Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Yarn Along {a mystery sweater}


Working on a little somethin'-somethin' this week, I say mystery because once again, i'm just kind going into this blindly and seeing what works. I am writing it down this time though, so I can remember what I did if I actually want to make a repeat.

I'm not sure if this will turn out the way i'm envisioning, and truth be told, i'm not even sure who i'm making this for. My little lass? One of my nieces? No idea. That's how I roll when I get a hold of yarn with no pattern and a good dose of indecisiveness.
I'm using fisherman's wool which frogs nicely and pleasantly, if need be.

I speak from experience

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Yarn Along {blocking week}






I usually wait until I have a fair amount to block before I drag out these mats and my pincushion, only because I have a wee helper who likes my pins quite a bit and loves to rearrange them in fun patterns after i've already tacked down my knitting. So if opportunity arrives, and she's preoccupied with either a nap, or playing contently outside with her brothers, I jump on the chance to finally get my projects blocked. 

Looking at the last picture...

Top left: A cowl I knit this week out of hand dyed bulky wool-I dyed this wool last month using mulberries that were just a little too over the edge for us to eat. It was dyed twice in cake form to make it a little more tonal. I really like the way it turned out. I probably could have used more mulberries, but I don't mind the muted grey/lavender. 

Top right: A bramble shawl.
Lotte informed me that she needed a shawl like mine for when she goes "apple picking". I'm not sure where she go this notion from...she's been apple picking once, and she wasn't even two yet.
Regardless, the girl requested a shawl. And it's really adorable on her. (I'll get a picture of her wearing it for us later. She goes through moods of "i don't want my picture taken"...and I wasn't able to get one this week.)
 I loved knitting this, and I might make a couple more for some gifts for other little gals in the family. One of the things I like the most about this is that it crosses over the chest and buttons in the back, securing it so that it isn't constantly slipping off.That, and it makes her look like a miniature Mother Hubbard.  

Bottom Right: Longies for Lotte to match her new sister's Gingersnap legs (Bottom left.) 
I posted about these last month and people have messaged me asking me for the pattern. I'll try to post a pattern for those soon. 

Bottom middle: Random hat out of leftover yarn to match the leggings :)

This week I cast on and am almost finished a puerperium sweater (not pictured)  for our new bundle in October, and am about to cast on some sweet little pants.

I'm eager to see what everyone else is making this week! 
Binding off, 

Corrabelle

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Yarn Along {getting head start on a handmade christmas}

 A few years ago, after the birth of a surplus of babies in our extended family, my sisters and I decided that despite the huge rise in the number of children, our families still wanted to give Christmas gifts to  each other's children. Over the course of three years, 6 new babies arrived between the three of us.
We decided that the only way to continue though was if the gifts were either handmade or thrifted. My sisters and I normally buy or make for each other anyway because we're just like minded that way, we all enjoy creativity, and love a good bargain at an antique store.

Half the fun of making something or buying anything used/vintage/antique for each other is telling the person how we got it or made it, and what a deal we scored on it. While other families might find it weird to openly disclose to each other how little they paid for their siblings' gifts, in our family, it's not only expected, but the thrill of it is part of the gift itself. 

Between the three of us, there are ten kids, and two more are expected by Christmas. So this means if I'm going to knit anything, I need to start now. Especially with a new baby arriving in October. And it doesn't help any that all my children's birthdays are already in the autumn. 

I decided that this year each of my nieces and nephews will get a hat, and maybe something small like some mitts if I can swing it. I'll probably get them something else small that they can do as a family-a game, or some music etc-which also means a lot less stuff to clutter up their houses.

 I have to be careful, because I also don't want to be that aunt that is known for giving only hats, mitts and underwear. blah! What a stigma. To and adult, hand knit items have more wow factor, and if not exciting, at least appreciated because of their practicality. To a little kid though, it might be a wee bit boring. Maybe i'll fill them with firecrackers or something. (totally kidding-but I know they'd love me if I did.) 

