Category Archives: Knit

Puff, the magic…pastry

My go-to dessert for holiday parties this season has been a simple pear tart. Fresh sliced pears on a bed of puff pastry, brushed with butter and sprinkled with sugar before a little turn in the oven. (Please excuse the kitchen lighting; it was dark out. As usual.)

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Paired (peared? hah!) with my favorite bourbon caramel sauce, this is a heavenly dish. My favorite aunt sends me pears at Christmas, and many of them have gone the way of the tart. I”m saving some for cranberry pear bourbon jam, though.

I was reading blogs today, and saw Tango Mango’s decadent chocolate swirl buns, yeasty buns full of chopped chocolate. I was tempted, but feeling much too lazy to make a yeast dough and wait for it to rise. Luckily, I had one last puff pastry sheet in the freezer, so I did a mashup of her chocolate swirl buns and her pain au chocolat. (If you like to play with food, you really need to follow her blog.)

Here’s the result.

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Chocolate pinwheel puffs
Yield: 9 pretty puffs, and two not so pretty ones

Ingredients:
1 sheet puff pastry
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1 egg
sprinkle of sugar, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Use a little non-stick spray in the bottom of a standard muffin tin to keep melted chocolate from sticking. (I didn’t, and only had a little sticking.)

Thaw puff pastry, and then use a rolling pin to roll out dough to about 12″ by 12″, not a lot thinner, mostly just to roll out the creases. Sprinkle mini chocolate chips over the surface. I’m guessing on the amount, you could go way heavier if you want. Let your conscience be your guide. Mine looked like this. (sorry, more kitchen lighting)

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Roll the dough up into a tube. Scramble the egg to make an egg wash, and brush some on the edge to seal the roll. Slice the roll into 1 inch pieces. Place the pieces into the muffin pan. They look like they’re too small for the pan, but they’ll puff up. The two end pieces won’t be pretty; you can add additional chocolate chips to make up for it. Brush the pinwheels lightly with the egg wash, and sprinkle them with sugar if you’d like. I didn’t, but the sparkle and crunch would be a nice addition.

Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, until pastry is golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack. Eat the not quite so pretty end pieces first to hide the evidence.

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Enjoy your pinwheels while paging through Doomsday Knits. Oh, I think I forgot to tell you: Doomsday Knits is live!

Doomsday Knits

You can order your ebook for immediate delivery, or ebook and hard copy. Hard copies will ship in January. I’m looking forward to sniffing the ink in my printed version, but I’m enjoying my ebook NOW. My Thrumviator is in this book, and now that I’m back in Portland, I could really use one!

Thrumviator 2

Happy knitting, and happy munching!

Chasing the moonset, and Korknisse aloha!

Our vacation in Hawaii last week coincided with the full moon. I love watching the moon set over the water, and this time I was prepared! The moon set later each successive morning, so my pictures were different every day.

Monday, the 16th, 5:24 a.m. HST.
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By 5:51, things were looking distinctly reddish!
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Tuesday, 6:23 a.m. The moon was full last night at 11 p.m., so this is the full moon setting. The sky is a lot lighter, closer to dawn.
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Wednesday, 6:25 a.m. The moon is a lot higher than yesterday’s pic at this time.
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By 6:51, the sky was pretty light. No more lovely moonlight on the water, but I do like the puppy-shaped cloud.
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At that point, I wasn’t planning to wake early for any more moon pics, but on Thursday, I woke up early by accident, and saw Jupiter, below and to the right of the moon. 6:25 a.m.

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I learned a lot about my new camera, and have a lot more to learn. Looking forward to it!

On Friday and Saturday, the surf was unusually high, and the beaches on the west side of the Big Island were closed. This meant less beach time for us, but we enjoyed watching the waves from our lanai. All the comforts of home, and surfers to entertain us, too.

