Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December? It Can't Be!

I have been living real life big time in the last few months. My knitting has suffered and also benefited from it. By "real life" I mean suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, taking arms against a sea of troubles, going through the heartache and thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to. Forgive me Mr. Shakespeare. It's been a rough few months in my life and that's enough said about that. On to knitting . . . and not knitting.

Lo and behold the vanilla vanilla socks got finished. That's one good use for ER waiting room, hospital and nursing home visits. The trouble is those visits do not lend themselves to the concentration needed for Kitchenering ("Kitchenering"?) the toes. Too many interruptions. So no pictures of the completed object yet. Further, the 2009 beach socks are moving right along. They should be completed before it's time for beach socks 2010, I should hope. The Butt Ugly Shrug is coming along as well. Lots of time in front of the TV hunkered down knitting. It has given me a good excuse to order the "blocking blocks" from KnitPicks. They should be here any day now and I can block the body and sleeves, sew them together and pick up stitches for the ribbed collar and band.

I rejoined Netflix, only one movie at a time this go round, and I bought a Roku box (since I have no X-Box, Play Station 3, Blu-ray or Ti-Vo) so I can stream movies to my television screen. I'm in movie heaven which makes for mucho knitting time.

The bathroom renovation is almost complete. The main part, the shower room I designed, is totally complete. I love my shower! My next water bill, not so much.

My studio is gradually being filled. I am not liking the wake-up call it is giving me on my yarn stash. I was better off not knowing. I have enough sock yarn to to keep all four of my sock machines humming and two Magic Loops at a time singing forever. I have just begun to move the sweater, jacket, shawl and afghan projects including ones bought as kits. OMG!!! All I have to say about the number of those is I'd better get to knittin'!

I'll leave you with a picture of the chair in which I plan to sit while knitting the winter away in my studio. I just ordered it. Draped in an afghan, a DVD or audio book playing and the knitting should be easy.
Bona Fide Knitter

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Woes and UFOs

Can it be a whole month ago that I last wrote? The short month of September seems to have flashed by in a flurry of UFOs and a load of lackluster days. Suffice it to say I've had better months.

My knitting is looooong suffering. The Seaside Shrug, the one I refer to as "butt ugly," has not been touched in many weeks. It was supposed to be finished by now and would be but for the sprained thumb and wrist I mentioned a month ago. Finished, it would have been a warm comfort this brisk fall morning. The needlepoint I started when I couldn't knit remains unfinished as well. I was going at a good clip and then we returned home for what was to be a very brief period before returning for our last Cape Cod retreat for 2009, the month of October. I unpacked the needlepoint for a little show and tell with a friend at lunch a few days after we were home and returned it to the beach tote in preparation for the next trip. It appears the next trip will not be happening this year. Spouse is sick. We are in extreme woe mode.

All the news isn't bad. The vanilla vanilla socks have grown by leaps and bounds this past week. And even better than that, when I returned from Cape Cod my STUDIO was complete! Yes, the garage conversion was done, finished, ready for occupancy. A trip to Ikea for the beginning of shelves and such, a lot of planning and a little moving stuff in happened. However, the room is so nice, so clean and uncluttered, I hesitate to mess that up.

While spouse unloads the van I take pictures of the room.

A little BEFORE and AFTER:

What was once a garage door . . .

. . . is now a bay window.

See all the Before, During and After pictures in my Kodak album.

Bona Fide Kniter

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Days Dwindle Down

. . . to a precious few. September, November . . .

The lyrics to September Song seem appropriate today. I can't believe summer 2009 is, for all intents and purposes, over. Some children are already back in school, a great number started today and some lucky ones won't begin until after Labor Day, as it was way (way, way) back in my day.

The weather here in Brewster, on Cape Cod, is gorgeous today. Seventy degrees, sunny, not humid and a day to read on the beach, or knit beach socks. I will be doing neither. After a trip to the library and writing a few notes, there was not enough time between meals to get it all done. So I visited Town-Ho instead.

Okay, let me explain. Town-Ho Needleworks is a needlepoint shop up the road from here. That phrase has certainly taken on a different meaning in the years since the shop was named. Anyway, it is a wonderful needlepoint shop with rooms of eye candy for the needlework inclined. However, I was amazed at the prices. Years ago, when needlepoint was my obsession of choice, a fine needlepoint kit with painted canvas and Paternayan wool sold for $18. Now a similar canvas costs $45 or more and doesn't include the yarn!

