Wednesday

[vermont] Tunbridge Fair 2018

My items and ribbons from the fair:

Ribbons from the fair.

The yellow 3rd place ribbon is from the King Arthur Flour baking contest. There was a recipe for a bundt cake in the premium book and you had to make it EXACTLY as written. Items were judged on taste (50), texture (25), appearance (25). I received 85/100. The prize for 3rd place was a King Arthur Flour loaf tin- heavy duty and made by USA Pan (love this brand) for KAF. 

This was my Lemon Bliss Bundt :

Lemon Bliss Cake

Which was the most beautiful, perfect bundt I've ever made. It's a shame that I spent all the ingredients/time/care making it- for just one slice to be eaten and then the whole thing thrown away. 

I received good feedback from the judges on my items. Someone even left a note for my quilt- they're interesting in buying it. Alas, it's going to my mom for Christmas. It's sad when the fair is over but at least I can start wearing/using all this stuff now! And, of course, start thinking up projects for next year...

Tuesday

[knitting] Ski Bonnet

The last minute item I made to enter into the fair this year was a cabled/smocked/pompom'd ski bonnet:

Putting the finishing touches on my ski bonnet. #knitting #neonskibonnet #pompoms #hatknitting

The pattern is here.

I've had this pattern in my queue for yeeeaaaars. I used Cascade 220 in a heather purple color. My sister gave me three skeins ages ago and this pattern only used up a little more than half of the yarn, so I have enough leftover for some matching mittens. 

I've never done smocked stitches before (main body of the hat) and they were a little tedious but I really like the finished look. I opted for i-cord strands with pom poms at the end. My local Joann store had the Clover small and extra small pom pom makers in stock. They are so cuuuuute. I need to start pinning pom pom projects/crafts.

The front band of the hat is knit in the round so it ends up double-thick:

Ski Bonnet - inside band

As for the mittens- I think I'll do the hat's front band cable pattern for the back of the hands. And maybe the smocked ribbing for the cuffs?

###

Still no picture of all my fair items assembled with the ribbons. Yesterday we had to run a couple errands after work and stop by a farm to pick up our weekly CSA vegetables. I love having a CSA but the weekly food prep is brutal. By the time I take care of everything and get supper together, it's already 7:45 and practically time for Monday Night Football. I will say that last night's supper was pretty good- delicata squash roasted, then stuffed with sauteed leek, garlic, zucchini, leftover turkey thigh meat, swiss chard and topped with shredded mozzarella to melt/brown in the oven. All vegetables from the CSA.

Monday

[misc] Back from vacation

Vacation went by way too fast, as always, but I got a lot done. My daily visitors:

Turkeys in the driveway
 

Large group of about 25 turkeys would pop by around the same time every day, hang out and eat all the birdseed that I put out for the mourning doves. I bet these turkeys are going to taste great this year.

Monday/Tuesday I painted a couple more rooms in the house. And also a wall in the basement band room with green screen paint. I baked a couple things to bring to the fair and finished up all my knit/crochet projects. I brought everything over Wednesday. I did pretty well at the fair this year- now I've moved on to start thinking about knit/crochet projects to make for Christmas.

We went to a concert in Concord Thursday night. Went to the fair Friday. And then did regular old weekend stuff over the weekend (laundry, recycling, football, etc).

Now back to the real world.

Friday

[knitting] Ready to Rock!

The mittens are done:


Let's Rock Mittens

Let's Rock Mittens

I love the little skulls on the insides of the thumbs:

Let's Rock Mittens

The pattern is Let's Rock by Jorid Linvik. You can buy the stand-alone pattern from her website (which is what I did) and it's also included in her book of patterns Big Book of Knitted Mittens (which is what I want to get next).

I used Kollage Square US 3 DPNs and Louet Gems sport-weight yarn. The pattern worked up quickly in one week of dedicated knitting.

I got to use my mitten blockers (ordered from a Estonia) for the first time:

Let's Rock Mittens

Frame for the hands and then a little paddle for the thumb- perfect for this type of (Norwegian? Selbu?) style thumb. I ordered these from here a year or two ago in the L size.

Let's Rock Mittens

There are a few minor mistakes here and there. I did do a couple duplicate stitches to fix some errors and you can't even tell after blocking. 

Let's Rock Mittens

These are going to the fair and then they belong to Dollar.

###

Speaking of the fair, I'm taking next week off and will be offline. I'll be posting to Instagram but I try to not even look at a computer when I'm on vacation. I'll be wrapping up my fair entries, going to a concert one of the nights, cooking, chilling, painting, fair-ing... The plan is to just go crazy. 

