Friday, October 28, 2016

Apple Crisp and Weekend Socks

Hi, Knitters, 
Here is the apple crisp recipe I have been using for several decades. I so enjoy pulling out an old and loved handwritten recipe card from my recipe file. Don't you love this, too? It's so much better than using the internet to find recipes (although I do end up doing that, too). Recipe cards filled with splatters, worn corners, and fading script really make my day, they tell a story. Anyway, my family loves this apple crisp and it is definitely an annual tradition every time fall rolls around. One time many years ago I changed it up and used a different recipe that included oats and everyone was disappointed so I went right back to the tried and true. I haven't wavered since.

I hope you handwrite out your own Apple Crisp recipe card to love and use in the years ahead. Mine is just on a standard 3 by 5-inch notecard, nothing fancy.

And of course as every good knitter approaches things, I don't exactly follow the recipe. 

Here are my changes:

I use a 13 by 9 inch glass pan. I don't grease the pan.

I peel and cut the apples in small-ish pieces. 

I place the apple pieces in the pan until it is almost full to the brim. I don't count or measure the apples at all. 

I double the strudel topping. 

I add a dash more salt to the strudel.

It takes at least an hour to bake if not a little longer. 

Make sure that the strudel is slightly browned on top and that the apples are bubbling around the edges before taking it out of the oven.

We usually serve it with vanilla ice cream or custard (although cinnamon ice cream is wonderful if you can find it) and with a dollop of freshly made whip cream. The apple crisp is delicious without adding any extras on top. I usually have mine plain.

I store the leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator and it is even better the next day.


Now for socks!

When I was at Knit City the only thing I had plans to purchase was a skein of sock yarn from Caterpillargreen Yarns that I had seen on their Instagram. I had so little time to look around the market but I rushed to the Caterpillargreen booth when I had a few seconds only to find out that the yarn I wanted was sold out. I wasn't surprised at all. 

Jodi from the Grocery Girls either was with me or I was talking to her later, I can't remember how, but she found out I wanted that yarn. She pulled the skein out of her bag and gave it to me. I swear I have never met more generous people in my life. Tracie and Jodi would give you the shirts off their backs with no thought at all. Really. Anyway, Jodi would not take no for an answer so I ended up with the Caterpillargreen Yarn I had my heart set on. I was appreciative and excited about it.

On my final day at Knit City I was on the way to my classroom and walked by the Caterpillargreen Yarns booth and Catherine, the owner and dyer, was standing there with a bag for me. Inside the bag was a gift for me, the coveted skein of sock yarn now called Weekend. Needless to say I was thrilled! I gave Jodi back her skein right away. It was such a nice gesture on her part and now we could be sock twins. 

I quickly asked how the skein was dyed and Catherine said it is mirror image so if you wind the skein in one cake you could start one sock from the inside of the cake and the other from the outside of the cake to get matching socks. I decided to break my skein of Weekend into two cakes as I wound it. 

Thank you so much to Caterpillargreen Yarns for the beautiful and clever skein of sock yarn.

It appears that the Weekend colorway pre-order is currently sold out but definitely check out the entire store over at Caterpillargreen Yarns. It is fun and impressive.

Click here to see the Weekend skein and a knit sample of the sock I am knitting. Maybe she will open the orders again in the future.

Click here for Signature Needle Arts (my favorite needles!) I use US size 1/2.25mm, 6-inch dpns for my sock knitting. 

My yarn/kitchen scale is OXO brand and I purchased it from William Sonoma about 6 years ago. Click here to see the exact same scale on the OXO website. I love mine and actually own two of them now.

On a side note I was sent a review copy of the book in the photo above, People Knitting, by Barbara Levine. It contains a century of photographs of people knitting and I have simply loved looking through the pages. The book is small in size and everything about it is kind of perfect. The photos are fascinating, interesting and fun. What a perfect gift for the holiday season ahead. Thank you to Princeton Architectural Press for sending me a copy of this beautiful book.

I wound off a small ball of yarn at the beginning of the skein to start things off. The skein weighed 115 grams and I would have had to knit 10 or 11-inch or longer cuffs to use all of the yarn and get to that last color. I don't like super long cuffs on socks as much. I favor the cuff length to be between 6 or 7-inches. So I wound off until the main cake weighed 45 grams. I did this for both socks. 

I ended up knitting the cuff to 7-inches before placing the waste yarn for the heel. My next decision was how I was going to work the yarn in the heel. Would I pull from the outside of the cake for an orange heel, use the blue section that I wound off in the smaller ball or should I stripe the orange outer end and the wound off blue section? Lots of options from which to choose!

I am using my Smooth Operator Socks pattern that includes a tutorial for my version of an afterthought heel with several options for decreases and finishing of the toe and heel. One popular option is for a Kitchener stitch-free finish.

