In the news!
That day when it was Capt’s birthday and Justin dressed up just like him.
If you read last Friday’s post, then you know that somewhere in there, Chloe had to have a handmade knit item from me as well. Don’t worry, fair is fair, and hers came in the middle of the two sets of socks knit for Ella.
Chloe’s hat, called the Baa-ble Hat because it has the most adorable sheep on it, was made with Quince and Co yarn purchased at our LYS, Over the Rainbow Yarn. Mim Bird, proprietor and knitter extraordinaire, is also the instructor of our June 8-11, Sheep to Shawl Maine Knitting Cruise, where we’ll get to see yarn from beginning to end. Beginning at Bittersweet Heritage Farm, we’ll see sheep shorn (That was fun to write!). We’ll then gather back at the Riggin for 4 days of spinning with Heather Kinne of Highland Handmades and knitting with Mim of the above-mentioned Over the Rainbow Yarn.
Back to the hat at hand, this super fun pattern was made with Quince and Co colors – Birds Egg; Split Pea; and Bark. (The white we already had on hand.) The pattern calls for the sheep feet and noses to be black, but we found that color to be way too stark with the rest of the palette. Even though the pattern is actually, at times, a four-color pattern, I found it to be really easy and approachable.
Knitting is what Maine winters are for
As every good mama should, I alternate between making something for one and then the other. This project is one for Ella and one that was a joy to do – in part because she chose carefully – the pattern, the yarn, and the size – which meant that she was happy with the end result.
It’s been a while since I’ve made things for the girls as there was a long time when anything I made was too itchy, too big, too small, too something. So there my loving, homemade, hard work would sit. In the drawer. Eventually to be out grown. So I stopped making things for the girls. Until one day last summer, Ella ASKED me to make some socks for her. I did so with a little trepidation, but also with a good measure of letting-it-go. I told myself that making a gift is not about how someone receives it (although it sure does help) but that instead it’s about the person doing the making. How it’s made, the care you give it, the thoughts while you create with fiber. This is what I told myself and mostly it worked.
These are the first pair of socks after a long, gift-making hiatus. Made with sock yarn purchased at Over the Rainbow Yarn, our LYS and also sponsor/instructor of our June 8-11, Sheep to Shawl, Maine Knitting Cruise. Go Mim!
This next gift was made with Berroco Vintage DK, Black Current #2182. I adjusted the Purl Soho Stirrup Sock Pattern to accommodate the yarn and Ella’s thinner-than-adult legs. I knit really loosely, so typically I have to go down 2 needle sizes to get the correct gauge. Knitting with size 2 needles, I cast on 68 stitches rather than the 96 the pattern calls for. I then adjusted accordingly, wrote down what I did (key to success here, right?), and did the same on the other sock. Just wove the ends in yesterday! Wahoo!
Back to making handmade things for my girls
We are sailing away to knit and laugh together and you should come! Heather Kinne of Highland Handmades and I already got a good start on the laughing part when we filmed The Fiberista Files podcast together recently.
The Knitting Getaway is 4 days and 4 nights of a fiber experience with Mim Bird of Over the Rainbow Yarn (Rockland Maine’s LYS), Dyan Redick of Bittersweet Heritage Farm, and Heather Monroe Kinne of Highland Handmades as we follow the start-to-finish yarn process of shearing to spinning to knitting with handspun yarn.
We begin with a sheep shearing and skirting demonstration at Bittersweet Heritage Farm and wind up back at the Riggin for dinner at anchor. Heather from Highland Handmades will also be joining the trip to lead a spinning demonstration where you’ll be able to spin your own fiber (roving and combtop provided) on a drop spindle. Mim Bird will be with us as well to help assess the yarn we’ve created and figure out how and what to knit with it.
Your yarn and your project will be individual… and as relaxing or as type-A as you’d like. This is a pretty special trip and all of the details are on the Riggin site.
Check out The Fiberista Files podcast with Heather and me! The knitting cruise part starts around 22:30.