I want to participate in the Stitch Marker Swap at the upcoming VT Sheep and Wool Festival (end of September) so I'd like to make a pile of beaded stitch markers next week. I have a couple large navy blue pillow shams and all the accouterments to do Sashiko embroidery, so maybe I'll take some time to try that. Maybe I'll spin some yarn- I feel like I didn't accomplish much (by way of paring down the fiber stash) during Tour de Fleece.

Thursday

[gardening] Lavender

I took down my dried lavender and put together little sachets:

Lavender sachets from this year's harvest

The dining room smells so nice when I'm working on this.

I picked over some of the buds to remove all impurities (stems, chaff, etc) so that I could use some for cooking:

Lavender

I made lemon lavender cookies that are the bomb. Like, one of the best cookies I've ever eaten in my life. I've got to try the recipe once more (ugh- picking over lavender buds is the most tedious thing in the world) to get it pretty. This will have to be added to my Christmas cookies repertoire.

Wednesday

[vermont] Turkey Xing

Morning commute:

⚠️

Had a very productive 3-day weekend. We cleaned the house like crazy, vacuuming every square inch of everything, getting together clothes to donate, boxing up electronics we don't need/use anymore (which I will leave on the "free" table at the dump this weekend), putting away every scrap of laundry. I'm ready to paint a couple more rooms during my vacation next week. I cannot wait for a week off.

The stranded mittens are done and blocking. I've moved on to a cabled hat. Still no idea what I'm going to make with the gray handspun yarn that I pulled from my stash...

Tuesday

[cooking] Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

Testing out a recipe this weekend to enter into the fair:

Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

The original recipe is from Beyond Kimchee and I made them for Thanksgiving last year. I'm tweaking the recipe a little and will post the recipe here after.

Here's the dough after the first rise, rolled into balls.

Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

I might use a scale next time to get all the balls the same weight. 

I pat the ball down a little flat and then use my bench scraper to cut 4 slices and then 4 more slices:

Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

Then I pat it around the outside to bring it back to a ball shape and place it onto a tray for a second rise. And I use a chopstick to poke the middle down.

After the second rise- bushed with egg wash and I added pecan stems to half of the rolls to see how they would burn. 

Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

I love these little rolls so much:

Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

They're a little flat. I might add more flour and yeast to see if they can acheive greater height- but I'm not sure what that will do to the texture. These rolls are so buttery and tender- even the next day (which is good because that's when the judges will be tasting them). I'd rather have flat tender rolls over high hard ones.

Friday

[knitting] Let's Rock Mittens... progress

Progress is coming along quickly on the mittens. The skull pattern on the palm:


And the back:


It's working up quickly and is an enjoyable pattern. I don't want to put it down. There's a slight error at the base of the wing to the left of the guitar. Two stitches that were knit in reverse order. Sigh, I was an inch away by the time I noticed it. I fretted (get it? fretted?) for a couple minutes about whether or not to rip back- but then I decided to just fix it with a couple duplicate stitches when I'm done. I'm just not sure whether I should do that before or after blocking...

###

Happy three day weekend! Hopefully I can finish the other mitten and do the thumbs by Monday. Then I've got to move on to other things- I mailed off my registration form for the fair and put down a couple things that aren't even made yet- gulp. Something made from handspun yarn and a hat. I think I have a hat pattern chosen. As for the handspun project, I just have to stash dive and find a skein or two. Then I'll place the yarn under my pillow at night and a pattern will come to me in my sleep. That's how people figure out what patterns they're going to do next, right?

I'll defrost some pumpkin puree from last fall and start making some yeasted pumpkin-shaped pumpkin rolls. I'm going to enter a couple baked thing sinto the fair so I'll to start practicing the recipes this weekend.


Thursday

[vermont] Chelsea Arts on the Green

Last Saturday I went to the Arts on the Green market in Chelsea, VT with my sister and niece. For months I've been looking for a new sugar dish to keep by the coffee maker. I had a perfect little blue container that I got from a potter at a Quechee craft fair many years ago but I broke the cover last fall. It still holds sugar but I've been using a large plastic yogurt container cover as a top in the meantime. I was waiting to replace it with another handmade piece of pottery and I finally found it:


It's made by Blackbird Studio, who is a weekly vendor at the Chelsea Farmer's Market of Fridays. It's a good size (larger than a pint), I like how big the knob is on top and it's a really pretty design. Absolutely perfect and exactly what I wanted.