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I’ll tell you about our close encounter with a volcano in another post…

Have you finished your gift knitting? I don’t like scheduled gift knitting; it’s too much pressure for me. But I do like a little knitting for a personal touch. Do you remember the Korknisse I knit a couple years ago? (Pattern: Korknisse by Manne)

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I decided to knit a few on vacation. But my gauge was a lot looser this time around (a little too much aloha?), so I had to dress up champagne corks instead of regular corks.

chunky korknisse

L’il chunkies wishing you a merry Christmas Eve!

Arm Knitting?

I guess it’s a thing. You use your arms as knitting needles. Really big gauge, suitable for a chunky accessory. Check out the video here, and then let me know if you think it’s worth trying. I’m not convinced yet…

I’m being pretty slow about getting ready for Christmas, but here’s the next little step. This is the poinsettia tree at my church; we’ve been using the frame for the past three years or so. I always help set it up. I think we may need to scoot it back a little bit; the light isn’t falling quite right on it. I’m probably the only person who is that particular about it, though.

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You can see the first two advent candle banners on the right side of the picture. When it’s all up, it will look like this.

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We made these last year, and I love them. If you want to know more about the technique (salt and dye on silk), you can read about it here. It’s really fun, but you don’t really know how it’s going to turn out until it does. Hard for a control freak like me, but a good lesson in letting go!

Are you knitting/making gifts this year? I have one thing I want to make for a friend, but it won’t get done before Christmas. I’m planning on the box of yarn with a card explaining what it’s going to be method. Have you ever done that? I’m thinking it counts!

MKAL colors, chat

MKAL banner

I’m so looking forward to the Rose City Yarn Crawl MKAL. I’m going to knit the mystery shawlette in the same colors I used when I designed it, because I love it so much I want one for me! I’m not sure where the sample is going to live for the next year, but you can be sure I’ll be enjoying mine.

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This is Knitted Wit Single Fingering in Silver Lining and Madge. I love the contrasty pop between these colors. I originally had chosen a paler pink, which looked like it coordinated nicely, but I liked this combo a lot better. Here’s an early hint: There is some striping in this shawlette. (I can tell you that because it says so on the pattern’s Ravelry page.) Take some of your yarn, wrap it around a pencil 8 times or so, and then use your second color and do the same right next to it. Do this again to alternate the two colors a couple times. Do you like the way they look together? Yes? You’re good to go!

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Hey, look, I finished something! This is In Threes by Kelly Herdrich. I knit it with Malabrigo Worsted, and it’s sweet. It’s very oversized, though; it will be a while before Lorajean’s new baby can wear it!

I bought a new camera, and these are the first pictures I’ve downloaded from it. I like it so far. It’s a micro four thirds camera, a Panasonic Lumix GF6 (last year’s model) with a 14-42 kit lens (DSLR equivalent is 28-84). It’s smaller and lighter than a DSLR, which means I might even travel with it. I like to travel light as far as cameras go, and I didn’t want to buy a camera that would only be used at home for photographing knitting!

More pix, next post…

Have you chosen your colors for the mystery KAL yet? Are you stash diving or going shopping? (I love an excuse to shop.)

Rose City Yarn Crawl Mystery KAL

The 2014 Rose City Yarn Crawl is coming up fast. It’s February 27 – March 2 next year, but the fun starts NOW.

MKAL logo

We’re having a mystery knit along (KAL) and crochet along (CAL) before the crawl starts. We? Yes, we! I’m thrilled to let you know that I’m the designer of the 2014 Rose City Yarn Crawl Mystery KAL Shawlette. As a native Portlander, I hope you enjoy the very Portland elements that I designed into this piece.

Presales of the shawlette patterns (one knit and one crochet) have begun through Ravelry. You’ll have plenty of time to pick the perfect yarn for your shawlette. Join the chatter in the RCYC group on Ravelry. Knitting begins in January, which is traditionally selfish knitting month after holiday gift knitting!

The shawlette is knit with two colors in fingering weight yarn; I chose to work with two semi-solids. Please come knit along with me; I’m looking forward to knitting along with you!

Want to know more about the yarn crawl? Check out all the details on the Rose City Yarn Crawl page. You can order a tote with this year’s new logo, and sign up for the Yarn Ball, a pre-yarn crawl reception on Wednesday, February 26.

