Thursday, April 22, 2010

Spring Cleaning

That's what I've been up to.  I keep looking at the top I have all cut out but can't bring myself to pull out and set up the serger until I clean up my messes.  Hopefully soon, it's supposed to rain all weekend, perfect for sewing.  Or knitting.  Or spinning.  See my problem?  So many projects, so little time. 

Friday, April 16, 2010

Giveaway at Bloom!

Check out this cookware, oh it's so pretty!

Enter for your chance to win over here!

Weather

I'm finding it interesting how the weather affects my crafting.  The other day it was overcast, cool and windy so I took the opportunity to cut out a sewing pattern.  New Look #6937.  I chose view A (shown in green) and cut out in a lightweight tulip print I purchased from Joann's 2 years ago. 

That's the status right now.  The weather has been warm and sunny and I feel like I shouldn't be sitting at the sewing machine.  I'm hoping to make some time this weekend to work on it though. 

I will say though, the weather's affect on my knitting is different.  Sure there's a partially knit wool sweater in the works but who wants a pile of wool on their lap in 70+ degree weather?!?  Socks are perfect for warm weather knitting but that's not what I'm working on.  No, I've been bit by the baby knitting bug.  Currently I have an adorable little cardigan on the needles.  Can't share yet as it's a baby shower gift but wow, I love it.  I've also taken the opportunity to reintroduce myself to my spinning wheel.  It's been far too long.  Will get pics up soon but right now I'm filling a bobbin with some lovely Spunky Eclectic superwash BFL in Lame Duck colorway.  This will eventually be either 2 ply or 3 ply and knit into socks.  I was fortunate enough to purchase extra fiber in a destash on Ravelry so I have just over 10 oz of fiber to play with and it's spinning like a dream.  I've missed my wheel, I'm glad we're getting reacquainted. 

That's it for now.  The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, the windows are open letting the fresh air in and I really have some housework that needs tending to.  Enjoy your weekend.

Julie

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Adventures in Felting

So last Spring I joined a Mystery Bag Knit Along (KAL) on Ravelry and only last week I finally finished the bag.  It started off well, I finished the first few clues in a timely manner but then life and other projects had a way of sneaking in.  In the back of my mind though, I recalled my mom commenting on the colorwork of said project and how she liked it.  Well, I finally pulled out the project and finished it just in time to gift it to my mom yesterday for her 64 birthday. 

Basking in the sun.  Project on Rav here.

This bag was unlike other felted projects I've made.  This bag is knit with 2 strands of chunky yarn held together throughout and then lightly felted.  Man alive, did I have a time felting this puppy!  Here's a pic pre-felted.
  2 cycles through the Wonder Washer:
 2 cycles through the front loader with a few pairs of old jeans for extra agitation, another cycle in the Wonder Washer and finally, stretched out over a garbage can to dry.
The final project turned out ok.  I would have liked some areas to felt a little more and the strands of the colorwork area are not as I had hoped on the interior but a nice lining will help.  Luckily there are 2 pockets on the sides as prior to gifting to my mom last night, 6 year old son gifted her sixteen cents and she had nowhere to put it!  Happy Birthday, Mom!  I hope you enjoy your bag and the sixteen cents! 

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Sometimes it's ok to be a little sneaky.

When making dinner, that is.  The weather has gone from 70 degrees F to the 40's - 50's F.  Brrrrrrrr.  My menu list included Tomato Bisque Soup, recipe found here, so yesterday I thought it would make the perfect dinner.  Now the sneaky part, there is butternut squash in this soup.  At least half of our four person family would not have touched this soup had they known.  I know this isn't a new concept and I've made several recipes from Deceptively Delicious and was called out a few times for slipping in a little something extra but not this time!  Sure the kids were home while I baked the squash and yes, they were running around while I pureed it but still, no one was the wiser.  Everyone enjoyed the soup and the recipe will be added to our list of favorites and still, not a one knows the secret.  Yes, I do love being sneaky now and then! 
Leftover bowl for lunch!

