[vermont] Cosy

Things are pretty cold and snowy now. On Nov. 12:

Nov 12 - snow

More snow fell a few days later. Over the weekend, snowed in, I survived on kimchi jjigae:

Snow day jjigae. ❄️🍲❄️ #kimchijjigae

And cuddles:

Murderface keeping me warm while knitting last night.

I've been knitting like crazy. I dropped the b-day socks to work on a new sweater for my niece- which I completed 99% of in just two days. Just have to finish the sleeve cuffs, then back to the socks... then... stuff for the band members? 

Looking forward to Thanksgiving this week and more days off for knitting. Maybe (hopefully) sewing.

I'm making an apple pie to bring to my mom's for Thanksgiving and I think I'm going to add some grated gjetost to the crust. I got a block of ski queen to try for the first time and it's interesting. But I'm looking for ways to use it up.

I plan on bringing some kale dip, as well. I made it last weekend, based on this recipe from Penzey's:

Berbere toasts

I used kale and cheddar. Rather than mix it all up, spread on toast and broil; I mixed it all up, put into a small casserole dish and baked. Served with small toast, it was a nice, green, savory, spicy dip.

Oh, and I went to the annual Cabot Hosiery/Darn Tough sock sale for the first time ever on Sunday morning. It was good- got there just after 8:30 am and there was no waiting/no line/not too crowded. I hope everyone wants socks for Christmas, because that's what everyone's getting. 


[cooking] Aquafaba

One thing I've wanted to try for a long time is aquafaba. Literally, bean water. It's the liquid you drain from a can of garbanzo beans. You can whip it up into fluffy (vegan!) meringue. Just look:

Aquafaba meringue

I whipped it in the stand mixer with cream of tartar for stability. After it reached the stiff peaks stage, I incrementally added maple sugar and almond extract. Dolloped onto a baking sheet:

Aquafaba foam

Baked at 250F for one hour:

After baking

Yeeeahhhhhh. Not so awesome. The foam was tasty so I think next time I'll stir in some melted chocolate at the very end, refrigerate and call it mousse. I assume my maple sugar may have has something to do with the poor baking but the only other sugar I have is brown (would that have been okay?) or raw (too coarse).

The actual chickpeas I seasoned and roasted in the oven, in the hopes for a crispy crunchy snack. The beans never got crunchy and ended up not-quite-soft, not-quite-chewy. I had to throw them out. It was a bad weekend for chickpeas in my house.


I did a lot of other cooking over the long weekend and the rest of it went much better! More pics this week.

I did a ton of knitting- two hats done. I finished the worsted socks and started another. 

We've got lots of new snow and it looks like it's not going anywhere so... yay, winter. 


[misc] TGIF Penny

Aww, Penny has been featured so much this week. Tucked in on Monday. With the teddy bears on Tuesday. With the octopus on Wednesday. Now on Friday.


I've started listening to podcasts in my craft room on Wednesday nights (band practice has moved to our basement for the winter- they practice right under the living room so it's too noisy to watch anything on the TV) and Penny eventually comes to keep me company in the chaise lounge.

Still working on the worsted socks (at the toe of sock #1- ohhhh these worsted socks go so fast!) and I started the cable portion of a hat. I found a couple balls of machine washable yarn in the worsted-sock-yarn stash that I think I'm going to used for a toddler sweater instead.

I finally visited a new(ish) local spice shop called Little Istanbul in White River Junction. I've followed Sirali Kebap for a while on Instagram and I'm obsessed with their videos and food. They show you everything that goes into what they're making but don't explicitly state what all the spices are and I am so unfamiliar with this cuisine. I'm soooooo happy to have a spice shop to pick up pre-mixed spice blends. I picked up a few one-ounce baggies:

Finally visited the Turkish store

I plan to try some of these over the three-day weekend. I just have to find recipes... Three day weekeeeeeeeeeeend!!


[knitting] Zauberball socks and pouch

I needed a portable, easy knitting project for my work trip a couple weeks ago. Socks. And the most basic vanilla socks, at that.

Basic socks

I took some zauberball sock yarn that has been in my stash for millennia and cast on for k2p2 ribbed legs and stockinette feet. The socks are a little delicate and not particularly dense (I used US2 needles) but I just wear my socks to bed during the winter, so these are perfect. 

