[knitting] Cat Wig

I unearthed an old knit bag to finally finish. The original pattern has to you knit stockinette edges to wrap around wooden bag handles. Because I decided to sew in a zipper and fabric lining instead, I had to rip back and bind off closer to where the cabled pattern ends.

I had a small pile of very kinky yarn and plopped it on Murderface's head (that's what you get when you nap next to me on the couch, buddy). It looked like cool dreadlocks so I decided to make a cat wig. I knit a basic hat base from Cats in Hats, cut the kinky yarn into 6 in - 8 in strands and then used a crochet hook to loop the yarn along the garter ridges of the hat base.

Had to rip back on an old, hibernating project. Made a cat wig with the kinky yarn.


Penny "loves" the new wig.

I'll get a better picture in the future. She was napping and kind of... unimpressed with being disturbed for this nonsense. It was a fast and fun project to whip up in under an hour.


[quilting] Finished mini-quilt mat thing

Saturday morning, I got out my How to Quilt book and read (okay, skimmed) the final steps: backing, batting, binding. 

Finishing the mini quilt. Everything looks so.... blue and orange. #quilting

I ironed the backing fabric, taped it to the table, added a layer of batting, placed the top, pinned through all three layers, tied some blue perle cotton yarn through the enter of each square, cut away the excess and edging, used pre-made brown fabric tape for binding and used a zig-zag stitch to sew around the edge. 

Front, done:

Done. Tied the center of the squares. Good practice sewing on and edge with a zig-zag stitch.


Back of the mini quilt.

Not big enough to be used as a blanket but the cats can always use a mat to sit on:

Penny on the little quilt.

It was a good learning project. I got more experience with my sewing machine and using the zig-zag stitch setting. Applying the binding continuously. 

I dug out another little quilt top (pillowcase-sized) and set to finishing that as well. 

Going to finish an old little quilt top that has been hidden away for 10+ years.

All that is left is hand-sewing the binding down. Sigh. I hate hand sewing. And see those two knit and crochet bags at the top of the picture? I was going to machine sew a zipper and lining into them but because the wool is so bulky, I have to do it by hand. Siiiiiiiigh. 

I've found all kinds of sewing supplies after digging through storage boxes. I have three rotary cutters. And extra blades. And zippers and fabric and bag straps to finish those two bags. At least I'm not having to buy anything. 

After all this sewing stuff is done, then I'll finally start sewing squares for the batik quilt top.


[misc] Puzzle complete: Koi Pond


Done. @jenmac1818 #stavepuzzles #puzzles

After roughly a month, I can finally have my dining room table back. 

TGIFFFFFFFFFFF. No plans this weekend- no appointments, don't have to be anywhere. Just going to bind-off and block the Moonlight Sonata shawl. And finish that quilt square into a little mat/blanket for the cats. Dollar wants to get back into Memoir '44 so we might set up a campaign to play (and I wouldn't mind getting back into boardgaming). And I should crochet a round or two on the Sophie's Universe afghan. And I started a Westworld embroidery project that I should finish. Damn, the weekend is starting to fill up... WITH FUN STUFF!!!


[mics] Back to winter...

Outside, it looks like:


And I'm trying to wrap up a summer linen shawl that I started last July. I'm just about to start the garter border, then I'll do the washing/blocking. Next up,  I'll go back to the Sophie's Universe crocheted blanket. A maybe start some little baby sweaters for my niece.


[misc] Puzzle Progress

Working on a Stave puzzle for weeks now:

Puzzle progress on a snowy day.

If you're reading this and I've lent you a puzzle called Catatonic, please let me know. I can't find it and I'm a little upset. I just want to know where it is :( I hope it will turn up in the future, it's my fave.


[cooking] Orange Sorbet

This is the last orange recipe. I've used them all up. I never got sick of them and was legit sad when I pulled the last few out to use. 

I read this article on sorbet and it helped tremendously. Especially when I got down to the part about citrus sorbets and how corn syrup is a good sweetener to improve the texture for thin fruit juices. The candied orange peels that I made last week were boiled in a sugar/corn syrup mix, so I felt this sorbet would be a good use for the reserved syrup.

I squeezed four cups of juice and mixed with one cup of syrup. Then I poured it into the ice cream maker and away it went. It was still soft when I transferred it all to a container but after a night in the freezer:

Orange sorbet. 🍊 Orange juice and syrup reserved from making candied peels. #caracaraoranges #sorbet

So good. It just tastes like smooth, frozen cara cara oranges. I still have leftover syrup (in the jar) and a million frozen blueberries, so blueberry sorbet might be in the near future as well.

