Snow Day, Snow Sale

Still snowy here in PDX. Ordinarily we don’t get much snow, and when we do get some, it usually gets covered by freezing rain. Not this time! We can actually play in it and with it for a few days.

Snowy Biscuit

Biscuit is wondering what the heck happened to her landscape. Why is everything white?

Snow Day Sale

To celebrate the snowy wonderland, I’m having a sale with all my patterns that include the word “snow.” All of these are 20% off through January 16, 2017 with coupon code SNOWDAY. Snowy Woods Cowl, Snowy Woods Hat, Snow Woods Log Cabin Blocks, and Snowflake Chriatmas Stocking. The hat is especially quick knitting, and you could be wearing one by tomorrow. Get your knit on!

Fibonacci and Fan collage

Fibonacci and Fan is still on launch sale 10% off, no coupon, or 20% off with newsletter subscribers’ coupon, through January 23. I used Knitted Wit Victory Sock in Cedar and *Snowy* Cedar, more snow! And there’s a chance for you to win some Snowy yarn, see previous post. It’s quite the snowy week around here.

A few more snowy pictures…

PDX Bike

Snowy tree

Snowy trees

New: Fibonacci and Fan Shawl, yarn giveaway

It’s a snow day here…time to knit! It started snowing last night and we’ve got about 10 inches of snow at my house.

Snowy Tree

I loved knitting my Ships in the Night shawl, but as I was finishing it, I thought: What if I arranged the Fibonacci stripes differently? Once the idea was in my head, I had to find out.

Fibonacci and Fan

And I love it! More geeky numbers! This time, the stripes grow at the same rate, and look like ripples in a pool of water.

Fibonacci and Fan is my new top down crescent shawl. It features garter stitch stripes in an increasing Fibonacci sequence, and ends with a scalloped Old Shale lace edging, which is sometimes called Feather and Fan. The knitting is simple and very zen. I knit mine with two coordinating skeins of Knitted Wit’s Victory Sock yarn in Cedar and Snowy Cedar. Two skeins of 4 ounce/420 yard fingering weight yarn will get you on your way.

Like its sister shawl, Ships in the Night, Fibonacci and Fan is fun to wear. Worn on the shoulders, the ends hang down nearly to my knees. It’s like a great big garter stitch hug.

Fibonacci and Fan 2

Worn scarf style, it feels luxuriantly engulfing. Ella is much taller than I am, so it’s not quite as engulfing on her. Your mileage may vary. You can also wear it bandanna style, with both ends hanging in front.

To make this launch even more fun, Lorajean Kelley of Knitted Wit is offering 2 coordinating skeins of yarn to one lucky winner, in the winner’s choice of color plus the “snowy” version of that color. Leave a comment by January 18 telling me which color calls your name, and you’ll be entered in a drawing for the yarn. These are the snowy colors:

Snowy Colors

It’s hard to tell on these little cards, but you can get a better idea of the snowy colors by looking at the Snowy Hat collection on Ravelry that we did in 2015. (The pictures are not mine, so I’m not posting them here.)

I can’t give yarn to everybody, but the pattern is available through Ravelry, and is 10% off through January 23, no coupon code required. If you’re a subscriber to my newsletter, you’ll have a coupon code in the next newsletter for 20% off. Not a subscriber but want to be? Add that to your comment and I’ll get you signed up.

Talk to me! I’m snowed in and waiting to hear from you. So is Biscuit. She’s not impressed with snow, or the snowman I brought her.

Don't you bring #pdxsnow to your #cat @thebiscuitreport is not impressed.

A video posted by Michele Lee Bernstein (@pdxknitterati) on

Red Stopover bliss, more yarn

Red Stopover

I love my new Stopover. It fits just like the blue one, except the sleeves are 3/4″ longer, which is perfect.

Stopover yoke

In the end, I chose pink for the color pops. I don’t usually like pink and red together, but I love this. I think it works because it’s just a little pink, an accent.

TrudyG's Stopover

I was inspired by TrudyG’s Stopover on Instagram. I loved it when I first saw it last spring during the BangOutASweater KAL, and the colors have been in the back of my mind ever since. Thanks, Trudy, for letting me share your picture here. (Trudy’s Stopover on Ravelry, for more pictures and details.)

