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Author Archives: quilt32

When I started knitting about a year and a half ago, I didn’t care about doing anything fancy – I just wanted to knit scarves, hats, mittens and … socks.  The scarves, hats and mittens were relatively easy to learn, but, oh boy, the socks.  I tried making a pair early on in my knitting experience and gave up after knitting a pair that was basically not wearable.  I waited awhile and tried again and yet a third time without good results.  At this point, I gave all of my sock/fingering yarn to my daughter who keeps me in gorgeous socks and figured I must have a mental block that kept me from doing what so many knitters consider an easy project.

Last week, I decided to give socks another try when I noticed a pattern on Ravelry called Easy Peasy Socks (“designed with the first-time sock knitter in mind”) by Stacey Trock.  The pattern calls for yarn and needles that would produce a gauge of 6 stitches/inch and I used #3 needles and baby/sports weight yarn to make mine.  I use only circular Magic Loop needles (circular with a long cable) and I was actually able to follow the pattern and make a pair of socks!  Stacey issues a warning:  “This pattern is annotated with lots of helpful hints & notes … it’s sorta like a transcript of what a sock class with me is like.”  And it’s how I felt as I followed along – it was like a class with a very student-friendly teacher.

My big problem has always been the heel flap and gusset, and I was able to do this reasonably well.

I’m now in the process of adapting the pattern so that I can make it with a longer leg length, longer ribbing and in a fingering/sock yarn.  I want to devise a formula that will allow me to make this very nice and “easy-peasy” sock in any size I want and using any needles or yarn that I choose.  More on that later.

Here is Stacey’s free pattern:  http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/easy-peasy-socks-for-first-timers

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This is an adaptation of a recipe I found in 2015 on a wonderful site called Natasha’s Palace.  It’s worth a visit there to see all of the great and unusual recipes she has.  The original recipe is here:

https://nataschaspalace.co/2015/05/28/pear-goat-cheese-and-cured-ham-pasta/

My daughters and I love this dish, especially if I can use some flavorful Honey Baked Ham leftovers.

Ham, Pear and Goat Cheese Pasta

¾ cup bowtie pasta
1 Tblsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
2 Tblsp. garlic, minced
2 ripe Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and sliced
One cup chopped cooked ham
1 tsp. oregano
Salt/Pepper to taste
1 Tblsp. butter
4 oz. goat cheese

Cook pasta in boiling, salted water to al dente, drain

In a saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion slices, sprinkle with salt/pepper and cook for 3-4 minutes until onions are translucent but not brown.

Add garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes.

Add pear slices and ham and cook until heated.  Stir in oregano and salt/pepper to taste.  Stir in butter and drained pasta.  Add goat cheese in small lumps and stir gently until cheese has melted.

Serve hot.

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When I decided to learn to knit in January of 2016, I was interested in making easy, practical items for several charities.  One of them was Knit Your Bit for the National WWII Museum in New Orleans.  All of the information is here:

http://www.nationalww2museum.org/learn/knit-your-bit/how-to-participate.html

In addition to information, there are patterns on this site to use to both knit and crochet scarves.  I knew from my daughter’s experiences from past years that red, white and blue scarves were very popular and that is what I’ve been making.

Recently, though, on the Knit Your Bit Facebook page, I found a pattern for a scarf that has the colors and designs of a National Defense Service Medal.  This medal is a decoration presented to recognize all military members who have served in active duty during a declared “national emergency”.  It is an easy garter stitch striped scarf and interesting with the addition of bright yellow.

To find this pattern, go to the Knit Your Bits Facebook page and search for National Defense Service Stripe Scarf to get the free pattern for a scarf 6 inches wide x 71 inches long, knitted in worsted yarn with size 9 or 10 needles.  Nice item to donate to the museum’s program or to give to your favorite veteran.

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I found this recipe, adapted slightly here, on a cherry orchard web site in 2013 (page no longer available).

I just got around to making the wraps and they are really good, quick to make and have some vegetables included along with the tangy dried cherries.  I’ll be making these again.

*Instead of tortillas, I used some great flatbread I found in the deli section of my grocery store.

