Tag Archives: apple blossom socks

Another Knitting Lesson Learned

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Remember a few posts back when I/we learned a knitting lesson about needle sizing?  The one where I ran out of yarn and I thought it was because of the square needle?  Let’s revisit the square needle issue, shall we?

Okay, but first, I have to let you know that I have apparently become obsessed with the Apple Blossom Socks.

I’ve been knitting them during my breaks….

…and in the car on the way to Virginia this weekend.  I just love the look of the pattern and I’ve been so excited about them, even doing my usual knitting two socks at the same time, each on a set of double pointed needles.  The only reservation I had was my choice of yarn. I love the yarn itself – I’ve knit a pair of socks with it before – and I loke the colors but I really liked the green version in the pattern picture, and I couldn’t find a green I liked. But I decided that I would just keep looking for a green version and knit another pair!

So, we get to Virginia and I’m knitting along during evening conversation.  I pick them up the next morning to knit while I wait for everyone else to wake up.  And I noticed something:

One is smaller than the other.  Skinner and shorter. By a lot.  I realized that it was because of the square needles I was using on the right.  I had read, as I said in that previous blog post, that many people have to go up a needle size with the square needles because their gauge is too tight when they use the suggested needle size.  But in my previous cowl experience, that was not the case, so I used the size 2 that was recommended.  When I decided to start the second one and knit them at the same time, I picked up a round set of double points in the same size.  They clearly do not get the same gauge.

And so, the negotiating began — with the help of my sister-in-law who is also a knitter and, like me, would not want to start over. She said, “Will anyone really notice since they are on your feet?”  Nope.  Just what I needed to hear!  So, I happily thought I would just keep going.

But, then I decided to put those little bits on my feet.  The one on the right fit over my toes and on the top part of my foot, but was definitely tighter.  I began to worry that it would not fit over my instep where the sock needs to stretch the most.  I hemmed.  And hawed.  And sat.  And looked at them for quite some time.  Since I was, at that point, not wiling to chance the fact that I would be really, really, really mad if the one sock didn’t fit, and I didn’t want to have to knit a third sock…..

Luckily, we were headed to Fibre Space, the local yarn shop, and I could look for square needles there.  And some green yarn that I would like better.

Then, the most ridiculous, never-thought-it-would-happen thing happened.  We went to the yarn shop and I didn’t buy any yarn.  Paul had a heart attack when I told him.  They didn’t have square needles there and there was no yarn that was jumping out at  me that day.  None.  At all. I have no idea why.

But, I did see a beautiful display of local-to-me Periwinkle Sheep yarn there!

Karin comes up with the most beautiful colors and that Hyacinth in the middle is one of my favorites. So that was fun. [I buy that at my local yarn shop to keep it all local!]

So, knitting lesson learned that square needles really do get a different gauge than round needles of the same size. To make up for not buying anything at the yarn shop, I ordered square needles from the porch when we got back to the house:

We had a lovely afternoon sitting on the porch and chatting and knitting while Paul and his brother did this:

It was beautiful weather and such a nice change from our rainy/snowy weather we had to drive through to get there:

That was the view the whole way there.

We went on some nice walks and saw cherry blossoms:

And just some pretty flowers and green stuff (we don’t even know what that is up here these days – everything is just mono-brown):

I was so excited to see purple flowers and green grass and green trees and then my sister-in-law said, “Well, that’s a holly tree, but….”  Didn’t matter – it was GREEN and there was GREEN GRASS! And BLUE SKY!

The other fun thing we did was have my mother-in-law teach us her family recipe for “the doll cookies”:

These are Italian cookies that have frosting and I forgot to take a picture of the finished product. There was no recipe so she said it as we went along and I wrote it down.  They were yummy!

So, not just a knitting lesson learned, a family cookie recipe learned.  And on the car ride home, because I did not buy any yarn, I ordered the exact yarn that was used for the Apple Blossom socks.  It is coming from England!  I am ridiculously excited. See?  Obsessed.