A lot of people loved the multicolored color pops, but that wasn’t the look I wanted. At least not on this one. But now I’m thinking: Wouldn’t a dark gray Stopover be awesome with the same white and mid-gray for contrast colors, and then a rainbow at the yoke? There are 12 “feathers”, so I could do a six color rainbow twice around. Would it be crazy to have three Stopovers? I love the way they fit, and can knit them mostly on auto-pilot. But it does take knitting time, and I have several design projects in the queue. Hmmmm.

Malabrigo Rasta

Not that the design queue stopped me from buying this yarn yesterday. Malabrigo Rasta, in Zarzamora. It’s for a quick little brioche scarf project from the fine folks at Mason-Dixon Knitting. I’ve been meaning to explore brioche, and this is a quick entrée into that world. I’ll be taking a brioche class with JC Briar at Madrona, but couldn’t resist a little taste now.

Mom's Kilter hat

Oh! Mom’s home from Antarctica, and she did get her Kilter hat in time for the trip. I’m happy to report that she loved both.

What’s on your needles for January? For me, the linen mini-skeins (I guess those Mason-Dixon gals are getting to me!) and the Rasta so far. The linen counts as design project and as knitting, so double duty there. You?

Puff the magic pastry, encore

Happy new year!

Apparently I’m a fan of the repeat, especially for things that are quick, easy, and look good. My Stopover is a case in point.

Stopover Korknisse

So are Korknisse.

I’m also a fan of the quick and easy in the kitchen, but it has to be delicious.

One of my go-to desserts is a simple pear tart. Fresh sliced pears tossed with lemon juice, arranged on a bed of puff pastry, brushed with butter and sprinkled with sugar before a little turn in the oven.

puff pastry pear tart

Paired (peared? hah!) with my favorite bourbon caramel sauce, this is a heavenly dish. My favorite aunt sends me pears at Christmas, so we had pear tart with Hanukkah dinner last Saturday.

What else can you do with puff pastry? These chocolate chip pinwheels showed up in my Facebook feed as something I did 3 years ago. Looking at the recipe, I thought it could benefit from a hotter oven than the previous go-round, so I had to try it again to figure out time and temperature. We had these on the last night of Hanukkah yesterday. A week bookended with brisket, latkes, and puff pastry is a good week indeed.

image

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

Ingredients:
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (I used Pepperidge Farm)
3/4 to 1 cup mini chocolate chips
1 egg
sprinkle of sugar, optional

Thaw puff pastry for 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Use a little non-stick spray in the bottom of a standard muffin tin to keep melted chocolate from sticking, or paper muffin cups.

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 lighter or heavier if you want. Let your conscience be your guide. Mine looked like this. (sorry, bad kitchen lighting)

image

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 as 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 for a bit of sparkle and crunch if you’d like.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15-17 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.

image

I’m on to blocking for my Stopover. I was shocked at the difference in feel between the unblocked red sweater and the blocked blue sweater. Blocking is magic with Lopi! I’m hoping it’s dry tomorrow, so I can show you which color I chose for the color pops.

Happy knitting, and happy munching!

Same song, second verse

I finished knitting my Stopover last night, and it’s on to the color pops! I like duplicate stitch for this part, so I don’t have to commit to a color until the very end. I used the spring green last night. In the light of day, I’m not sure it has enough pop when used as single stitches.

Stopover color pop

The other auditioning colors, from left to right:
Lopi yellow, Lopi orange, Lopi rose, Malabrigo purple, and Malabrigo yellow.

I like the Lopi yellow, except it makes the red start to read more brick than garnet. I like garnet. The rose is monochromatically girly. I could also keep the spring green. What do you think?

To me, this is the most fun part of the project!

Stopover to Aloha

Is my Stopover done?

Stopover red aloha

Nah, who knits with Lopi in Hawaii? Well, me, just for a bit, but I also brought some linen to play with. This is the Euroflax Sport mini skein set from Mason Dixon Knitting, in Sea.

Euroflax minis

Euroflax minis in mason jar

I think they are spot on with the colors! I had an idea for this set, and after six swatches, I think it knows what it’s doing.

Aloha knitting

It’s on hold, now that I’m home, and cold! But the plan is set.

