Saturday, March 28, 2009

Beach Knitting, and Cupcakes

See those specks walking into the ocean? Those are my daughters bodysurfing in 55° water, no wetties.

My knitting mojo has been very iffy this last month. I have frogged the Just Enough Ruffles scarf you see above not once, not twice, but three times trying to get at the root of a problem that I probably needed just to turn a blind eye towards - something nobody would notice, ever, but me, and since this is probably going to be given away, I'd never see it again anyway. I am at the point where I have to increase to 600 stitches, so I thought I'd take my knitting to the beach and try to relax about the whole thing. It was a nice outing for scarfy, especially since I just let it sit at the end of my chair without touching it the whole time. This should teach me not to knit the same thing twice.

I'm also working on a gathered scarf that took a big left turn last night. After eight repetitions of the pattern, I found myself with an unmanageable urge to bind. off. now. So I did. I added a row of buttonholes in the last bit of garter stitch and bound off, and today I will decide what kind of garment it's become. Is it a neckwarmer? Is it the body of a little sweater? I don't know.

I am happy to have any knitting news, though...I have a lot of photos of food to blog but I don't want give the impression that all I do is cook to support an unhealthy obsession with sweets. Not that it wouldn't be true, but I don't want to give the impression.

Truth be told, I bake a few times a week - so much that my family isn't actually too interested anymore (although it has ruined them for store-bought dessert). I made some cupcakes on Tuesday for a birthday party and looky here - I still have all of these left over. Left to my own devices I'd eat every one, but I'm just going to take their picture instead, press them upon anyone who stops by, and then throw the last, sad, uneaten ones, all the while convincing myself not to give in. These cupcakes are the Magnolia Vanilla recipe (follow the timing directions for beating the batter or risk ending up with little bricks) with frosting from Billy's recipe. They are the bomb. And my family is crazy.

Hey lady, what are you knitting? And PS, you need a pedi!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tastes Like Spring

The sweetest tangerines you'll ever taste.

My knitting has been sporadic and crazy the last couple of weeks so I'm just going to share some pretty pictures with you instead. Half the tangerines and blood oranges are laden with fruit, while the other half is apparently taking a sabbatical - I'm not sure why, but I'm sure they have a good reason.

Blood oranges...not as sweet, but they are pretty

Monday, March 16, 2009

Scones Two Ways

Cheesy chivey goodness

How do you like'em? Sweet or savory? Lemon cream scones have become a go-to recipe for me (Warning - if you've eaten my scones and are looking for the exact recipe, this ain't it - it's the base I started with and the one you should start with too!). They're easy, they always come out great, and you can make the dough the night before and bake them off quickly in the morning. These are light with slightly crunchy tops - I hate it when scones are heavy and dry. They're perfect by themselves with a cup of coffee or tea, but they'd be delicious with jam or cream.

Yesterday we had a National Charity League meeting and my assignment was to bring 4 doz. appetizers. Given that it's St. Patrick's Day tomorrow I searched online for an Irish appetizer. It turns out, Irish appetizer = beer, so after rejecting the idea of green deviled eggs (presumably with ham) I found a recipe very similar to my basic scones that called for cheddar cheese and chives.

I made two batches of this recipe using some fantastic Kerrygold cheddar (to stay in the Irish theme) and used a small biscuit cutter to make these little rounds. The cheddar was white but still sharp, so it had great fresh flavor but didn't make my scones Cheez-it yellow. I tested a crumb when they came out of the oven and they were delicious, but the true test is that a platter of about 80 of these little babies was wiped clean in minutes.

Lemony crunchy deliciousness

Today I have a meeting to hear grant presentations (Support your local nonprofits! They are feeling the pinch from both directions - more clients and fewer donors! But also look here, this is a silver lining.) and I was asked to bring the lemon scones, so I made a double batch and used the same cutter. It's a perfect size for someone who just wants a little something but not a whole big scone.

If you make these, here are a couple of tips that have made a big difference in the outcome for me: good, fresh, aluminum-free baking powder; mixing everything by hand to keep the dough light; wrapping the kneaded dough in plastic and letting it rest for 15 minutes (or even overnight) before patting out to cut; and preheating the oven for a good long time. And of course, if you add stuff like cheese or nuts...the better the ingredient the better the scones will taste!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Short Sleeves That Took a Long Time

Finally. The Ms. Hyacinth Jeans is washed, blocked, woven, done. I don't have too much to say about it other than that. Behold it from many angles:

The pattern is Mr. Greenjeans from Knitty; the yarn is Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Jacinto.

I obviously modified it to make a pullover...

...and then shortened the sleeves while lengthening the body.

The hemline doesn't actually ripple like that - I need a photo stylist.
Who probably would've repainted the wall and removed the cat dish, too.

The recipient? Unknown. Anna, while slim, has rower's shoulders (that's a good thing) and Fiona hasn't seen it yet. One thing we know for sure is that it's not for me - short sleeves and a long fitted body are not finding their way into my wardrobe anytime soon!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Unblocked, But No Longer Unfinished

I swear it took me two weeks to knit three little rows of ribbing on the final sleeve of this thing. I finally bound off last night, wove in the ends, sewed down the placket, and called it done. I'm not sure I love it anymore.

We'll see after it takes a bath and relaxes. Maybe the magic of blocking will kindle our romance.