For the football game last night, I made baked brie en croute with a layer of marmalade on top of the brie.

Baked brie en croute with a layer of marmalade to go with homemade baguette. Ooey gooey goodness for the Pats. LETS GOOOOOOO!

This was fantastic with a homemade baguette. 

So that's it. RIP oranges, it was a fun two weeks. Will def get a case again next year. And buy a juicer between now and then because juicing by hand suuuuuucks.


[cooking] Orange you glad it's another orange recipe?

Oh look, another thing I made with oranges: Cinnamon-Orange Bread

Orange-cinnamon no-knead loaf

I usually keep a big bowl of no-knead dough in the fridge. I like to use this recipe because it makes a lot and the dough keeps well, even over a couple weeks. The recipe calls for AP flour but I've used any combination of all-purpose flour, bread flour, white whole wheat. I just use whatever flour I have on hand (not self-rising, though). It's easy to rip off a piece of dough here and there for pizza or a quick dutch oven loaf.

Yesterday I was sooooo excited to get home and try orange sorbet! I get to use my long-neglected ice cream maker. Alas, I didn't plan ahead and when I looked at the ice cream bucket, I went "Oh yeah, I'm supposed to freeze this for 24 hours first." Fine! I'll put the bucket into the freezer. What about that idea I had for a chocolate orange loaf of bread. I looked and had no baking chocolate in the pantry. FINE! I'll... I'll just use these cinnamon flav-r-bites instead!

(I don't even know if KAF sells these little cinnamon bits any more. My bag is old but it's air-tight, they're dried goods... I'm sure it'll be fine. Probably.)

So I tore off a piece of dough (this batch is 30% white whole wheat, 70% bread flour) and kneaded in some diced homemade candied orange peel and cinnamon nuggs until I felt everything was well incorporated. Then I let it rise... a little too long. I got distracted tidying up my craft room and the dough rose to a big, shaggy mess which I dumped unceremoniously into a pre-heated dutch oven (with a round of parchment paper on the bottom), muttering "Whateverrrrrrrr". It was a small loaf, so it only baked covered for 15 min and then uncovered for 8 min.

Still looked good to me:

Orange-cinnamon no-knead loaf

This made the house smell wonderful while it was baking. You know those cartoons where the scent of something lifts someone off their feet and they float over to the source of the smell? That's what happened to Dollar. The orange and cinnamon combination was just perfect.


[cooking] Candied orange peels and marmalade

The case of oranges is dwindling. Seeing the end approaching, I frantically started to think of different ways to preserve the citrus. One was candied orange peels. I squeezed some juice, cut the orange halves in to quarters, scraped/peeled out the pulp and then cut the rinds into strips:

Future candied orange peels.

I used this recipe. I read a few different recipes, so I knew when it said "simmer very slowly until pith is translucent" that it would take a while. Two hours of simmering for this batch. 

The rinds after draining off the syrup (which I save in a jar):

Candied orange peels

After rolling them around in sugar:

Candied orange peels

Kind of clumpy. I let them dry out in the open over night and then rolled them around on a cookie sheet with my hand to knock a lot of the excess sugar off. I left them out all day to continue drying and then put them all into a large mason jar to store.

While the peels were boiling, I used my mandolin to slice up 4 lbs of oranges for marmalade.

Will boil this up for marmalade tomorrow. Jelly bag is full of orange piths and membranes leftover from juicing.

You know what's not easy? Slicing whole oranges with a mandolin. But I put on my infinity gauntlet oven mitt to protect my hand and away I went. The bowl above is oranges (the jelly bag contains some peels and pulp from oranges I juiced) and 6 cups of water, which I left in the fridge overnight. Using the ratios in this recipe, the next day I added the contents of the bowl (I removed the jelly bag) plus six more cups of water plus 9 cups of sugar (OMGGGGGGGG) and boiled away for three hours.

The finished marmalade: 10 half-pint jars, processed in boiling water and everything:

Marmalade! 🍊🍊🍊🍊🍊🍊🍊🍊🍊

It sent up kind of on the hard side (I did the frozen plate test repeatedly- and I think I waited too long) but it's fantastic. I've been enjoying it on cheese and crackers, mixed into yogurt, with peanut butter on toast.