There was a decent amount of yarn leftover, so I made a plain pouch:

Zauberball Pouch

It's about 5 inches x 7 inches. I cast on 90 stitches, knit for an inch, worked k3 k2tog around, knit the rest, kitchenered the bottom closed. I knit a long i-cord to use as a tie.

Zauberball Pouch

Zauberball Pouch

I love these small drawstring pouches using leftover yarn. Fast and easy projects to work on during football games.


I've cast on for a pair of black worsted-weight socks (someone's b-day is coming up) and a cabled hat (Christmas gift). 

I made a kale paneer curry last night for dinner that turned out just *chef's kiss*. I used my over-drained, hard ricotta in place of paneer.

We watched a good movie on Netflix last weekend- The Invitation. Didn't know what to expect but it kept us guessing...

We bought a season pass for the newest season of The Walking Dead via Amazon (WHY is this season so much more expensive than all other past seasons?!) and have caught up. This show has gone so far off the rails, I don't even know what's going on or care about anyone. 

I watched all the Curious Creations of Christine McConnell on Netflix. It was good but... kind of out of my realm of ability. Or budget. Or time. I don't have an airbush tool, sculpting tools, and endless supply of modeling chocolate, etc. Having said that, it was a very funny and original show and I would watch more. I looooooved the Henson puppets and creatures- Rose being my favorite. I've printed a pattern for a crocheted amigurumi raccoon that I'm going to make in her fork-armed likeness.

I think since it's going to be a three-day weekend, I'll get the sewing machine back out and start quilting again. 


[knitting] Scrappy Handspun Octopus

I made another toy from the scrappy handspun yarn:


The pattern is Common Octopus from Hansi Singh's Amigurumi Knits book. I used my handspun for the body and tops of the tentacles and Knit Picks Brava in a brick color for the bottoms of the tentacles.

Octopus- underside

It was a well-written and fun pattern. The tentacles are quick to do, joining isn't so bad, I inserted craft pipe-cleaners to the tentacles to make them poseable. I use safety eyes from my stash and whip-stitched the mantle to the base, which isn't so noticeable since I'm using a multicolored yarn. If I were using a solid color for the body, I would take the time to properly and invisibly graft the two pieces.

Common Octopus

I introduced the octopus to Penny:

Octopus and Penny. BFFs.

It really took a liking to her...

The octopus loves Penny

And you can see that she loves it, too!

Penny loves the octopus

Penny, my always-happy-to-oblige model.


[knitting] Scrappy Handspun Bears

A few weeks ago I made the scrappy three-ply yarn from my spinning leftovers. I thought it would make a cute teddy bear, and I was right!

Harry Bears

The pattern is Harry Bear by Berroco and it's so nice, I had to make it twice. (I will say, though, that I think the wrap-and-turn rows are incorrect as written in the pattern in terms of where to perform the wrap and turns. I just made sure my short rows are always centered and symmetrical.)

The bear pieces work up quickly:

Harry Bears

The back is knit as one piece, then the front. The hardest and most time consuming part is sewing the two pieces together.

Because of the color randomness of the yarn, the back of the bears are different colors from the front but it adds to the charm and hominess, I think.

Harry Bear #1

Harry Bear #1

Harry Bear #2

Harry Bear #2

The safety eyes and noses are from the Etsy shop 6060. I ordered a good variety some time ago so I have lots of sizes/colors in my stash. I need to make more toys and amigurumi!

I think one of the bears will be gifted but I almost can't bear (hah!) to separate them:

Harry Bears

And the cats don't want to lose their new friend:

Murderface, Penny and a teddy

Actually, they don't care. They might be more interested if it was stuffed with catnip. Hmm... next time...

Now that I've done this pattern a couple times- I'd like to make more. All white for a polar bear. If I do the arms separate, it would be easy enough to make a black and white panda. Furry yarn for fuzzy bears. Fuzzy... bear... Fozzie bear. Omg, I could do one in light brown and give it a fedora and pink polka dot scarf. I think I have Dollar's Christmas gift sorted.


