I sometimes find myself hesitant to use my favourite skeins of yarn, as if they are too precious to replace. Silly, I know. Especially when I confront my Ravelry stash page. There is no need to hold back…I have 70 skeins of sock yarn?? Good grief.
I can never have enough grey in my wardrobe, and the same goes for my socks! The pattern we are knitting is a free pattern from Tanis Fiber Arts called Business Casual, a great faux argyle sock pattern. You should join! There are prizes
Speaking of Tanis, I am once again a member of the Year in Colour Club and our first installment for 2013 arrived a couple of weeks ago.
A beautiful skein of 100% mulberry silk in a fingering weight. Gorgeous!
I also have a couple of FOs to share:
A Shalder for me, in Cascade 200.
A Magical for my daughter in some old DK wool I had in my stash.
A Scrollwork hat made with my first skein of Plucky Primo Worsted in the Starling colourway. What beautiful yarn! Now that is truly knitting with the good stuff!
I am happy to say that I have finally accomplished my first successful cotton garment ever! I have tried and failed numerous times to make a cotton sweater, and they normally end up sack-like, laying in the back of my closet. They all too often weigh in at what seems like 10 pounds as well
I decided to try and make a Gemini, by Jane Richmond. A simple top down tee from Knitty. I had some Knitpicks Cotlin in my stash, and went to work. Since I had already knit a sweater with Cotlin (a very unsuccessful Buttercup), I knew what my gauge was. Wrong! Once again, the knitting Gods smote/smited me for not making enough gauge swatch sacrifices. I ended up just past the arm holes, tried it on, and it was way too big. I frogged it and started again, this time using a 3.5 mm needle for the lace portion and a 3.75 mm for the rest. Jane’s advice on fit and the behaviour of cotton yarns was extremely valuable and also explains why my other cotton garments have ended up in a time out at the back of my closet.
Jane is a genius! My second successful garment that I have made by her this year. I’m hooked The other cool thing I learned is how to join in a new ball of yarn when knitting with cotton : It’s the overlap join shown at the bottom of the post…it really works!
A couple of more FOs: I made another Ann Hanson shawlette called Leafprints Shawlette. This one in my Tanis Fibre Arts March 2012 colourway, Sprout. It was a new base from Tanis, comprising of 75% merino and 25% silk in a fingering weight yarn. What a drape!
Speaking of Tanis, here is the club offering for May 2012:
It’s a very pretty purple, and I am totally thinking of making some socks with it. I got Hunter Hammersen’s new Book, the Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet for my birthday, and given the floral theme of the book, I think some of the patterns would be perfect with this yarn.
A couple more FOs to share:
My first beaded knitting project, and I loved it! The pattern is Restless and the yarn is Sunshine Yarns Classic Sock Yarn in Farm Fresh.
Yes, more striped socks. I used two lonely 50 gram balls of Regia socks yarn I had kicking around. The pattern is Laurelhurst.
I have a couple more projects on the go; I try and keep it to 2 or 3 or I lose focus. Hope everyone is having a wonderful spring!
I thought I would start off with some FOs that I have completed recently. I made a sweater! and it fits!! and I actually gauge swatched….and…wait for it…washed my gauge swatch!!! I know, right? I think that statement totally needed to have 3 exclamation points.
The sweater I made is the Classic Raglan by Jane Richmond, which is a really well-written clear pattern. I heartily recommend it. I used Lion Brand’s Fishermen’s Wool (less than 2 skeins) as inspired by Kelly (CelticCaston). Incidentally, the folks over at Canadian Living are doing a Knitalong this month with this pattern.
It totally works with my plaid and gingham shirt collection (at least in my fashion-backward mind it does). I have the child’s version of this pattern as well and plan to knit one for my daughter soon. I think it would be great in a Cascade superwash.
I also completed these really fun socks from a Woolgirl kit that a friend gifted to me….these were soooo fun to make:
The toe and heel yarn (red) is Zen Yarn Garden sock yarn…not sure which type but OMG YUM!! The dark grey and white striped yarn is by Bellwether Sock by Studio Avenue Six, also delightful. I just made my own toe-up socks on 2.25 needles, 60 stitches around. I could definitely get used to those adorable Woolgirl kits!