Now that I have oranges preserved a couple way, I can take my time thinking of creative ways to use them. At the moment, I love the idea of a dark chocolate/candied orange peel loaf of bread and baked brie en croute with a layer of marmalade between the brie and pastry wrap.


[quilting] Beginner's Block

This week I took a one-off class at the local Joann fabric store- Beginner's Quilting. Because I need a new hobby. First, I pulled out the old/new sewing machine.

I have a beginners quilting class tonight. Better figure how to use this thing. Given to me by my sister and it's brand new. Thanks @barbjstender! I'll pay you in marmalade tomorrow.

I think my mom bought it new in 2012, never used it, gave to to my sister who never used it and then gave it to me. It still had the factory twist ties around the electric cables. I showed Dollar and was like, "This sewing machine has literally never been used." I went through the manuals, figured out how to fill the bobbins, thread the needle, etc etc etc and I sewed a few lines on scrap fabric to adjust the tension. Then I brought it down to the store to use for class.

First, I went to pick out some fabric (dark, medium, light) and then we cut, sewed, pressed. I ended up with:

Not perfect but not bad for my first quilt square.

I added the extra orange border and I'll finish it at home as a little mat or blanket for the cats. 

I made a quilt top nearly 15 years ago. I literally have no recollection of making this. Yeah, maybe sewing all those colored squares rings a bell but I don't remember cutting fabric or sewing the border or... doing any of it, really. It's crazy. But I want a couple more charm quilts for the house. I bought packs of pre-cut fabric and the class I took was just to give me basic knowledge of measuring, piecing, sewing, pressing, etc. 


[knitting] Rikke V

It's still all orange recipes, all the time around the house but I did finish a new hat:

Alpaca Rikke Hat

This is my fifth time making a Rikke hat. I love the pattern- perfect fit, perfect amount of slouch. This hat is extra-slouchy; I went 9 inches before starting the decreases.

The yarn is long discontinued Araucania Atacama, two skeins. I used nearly all of it and plan to use up the small remaining amount for a pouch. I alternated the skeins every 2 rows, to avoid potential color-pooling or a obvious color change once I switches skeins.

I got two more skeins of Cascade Casablanca in the mail so I'm back to working on the mermaid tears/crocodile stitch bag. Took a beginners quilting class last night. I got my sewing machine out and figured out how to use it. I think I'm ready to start tackling the stacks of charm squares I have and make a couple quilts.


[cooking] Orange Bundt Cake

So yesterday was a day. A bummer of a day. Nothing too horrendous, just annoying identity theft/fraud. I wavered between being angry and depressed all day. In the evening, I needed a pick-me-up (which I think is technically tiramisu but whatever, bundt cake will work in a pinch).

First, I had a cara cara orange screwdriver to lift my spirits:

Spirits lifting. Cara cara orange screwdriver.

Screwdrivers are my faaaaaavorite and this was just so perfect with ice cold vodka (this Ice Glen from the MA Berkshires is a nice one) and fresh squeezed juice.

Anyway, time to bundt. King Arthur Flour has declared 2017 the year of the bundt. I've never made a bundt before but got a classic Nordic Ware 10-cup bundt pan. Now I can see myself collecting bundt pans of different designs. They'll be like my Pokemon- gotta collect 'em all.

The recipe I used is this orange pound cake. This recipe is a real egg-hog but the ingredients are exceedingly simple- butter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder, salt, orange juice and zest. Very easy to bring together and plop into the bundt pan:

My first bundt- orange pound cake recipe.

After baking at 350 for 50 min:

Bundt, after baking

I let it rest for 10 min and then turned it out onto a cake platter. I didn't do the bourbon/butter glaze opting instead to brush more fresh squeezed OJ over the exterior. Then I dusted with powdered sugar:

Bundt, dusted with powdered sugar

Looks fancy-pants was this was a EASY dessert to do on a week night. And the orange flavor is sooooooo great.

Bundt perfection. Orange pound cake recipe from King Arthur Flour. #yearofthebundt #kingarthurflour

TGIF. Looking forward to a three day weekend. Duck a l'orange tonight. Green Mountain Spinnery/Basketville tomorrow. Pats playing tomorrow night. Quilting class Monday night.


[cooking] Cara Cara Oranges

Saw a post on Facebook that my local Co-op grocery store was having a case sale on citrus. Grapefruit, navel oranges, juice oranges, blood oranges and cara cara oranges. 

Cara cara oranges? What is this? I googled it. Pink flesh, sweet, low acid. Sold. I went over to pick up a 20 lb box.

Cara cara oranges. Orange all the things!

