Knitting Problems

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I have a knitting problem, I want to KNIT ALL THE THINGS!

Everything I see I want to knit! Cute patterns on Ravelry, adorable photos on Pinterest, and even friends projects all compete for my attention. I want to learn socks, I want to do a bigger sweater, I want to knit cute baby things, and I want to knit trendy things for my craft shows.

Sadly my life does not afford me the time to do all if the above. Not even by a long shot, lol. I am accountant by day and knitter by night. I am jealous of other knitters who can knit on commute on mass transit (no good option where I live and I have a 30+ min drive), while in class, or on breaks at work.

Fall makes me yearn for falling snow outside while I am safely wrapped up inside working on hand knits. Some of my blogger friends even made knitting progress in the face of devastating Sandy. Glad they made it through safe and sound, and praying for all those affected!

Sooooo many patterns, so little time! Probably not a problem that I will ever solve. Here’s hoping for a few snow days this winter! So it’s time to just pick a pattern and dive in…..or learn to knit faster!

Happy Knitting!

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A Muffin To Brighten My Monday

Where do you stand on Pinterest recipes?

I love paging through wonderful recipes and creative craft ideas. But I have to admit…..my results have sometimes been less than stellar.

To cheer myself up after my washing machine/sewer overflow problem this past weekend I decided to try a delicious looking recipe from Pinterest, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins.

The instructions were easy and the ingredient list short, so I went from ingredients to finished baked cup cakes in less than 30 minutes. Here is my results:

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Look great so far, right? I bake in silicone and use a rotation method with my really old and really stubborn oven so that I don’t end up with charcoal bricks.

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Despite my best efforts the bottoms burned and it was really hard to peel the paper. I cooked the least amount of time the recipe suggested. Argh……

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They were ugly BUT they were tasty! The mix of savory peanut butter with the sweet chocolate chips was amazing. The muffin was fairly light and maintained moisture even with the “over caramelization” of the bottom. (But hey, those just pull off right?) The recipe made 16 muffins for me that were about 200 calories apiece.

Next time I think I will use a nuttier tasting PB to punch up the flavor and also skim milk to trim a few calories. I am going to call this a Pinterest success because it was technically my oven and not the recipe that caused me problems.

I packed one of the muffins for breakfast at my desk this morning and my cubicle mate said it smelled wonderful. I doubt they last long in our house!!

Happy Monday!

Weekend of Fun

This weekend has been interesting to say the least. We woke up to a washing machine that caused the sewer to back up into the house. We can run the sink and take short showers but not much else. Then my parents made a surprise visit just for the day. Then the husband and I took family photos with our dogs who were spectacularly uncooperative. And it was freaking cold!

So today is about knitting…

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Coffee….

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A little 90s TV series on DVD…

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And dog snuggling, even after their performance yesterday…

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And later I get to schlep my laundry across town to a friends house in order to have clean clothes. Great weekend…

FO Friday: Mermaid Tail

TGIF!!!!

I have the pleasure of being friends with some fabulous photographers. So for this FO Friday I’d like to share a super cute item I knit for a really cool photographer lady.

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I LOVE making baby knits. And how cute is the princess baby in the photo! The photo was shot by my friend Renee Swanson. She is a fabulous photographer who got married this past summer. So of course for her bridal shower I just had to knit something super cool for her photography business. So I improvised my own design of a Mermaid Tail. I knit in the round using US 10 1/2 circs and Knit Picks Brava Bulky. This yarn is some of my favorite to use in kiddo projects. It’s soft, easy to work with, and washable for those occasional baby accidents. I was terribly pleased with how this project turned out! I wasn’t able to attend the shower but I know she loved it because I got the lovely photo above a few weeks later!

Renee is an super adorable professional photographer who works in Kansas and North Carolina. Check out her blog and her Facebook page!

Happy Knitting!

Sweater 911

I got a call a few weeks ago from my Aunt Barb. She was packing up her summer clothes and found a summer knit/crochet shell that needed a little TLC. So she packed it off to me via USPS.

When I got the garment I could see that the sleeves were pulling away from the arm holes. I stared and looked and studied and turned the piece over and over again. For one, I couldn’t decide if it was knit or crochet! For two the pattern was complicated and there was definitely no way to frog it, re work it, and piece it back together without a pattern. And there was no pattern because this was a store bought garment.

So I surrendered and took it to the Yarn Barn in Lawrence, Ks. Even though I live in the Capitol city of Kansas…there are NO quality yarn/wool shops!! I have to drive to Manhattan or Lawrence good yarn or good advice! But that’s a rant for another time. The kind ladies at the shop studied my sweater and suggested some creative sewing to tie up the unraveling strings. What would you know? It worked!

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No more gaps or holes! I was so pleased with the shop and customer service that I even bought some wool wash for my sweater project.

Here is a close up shot of the arm. There are still a few places that are stretched and a little holey but much better than when I started! (Sorry, forgot a before pic!)

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The whole process took less than fifteen minutes and saved a sweater! Pretty darn proud of myself 🙂

Happy Knitting!

Review: The Friday Night Knitting Club Series

I finished Kate Jacob’s series of books on The Friday Night Knitting Club! I read them all in a matter of four to five days actually. I don’t so much read books as I devour them. Especially when it’s a topic I love! When I was a little and learning to read, I struggled tremendously. I vividly remember the special classes and hours of flash cards with my mother. I HATED it at the time, but age has shown me the wisdom of those lessons. I can now speed read….and for comprehension. This skill greatly enhanced my test taking skills as a student and continues to aid me in my professional life.

