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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Menu Along: Laetare, Strep, and Delays

I have finished my new sample for the Shower's This Weekend Baby Sweater. The ends still need weaving in, and I need to block it, but the knitting is complete. Unfortunately, because of my illness this weekend, I was just not on top of things enough to begin the KAL this week. Since Holy Week and Bright Week are right in the middle of the month, it has been pushed to April 19 - May 3. However, that gives you more of a chance to sign up, get the pattern, and be ready for the fun and prizes.

Speaking of prizes, check out the yarns Malabrigo Yarn sent for winners in the Baby Shower Knit-a-Long!

Chunky in Jacinto, Colchina, and Water Green and Twist in Applewood and Olive.

Margaret, from Happy Hands, is offering some great prizes, too! Hers will be a little more individualized, and her lotions are my absolute favorites. They do not transfer anything to your yarn or projects.

Thank you to those of you who have already subscribed to my new quarterly newsletter, 1,001 Knits. The first issue should be winging its way to you by the end of the day on Friday, with news about my most recent patterns, and those that are on the way, as well as more about the KAL, and some fun things I have found on my trips to different yarn shops.

Linking to Crafting On.

I was down for the count with strep this weekend, so my normal grocery shopping, cooking, and planning was not done at all. So meals are, interesting, here this week, and there are some repeats. I'm hoping to get to the store tomorrow so I can liven things up for us.

Fortunately, there was a teen skating night scheduled for Elijah's birthday, which meant that he could have a good time, even though I was not up to cooking and baking up a storm. Also, a sweet lady from church made five different types of cake for the coffee hour, partly because of his birthday, and since we weren't there, even delivered them to our house after liturgy.

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up.

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Yarn Along: Magic Carpet Edition

Rainbow Angst is finished! Sort of. I still have the ends to weave in, it needs to be blocked, and I strongly suspect that the sleeve cuff bind offs will have to be undone and added to so they will fit her unreasonably long arms (which we measured her preferred sleeve length on twice and I knit to that, and they still seem short). It wasn't ready for her to wear for her party, obviously, but she does seem to like it.

Rich had a business trip this week, and I came along for a little vacation. I did a lot of knitting on Amira's sweater, as well as making progress on Amira. Since I had a great yarn shop within walking distance of the hotel, I also picked up some great souvenir yarn.

Two skeins of Classic Elite Ava in Silver, one in Red Violet, which are destined either to be a hat and boot cuff set or a cable and color work infinity scarf, a mini-pack of Frabjous Fibers March Hare in Do You Suppose She's a Wildflower? for a doll pattern I'll have out November of next year, and some Canon Hand Dyes Oscar Sparkle Sock in Winter Wonderland for a shawl design.

I started a Shower's This Weekend baby sweater to have for the Baby Shower Knit-a-Long beginning March 27 and going through April 8. I am thrilled about the prize sponsors I have so far: Malabrigo yarn has sent several skeins of yarn, some of the Chunky and some of the Twist, and my favorite lotion shop, Happy Hands, is offering some great prizes, too!

There's a funny story that is related to my designing and to our trip and to this KAL. We've been going to this conference for more than a decade. We know the crowd and that there's almost always a baby or three there (often, they included ours, too), so I went in search of one for a photo shoot. You can read more about it in 1,001 Knits if you subscribe here. Thank you to all of you who have already signed up for my new quarterly newsletter. I'm so excited to share the first issue with you all at the end of this month!

There was precious little reading this past week. I did make a bit of progress inThe Ascetic Lives of Mothers, but haven't read much else.

This is the last official yarn along, hosted by Ginny. I'll still post weekly updates, and share on Instagram, as well as linking to Nicole's carnival. I would like to wish Ginny well, as she moves on from this. I understand, as a mother of many, how life with little children is busy, but nap times and other down times allow for some more extra work to get done, and how that goes away with their activities and other ways they need you when they are older, but not that old. In my experience, you start to get a little of that time back when the oldest are in their teens, because you have the times up talking to them as well as the time alone, as they become more independent and do things without the family more and more.

