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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Baby Surprise Jacket 2, main knitting completed

This morning I was up early, not cooking this time, but knitting along on L's Baby Surprise Jacket.  Dear one came upstairs to join me (showing me the fine points of Roku operation, thank goodness, so now I can knit while enjoying media...in this case a family history podcast then some wonderful scriptural conversations on BYU-TV) which encouraged me to keep on knitting until I had finished the major knitting of the sweater and then did the purl bind-off.  On the first Baby Surprise Jacket I knit up I used the regular knitted bind-off. I will have to notice which I prefer.

Today I will hope to get all the ends woven in ready to try it on L tomorrow and see what I may need to do with the sleeve length.  I think she will want a little more length but not sure.  I will then go see Debbie at Country Woolens for some suggestions as to the best, most attractive way to do the sleeve lengthening.  I have some ideas but why re-invent the wheel when it is unnecessary.

Baby Surprise Jacket laid flat to see the weirdness of its appearance 'before'

See the yarn ends waiting for weaving in?!
Baby Surprise Jacket folded before yarn ends woven in.

Breakfast was sort of interesting today.  It was scheduled to be oatmeal. In the interest of making it more fun to eat I cored an apple then finely sliced/chopped it and threw it into 2 cups of boiling water to start cooking.  A couple minutes later I added one cup of old-fashioned oatmeal and cooked until done.  Two days ago I had made some applesauce (cored but not peeled then cooked the apples that were beginning to be less crunchy) by putting it into the Cuisinart when they were completely cooled then pureeing in great shape. I had thrown in three handfuls of sugar, but found that the applesauce was disgustingly sweet and very baby-food-like.  Really too nasty to eat, SO I took a cup of it and put it into the oatmeal/apple mush and stirred well, then tossed in a couple tablespoons of chopped walnuts.  It was pretty good!  Enough sweetener so no more sugar was needed and enough nutrition to feel virtuous, plus the added bonus that a cup of oatmeal mush for breakfast really holds you over well until lunchtime...unlike some breakfasts which leave you wanting more within an hour or so.

Another thing I made for my breakfast (as opposed to 'our' breakfast) was some miso soup.  This stuff looks like dishwater so you really cannot look at it, but it tastes nice,  is filling, since it is mostly water, and is cheap to make.  Simple:  bring 3 cups water to boil, stir in one teaspoon Hon-Dashi then put a little strainer into the pan with 1-2 Tablespoons of miso paste and stir it in through the strainer.  Add some chopped scallions and pour it into your mug to sip.  Very satisfying and comforting.  If you want to go a little more authentic,  you can add some wakame (seaweed) to the boiling water.  I did that the first time and went a little overboard.  Next time I will crumble up the wakame AND not put in as much. It is not really nasty but it takes some getting used to.  I think perhaps chopped fresh spinach might give you the same idea.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Book Group and Apple Pie Jam

Book Group is an important part of my life.  I don't always get there.  I don't always get the book read even when I do get there.  What I do always do is love being with the sisters who are there, whether I am there in person or in spirit.  Each time the hostess has some sort of refreshments to enjoy after the discussion.

In September the book was Still Alice.  This book was very difficult for many of the ladies as some have or had family members with Alzheimer's disease, or find themselves forgetting things and imagine the same disease becoming part of their own lives.

Being one of the latter ones, I dissolved in tears too many times, but did love the discussion and the sweet sharing that took place throughout the evening.  When it came time for refreshments, Melissa had put out a fabulous spread of comfort foods, like lighter-than-air crescent rolls, cornmeal muffins, poppyseed muffins, and a variety of toppings for them including the best honey butter you ever slathered on bread, fresh strawberry jam, rich dark apple butter, and the apple pie jam I brought.  (I brought something else to put the apple pie jam on, but cannot for the life of me remember what it was--note comment above--and figure it was probably not that spectacular if I cannot remember...). 

The jam is like thick quite sweet applesauce. 

How to Succeed Feeding Young People Early in the Morning..

Yesterday dear one told me he had found a recipe for cinnamon buns.  Online.  And handed me the recipe. It looked really good and was a knock-off of CinnaBon's classic cinnamon buns.  Dear one was hoping I would make them for a Monday morning treat for Seminary, and, of course, for himself, who loves all things baked.  Well, not millet loaf, but...!  So, I looked through the recipe and discovered two essential ingredients did not happen to currently reside in our refrigerator, so, not a Sunday shopper, I had to pass on that recipe but DID find another overnight cinnamon bun recipe.

This is what they looked like thirty minutes ago after I took them out of the oven, glazed them, and plated them:
Overnight cinnamon buns, plated...with three more still on pan...