 

 

Sunday Meal Planning

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For us to eat healthy, Sunday meal planning and prepping has become really helpful. I posted about this pretty recently with some great recipes we made.  It also helps to have some things already done so that on our busy days, preparing a healthy dinner isn’t as hard. Sometimes it works out really well (like that day) and sometimes….. it just doesn’t.  This weekend, it was a mixed bag.

We went to the grocery store and got all our supplies.  Lots of fresh veggies and fruit. (And some other stuff I’ll tell you about later.)

Paul made a big bowl of salad that we will dip into for several days:

Can I just say that our salad spinner is the best salad spinner ever?  (Find it here: ZYLISS salad spinner) I have broken no less than three salad spinners.  One with a rip-cord and two with a round cylinder to push down.  This one has a lever and just works so great.  Salad spinners can be a little pricey but I think they are well worth the time and aggravation it saves in trying to dry lettuce the other way (pick any other way).  Also, if the other way is using a ton of paper towels, a salad spinner is much better for the environment!

Next up was a Crock Pot Mexican Casserole from Well Plate (Again.  Yes, it’s one of my new favorite food blogs!).

Before:

After:

Very healthy with ground turkey, quinoa, beans, and lots of veggies.  And so tasty! Even better with a little extra cheese, scallions and cilantro on top!

Our attempt at healthy pizza for our meal planning Sunday was only mildly successful.  We decided to make it relatively healthy by using a wheat pizza dough. Thus, we were skeptical from the start.  We are MAJOR fans of pizza.  Thin, charred crust is the best! [We someday would like a stone, wood fired pizza oven so we can make pizza just like Pepe’s in New Haven.] However….. since we are trying to be somewhat health conscious, we decided to try the wheat.  But, the wheat crust was not the only issue….

We have a pizza stone (a Pampered Chef Rectangular Stone 12″ x 15″):

….which we decided to try for the first time.  While it was heating up in a screaming hot 500 degree oven (and creating lots of smoke because of the cooking spray it said to put on there), we put the pizza together.

Issue #1: We did not have a pizza peel.  So we decided to use the back of a cookie sheet so we could slide the pizza off onto the stone (Ha!).

[Notice the addition of the pepperoni to our “healthy” pizza?]

Issue #2: We did not have any cornmeal to put under the pizza to make it slide off the cookie sheet.  So we used a bunch of flour.

How did that work out you ask? Ha!

It didn’t.  Into the oven went the cookie sheet, on top of the stone.

It came out only ok.  It looked pretty good, and that charred pepperoni was the bomb. The wheat crust? Meh.

Issue #3: We were not patient enough to let the dough rest and we should have so that we could make the crust thinner.  It would have been better.  As it was, it was pretty doughy (and wheat-y) in the middle.

We will keep trying.  We will get a pizza peel.  We will get some cornmeal.  We will figure out how to use that pizza stone.  We will not have wheat crust again.

The last thing I made was a pan of Tollhouse cookie bars for our friend Tyler who is coming to work in town this week.  He is a carpenter and makes beautiful post and beam buildings (his company is Pioneer Post and Beam). They have chickens (and pigs and cows and a horse) which are laying 2 dozen eggs a day (!!) and he is bringing us some since he will be in the area.  He likes my cookies so he gets them in exchange for the eggs:

A last note about our grocery store trip in which we purchased healthy stuff:

We got suckered, and it’s all because they came out with the s’mores version.  And the tip from the girl scout behind the table who said to put them in the microwave.  To be honest, they weren’t all that I wanted them to be.  They could work on making the “marshmallow” taste more like marshmallow.

Isn’t stopping me from having them on my afternoon break though:

(I’m starting my second Apple Blossom sock before I finish my first one, so I won’t not knit the second one. And in case you are remembering my last post in which I showed you a picture of the class I taught on how to knit two socks at the same time…. I actually don’t like to knit my socks that way! Double points are just my favorite.)

