Wednesday, November 19, 2014

"I’m a big fan of small business ownership. I think it’s the backbone of American innovation. But to be successful, you first have to have the courage to go for it." ~ Bill Rancic

I recently posted to Face-Book about my sister Robin's new Etsy shop. I have made noise since I retired about opening my own shop, but three and a half years later, it's been nothing but talk. Robin has made hers a reality! I'm so proud of her and of her finely crafted, one of a kind felted goods. 

Robin's shop has been in the works for a bit, and she utilizes upcycled wool items and felting techniques for her products.

I'm going to share a few below, and then invite you to peruse her shop!

Aren't they beautiful?! Let's go shopping!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

"The only difference between an experienced knitter and new knitter is that the experienced knitter makes bigger mistakes faster. Be bold; there are no terrible consequences in knitting." ~ Stephanie Pearl-McPhee


When we headed to the Cape last month, I took along all of my recently completed knitting projects that still needed to have the ends woven in - if you are a knitter, you know that this is a tedious job - why I always leave this till the very end is just a sign of my tendency to procrastinate. I had 3-4 baby sweaters, and a shawl or two - enough to keep me busy while we were there.  I stuck the materials for a new project in my bag just in case I finished these faster than I anticipated. Honestly - they took so little time that I am yet again frustrated by my tendency to not weave the ends in as I go along.

Anyhow! I did get started on a new project - Zuzu's Petals, with the name coming from my all time favorite holiday movie, It's a Wonderful Life. The yarn that I chose for this project is in the shade of "Ice Queen" and is from the Freia Ombre collection. It is a lovely yarn to work with, but I admit to being a bit ticked when off about half way through my knitting I found that it had been knotted and tied - not what I expect from such a lovely and pricey yarn. Onward. I had not brought a printed copy of the pattern, but chose to rely on the downloaded version on my ipad. Well into it, I was ready to begin the lace portion. I knew that I had the correct number of stitches to proceed, so proceed I did. I scrolled up to what I thought was the next row. No matter how many times (many, and into the wee hours of the morning), I knit and ripped back this next row, I could not get it right. I counted and recounted; said every stitch and step aloud as I began the next row again. Each and every time I did not have the correct number of stitches to correctly complete the following row. Ugh! I checked online for errata - none. I checked to see how many successfully completed projects of Zuzu's Petals were posted to Ravelry - 3,244 - I had to concede that the problem was with the knitter - me. So, I set the project aside, emailed a few friends I hoped would be at knitting the following Monday and I could ask for help, and went to bed.

When Monday rolled around and I took all of my materials to my knitting group, and as the first person arrived, I began to tell her my tale of woe. I showed her the pattern on my ipad and suddenly, suddenly I realized that I had not scrolled all the way back up to the top of the page - I had omitted 3 entire rows of the pattern! Knitter error indeed! 

I'm rarely frustrated by my knitting, but this got to me, especially since the pattern, once resumed correctly, was a breeze to complete. One important lesson learned - print out the pattern! Anyhow - it's done and I love it. It even snowed yesterday so that I had a perfect backdrop for pictures!

Zuzu's Petals s actually a cowl, and proved interesting when it came time to block it - extra large vinegar bottle to the rescue! I have completed a different shawl since then (now blocking), but I can look back and laugh at my "knitter error" on a project that should have been a piece of cake!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

“There are four unbroken rules when it comes to Thanksgiving: there must be turkey and dressing, cranberries, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie.” ~ John Hadamuscin

I had intended to post on this earlier, but here it is now - Cranberry, Walnut and Orange Pound Cake (Bread) using my freshly picked Cape Cod cranberries. While on the Cape, for the second year in a row, we followed the sign saying "Fresh Cranberries" down a little country lane. There we find a cart on the side of the road with 3 lb. bags of fresh cranberries, $6.00 a bag. There is a box with a slot in the top to place your money. I do love that the honor system is still alive and well in some corners of our crazy world.

Last year I made enough cranberry sauce to sink a ship. Something different this year, I decided. I scouted out bread recipes with cranberries, but settled on the one that is actually called a pound cake. I made alterations to the original recipe, so if you click on the blue link up above, note that I did a few things differently. First, I did not make the glaze to go on top. Most importantly though, instead of the teaspoon of orange zest as called for, I used 2 tablespoons. I can't imagine that you would really taste the orange with such a small amount. Also - I admit that I used clementine zest since I had a bowl full of clementines!

I do not have enough bread pans for the loaves that I wanted to make, so I used aluminum ones from the dollar store. They were quite shallow however, so the loaves look a little odd! I made six total, and put all but one in the freezer for future use - most importantly to bring to our Thanksgiving gathering in a few weeks!

Sweet batter; crunchy walnuts, tart cranberries and fragrant orange (clementine) - this is really, really delicious. I'm sure that another loaf or two will go missing before Thanksgiving. Thank goodness I made 6!