These little hats are super fast-i'm not really following a pattern for these, just kind of switching  up needle size  and cast on number of stitches according to whatever yarn i'm using, and eyeballing it. (And trying them all on my own kids to make sure that they'll fit the kids i'm knitting them for.)
I decided for the girls that i'm going to put some wooden buttons on the brim that Reuben has made me (handy children are such a blessing), and for the boys, I'm going to do some stripes. The forest green hat with yellow wasn't supposed to be Green Bay Packer colours but sort of turned out that way. Luckily, the intended recipient's Daddy is a Packers fan. Maybe he'll get one to match!
Every time I do jogless stripes, even though it's ridiculously simple to do, I feel like I have super powers and have to oogle a while over the magic of it all. 

This is how I feel after making a stripe where the beginning and end are so well hidden that you'd never find it unless you knit it yourself.



Almost as fascinating as a heel turn! 


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Summer Raspberry Heaven {butter}



Raspberries are one of those fruits that seem to grace us with their presence for only a teasing moment, and then vanish. And their shelf life doesn't seem to be very generous either...quite a few times, we've bought them one day only to have them start getting overly juicy the next. 
Luckily, they still have some purpose other than to be fated to Jam and Jelly. 
Which we also love, but sometimes something different is fun, and this actually requires far less work. And even small children can help with this one and proudly say that they've made it by themselves.

It's really exciting to be able to pull some of this out of the freezer for a fancy tea party, mid-winter, when we're heaped with snow and have forgotten what summer tastes like, and are beginning to doubt we'll ever see it again. Full disclosure..i'm not a winter person. At all.


All you need is:
1/2 cup salted Butter or one stick, if you buy that variety
1/4 cup Raspberries pitted diced cherries, blackberries or mulberries would also work!
1 heaping tbsp of icing sugar


It does help to have the butter softened at room temperature first. Throw the butter, fruit and icing sugar into a bowl and mash it up with a fork, and chill. (Or wrap well and freeze for up to a year.) When you pull it out to serve on your homemade biscuits, you'll feel so very fancy, I promise.I mean come on, it's pink. Pink butter!



Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Yarn Along {Gingersnaps}


~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading?

Yarning along with Ginny

I've still not blocked my Spring Kerchief because I keep forgetting that needs done. It's sitting in my basket, but with it being so warm out, I keep forgetting how much i'm going to appreciate having it blocked and ready to wear come fall.

I did cast on a quick, tiny project until I find something a little larger to work on- I'm making some itty-bitty leg warmers for our newest wee family member, expected to arrive sometime in October. 

I guess I just can't seem to get enough of those autumn babies.

I'm not really following a pattern for these, I'm kind of just winging it. They seem like they're big enough that tiny newborn legs will fit for about a month or so. I didn't want to make them so big that babe will  be swimming in them though, either. And I really don't mind making a few more pairs that are slightly larger as baby grows. I love that I can use up some leftover yarn for these-this is Sweet Georgia worsted in "ginger" that I had just enough left to make a small pair.

I'm not sure if I'm going to continue the heart pattern up the leg, or just leave a single heart at the bottom- I'll probably knit another inch or so before deciding.
                                                                                                     

                                                                                                        ********
As per Ginny's suggestion last week, I'm reading 
A Sane Woman’s Guide to Raising a Large Family. I know Four kids is hardly a large family, but I figured that with this woman having as many kids as she does, she probably knows a thing or two about practical organization. I find it refreshing and reassuring that I'm not the only one who expects their kids to take on some of their own household chores, (like laundry etc) and how it works for everyone, no matter how young, to have their own responsibilities. 


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Anne and Diana {Strawberry Rhubarb} "Muffins"

I don't think we realize often enough how blessed we are that strawberries and rhubarb come into season together, skipping right into our kitchens practically holding hands. That's a grace that takes thought and careful consideration.
Both are delightful enough as individuals, but together? They're a whole new category. They're Fred and Ginger, Anne and Diana, Napoleon and Josephine.... And luckily, we have a surplus of both around here.

Always looking for another way to showcase this gorgeous couple, I decided to play around in the kitchen and make "Muffins".

....I say "muffin" because we all know that muffins are really just cupcakes without icing. Or at least that's what Zeke tells me. He's a self proclaimed culinary expert who's helpful enough in the kitchen that I don't try to argue with him. Also, in saying "muffin" I feel like i'm disclosing the fact that I'm making no claims that these are actually healthy. 