After much restraint I bought a little kit I happened to find at a reasonable price. I had missed it on the first go-round. The second time, while fingering through a container of small kits, all of a sudden the flip flops caught my eye. Flip flops seem to be my theme this summer.

I wondered would I remember how to needlepoint. It's like riding a bike. Once the tapestry needle was in hand and threaded it all came back to me. I am not even tempted to wield it like sewing toes on socks. Maybe that is because it has been so long since I finished a pair of socks I've forgotten how to Kitchener.

One important fact I haven't mentioned is that I sprained my left thumb and right wrist (Don't ask.) soon after I got here and find it painful to knit. Now I have a little project to do until those ouchies feel better and I can get back to Beach Socks 2009, the ongoing Vanilla Vanilla Socks and the Butt Ugly Shrug. (Remember that one?)

Bona Fide Knitter

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Traveling By Train . . . sometimes the only way to fly

Morning rain today and the promise of thunder boomers during the day. Temperatures are forecast to rise to near records in the next few days with appropriate hair-wrecking humidity. Yuk! I need to be on Olde Cape Cod.

Yesterday I had a break in the humdrum and took a train Washington, DC, to meet my BFF from high school for our annual mini high school reunion which includes just the two of us. We went to the Kennedy Center to see The Color Purple (again). This time starring Fantasia (winner of American Idol a few seasons ago). She was fantastic. I've seen the show three times now and BFF has seen it four or five times. She's lost count. The music still gets to us.

I decided to take the train instead of driving which was a brilliant idea--except for the price of parking at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. Thirty-two dollars!!! Yes, $32 for short term parking over four hours. It cost as much as my train ticket to Washington, DC! I'm still glad I took the train instead of driving. I got special summer pricing on the roundtrip tickets ($66) by purchasing in advance online. But next time I might not even drive to the station. I'll take the commuter train to the station. It will allow me more knitting time. I knitted and listened to a book on my iPod and I was in DC in no time. The plain vanilla vanilla socks have really taken shape . . . at long last.

BFF picked me up at the station and off we went to the Kennedy Center. I was pleased to stick a little shopping in before curtain time. There was a vendor stand in the lobby selling marvelous wooden figures by Cheryl Olney trading as Louise's Daughter. I bought a pin to remind me of the day. It's me in my best color, dancing in "Miss Celie's Pants."

After the show we had a marvelous, leisurely dinner at McCormick and Schmicks. Green Apple Martinis and fried calamari with three dipping sauces to start.

Then it was back to Union Station for my train ride home. More knitting and more audio book. It was a great day. Lots of catching up and laughter, knitting and reading (listening?), and a tiny hint of shopping. Yes, a perfect day.

Bona Fide Knitter

Monday, August 3, 2009

Missing Sweetwater

I've been back from Cape Cod for a week now and I'm missing it already. I didn't do anything exciting up there. It's just that 'same stuff/different day' is more palatable in a forest.

Today is a good day to remind myself of how it looks coming up the road at the end of an afternoon walk.

When we get this close I let the LWDs lead the way untethered.

Snowball squeezes out one last pee-pee to mark his territory and Icecream heads for the steps.

I can feel the air and hear the pines sough in the slight breeze. I wanna go baaaaaaack!

Oh, wait a minute. I just remembered that we will be going back in another week or two. Aaaahhhh, I feel much better now.

Bona Fide Knitter

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Knitting Short List

It's Saturday. Do you know where your knitting is? Ha! A better question is, do I know where my knitting is.

Okay, I'm forced to make a mental note. I needed a small tote bag the other day and dumped the contents of the one closest at hand. Out came the "perpetual shawl." You might remember it by some other names I've called it: "never ending" "shawl of shawls" "shawl of a lifetime" and even its official name,"Rings of Supersock." Ack! I had forgotten all about it. Yes, it's time for a mental inventory, just a short list of works in progress, current works in progress, not to be confused with unfinished objects.

Right now I am waaaaay into my summer sweater project which, if you remember, is the shrug from the summer issue of Knitter's Magazine, the Seaside Shrug. I got a lot accomplished (for me) while I was away. I even worked through the odd phenomenon of my KnitPicks nickle plated needles becoming tacky, loosing their shine and no longer knitting slick and fast. I think the weather was so damp they started to mold or something. Once the weather dried they returned to normal, but are still a little discolored. I wonder what's up with that. I need to pose the question to the KnitPicks Community. Anyway, I completed the whole body and one sleeve of the shrug. I was almost at the end of the ribbed cuff of the second sleeve before we came home.