Don’t live in Portland? You can still knit along. I think you’ll love this shawlette. I know I do!

Kvinneakt, adorned

I hustled downtown last night to see the latest installation of Monumental Attire. It was an event!

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I arrived in time to see Kvinneakt being adorned with a sparkly crochet snowflake shawl. (And pasties.)

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She even has leg warmers!

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I hope she stays adorned for a while. No time to visit in daylight today. Sorry for the iPhone pix; I’m between cameras right now. I’ll add links later, but look at previous posts if you want to know more about Monumental Attire.

Seeya!

Bridge for Blankets: It’s a wrap!

Remember these August beauties gracing the Broadway Bridge?

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The PDX Bridge Festival is now just a hazy summer memory. But as promised, this Bridge for Blankets banner and three others just like it have been broken down into 42 blankets, washed, dried (thank goodness for superwash wool), repaired, and de-fuzzed.

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Yes, de-fuzzed. This is the fuzz I picked off three blankets. It looks like a crazy clown wig for kitty. (I didn’t dare try to get a picture on Mookie.)

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The blankets are now ready to go back into the world, headed for homeless shelters and hospitals. Their colors aren’t quite as perky as they were at the beginning of August (hanging out in the sunshine for a month will do that), but the blankets are wooly and warm, and have a very interesting history. A very quirky Portland tale.

Just a reminder: The yarn was purchased at a discount from Cascade Yarns through Abundant Yarns, but the cost of the yarn was not even close to covered by donations ($2000 short). If you would like to donate to help cover the cost of the yarn for these blankets, checks can be made out to Tyler Mackie, the artist behind this project (write Bridge for Blankets in the memo field) and mailed to:

Bridge for Blankets
c/o ArtCraft Silversmiths
3111 SE 13th Ave Suite 500
Portland, Oregon 97202

or PayPal payment to tyler.mackie@gmail.com. Donations are tax deductible as a 501c3; Tyler will send you a receipt.

I enjoyed participating in this project, both as a knitter in a huge community art effort, and at the other end of the project, preparing blankets for sharing in the community. I’m glad that this knitting will live on in another form, bringing comfort to people who need it.

And after yesterday’s post about Portland’s statues getting some cheerful holiday knitwear, a little more sleuthing and connecting on twitter led me to discover that the deer statue used to have a hat. And the otters’ sweaters looked like this! Links are to pictures; they’re not mine so I can’t post them here on the blog. Go look; they’re cute. Also, the next wave of Monumental Attire isn’t due until Thursday this week, so I’ll try to see Kvinneakt then. She’s going to get a sparkly shawl and leg warmers.

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Wish me luck!

Holiday yarn bombing

There’s another wave of knitterly (and crocheted) public art in Portland. Downtown Portland is featuring holiday sweaters for some of the statues downtown. Here’s the schedule for Monumental Attire. I went to check out the first wave of sweaters, but unfortunately someone has made off with most of it.

This deer still has her sweater and leg warmers:

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But I think someone stole the sweaters off the otters:

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Someone definitely stole most of the cardigan off “Allow Me” leaving one sleeve behind (because they couldn’t get it past the umbrella?), but the sleeve is gone now, too.

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The next wave begins Thursday, November 21, and you may need to hurry if you want to see it before vandals make off with it! “Kvinneakt” is scheduled for a sweater this week, and she looks like she could use it. A bit chilly out there. (Do you remember this statue from the”Expose Yourself to Art” poster, which featured future Portland mayor Bud Clark?)

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As part of the festivities, there is also an ugly sweater contest, a party to celebrate it, and a request for donations for Transitions Project, an organization that helps people transitioning from homelessness to housing. You can read all the details here.

Portland: It’s a quirky town and I love it. I’m especially loving the desire to share knitting and do something good at the same time. That’s Portland in a nutshell! Now if only vandals would stop making off with the art.

