Friday, November 25, 2011

I Think I'm In Love.

with this.  So read on.

The other day I caught myself noticing that a particular blog that I read on hadn't posted anything new in a long time, I realize "why do you think someone else should do that, you don't "  OOPS..very true !! I decided to get busy and show you something new that I started in a class at my local yarn store.  I wanted to learn to knit continental style, which means you hold your working yarn on the left hand instead of the right hand.   This is ideal when you are doing colourwork, as you are carrying multiple colours of yarn and that can create a big frustration if you are not doing it with two hands involved.   I have to say it was frustrating to learn to use the two hands simultaneously, but once I got the rhythm it is a lot of fun.  I wouldn't say it was quicker, but it is more efficient. 

I chose this pattern from Spillyjane Knits and it's  called  Camilla Mitts..   It is a free pattern on Ravelry.   My notes on Ravelry are here.

 I have followed Spillyjane on her blog for awhile and really liked her glove patterns.  Lot's of fun, fresh ideas.   It's a great way to get to know a  designer  when you can try it out free..that says alot about the designer too...very generous people out there.

I have only worked about 2" inches but so far I would recommend this pattern, I tend to complicate things myself....but..oops..I was wrong I did mess up with the instructions at the beginning.   Here I was thinking  that I just breezed through this, but that was not the case.   How quickly we forget the steps that brought us to where we are !!!    The pattern says "Round 1: K2tbl,p2. Repeat accross all sts for the entire round|"   After I did that I had less stitches than I started as I interpreted that as K2together through back of loop, I had never seen K2TBL....they are not the same thing !!!!   I couldn't figure out how this was going to work, when I read ahead, the pattern does not tell you to increase at anytime ahead in the pattern.   So I did a call in to my local yarn store, Black Sheep Yarns, and read the instructions, of course she got it right away.   Experience definitely makes you better at your craft..and this was new to me.   I have seen K1tbl..but I was not computing that this was anywhere the same thing.   The funny thing is, when I did "get it" it seem so obvious !!    I tell you, knitting is so much like life, you  learn lots about yourself along the way.

Go ahead and have some fun and make yourself some gloves for this winter, or maybe it's someone you've been thinking of.  

Forgot to mention, I did change the pattern a bit..I had read the notes on Ravelry that people found them too big.  Which means enormous for me.   So do check my notes to see that I changed the cast on stitches for the cuff and then increased the asked amount to start working on the pattern.    

Well, I better get back to my knitting..they won't knit up by themselves.

Have a super weekend.

Alice xox

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Muffin Break

I have been exploring some great food blogs over the last couple of months, what I have enjoyed is their passion for food, being told through their skills in photography, and wonderful  story telling.  These people so  love what they do, they graciously give so much of their time to their readers.   How awesome is that !

I don't have a sweet tooth, but my husband does, so there is baking most of the time around the house, just not made by me.    But the last month or so, what has been in the house has been made by my loving hands.   It's really not that hard, I thought baking was some mysterious force that I just didn't care to investigate.  Not saying I know everything, but I'm not scared to try it now.

I have found a blueberry muffin recipe I wanted to share with you, as it has been the favourite for the last week.    It's not a healthy or unhealthy sort of muffin, but I'm starting to believe  when it's made by your own hands it's healthy in so many levels of your being.   Everyone benefits.

I hope you give these a try, especially great in the evening with a cup of tea.  Enjoy !   This recipe was copied from Smitten Kitchen Blog, which is the link I have if you click on the heading under the picture.

Perfect Blueberry Muffins
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
Muffins are really best on the first day (another argument for halved recipes) but I’ve never met one I couldn’t resuscitate split, toasted and patted with salted butter.
My major changes: As always, attempted to rewrite this into a one-bowl recipe (because muffins should just not require a lot of work), halved the recipe and added weights.
Makes 9 to 10 standard muffins

5 tablespoons (2 1/2 ounces or 71 grams) unsalted butter , softened
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces or 100 grams) sugar
1 large egg
3/4 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 1/2 cups (6 3/4 ounces or 191 grams) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon (7 grams or 1/4 ounce) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) baking soda
1/4 teaspoon (2 grams) salt
3/4 cup (3 3/4 ounces or 105 grams) blueberries, fresh or frozen (if frozen, don’t bother defrosting)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a muffin tin with 10 paper liners or spray each cup with a nonstick spray. Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat well, then yogurt and zest. Put flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a sifter and sift half of dry ingredients over batter. Mix until combined. Sift remaining dry ingredients into batter and mix just until the flour disappears. Gently fold in your blueberries. The dough will be quite thick (and even thicker, if you used a full-fat Greek-style yogurt), closer to a cookie dough, which is why an ice cream scoop is a great tool to fill your muffin cups. You’re looking for them to be about 3/4 full, nothing more, so you might only need 9 instead of 10 cups. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until tops are golden and a tester inserted into the center of muffins comes out clean (you know, except for blueberry goo). Let cool on rack (ha), or you know, serve with a generous pat of butter.

Now, on a knitting note, I have finished a super beanie/toque for my husband.  I had knit this pattern before for him, but he has lost his first one.    But at that time, probably 2 yrs ago, I didn't belong to Ravelry, so I don't have any notes on how I did it.   Somehow this one appears to be a lot bigger, and Jim says it's also itchier.    So, the lesson is..keep good notes !!!   

The pattern is  Turn a Square, by Jared Flood,

My notes are here on Ravelry:

Back view

Give the muffins a try as they are super simple to make and you probably have most of the ingredients at home, the only thing I didn't have was the sour cream, so I'm warning you now, put that on your grocery list, you'll need it.

The toque is a must as winter is coming on, so if you are not knitter, this is a good starting project.  I hope it inspires you to start.

Alice xox