This is what these buns looks like now:

It is a good thing they helped themselves because they will not be as good tomorrow!  When I told the kids I was going to put out a "rating system" paper, they immediately told me these were "11".  That made me happy.  Particularly since many of the things would rate about 1, or less...!

Millet Loaf, Take One!

Barb, a friend from Maine, goes to Parkview's Lifestyle Choices program.  Before she went to the program this fall she was regaling us with how wonderful it was, how much she learned, and how many great vegan recipes the program binder contained.  Since she knew I was trying to improve our eating, and thereby, my health, she very kindly sent me one of her binders.  What an angel!!

So many wonderful-sounding recipes.  The first one I made was a pot of millet porridge.  Well, I did not actually use it as porridge.  I took a bowl of the cooked millet and inadvertently put it into a bowl that had a little butter in the bottom.  With butter in it, I thought, "Why not put a little salt and pepper on top?"  Well, it was very nice...so the second time I ate millet I ate it the same way.  Another time I think I will put chipotle seasoning on.

The first way I used millet in a recipe was Millet Loaf.  My recipe is sort of like the one in the Lifestyle binder but enough different that I feel confident sharing it.

Millet loaf ready for the refrigerator.
To eat this loaf, I sliced a thin piece, put a little mayonnaise on a slice of whole wheat batter bread, and ate it as a sandwich. It was really good!  Surprisingly good.

The next slice I ate I decided to dispense with the mayonnaise (not because it wasn't good...it really was...but I don't need that much fat.  Don't know where I got the will power to avoid that devil mayonnaise that time, but I am happy about it!) and instead I put the slice of millet loaf on a small plate and covered it with cottage cheese and sprinkled on a lot of chipotle seasoning.  Now, THAT was REALLY good!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Baby Surpise Jacket, One, or maybe Two...

Elizabeth Zimmermann is a wonderful fabulous woman and knitter.  She has inspired thousands and thousands of women to knit, one of whom is me. I  had already started knitting but when I read her book, Knitting Without Tears, I fell in love with Elizabeth, and with knitting all over again!  Since then I have acquired all but one of her books and several DVDs which she did with her wonderful fabulous daughter, Meg Swansen, and continue to be inspired by them on a regular basis.

When my friend Laura was expecting her first baby (little Freya) I decided I wanted to knit up a Baby Surprise Jacket because I wanted a challenge and felt sure I could follow the directions and do it.  Another friend suggested I get the Lion Brand Microspun yarn because it was "awesomely soft"...so I purchased six or seven colors and started in on BSJ.  WELL, that darn yarn WAS soft;  it was also very split-y.  It drove me crazy and eventually I stopped altogether and threw the whole project in my knitting project trunk (which I got from my Grandmother Corwin!!--well, from her estate, anyway...) and felt sad that I had not made a gift for Freya.

Fast forward to this fall when I received a flyer about fall classes at the Country Woolens yarn shop in Lebanon.  There, among many other lovely sounding  classes, was a class for the Adult Surprise Jacket!  I flew down to the shop to look at Debbie's sample.  Oh. My. Goodness!  It was just what I wanted, and in the yarn I wanted to use:  Hilda Yates' Bartlettyarn.  I already had half a dozen colors but knew I just had to go to Hilda's yarn sale weekend again this year with a plan!  AND Hilda's yarn sale weekend is coming up NEXT WEEKEND!!! Perfect timing, Debbie!  Perfect timing, Hilda!

SO, up to the workroom I went to see if I did really have the previously started and yanked out BSJ.  There it was, so I sat down and went to work.  I had no trouble at all and in about three evenings I finished knitting it up.  It looks nothing like a sweater until you fold it:

The red strip is the cast-on edge of this BSJ and the purple/yellow strip with holes at the right and left is the buttonhole/button band in the front of the sweater.
For some reason I had NO TROUBLE with splitting stitches this time.  Perhaps it is all the knitting I have done since the sweater went on vacation in Great-Great Grammie's trunk!  Be that as it may, the sweater knit up really fast:  knit every stitch with a few decrease rows and a few increase rows.

Here is the BSJ folded and ready for the seam...
OK, well, rotating the photo is not my strong suit, but I think you can easily see this is a great little sweater.
Last Monday J and A and family were here for supper and the evening...such a treat as they have not been here for ages and ages...and when I showed the sweater to A, she thought it would be great if I made one of those for L, for whom I had already planned a sweater, though my original thought for L's yellow sweater (to use up some yellow Bartlettyarn I had) was to knit it on my Bond America Incredible Sweater Machine.  WELL, the idea of hand knitting a BSJ for L really hit the spot with me because not only would I get her a sweater made, it would be a giant gauge swatch for my Adult Surprise Jacket which I will be knitting in class in November and December!  Done!!!  Cast on immediately!