Also linking to Keep Calm and Craft On.

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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Menu Plan: Fourth Week of Lent

This is kind of a strange week for us. However, I'm still trying to keep on top of at least some planning. It's also a week with another birthday in it. Elijah is 15 this week! This is our second celebration of the birthday season in our family.

I really can't wait until we have a schedule that allows us to make and eat a little more complicated meals. There's a lot of salad this week, because we're in that in between part of the year where there isn't a lot in the freezers or jars from last summer, but there also isn't a ton that is fresh in the market (and certainly not the garden, since it's been such a miserable and long winter).

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Yarn Along: Patterns and Newsletters and Birthdays, Oh My!

Remember how I said I'd bought myself some more time on Amira's Rainbow Angst? Well, her party is this coming Sunday. I'm almost finished with one sleeve, which is good, but there is still the other sleeve and the entire rest of the waist shaping and working the sweater down to the hem. That's about 11 more inches on the body and another 18 inches of knitting on the second sleeve. Because this girl is taller than I am. Wish me luck!

I also finally ripped out the too loose color work on my Rosy Mittens. I wasn't happy with it, and I knew I wouldn't be happy with it later, so I just bit the bullet and ripped. If you saw my post on Instagram about this, you might remember the C.S. Lewis quotation I posted with it:
"We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive."

The other project I'm working on is her namesake: Amira. Folks, I am so excited about this. You may be sick of it, or think it's not that great, but this is my baby. This is the design idea that made me try to be a designer, and it's finally close to being published. I've been working with one technical editor to figure out some kinks with the neckline, and she is finished, and I have done my swatching and reworking, so my goal is to have the final pattern edited and ready to go to a second technical editor who will look for any things either of us missed. Then, it's going back to my patient and wonderful preview knitters, who have been waiting with an almost finished front and back to their tops for almost a year, so they can finish their versions, and I can get photographs of mine done when I am finished, so I can post the edited pattern with project pages to Ravelry. Whew! I wanted to have it ready to publish (my most recent revision to the target date) for Amira's birthday, now I'm just hoping I can have it live by the end of this month. That is cutting it pretty close, so we'll see.

You may not know that I am in the process of revising both the Shower’s in an Hour Baby Hat and Shower’s This Weekend Baby Sweater patterns to include more sizes and updated photography. To celebrate and publicize that, I'm hosting a Baby Shower Knit-a-Long beginning March 27 and going through April 8, and would love to see how you put your personality into these designs.  Please join in knitting and talking about your projects and more!  I'm available to help and cheer you on, and there should be a ton of camaraderie to be found with other KAL-ers.  If you don't already have either pattern, please use this coupon code, babyshower2017, for 25% off either or both patterns. Everyone who participates in the KAL will automatically receive the pattern upgrade with two more sizes while paying not only the lower price, but possibly an even lower price using the coupon. Once the KAL is finished, the revised pattern will be released to the public for a higher price. More details are available at the link for the KAL, and updates will be made fairly regularly. I'm hoping to announce the prize sponsors by the end of next week!

If you want to get previews of new patterns coming out, or find out more about my KALs or just learn a little bit more about my design world, please subscribe to my new quarterly newsletter, 1,001 Knits. The first issue should be going out by the end of this month!

My reading this week has been a little in A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire and mostly in The Ascetic Lives of Mothers. I picked up this book a year ago, but set it aside because I was trying to do a study/prayer group with some local moms. We just never were able to find a good time for us, so I'm reading it myself now. It is wonderful! The prayers are useful, but also instructive to me. I appreciate the words of the Fathers, as well. It's been edifying and uplifting.

Also posting to Keep Calm and Craft On.

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Sunday, March 12, 2017

Menu Plan: Third Week of Lent

We have church suppers twice a week, which actually kind of makes our lives a little simpler. I don't have to plan a meal most of those weeks (we take on one of them every month or so), and there's no cooking needed on those days. With the schedule we have right now, that is a relief. I wasn't able to find some things at our regular grocery store, so I had to move a meal from last week. Something we did find at the grocery store, though, was a huge sale on seafood, including lobster. So, we have lobster sandwiches on the menu this week as a way to make them stretch a bit.