So, meal planning this week didn’t go as well as we would have liked but we’ll keep trying. Paul is having fun learning new recipes!  Do you do any meal planning for your busy week?

Trellis Ponytail Hat

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Wow, this Trellis Ponytail Hat / Messy Bun Hat was a quick knit! (find the pattern here) Even for me, since I’m trying to knit slowly.  It is one of those addicting patterns where, as you are knitting, you can’t wait to see how the pattern is working and how the trellis pattern emerges.  I teased you in my last post with this picture of my afternoon break as I was working on it:

The whole idea behind these hats (of which there are many patterns out there now) is that if you want to wear at nice warm hat, but your ponytail is in the way, you can make your ponytail stick out the back.  You can adjust the button opening based on whether you wear your ponytail up high or down low.  Very practical and you get a cool hat too!

Once I got the technique down, it was done in a flash:

[I just figured out how to do these nifty galleries for pictures, so you don’t have to scroll as much.  You’re welcome.]

If the yarn looks familiar, it is the same Malabrigo Rios I used to make the Misty Blue sweater.  I only needed a little bit of the second skein to finish the sweater and there was more than enough left over to make the hat.  I will say it again:  I. Love. This. Yarn.

This pattern is knit completely flat (not in the round) and uses slipped stitches (and switched stitches) to make the trellis pattern.  For the life of me, when I started, I couldn’t figure out what the heck was happening.  But then the pattern actually started emerging and I figured I was doing it right.

The “switched stitches” involves dropping a stitch off the needle – and letting it hang out there – then slipping another stitch, then putting the dropped stitch back on your needle.  Nerve wracking to say the least, especially in the beginning.  Once you get going, it’s no big deal.  Until you realize your numbers aren’t right and somehow a stitch got dropped not on purpose. [That might have happened to me.]  A cable needle would be helpful if you are just too nervous to do it this way.

Really the biggest feat for me was the five buttons that needed to be put on this hat. FIVE. If you have been reading this blog for any amount of time, you know I really dislike sewing on buttons.  I will put a shawl pin in a cardigan or just leave it open in order to not sew on buttons.  But this hat being what it is, meaning you can’t remotely wear it without the buttons, I needed to do them.

So, the best way of doing this was with a spoonful of sugar – the sugar in this case being the Wednesday night knit-in at The Spinning Room yarn shop, where I could chat away with everyone and work on my buttons at the same time.  And as it happened, I needed to sew buttons on the sweater too (more buttons):

[This picture makes the yarn look gray.]

So that was EIGHT buttons I sewed on.  In a row.  If you follow me on Instagram, I posted that picture right after I was done, proclaiming I needed some sort of reward for that!  By the way I recently found this YouTube video for how to sew on a button and it is a much better way than I was doing.

A Digression:

Speaking of Instagram, I’ve been posting things I’ve been doing on my breaks during the day…

The other day the King Arthur Flour catalog came. My kryptonite. I love almost everything in there and every time I get it I want to bake all the things.

During this morning’s break I worked on my Apple Blossom Socks by Helen Stewart.  I showed those to you in my last post, too.  I couldn’t get them out of my mind, so, since I happened to be at the yarn shop on Wednesday (how fortuitous), I picked up the skein of Happy Feet 100 Splash that I have been looking at forever.  The yarn in the pattern is speckled, but I’m slightly worried that my yarn might be too speckle-y.  Stay tuned.

Another Digression (not at all related):

Take a look at the progress made by the students in my Two Socks on One Circular Needle class that finished up last night:

Well on their way to finishing two socks at once!

Back to the Trellis Ponytail Hat:

This ponytail hat was a fun knit and it was great to learn a new technique.  What do you think of the ponytail hat in general – the idea of it?  Do you have someone you would knit it for? [I’ll be offering this one as a class in May/June-ish.]

