Thursday, June 30, 2011

I'm Feeling Blue

I'm Feeling Blue.

A blogger whose farm blog I really love reading admired some dishcloths that I have been knitting (check out the post before this one) and asked if I was going to sell them. Nope, nope, nope. I admired something she made and talked about on one of her blog posts. So I proposed we do a swap.

Even though I have been on a yarn diet, I figured a purchase to give to someone would be okay. Off to A.C. Moore I went. I was really surprised at how many blue cotton yarns there were. I never have noticed them before. I picked four different blues and one Ecru. I figured that I could use the Ecru to supplement the blues when the cake ran short. Sure enough some of them did.

I have knit somewhere around 40 of the same pattern of these dishcloths. Knitting these was a walk in the park. They are ready for shipping to parts unknown. I am excited they will be in a country kitchen and they will be used. Here they are!

This is a short post, but as you can tell from the last two posts all I really have been knitting is dishcloths. I think I started on May 2. I used a #6 Addi Turbo circular for every one, two stitch markers and a row counter. Such an easy project to carry in a bag stowed in the car to drag everywhere. Now, I just need to get her address and they will be off to a good new home.

Monday, June 13, 2011

It's Back!!!
I thought a few months back that I had lost or at least misplaced my knitting mojo. I fretted and wondered if I would ever be able to knit with the passion I have had in the past. It was such a simple thing that gave me back my knitting mojo. One word describes it...dishcloths.

I haven't ever gotten into dishcloths but for some reason doing them has given me back my desire to knit again. I say dishcloths but it started out was a washcloth for the husband. He likes the knitted washcloths. I have knit them in the past but for some reason they didn't last. So in the trash they went. Out with the old and in with the new in progress. So I am using the same pattern from Ravelry for both washcloths and dishcloths. It's the Waffle Knit Dish Cloth. I followed the link and it lead to me here. I had to laugh after I saw where to link lead me to. I have been reading this blog for a few years now and totally missed this dishcloth. I guess you don't see what you have to see until it's time to see it.

The Waffle Knit Dish Cloth is super easy to knit. It's great for those of us who need a project to drag around with us in the car for the kid's games, dentist/doctor appts, and for knitting groups where there is a lot of talking going on and the attention span is shot! Great project. I don't think I can have too many dish/washcloths in this pattern.

To this day I have completed nearly 30. I want to keep knitting these but I am running out of balls of cotton. So I guess I will have to move on to some other projects that are UFOs. At least I am knitting again and want to keep knitting. So here are the beauty shots...
Here is a stack of my work in progress. I have various colors but the same pattern for everything. It just works so well.
I especially love the white cloths and the Ecru with the green.
There are some solids and some variegated.

So as you can see, there is a really good reason why it's been a while since I have blogged about what I am knitting. I have been knitting these for over a month now. I have three medium sized balls left and then the marathon Waffle knit will be over. I am now looking for a new project.

Monday, June 06, 2011

A Childhood Memory Revisited

Last weekend was my husband's birthday. I am always at a loss about what to give him. This year I gave him back a memory he had as a kid. I have been hearing about this for years and years. We have been eating all kinds of cakes trying to figure out what the recipe was for this special memory cake he had. So I did some research on the Internet and came up with something that sounded like it was what he remembered.

I completely understand how a memory attached to a certain food is very powerful. So I tried to recreate something for him and kept my fingers crossed.