[misc] Weekend Penny

Every picture I take of Penny napping, wrapped in a blanket makes it look like she has a cold:

Lazy Sunday. #tuckedinkitties

Her little paw sticking out the bottom of the blanket is so cute to me.

Was a good weekend. Got some chores done and knit a few little toys. Made some rieska- which I should make more often. It's fast, a good use for rye flour/oats/buttermilk and tastes so nice and rustic. Tried to watch all of the Pats game last night but with the time change and deciding to "lay down on the couch to watch the second half", I was asleep in minutes.


[cooking] Ricotta recipes

I made a batch of homemade ricotta last weekend and have been looking for ways to use it all up. I had ricotta toast for dinner a couple nights:

Homemade ricotta, pea purée, scallion toast. 💚

Wheat toast, ricotta, pea puree, scallions. With a little drizzle of lemon olive oil.

The frozen peas were just microwaved and then pulsed in the magic bullet with a little butter, cream, salt, pepper, cider vinegar.

I also defrosted some pumpkin puree to made some cookies:

Pumpkin ricotta cakey cookies. 🎃

This is the recipe I used but I omitted chocolate chips. The keep the cookies from being too bland, I added some pumpkin pie spices (1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp each cloves, nutmeg, ginger, all spice). Next time I'd add more to make these even spicier.

I used a little cookie scoop to potion out the cookies and they didn't spread at all during baking. Next time I'd press them down a bit but 14 min in the oven was enough time to cook them through. They are lofty with a cakey texture. I really liked these.


TGIF. Should be a chill weekend. Gotta take care of recycling tomorrow morning but other than that and household chores, I'll just be wrapping up some craft projects. I knit a little pouch with leftover yarn from a pair of socks I knit in Kansas City last week. I'm working on a little bear with my scrappy handspun yarn. Maybe dedicate some time to coaster weaving while listening to podcasts (the Wolverine one is really good!). And I need to get the sewing machine back out to wrap up a quilt top- I want to have it professionally finished before Christmas. 


[knitting] Hunting Season

That most basic of basic knit hats:

A very bright, blaze orange hat for walking in the woods this year. I don't hunt but I also don't want to get shot when I'm outside. 

The yarn is from the Bartlett Yarns booth at Vermont Sheep and Wool. I bought one skein and I'm tempted to buy 4 more next year. This is the perfect color for hunters and would make nice, rugged cabled hats. The only drawback is that the yarn is a little sheddy and rough.


[weaving] Practice coaster and mini-rug

I wrapped up a couple small projects that I made on my table loom:

Practicing tapestry weaving

The one on the left is a small coaster and the one on the right is a little rug for either my cell phone or notions while I weave (scissors, needles, etc). Both are done with Elann Sonata cotton that I had in the stash.

Woven mug rug

The coaster is pretty cute. I finished by tying the warp ends in overhand knots, which looks a little disorderly. I'm not sure yet what the best practices are for weaving- first and final wefts rows to keep things tidy, when/where to join new yarn, securing ends, etc. 

I practiced color blocks for the rectangular mat:

Woven rug

These didn't take too long and were pretty fun. I've since warped the loom to try and make 4 coasters at once. I just need to find the time to do them all.


[spinning] Jade Chopsticks Finished

The polwarth / silk handspun 'Jade Chopsticks':

Jade Chopsticks Handspun

Aran-weight two ply. I love these colors and the finished yarn.

Jade Chopsticks Handspun

I have so many of these 4oz handspun skeins in the worsted-to-bulky weight range. I might have to wind a bunch for some basic hats. I think simple ribbing or stockinette shows off handspun yarn so well.


[travel] Kansas City, MO

Traveled last week for work to Kansas City, MO. 



Coming home, things were a bit snowier than when I left:

Things are a little snowier than when I left. #vermont

It was a good week- learned a lot in my training. Got to try lots of good food- including famous KC BBQ. It was a tiring week, though, and I was happy to return home. I don't love getting up at 4am for a 6am flight but it is nice to be walking through my front door by 1pm.

The weekend was good. We had to help a friend move into an apartment on Saturday- when it was crazy sleeting and dozens of cars were off the road- but we made it home safe and sound. I wrapped up a few crafty projects. Spent Sunday cooking- savory scones, homemade ricotta, kale quiche. 