Stopover sleeve

I knit a sleeve on the flight home, stopped to prep for Hanukkah and Christmas, and knit the other sleeve in the last couple days. I didn’t have my row counting stitch marker with me on vacation, so I made do with a piece of contrast color yarn, flipped from front to back or back to front each time I made an increase. One must make do with the tools at hand. I think I actually like this better than the row counter; it’s very visual.

Stopover three tubes

I now have three tubes, and am headed toward something resembling a sweater. I am really looking forward to wearing this! In the meantime, here are some vacation pictures because, aloha.

Moonset Dec 13 2016 Maui

Moonset Dec 13 2016 Maui

The full moon coincided with the beginning of our time on Maui, and you know how I am about the moonset. So glad I took my real camera with me; the iPhone can do most things, but not this.

Lana'i Cat Sanctuary

We had a couple stellar day trips. One was to the Lāna’i Cat Sanctuary (512 cats!) on the next island over. Fun day, with two ferry rides, drinks at the Four Seasons, and some tide pooling on a very beautiful beach.

Whale spout off Lana'i

We saw three whales playing near a sailboat in the sunset from our ferry back to Lahaina.

Family 2016

My favorite day included a hike to the Nakalele Blowhole. This is Mother Nature at her most impressive.

Nakalele Blowhole

Nakalele Blowhole Maui

Rainbows everywhere! (If you’re curious about the gifs, I’m using an app called Motion Stills, free from Google, that makes gifs from iPhone “live photos.” It has image stabilization, which is awesome. It can also make short videos from the same photos.)

Maui sunset

We really enjoyed the wraparound lanai on our rental condo. We had views of Lana’i and Moloka’i. Erosion has taken away the beach, but we were there for the views, including monk seals and green turtles swimming past. A perfect getaway.

knitted wit cedar and sprinkle

Sneak peek at a new shawl design debuting in January. Until then, aloha!

Four Seasons Lana'i

Quick boozy gift recipes

We ran away for a little aloha last week, but I’ll catch you up on that later.

Pog mimosa coffee knitting

We returned home on the 19th, and I’ve been scrambling ever since. I’m hosting Hanukkah dinner tonight (Christmas Eve), and Christmas dinner tomorrow. Busy busy, but I managed to put up the Christmas lights and crank out a few non-knitted gifts. Two are super quick, and one is worth a little extra time. You can make something a little something for friends you’ll see between Christmas and New Year’s, or save these ideas for next year.

Irish cream

First off, and new on the hit parade: DIY Irish Cream, adapted from Smitten Kitchen. This comes together in 5 minutes, and makes three of these cute 8 ounce bottles. (You get 30 oz of liquid, but I barely filled three of these 1/4 liter (8 oz) bottles the first time I made this. No worries; just adjust your expectations accordingly.)

1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup (235 ml) heavy cream
1 (14-ounce or 415 ml) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
9 oz Jameson’s Irish whiskey (original recipe calls for a cup, but 9 oz fills the bottles just a little better, and yum)

In a small bowl, whisk cocoa powder and a spoonful of cream into a paste. Add more cream a splash at a time until the paste is liquid enough that you can whisk in the rest of the cream. Transfer to a pitcher, and whisk in condensed milk, whiskey and vanilla. Bottle for gifts. Keep refrigerated for up to two weeks. Seriously, how long do you think this will last? Give it a good shake before using; the cocoa wants to sink, and the cream wants to rise to the top. Of course!

Bourbon caramel sauce

Bourbon Caramel Sauce, recipe from Danielle Centoni. I’ve made this many times, and it always gets raves. We’ll be having some with ice cream on a pear tart tonight. My only warning on this one is don’t get greedy when caramelizing the sugar. It can go from perfect nut-brown to burnt in a blink. Brown enough is brown enough! This makes 2.5 cups; I’m giving it in little 4 ounce jars, because a little goes a long way.

P1060593

My aunt sent me pears again this year, and in return she’ll get some cranberry pear bourbon jam. I get jam, pear tart, and pears for eating fresh. A good deal for both of us!

Cranberry/Pear/Bourbon/Ginger Jam

4 cups cored and chopped pears (I left the skins on)
4 cups fresh cranberries
3 cups sugar
1/2 lemon, juiced and zested
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup water
1/4 cup bourbon
1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger (optional)

Combine chopped pears, cranberries, sugar cinnamon, lemon juice and zest, and water in a large pot. Stir to combine and let it rest until the sugar has begun to dissolve, about 10 minutes.

