warmer hands

October 26, 2011

This is a pattern that we got in at the store this fall. The mitts are easy to make, with simple shaping and cables up the front and back. They are great to wear, and keep hands warm and cozy.

The yarn is Madeline Tosh Merino Light, and is soft and machine washable (which is handy for hand warmers, as they tend to get a little dirty with use).

The mitts are knit on double points. I started using the suggested size two, and moved to a size three as they were just a little too tight. They worked up quite quickly, and with one ball of yarn I was able to knit two pairs and have a little left over!

The thumb shaping is done with left and right leaning increases. The pattern makes a clean line, and the purl edge at the top of the thumb coordinates with the purls at the top and bottom of the mitts.

The nice thing about knitting hand warmers with thin yarn is that they don’t get in the way. I like to be able to use my hands while wearing them, and these fit the bill! They are perfect for morning walks in not too cold weather, playing music outside, and of course more knitting!

mushrooms-on-toast

September 29, 2011

Below is my take on mushrooms-on-toast. With greens and cheesy white sauce.

First step is to wash and trim the mushrooms. Then slice them and put them in a pan with butter and fresh sage. Sautee until they are nice and juicy. Add herbs to flavor at the end. And some salt to taste.

While the mushrooms are cooking, sautee some onions and tomatoes in a pan over medium heat. After they are nicely cooked, add the finely sliced greens and cook until tender.

For the cheesy white sauce, mix a little butter with a little flour in a pan, and add some milk and salt. Then grate in a little cheese (prairie breeze). I find that cheese sauce gets a little bit grainy, and I am not sure how to remedy this. The sauce should thicken in a few minutes over medium heat.

Then mix the herbs (parsley and tarragon) with a little more grated cheese and layer everything on freshly toasted bread. Vegetables, cheese, mushrooms, cheese, and then cheesy white sauce.

Eat with a fork and knife before everything gets cold and soggy…

two very large pots of soup

September 26, 2011

I picked up a huge hubbard squash a few weeks ago at Kathy’s Pumpkin patch because I can’t help buying pumpkins. The weather has been cold and rainy, and I am waiting for my chimney to be inspected before I light a fire in my wood stove. Any excuse to turn the oven on is welcome. I have been baking bread, and roasting things.

Winter squash soup is easy if the vegetables are roasted in the oven first. Place cut and seeded squash pieces, tomatoes, apples and hot peppers on a cookie sheet with edges. Onions, garlic, and other aromatics are really nice here as well! Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil, and sprinkle them with salt.

Pour some water over them so that they don’t dry out too much. Leave them in the oven (350 or 400 degrees) until they are well done, and a bit toasty.

Remove the vegetables from the oven and allow them to cool. This can be done in stages (roast one night, and then prepare the soup the next day). Scrape the meat out of the squash pieces leaving the peels, and combine with peppers, tomatoes, apples, etc.

Meanwhile, sautee some onions in a generous amount of olive oil until translucent, and then add cooked squash mixture. Add water or broth to thin mixture to desired consistency and puree or simply stir for a more rustic look. Sometimes I will add a spoonful of harissa for more flavor, and a little spice! Let simmer on the stove top over low heat for about 30 minutes.

Serve with parmesan cheese, olive oil and freshly ground pepper, and a slice of fresh bread (another reason to turn on the oven..).

The lone hubbard squash made two very large pots of soup for the very small price of $5.00.

This is another orange sweater. One strand of thick yarn, and one strand of thin yarn held together throughout. The thin strand kept changing, from yellow, to pink, to red, and back and forth between. The thick strand stayed orange.

The sweater was knit top down, on size 10 needles. I wanted to use Malabrigo worsted weight yarn for the base, and added a strand of lace weight so that I could use the size 10 needles for the gauge required.

I had been looking at the four colors of yarn in the store for a while, thinking of what to make. I was considering a lace project, and when I realized that I could put the two weights of yarn together it was a perfect plan.

The sweater is knit in reverse stockinette, with garter stitch borders. I liked the effect of the constant change of threads and the more bumpy texture of reverse stockinette. I changed the lace weight yarn every row, or every other row, at random.

The inside of the sweater shows the striping differently, and I managed to tie away all the color changing ends. (Except for in the sleeves, where all the little lace weight ends are flailing around…)

The side “seams” were created by a row of stockinette, and add a nice little touch.

All together a very simple sweater, and worked up quickly, with the big needles.

denise’s chocolate cake

September 8, 2011

One of my favorite easy cake recipes. Rich, not too sweet, and full of chocolate.

First was to butter, flour, and paper the baking tins. I learned the hard way not to skimp on this step. The cake comes right out of the pan, no problem, if you do this!

Next I melted the chocolate pieces. (I used 8oz semi-sweet baking chocolate from the store. ) I melted the chocolate in an improvised double boiler, and set it aside to cool.

I mixed the dry ingredients (flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda), and added the slightly cooled chocolate, and then all the liquid ingredients (water, sunflower oil, vanilla, and vinegar).

The vinegar and baking soda worked to raise the cake (it was eggless). The mixture looked a little funny at first, but with a bit of mixing everything worked together well.

I poured the batter into three 8″ cake pans. (According to my mom, three 8″ cake pans are the equivalent of two 9″ cake pans.) The smaller pans make a cute round and tall cake with more layers.

The cakes baked for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, I made the frosting, which I somehow messed up and it wasn’t very smooth and creamy. I think that I might have melted the butter by mistake…

I made a mixture of preserved peaches and rose petal jam and put this in the layers along with chocolate frosting.

The end.

 

My brother found this little beauty for me a few days ago. It is a Singer 306W, and works for sewing denim, canvas and leather. Seriously exciting.

This particular machine was made in the 50s, and comes with a motor and light, and a nice little cabinet in good condition. Plus, it seems to be built like a tank.

I have been testing it out on one of my denim scraps (I have a collection now, and am planning some sort of project with them all..)

The motor is in good shape, and once I am able to tune it up (with help from my friend Pat) should run easily. The stitch length/backstitch lever was frozen and we had to do a little tinkering with oil and wd40, but we got it working.

The underside is pretty cool. The belt (far right) is in good shape, and all the parts are built to last! No plastic down here.

The cabinet is in good shape. There are three drawers on the right hand side, and the machine folds down into the cabinet.

The top has burn marks, and the machine and cabinet smell like cigarettes. I can imagine the former owner sewing late, getting tired, and letting the cigarette fall from his/her hands onto the cabinet top…

a welcome guest

August 20, 2011

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