 

New Food Blog Discoveries: Three Delicious Recipes

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Are you looking for something new and different to have for dinner or as a treat? I might have some options for you! This week as I was doing my regular blog trolling, I came up with three delicious recipes to try.  Ok, really two –  one was a recipe that I was inspired to bring back when I was trolling the blogs.

I’m a big blog reader (because I am a blogger after all – have to keep up with my peeps), having several that I follow pretty regularly. Some of those include: The Yarn Harlot (I follow her VERY regularly – she is my blogging idol and I love her), Attic 24, Smitten Kitchen, Shutterbean and The Pioneer Woman.

Now and then, I stumble upon something new. Sometimes one blog will recommend another blog. And sometimes there is Facebook, throwing something in my face.

Recipe #1:

The first recipe came about when I stumbled upon the Well Plated blog.  She has got great recipes that are healthy and yummy.

She had these wonderful looking Irish Soda Bread Muffins and I knew I had to make them:

This recipe called for using part wheat flour and part white flour but I only had white.  It also called for caraway seeds which I also did not have.  But I did have the yogurt and currants and everything else!

These were so easy to make and very delicious. Especially warm, right from the oven, with butter. And surprisingly they did not stick in my muffin pan! I am notorious for not greasing the pan well and having to dig out the muffins in chunks.  I’m keeping the Well Plated blog on my regular list.

Recipe #2:

The second recipe came courtesy of a Facebook video from Delish: Bundt Pan Roast Chicken.  Sounds strange and it was strange to put together….

Potatoes, carrots, onions and garlic get chopped up, tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme and put into the bottom of the bundt pan.

Then, stuff the chicken with lemon and more rosemary and thyme, cover the hole in the pan with foil and stick the chicken on top:

(It just looks kind of creepy, sitting upright like that.)

But it turned out great, cooking in just one hour and ten minutes:

A little less browned on the bottom parts than I would like.  But, it wasn’t dried out like my previous attempts at chicken cooking so I’m guessing either the bundt pan/sitting upright had something to do with it.  Or I just got lucky.  And the vegetables were done perfectly.

Very tasty and I’ll definitely make it again.  My bundt pan worked very well for what I believe is the first time.  I have never made a cake in it!

Recipe #3:

The third recipe was actually an old standby and inspired by all the St. Patrick’s Day corned beef cooking I was seeing.  Good old corned beef hash and eggs:

My mother-in-law makes a traditional boiled dinner of corned beef, potatoes and cabbage every year.  She always saves us some corned beef and potatoes (we are not fans of cooked cabbage).  We chop them up and fry them until crispy.  Throw eggs on top (I’m still trying to master the perfect over medium fried egg) and dinner is done.  YUM!  There is nothing like it, especially if you get the corned beef crispy enough.

I’ve also recently discovered the Dessert for Two blog.  She makes everything in smaller portions, enough for two people and not having a ton of leftovers. Six inch cakes; 6 muffins instead of 12; casseroles made in 8×8 pans (or individual dishes), not 9×13 pans.  That is great for us, because sometimes it is hard to eat chicken casserole four times in a week! Yes, we could freeze it, but then we say, “Oh, we have that chicken casserole…yeah, let’s make something else.”  Sometimes it is just. too. much.

So, there you have it, three delicious recipes! Are you inspired to make any of these? Or have any good recipes you have found recently?

A Last Tidbit: Knitting

By the way, I think I’m going to have another finished knitting item to show you on Friday!  Sneak peek from my “Afternoon Break” instagram post yesterday:

And I’m dying to start these, from Helen Stewart of the Curious Handmade podcast:

Apple Blossom Socks by Helen Stewart

Apple Blossom Socks by Helen Stewart.

Apple Blossom Socks.  Becuase they sound spring-y and they look spring-y and I need that right about now since it is 22 degrees outside.