And I bought one of the potter's soap dishes, as well:


What a nice way to show off handmade soap. This bar is from the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival in May. It's my last bar and I'm looking forward to replenished my stock of handmade soap at the Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival at the end of September.

One other thing I got to try while I was on the green was gelato from Sweet Doe Dairy. Goat's milk gelato. There aren't many foods I dislike in this world but goat's milk is right at the top of the list. But I was listening to Vermont Public Radio a few weeks ago and a reporter was reviewing Farmer's Markets around the state. She mentioned trying this gelato at the Chelsea Farmer's market and how it didn't taste goat-y... at all. 

Psht. Yeah right. I don't believe you. Goat cheese, Mexican goat's milk caramel (cajeta)- it all has that dirty sock taste. When I was in San Diego this summer, I was at an event where appetizers were being walked around. I look a little piece of something from a tray, popped it in my mouth and said, "Goat cheese. What a terrible surprise." My fault for not asking what was on the cracker. I'm convinced that the only thing goat's milk is good for is soap.

Until I had this gelato. I walked up to their booth, asked for a sample of the new Chai flavor, grimaced and thought "Here we go..." 

It's so good. It just tastes like wonderful ice cream. No goat-y-ness at all. The farmer said that since the milk collected from the goats moves so quickly from the barn straight to the ice cream making facility on site, there isn't time for the milk to age and acquire that distinct flavor. I was skeptical but I'm a believer now- I'm positive that this is the only proper way to enjoy goat's milk. I'm stopping by the Co-op after work to bring a pint home.

Wednesday

[spinning] Tour de Fleece results

I finally skeined and washed my July Tour de Fleece results.

Night

3.6 oz of Falkland spun into a low-twist, worsted weight single-ply. The company is The Spun Monkey DyeWorks and the colorway is "Night". My Ravelry notes say that I purchased it at the 2012 Wild and Woolly Weekend, which I have no recollection of. 

Night

Not sure what I'll do with it but if I pair with Lamb's Pride Worsted, it might make a nice pair of Newfoundland Mittens

And my other skein:

Cool Spots

This took up 95% of my TdF time. 4oz Targhee by Friends in Fiber. Colorway is "Cool Spots".

Cool Spots

I chained plied the entire bobbin into a three-ply and the final yarn is about sport weight:

Cool Spots

It took four hours to ply but I'm super pleased with the final yarn. I'll be submitting this to the fair.

Tuesday

[knitting] Let's Rock Mittens

Started a pair of mittens:

🎹 Let’s rock... #knitting

Pattern is Let's Rock Mittens by Jorid Linvik. My tension is a little wonky- but blocking solves everything, right? I'm using Kollage square knitting needles (US3) and Louet Gems sport in black and white. 

I'm enjoying the pattern so far. It's only 60 stitches around so it's easy to go, "One more round... just one more round... just one more round..." Hopefully these will be large enough for Dollar after blocking. If not, I'll probably be making another pair...

Monday

[knitting] Ammonites done... for now.

After making six ammonites, I've had to force myself to stop so that I can move onto a different project. I wasn't even tired of making these- I could easily have made six more. 

Ammonite #4

Untitled

Ammonite #6

The designer of this also published a free potholder/dishcloth pattern that looks like a water lily, so I might have to give that a whirl once the Tunbridge Fair is over. Right now, I've started a pair of stranded mittens that I am hoping to finish in time to enter. I've got to fill out my form and mail it off this week!

Thursday

[gardening] Japanese Anemone



It has taken a few years for my Japanese anemone to become established but it's doing so well this year. I purchased a small little thing at the Hanover Garden Club sale and I really thought it wasn't going to make it after the first and second year. It was a little bigger the third year- even had a few blooms. This year it's looking great- I had no idea it would get so tall (3+ feet). Hoping to divide it in a couple years and put it a few more places- it's a nice late summer bloomer and the critters leave it alone.

Wednesday

[cooking] Blueberry Breakfast Cake

It's blueberry season so I made a Blueberry Breakfast Cake:

Blueberry Breakfast Cake

I baked this in a 9-inch cake tin and it rose dangerously close to the edge as it baked and then collapsed down to about half that height as it cooled.

Blueberry Breakfast Cake

The cottage cheese I used had pretty large curds- you can see the white spots in the sliced pieces. I'm not bothered- I like the Cabot "Vermont Style" cottage cheese. I used thick Greek yogurt in place of sour cream. 

This "cake" has such a nice, smooth texture. I liked it more than the clafoutis I made earlier this summer. I like it even more straight from the fridge when it's cold- it's like cheesecake.