In addition to the soup, I pulled out my handy copy of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  Is this book great, or what?!  I own the second edition as well, thanks to my brother and his lovely wife.  Anyway, I wanted to try a new to us recipe from the book and decided on the European Peasant Bread recipe.  Similar to the original only this includes a little whole wheat flour as well as a little rye flour along with the unbleached flour.  It was great!  3 more loaves worth of dough left in the fridge, well, until tonight anyway.  Here's a few pics of the progress of my dough. 
  Just mixed and placed in my Artisan dough bowl (as named by me)!
After nearly 2 hours of rising.

Fresh out of the oven.  Mmmmm.

Tonight we'll be feasting on Pork Tenderloin with fennel and red peppers.  I'll fill you in on that later. 
Hopefully the sun will be out again soon as I have knits and knits in progress to share but not very good lighting.  

Until Next time,
Julie

Friday, April 2, 2010

Recent Knitting Knews (news).

2 weeks ago, I became an aunt again.  My sister gave birth to #3, a girl!  Let's call her Baby S.  Being a knitter, when we learned the news that my sis was expecting, I started the search for the perfect baby sweater.  My sister has boy J and girl A already and they decided not to find out the gender ahead of time, very difficult for a knitter!  My first thought was to go with the ultimate baby sweater, the Baby Surprise Jacket. Rav link.  I've knit this sweater a few times already and the construction still amazes me.  I do, however, have yet to knit it with stripes and I wanted stripes.  After a day spent at my LYS, I happened upon the softest cotton blend yarn.  Ella Rae Baby Cotton, I was drawn to 3 colors, cream, mushroom and breeze.  Breeze is a baby blue and that was a gamble but girls can wear blue, boys wearing pink?  Maybe not.  Next, find a pattern as I wasn't feeling it for the BSJ this time, I found this pattern.  Love this!  One issue, pattern is written for worsted weight and I had a dk weight.  Did some math and voila!
  Check out these buttons!

They say "little lamb" so cute!  I picked up a set in pink and one in blue.  I also continued the stripes throughout, as you can see.  This yarn is so soft, it was a dream to knit with, other than needing a few breaks to save my wrists.  Of course, being a baby lover and knitter, I couldn't stop here, the day after Baby S was born, she needed a hat! Rav link
Then the opportunity to test knit a baby sweater arose in the Free Pattern Testers forum on Ravelry.  I was fortunate to be assigned the 3 month size and after stash diving, chose to knit in Knit Picks Andean Silk Twist.  Rav link.
So that's what I've been knitting.  I started crocheting slippers yesterday, 1 down, 1 to go, pics to come.  Also, my Ravelry friend Elizabeth and I are doing a KAL (knit along) with the Teal Leaves Cardigan.  Cast on last night, the yarn I received through a Rav destash.  Loving it. Pictures to come. 

Happy Knitting and Happy Easter!
Julie

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Like being around the campfire.

Cookies are a staple in our household.  They are easy to make, perfect for a treat in school lunches and usually the ingredients are already on hand.  A few weeks ago I made Rice Krispie treats and had about 1/3 of a bag of mini marshmallows left.  Now that the weather is warming up (finally), hot cocoa isn't being made and I've had marshmallows dry out on me before so I wanted to use them up.   What better than S'Mores.  Hmm, how about SMores cookies!  Yes!
The recipe does call for Hershey's chocolate but that was not on hand.  I added a few extra chocolate chips for good measure.  I was happy with how the little 'mallows puffed up too.  The trick?  Bake the cookies for about 9 minutes, then press in the marshmallows while the cookies are still soft, return to the oven for 3-4 minutes and you'll have slightly toasted, puffy marshmallows, mmm!

I'd call this recipe a winner.  Recipe can be found here.

No go try some!  Enjoy!
Julie