I referred to the picture of the Seaside Shrug in the magazine as "butt ugly." Now karma has come around to bite me I need not tell you where. My rendition might be joining the Butt Ugly Club. I'm not too pleased with how the colors compliment each other. Buying yarn online without a color card does not always pan out. The golden mustard and hot coral/orange combination I loved in a knit suit I had many years ago did not meet expectations in the yarn color choices I made for my shrug. Ugly or not here it comes.

The plain vanilla socks knit in plain vanilla yarn are still languishing away in my GoKnit Pouch. I haven't had that much waiting room or nursing home visiting time recently. I think I might just go ahead and push through that heel flat here at home and hurry those socks off the needles.

Okay, that's my short list: (1) Seaside Shrug (2) plain vanilla socks (3) Beach Socks 2009. I will have all three finished before summer is over. You heard it here first, folks.

Bona Fide Knitter

PS--I'll get back to the shawl of shawls come fall.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Beach Day!

I went to the beach yesterday. Can you believe it? I even started the beach socks. Now let me tell you the bad news. Going to the beach killed me!

I started the day with my usual routine: up by 5:30 a.m., let the dogs out for quick pee-pees, while I have a quick . . . TMI . . . They get a treat and a vitamin and I brush my teeth. Then we settle on the sofa to watch an inspirational TV program from 6:00 until 6:30. Back in the bathroom for me for morning ablutions after which I put the coffee on and the LWDs and I head off into the Forest for a morning walk. We are out for 45 minuets to an hour. After that I eat a light breakfast.

Yesterday after breakfast I headed out to the drugstore and supermarket in Orleans. On the way, since I was passing it anyway, I stopped at the Brewster Town Office to buy a beach parking permit for the season. After picking up prescriptions and shopping for fresh fish and a few grocery items, it was lunch time and the beautiful, warm day gave me the marvelous idea to make a sandwich and have lunch on the beach. After all I had my parking permit now, didn’t I?

So, when I got home, I changed from tank top and Capris to bathing suit and “beach" pajamas with matching flip flops and hat. I made a sandwich and filled a few sandwich bags with snacks–potato chips, pretzels, cookies. You can never have too many snacks at the beach. I quick-chilled a couple of bottles of water and packed it all in insulated keeper bags and put those into my beach tote. As you might have gathered by now I am very big on bags and totes of various responsibilities. Then I gathered sun lotion, bug spray, lip balm, PDA, iPod, earbuds, cell phone, ID, money, sunglasses and towels and added those to the tote. From the shed, my husband got a beach chair, umbrella and screw-into-the-sand base and loaded those into the minivan for me. Just in case I felt particularly ambitious when I got there, I also had him load the beach lounge chair, bigger umbrella and the heavy duty screw-in base. Then off I went with new parking sticker affixed to bumper, loaded for bear.

In the five minutes it took to drive to Breakwater Beach I felt my energy start to flag. Going to the beach for the first time in a season is a lot of work! Luckily I got a parking spot a few steps from the sand. The tide was out so there was no thought of even getting my feet wet. When the tide goes out in Brewster it goes way out.

I unloaded in two trips. I had no energy for he heavy duty beach stuff. I unloaded the smaller umbrella and set that up. Screw, screw, screw the base into the sand. Insert the pole. Unfurl the umbrella and put it in the pole. Aaah, a little spot of shade. I went back for the chair and my tote, set them up, stripped down to swimsuit, plopped down in the chair. Whew, I was worn out! I sat for awhile just relishing the mostly sky view, heavily breathing the salt air and wondering if I would ever be able to get up out of the low, butt-almost-in-the-sand chair.

I sprayed myself with Off because the flying beach bugs were already gathering for a chocolate feast. Mosquitoes and sand flies find me very appetizing. I realized it was HOT Even in the shade of my umbrella . . . umbrella . . . umbrella. Off with the hat, tie back the hair. Better. Maybe some food . . . I ate the sandwich and drank a bottle of water. Yes, much better. I was cooler and stronger. After a few potato chips, a couple of pretzels and a cookie, I cleaned my hands and broke out my too cute flip flop print bag containing the sock yarn and US 1 needles. Onto my KnitPicks Harmony 32 circular I cast on 60 sts and knit two rows of k2, p2 of ribbing during my time on the beach.