My mom did a couple blueberry picking trips this summer and my freezer is stocked for the winter. I usually just make a compote by simmering the berries with a little maple syrup and cinnamon- then I have a spoonful or two with plain yogurt for breakfast.

Tuesday

[knitting] More ammonites...

I was traveling for work last week and brought all kinds of cotton yarn to whip up more ammonite potholders...


I wasn't traveling far, so  there's only so much knitting I can do during a 75 minute flight. I imagined whipping up two or three (each way) but I really only completed the one above and this one:

Ammonite #3 with a variegated interior. #ammonite #knitting #knitdishcloth #ammonitepotholder #lilysugarncream

I like the variegated yarn for the inside- I think it just needs a darker border.

Working on a couple more. A few that I've made peak a bit in the middle but I think I have a system for increasing the spiral so that it lies flat for me. I want to have a trio that I'm happy with to enter into the fair.

Monday

[crafts] Tulle Wreaths

I managed to finish six wreaths in time for the anniversary party a couple Saturday's ago. They all looked like:



First, I spray-painted the green wire wreath frames silver. I cut 6-inch pieces of blue and silver polka dot tulle and attached them all to the wire frame with slip knots (three concentric circles). Each wreath used about one spool of each. Then I wrapped some silver ribbon about the inside two rings in a zig-zag manner. I found some white beaded decorations (like floral sprays) and attached some strands over the silver ribbon. Lastly I added a strand of wire fairy lights.

All in all they looked pretty nice on the tables. Of course, I didn't want to bring all six home so at the end of the night, I tried getting people to take them home by saying, "If you just add a little red tulle, you'll have a nice red, white and blue wreath for next 4th of July!" I still ended up with three.

It was a good learning experience. The tulle at Joann's is more expensive that the tulle at Michael's ($5 vs. $3) but it's a better fabric (nylon vs. polyester) and is softer with better drape. I needed 12 spools, which could have been expensive but it juuuuust so happened that the tulle at Joanne's was on sale for $3. I lucked out there. If I happen to see the tulle on sale again at Joanns, I might grab a few just to have on hand for a different holiday wreath.

Overall it wasn't a crazy expensive project- the wreath frames were from the dollar store. The silver ribbon and clear bead sprays were from the discount section of the craft stores. The fairy lights were $25 from Amazon (for sixteen ten-foot strands; we used the extras to place around the party ballroom).

Wednesday

[knitting] Grumio - finished

Finished my Grumio hat:

Grumio

Using Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool, I cast on 48 stitches onto US 13 needles. Worked a k4p4 waffle pattern for a good long while. Then decreased rapidly over just three rounds. Close the top, added a pompom. Long and slouchy, even with a fold-over brim. 

###

I'm trying to make six tulle wreaths to be table centerpieces for an anniversary party this Saturday. I'm teaching this week (last class of the year, wooooooooo) so I'm getting home late and exhausted but I think I have a design plan (thank you, Pinterest)... I just have to cut all the tulle pieces and attach them to the wire rings in slip knots. I'll put on a long movie tonight... pour a 24oz glass of wine (aka the entire bottle)... and get to cutting/knotting.

Tuesday

[knitting] Ammonite Potholder

New potholder/dish cloth:

Ammonite hotpad. First attempt at the pattern. The middle is a little wonky and my stitch count is off but I think I have the hang of it now. More ammonites to come... #knitting #ammonite #dishcloth #hotpad


The pattern is free on Ravelry: Ammonite Potholder. I made this with Lily Sugar 'n Cream cotton on US 4 needles. I can't remember the last time I used this yarn for anything but it's like coming back to an old friend. I used it so much in my early knitting days for potholders and dish cloths- I have a pretty good stash of miscellaneous colors.

There was a definite learning curve to this pattern- my stitch count was off on the outer sections but I love how it turned out and I've already started a second (which is going much more smoothly). I think I'll stick to this pattern for a while and make quite a lot for holiday gifts. And choosing different colors for every single one should keep this from getting too boring.

Friday

[knitting] Grumio

A friend recently turned me on to the show Plebs on Hulu. It's a British show set in ancient Rome- very hilarious. My favorite character is the slave, Grumio, who is ambivalent about everything except food. There's one episode in season three when Marcus' mom comes to visit and brings all kinds of handknit items as gifts. They all get new tunics, Stylax gets a cardigan (which features prominently into the story), Marcus gets a work 'briefcase' and a scarf, Grumio gets a hat:

Grumio

I've rewatched the episode and tried to take pictures so I can figure out the pattern. I think it's just a very loose knit 4 purl 4 pattern. Very long to make it slouchy with a little pom pom at the end. 