Time to orange all the things. Supper last night was:

Orange three ways. Bone-in pork chop with soy-orange reduction, braised balsamic-orange red cabbage, tomato bulgar scallion salad dressed

Orange three ways: bone-in thick pork chop with soy-orange reduction, braised balsamic-orange red cabbage, tomato bulgar scallion salad dressed with orange juice. 

Future plans: orange curd, duck a l'orange, maple-orange chicken wings (for the Pats game Saturday night, oooo-OOOOO!!!). Sunday, when I have time, I'd like to preserve some as marmalade but I don't can often ever (and I think my mom has most of my canning supplies) and am not confident in my canning skills. Cocktails: screwdrivers (aw yeah, my fave) and maple-orange-bourbon smash.

Possible plans: orange-sesame chicken, orange pound cake, chocolate orange something.

Orange all the things!


[crochet] Mermaid Tears Tote

I started a new crochet project this weekend:

What I did this weekend. In between putting a towel over my head and holding my head over a steaming pot of water. This cold suuuuucks. #crochet

The pattern is free: Bernat Mermaid Tears Purse. I more commonly see this crochet stitch referred to as "crocodile stitch". This is my first time trying it out and it's a yarn gobbler. It's working out with the color transitions of the yarn- Cascade Casablanca (discontinued)- but I may have to hit someone on Ravelry up for another skein if this bag doesn't come out deep enough.

I'm making the pattern nearly twice as wide for a tote-sized bag. I have grand plans to sew in a lining and zipper, which I've never done before. My sister gave me a sewing machine and I still have as yet to thread it and figure out how it works. I signed up for a quilting class next Monday and I'll bring the sewing machine (and hopefully the teacher there can give me a basic sewing machine refresher).

As I approach the end of my 3rd and final ball of Casablanca, I'm already on the prowl for a new project. If something doesn't sweep me off my feet soon, I'll dig into the UFO basket and plug away on my uninspiring, unfinished projects.


[misc] Murderface Monday

Murderface is the best cuddler:


Had a slow weekend. I'm suffering through the latter stages of a cold. The house is so dry that I've been boiling a pot of water and putting my head over the steam (with a towel over my head) multiple times a day.

We took down the Christmas decorations and tree. The new rabbit hutch is in place next to the old one and we're trying to transition Rocky. I started a new crochet project. And I signed up for a beginners how-to-quilt class at Joanns next Monday. 


[misc] 1978 Star Wars Calendar

This arrived from eBay:

Legit 1978 Star Wars calendar (the year Dollar and I were born) and the dates work for 2017! Best eBay purchase ever.

1978 is the year both Dollar and I were born and the dates work for 2017. AND it's Star Wars. 

May the force be with you... All through the year!


[misc] Rocky Thursday

Rocky, with a popped-corn-on-the-cob treat:

Rocky and his tiny corn cob treat. You can microwave it to make popped-corn-on-the-cob. #houserabbit

Rocky got a nice, new hutch for Christmas. It's all put together and we are waiting to make the transition, hopefully without causing him too much stress. 

I've got a cold. I've had it all week and I've been trying to ignore it. And then I tried to self-medicate with tea, kimchi stew, sudafed, themaflu. I feel all kinds of messed up in the head. I have a new crochet project that I would like to start but I can't even think about focusing on a pattern. What the crap, 2017. 


[knitting] PussyHat Project

First start-to-finish project of 2017:

Took a little longer than expected due to a cold but the hat is done and ready to be mailed. #pussyhatproject #pussyhat

Pattern: PussyHat Project (rav link)

Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash 

Needles: US 7 (ribbing), US 8 (stockinette)

Knit this hat for a friend who will be participating in the Women's March on Washington in DC. More info on the PussyHat Project. There will be a March in Montpelier from 1 - 3 pm on January 21, starting at the Montpelier High School and ending at the State House.

I knit the hat long enough for the ribbed brim to be folded over. I cast on 96 stitches and knit it in the round, then kitchenered the top closed. 


[knitting] Abagail Sweater

A lace vest I finished for my niece:

Little sweater for my niece. 💜 #knitting

Pattern: Abagail Sweater (rav link)

Yarn: Berroco Corsica, just over one ball.

Needles: US 5

This project was finished for almost a year- it just needed buttons. I found a couple small purple ones that matched the yarn well. I didn't have the foresight to add a couple buttons holes as I knit the sweater, so I just sewed them on and pushed them through gaps in the garter edge.