I will be making one sock at a time. Two socks on one circular does not float my boat. (A beach appropriate analogy, no?) I prefer my socks knit one at a time no matter how many times I try to like the two at once on one circular needle method. I do not suffer from second sock syndrome. In fact I actually enjoy casting on for the second sock and watching the miracle happen all over again and become an identical twin.

However, my strength and energy ebbed as the tide came in. I drank more water, ate more pretzels and another cookie and spent close to three rather pleasant hours on the beach, having to change chair to umbrella orientation only once before deciding it was time to make the effort to close it all down and schlep it back to the minivan.

The after-beach therapeutic shower that is normally so reviving didn’t work its wonders. After I was all clean and in fresh PJs I collapsed on the sofa and took a nap. I was wiped out for the rest of the evening and night. I roused once for pie and ice cream and again to go to bed at midnight. I am so totally out of shape! I need a healthier diet and a personal trainer!! Horror of horrors, I might need to join a gym!!!

However, I will remind you, I did make a paltry start on Beach Socks 2009.

Bona Fide Knitter

Beach Socks? Not Happenin'!

Written July 16, 2009 ~

Beach socks are not happening. Laziness is. Or maybe it could be called contentedness. Is that a word? Anyway, I have not been to the beach yet even though the weather has been good for going. Yesterday evening we went to the beach to watch the sunset. This is where the sunset picture would be inserted if I had remembered to bring my camera to the beach. I took a picture with my PDA, but didn't bring the hot synch connection with me on vacay therefore I cannot download the picture to my computer in order to upload to Blogger. Du-uh!

The tide was in. The water was beautiful and inviting although I noticed the few remaining people on the beach were not in the water. We didn’t get out of the minivan. We left and stopped for ice cream instead. That seems to be our modus operandi these days. The Little White Dogs (LWDs) were a little disapointed.

--The video of the LWDs returning from the beach trip I tried to insert here keeps failing.--

The lovely yarn I brought along to knit socks on the beach is laying untouched in my beach tote. To appease my conscience for being such a do-nothing all these weeks, I bought a “sock bag.” It is a tiny bag to keep my sock project in as I work on it. Of course another knitting bag is just what I needed.

A few days ago we drove to Hyannis to the dock area from which the ferry, fishing and excursion boats leave. There is a little shopping area there, little buildings where artists sell their crafts. As I passed one shop the cutest little cotton bag attracted my attention, twisted my arm and made me buy it.

How could I resist? It is the perfect size to hold a ball of yarn and a pair of socks in progress. It also has my newest favorite thing depicted--flip flops.

This summer I have traded in my omnipresent Birkenstocks for pairs of Fit Flops, the shoes in which I was able to walk for miles and hours in Italy last September, and Vera Bradley flip flops to match three pairs of my VB pajamas. I’ll go back to Birks in the winter when I have to wear socks, but I digress.

Beach socks might not get started this trip, but at least the yarn has a cute keeping place until next month’s return trip to the Cape. I plan to spend many hours on the beach next trip. You heard it here first folks.

So that’s my beach sock story and I’m sticking to it.

Bona Fide Knitter

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Independence Day . . .

. . . or what a difference a day makes.

A couple of days ago I drafted a blog entry with "Rain, Rain, Go Away" as the title. The lightning and thunder boomers made me rethink signing on to publish it and now my draft is out of date, but anyway here is what I wrote on July 2, 2009:

Rain, rain, go away . . .

We’ve had rain every day or every night since we arrived on Cape Cod almost a week ago. I’m starting to mold. There have been lightning and thunder more nights than my furkids would prefer. I’ve had more than enough nap and knitting indoors time. I’m ready to nap and knit on the beach, or even on the porch. Although we’ve had a couple of days with a few hours of sunshine, it’s been too damp and cloudy to hose the place down and expect it to dry within a few hours in order to set up the furniture and put the pads and pillows on. Even though my wicker furniture that was chic a dozen years ago and shabby/chic six years ago is just plain shabby now, it still makes for a comfy and inviting porch once everything is in place and all the chotskies are up, especially in the evening with some citronella candles lit.

Right now it is uninhabitable. We haven’t even removed all the blue tarps.

Rain, rain, go away.

Bona Fide Knitter


Happy Independence Day . . .

