Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Pumpkin Patch

Hi Knitters,
It's a beautiful Halloween weekend around here. A couple of weeks ago we went to pick pumpkins at our favorite pumpkin farm.
We gathered up the troops and headed out to the field. My brother's family and my sister and a couple of her kids came along.
The kids like to scatter about to find the best pumpkin of their liking.
There were lots of good pumpkins to choose from this year.
It is so scenic. I like to soak it in.
Here is our pumpkin picking crew for this year. I can't complain.
There was a banjo and bass group playing away.
One of these warty fellows came home with my sister and one with my brother.
Cousins are the best.
My husband is such a kind and willing workhorse. With his size and strength he makes things so easy for us.
I don't know why but I love the cardboard signs. They make me smile.
A little caramel apple surprise on the way out can make a guy smile, too. We had everyone over yesterday for a little carving party. The pumpkins turned out great. I roasted the pumpkin seeds, too. I had the seeds all separated and cleaned in a large mixing bowl. I tossed them with a little olive oil and salt. I then spread them out on a jelly roll pan and salted them once more. I baked them at 350 degrees for about an hour and I stirred them at least once, maybe twice while they were baking. The pumpkin seeds were gobbled up in a snap!

Oh, and while I am talking about baking here is the apple crisp recipe I mentioned in the last post on applesauce:

Anderson Apple Crisp
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
Fill a 13 by 9 inch pan with peeled and sliced apples (like for the applesauce)
You can add as many apples as you like or you can make a 9 by 9 inch pan for a smaller amount.


I double the topping for the 13 by 9 inch pan, make as written for the 8 by 8 inch pan.
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup butter
Add all ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir until crumbly and combined. Sprinkle over the top of the apples.
Bake for about an hour or until golden brown and bubbling.
Enjoy with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Yesterday on the newsletter email from the Loopy Ewe there were two fantastic fall recipes I'd really like to try:
The caramel apples look like a super fun kid project or girl scout troop project. I will do these caramel apples at some point for sure and hopefully soon.

One more quick thing, here is my latest free pattern on Spud says!
Happy Halloween.
best, susie

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

No Recipe Applesauce

Hi Knitters,
First of all I have randomly selected a winner for the Never Not Knitting printed pattern set. Congrats to Jan! Here is the winning comment:
Jan said...
I listen to Never Not Knitting podcasts regularly and just drool over her completed projects, patterns and designs on Ravelry. I have never won a giveaway but maybe my luck would change on this one!

October 23, 2010
On with the baking and baking and baking that has been going on around here these days. Along with my usual weekly cookie baking I have been apple baking up a storm. It all started with the two enormous bags of apples we picked at the farm. I didn't know if I would ever be able to use all of the apples we had picked that day. I easily have used them up and then some!

On a related note, TC had fallen in love with the apple peeler at our neighbor's house. I had always wanted one of these so she gave me the nudge to see if I could find an apple peeler online. I looked it up and sure enough you can get one for twenty bucks right here:

That's what we did.
It is easy to use. This particular peeler has a suction clamp to hold it down. Sometimes it takes a few times of moving the suction lever to get it to adhere but eventually it works.
Not only does it peel the apple is also cored and thinly sliced into a long continuous ring. Notice the French horn player in the background. That photo was not planned, she really was just standing there next to me playing while I peeled apples. She is getting very proficient at her scales and Hot Cross Buns! Here's to progress.
The kids love the apple rings. It's fun to use and fun to eat the apples after.
I don't ever remember baking as many apple dishes as I have this fall. I am not exaggerating when I say that I have made around 10 pans of applesauce this fall. I have given applesauce away and my son brings friends over and serves huge bowls to everyone. I have had to buy more bags of apples to keep up.

I used to make applesauce on the stove in a big pot and I used a recipe from my sister. However, last year I thought I would try baking the applesauce instead. I love this method so much more than the stove top method.

Here is what I do. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Fill up a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with sliced apples. If you are using an apple peeler like mine I break up the rings before putting them in the pan.
Here is TC showing you the rings.

Next, after my pan is filled with apple slices I add enough water so I can just start to see the water mixed in with the apples at the bottom of the pan. I'd say maybe add water to about half of the height of the sliced apples in the pan. There's no measuring here!!
Next, I generously sprinkle sugar over the top of the apples. You can skip this if you don't want to add sugar or you can modify the amount to get sweeter or barely sweetened applesauce.
Lastly, I give the pan a generous sprinkling of cinnamon. You can leave the cinnamon out if you prefer. I happen to love cinnamon and it makes your house smell even better when baking.
I leave it in the oven for a long time, at least an hour and usually more like 90 minutes. I give it a good stir every 15 to 20 minutes. It is ready when the apples have softened and the applesauce is bubbling around the edges. We like the applesauce to be chunky but you could keep baking and stirring until it gets pretty smooth.

Let me know if you try it! I also have a super easy and old family recipe (with actual measurements) for apple crisp that I have been whipping up in between the baked applesauce. Let me know if you are interested in me sharing that recipe, too.

There is a really wonderful giveaway going on right now on Spud says! (my other blog) if you are interested. I don't want you to miss out! Please, if you enter, make sure you leave a comment on the Friends of Spud & Chloë forum thread and not on the Spud says! blog post.
best, susie

Friday, October 22, 2010

Never Not Knitting Pattern Giveaway!

Important Note: This giveaway is now closed, Oct. 27, 2010! No more entries are being taken.
Hi Knitters,
I have a HUGE giveaway offer for you today. Alana Dakos of the Never Not Knitting blog and podcast (I subscribe through itunes) fame sent me a complete package of her brand new printed pattern line to share with all of you. I couldn't be more excited to bring you a chance to win a complete set of 13 beautifully crafted printed patterns today!

