Monthly Archives: November 2008

Knit Knit Knit

I have been busy knitting lately. And it seems like all I have been knitting lately is cowls. Although I have been working on finishing up some UFOs too. But cowls are fast and make great holiday presents. As soon as I finish one cowl, I am casting on for another one. And cowls have been good because they have forced me to finally sit down and master grafting and new binding off techniques. And as a treat for reading all the way through the post, there is another recipe at the very end.

I hate grafting which is one of the reasons why I do toe up socks. But I really like the Crofter’s Cowl pattern so I have learned to finally graft without having to look at my cheat sheet every time I graft. I have two finished and another one on the needles. Yes, I am hoping to speed up the amount of time it takes me to graft the 80 to 90 stitches together. Practice makes perfect after all. One is my SIL’s Christmas present. I am not sure if she will like the colors but every one needs some color in their life. The purple one is mine but the colors are off in the photo.

My SIL's Christmas present

My SIL's Christmas present

My first attempt at grafting

My first attempt at grafting

I finished a Razor Shell cowl out of some hand spun by P. I had a few mistakes in the cowl but my niece doesn’t care. She wore it over the weekend on a church retreat. She wears all of my cowls that I will give her. She likes wearing hand knits to school. Plus a cowl is easier to stuff in her backpack when she gets to school than a scarf. And if she gets cold, she can always pull it out and wear it in class. And hopefully this weekend, I can get her to model some of the cowls.

Yarn spun by P

Yarn spun by P

I have also finished an orange Gloria cowl that needs to be mailed out to Paris. Ms. Mac wore her orange sunglasses all summer. She needs to replace them with something like a cowl for the winter.

A present that needs to be mailed

A present that needs to be mailed

And there is another cowl already on the needles. I found an oddball skein of Woolarina’s yarn that I bought off awhile ago. It is only 110 yards in a dk weight so I am doing another Razor Shell cowl. This one might end up being for me as well. I never decide these things until after I am finished.

Latest Cowl ont eh needles

Latest Cowl ont eh needles

And there is another cowl in the works that should have the pattern posted by December 8th at the latest. Yes, I am venturing into pattern writing.

And if you have read all the way through this post, I am giving you another recipe. It is another potato recipe that is one of my brother’s favorites. It is for a potato salad that is nice and yummy. And the best part is that it it is safe to serve at room temperature. It might be a new addition to a Thanksgiving menu that is different than mashed potatoes. This is posted especially for Jessie of A Piece of Vermont.

Lemon Basil Potato Salad

2 1/2 pounds small Yukon gold or red potatoes, cut into eighths
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/3 – 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (I eyeball it)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2/3 cup olive oil
1/2 medium-size purple onion, thinly sliced (I dice them fine so my brother can’t pick them out)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan (optional) (I never use)
3-4 thick bacon slices, cooked and crumbled (optional) (I never use this either)

Coat the potatoes with olive oil and place on a foil-lined jellyroll pan. (The foil helps with clean up) Roast at 450 degrees stirring occasionally, 20 to 25 minutes or until tender and golden.

Whisk together the lemon juice and next 5 ingredients; whisk in 2/3 cup olive oil in a slow, steady stream. Gently toss potatoes, onions, and Parmesan (if using) with vinaigrette. (I add the basil to the potatoes and toss it all together.)

Sprinkle with bacon if using. Serve at room temperature. This is best the day it is made.

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New Ideas

Okay, a new recipe is all. On Saturday, I went to the spin-in at Paula aka Woolarina’s house. And yes, I actually spun. It wasn’t much but thanks to Kate and Jess, I was actually able to get started. I had brought some fiber and a few spindles with me for the spin in. Although I was knitting for awhile until Kate showed up. And I made Kate a promise that I would spin every day for the next two weeks for at least 30 minutes. And she had Jess make sure I didn’t have my fingers crossed too!!!!

I will be honest and admit that I did not actually spin last night. I went to my baking class and had a little case of sugar overload. My body does not like that much sugar. But who could resist sampling a lovely buche de noel and a poppyseed cake. I did take home my sample of the apple pie though. But I spent my 30 minutes predrafting fiber. Does that count Kate? I am all set up to actually spin tonight as a result.

I did make some goodies to take to Woolarina’s house. I made two vegan pumpkin pies Friday night and took one with me. I also made a no-dairy spinach dip. (The recipes are from the e-book by Nava Atlas available on her site.) (My oldest nephew is supposed to be getting back to me about his pie. He was going to sample it after school today.) While we were talking and knitting and spinning, I mentioned a recipe that I have to make for Thursday. It was a favorite growing up and always a special treat. The recipe requires a little bit of work but is well worth it. And this is one dish that my brother and his family will not be allowed any of the leftovers on Thursday. But I will share the recipe here. It is not exactly low fat or really that healthy but nice for a treat. So Paula, here is the recipe for you. And it does contain butter like you thought it should.

Baked Potato Casserole

6 medium potatoes, boiled and shredded *
1/4 cup melted butter
1 can of cream of chicken soup (I use the low sodium version)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I like extra sharp cheddar) **
1 pint sour cream
1/3 cup green onions, chopped

Combine the potatoes, melted butter, soup, cheddar cheese, sour cream, and green onions in a large glass casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until bubbling and the top is slightly golden.

* Baking potatoes work best. The potatoes must be shredded not mashed. The texture and taste are off if the potatoes are mashed. Cool the potatoes after cooking them before shredding them. We have always used a hand grated to shred the potatoes.

** I prefer to hand grate my own cheddar cheese. I have never found extra sharp cheddar in the packages but sharp cheddar works just as well.

