Tag Archives: king arthur flour

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.]

 

Toad in a Hole

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I’ll explain the title of this post in a bit. But first, I have to tell you that my eldest nephew, Nicholas, went to college this week at Columbia.  I am so excited for him because he going to the college he really wanted to go to and I just can’t believe he is old enough to go to college.  Here is a picture that was texted to me of his room:

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The BLANKET!!  The blanket I knit for him!!  HOORAY!!

Meanwhile, Paul and I took an overnight trip to Vermont.  We try to go every year but haven’t been in a few.

We have our favorite stops to make, including:

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White Cottage Snack Bar for their awesome onion rings (and ice cream).

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King Arthur Flour in Norwich for, well, everything above and not enough.   I love that place and will someday go take one of their classes.

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A cruise by our old house to sneak a peek at how it looks.  It looked pretty good but Paul says the flowering crabapple trees need trimming.  And they have a sort of horrendous looking “garden” in the back.  That huge tree in front has started changing colors.

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We loved our view of the mountains. (those trees are blocking it)

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While checking out our house, we made a stop at Farm-Way which is an excellent farm supply, clothing, outdoor stuff and housewares store.  They have a huge Vera Bradley section and I got a lightweight bathrobe and matching mechanical pencils!  SCORE!

We went to dinner at an English pub and brew house where we had a good beer and I had Toad in a Hole for dinner. What a name right???  That’s why I had to put it as the blog title.  So yummy.  A grown up pig-in-a-blanket:  a sausage, onions, cheese and chutney wrapped in puff pastry.  (I was so into it, I forgot a picture…) Paul had Shepherd’s Pie which he said had too many mashed potatoes and then we heard the waitress telling someone they were out of Shepherd’s Pie so we think he got the end of the batch and they had to make up for it by adding extra potatoes.  But, dessert made up for it:

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Apple crisp for him and tea and biscuits (Lorna Doones) for me.

It was a nice, quick trip away.

Oh, but the knitting!  In the car ride on the way up, I wanted to finish a project I started a long time ago:

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The Blue Jager Cowl from the Baby & Me Knits book by local designer, Celeste Young.  I was cruising along until:

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Ran out of yarn 5 rows from the end.  I had what I thought was all the yarn I bought for the project and couldn’t understand why I would have bought less yardage than it called for.  Luckily when we got home, I found the other ball (whew!) and finished it up:

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When the yarn ran out, I decided to work on this:

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I forget what it is called because I forgot to put it in Ravelry but it is a scarf/wrap thing that I saw at the Cashmere Goat yarn shop in Maine last year (or the year before?) and had to make it.  It is soooooo incredibly soft and I love it.  Since it is just stockinette, I bring it out for long car rides so I don’t have to look while I’m knitting and get car sick.

At the hotel, I worked on my Stormcloud Mitts:

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Here’s the thing with those.  In this picture, it looks pretty good.  In daylight, I don’t like it at all.  The colors just don’t seem to look good to me – it looks much more strikingly striped – and the beads get lost.  I had switched to this yarn because my other yarn…

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(this one) seemed to be too dark and I was having trouble seeing my stitches while working a new-to-me stitch, and it was a little fuzzy/splitty.  But really, it turned out I just didn’t know how to work the pattern.    Now I do, and I think I might switch back. I hate it when I get SO excited about a project and then it doesn’t do what I want it to. It will all work out, I’m sure.  Stay tuned.

In the meantime I’m dying to get back to my Amulet Shawl from the Shawl Society which got put on hold while I worked on class projects:

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Finally for today, a shot of yesterday’s garden harvest:

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That is just ONE day!  We have already had tons of beans and grape tomatoes and zucchini and peppers.  This is the first corn picking and some of them were duds (either picked too soon or they got rotten and we didn’t pick them in time).  Tonight I am freezing tomatoes, zucchini and beans.  It really is so exciting to grow your own food.  Aside from the new setup cost, we spent less than $15 on plants and seeds.  Amazing.

Pi Day Activities

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Saturday was “Pi” day.  The date, 3/14/15, is the beginning of the pi number and at 9:26 and 53 seconds in the morning it would continue the pi number.  So, I actually set the alarm so I could get a picture of that:

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I know.  I’m a weirdo.  But then I forgot to get a picture of the date on a computer screen to put next to it.  So, really, the effect is lost.

Anyway.

A lot of people were making pie on pi day.  I made Doughnut Muffins.

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I just happened to have everything I needed so it was fate.  But, I forgot the nutmeg until I was almost ready to put the batter in the pans:

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Close one.  Then, into the oven:

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And out of the oven 15 minutes later (so fast!):

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Then dip the tops in butter and roll them in cinnamon-sugar:

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Oh. My. Gosh. So. Delicious! Tastes just like a doughnut.  They were moist and nutmeg-y and a little crunchy from the sugar and just wonderful.  They are so, so, so, so easy and you MUST try them.

