Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I'm back!

So, I really meant to update a few days ago, when we got back from Pittsburgh. Really. But then I got sick, and then I had to do the whole ALA (American Library Association) conference deal, and now here I am, finally taking a breath!

I'm finally getting the photos from our trip organized and ready to share, and am planning to spread it out over a couple entries. Boy did we have a good time!

Before we left, I finished my Vienna Shrug. I can't believe how soft the yarn is, and how incredible the color looks in the sun. Here's a look-see:

And before I go, here's a peek at our trip:


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Quick Update

I haven't written in a bit, but for good reason--J and I are on vacation in Pittsburgh for a few days, seeing the sights, eating good things, lazing about, and petting  penguin. We've been trying to get ahead with home things and work things, so there hasn't been much time for the internet, but I'll be back soon with a couple entries recapping our visit. Have a great weekend!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Giveaway on Wendy Knits!

Wendy D.  Johnson of Wendy Knits is having an awesome giveaway on her blog. She's offering a copy of her Gothic Spires store/scarf pattern, and two skeins of Zen Garden Serenity 20 yarn. Go check it out!

Also, today is National Strawberry Shortcake Day. In honor of that, here is a recipe Serious Eats put out in honor of the occassion.

Photo from Serious Eats

Red Velvet Cocoa Strawberry Shortcake (Recipe from Serious Eats, found here)

Red Velvet Cocoa Strawberry Shortcake

- makes 8 shortcakes -
Adapted from The Taste of Home Cookbook
2 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cocoa
1/3 cup cold butter
red food coloring (optional)
1 cup milk (or split between 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup buttermilk)
2 pints strawberries, sliced
1 tablespoon orange juice
2 cups freshly whipped cream
1. In a large bowl, combine flour, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, baking powder, cocoa powder, and salt. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Gradually stir in the milk until a soft dough forms. Add food coloring and mix until incorporated.
2. Drop dough by heaping tablespoons into eight mounds on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 425°F for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.
3. Meanwhile, in a bowl, gently toss the strawberries, orange juice and remaining sugar. Split each cooled biscuit into two horizontal layers. Top the bottom layers with whipped cream and strawberries; place the biscuit halves on top. Serve immediately.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I'm a winner!

A few weeks back, one of my favorite yarn people, Karida of Neighborhood Fiber Co., had a contest and drawing for her new colorways. I didn't win the naming contest, BUT...I won a skein of studio sock in the newly named Victorian Village!

My yarn came in the mail earlier last week, and the color is stunning. It's a deeper fuschia than what the photo shows. If you remember, I used Neighborhood Fiber Co.'s Studio Sock in Georgetown for my Citron Shawl and was quite pleased with how everything turned out.

So, any ideas on what I should make next (besides socks)? I've got 435 yards at my disposal. Hmm....

Thank you, Karida!!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Vienna Shrug

The Vienna Shrug has been blocked and is now ready for its ribbed trim. At the moment, it may be put to the side in favor of charity projects, but I'm really chomping at the bit to finish it soon!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Craft Hope

I recently came across a wonderful website that connects crafters with important causes that need their help.

Their current project is set to help clean off wildlife in the Gulf. Needed are people who sew, knit, or crochet, to make small hand towels. They don't need to be fancy because they will likely be thrown away after three or four uses, and can just be a piece of terrycloth with serged edges. Read more about it HERE! The project is due July 3rd, so get those needles busy!

And sorry for the lack of posting lately--I'm still tired from being under the weather this weekend, and haven't been working on as much as I had hoped. The Vienna Shrug body is ready to be blocked tonight though, and hopefully I'll have the sleeve cuffs and collar finished or close to finished by the end of the weekend. Can't wait to see the final product!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Wildlife in the Gulf

The now famous pictures by AP photographer Charlie Reidel are sure to pull at the heartstrings. We all keep asking ourselves, what can I do? If you have a few extra dollars, or some extra time, please take a moment to donate to or volunteer with Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research HERE. BP is helping with the funding of these projects, but Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research could always use more resources.

I lived in Baton Rouge for two years, and my husband has close family who live in New Orleans. Brown pelicans and egrets became ordinary to the backdrop of our lives, and it is extremely jarring to see what these innocent creatures are struggling through now.

To see the photographs by Charlie Reidel, go to this article. The pictures are very sad and disturbing, so proceed at your own risk.

Monday, June 7, 2010

On the needles

The husband and I had intended to go to my town's annual festival this weekend, but I was feeling miserable and the weather was in the 90s with 5000% humidity. We decided to stay in, he working on his shoot-'em-up video game, me working on a new shrug. We went to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival last month, where I found a simple pattern for a nice summer shrug--the Vienna Shrug  by Hannah Six. I've been waiting to get going on this pattern for some time now, so though I wasn't feeling well, it was really great to finally sit down and spend some quality time with it.

I'm about three quarters of the way through with the body; after that I'll have ribbed trim to finish around the body and the sleeve cuffs. The pattern has been really easy to memorize, and hopefully it will be finished by the end of the week. I'm using Shepherd's Wool worsted in Lime Green on size 8 needles, and am really pleased with the stitch definition and fluffiness of the yarn. Hopefully, I'll have something more complete to show off soon!

Friday, June 4, 2010


I love knitting on DPNs. For some reason, I feel like I'm doing something and getting stuff done; moreso than when I knit on circulars or straight needles.