. . . or what a difference a day makes

Sunshine, Vitamin D, how glad I am to see thee! My house plants, brought from home so they would not succumb to draught on the kitchen and powder room windowsills, have almost rotted away, except for the one I forgot to take out of the minivan. It remained in a cup holder in the back for the first few days we were here.

Heck, I almost rotted away! I'm sure I have a little mold somewhere. We have had rain for seven straight days either morning, noon or night or all three time periods. Yes, the sun did shine a couple of hours a couple of afternoons, but the rest of the time it has been foggy, cloudy or weepy. I haven't even bothered to go to get a beach parking permit yet. So although this is a beautiful beach day, I will not be going. This is not my choice of a beach day anyway because it will be too crowded with holiday bathers happy for some sun.

So, I was finally able to hose down the porch. It took a very long time to dry. And although even shabbier than I remembered when the tarps were removed from the wicker and the cushions brought out from their winter nest behind the living room sofa, the porch is now livable and inviting.

I'll meet you on the porch. Bring your knitting.

Bona Fide Knitter

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Beach Socks

It's that time again. It was time to pick yarn and plan to knit on the beach. I shopped my stash and came up with this sock yarn procured from my favorite LYS, Woolbearers of Mount Holly, NJ. However, I bought the yarn from them all the way down in Baltimore, MD, at Stitches East in 2007. The colorway drew me in. It reminded me of sea, sand, seagulls and rocks. It's superwash wool dyed by Woolbearers and although my Beach Socks* usually have some cotton content, these colors are begging to become my 2009 Beach Socks.

Sooooo, here is my last cake for awhile . . . a yarn cake!

This picture, taken with a little daylight filtering through the kitchen window, brings out the blue better than last night's picture taken in complete artificial light. Yes, it's the colors of Breakwater Beach in Brewster, MA, on the bay side of Cape Cod where I'll be knitting.

Bona Fide Knitter

*Beach Socks are not socks to wear on the beach. They are socks to knit on the beach.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Happy Anniversary to Me?

My spouse had a hypoglycemic episode yesterday afternoon which thwarted plans for a celebration today, our wedding anniversary--more years than I care to make public and many, many more years than I thought I could bear. To commemorate the occasion I bought myself a gift. That's one way to make sure I get what I want.

I'd been wanting this ever since I saw it right after the inauguration. I finally came up with a reason for buying it other than "I deserve it" . . .

. . . although I certainly do deserve it.

The Obama Clutch Bag is by a fabulous Etsy seller who is an artisan in leather trading as ArmandoJavierDesign. My pictures are unstaged, taken in a hurry on a cloudly day with flash too bright. Even thrown on the bed and using no flash this bag still looks good!

And again, this time with the flash.

Both the workmanship and the message the headlines bring make this a bag to have! Yes, beautiful, wearable art at its most topical. A keepsake for sure.

Bona Fide Knitter

Monday, June 22, 2009

Wanna Cookie? Not While I'm Knitting!

My latest baking masterpiece came out of the oven on Saturday...

What a cake! It looked just like a giant, Double Stuff Oreo cookie and tasted like one as well.

I'm using the past tense because it was all gone by Sunday afternoon. I had to give more than half away. It was not conducive to the health of my diabetic spouse who has no self control. I, on the other hand, could only take so much of the butter cream icing. It did not appeal to me. The word SWEET hardly describes it. Four and a half cups of confectioner's sugar and a stick of butter with a little vanilla extract whipped together until it becomes a fluffy froth makes a lovely filling for the cake, giving it that Oreo look, but is more than a little too sweet for me. Next time I will bake the cake, fill it with softened vanilla ice cream, then freeze it to firm it up. I can hardly wait. Ice cream sandwich heaven! And it will still look like a giant Oreo.

The pans that create the big chocolate cookies for top and bottom are a Williams Sonoma exclusive. The recipe comes with and is a winner. It's a cross between chocolate cake and a brownie. Delish!

The knitting pace is picking up. Unfortunately I'm having to do more tinking than I would like. How could I, also known as "The Sock Lady," possibly screw up heel flaps on plain vanilla socks! Twice! I tell you knitting two at once on one circular needle is not all it's cracked up to be. When you screw up there is a possibility that you will screw up twice. (1 screw up x 2 socks at once on one circular = 2 screw ups) Ask me how I know.

