[knitting] Handmade gifts

All the handmade Christmas gifts spread out before wrapping:

Handknit gifts thus far. Time to get wrapping. 🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁 #knitting

And one "Get off the table, Santana!" picture:

Santana, get off the table!!

Might rummage around the stash a bit this weekend for a few more last minute gifts.


TGIF. Going to do some baking this weekend- I have a couple new bundt pans I want to try out. Maybe start some Christmas cookies. Run errands around the Upper Valley. Lots of football will be on- Saturday NFL games start tomorrow.

I don't think it has gotten above freezing in two weeks. Last night I was huddled on the couch, under a blanket, wearing a cowl and wrapped in a large shawl, knit slippers on my feet, scootching the cats closer to me and thinking, "This must be what living in Siberia is like." And then I went to Instagram and started browsing Siberia/Russia images to make myself feel warmer.


[knitting] Simple Garter Stitch Slippers

Made a couple quick garter stitch slippers last weekend:

Simple Garter Stitch Slippers

Simple Garter Stitch Slippers

I've got to make a couple passes with a lint roller over these before wrapping. Penny's immediately on my lap as soon as I sit down to knit and our arrangement has been: you can sit here as long as you don't mind me draping yarn on you, resting my project on you, accidentally poking you with needles, dropping stitch markers on you and then feeling around your side, trying to get the stitch marker back, etc etc etc. No matter what I do, Penny puts up with it in order to stay on my lap. I will say that I sit cross-legged and make a nice, tight little hammock for her between my knees with a fleece blanket- it's pretty sweet. But it means her white fur gets into everything I'm making.

Anyway, the pattern is Simple Garter Stitch Slippers and it was a great stash project using leftover sock yarn, held double. I ran out of the green and had to finish the toes in solid black. 


[knitting] Birthday, I mean, Christmas socks

In mid/late November, I made three pairs of socks for Dollar's birthday. But I got a package of Army surplus socks at the Darn Tough sale and gave those to him for his birthday instead. (Which meant I could save the handknit worsted socks for Christmas!)

First pair:

Black socks

Solid black. Used Rowan Pure Wool Superwash Worsted- two balls (new). 

Next pair:

Worsted socks

Patchwork using wool/acrylic leftovers from past socks like Lion Brand Wool Ease and Plymouth Encore.

Last pair:

Worsted socks

I particularly love how this pair turned out. Still acrylic/wool but I alternated grey with a marl and the yarns really worked well together. Ran out of yarn at the end and had to do red toes.


I did wind some sock yarn and start a pair of fingering-weight socks for myself. I think over the past two nights, I've only done 12 rounds. The progress is so slow and I couldn't be happier. It's very relaxing to (a) work on something for myself, and (b) not be thinking "OMG HURRY UP GET THIS DONE ASAP SO YOU CAN DO THE NEXT THING". It's sooooo nice. And the yarn I'm using is a delight. 


[knitting] Fingerless Mitts

I am way behind on pictures of all the quick holiday gifts I've been making. Some fingerless mitts:

Stash busting fingerless mitts. #knitting #fingerlessmitts

Pattern is Easy Fingerless Mitts (Rav link). Good stash busting project. I dug around for some misc worsted-weight-looking yarn, without labels, leftovers from this and that. The pattern is worked from the cuff up and it's easy to have both mitts going at the same time (on two sets of DPNs), working from both ends of the ball to use up every last inch of yarn.


[quilting] Crumb Quilt Top Complete

Finished the little crumb quilt top last week:

Crumb quilt.

Santana for scale:

Crumb Quilt

This week, I've really got to sort out backing and binding fabric- and bring it to the quilt shop to be finished.


Had a good weekend apart from a bit of food poisoning yesterday. I suspect it was a lemon meringue pie that I made- the filling didn't set up properly, so maybe it was undercooked eggs.

I was able to crank out a couple pairs of slippers this weekend and I'm ready to be done knitting for the holidays. I've been looking at three pretty skeins of sock yarns that I want to wind and knit into socks for myself. It feels like the temperature hasn't gotten above freezing for the past two weeks and I want some new bed socks.

I'm just going to make some hats for nephews and their girlfriends and maybe a few more small things... then it's just knitting for me!


[cooking] Challah

Made a challah loaf this week:

#challah ready for 2nd rise.

I used this recipe. I made it once in January of this year as part of King Arthur Flour's Bakealong. This month, braided bread is the challenge in the Cooking From Scratch group on Ravelry, so... challah back.