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up.

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Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Yarn Along: We're Back in the Game!

Amira's Rainbow Angst is my major project at the moment, since her birthday is coming up soon. I made quite a bit of progress on it while we were traveling. I've divided the body from the sleeves, worked the body down to the waist decreases, and started on one of the sleeves tonight. The good news is that, even though her birthday is this week, her party isn't for over a week after that, so I have bought myself some time to finish her sweater.

Amira also came with me and I worked on it while we were away, but I made a foolish mistake, in my own pattern, from a graph I wrote out myself, and a stitch pattern I've used a million times, so I had to put it in time out for the rest of our trip and rip it out when we got home. It is finally past where I was on the plane. It is this close to being ready for the public, which is exciting to me.

Aside from working on Amira's birthday sweater, I cast on for a pair of Rosy Mittens as part of the #lentenkal on Instagram. When I finish them, they will make a lovely set with my Ring Around the Rosy Scarf. They are also great Sunday knitting for me.

Rich and I had tickets to a local theater production and Amira's sweater was too large for me to reasonably bring, Amira requires some attention, and the mittens have a chart I need to read while knitting. I was going to just cast on something else simple to make, but Rich made a remark about how I could bring his socks, so I knit some more on his Manly Rainbow Socks and found that when you actually knit on something, you make progress. I knit another three inches on the leg of the sock while we watched the show. This sock is an act of love. It is made of a sock yarn with merino and silk, knit on size 0 needles, at 10 stitches per inch, for a man's feet.

Unfortunately, on our trip I did nearly no reading. I am still reading A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire. There is a Lenten Psalter group I've joined, too, and I'm reading through the Psalms this Lent.

If you are participating in #yarnmadness and #yarnlovechallenge on Instagram, I'd love to see what you are posting in response to the prompts. You can see what I have posted there by following me.

Also posting to Keep Calm and Craft On.

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Monday, March 06, 2017

Menu Plan: Second Week of Lent

I have so much to share about our trip and what's going on in our lives right now, but so much is going on in our lives right now that I just don't have as much time to share. Here is something sweet, though: Nejat got it in her head that the ashes on Ash Wednesday were the "Gospel" and when she got home, she had already rubbed some of them off her forehead. She looked in the mirror and exclaimed, "My Gospel fell off!"

Because of that so much going on thing, we have a few repeats this week. We also have a birthday this week, it's our first of the birthday season. Amira turns 13 this week, which is rather exciting. It also means that we will officially have four teenagers in our house.

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up.

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Saturday, March 04, 2017

Recipe Round Up: Apple or Pear Fritters

This recipe is so easy to whip up, even on a relatively free weeknight, that it is dangerous. It is delicious. I use Ceylon cinnamon, but if you prefer to use a spicier tasting cinnamon or can't get a hold of the Ceylon, any other cinnamon will work just fine. Any apple or pear you enjoy eating will work in this recipe. We usually make double this amount.

1 heaping cup pastry flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 – 2 teaspoons cinnamon (depending on how much you love cinnamon)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 1/2 cups peeled and chopped apple or pear, in the size of peas or corn kernels
oil for frying

1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons milk (add more by teaspoons, if necessary)

Whisk dry ingredients together, slowly add the remaining ingredients, except for the apple (or pear) and oil. Carefully mix until well combined, being careful not to overbeat. Gently fold in apple pieces. The batter should resemble cake batter.

Heat oil to medium high heat, around 350° F. Once the oil is ready, place batter into the oil by heaping tablespoonsful (I use a cookie scoop), crowding the pan slightly, but allowing room to turn the fritters. Watch carefully for the underside to turn golden brown, then gently flip over and continue frying until browned on all sides, about 45 seconds per side. Remove to a rack to drain and cool slightly. Drizzle with glaze while still warm. Serve and enjoy!

For the glaze:

Whisk the powdered sugar, cinnamon, and butter together until they resemble clay. Slowly add the milk, whisking vigorously to incorporate with the other ingredients.

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