I got out the wax paper and put it on the cake plate. I saw this trick on a number of TV shows and it works great. Only thing is, I should have done smaller strips and not covered the whole plate. utting the wax paper on the cake plate helps to keep the edges clean when you frost the bake. It was a real bear pulling them from under the cake.
The recipe I was using called for a from scratch cake, but I cheated and used a box mix. It said it was a white cake, but it looked more like a light yellow cake to me...turned out okay though.
I wanted to make the cake a four layer cake so I cut each of the cakes in half. I don't have a turn table so it was wonky. It really didn't matter since it was going to be smeared with icing.
The icing is called a "7 minute boiled icing". It really doesn't boil and it didn't take seven minutes; it took longer. I used a white vanilla extract that my friend Julie (a professional cake decorator) recommended to keep white really white. Worked perfectly!
...iced the first two layers and then stacked the rest of and iced them.
When you cover the cake with something totally, you don't have to worry about how pretty your icing is done. No one will know you are not a professional.
Here is the finished product. My husband's wonderful memory about his grandmother Marylee was her coconut cake. Something so simple has been in that man's memory his whole life. Who knew that one recipe could make him tear up when he talked about her coconut cake?
Here is the birthday boy cutting his "Memory Cake".
I am thrilled that I could make something as simple as a coconut cake that would make my husband so happy about his birthday. Here is the recipe that I used. Unless you are hellbent on baking a cake from scratch, use a mix and save yourself some time and supplies. A white box cake and that fabulous icing is every bit as good as anything else. Ask my husband, he'll tell ya!

Happy Birthday Sweetie!

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Farmer Brown's Garden June 2, 2011

I am not ready to post what I have been knitting on so I went out this morning and took shots of our backyard garden. We are very pleased the way things have gone so far, but if it doesn't rain soon everything will suffer. Here is what is going on in the garden today.

We have sixteen tomato plants. Some are in this bed and some are in pots around the rest of the garden. There are also carrots that are planted in the bare looking spot to the right. They are struggling but hanging in there so far. Some of our tomatoes are heirloom, some romas, some sandwich tomatoes and some really wonderful yellow pear tomatoes. We are just trying lots of different ones so we can see which ones we might use over and over again through the years.
This is one of two eggplants that are planted in pots. They are both Black Beauties. We planted the little skinny Japanese eggplants but grilling them on the grill was a bit of a challenge. So we are back to the black shiny eggplants.
This is a picture of another eggplant in a pot in the back. The front pot has two tomato plants. The pot you see the edge of has Provence Lavender.
It's really hard to tell but there are five pepper plants in the front of the box. The Jacob's Cattle beans take up the rest of the bed. Jacob's Cattle beans are for drying. So I don't pick them but let them dry on the bushes until the pods turn a light crispy brown. We have planted them two years on the past but really don't have enough to cook. So we are growing them again this year to save them for the winter cooking.
This bed is filled with bush beans, pole beans and carrots that are along the side of the bed. These beans are Haricot Verts. I love these green beans because there are very few strings and the are not as touch as some other green beans that we have grown. They can be tough if not picked when they are small. When I pick them, I leave them in the refrigerator until I think there is a pound. Then I get them ready for freezing. Last year we got over sixteen pounds of beans. Did I mention how much I love green beans??
This bed looks almost the same as the one above. There are more bush and pole Haricot Verts and a squash plant and baby carrots in the open spot.
This bed has eleven potato plants. It's our first time to do potatoes. So far, so good. There is also a pot of two tomato plants. As well as everything in the vegetable garden look, they still need lots of water. We need rain to fill up our water barrels. They forcasted rain for after midnight last night and not one drop. When our local Master Gardeners had the first of their two plant sales I bought this baby Japanese Maple. It seems to be doing really well. We already have one Japanese Maple in the backyard and since it has done so well, I decided we needed another one. I planted the petunias to give the baby tree some company.
I have always wanted to try Hens and Chicks. So I bought three pots of them and planted them in the strawberry pots I haven't used in about ten years. I think these guys will do just fine in them.
The Provence Lavender that I planted years ago is really starting to produce. It's hard to see but there is a bee about mid screen buzzing from stem to stem. It's time to pick the Lavender but I hate for the bees to miss out. So I usually pick about 2/3s of the stems and leave the rest of the bees.

So there is the garden up to date as of today. I am hoping it rains soon. If it rains really well, the garden usually increases it's size by about 1/3. We have baby tomatoes on almost all the tomato plants so I don't want to lose them. So now it's back to knitting. Hopefully soon I will be able to show what I have been doing for the last month. Nothing exciting, but very useful.