I was more than thrilled with the way that these turned out and actually wrote down the recipe as I went this time, rather than throwing things in a mixer and in the end saying "Gee, these are good. Wish I could remember what I did..." A frequent bad habit of mine that i'm trying to break.

I blame it on the constant disappearance of my pens-they're never where I leave them. I think there's a squirrel who lives in my house that's made a nest for itself out of my pens and notepads. But I digress.....
The Recipe: (for 3 dozen, regular sized muffins.)

2 cups of sugar (reserve 1/2 cup of this and set aside.)
2 cups of diced strawberries
2 cups diced rhubarb
4 large eggs
1 cup butter
2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 cup of sour cream
2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
4 cups of all purpose flour

Preheat your oven to 350

Start by dicing your Rhubarb and Strawberries. You'll want to dice them pretty small so that they'll distribute themselves evenly throughout the batter and each muffin will have some actual fruit. Mine were in 1/2 inch pieces.
Next, mix the strawberries and rhubarb in a bowl with the 1/2 cup of reserved sugar, and set aside for at least 20 minutes. (the sugar will start to pull the juice out of the strawberries and rhubarb and they'll soften up and smell heavenly.)

In your main bowl, beat the eggs, sugar and butter until fluffy. Then add the sour cream, salt, baking powder and baking soda.  and vanilla and beat a while longer.
Now add in your bowl of mingling rhubarb and strawberries. By now they'll be like bosom buddies, swapping childhood memories, naming their first born after each other and what not.
Fold that into your batter and begin adding the flour one cup at a time and beat until smooth.

Line your muffin tins with wrappers, or grease them, whichever you prefer.
I use a cookie scoop to drop my batter evenly in each wrapper. For my scoop, I do two drops per muffin cavity. Anyway you want to get your muffins into your tins is up to you.

Now you can either pop them right in the oven (30 minutes) or you can add some optional streusel topping.

Topping:

1/2 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Tbsp Butter
1/4 Tsp Cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt

Mix well until crumbly, almost a damp sand texture. Sprinkle generously on the top of the muffins right before they go in the oven.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until you insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.
Cool (or don't, if you're feeling daring) and serve.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

::Yarn Along:: Spring Kerchief

Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? 

~yarning along with Ginny


Good heavens, it's been a while since I've posted. My posting seems to roll in and out like seasons, but it feels like it was just yesterday that I wrote about those terrible, baggy socks. (Which I tucked into my bedside table and will use as night time socks in the winter-as suggested by a sweet comment left on that post. So much less work than frogging.)

We've been away a lot since my last post for various events and travelling, and I haven't been knitting very many projects. This spring has been full of both good and sad. Lots of gardening, housework, getting the house ready to sell for our planned move to the country. But also the loss of a very dear and close friend who passed rather suddenly. Finding normalcy in daily life and  and what used to be every day activities has been difficult. 

 I've basically had one project on the needles since April- my Spring Kerchief, which I knit rather slowly, trying to find some joy in finishing it. I started it before she passed, and picking it up and finishing it without her for some reason felt painful.
Janice wasn't a knitter, but always took interest in my knitting projects and helped me pick colours, and these colours reminded me of her.


I originally picked the yarn (and pattern) out at our local knitters frolic and cast on a few days later while we were cruising in the Bahamas. I didn't get much done on that trip but it's been my only knitting companion since. 

On a weekend last month I got a good number of rows put in at a wee knitter's retreat up at a friend's cottage in the beautiful Muskokas.


And i've finally finished, right before having to put down most of my knitting to tend to garden work. Of course, it's not blocked yet. I've been waiting for a good sunny day that isn't too hot (like today) to finally get it pinned down and flattened out. I'll be sure to post  some pictures once it is. Unblocked it looks like a curled up mess!
***



I've just finished reading "Yellow Crocus" by Laila Ibrahim, the story of a slave who was a wet nurse for white children-children who became like her own but she had no say in their lives or how they were raised. Also the heartbreak of having to leave her own babies with  family members so that she fulfill her obligations as a wet nurse. The story was very sad, but not without some major triumphs, and promises of hope.