Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ishbel, the Second Time Around

This is the first time I've ever used 'lace' yarn.  I know, I can't believe it either.  My daughter was kind enough to model this shawl for me in 90 degree heat.  Bless her little 'I'd rather be at the beach' heart.

One of my favorite yarns is, Malibringo.  This lace-weight is so thin, I could thread a needle with it...Yikes.  Admittedly, I wasn't prepared for that. 

Ishbel, of course, is so lovely.  Ysolda did such a wonderful job designing the pattern and it's become one of those shawls, like Swallowtail, that every knitter wants to knit, at least once.  I couldn't resist trying my hand at making another, and using lace, this time.

Malibringo, in the color Autumn Forest was a good choice, but I wasn't sure I liked that 'halo' effect.  I wonder if all lace yarn does that?  It certainly can't be compared with mohair, but it is something to keep in mind, for future projects.

The neutral color of this yarn makes the shawl a very wearable piece, and I can see it paired with many different colors, as well as dressed up or it can be worn with slacks on a cool summer evening. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Taking a Stroll

KnitPicks, Stroll
2 - 100 gram hanks
462 yards each, fingering wt.
7-8 stitches on 1-3 needles US
Colorway:  Foliage Tonal

What will this pumpkin colored yarn be?  That's a serious question.  I've already tried knitting a cute little shawl, knowing that this amount of yarn would make a very substantial piece.  Bad idea, and I should have taken a photo prior to frogging.  Only a proper picture could illustrate my dilemma.  It was late at night, so, what can I say?

This variegated yarn has a definite 'stripe' pattern.  The color does not change gradually, and there's no way around it.  I don't want a striped shawl, or a striped cardigan.  When I bought it, I thought the color would be distributed more evenly.  Hey, I love the orange color, really.  Yams are right up there as one of my 5 favorite veggies.  This isn't a slam against KnitPicks, in any way.  I love their stuff!  I have their needles, and I've used their yarns, honest.

I have to think about what to do.  Any ideas would be most welcome.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Back Burner Knitting

Sitting on the back burner, but definitely not forgotten.  Remember the Castelgar Cardigan?  The weather has been just too hot for lap knitting.

I still love it, and hope to have it complete by fall.  Crank up the A/C, Bertha.

Postscript:  I do have some secret knitting, and all will be revealed - next week!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

UFO Sighting (UnFinished Object)

While going through one of my storage boxes, I came across this forgotten set of napkins.  There they were, being crushed between other stored fabrics and odd cut-out pieces of felt, linings, paper patterns, and old tablecloths.  I do remember putting these napkins together when my youngest daughter was little.

You can see, in this picture, I'm nearly finished.  All this little napkin needs is finishing up the handsewn border.  Why did I put them away?  There's only about 15 to 20 minutes more sewing to go.

I remember, at the time, my goal was to make these entirely by hand, including the appliqued flower and leaves, and even the blind stitched hem.

It seems silly, and I offer no explanation as to why these cute little unfinished napkins were languishing in the bottom of a storage box.  Thankfully, there was matching embroidery floss placed between the napkins.  It's time to set things right.

There is knitting going on, but alas, I'm not a very speedy knitter.  I'll post results soon.

Sorry for the improper lighting during this photo shoot.  I think I forgot the flash.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Creme Brulee

Creme Brulee is my all-time favorite dessert.  Yes, it is, and I'm not afraid to say so!  Next to the husband, children, God and the good old USA, it's what brings a smile to my lips and makes my heart skip a beat.

Over the years, I've tried many different recipes, and this is by far my favorite.  It's both simple and delicious.

First, take 5 large egg yolks.  One broke.  Sorry, Martha.

Beat the eggs into a frenzy with a whisk, and add 1/3 C sugar.  Whisk until it's thick and lemony yellow.  Add just a pinch of salt and set aside.

Pour 2 C heavy whipping cream into a medium saucepan.  Heat the cream until it starts to get little bubbles along the edge.  I did have a picture of the little bubbles, but evidently one-handed photography is a crap shoot.

Remove the cream from the heat, and SLOWLY pour the cream into the egg yolk mixture, while whisking. 

Add to this, 2 teaspoons of very good vanilla extract.  No Imitation vanilla, please.