Well, I did cast on immediately and on two long trips I did a fair amount of knitting.  Today after Church I did another four garter ridges and have now started the increases....not quite half-way done. I hope to finish this week, though it is a pretty busy week.

This is the beginning of L's Baby Surprise:
As you can see..yellow was the cast on row and every time there is a change in pattern instructions I have used yellow, since this is supposed to be a yellow sweater, BUT  "I like pink and purple, too, Grammie!"
At Church I measured L (for the first time) to see if there was the remotest possibility that this sweater would fit.  I do think it will happen.  Last Thursday I sent an email to Schoolhouse Press to ask about sizing with worsted weight yarn and size 8 needles with 3.5 stitches per inch gauge and CULLY wrote me back.  CULLY who was the recipient of the very first Baby Surprise Jacket ever knit by Elizabeth Zimmermann!  It was so lovely of him to take the time himself to write back.  He gave me the information I needed plus some wonderful advice.  I am so grateful.  It is making my mind much easier.

Well, the cinnamon buns are now on the 2-hour rest so I will move to the upper regions where I will sit beside my love and knit on L's BSJ for a while.  I will postpone kitchen cleaning until later!

New Purse-Simplicity Pattern

In the middle of everything, I wanted a new hands-free purse.  Simplicity has a pattern which I had purchased some time ago.  A kind person on Freecycle gave me two bags of fabric scraps a month or more ago in which was a lovely piece of tapestry upholstery fabric.  I thought the two should be married.

WELL, it was not all hunky-dory but I did get a purse made.  Here is a badly-Photoshopped picture of the completed project:

The brown is where I was trying to knock out the public restroom where I took the photo.  For some reason, without doing any funny stuff, well, except the magic wand tool used erroneously, there was brown all over the front of the purse and my skirt.  Oh, well, I think you can see the purse.

A little tip:  multiple layers of upholstery tapestry make for a VERY thick fabric.  Thank goodness I did not listen to the directions and put on the fusible fleece layer, too!

You cannot tell but there are two pockets on the front (you CAN see the little velcro strip on the right side which is for the iPod pocket, but I use a nice thick little case for my iPod so, while the encased iPod fits in the pocket, I cannot velcro it shut...so I tuck in the flap around the iPod.

On the left is a nice cell phone pocket, which works really great, except that I may be cell-phone-less pretty soon, unless the TracFone people come through.  The nice TracFone I purchased (and received) last week is one with a nice sliding QWERTY keyboard, a 2.0 mp camera, etc, PLUS a SIM card, whatever that is, and TracFones with SIM cards do NOT work in my neighborhood, unless I go outdoors (which is what the nice TracFone customer service representative told me....no SIM card phones work inside houses in our area--which is one-half mile from a cell tower...figure that one out!), and outdoors anywhere near our house there is no signal at all, either!  Of course, I did not walk down to the end of the driveway, or out to the road, because somehow that sort of takes away the joy of a cell phone.

TracFone is kindly sending me a refurbished cell phone which is supposedly in transit now.  I will be sending back the semi-expensive phone we purchased last week, for sure!  I wonder what the phone will have for attractions.  I told them I wanted the sliding keyboard (because I am old and not great at text messaging...but want to do it!!) but could live without the better camera, since I have a digital camera that goes with me everywhere.

OK...this post has gotten way out of control!  Time to call it a day on this one!

One (or two) last note on the new purse, because I did not have a magnetic closure devise in the first place, and in the second place, because the fabric was too thick to make it work,  AND because I don't do well with open purses, I made a little zippered bag to hold all the stuff that was going to be in the purse part and not in all the pockets.

By the way,  notice the cool zipper pocket in the strap...perfect place for money clip and credit cards...really tough for a thief to grab them...also, the black vertical strip between the cell phone and iPod pockets is a zipper for a pocket behind those pockets, PLUS there is another zippered pocket inside where I carry the camera and charger.  I love this purse.

One drawback with the purse is that the purse itself is heavy, then adding camera, phone, iPod, chargers, handkerchief, etc makes if VERY heavy on my shoulder. I may become stoop-shouldered!  If you see me wearing the back, remind me to stand up straight!

One other (and really the last thing I am going to say..)cool thing about the purse...I wear it in front of my belly like a belly pack when I am walking around (think security!) but when I am driving, I can just slide it to the left side so I can slide behind the wheel, something which would be impossible with the purse-as-belly-pack routine.  It must add at least a foot to my already considerable girth.