Particulars: June 8th – June 11th, $779 per person, all inclusive, 5% discount until Jan. 31st (10% for returning guests)
Getting my needles ready
As I write this, the bees are quiet, not truly dormant, but somnolent and sleepy. Waiting. The hives are draped in black insulating plastic and surrounded by feet of snow and not a flower in sight.
But last summer, when the garden was in full flush and the blooms were abundant, the hive wisdom said to swarm. Make a second queen, split, and create another hive to add to their numbers.
To see a hive swarm is to be in the midst of what feels like a maelstrom. In truth, bees are as calm as they ever will be when they swarm. Topped off with honey, surrounding their new queen, and off on an adventure.
We’ve never been quick enough to rehive the swarms, but were lucky to capture this one leaving on film.
Thankful they didn’t all swarm! Their honey is fantastic.
My friend Glen, mentioned in the doughnut post, is often down in the galley in the wee morning hours when I’m making all the decisions about what we’ll be eating for the rest of the day. I’ll often share out loud what I’m thinking because one, I know he likes to hear the winding road of my thought process, and two, I like to share with him because it helps me to hear, in my own words, what I’m thinking about. Somehow, when it’s outside of myself and in the space of the galley I’m able to see the big picture a little more clearly.
In any event, because I’m having these ‘out loud’ conversations, Glen gets a preview and many times an input. Long before he talked me into doughnuts, he talked me into pudding. Sure, it’s a pain to stand over the wood stove and stir it until it thickens, however, the creamy, sublime result is totally worth the effort. This is one I just made up this summer and will have to share with Glen when he sails with us again.
Chocolate Cashew Pudding
For an extra rich dessert, serve with whipped cream on top and dusted with cocoa powder.
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate cut into small chunks
1/2 cup cashew butter
In a thick bottomed pot, combine the sugar, cornstarch, milk, and salt. Bring to a full boil over medium heat whisking often to make sure the bottom doesn’t scorch. Remove from heat and add the vanilla extract and then the chocolate. Let the chocolate melt from the heat of the mixture, stirring occasionally until the chocolate is melted. Add the cashew butter and again mix well. Transfer to small serving bowls, cover with plastic wrap and chill.
Serves 4 to 6
Making all of the women in the household happy – the husband too, actually.
These little tartlets came about when working on a catering job for a winter dinner. The whole affair was a cocktail party, so finger food was the name of the game, including the desserts. Once topped with a berry – raspberry or blueberry – these beauties were perfect for a small bite confection.
Another favorite way to use lemon curd is in the Blizzard Bluberry Lemon Curd Roulade, which, as you might guess, was made on a snowy day last winter when the winds were slapping at the windows and doors. Indoors was the only place fit for humans, except the occasional forays into the wild for a snow shoe or ski and then back inside for a warm cup around which to wrap the cold hands.
If I were to find myself with some leftover lemon curd, I might have several thoughts on what to do with it other than eat it straight from the spoon. One, this is a perfect combination for my Nana’s Lemon Prune Cake. Two, if you find yourself wishing for something elegant, layered in a wine glass with sliced strawberries and vanilla whipped cream would hook me right quick and in a hurry. Three, I’ve been known to have it with some yogurt. Hey, if Liberte brand yogurt can do it, so can I.
This recipe is inspired by “The New York Times Cookbook.”
4 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice; juice from about 2 lemons
2 tablespoons grated lemon rind; rind from about 2 lemons
Cream the butter and gradually beat in the sugar. Beat the eggs into the creamed mixture, then add the lemon juice and grated rind.
Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and cook over low heat, whisking continuously until mixture thickens and deepens in color. This must be cooked over low heat and stirred constantly to keep it from curdling. If desired, use a double boiler.
Press through a fine sieve into a small bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Makes about 2 cups
This crust is extremely versatile and is one of my go-to recipes when creating tartlets or tarts that require a fairly structured crust. It is inspired by Alice Medrich, author and pastry chef extraordinaire.
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon homemade vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Press 1 tablespoon of dough into the bottom of two 12-hole muffin tins. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the edges begin to brown and the tartlet shells release from the tins easily. Transfer to a grate to cool. Fill with lemon curd when the shells are fully cooled.
Feeling tart and sunny