Saturday, February 6, 2010

Where's Waldo?

Here I am! Well, okay so I'm not a tall, geeky looking male with glasses and a penchant for wearing candy cane print clothes...but here I am nonetheless. You may be wondering exactly why I've been gone so long...and well, frankly I have no excuse other than sheer laziness. So this post is gonna be a bit of a doozy - because there's a LOT to catch up on.

First off, let's go all the way back to Rhinebeck, 2009. Once again, I didn't make it. This year however, I have a very, very good excuse. The night before we were going to leave, I had a gallbladder attack that lead to a very stressful 8 days in the hospital and a gallbladder removal surgery. It was quite upsetting because I was completely prepared to go too! And, being the sweetheart that I am, I gave the people I was going with my share of the hotel room anyway because I didn't want to screw them. And what did they do? They repayed that kindness by being triply kind and using the money on yarn for me instead!!!!

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There it is, three squishy, gorgeous, PINK skeins of Brooks Farms Solo Silk. The only yarn I was really interested in purchasing and they bought it for me. They even picked out the perfect color! Now I just need to figure out what I'm going to do with it! I've been told to "make it something good" because, well, they spent a looooong time picking out just the "right" color for me. Apparently, I'm hard to shop for when it comes to yarn because my taste in colors is considered unusual by them. While they for the most part blatantly favor earth tones or fire-y type colors, my taste tends to run all over the spectrum (but skipping a few shades in the color wheel just because they bore me). But I think that they did a superb job!

And, on top of all that, they got me this nifty little goodie bag from the Rav party and had people sign it for me and stuffed all kinds of fun little goodies in it!
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I was, and still am, blown away by their thoughtfulness. It was something I wasn't remotely expecting, and it really made my hospital stay that much less stressful.The months after that stay - well that's another story. There was a bit of a leukemia scare due to high white blood cell counts, but after umpteen million viles of blood taken out of my poor, bruised arms, they were quite happy to tell me that I was cancer free...but still, it was a bit harrowing. Thankfully, things have settled down where my health has concerned.

On the knitting front...I've been doing quite a bit of it, and even managed to successfully complete my first actual lace stole - the previously mentioned Bubbles wrap! I, however, do not have a FO picture as of yet because it was gifted to my fantastic Auntie Sharon (who got all teary eyed when I gave it to her because it was the "best Christmas present" she'd ever received). However, I told her that I needed to nab her for a picture with the stole...and she has agreed! So one should be coming soon! In the meantime, here are some of the things I've cranked out!

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Pattern: Baktus
Yarn: Plymouth Yarn - Happy Feet - Color #04 - 2 skeins
Needles: US size 6 / 4.0 mm
Difficulty: Easy - a mindless knit.
Alterations: Instead of leaving the ends plain, I added some fun tassles.
Made for: My Mom!

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Pattern: Ishbel - the smaller version
Yarn: Colinette Jitterbug - Color "Fire" - 1 skein
Needles: US 6 / 4.0mm
Difficulty: Intermediate.
Alterations: None
Made for: Myself!

This was my second "real" lace project and my first lace shawl. It was such a fun knit, that I really want to make another one, but this time I think I'll add some beads. I just need to find the right yarn. Might have to get some more Jitterbug because I really, really like the feel of it and it was awesome to work with. No splitting or anything! My only regret is that I didn't block the points out more aggressively. Maybe if I get unlazy, I'll re-block it and do so. We'll see.

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Pattern: Brigid
Yarn: BMFA STR Mediumweight - Color "Alina" - like maybe 1/2 the skein if that?
Needles: US 4 / 3.5mm
Difficulty: I considered these easy. They took me like two days to knit!
Made for: My friend Lee-Ann!

These were a thank you gift for feeding DW while I was in the hospital and feeding us the day I got out of the hospital. My only problem with these, were the way the colors pooled...and also, belatedly, I discovered that I'm not actually fond of this colorway at all. Next time I make these I will do two things: Go down a needle size and knit them in a solid, semi-solid, or heathered yarn.

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Pattern: Swallowtail Lace Shawl
Yarn: Handpaintedyarn.com Merino Lace - Color "Warm Spirit" - a little over half a skein
Difficulty: Intermediate for me...but so far so good!
Made for: Dunno yet, but it's the first of my 10 shawls for 2010!

I started this originally back in the beginning of January, but I dropped a stitch so far down while working the nuppps that I had to frog it...and while I was frogging it the yarn decided it was going to pull the entire shawl up into one, big unmanageable knot. So I had to scrap it and start again. Took me a bit to re-cast on...but I decided I'm not letting this beat me down!

Also, as you can see from the photo, I've been doing some baking! In that photo is a chocolate cupcake with toasted 7-minute frosting! I used this recipe for the cupcakes, and the following recipe for the frosting. I then put them in the oven to bake and at about 7 minutes till baking time was over I took them out and piped the frosting on then put them back in the oven for the frosting to toast up a bit.

7 Minute Frosting - courtesy of Foodnetwork.com

1 ½ c White Sugar
1/8 tsp Salt
1/3 c Water
¼ tsp Cream of Tartar or 1 tbsp. of White Corn Syrup
2 Egg Whites
1 ½ tsp Vanilla

Place sugar, cream of tartar (or syrup), salt, water and egg whites in the top of a double boiler. Beat with a hand mixer for a total of 1 minute. Place pan over the boiling water (but make sure it doesn’t actually touch the water as this may cause crystallization of the sugar) and beat constantly on high for 7 minutes. Remove from heat and beat in vanilla.

Some things I would have done differently: First, I would have only filled the cupcake cups up halfway rather than 3/4 as my cupcakes kind of overflowed their little holders. I had to cut away some of the edge so they would be perfect icing size. Also, I would have cut back some of the milk in the recipe even more than I did. I cut it back from 1 cup to a little over 3/4 of a cup of milk...but still they almost disintegrate when I pull the paper off. So maybe next time I'll do a 1/2 cup plus a tablespoon or two. Secondly, I would have left them in the oven to toast some more to get more of that crisp, cooked sugar flavor! However, these are still yummy, and with only a scant 3 tbsp of butter in the cupcake, even someone on a diet can afford to splurge with these! Here's a closer picture of the cupcake (and yes there's a bite missing)!
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Here are some other things I've baked up in my kitchen on the pond...
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Apple Pie!
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Chewy,crispy, chocolate chip cookies (courtesy of SmittenKitchen.com)
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Miniature Soft Pretzels (also courtesy of SmittenKitchen.com)
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And the only pancakes I'm allowed to make ever...Aunt Edna Rae's Sour Cream pancakes (recipe found via SmittenKitchen.com)

As you guys can plainly see, GMN is back in business! Knitting and domesticity is ensuing! And yes, there will be more blogging in the future! I promise! But for now, it's back to knitting...and maybe consumption of another cupcake or two! ;) Be safe, happy and make sure if you're being bad that you're at least good at it! >:)~

4 comments:

Sarah said...

Mmmmm baking.

I'm addicted to Smitten Kitchen too.

x

Courtney said...

I am glad you are back!!! the knitting is lovely and the food as usual looks very yummy!

KnitNurd said...

Yayyyy...good to see you back and I'm glad you're feeling better! Everything sounds and looks wonderful! :=)

angela said...

I've missed you!!! And I love you, but that goes without saying. I have gifties for you. I will Rav PM you. xoxoxo. smooch, smooch, smooch!