[weaving] Free Form Tapestry

I don't think I ever shared a picture of the free form tapestry that I made during a class at the Vermont Sheep and Wool festival:

Free form wall hanging from a class at VT Sheep and Wool. Love the textures. Thank you, @anne.choi 🐑🐑🐑🐑🐑 #weaving #tapestryweaving #vermontsheepandwoolfestival

It's a riot of textures and colors and I love it. I want to hang it where people can touch it- because it does invite touching. Commercial yarn, art yarn, roving, fabric, fiber locks... It was very fun to make.


TGIFFFFF. It's been a mutha f'in week. Rhinebeck (NY Sheep and Wool Festival) is this weekend and I'm going to alleviate any FOMO feelings by spending the entire weekend crafting my brains out.

- Work on the cat couch and afghan
- Finish weaving practice coasters
- Warp for a set of 4 coasters
- Swatch for a toddler sweater
- Start a knit teddy bear
- Prepare fiber for a new spinning project
- Taking inventory of all the yarn and fiber and craft supplies I have and reminding myself that for god's sake I don't need any more stuff

We'll see how productive I end up being. I have a feeling I'll be snuggled into a couch and browsing the #rhinebeck #nysw hashtags all weekend.


[misc] Penny Thursday

Penny in nice, hot, fresh-from-the-dryer clean laundry. Now that the weather has cooled (it snowed last night!), she starts pacing and meowing around the dryer as soon as the cycle is done. 

She's feeling a little mad at me. She's been having some bad chin acne. She used to get the small blackheads and but it's gotten worse and I think it's from stress or over grooming. I've been consistently cleaning her chin every day and using a hot compress for a few minutes. It's visibly helping but she hates it and now runs away when I approach her. Still, if I'm sitting on the couch, she gets into my lap and she sleeps with me in bed at night... and she hung out with me in the craft room last night while I working on some weaving. But if I approach her with a paper towel in one hand and a hot cloth in the other, she runs and hides. Siiiiigh. :( 

Penny would probably be even more angry if she knew I was telling everyone about her chin acne.


[crochet] Starting the cat couch...

Last weekend I got a couple pounds of basic acrylic to start the cat couch...

Starting the cat couch

I'm having a bear of a time trying to prevent the fabric from biasing. I see the clusters are going in one direction, then I try to compensate my moving over a stitch or two. Then I have to move over a couple stitches to prevent biasing in the other direction. Sigh. You can see the pattern is a little wavy from these corrections. I'm annoyed but I'm trying to remind myself that I'm simply making upholstery for a toy couch. I doubt the cats will be like "Thanks for the couch... too bad the texture's all wonky, you moron." I mean, I hope they're not like that.

As written, the pattern has you do the underside in the clusters but the base is going to be on the floor, never seen, so I'm making the front/top/back of the main seat first. The bottom I will do simply in double crochet.

I'm making the fabric pretty dense and tight in hopes that the foam won't show through. Because of that, I can really only work for a few inches before my wrists start to get a little pained. To rest, I've started a little granny afghan to go on the back of the couch:

Sunny squares. Making a small cat-sized afghan using leftover sock yarns. #crochet #grannysquares

Little three-round granny squares in leftover sock yarn. I'm using up small bits of random colors, so this will be a ugly charming cat-sized blanket. The squares are piling up- tons of ends to weave in but Fox Paws cured me of ever feeling the need to bitch about weaving in ends ever again. I have a car appointment on Saturday, so I'm making square after square after square and will use my time in the waiting room to sew everything in.

Hoping I can finish this in time for Christmas. The progress is slow and I'm getting distracted by other (faster, easier) projects...


[knitting] Granny's Favourite Purple

After the quick tweed sweater from yesterday, I started another right away while the pattern was fresh in my mind.

Granny's Favourite Purple

The yarn is Nako Calico Jakar, a 50 Cotton / 50 acrlic blend. I bought 2 balls when I was in Mobile, AL last year and I used only 1.5 balls for this 2T size.

I found some ceramic purple buttons in the button stash:

Granny's Favourite Purple

This was a quick knit and I like the ombre migration of purple tones...

