Friday, May 25, 2012

Wheat Crescents

We've gradually been finding replacement foods for many of our staples and favorites because it turns out they contain high fructose corn syrup. I know there's a lot of debate about whether HFCS is a food or non-food but I notice a definite difference when I eat commercially prepared food versus food prepared at home from fresh ingredients.

So I thought I'd try my hand at bread baking again.

 Just kneaded

After the first rising

Set for the second rising


Whole Wheat Crescent Rolls
Make 18-24 rolls

2 - 3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
1/4 cup raw wheat germ
2 tablespoons (2 packages) dry active yeast
1 3/4 cup water
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups whole wheat flour

In a large mixing bowl combine 1 cup all-purpose flour, ground flax seed, wheat germ and yeast. In a saucepan combine water, brown sugar, 3 Tbsps butter, honey and salt. Heat to about 130 degrees, or until you can just hold your finger in the mixture to the count of 8 without burning yourself. Too hot and it will kill the yeasties. Pour into flour mixture and beat with an electric mixer on low for 30 seconds until blended, then on high for about 3 minutes. Batter will start to congeal and appear stretchy. With a long handled spoon, stir in the wheat flour and enough all-purpose flour to make a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6- 8 minutes.
Place in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set in a warm place and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours. Punch down.
Divide the dough into thirds, shape each into a ball. Cover and let rest 10 minutes.
On a lightly floured board, roll balls out into circles about 12 inches in diameter. Cut each circle into 6-8 wedges. Roll each into crescent shape, staring at the wide end. Place on lightly greased baking sheets.
Cover and let rise again until doubled in size, about 30-45 minutes. Melt remaining butter and brush the tops of each crescent.
Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Brush tops with butter while still hot and serve. Keeps well for up to a week if refrigerated.

We Have a Date

The bridal shower is next month and I'm, ahem... ready. I'm so excited! Will share pictures after the bride-to-be has seen it.

Quilt Content

OMGosh... After all this fiber and knitting content, a return to fabric!

Ever have a quilt that just doesn't seem to want you to finish it? It's not that I don't want this one to end, but it keeps asking for more or changes or...

Over a week ago I had all the HST's for the pieced border sewn and laid out. But I sat with it for awhile and I just couldn't see that much contrast in the border, I wanted the body of the quilt to be the visual focus. Back to piecing HSTs. At least they're bonus triangles from piecing the quilt, so they're already cut and paired.

Now it's ready again and I am slowing getting it sown together. I'm already thinking about what I want to start next, but trying to hold off that case of startitis until I at least have a flimsy!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Evan's Dedication

Baby Evan was dedicated last Sunday on Mother's Day, that seems pretty perfect.

  Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths.  
 Guide me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are God my Savior,
    and my hope is in you all day long.
Psalm 25:4-5

A lot of family was up there with him, his parents, both sets of grandparents, his uncle and soon-to-be aunt. 

It was a special moment for all of us.

Then we went back to the house for a lovely Mother's Day brunch. What a great family time.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

How Does Your *Knit* Garden Grow

I've been having fun with the knitted flowers for the yarn garden. It's time to turn them in so I thought I'd show you.

 Five petal posies and leaves

A rose made from the over-dyed wool

They gave that happy feeling-of-finishing rush, such a quick knit! I was recently talking to one of my long-time quilt friends about the yarn garden project and she said, "So are you quilting at all, or have your completely gone over to the knitting?" *chuckling* Well the Star Struck Again quilt is still in the works, but when the inspiration strikes to try a new creative outlet, I say Go for it!

Knit Shrug

Once the cardigan was finished I swatched for a shrug made with yarn reclaimed from these two sweaters.

Eddie Bauer 100% lambs wool

 Old Navy acrylic, angora, nylon, wool

The pattern calls for chunky baby alpaca, but when I priced it at the LYS it came to 89 dollars. (!) I decided to work from stash. I generally don't like the look of bulky sweaters but I wanted to make this shrug. I tried smaller needles and more stitches but the swatch was too airy. So I cast on holding one strand of each together. This way I got the recommended gauge.

I shopped for US size 11 circular needles and had a hard time finding any, so I settled for Boye plastic needles. The points are narrower and I thought that would help with the bulky yarn. But the tips aren't tapered and there's a definite bump you have to push past as you make each stitch. It made my wrists ache and I had to reduce my knitting time. Forget that!

So I took them back to the craft store and went to the LYS and bought steel Hiya Hiya brand. Well worth it! Now my hands don't hurt.

I knit most of the collar but still had some doubts about the yarn's drape and the over all gauge. I put it on waste yarn, washed and blocked it.

When I measured it after, it was spot on. It was also a lot softer and the stitches had settled. I put it back on the needles and am continuing with more confidence. When it's all done it maybe too hot and/or too heavy, but I can always reclaim it again.

The Graduate

Last Saturday we had the joy of attending Hollin's graduation from the Graphic Arts program at the local college.

Back at the house we had petit fours that were out of this world, yum! Hollin received a gift certificate for Adobe Creative Suite 6, the tools of the trade. If I know him, he won't be able to read this without proofing it for typos!

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Covering the Gray

I had this hank of 100% wool in a dull gray-pink. What an awful color!

Here it is two tablets of Paas pink and one of red later. At first the yarn wouldn't take the dye so I put the bowl with the yarn and dye in the microwave for two minutes, stirred and cooled, then zapped it for another two. Magic. I wish life was so easy to brighten!

Dye It

I took the cue from my yarn reclaimer, dyeing friends and bought some Paas Easter egg dye kits at the after Easter clearance. I know from reading in the dye-it forums on Ravelry that animal fiber takes food coloring dyes better than man-made fibers, but I still wanted to try it with what I had. 

First some reclaimed nylon, angora, rayon, wool from this child's XL hoodie. I frogged the sweater front to the skein winder.

It's was a pale blue and I like saturated color so I thought I'd try to over dye it a darker blue.

lt's easy, just dissolve the food coloring tablets in 1-3 tablespoons of white vinegar.

This is two tablets of blue, not dark enough.

This is two tablets of blue and two of denim.

I soaked the yarn in cool water, submerged it in the dye and added enough water to cover the yarn. Since I'm using food coloring dyes, it's okay to put it in cookware I use normally.

The yarn is absorbing the color, but not as much as I'd hoped. Well it's mostly man-made fibers, what did I expect? So I decided to try again, this time with a gray cotton, nylon, wool. It's all an experiment, that's where the fun is, so if it doesn't turn out, nothing's lost.

Before, a pale gray.

After the Paas denim blue. Yuk.

I decided while I was at it I would try over dyeing it with Berry Blue Kool-aid. 

Much better!

The one on the left is the nylon, angora, rayon, wool. It turned out a pretty turquoise, nicer than the pale blue it was in the beginning. The one on the right is the cotton, nylon, wool. I think I'll make hats for donation. The blue is so cheerful. For more information about Easter egg dyeing for yarn visit Wool Festival.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Alpaca Cardigan

Yay, I finally finished my cardigan!

I bought the yarn at last year's summer sale, but took three months off to knit some Christmas gifts. Seven months, I guess that's not too bad. I used Berroco's free pattern. The pieces were done for several weeks, but I was dragging my feet because I wasn't sure how to sew it together. Thank you YouTube for great videos on mattress stitch and how to seam a set-in sleeve. It was an accident that the videos were from Berroco!


There's a little shaping at the waist that makes it fit nicer than a straight cardigan.

And I adjusted the fit of the sleeve to my measurements.

I found these great mother of pearl buttons in my vintage button collection. They reflect the colors in the yarn beautifully.

Am I a real knitter yet?