#challah 🍞

I'm kind of in love with braided bread right now. My loaf is six stands and I'm thinking next time, I'll roll all the ends together to make one long strand and then finger crochet the dough into a wreath. That would be so cuuuuuute! 


TGIF. I'm at a point in knitting where I'm done with everything on my To Do list. Got to focus on sewing quilt pieces now.

We have our first holiday party this Sunday with family. I'm planning on making a lemon meringue pie. I've never made one before but I'm sure it will be fiiiiiiiiiiiine. Probably.


[knitting] Green Cabled Hats

Made a trio of cabled hats:

Christmas knitting in full swing. #knitting #hatknitting #cableknitting

All three are with worsted weight wool, US 7 needles and a cast on of 96 stitches. They start with k2p2 and move on to cable work. No patterns for the two on the left but the one on the right is the Allen Hat (rav link). 

Good stash-busting; I dug through the stash for misc green yarns. These will be gifts.


Had an unexpected day off yesterday so I made some challah bread in the morning, finished up some knitting projects and took pictures, finished sewing the little crumb quilt top, went down to King Arthur Flour to make some cinnamon rolls for charity, came home and made cinnamon rolls for Dollar's band practice, cleaned out the fridge and threw away the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers (don't you judge me). It was a full day. 


[quilting] Crumb Quilting

Last week I was working on squares for a little quilt:

Practicing crumb quilting...

I'm working on a large quilt for a friend and I have tons of small, irregularly shaped scraps. I want to sew them together randomly to make "crumb" squares. I pulled out some other fabric from the stash to practice on. 


I sewed pieces together with no real plan in mind, I sliced and diced and sewed pieces together again:

Two 9.5 inch crumb squares. Hopefully I can make eleven more for a small quilt. #quilting #crumbquilting

The goal was to make 9.5 inch squares, like the two on the left in the above picture. 

I did get nine squares finished- but the last two have rather small sliver pieces along the edges- as I ran out of fabric and tried to add on thin pieces that I had cut away from other squares. In the end, there was more waste fabric than I would have liked and a lot of seams on the wrong side. But I'll add some sashing and (hopefully) bring it to the quilt shop this weekend. 

And now I have a better idea how to manage the small "crumbs" for the big quilt I'm working on.


[misc] Murderface Monday

You know it's cold out when the cats deign to touch one another while napping:

Penny and Murderface

We ran all our errands on Saturday morning and brought home a Christmas tree. Decorated on Sunday during football commercial breaks.

🎄 Now I’m feeling Christmasy. #christmastree

I'm working on green skull caps with a skull stitch marker:

Cabled skull cap

These hats will be for one group of band members. For the other group: fingerless mitts. Both projects are using up a lot of stash yarn, which is awesome. (My internal yarn-o-meter is creeping towards "IT'S OKAY TO BUY MORE YARN NOW" the more yarn I use up... but I'll wait until after the holidays are over.)

For local people, King Arthur Flour has posted their free Bake for Good classes. Sign up! The classes are fun and educational- and free!

I did hit the kimchi pretty hard this weekend. Hard not to do with yummy, fresh kimchi in the fridge. Feeling a little bad for Dollar, I made a big pot of beef stew yesterday. 


[knitting] Vermont Sweater

Made a new sweater for my niece:

Green Raglan

I found two balls of green Valley Yarns Haydenville in my machine-wash, worsted yarn stash (which I normally use for socks). I opted to make a sweater instead with every last inch of the yarn. Rav link to the free sweater pattern.

I used the same yarn and pattern earlier in the year and liked the result. That was a 2T size and I did the 4T size this time (nearly the same stitch counts- just larger needles).

The collar:

Toddler Green Raglan

I wait until I split for the sleeves, then pick up stitches around the neckband. Knit a couple inches of k1p1 ribbing, cast off leaving a long tail, then fold over and sew down to the inside. It's so stretchy and squooshy. I love it.

Then I work on the main body to a good length and bind off. With a couple sets of DPNs, I do both sleeves at the same time from either end of the yarn ball, so I can use it all up. I only had a couple yards leftover.

The sweater seems a little plain and I since was adding wooden tags to things left and right, I sewed one on to this:

Toddler Green Raglan


Wooden tag <3 VT

Awww. Vermont is the Green Mountain State, so this is a cute little Vermont green sweater now.


TGIF. I have plans to get our Christmas tree tomorrow. We didn't have one last year and I missed it. Also, things are appropriately snowy/wintery around here now.

I'm picking up some new kimchi from my mom after work- I can't wait. I'm nearly done with the last batch and made a big pot of kimchi jjigae last night to use a lot up. There's still some kimchi left and it's sour, so I might make some fried rice, pajeon and buns this weekend. Kimchi weekend, kimchi weekend, kimchi weekend.