Yep, I started doing Eye of Partridge flaps and in the midst of it my brain had a blip and it became a hot mess. Tink! Then I decided to make them plain stockinette, something I never do. It was much too much plain-ness. Tink! I'm now knitting away in waiting rooms doing the old tried and true Dutch heel.

The Seaside Shrug, which in my case will be more of a "Sunset on the Sea" Shrug,

is coming along nicely. It's almost time to start knitting in earnest. Vacay is only hours away. That means I need to get cracking and get those plain vanilla socks off the needles to be replaced by beach socks, i.e., socks knit solely (no pun intended) on the beach while listening to audio books. Aaaah, blis!

Bona Fide Knitter, definitely back

Monday, June 8, 2009

Bona Fide Knitter . . . BACK!

I'm ba-ack! I'm a knitter again. No baking for a week now, although I did just order two new pans yesterday. But I digress.

I've been knitting. Here's the evidence.

Okay, so it's not the Great American Afghan. It's a dishcloth. Whadidya expect? It's a start. While looking through my cotton yarn stash for something suitable with which to make facecloths, I found this lone ball of Lily Sugar 'n Cream in a colorway I remember buying because it said "Cape Cod" to me. The colors fit right in with the decor up there. Actually they also match my powder room here . . . hmmmmm . . .

Anyway, you will notice in the picture that although I am at the end, I did not bind off. You might also have been able to gloam in on a couple of mistakes. My tinge of OCD reared its ugly head and I just might frog the whole thing and do it over. It only takes a couple of nights in front of the TV. We'll see.

However, on a more substantial knitting note, my copy of the new Knitter's (Summer 2009, K95) arrived last week and I actually got an urge to knit, really knit. The magazine had been leaving me cold luke warm in recent issues. Even the big Soxx contest didn't stir me much. This time I have actually ordered yarn to start one of the sweaters pictured. It's the butt ugly shrug pictured on pages 74 and 75. Ooops, perhaps somebody who reads this intends to knit it as is. I'm sorry. It's not "butt ugly." It's just that the colors as combined are not to my liking. But (to use a different "but"), it is exactly the kind of shrug pattern I looked for during last winter. I even faved a few on Ravelry and never went farther because they just weren't it. I'd been looking for a BIG shrug and did not find the right one. I think this is it. I want something big to wrap up in and a shrug, at least any I'd ever seen before, was more of a skimpy shoulder and arm cover. Hmmmm, I guess that's why it is called a "shrug"--because it's for your shoulders--shrug your shoulders. Get it?

I think this more substantial one in Knitter's is just what I was looking for and I have ordered yarn for it from KnitPicks. I changed the colors trying for color harmony using a color scheme based on warm analogous colors. I can picture myself keeping the heat down low next winter wearing some flannel pajama bottoms (which I am going to make from my fabric stash) with coordinating tees (which I will buy from Chico's on sale) and wearing my coordinating hand knit or machine knit socks with Fit Flops (if I ever knit a pair of thong socks) or Birkenstocks, while working in my newly completed garage-turned-studio. I have just created an image that should get my knit back on for sure!

Hurry, KnitPicks! I need that yarn yesterday!

Bona Fide Knitter (needing instant gratification)

Monday, June 1, 2009

No Knitting and a Little Baking

My weekend knitting, which was to be a Sunday washcloth marathon, turned into a day of searching the Internet for just the right cloth pattern for the Elann.com, Coto Canapone (52 % cotton/48% hemp) yarn that arrived last week just a few days after I ordered it. It is the closest I could find to a worsted weight linen or cotton-linen blend at a price I was willing to pay. I ordered color #3, White Sand. The nice oatmeal color is just what I had in mind for my washcloths. I envisioned spa-like color, not quite as soft as Peaches & Creme, perfect for the bath. Instead I got really nice yarn with a soft hand, slightly thinner than the worsted weight I expected and maybe too nice for washcloths. That being the case, the yarn called for a special pattern because it will become washcloths anyway.

Yesterday I found HIS and HERS at Etsy for $4. I'm still waiting for the email with the pattern PDF. Today I found His Cloth and Her Cloth for FREE (my favorite four-letter word). I also found free Easy Peasy Dischcloths which are knit on large needles using double yarn. That might be the answer for this slightly thinner yarn. I don't I want to go as high as 9 mm (US 13) needles as suggested though. I feel a swatch coming on.