Is it just me, or does anyone else feel the same?

Enjoy your weekend, everyone! And don't forget to take advantage of National Doughnut Day today!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Blackberry Peach Pie

Last night, I was faced with making a dessert for a party we're holding for our student workers. Because I don't know the words "give up and go buy a dessert and stop torturing your poor husband with baked goods he can't eat" or "it's 9:00 pm, do you really want to bake?", I decided I'd make a blackberry peach pie.

You see, I'm a freak of nature late night baker, so this shouldn't be surprising. But, pie crust and I have always had a strained relationship. It's one of those things where we've always agreed to disagree and leave it at that. Until....I browsed the Pioneer Woman's site a few days ago and found a reader recipe for a Perfect Pie Crust--the title says it's perfect! It has a ton of pretty pictures! And it's on the Pioneer Woman! What could go wrong?

Unsuspecting looking filling

I usually tear my crust to bits before I can get it into any sort of pan. This is a good sign!

Bottom crust and filling...the kitchen is starting to smell good

Let's all say one last prayer before it goes into the oven...

Aaannnd, done!

Thankfully, not much went wrong. My coworkers enjoyed the pie (or so they said), and the crust was delightfully flaky. Pre-baking, dough was a lot sloppier than what I am used to because of the extra liquid used (5 T water, 1 T vinegar, 1 egg). Freezing helped, and I had to make sure I picked up the crust completely off the counter frequently when rolling it (thank you Martha Stewart), so it wouldn't stick and become a sloppy mess. 

Sylvia's Perfect Pie Crust (On The Pioneer Woman, submitted by Sylvia)

1-½ cup Crisco (vegetable Shortening)
3 cups All-purpose Flour
1 whole Egg
5 Tablespoons Cold Water
1 Tablespoon White Vinegar
1 teaspoon Salt
Preparation Instructions

In a large bowl, with a pastry cutter, gradually work the Crisco into the flour for about 3 or 4 minutes until it resembles a coarse meal. In a small bowl, beat an egg with a fork and then pour it into the flour/shortening mixture. Add 5 tablespoons of cold water, 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir together gently until all of the ingredients are incorporated.

Separate the dough into thirds. Form 3 evenly sized balls of dough and place each dough into a large Ziploc bag. Using a rolling pin, slightly flatten each ball of dough (about ½ inch thick) to make rolling easier later. Seal the bags and place them in the freezer until you need them. (If you will be using it immediately it’s still a good idea to put in the freezer for about 15 to 20 minutes to chill.)

When you are ready to use the dough to make a crust, remove from the freezer and allow to thaw for 15 minutes. On a floured surface roll the dough, starting at the center and working your way out. (Sprinkle some flour over top of the dough if it’s a bit too moist.) If the dough is sticking to the countertop use a metal spatula and carefully scrape it up and flip it over and continue rolling until it’s about ½ inch larger in diameter than your pie pan.

With a spatula, lift the dough carefully from the surface of the counter into the pie pan. Gently press the dough against the corner of the pan. Go around the pie pan pinching and tucking the dough to make a clean edge.


Blackberry Peach Filling (From Bobby Flay on the Food Network website; I omitted the alcohol in this recipe because it was about 10 pm before I got around to mixing it up and I didn't feel like going to the store. C'est la vie.)

3 pounds mixed yellow and white peaches, peeled, pitted, sliced about 1/2-inch thick
1/3 to 1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/3 to 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground fresh nutmeg
2 tablespoons peach eau de vie
1/4 cup cornstarch or tapioca
1 cup fresh blackberries
2 tablespoons cassis
2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
2 to 3 tablespoons heavy cream
2 to 3 tablespoons turbinado sugar

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


The Citron Shawl is complete!

It didn't come out as ruffly as it should have; I think I blocked it too tightly. Nevertheless, I love it. The pattern was detailed and easy to follow, and could be a good beginner project.

Citron was knitted on a size 4 24-inch circular, using Neighborhood Fiber Co.'s Studio Sock in Georgetown. I absolutely adore Neighborhood Fiber Co.'s colorways! While I do like earthy and neutral colors, some companies and dyers take it too far and their colors become frustratingly watery and pasty. Neighborhood Fiber Co.'s yarns are refreshingly bold and bright, and named for neighborhoods found in DC and Columbus, OH. You can't see it in this picture, but there are hints of a deep violet lurking in the yarn.

Enjoy the FREE pattern from Knitty here!

Unrelated but equally fun: my friend Kimberly has a fashion blog and is doing her first giveaway to celebrate her hundredth post. I hope to be able to do the same if there is enough interest in the future, so stay tuned! Check her out here, and enter to win a Merona zebra stripe clutch wallet: Fashion Momma 

Have a great day, folks! Stay cool in this warm weather!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Crafty Clutch

My sister, N, made me a clutch this week.

The best part about having a crafty sister is that she knows exactly what you want in a gift. For me, it is unexpected, colorful purse-linings.

In return, I am taking care of her dog while she is relaxing somewhere sunny and sandy. Really though--it's not that big of a chore. Who can resist this face?

In knitting news, not much has happened this weekend. Stella is still inching along. I sent the knitted gifts I mentioned earlier (which consisted of a modified feather and fan dishcloth, two potholders I stitched up quickly using the double seed stitch, and a soap sock), but was in such a hurry to gift them that I forgot to take photos. For now, you'll just have to contend with PupsterFace.

The end.