In another first for me…I made a baby sweater for a neighbour. I’ve made hats and booties…but never a baby sweater. I used Tanis’ pattern called Sunnyside and it was just so fun to make. Very simple, too. I used some bright and cheery pink yarn I had in my stash and it worked out very well.
I was lucky enough to receive Tanis Fiber Arts Year in Colour Club for Christmas, and I thought I would share January’s shipment, which I am quite partial to:
The colour is called Truffle, and is on her Blue Label sock yarn…love!
I also ordered the February Hazel Knits sock club, on her Artisan sock base:
The top colour is called Salted caramel and the bottom is called Big Red. Swoon! The package also came with some delicious salted caramels. I’m really looking forward to knitting with these yarns.
2012 has been fairly productive in a knitting sense so far. I have a few FOs to share but before I do, I want to share my latest favourite cake recipe. This is another gem from my sister in law, and it is definitely one of those cakes that you make for friends or family. It’s casual, it’s simple, it’s rustic and delicious. Believe me, I’ve been making banana chocolate chip cakes for years and years but there is something really great about the texture of this cake. I normally ice this cake with a cream cheese icing which works really well with it. The tartness of the cream cheese plays off the sweetness of the bananas and chocolate so nicely, but my daughter doesn’t love cream cheese icing (if I hadn’t seen her being born myself I might have considered a hospital mix-up…cream cheese icing rejected by someone related to me?? wha??) soooo I took some whipping cream and chocolate and made a quick ganache. So here is the recipe. Trust me, this very unassuming cake in a square pan packs a serious flavour wallop. Plus it is super easy….
Anna’s Chocolate Chip Banana Cake:
1 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup white sugar
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3 large)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat overn to 350 F. Grease and flour a 9 ” square pan, or an 8 ” square pan will do, too.
2. In a large bowl mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add chocolate chips and stir.
3. In a separate bowl combine bananas, eggs, milk, vanilla and melted butter.
4. Stir banana mixture into flour mix. Do not over mix or cake will be tough.
5. Pour into pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until cake is golden and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Let cool then frost as you like. For the ganache above, I used 1/2 cup whipping cream and 1 cup chocolate chips. Heat cream in a small sauce pan until it begins to simmer, then pour over the chocolate chips in a small metal or glass bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes, then stir until smooth and glossy.
OK…now for some FOs to share:
And I am proud to say I started and completed a project in January that I had been wanting to knit for a long time. The pattern is called Meeting St. mittens, and I used Berroco Sox Metallics. I also bit the bullet hard and knit some liners with a fingering weight yarn. Worth it, but such a PITA. I was getting 10 stitches to the inch on the liners…good grief. But I love them!
I finished my red socks in time for Christmas…they turned out great:
The yarn is Boneshaker sock BFL by Little Red Bicycle and the pattern is called caret + chevron by Chrissy Gardiner from Fall 2011 sockupied. Awesome yarn, awesome pattern…sock knitting heaven! Link to my Ravelry page here.
I also got some baking done…I really waited until the last minute this year, since I am the biggest sweet sneaking culprit in the house…I kind of wanted to minimize the time the sweets were around, yet still have enough to share with neighbours and friends, so I took some super quick and simple recipes and made some Christmas the other afternoon.
OK, clockwise from the top are caramel chocolate slices, almond and apricot dark chocolate bark, Oreo cream fudge and red velvet cake balls. I have no recipe for the bark…you simply toast blanched almonds in your oven until they smell divine and combine them with some nice chopped apricots. melt about 2 or 3 cups of dark chocolate (chips or chunks) in the microwave. Stirring every 25 seconds until melted. Put the almonds and apricots of a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet and pour the chocolate over top. Spread with the back of a spoon, refrigerate than crack into pieces. In no time I had 7 containers of sweets made up to give. Nice! I must admit I totally got frazzled dipping the cake balls into white chocolate…I just couldn’t get a good consistency. I covered my culinary mishap with some piped semi-sweet chocolate. All the while I was humming “Making Christmas” from A Nightmare Before Christmas….I admit somewhat maniacally! Watch the clip from the movie here…I love it! Merry Christmas everyone!