Place the pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat simmer for 15-25 minutes or longer, stirring regularly, until it thickens. Add bourbon and ginger, and continue cooking until jam coats spoon without running off.

Ladle jam into prepared jars. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings and process jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Makes 5 half pints. (If you need more thorough instructions for processing, go to Food in Jars! I’m assuming that you know how to jam.)

Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas to you! Did you make food gifts this year? What should be on my hit parade for next year?

Christmas not Christmas colors

I love my blue Stopover sweater; I wear it a lot! The sweater is light as a cloud, and the Lopi yarn does not pill at all.

BangOutASweater FO

I knit it last spring in 8 days during the BangOutASweater KAL. I’ve decided I need another one, this time in red.

Red stopover colors

My first color combo made sense in the skein, but when I started knitting my swatch the black was too harsh. It was red, black, and one of the grays. Note how the black is the darkest tone in the picture above. I wasn’t happy, so I pulled out some pink and green from my leftovers to see if that helped. I wanted a cloudy feeling to go with my light as a cloud sweater.

Ice storm

We had an ice storm last week, and that meant I couldn’t get to the yarn store to pick another color. I almost got desperate and cast on with the green to go with light ash and red, but was afraid it would be too Christmassy.

On Saturday things were thawed enough that I could stop at the Knitting Bee and pick another color, as well as teach at For Yarn’s Sake. Here’s what I have now.

Red Stopover

I love that the garnet red as the main color is the deepest tone, just like the lapis blue is on my original sweater. The light ash and white are like frosting at the edge. I’ll still use the spring green, but only as the color pops on the yoke (where the yellow is on the blue sweater). Just a little Christmas, but not overwhelming. I’m cruising along, and have finished one ball of red and am on to the waist shaping. Go, go, go!

Kilter Coco

What’s on your needles? Are you gift knitting? Done? I finished my Kilter hat for Mom, and it’s on its way and hopefully will be helpful on her trip to Antarctica. I want pictures!

Free kitty knit patterns

These kitty knit patterns have come across my Facebook, Instagram, and blog reader feeds. Do you feel the need to knit a kitty?

The Window Cat, Sara Elizabeth Kellner

The Window Cat is available on Ravelry, courtesy of designer Sara Elizabeth Kellner of Rabbit Hole Knits.

Tiny Window Cat by Sara Elizabeth Kellner

Tiny Window Cat is the mini version, also courtesy of Sara.

Mini Kitty Pouf by Molly Rivera

And this Mini Kitty Pouf is a bigger cat, free only until December 12, through Knit Picks. Kudos to designer Molly Rivera for a cute and hugggable kitty pattern.

Biscuit and Mookie

I don’t think these kitties are for your kitty. Biscuit doesn’t seem to want a plush cat for herself!

Knitting away: Kilter Hat, Christmas, Hanukkah, Addi Giveaway

December is always such a busy month! Our pop-up show/shop was a great success. I sold all but one of my knit pieces, and am happy to know that they’re going to be well loved out in the world.

Kilter

One piece was my Kilter Hat, which looks great on my friend Sharyn.

Kilter

I put it on my Facebook page, and now I’m knitting one as a gift for Mom (DH’s mom) at her request in Malabrigo Rios. I’m not usually a deadline gift knitter, but I really want this to be in her hands before she heads to Antarctica later this month. I got this much done at knit nite last night. Knit like the wind!

Kilter Coco

The color is Coco, which makes me giggle, because that was Biscuit’s name, between Trix and BellaTrix.

Super cabled Christmas Stocking

I also finished my Super Cabled Christmas Stocking on Thursday and sold it along with its red sibling on Friday. Quick work!

Knit nite

Knit night last night was fun, and Biscuit participated fully. Note that she has a chair, and I’m sitting on the floor.

I haven’t decorated my house for the holidays yet. I’m wary of putting up my usual mini-tree because I keep catching Biscuit on the piano. I wonder how she’ll behave with menorah candles? This is my usual setup:

Christmas Hanukkah

And will she pull down the stocking holders from the mantel? One of these moose weights could knock her out.

pdxknitterati christmas

Guess we’ll find out…

Addi Turbo giveaway: The winner according to Random.org is commenter number 1, Anne Westbrook. Anne, I’m sending you an email to get your snailmail addy…for your Addi! Congratulations.

Onward!