Knit on…

Weekend Rock Star

I had a stellar weekend. A friend asked me to accompany her to Ladies Rock Camp here in town. It’s a weekend day camp for women, and the tuition helps provide scholarships for Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls summer and after school programs. I had fun and did a good thing at the same time!

Campers have their choice of guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, or vocals. No experience necessary. On Friday you form a band with a variety of instrumentalists depending on what kind of music you’re interested in playing. There are two sessions of instrument instruction, a couple workshops, and the rest of the time is devoted to band practice. You write a song with your band, and perform it on Sunday. Quick work!

I wanted to do something that I might use in real life, so I opted for vocals. I wanted to improve my singing and presentation skills. Becky wanted to see if there was an inner rocker hiding behind her mandolin (they put her with the guitar class). She was in my band, and we liked her sound so much that she had emergency surgery for her mandolin on Saturday morning and had a pickup installed so we could amp her!

I’ve written a couple songs before, and I’ve had bits of lyrics running through my head for a song called “How Can I Miss You If You Won’t Go Away.” We took it and ran with it.

Here’s our band: She Let Her Sassy Out. Hannah on keyboards, Bobbi Sue on drums, Becky on electric mandolin, and me on vocals.

She Let Her Sassy Out

Are we having fun or what?

Sassy 2
(photo courtesy of Teri Untalan, my vocal coach)

The camp showcase was at Mississippi Studios, a local music venue. It was so cool having professional lighting, sound, and roadies. It is amazing how much you can accomplish over one intense weekend; all the bands sounded great! We had fun with “How Can I Miss You” (mp3 link here, if you’re interested). I may have to do this again next year…it’s for a good cause!

It was hard to go back to real life on Monday. But I’m back to knitting this little sweater for Lorajean’s baby girl, due in 8 days. Almost done!

In Threes

I have two design projects to work on, and I’m teaching at Twisted on Saturday. We’re doing entrelac in the round (my Athena Cowl), and blocking. Both classes are full, so we’ll probably do both of them again soon.

What’s up for your weekend?

Fall back…

You’d think that gaining an extra hour would give me some bounce, but I feel like I can’t quite catch up on sleep! I’m tired earlier and wake up earlier than I want to because it’s light outside. Give me another week and I’ll have my act together.

I spent the weekend over on the sunny side of the Cascade Mountains, visiting good friends who have fled the gray rainy side. They’re happily ensconced in their new town. We hiked up Umtanum Creek Canyon on Sunday. The sage looked and smelled wonderful, and the mountains look very different over there.

Umtanum Creek hike

We passed an abandoned homestead, complete with the remains of an apple orchard.

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I wonder what this stone was for?

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The still parts of the creek reflect the mountains, gloriously.

Umtanum Creek hike

There are beaver dams along the creek. Most impressive.

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I had a great time, and it was kind of depressing driving back under the cloud cover into the rain. Sigh.

October is over, and that means it’s time to give away books! Thanks for all your comments. The winners of the 2013 Swish Pattern Collection for KnitPicks are:

purple penguin and Lillian Henegar.

Congratulations! I’ve emailed you your ebooks. I hope you enjoy knitting from them!

In other news, I saw my first Christmas ad on TV last week, the Monday before Halloween. Blergh. But it’s definitely holiday season in the stores already. I was in my local Fred Meyer and saw this:

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I think that’s cheating. Gluing felt reindeer on an acrylic sweater isn’t the same as digging through closets (or thrift stores!) and coming up with the perfect egregious Christmas sweater. And paying $24.99 for the privilege of faking it? Meh.

I just finished a design project and am mailing it off today. Another is gone to the tech editor. And the yarn for a new one just arrived. I’ll start…after I finish a baby sweater for Lorajean’s impending bundle of joy. Two weeks to go! I started to knit a Baby Surprise Jacket, but it just wasn’t speaking to me. Now I’m knitting In Threes by Kelly Herdrich. I’ve knit one of these before, it’s quick and cute.

What’s hot on your needles now? Do you have an “ugly” Christmas sweater? I have a cute one! Picture in December, when it’s seasonally appropriate.