For a complete rundown of Alana's patterns please click here to see her Ravelry page where you can find all of the information you may need. If you do look on her Ravelry project page you will see that all of her patterns are extremely popular. She is an excellent pattern writer and the best part is that these patterns have been out online for awhile. This means they have literally been knit up hundreds and hundreds of times already. You can be sure that the patterns are top-notch and written clearly.

The patterns include socks, shawls, a cowl, children's sweaters and dresses, a woman's tee and a hat. The size ranges are plentiful. There is something here that every knitter could use and would want to knit. I personally would love to knit every single one of these gorgeous patterns! I am sincerely going to sneak in knitting at least one or two of these very soon.

Now, if you are wondering where to purchase these printed patterns please click here to see all of Alana's current stockists. The printed patterns are being sold through local yarn shops at this time.

If you are a yarn shop owner and want to carry Alana's printed pattern line in your shop (which I highly suggest you do), please click here to find out about her wholesale information.

If you would like to purchase any of these pattern online in pdf format, please click here for Alana's Ravelry pattern store!

I have to say that in this day of pdf (hot off my junky home printer) patterns, it is just darn nice to have a beautiful sturdy set of ready to use patterns. I miss that very much. The patterns feel like keepsakes, heirlooms, something to have and to cherish and to use again and again. I really mean that. These are special and you can literally see the love and painstaking effort that went into each and every one of the patterns.

Here are the 13 impressive patterns that are included in today's giveaway. Hang onto your hat. The following patterns will take your breath away:
The Cosette Wrap
The Cedar Leaf Shawlette
The Shawl Collared Cowl
The Spring Garden Tee (for women)
Amelie Socks
Playful Stripes
Spring Garden Tee (for kids)
Very Cherry dress

The Molly Beret for kids and adults

Don't miss this fantastic opportunity to win the set of 13 gorgeous, beautiful, clever and smart patterns. I really think this is one of the best giveaways I have ever had the chance to host. Alana is a true design talent. She is detail oriented to a fault. I love her blog and her podcast, I never miss an episode. She is just plain cute and fun.

To enter to win the full set of 13 patterns please leave one and only one comment on this post. Please do not email me to enter. Please leave your email address or ravelry name so I can easily get in touch with you to get your mailing address.

In a few days or so I will randomly select one winner from the comment pool. After gathering your mailing address, I will give it to Alana so she can send you the set of patterns.

That's right! I am keeping my pattern set forever and ever! It's that good.

Best of luck to you all. Let the comments begin. I think this is going to be a good one!
best, susie

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Little Owls and Red Fox

Hi Knitters,
I have the last bunch of home photos of the Woodland Forest Animals that are currently in the issue, Knit Simple Holiday 2010, that is on the stands right now.

Click here for the Ravelry project page for more information!
The Little Owls pattern is so fun. The owl is small, about 5 inches tall and 3 inches wide.
The owls are made out of Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Cotton, one of my all-time faves.
Included in the magazine is a tutorial on making and putting the little owl together. It is very well done, step by step! I love the way these little owl parts look.
I made three versions of the same pattern, a two-toned owl, a simple fair-isle owl and a striped version.
What a fun and quick project!
Red Fox was the final project I made for Knit Simple. There aren't too many fox patterns out there so I was excited to whip up this little guy.
Click here for the Ravelry project page for Red Fox to see more details!
Red Fox is about 5 inches tall and a little over 4 inches long from front to back and about 2 1/1 inches wide.
I love the way his feet look like little brown boots.

The whole Woodland Friends feature has been so much fun. I love seeing the finished toys popping up on Ravelry already. They are all fast knits. Click here to check out all of the projects for this issue on Ravlery.

Next up? I am planning a very fun and different type of giveaway. I have so many giveaways lined up that I've got to get going on them soon or they will take me over!

Have a good Wednesday.
best, susie

Monday, October 18, 2010

Campus Knitting

Hi Knitters,
Miss Molly (my son's girlfriend) has finished yet another hat. This time she made a hat for her dad. She knits in between her studies, work and fun. I can't even say how much I love her newfound interest in knitting. She is already onto her next project, another scarf.
It turned out so great. She learned the purl stitch and completed all of the decreasing for the top of the hat on her own, even mastering double-pointed needles. She just jumps right in. I love these photos they sent me of the new hat. We made up the pattern together specifically to fit her dad's head but you can see that it fits Molly and... fits my son's head as well. We like our hats long in this neck of the woods so our ears are generously covered. It gets cold here. Molly made the hat out of Spud & Chloë Sweater in the Turtle colorway using one skein with a little leftover. It is such a good, rich green. I am half tempted to write this simple pattern up as a free pattern on my Spud says! blog. It's a good and versatile hat. Molly's dad loves his new hat and has already been wearing it I hear. What a good and fun thing.

You can see the campus at the UW-Madison in the background of these shots. It has been a beautiful fall here in Madison, all pleasantly warm and sunny. Here is another fun knitting feature taking place on campus:

A professor from the textile department came to the Madison Knitters Guild last month to get people to help knit garter stitch scarves for covering a bus stop shelter on State Street. She got a great response. I didn't get to see the work of art in person but I heard it was fantastic.

Another Madison-related topic is the Knitcircus giveaway I hosted on the Itty-Bitty Knits forum on Ravelry. I've randomly selected two winners.
Winner #1: Ravelry ID: flowerpot2
Flowerpot2 has won the Knitcircus Gift Issue pattern collection!
Winner #2: Ravelry ID: JaimeK
JaimeK has won a year subscription to Knitcircus!

Congratulations to both winners. I need your email addresses to forward on to Jaala Spiro so she can send you your prizes. You can email me or send me a pm on Ravelry with your information.

Thanks to everyone who entered.
Happy Monday!
best, susie