The kids are getting ready to Boo some neighbours tonight. It’s a fun Hallowe’en tradition that we do in our neighbourhood. First assemble a bag of treats. I usually include some dollar store delights like balloons, stickers, pencils and bouncy balls. Of course I also include a few candies
Then we include a note. Every year, I am sure it is different, but the gist of it is this: Boo! You have just been boo’ed by The Ghost. Now you must boo someone else (or 2 or 3) before hallowe’en night. Hang this picture in your window so people know you have already been boo’ed. Happy Hallowe’en, The Ghost
So you sneak around just after dark, leave the bag on someone’s doorstep and then run and hide! Of course, this is the best part So if your doorbell rings just after dark tonight….you just may have been visited by The Ghost!
I finally have a pair of Hallowe’en socks, too. I made them with KnitPicks Stroll in Pumpkin and some black Regia I had kicking around. No pattern here, just a basic toe-up striped sock.
I also made another Zauberball striped shawl, this time a Simple City shawl, using crazy zauberball. So easy and fun.
A couple of crafty things I would like to get to before Hallowe’en: how cute are these painted rocks? same goes for this pumpkin or apple centrepiece. Also, be sure to check out Tanis Fiber Arts…she has another giveaway on her site and it is some kind of gorgeous.
Next up…some Christmas crafting…
This is going to be the shortest summer ever. We had a really late start to summer this year and today I am coming to terms with the fact that July will soon be behind us. Around here, nights begin to cool off in mid August, and although the Fall is my very favourite season, I do find that summer can pass too quickly, with never enough swimming, beach days and ice cream!
My knitting has slowed a bit, too this summer. I did just complete a pair of socks (shamelessly copying the yarn harlot here) called Everyone Outta the Pool. What a terrific pattern. Perfectly relaxing sock knitting.
I used some KnitPicks Risata in Umber for the toe, heel and cuff and some Koigu KPPPM I have had in my stash for a while. It made for some very cute socks!
After I finished these socks, I immediately cast on for a shawlette for a cowl/shawlette swap that CelticCaston and I are organizing for this Fall’s inaugural KnitEast in beautiful St. Andrews, New Brunswick. I can’t say what it is because it’s a secret! KnitEast is coming up fast, too. It runs September 30 to October 2nd and boasts teachers like Stephanie Pearl McPhee, Cat Bordhi, Lucy Neatby and Veronique Avery…wow! For knitters, these are celebrities. I am so looking forward to this event.
after a snowy winter and a long, cold, wet spring, summer has finally arrived in the maritimes. Although given the late start, this will be a very short summer, I don’t mind since the fall is my very favourite season anyway.
Of course I had to stick to simple things like striped socks: And I even cast on a new pair, inspired by the Yarn Harlot’s version. What a fun pattern! (Everyone Outta the Pool by Jas Chawla)Hope everyone is having a great summer!
I really need to stop watching Cupcake Wars on the Food Network. It gives a person all kinds of delicious ideas. Like these banana cupcakes with peanut butter cream cheese frosting. This recipe is fantastic and is definitely a new favourite. I brought these to a party and they were a success with everyone. The frosting was particularly nice, not too sweet, not too much peanut butter…just a creamy beautiful frosting.
I learned from Cupcakes Wars that you can remove a small plug of cake from a cupcake using an apple corer, and add a filling of your choosing. For these cupcakes I made a simple chocolate ganache (I used one part heavy cream to two parts semi sweet chocolate). The result was surprisingly light and fluffy and not as heavy as I anticipated.
I have done a bit of knitting, too. I completed these Avivah socks a few days ago. The pattern is from the latest Twist Collective and I used some Fleece Artist BFL sock yarn. It is my second pair of socks using the Fleece Artist BFL and I must say, I love knitting with it.