Having said all that, I would also like to point out that I am not literary stickler. I don’t read for grammar, punctuation, or structure. I read for fun, to be pulled into the story and create it in my head. After years of stage acting and script reading, I read books to get lost in the story and put myself in the footsteps of the characters. (I will note as a disclaimer that several other readers in their review of this series HATED the way Jacobs writes in fractured and incomplete sentences. Ha, I didn’t even notice!)

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I personally loved this series, especially the first book The Friday Night Knitting Club. The book follows a series if characters in a knitting shop and in their lives in New York City. The main focus is the shop owner, Georgia Walker and her daughter. I found all the characters to be well developed and unique from one another. The knitting references were accurate and sounded super adorable. No spoilers, but the end of the book really threw me for a loop.

The second book, Knit Two, picks up five years later with the same characters dealing with the ramifications of book one. I enjoyed this book (not as much as the first) and still found I was invested in the character stories. Both books are full of love, angst, family drama, knitting, and friendship. I blasted through the second book in less than a day.

I got a little lost in book three, Knit The Season. This book tried to wrap every characters story up with a nice neat bow. Life doesn’t always work out like that but it’s nice to pretend once in awhile. This book did stir up some feelings/memories about the holidays and family. That was both nice and bittersweet for me.

As a whole, I recommend this series to knitters of all ages and skill. All three books include recipes and knitting patterns for items referenced in the story. Nothing I just had to make right away, but lovely all the same! I plan on keeping these novels on my shelves and I bet I reread them in the future!

Happy Knitting!

Monday Fail

Apologies for the barrage of cooking related posts lately. It’s just that I am currently knitting for craft fair stock. Which means endless repetitions of the same patterns, over and over and over again. Not very exciting for a knitting blog! T-minus 25 days to the first show.

So I have been taking my creativity out in my cooking. I have a whole freezer full of beef to cook! So yesterday I pulled out some sirloin tips to slow cook in the crock pot with cream if mushroom, beef stock,and veggies (carrots, onion, and celery).

Turns out your crock pot works better when it’s PLUGGED IN! (Insert string of curses here………) The husband luckily found my neglected pot and got everything on the stove and cooking away. And we managed to save dinner, sort of….

There are no photos of this dish because well it looked like……ok so I won’t tell you what it really looked like. Lets just say it resembled wet dog food. The flavored weren’t bad, but the carrots had turned everything a orangey brown and the beef was very grey. I skimmed out the meat and put the veggies and broth through the food pro. All this accomplished was a thick creamy sauce in god awful orange brown. I would note that this color change probably would have happened in crock pot anyway, sigh.

The husband and I poured the sauce over the meat and served over streamed rice. It tasted fine, I just really couldn’t get over the look of it. Food should be pretty AND tasty!

Live and learn! It was a recipe I had never tried (and probably won’t again) and I vow to always check the crock pot cord. The good news is that yesterday is gone and I get a chance to do it all again today!

I hope Monday was kinder to the rest of you!

Beer N Cheese Bread

My Beer N Cheese bread came out gorgeous!

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My recipe came from my favorite bread book, The Bread Lovers Bread Machine Cookbook. I chose to use Copperhead Pale Ale from Free State Beer. This is a locally brewed Kansas pale ale beer. However, I mostly chose this beer because it was the last of the sample box I purchased and I didn’t want to drink it. It had been staring at me forlornly from the fridge…

Therein lies my mistake. This bread raised and baked beautifully. It was tender and moist on the inside and a nice toothy crust on the outside. I was terribly excited to slice it up. But my hopes were crushed, I just didn’t like how it tasted!! The reason I didn’t like the beer was because it had a bitter bite to it. And this came through in the bread. Lesson learned: don’t cook with a wine or beer that you wouldn’t otherwise drink!!

Don’t get me wrong, Free State has awesome beer and I especially love their wheat beer! I highly recommend this Lawrence, KS brewery and restaurant. It’s just that the Copperhead isn’t for me.

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This bread is okay with either lots of butter or jam. But I feel that this batch is destined for the community kitchen at work. This is my way of “frogging” my baked goods, lol! Next time I will use a tastier beer that I enjoy!!

Happy Knitting!

Sunday Is For Beef

Today has been a very lazy day. The husband and I did a little shopping, a little cleaning, and a little (lot) football watching.

But the best part was cooking up some of the home grown Kansas grain fed beef that we picked up from the processor this past Friday! We selected a nice marbled price of sirloin steak….

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(Feel free to drool! It turned out a perfect medium to medium rare!!)

We paired our meat selection with some home grown frozen sweet corn, crescent rolls with homemade jam, steamed rice, and black beans.

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I selected a nice white table wine in lemon-lime flavor from my friends at Prairie Fire Winery. It tasted like a really delicate margarita! Bob and Julie are two of the most talented people I had the pleasure of meeting during my MBA program. Feel free to check out their winery and tell them I sent you!

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Yours truly (seated in the green tee) helped plant almost 600 vines earlier this spring. It was awesome, however my back hurt for a week!!

In honor if Sunday Night Football I have some Beer n Cheese Bread in the machine. Stay tuned tomorrow to find out how it turns out! I am also on my 7th scarf for the weekend. They are great tv knitting but I’m ready for something else, lol.

Happy Knitting!!