Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricane Treats!

Miraculously, we have not lost power yet. Perhaps we won't end up losing it after all. I am hopeful, but it's hard to tell whether we'll be that lucky or not. I have no idea how much longer this storm is supposed to go on. What I do know, is the weather is supposed to be glorious tomorrow, and in fact, all week.

We are on the east side of the eye, which means we are having more wind than rain.

Around noon-ish, I decided to tempt fate and make a batch of cookies: oatmeal with cranberries and walnuts. Tried and true and wonderful, so I'll share the recipe here.

1 cup butter ( or margarine), softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar (light or dark -- doesn't matter -- whatever you have on hand)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups old fashioned oats
3/4 cup flour (preferably unbleached)
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
(or if you don't have whole wheat flour on hand, use 1-1/2 cups regular flour)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars, then beat in eggs and vanilla.

In another bowl, mix oats, flour, baking soda, and salt, and gradually add to the creamed mixture.

Stir in walnuts and cranberries.

Drop by teaspoons 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten the rounded balls of dough slightly.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown.

Remove to wire racks to cool.

Makes about 4 dozen.

Friday, August 26, 2011


I finished my Westknits Earth & Sky Shawl yesterday afternoon. The first two pics show it hot off the needles, neither washed nor blocked.

I thought I might wait until today to do the washing and blocking, but found I was too eager to see how it would look in the very final step. Here it is, pinned out on my dining room table to dry. If I had more foam interlocking tiles, I could have stretched this out even further. I might have to order a few more of these, since what I have isn't enough to accommodate a really big shawl.
This was a really enjoyable knit. Would I do it again? Answer below...
And if Stephen does another knit-along in the future, you can bet I'll be signing on!

Next step for the first shawl? Overdyeing the dress I want to wear with it. Original dress color is a terra cotta very similar to the terra cotta shade in the shawl. It looked like a different color in the catalogue picture, and the color of the dress that actually arrived on my doorstep was totally WRONG for me. Still, it was a Lands End turtleneck dress, and I believed that surely someday I would find exactly the right thing to wear with it. That day never arrived, but in the intervening years I learned how easy it is to overdye cotton fabric, so I will be doing that, and hopefully the dress will be a lovely dark brown when all is said and done. It won't match the brown in the shawl exactly, but the green border will provide enough distraction to keep most people from noticing.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Oh, dear...

It has been awhile since I blogged last. Sometimes, it seems, I just don't have an awful lot to say. Having family here for a visit for a week or so at the end of July/beginning of August left me feeling strangely drained of thought and energy.

One positive thing I did was to treat myself to a Mystery Knit Along -- a new shawl pattern from Stephen West at WestKnits. My very first WestKnits pattern was the Windschief Hat, which I knitted for Grant Hart last winter. It was a lucky find while I was browsing Ravelry's cache of hat patterns for something that might suit Mr. Hart, whom I did not know very well yet at the time of knitting.

I enjoyed that hat pattern so much, I have knitted others for myself, and a second one for Grant, and a number of Stephen's other hats as well, plus two shawls.

After my company left, I was despondently cruising around Ravelry and happened to see the announcement for Mr. West's Knit Along. I was only a couple of days late joining the party and figured I could catch up quickly enough, so I paid for the download. It's still in progress, but nearly done now. I just have to put the edging on and bind it off, then wash and block, and it will be good to go. Here's a picture of it, partway through the third "clue."

I have a turtleneck dress I bought a few years ago, which is just about the same shade of terra cotta as I used in the shawl. It's nice in the shawl, but on me a whole dress in that color is...well...gagsome. Luckily it's 100% cotton, so I am overdyeing it dark brown. It won't be the exact same shade of brown as the yarn I used in the shawl, unless of course I am very, very lucky, but it should be close enough to be attractive. And besides, there will be very few places in the edging where the brown is actually next to the fabric of the dress for comparison. The biggest part of the edging will be spruce green.

The shawl was also a great way to test some really beautiful yarn I'll soon be selling. It's a 2-ply sport weight yarn from New Zealand that will be fantastic for outwear. It's not terribly soft, but is sturdy and durable and really has some body to it. Definitely not Merino. It feels more like Shetland. I can see it making excellent hats, boot socks, or mittens, and of course I know now that it's great for a cold winter day shawl.

Anyway, I've been busy skeining it up and washing it in preparation for selling.

I pretty much wash everything I sell, so it's ready to work with the minute it lands in a customer's hands. Washing really brings a yarn that's been compressed tightly on a cone back to life.

In addition to all that knitting and skein winding, I've started playing with dye again, and added some nice new items to my shop. Below is a sampling of spinning fibers, but I added some new yarns, too.

Well, back to my regularly scheduled knitting now, while you enjoy an old favorite of mine, which I rediscovered this week.