Granny's Favourite Purple

I'm ready for a new top-down toddler pattern appropriate for playing yarn chicken... I have two balls of Cascade 220 superwash and I'm thinking a stripey sweater would be in order.


[knitting] Granny's Favourite Tweed - finished

Finished a little tweed sweater:

Granny's Favourite Tweed

Pattern is Granny's Favourite in the 3T size. I used two 50 gr balls of Fonty Soft Tweed (all of it). It's short-sleeved and cropped but maybe it will work with a high-waist dress... with long sleeves. I don't know. 

I love the fox buttons:

Granny's Favourite Tweed

It's going onto the Christmas gift pile.


Had a good weekend. Finished up a bunch of projects, wound skeins of yarn, started the cat couch (and afghan), vacuumed the entire house, baked a pumpkin bundt, watched some football. I'm travelling next week so I've got to start thinking about a portable project-SOCKS. Socks. Okay, I thought of it. Now to narrow down a pattern...


[spinning] Tideline finished

Romney, all plied and washed and dried:

New handspun yarn. Club leftover grab bag by @helloyarn. Romney wool in ‘Tideline’, 8oz. #stashdown #spinning #handspun #handspunyarn

The two skeins are kind of fraternal twins. The one on the left is more barber-pole, the one on the right has some colors that line up. I might use them for different projects.

I'm just happy to get a big bag of fiber out of the stash. These were some bits and ends from Hello Yarn, leftovers from the fiber club. 


TGIF. Will be going over to my neighbor's to pick some concord grapes, so I'm trying to find recipes. Will try a pumpkin recipe this weekend. Maybe pie since I have single pie crust leftover from making the mushroom tart. Although... a quiche would be so nice.

I'm ready to ply the Jade Chopsticks over the weekend. Start spinning some new fiber. Both little toddler sweaters are done (buttons and everything)- just need to take pictures. I need to finish practicing weaving a couple coasters- I'm going to start the Wolverine: The Long Night podcast for something to listen to while I sit at the craft room table. 

I'm ready to start the kitty couch but I need a lot of yarn. I'd prefer not to buy anything but I don't have 1200 yards of a single-color wool/acrylic lying around. Will hit up the craft stores after work. I did pull out my sock yarn scraps last night, though, to start a little granny square afghan for the couch. It's going to be so cuuuuute.

Ready to start the weekend ASAP. 


[cooking] Shaggy Mane Mushroom Rustic Tart

Shaggy mane mushrooms finally appeared in the upper and lower lawns:

Shaggy Mane Mushrooms

I saw some start to pop up couple days ago but it's been raining non-stop. Yesterday was 80, sunny and dry and I was able to walk around to pick some that had not gone by yet.

These are also called "inky cap" mushrooms- as they mature, the caps drip away like black ink from the bottom to the top. Here's a cluster starting to get inky color at the bottom:

Shaggy Mane Mushrooms

Here are some pretty far gone:

Shaggy Mane Mushrooms

I think you can actually make homemade ink from these and use it for calligraphy. I'd rather eat them, though.

I cut away the bottoms, wipe away any dirt with a damp paper towel (my usual method for cleaning any mushroom) and quarter them lengthwise. I found two that were starting to get a bit gray at the bottom, which I could only see once I opened them up. I tossed those. I think it would have been fine but I don't use any that have grayness. Then I sautee in butter:

Shaggy Mane Mushroom Tart

I made some pie dough and rolled out one crust. Add a layer of panko breadcrumbs to the center (to absorb any residual moisture from the mushrooms), some diced gouda cheese, sauteed mushrooms and some grated Parmesan cheese. Fold over the edges and brush the crust with milk:

Shaggy Mane Mushroom Tart

Bake at 350 for 50 min.

Shaggy Mane Mushroom Tart

So good, but anything stuffed inside a pie crust is going to be good.

Shaggy Mane Mushroom Tart

These mushrooms are everywhere. I'll check on them this weekend- maybe pick a few for an omelette. And with all the rain we're getting, I should take a spin through the woods to see if I can find some chicken of the woods- and take some foliage pictures before all the leaves are done.