Sunday, August 26, 2012

Rainy Days and Zucchini Bread

Our local community has a Farmers Market on Thursday's in the summer. I have been hitting it as often as I can this last month and have been getting just yummy fresh produce, bread and some Chipolte Bar-B-Que Sauce that I could put on almost anything. (Love it!) Last week I decided to pick up some Zucchini and make Zucchini bread!
I had never made Zucchini bread before, so I searched for recipe's and settled on this one by Paula Deen. It had a video to go with it and she made it seem so easy and effortless that I was enchanted.
So Thursday I picked up Zucchini at the farmers market.
Friday I picked up supplies for the bread like a grater for the zucchini, and fresh ingredients. I had flour and baking soda - but I have no idea how old the stuff was and I thought fresh would be better.
Saturday was rainy and my husband was gone for the day - Perfect day to mess up the kitchen!

I went with these cute little aluminum pans. They were pretty inexpensive and I thought they would be better if I decided to gift any loaves to neighbors or co-workers. This worked out great as I was able to make three batches in a row and just get them all ready for the oven. The oven was the slow down since I could only do 4 or 5 loaves a time. But it worked well since I was able to clean the mess up while the loaves were cooking.

I cannot tell you how amazing the house smelled while I was baking these up. The cinnamon and nutmeg were heavenly scents! This is the first batch I made and I overfilled the pans as you can see. They kind of exploded over a little. I adjusted as I want and used 6 pans rather than 5 per recipe and this worked out well. I also shaved a couple minutes off the cook time as they came out a little darker when I cut back on the batter per pan ratio.

A hot cup of coffee and warm Zucchini bread slathered in (light whipped) butter. Oh num num num. I don't think I have ever had Zucchini bread fresh from the oven. I cannot tell you how good it was!

And here is my days work minus one cut into loaf I had placed in the fridge. I wrapped them all in heavy duty aluminum foil after they were nice and cool and filled my freezer with them. I had a really nice day and enjoyed filling my freezer with such tasty bread!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Hello! I am still here!

I have been rather quite lately but I am still poking around here. My Grandma died last week and we had to travel a little for the funeral. My energy level has been rather low and blogging just didn't appeal much over the last two weeks. Am trying to get myself back into normal though, so I thought I would talk about the shawl I started at the end of the Olympic games.
The Shawl is called "Just Knit It" by Susan Ashcroft of Stitchnerd Designs on Ravelry. It was offered free during the Olympics, but is now a pay pattern on Ravelry. I am really enjoying the shawl! I am knitting it out of Sheep(ish) I had left over in my stash in the color Gun Metal(ish) and some Mochi Plus I had in my stash and another ball I hunted down at a LYS. I love the colors and find this a very relaxing knit. I had about 5 hours of knitting time in the car the day of the funeral, and then I also brought this with to work on at my Brothers house when we went "Up North" for a visit last weekend.
I hit the point in the shawl where I am thinking about the edging. This is going to be more of a shawlette for me - I want to wear it wrapped around my neck this winter with my coats, so I don't want it to get too much larger. I really want to do a crochet edge, so I thought I would practice first. I went through my scrap projects in my craft room and found a shawl that I had abandoned years ago. Perfect for practice!
I did a single crochet around the entire shawl and then I practiced a shell stitch on either side. I did a 5 stitch shell on one side and a 7 stitch shell on the other. I like the 7 stitch shell better than the 5 - but am not in love with either. I am going to rip out all the shell stitching and try a few other things.

I have been chewing on this a lot this week, and this morning I decided to stop forcing stitch design and asked myself what I really wanted for an edge? Changing my focus from "Will this stitch work? Ok , how about this one?" to "what do I want my shawl to look like?" really  excited me and gave me all kinds of ideas. My crochet ability is not huge, but I think I found something that will work! I will be giving it a go on the practice shawl first to see if I can execute it, but I am excited. Hopefully I will have some happy finished shots to show off soon.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Progress resumes on my West Knits KAL

Now that the Olympic Games are over and the shawl I knit during them is complete, I am going back to work on my WestKnits Rockefeller Shawl. I am about half way through Clue 2 and it is pretty slow going. The work isn't hard - but it's just not fast for me. I think the strings of color work slow me down, and then of course weaving in the ends every time I finish adding in one of the rays of plum color takes time too. I just have to tell myself to go at my own pace and to enjoy the process.

I find it interesting the way the Noro yarn is unfolding in the pattern. It feels like the Noro "knows" when I am getting ready to do a purple strand and that it wants to be purple then too. Perhaps Noro has nanotechnology and it is becoming sentient? I would not be surprised.

Anyway, I am happy to be back to work on this and am anxious to get to Clue three and Clue Four!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Ravellenic Games Shawl - FINISHED!

I have finished my shawl for the Ravellenic Games on Ravelry! WOOT WOOT!

The pattern was the Colonnade Shawl (Free pattern on Ravelry or Knitty).

The finished shawl weighed in at 202 grams, and I used Sun Valley Fibers MCN Worsted in Yowza and Stormy.  (Which is just about 440 yards of length.) This yarn was really wonderful to work with. I picked them up at the Shepard's Harvest Festival this Spring and it was a bit splurgy but I have zero regrets. The yarn is so soft and so wonderful. And I got no bleeding of dye when I soaked it. I admit - I held my breath and worried that the gray would leak into the yellow. But nothing happened! Wahoo!

The only changes to the pattern were that I did one repeat less of the yellow lacy portion as I would have run out of yarn. Also I blocked it out a bit more bat wing than the pictures of other shawls. I just liked the look.

I am always amazed what a soak and a block do for a shawl. I originally had a shawl that was 16" at the spine and 55" across. After soaking it and blocking it It was 25" at the spine and 55" across. Amazing. And the lace part really opened up.

Very pleased with my end product. Wonderful pattern. Very happy.

Now for a nap.....

Monday, August 6, 2012

Day 10 Ravelenic Games Progress Report

My shawl is coming along very well now. I am very happy I ripped it out the first time and redid it. I am learning a lot this past month with my knitting. I feel as though I have really stretched and grown as a knitter and am very proud of myself and my work. Nice feeling that!

I am over half way through the yellow "lace" section of the shawl. Once this section is over it's a simple couple rows of knit on the edge and then I can block it out and I will be done! I am hoping the gray doesn't bleed into the yellow when I soak it. That would be sad.

In other news, I have pulled my first couple tomato's out of my garden and a few cucumbers as well. It's always exciting to pull out that first produce.

My hubby and I went out for a bike ride yesterday and I was shocked at how easy a 5-6 mile ride was. Nice to see progress on the health front.

Not much else to report. Knitting, watching the Olympics and the usual chores are filling my days.
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