Wednesday, April 17, 2013

What's on the Needles Wednesday

Last weekend was the Los Angeles Yarn Crawl.  I made it to 25 stores all together and found some yarn I couldn't resist.  On the first day I bought this brown baby cashmarino from Debbie Bliss.  This yarn is super soft and squishy.  I wish you could feel it and play with it.  Go visit your LYS and give it a feel.

I always hand wind my yarn into balls.  Why, you may ask?  Because I inevitably find knots.  I do not want to be surprised by a knot in the middle of a garment.  I don't want to have to add a new ball of yarn in the middle of a row.  I find it much better to sew in the ends if they are on the edge.  And if you are lucky it is a regular knot and not a knot to tie a small ball to the larger ball and hidden from you.

A regular knot can be untied and you can continue to work your ball.  A knot tying two balls together sucks.  This particular baby cashmarino had that kind of knot.

Do you see the knot?  It was in the middle of the ball.  So I ended up with a tiny ball of yarn and a medium ball of yarn.  

The second skein of this yarn was great.  No knots.  

I decided to knit a hat with this yarn.  It's a basic slouchy beanie.  No pattern.  Just winged it.

I love the top of this hat!

I also cast on another pair of socks.  These are self stripping socks.

I'm still working on the Gemini T-Shirt and the Sampler Square blanket.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

cHoCoLaTe PaRtY

I've joined the chocolate party.  What's the chocolate party you ask?  It's a monthly challenge involving chocolate.  See below for more info, including rules.

This month we were challenge to create a recipe using chocolate and buttermilk.  I've been thinking about this for a couple of weeks.  I considered making so many different things, but settled on a poke cake.

Introducing my Chocolate Ginger Carmel Poke Cake:

I served the cake with whipped cream and fresh strawberries.  So yummy.  I may succumb to a slight sugar coma...

Cake recipe:
1 cup buttermilk
2 tsp baking soda
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
3 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 semi sweet baking chocolate bar
1 cup boiling water 
2 cups flour
1/2 cup veg oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9 x 13 pan

In a small bowl combine the buttermilk and baking soda and set aside.

In mixing bowl combine eggs, sugar, cocoa, oil, and vanilla.  Mix until smooth.  Add the boiling water while slowly stirring.  Gradually add the flour.  Once the flour is fully mixed in (a pudding type consistency) add the buttermilk mixture and stir until combined.  Break chocolate into tiny pieces and drop evenly over the top of the cake.

Pour batter into pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a knife comes out cleanly.

Cool the cake for 10 minutes.  Then pour the Carmel sauce over the cake. 

Carmel Sauce recipe

3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp water
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract

Combine sugar, butter, water and salt in a medium sauce pan.  Bring to a boil and stir constantly for 3-5 minutes.  The mixture will pull away from the sides of the pan.  Remove from heat and stir in the milk and vanilla.

cHoCoLaTe PaRtY

The rules:
How to participate (the rules)

1.) Blog about your chocolate treat. Your recipe must include the two ingredients we choose. It can be a simple no bake treat or a sophisticated layer cake, the complexity level of the recipe is totally up to you.

2.) Include a link back to this post or the Chocolate party page. Optional, add the Chocolate Party logo in your blog post or on your sidebar.

3.) Your recipe must be published during the current month. Please do not link old recipes, they will be deleted.

Go to this link for more info:

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Behind the scenes at Great Park

In Orange County, California there is the Great Park.  It used to be the El Toro Military Base.  I had the opportunity to spend some time in a few of the hangers.  One was abandoned.  One is being used as a storage area and repair garage for some WWII vehicles and planes.  Here are some snapshots from that day.

I can imagine how bustling and busy this base was during WWII.  And I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to see a little back in time.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wednesday and the YARN CRAWL BABY!

Tomorrow is the first day of the Los Angeles Yarn Crawl.  I am super excited.  Yay!  32 stores.  Think of all the yarn.  And trunk shows, displays, demonstrations, give aways, contests, and other yarn enthusiasts.  I am sooooo excited.  I don't think I will sleep a wink.

I plan on taking a lot of pictures and will share the experience with you.

Today's What's on the needles Wednesday is going to be a slow one.  I am still working on the Gemini tee from last week.  In fact I don't think I've progressed at all.  I had a bit of self doubt concerning the lace collar area.  It's rather large.  I'm not entirely sure that I want that much of the collar bone and shoulder to be seen through the lace.  It's a lot.  It's looking like: either my gauge is off-way off (which according to the swatch it shouldn't be) or It's going to be one of those knitters magic things- you know where the instructions aren't making sense or you think it's wrong the entire time you are knitting but it turns out perfect or if not perfect at least ok.  So I will show more of that next week.

I finished framing the squares for my swap square sampler blanket.  I need to sew them together and do the edging and then I'll show the final project.  But here are the squares as they sit:

I also made a spring wreath.  I've been admiring the many wreath designs on pinterest and on other blogs.  And I decided to give it a try.  Months ago I purchased some plumbers installation tubing (grey flexible-like a pool noodle) at Home Depot for something like $.86.  Many a blogger suggested this stuff is pliable and cheap and a way better alternative to wreath forms.  So why not...

I cut it into the size I thought I wanted and tucked one end in and taped the thing together.  Then I knit a purple sleeve for it, sewed that on (which was not the easiest task as it kept falling off and moving as I tried to stitch it together-maybe I was having a clumsy day) and then wrapped the purple flowers and vine onto the wreath.  It's hanging on my front door and feels a bit large.  It's close to average size, but the flowers hang out quite far.

What do you think?

Happy (hump day) Wednesday everyone.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

What's on the Needles, Wednesday

I've cast on and finished one round of the lace pattern for the Gemini Shirt.  I'm using Tahki Cotton Classic for this one.  I'm not sure how well it will work for a t-shirt.  Right now the cotton is a bit stiff.  Hopefully when it's finished and blocked it will ease up and soften up a bit.  Otherwise I'll wear a camisole underneath.

Here's a peak:

Here's a closeup of the lace part:

I've also been working on framing the squares for my sampler square blanket.  I've finished about half.

I really like how the black frame makes the colors pop.  It's going to be a great blanket.