[knitting] Sparkle pompom hat

I made a quick ribbed hat:

Ribbed hat

The yarn is Kollage Glisten- a nice blend of alpaca, silk and sparkle. It is quite sparkly in direct sunlight. I added a faux fur pompom and wooden "Made in Vermont" tag. Another hat I plan to give as a gift.


Worked on some quilting last night. Completed nine 9.5 inch squares using scraps and small pieces of fabric. Still have to add some sashing, borders, find some backing fabric- get everything to the quilt shop.

Plugging away on a cabled hat and I queued about a dozen more free patterns from Rav. I think over Christmas break, once all the gift knitting is done, I'm going to knit a sweater for myself.


[knitting] Traveling Cable Hat - decorated

I added a couple accessories to the grey traveling cable hat:

Traveling Cable Hat

A faux fur pompom (ordered a variety from online- this one matches well!) and a wooden "Made in Vermont" tag (by Katrinkles).

Traveling Cable Hat

I bought a few wooden tags at the VT Sheep and Wool Festival and I should have gotten a couple dozen. They are sooooo adorable.

Traveling Cable Hat

A little jealous to be giving this one away but... I can make another ;)


Weather here is a little insane:

Not even December and I’m so over the snow already.

I did try to leave but there were trees down across the road. Someone is getting a chainsaw for Christmas.

I'm working on a cabled hat and some quilting projects. At this point I'm not sure I'll be able to get what I want to Barnyard Quilting in time to get things finished before Christmas. I've got to get cranking.


[misc] Thanksgiving

Had a small family Thanksgiving meal this year. My mom's turkey (22 lb):

22lb turkey

It was brined and absolutely delicious. She also had the cuuuuutest little rice cooker:

Littlest rice cooker

Not much bigger than a can of cranberry sauce. She said it doesn't cook rice very good, though, so she was using it for:

Littlest rice cooker

Keeping spinach artichoke dip hot! It was perfect!

This year we had turkey, squash, stuffing, mashed potatoes, carrots, Brussels sprouts, peas/onions, gravy, stuffed shrimp, cranberry sauce, rolls. I made an apple pie in the morning to bring down:

Thanksgiving Apple Pie

Thanksgiving Apple Pie

Thanksgiving Apple Pie

I've made a lot of apple pies and I think this one was the best one ever. It was so good. I normally put a pizza pan under the pie tin to catch any filling that might boil over. It never has boiled over (knock on wood) so I threw caution to the wind and baked the pie without *anything* underneath it. I think the bottom crust cooked perfectly this time.

Thankfully the pie was pretty much the only cooking I did over the holiday. I had lots of Thanksgiving leftovers to reheat for days. And Saturday evening we had dinner at Dollar's mom's for his birthday, so no cooking and more leftovers to bring home. Which afforded me lots of knitting time. I even got the sewing machine back out. It was a very craft-productive vacation.


[knitting] Traveling Cable Hats

I completed a new cabled hat:

💙 #travelingcablehat #purlsoho #knitting #knittingcables #knithat #hatknitting

The pattern is free from Purl Soho and it's called Traveling Cable Hat. The adult size makes a pretty deep hat, so take care with regards to how much ribbing for the brim you do.

The yarn is Sabine by Juniper Moon Farm (discontinued). It's a blend of 40% cotton, 30% merino and 30% llama. It's a light worsted weight and a little... crispy? Not particularly bouncy because of the cotton content but the llama gives it a bit of a halo and I think this is the type of yarn that will only get softer and nicer over time and the more the hat is worn.

So once I had the pattern down, I did another:

So nice, I had to make it twice. #travelingcablehat #knitting #knittinghat #purlsoho #cableknitting

The yarn is March Hare by Wonderland Yarn. It's 100% superwash merino, dyed by Frabjous Fibers, and the colorway is Tea Tray. This is the most sqooshilicious yarn I've used in a looooong time. It was pure joy to knit with. It made me realize that I usually only work with workhorse and economical yarns. I was knitting with this yarn like, "Oh my god, are there people that knit like this allllllll the time?"

Not that I have a bad time knitting with my frugal yarn- I (usually) always love whatever I make. But this yarn was like sleeping on silk sheets or eating caviar or hunting and killing a poor person for sport. You know, stuff rich people do.

But I'm not rich and I'll stick to my stashed pauper yarn. But I am for sure going to pick up another skein of this yarn when I run across it.


[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.