Monday, May 13, 2019

A new quilt

A new quilt is in progress.  I finished the string quilt from some previous post, forgot to photograph it, and then dropped it off at the longarm quilter.  So no pics until it's back.

Of course I started another quilt.  This one is done all in Kaffe and friends fabric, and is a variation of a log cabin.

3 different fabrics for the center square, and then playing around with all those pretty colors and fabrics for the strips.  It is such fun to do!

On the knitting front, I very happily became canon fodder for Sock Madness:  too much pain in the wrists to keep on knitting quickly with splitty yarn and very slick needles.  I had fun, and now I'm doing other things, including this sweater.

These are swatches for me to practice the pattern and figure out gauge. The color is a bit more peach than shown. 

And here is a bit of the body.  You cannot tell anything from this picture since I have a bunch of stitches on a needle, and lace is blobby and messy until blocked.  The color is accurate here.  Yay, camera.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The beginning of a Sock Madness sock

There she is:  a toe and 5 repeats.  72 sts on a foot that normally uses 56 sts.  I think it will be big on me.  We'll see.  In order to tighten it up, I'm using 2mm needles with their nasty pointy points that dig holes in my fingertips.  There's no way I can ever get 9 sts/inch with a larger needle.

It's pleasant to knit.  I'm not going quickly at all.  I don't mind getting knocked out on this round.  We're going from 30 places to 20, and for me to make that 20, I'd have to start zooming.  Not happening.  So, if I make it, I make it.  If not, that's OK too. 

I'm on a great team!  Many of my team mates have won in the past, and are now relaxed about it all.  Smart knitters with great attitudes. 

And now I have to get back to the socks.  Maybe I'll just make it.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

A little layout

My string quilt will be 6x6, so a total of 36 10" squares.  Well, actually less than 10" because of the seams, but I like to make lap quilts, and I know, from having made a bunch of these before, that this size is quite adequate for a curl-up-under quilt.

So a layout with 9 blocks done.  Just playing around here; I have 27 more blocks to make and arrange.  What always surprises me with these string quilts is how how the colors ultimately interact with each other.  I carefully put together strips in some sort of order, but when you start to arrange them, the total effect is greater than the individual blocks.  Self-evident, I know, but I hadn't planned on this being a red/white/blue quilt, but that's what's happening.  Serendipity at its best.  Those dark blues were just tossed in because I needed more darks.  Surprise!

I love doing these things.  I lay down the first strip, and then decide how to put down the rest and in which order.  It doesn't look like I do that, but I do.  Most people just grab the next strip from the pile and sew it down; I don't.  What I do is slow, but what I'm most interested in in quilt making is the interaction of the colors and patterns. Speed is of no importance to me.

Friday, April 12, 2019

A new string quilt

After all the excitement (and pain) of finishing my Sock Madness socks, I need an easy peasy project:  A new string quilt.  I love making string quilts.  The best part is picking out the fabrics and deciding what goes next to what.  It's mindless, fun and pretty to do.


So, here I am, with 3 blocks sewn.  After I finish all the blocks, I'll pull out the paper foundation.  I have no idea on how I will arrange the blocks, although this is what I usually do.

I have my usual basketweave sock on the needles, but I'm working very very slowly on them.  My wrists need a good rest.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Sock Madness round 2

Echoes socks.  Stranded knitting on size 0 needles because I knit loosely and really wanted this pair for me.  So I knitted tightly and my wrists hurt and I'm not knitting for a few days.  But I like them, even though the toes are way too big and too long.  I'm not redoing them; they'll be covered by shoes and are not egregiously large or uncomfortable.

And now I'm going to start a new quilt, probably a log cabin because they're fun and mindless and I love to play with the fabrics.

Thanks, Deborah!  The pattern is easy, but it's hard on my hands to knit quickly with stranded knitting.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Pizza pizza day

Thursday is pizza pizza day in our house.  Why Thurs?  No idea; it just evolved.  I found this recipe on the King Arthur website, but have changed it to fit how we like to eat and how I want to make pizza.  This is a thin crust pizza.  Ordinarily it's a little thinner than today's pie; that's just the way it is.

Ingredients for the dough, which I make in the bread machine.  Kneading is hard on my hands.  You can adapt the recipe for hand kneading or using the Kitchen Aid or whatever.   This is a fluid recipe; it changes every time. But this is my basic formula.

1.5 tsp kosher salt
1 cup warm water
Splash of olive oil

2 cups 00 flour; I use Anna.  This makes the dough easy to roll out. Very little shrinkage here.
1 cup all purpose flour.  I use either King Arthur or Hecker's.
1 TB non-fat dry milk 
A scant tsp sugar
1 tsp of oregano crumbled up in your hands to release the flavor
1 tsp instant yeast.  I use Fleischmann's which I buy in bulk.