When I first saw this recipe, I immediately thought of the Dirt Bombs that are sold at the Cottage St. Bakery in Orleans, Mass (Cape Cod).  However, they dip the whole muffin in the butter and pack on the cinnamon-sugar.  Definitely more rich and indulgent.  The ones I made were excellent and I don’t think I would dip the whole muffin.

And yes, one of them is not dipped.  My dad was coming to visit and he’s not big on sweets, so in anticipation that he might actually want one (he didn’t), I left off the cinnamon-sugar.  But, Paul actually preferred them without the cinnamon-sugar (what????? but it’s sooooooo good with the cinnamon-sugar), so he had that one.

Other Pi Day activities included a trip to The Spinning Room to participate in the knit-a-long for the Age of Brass and Steam Kercheif.  I started it on Saturday and finished it this morning!

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Paul and I also babysat the doodlebugs on Saturday night so their parents could have a date night.  After they went to bed I finished the buttonbands on my Tea Leaves Cardigan!  Hooray!  Cause for celebration, right?  Not so fast….

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Those buttonbands are drooping off the bottom edge.  Not good.  And you know what???  This totally could have been avoided if  A) I had read the instructions thoroughly before starting and B) when I actually saw the correct instruction after 4 rows of the first buttonband, I had not ignored them, thinking it would still be fine.

I was supposed to switch to a smaller needle for the buttonbands.  When I realized that I had not done that (after 4 of the 8 rows for the buttonband), I rationalized the whole thing away, thinking using the larger needle, a mere .5 mm larger, would not make a big difference at all.  So, I kept going.  And then, after finishing the first buttonband, I didn’t even check to see how it looked.  (What the heck????) So convinced was I that this simply would not matter at all, I just moved right on to the second buttonband, bound off, and tried it on.  It looked terrible.  I showed it to Paul and told him I just didn’t think the .5mm difference in needle size would have mattered.  He asked how many stitches I had to knit and I told him 126 and he did some quick math (something having to do with the diameter being .5mm difference but the actually stitch would make a .25mm difference, multiplied by 126 stitches) and he said it could have made a difference of about an inch, which is about how much those bands were drooping.

And you know what?  I knew it, really.  I’ve made sweaters before.  I’ve read about why you need to switch needles.  I’ve seen why you need to switch needles.  But I was so close to being done with the sweater.  So anxious to have it finished so I could wear it and move on to the next thing.  And I ignored everything I knew about knitting and why you need to switch to smaller needles, and I just didn’t want to rip out those four rows!   But in the end, instead of ripping out a mere 4 rows, I ripped out two bind off rows, 16 knit rows and 252 picked up stitches….

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I re-knit them the next day with the smaller needle:

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So much better.  And now my Tea Leaves cardigan is done!

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….except for buttons. Ugh.

Cinnamon-Streusel Coffeecake

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Prior to getting my Sift magazine in the mail, I had my eye on this Cinnamon-Streusel Coffeecake from King Arthur Flour.  Just something that looked yummy and I wanted to try it.  So, keeping in mind that I was teaching two knitting classes this weekend, and therefore could bring it to those classes and have most of it be consumed by others not in this household (because *spoiler alert* if it stayed here it would  have been eaten in one day flat), I tried it.

Batter:

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Cinnamon-brown-sugar-with-a-little-cocoa-for-color filling:

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More batter:

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Spreading that second layer of batter was tricky:

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Swirly, swirly, swirly, swirl:

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Crumb topping:

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Ready for the oven:

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Done!:

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Or, rather, a little over-done.  I had to cook it a little longer because the middle was still wet when I tested it with a toothpick, but then the bottom got a little too browned, and the edges got a little too hard/crispy. Note to self: check oven temperature accuracy.

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HOWEVER….

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It was still SO.  VERY. YUMMY!  Especially 20 minutes out of the oven, which was when Paul and I tried it (he made a special trip in from the garage where he was working on restoring a step stool and a scooter).

It got good marks from the yarn shop customers and my knitting classes too:

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(This was the Triangle Shawl class, to learn about increasing and changing colors and lace and applied edgings – we used the Duane Park Triangle pattern.)

This recipe is a keeper for sure.

AND, one of my class participants (who-took-both-of-my-classes-that-day-and-whose-first-class-had-three-women-in-it-and-they-were-all-named-Kathy-what-do-you-think-of-that?) brought in two knitted items to show me:

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Knit using my Bulky Twisted Rib Hat pattern and my Easy Cozy Cowl pattern!!!  She said she loves them and she thought the patterns were very well written.  Hooray!

And, if you thought I was too busy with all this baking and teaching to finish Paul’s slippers, you would be wrong!:

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Ready to be felted.  As soon as I finish the laundry.  Which would take me a whole lot less time if I would remember to put the cover of the washer down so the load of laundry would actually get washed.  And as an unrelated, but sort of related side note, I also prepared something for the crock pot and then forgot to turn on the crock pot, so now we are having something else for dinner.  It’s been one of those days.  I’m blaming it on the daylight savings time change.  Because of that, I am off to read my Sift.