I'm giving it a try: 

Grumio hat

The waffle pattern is coming out a lot more defined and poofier. I'm using Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool and US 13 (9mm) needles. I only had to cast on 48 stitches so the hat working up quickly. I almost wonder if the knitter who made the hat for the show used a DK-weight alpaca; the stitches look more relaxed and open on the show.

Hopefully I'll finish it this weekend. I'm taking a day trip to Hmart with my mom and sis tomorrow- going to by all the Korean foods and supplies!

Thursday

[cooking] Marvel-ous dinner

We got the digital copy of Avengers: Infinity War this week and I made a Marvel dinner to go with our viewing at home.

Thor acquires a new weapon this movie after meow-meow, sorry, Mjolnir was destroyed. It's a hammer-axe called Stormbreaker. I made the edible version:

Stormbreader

Not bad. I took some no-knead dough out of the fridge and let it come to room temp so it was more malleable. Then shaped the axe head and rolled/twisted some pieces for the Groot handle. The little blob at the bottom is just extra dough that still deserved to be baked.

Re-ignite a dying star, set your forge to 350F and bake for 40 min. I noticed that it had gotten no color even though it was done cooking so I brushed the top with melted butter and broiled it for a couple minutes. 

Stormbreader

It lost some of the definition during baking but I'm so happy with how it looked AND tasted.

The entire meal:

Marvel-ous dinner

Stormbreader (see what I did there?), orange soul stone maple-glazed carrots, Hulk-smashed potatoes, Steve Rogers' all-American meatloaf. (Okay, okay, I know I'm reaching with a couple of these.)

That's my Infinity Gauntlet oven mitt in the middle that I got in a Loot Crate ages ago. There was a recall but they can't make me give it back, even if I do end up burning my hand whenever I try to pick up anything hot with it.

We also brought out the large Infinity Gauntlet that I crocheted for the movie premier:

Thanos is ready to eat

It was difficult to eat with. But the meal and movie were awesome!

Wednesday

[crochet] Agnes Doily- Finished! ... Kind of.

Finished and blocked the Agnes doily:

The doily is done ✅ Ran out of yarn so I wasn’t able to do the last two rounds buuuuuuut it’s fine. #crochet #doily

I ran out of yarn so I wasn't able to complete the last two rounds. It's definitely meant to have a more intricate picot edge but I used a heavier fingering-weight cotton (rather than thread cotton), so the skein disappeared rather quickly. Still, I blocked it out nicely and it's roughly 18 inches in diameter. Good size. Will save it for the fair.

Speaking of the fair... I gotta get on that. I have six weeks and I need to start organizing (and making!) everything I want to enter.

Tuesday

[gardening] More Daylilies

More daylilies are opening up around the flowerbeds...

'Girlish Laughter':

‘Girlish Laughter’ #daylily #hemerocallis

'Wind in the Rigging':

‘Wind in the Rigging’ #daylily #hemerocallis

'Beware the Wizard':

‘Beware the Wizard’ ‍♂️ #daylily #hemerocallis

These names, I know. Beware the Wizard (Imma just call it 'bee tee dubs' in my head from now on) is one of the first I've ever bought from Hold'n Heaven three years ago and this is the first time it has bloomed for me. It has interesting extra li'l petals on the inside (I think this is just called a 'double' form), it's quite tall and the flowers are large. I really like this one.

'Moment in the Sun':

‘Moment in the Sun’ ☀️ #daylily #hemerocallis

This yellow one had a pretty hard time this summer- the petal edges are very bubbly and this is known as "chicken fat" edges because of how it looks. Several flowers had a hard time opening because the petals edges would get caught up. So seeing this one completely open was nice and this one is very fragrant. 

'Shores of Time'

‘Shores of Time’ #daylily #hemerocallis

'Wind in the Rigging'

‘Wind in the Rigging’ #daylily #hemerocallis

Some mystery red ones:

Hm. Mystery red daylilies. Maybe these were a gift from someone. 🎁 I love it! ❤️

And the very last of the year for the common orange ones:

Last of the common orange #daylilies. See you all again next year.

I think it might be time for a change. These common orange ones are right in front of the house, in kind of a primo spot because the deer don't come this close. Planted ages ago when I didn't have a lot of variety, I think I should move these all somewhere else (I won't be upset of the deer end up nibbling these) and have a really nice daylily garden in front of the house. I'll just go ahead and add that to the TO DO list...