Place the salt, water and olive oil in the bread machine.
Add the remaining ingredients, placing the yeast in a depression on top of the flour.  You want to keep salt and yeast away from each other initially so that the yeast will work.

Use whatever knead cycle your machine has.  If you're working by hand, then knead it up to a smooth, round ball.

Give it a 60 minute first rise.  If your kitchen is cool, as mine is, you may need more time.  My dough looks as if it's not fully risen.  It is, but it began its collapse as I moved the bucket to photograph it.

When your dough is risen, remove from the bucket.  You will now divide it and put half in a greased bowl, and the other half on a greased piece of plastic wrap.  Wrap the second piece, put into a ziplock bag and then into the freezer.  Now you have next week's dough.  Cover the bowl with another piece of greased plastic wrap, and put into the fridge.  It can sit there for hours, slowly rising and developing flavor.

About 45 minutes before you want to start baking, take the bowl with the dough out of the fridge and place on the counter.You can remove the cover.  It will have risen a bit in the fridge, and will start to rise a bit more now that it's in a warm place.

While your dough is warming up, you can assemble the toppings:

Tomato sauce
Grated cheese(s)
Anything else you like on your pie.  We get lazy and just use sauce and cheese.

My tomato sauce is very simple, but surprisingly delicious.

1 8oz can of unsalted tomato sauce (you can use regular sauce, but the cheese adds a lot of salt)
1 tsp tomato paste
Dollop of olive oil
Salt and pepper
Oregano or a combo of Italian herbs, rubbed in your hands to release the flavor. 

Whatever grated cheeses you like. I used mozzarella, cheddar and TJ's Toscano with black pepper.

About 15 minutes before baking, preheat oven to 425.  Place 1 rack on the lowest spot and one in the middle.

Shaping the dough:

Take 2 pieces of parchment paper.  I use King Arthur's parchment, the one that you can use over and over.  Grease both pieces of paper.  Place the dough onto one piece and cover with the other one.  You now have a parchment paper/pizza dough sandwich.

Take your rolling pin and roll out the dough until it's about the size of the paper.  Because you used 00 flour, it will roll out easily without shrinking back.  (The goofy lines on mine are impressions of the paper.)  Place on a cookie sheet and let rest until the oven is at temp. 

When your oven is hot, place the pizza onto the bottom rack and bake for 5 minutes.  NO toppings yet.

Remove from oven, place all of it onto a large cutting board, and proceed to put on your sauce and cheese, plus whatever other toppings you want.

Place back in oven, this time on the middle rack.  Bake for 5 minutes.

Remove from the middle rack and place again on bottom rack.  Bake for 5 minutes and then your pizza is done!

Remove from oven and slide the pizza without the parchment paper onto your cutting board.  Cut into slices, eat and enjoy!

 Don't toss the parchment paper.  Brush off any food, and then fold up, place in a container, put in fridge and use another time.  I can use the paper 5-6 times easily.  There's nothing on it to go bad.

This sounds like it takes forever, but it really doesn't.  You can prep your sauce and grate your cheese while the pie is on its first bake on the bottom rack.  The clean-up is minimal:  whatever you kneaded it in, the bowl for rising, and whatever utensils you used for the sauce and cheese.

You can make both pies, or freeze half the dough for the next time.  The frozen dough should be taken out in the morning to thaw by late afternoon, and it will roll out easier and be thinner than the first dough.

And that dollop of tomato paste?  The one you opened a can for and now what do you do with the rest?  Put a piece of waxed paper onto a small cake rack, dollop the tomato paste into it, and freeze. when frozen, just peel off and put in a ziplock bag or small container and back into the freezer.

The reason for the placement of the pizza in the oven:  you are trying to mimic a professional pizza oven the revolves.  Placing the dough on the bottom rack both at the beginning and at the end helps it get crusty.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The Yarnarian cooks Indian

Moong dal with dill.  It's more yellow than the picture suggests.  Moong dal is this teeny little split yellow lentil.  It's adorable.  Well, I think that it's cute.  But better than cute is taste.  Dal, garlic, hing, AKA asafetida (I have a thing for hing), mustard seeds, and of course, dill.  Lots of dill. 

It comes out very soupy, but you add a slurry of garbanzo flour mixed with water, saute it up and it will thicken.  Thickens more as it cools.  I have no idea what it will do overnight in the fridge, but it will still be delicious.

We had 3 smallish russet potatoes, so I made potatoes with fenugreek.  We were hungry so I never got to photograph it.  It was so yummy!  Potatoes, lots of garlic, kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves 'cause I didn't have fresh), cumin seeds, salt, water.  Sounds dull, but it was out of this world.

We had leftover basmati rice with cumin plus a tofu dish.  I'm stuffed and we got rid of the leftovers.


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