Baking is happening much easier than knitting these days. This past weekend's masterpiece was a cake baked in my newest pan, a Lemon Tea Cake. Yes, it tastes as good as it looks and was "easy peasy" to make. I feel another cake pan purchase coming on.

Bona Fide Knitter . . . really

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Bake Goes On

I am still baking and not knitting. Well, not knitting enough and baking too much. I actually forgot, FORGOT, to take waiting room knitting with me on three, THREE separate occasions. Woe is me! I'm at the heel flaps for the plain vanilla socks and at the first round of color B on the shawl. I just printed off a couple of dish cloth patterns. I need a break.

But back to baking: On Memorial Day I created my first disaster. It was to be limoncello cupcakes with limoncello buttercream icing. My 12 cup muffin pan was missing, probably lost in the kitchen redo of a two years ago. However, it was a perfect opportunity to use one of my cupcake cake pans. Instead of the giant cupcake cake pan, I used the one that makes four "mini" cupcakes. (They are really very large, two-part cupcakes.) I used a recipe from a blog I stumbled upon.

At one point when I looked in the oven, the batter in four of the wells had overflowed and risen and four had fallen! A little while later, close to time to take them out, they had all fallen. Disaster!

They were like cookies, cookie liners for a cupcake pan! And they had the nerve to be tasty! I couldn't get them out without a chisel so I soaked the whole pan in water and threw the sodden mess away. What happened, you wonder? So did I. In printing the recipe from the blog some mysterious symbols appeared in the printout. What did me in was a "1" that showed up in front of the "1/2 cup" of sugar. I used a cup and a half of sugar! No wonder I got cookies instead of cupcakes!!

So, off I went to ACMoore and Michael's with 40% and 50% discount coupons in hand and bought a 12 cupcake pan, some cute cupcake print paper linings and matching boxes that hold four cupcakes each.

Unfortunately, my next disaster was about to occur. I used another blog recipe to make Martha Stewart's Gingerbread Cupcakes. I should have used the recipe straight from Martha's site and I would have known to use "large cupcake papers and two jumbo muffin tins" to bake these cupcakes. Or at least I would have known to bake 18 - 20 standard size ones. Here is what I got:

and these that overflowed because I filled them too high trying to use all the remaining batter:

And then the yummy limoncello cream cheese buttercream icing was a little too loose to get a thick coat on them. Too much limoncello I'm afraid.

Not the prettiest and not for gift giving, but they taste really good. Another lesson learned: I will not use my cute lining papers on dark cupcakes again. You can't even see the design. Light papers need to be used to contain light batter, not gingerbread and certainly not chocolate. Who knew?

All was not lost over the holiday weekend. I can end on a high note. The day before the cupcake fiasco I made a beehive honey cake. It looks good and tastes even better.


Bona Fide Knitter

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Bona Fide Baker?

While my knitting vibe vacillates, my addiction to the Food Network has taken over. I am now the owner of a waffled pancake pan, an ebelskiver pan, and a shortcake basket pan, all of which I have used this week. They will reside alongside the Belgium waffle iron and the giant cupcake cake pan and its sister that makes four smaller cupcake cakes.

The shortcake basket pan arrived late yesterday afternoon. In the evening I had these:

I made the recipe included in the packaging. I thought it would make the exact amount I needed. However, it overfilled the wells just a tad and they looked like muffins that didn't quite rise. Perhaps my partially melted butter (instead of softened) and skim milk (instead of whole) made the difference.

Anyway, they turned out of the pan just fine.

And the resulting strawberry shortcake was scrumptious . . .

. . . even up close and personal.

Strawberries are plentiful and very reasonably priced in my neighborhood right now. The markets are full of them and thus, so is my refrigerator. They are not just for dessert or cereal. I found a place for them in a "toad-in-a-hole" breakfast (egg, cinnamon raisin toast).

Knitting still consists of the shawl of a lifetime and the plain vanilla socks. The socks are at the heel turn. The shawl is at the first color change, which isn't very far along considering the rounds so far have 1,800 stitches. My mind has turned toward another old standby, "warshrags." I have an overwhelming desire to knit a few linen or linen/cotton blend wash cloths. I have loads of Peaches & Creme and Sugar'n Cream, 100% cotton, worsted weight, but I want some linen content. I absolutely cannot use the hybernating Sasha Skirt's pricey, stashed Euroflax and Claudia linen. Is this an excuse to buy a little yarn, ya think? I'm afraid so.

Bona Fide Knitter/Baker