Add 2 Tablespoons cold brewed coffee.  I use leftover morning coffee.

Very Important - Strain this through a fine mesh strainer, catching all those little bits of cooked egg.  No one wants that.

Pour the custard into 6 ungreased custard cups and place them into a water bath.  You know the drill. The oven is pre-heated to 350, and they'll cook approximately 30-35 minutes.  When you move the pan, the custard should still jiggle just a bit in the center.  Remove the pan from the oven, and allow them to cool in the water bath until the cups can easily be handled.

Refrigerate them for a minimum of 4 hours.  This is how they should look.  There should be no browning.

Here comes the fun part!  I like brown sugar on mine.  It has a lovely caramel/toasted marshmallow flavor.  You can use granulated sugar, if you prefer.  Use about 1 teaspoon of sugar for each cup.

Spread the sugar over the surface of the custard, using the back of the spoon.  I've placed the cup on a kitchen tile.....getting ready for the next step.

Use a kitchen torch, or you can use your broiler to caramelize the sugar, just until it's bubbly. 

Let it cool (I know how hard this part is) for at least 5 minutes, or you can refrigerate for 5 minutes.  Be careful, at this point.  If you refrigerate for more than 5-10 minutes after caramelizing, you will loose the crunch factor.  I usually just let it cool a bit on the counter.  Careful of the rim, it might be hot.  If you don't have a torch, no problem, just use your broiler. 

This is very rich, very creamy, and the slight coffee flavor in the background is unexpected, but absolutely delicious.  I hope you try it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Going Frogging

It's a dirty job, but someone's gotta to do it.

This sock pattern is the famous and much knitted pattern  Monkey Socks by Cookie A.  As you can see, by the Ravelry link, they are lovely.  Lovely in solids and lovely in blends of many kinds.

Problem:  This colorway is not the best choice for this particular pattern.  I am now suffering from 'second sock syndrome'.  I can't bear the thought of knitting another sock, considering I really don't like how these came out.  I really dislike the ankle portion, where this ARTY YARNS Ultramarino 4 settled itself into a puddle of color madness.  Not a pretty sight.  Crap!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Monday, August 9, 2010

Ishbel, complete

Needle size: 7 US
Yarn:  Dream In Color Smooshy, Ruby River
Yarn amount:  1 hank, 100 gram, 470 yards

This outside photo depicts the color more accurately.  Check out this cute pattern here:  Ravelry

All in all, a very sweet, little shawlette.  I'm ready and willing to try this pattern again. So many yarns, and so many colors...what to do?

Ok, on a different subject, sort of.  I'm noticing a trend here.  There's pink, ruby, Rosy, wine, cranberry, plum, and all things of a 'pinkish' nature.  Why am I doing this?  The answer:  I don't know!  I've gotten myself into this Rosy groove, and I can't seem to disengage myself.  There is definitely a need to knit something completely off the wall.  I will put this plan into action.  Promise.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Checking gauge

Yes, I actually swatched!  New yarn from Cherry Tree Hill was begging to become a pair of socks. I'm hoping this tiny bit of knit will be sufficient to check for correct needle size.  That's if I can unroll this baby.

As you can see, number 1 US needles swatched out at exactly 8 stitches to the inch.  Perfect.

Whew! After all that work, I need a snack.  Is anything better than fresh strawberries, right from the roadside stand?  I think not.

Now I'm ready to begin a pattern I've never tried before.  More on that, later.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Blocking Ishbel

You remember that movie, "The Blob", don't you?  It scared me to death, back in the day.  "The Blob" is the first thing I thought of when I finished the Ishbel shawl.  Click on this link to go back in time :   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnI0aYq9ebE

After a good suds bath, about 30 minutes, I finished blocking, trying not to stretch too much, but hoping the measurements came out as per pattern.

I love the cheerful, rosy color, and the lace was about medium difficulty (for me).  It might have started out like The Blob, but I'm not complaining - no nupps!  I'll share details soon.

Monday, August 2, 2010

It's Cheesy

There are many things I could say about a grilled cheese sandwich, and you just know I'll be saying them at a later date.  Ruby wants a bite, and she's unapologetic about staring at me while I'm trying to enjoy my sandwich.  Is there a chance she'll get a taste?  Is the Pope Cath.....well, you know the rest.