*** Best part of the recipe is that it is better if made a day or two ahead of time. The flavors blend. And the dish is equally good cold, hot or room temperature. It is also good for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

If anyone decides to try the recipe, please let me know what you think of it. I really have been knitting but I need to take photos of it. But Mother Nature has been giving me overcast skies during the day and I haven’t broken down yet and am not willing to use the flash for photography just yet.

And today’s photo is my youngest nephew playing Wii with his big brother. He thinks he is playing but he really isn’t yet. In this shot, he was telling “TT” who he wanted to be.

Sweet boy helping play Wii

Sweet boy helping play Wii

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Friday Eye Candy

Okay, Thanksgiving is next week. But Thanksgiving is late this year. Hopefully this will put everyone in the holiday mood.

Seen up in Lancaster County, PA

Seen up in Lancaster County, PA

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Red Hat Friday

Last Friday, I was the photographer at a Red Hat Christmas luncheon held at the Ceresville Mansion right down the road from me. This is an old house that I remember from when my brother was in high school and mowed the grass for the doctor who owned it at the time. It is now a wonderful place to hold weddings and other elegant affairs. The one drawback as a photographer is the lighting. I prefer to use natural light for shooting. I had to rely on my flash to get decent photos. I am still editing the photos I took but am sharing a few here. (This was my first time really shooting people. Nature is much easier for me to shoot.)

A family friend who wore a handknit cowl during the luncheon

A family friend who wore a handknit cowl during the luncheon

Plenty of red and purple seen that day

Plenty of red and purple seen that day

Two Red Hat friends hat shopping

Two Red Hat friends hat shopping

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Cool Wet Autumn

It seems like autumn does not want to end here in the mid-Atlantic. And it keeps raining. And since I don’t mind the rain, that is a good thing. Actually I like it when it is misty because it is fun to go out and play with the camera. I have been really busy the last several days so I have tons of photos to process. Last Thursday night was fiber guild night and I love the old mansion at the park where we meet. I haven’t been inspired to pick up the camera lately but every time I go to Rose Hill, I find something that I have to shoot. And the lure of the place did not fail me.

Thursday was wet and it was dark by 5:30 but I still managed to find plenty to shoot. I shoot about 50 photos in the space of 30 minutes and never ventured beyond the light near the old ice house. Okay, some did not turn out the way I wanted them to but that was only about 10 shots.

Friday I was the photographer at a Red Hat holiday luncheon. And I have about 300 shots to process and post up over on Flickr. This was a semi-paid gig. The ladies are going to be ordering from Flickr. When I post them, I will add a link from the blog. I rarely shot people so this will be interesting. (The shots will be up on a separate Flickr account.)

Saturday was spent at knit group. And Knit group is always fun. Sunday was spend on a bus trip to see a holiday show up in Lancaster County. There will be more about that trip tomorrow. I managed to knit a cowl on the trip.

But in the meantime, enjoy the photo from Thursday night.

Fall LeafHiding ColorsColors of Fall - Wet

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Stitches East Recap

Gryphon showing off her skills

Gryphon showing off her skills

Stitches East is over. It was fun seeing all of the yarn out there. The yarn fumes were amazing. I was there both Saturday and Sunday since I volunteered to help Gryphon and Kate out with help for their booth.

Yes, I did manage to get some shopping done on both Saturday and Sunday. Most Saturday though since there was plenty of help in the booth. I still need to photograph my purchases though. I did manage a trade of some yarn with Karida of Neighborhood Fibers. And I got to see Karida’s mom again. I met her mom for the first time this past spring at MDS&W. I also can’t forget Holly of Knit Happens was there helping out Karida in her booth. And Holly, I will be looking for your alpaca photo in the shop. (I am hoping to get down to the shop within the next two weeks. I really like Knit Happens but I just don’t get there as often as I should.)

Even though it was exciting to sell some of my note cards, it was not the most exciting thing about the market though. I managed to meet Jean Frost, Cheryl Potter of Cherry Tree Hill, and the infamous Sheri of the Loopy Ewe. (She even brought Loopy for the trip back East. Check out her blog to see where Gryphon stuck Loopy for the photo-op.) The best part was meeting Cat Bordhi!!!! Yes, the Cat Bordhi!!!! The one and only Cat of magical and mysterious sock patterns that make sense after knitting them.

The opportunity to meet Cat Bordhi made the drive and paying for parking worth it. Thank you Gryphon for managing to meet her on Friday and talk her into coming into the booth on Saturday.

Both Kate and Gryphon are updating their shops now after the show. I would really recommend checking them out. And if Kate has any of the Dragon berry colorway left, I would highly recommend snapping it up. I had asked her about a cranberry colorway and she went one better and created a nice wonderful rich red she calls Dragonberry. I will try to get a really good photo of my skein of lace weight and squishy sock soon.

Karida of Neighborhood Fibers

Karida of Neighborhood Fibers

Angie of Serendpitous Ewe

Angie of Serendpitous Ewe

Kate & Gryphon

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Ready for Stitches

I managed to finish my bright cowl and it is almost dry. I will either be wearing it or it will be on display this weekend at Stitches. I hope to see lots of nice soft yarn and more this weekend. If anyone is coming down to Baltimore this weekend, I will be in Gryphon‘s booth (#154) Saturday and Sunday. I will wander the other booths of course, but look for me there first. In addition to finding the fantastic yarns and roving from both Gryphon and Kate, I will have some note cards for sale in the booth. I had sent Gryphon a few a few months ago. She asked me to do some with “fiber-y” related photos for the booth at Stitches. So there is a nice assortment of cards in the booth. Come by and say hi!!!

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