on is done by bringing every other needle forward (other needles are left in non-working position). Set the yarn into the carriage and knit one row. Hang weights or cast-on comb.
  • Bring non-working needles forward to the front of the bed so that you have the full number of cast on stitches in working position. Knit one row.
  • Bring all needles forward, knit one row.
  • Knitting 4 or 5 rows is usually enough to start a stocking.
How I Short Row
There are different techniques for short-rowing. This is the way that I do it. You may have to experiment with different ways before you find one that you like. These directions will take you step by step through a heel or toe for the Christmas stocking.

Step 1 With carriage on the right, change levers on your carriage for short row. The carriage should be on the right. Put all needles left of ‘0’ into hold position (usually this is the furthest position toward you.)

Step 2 Move the carriage from right to left, knitting one partial row (the needles to the left of ‘0’ will not knit.

Step 3 Pull out needle R1 (1st needle to the right of ‘0’ into hold position. Knit one row from left to right. There will be an extra loop on needle R1.

Step 4 Pull out needle R24 (the needle furthest to the right.) Knit one row from right to left.

Continue repeating Step 3 and Step 4 until only ⅓ of the needles are left in work.

Here is the tricky part:

Step 5 Put the needle on the carriage side into hold position, put 2 needles opposite the carriage into work position. Knit 1 row.

Continue repeating Step 5 until all needles to the right of ‘0’ are in work position and carriage is on the right.

Step 6 If you have used a contrasting color of the heel, clip the yarn of the CC and tie off with the other tail where you began. Put MC back into carriage yarn slot, place all levers for normal knitting, change row counter to ‘000’, continue knitting foot.

Here are most of the stockings I knit. There are actually 2 of each stocking-one for our child (in the color they chose) and one for their spouse (whether they are married right now or not).

Here is a PDF version that you can download:
Machine Knit Christmas Stocking pattern