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Dried Cherry Wraps

1/2 cup non-fat lemon yogurt
1 tablespoon honey Dijon-style mustard or honey-mustard dressing
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1-1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken (8 ounces)
1 cup dried tart cherries
1/2 cup peeled, seeded and chopped cucumber
1/3 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup sliced green onion
4 (8- to 10-inch) whole wheat flour tortillas, tomato-flavored flour tortillas*

Whisk together yogurt, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, curry powder, salt and pepper in a medium mixing bowl. Gently stir in chicken, cherries, carrot, cucumber and green onion. Mound about 3/4 cup chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla or flatbread, leaving space all around for folding . Fold in top and bottom and fold over each side, placing wrap seam-side down on a plate.  Cut into 3 portions.  Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Yield:  4 servings

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This is another pattern from designer Marianna Mel on Ravelry.com.  The pattern was written to fit a baby of around 3 months, but I used #7 needles and Premier acrylic yarn (color – Cake) to make a dress to fit a baby 6-9 months old.

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The dress buttons in the back.

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The skirt in the pattern is a simple, pretty lace, but I wanted to try out a pleated look using a knit 5/purl 2 garter stitch.

meadow-dress-hat-4My older daughter crocheted the small flowers for the dress and hat.

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The hat is a basic pattern done in the knit 5/purl 2 design.

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This is a good pattern for an advanced beginner and turns out so cute.  It should do well going into the spring months for the South Dakota Pine Ridge baby who receives it.

See Ravelry.com for information on the Lakota group, The Children of Pine Ridge.

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I adapted this recipe from one on epicurious.com several years ago and it has become a family favorite.  The shortbread would be great just by itself, but teamed with a layer of apricot and walnut filling plus a light dusting of confectioners’ sugar, it is simply delicious.  It’s easy to make with no mixer required.

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Shortbread and Apricot Bars

  • Servings: 8 to 12 bars
  • Print

Shortbread
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
½ cup chilled butter cut into small cubes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a 9×9 inch baking pan, place the flour, sugar and salt, stirring with a fork to mix.  Add the butter and with your finger press the butter into the dry ingredients and then spread the dough in the pan, pressing down to flatten and smooth it out.  Bake for approximately 25 minutes until top is light brown.  Remove from oven and set on rack.

Make Filling
2/3 cup dried apricot halves (about 4 oz.) coarsely chopped  – place in small pan, cover with water and boil until soft – about 4 minutes.  Drain and set aside.

2 large eggs
1 cup light brown sugar
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp vanilla
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup chopped walnuts

In a medium sized bowl, whisk the eggs, whisk in the brown sugar, baking powder, salt and vanilla.  Stir in the flour, walnuts and apricots.  Pour this mixture on top of the baked shortbread.

Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for approximately 35 minutes until top is puffy and dark brown.  Cool on a rack for 10 minutes.  Cut into portions and lift onto a rack that has been placed on top of a baking sheet.  Allow to cool thoroughly.  Note:  I cut mine into 8 portions which turned out to be large servings of a rich dessert.  Cutting the shortbread into 12 squares might be better.

Topping
¼ to ½ cup confectioners’ sugar

After cookies are cool, spoon confectioners’ sugar into a fine strainer and lightly sift over the bars.
Makes 8 large bars or 12 squares 

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I enjoy making baby and toddler clothes for the Lakota/Sioux Children of Pine Ridge in South Dakota.  A group called the  Sacred Shawl Society collects items through Ravelry.com for young mothers and their children who come to a shelter to escape abuse at home.  They can use all kinds of warm knitted items for both mothers and babies.

http://www.ravelry.com/groups/for-the-children-of-pine-ridge

Marianne Mel on Ravelry.com has so many free patterns for baby sets that are relatively easy for an advanced beginner and turn out beautifully even with limited experience.  This little set is in a newborn size using size #6 needles and DK (baby yarn/sports weight) in variegated pastels.  I had a chance to use three vintage buttons (always happy when I can find 3 to match in my huge tin of old buttons).
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The cap is a basic design sized for a newborn.

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My youngest daughter’s 35-year-old rag doll is just the right size to model the sweater, although her head is way too big for the hat.

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Here is the link to the free pattern:  http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/fleur-baby-cardigan-jacket
 

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