I ended up striping the orange end from the outside of the cake and the blue end from the wound off section at the start. I switched the yarn every two rounds.

The sock blocker is from The Loopy Ewe!

For the Smooth Operator Socks pattern I used the single line decrease instructions and the rounded corner Kitchener stitch option for finishing off the heel. I will do the same for the toe.

Well, there you go. I will be back next week with more. I have a bunch of new patterns coming out very soon along with some new and exciting changes. I hope you will be excited about all of the new things happening. I will be sharing all of it very soon. I can't wait!

Have a great weekend ahead.
xo ~ susan
p.s. There is a huge Craftsy sale going on from today, Friday, Oct. 28 through Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. I don't use the affiliate links much but here is my link if you'd like to purchase any Craftsy class for under $20 during this time. Thank you so much if you use the link! Click here for the link to Craftsy!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Snowflakes and Apples

Hi, Knitters,
I hope you are all having a good week. The fall weather has been on the warm side this year and we have been enjoying it as much as possible. We can't take the warmer weather for granted around here as winter is right around the corner.

I want to thank you for the support for the Mitten Knitting Season pattern sale I had over the last week. It was a hit and so I hope to see lots of your Waiting for Winter Mittens all over the place, stacks and stacks of them. My daughter gifted the mittens I knitted for her cross country sister at the last meet. I didn't hear much about it so I hope she likes them. And I have to say that if I don't hear anything about a gift, knitted or not, I never worry about it. It doesn't bother me at all not knowing if the person likes it because the fun for me is making the gift. After that I let it go. Although it is added fun if you do hear that the gift is enjoyed, of course.

Now, you may be wondering why I have the photo of a hat I designed in 2014 as the first photo. Yesterday or the day before that I noticed that my hat pattern, Split Back Snowflake, was getting some attention on Ravelry. It was rising back up in the Hot Right Now Patterns on Ravelry. Sometimes these things happen and I assume it's been mentioned somewhere or someone is knitting it and posting about it but I didn't know what was up this time.

I posted the original photo of my niece wearing the hat on my Instagram and people started letting me know that Staci Perry of Very Pink Knits had been posting about knitting her own Split Back Snowflake Hat. Staci is a prolific knitter, designer and knitting teacher and she has a very popular YouTube Channel called VeryPink Knits, where she does loads of tutorials and tutorial-style projects. You should definitely check her out. Thank you, Staci, for knitting the hat! 

Here is the back of the hat and thus the reason for the pattern title. The cable-rib brim is worked flat and then it is joined to begin working in the round for a short ribbed section and then moves into the colorwork section of the hat. When the hat is worn it should be tipped back a bit which makes the flat section hug the back of the neck (perfect for a low ponytail, too!) and the split creates earflaps to boot. There are so many good things about this hat. It is perfect for a new-to colorwork and new-to cable knitter because the patterns are simple and a hat is small with small sections of each. The hat also provides good variety for interest and moves quickly on the worsted weight yarn.

If the split back detail is not for you there is a more traditional option in the pattern, too.

The photos above show the traditional brim with a simple 1 by 1 rib to turn up or to wear down for a slouchier fit.

With two skeins each of two contrasting colors of Quince & Co. Owl you can get two hats including the pom poms. Three skeins of Owl will get you one hat, either version.

Anyway, it's been fun to revisit the Split Back Snowflake Hat pattern. My niece is the model and she is just so darn cute. 

Now for another subject, apples and apple picking. For the last ten years that I've been writing this blog I have talked about my love for apple picking and pumpkin picking in the fall. It has been a longstanding autumn tradition for us to head out and pick those apples. We like trying all sorts of kinds of apples and I am always fascinated by the variety and tastes and textures.

This year we focused on Northern Spy, Jonagold and Cortland for our picking. My son and his wife, and one of my daughters joined us so it was a small group by our standards but we had a blast and the weather was gorgeous.

I love how the rows of apple trees look so unassuming but when you get in there and look the apples are everywhere. We had the best weather. Oh, and I just remembered that as we were walking out of the rows of trees I ran into my buddy Jaala Spiro of Knit Circus with her kids. That was fun.

The apples this year were big, gigantic even. Some of the apples we picked were the largest I've ever seen.

In 2010 I posted about making applesauce in the oven and I shared my No Recipe Baked Applesauce recipe. Click here if you want to read about it!  I use this guide every time I bake applesauce and it never fails. In the old post it was fun to see TC playing her French horn in the background and my then newly remodeled kitchen. Seems like a long time ago. 

 Married life agrees with them!

I've made apple crisp and applesauce and I've eaten a lot of apples for snacks over the last week or two. I love it all. I've also blended a generous amount of cinnamon into plain cream cheese and added raisins for dipping with sliced apples. It's all so good and delicious.

I can't think of a better way to celebrate autumn each year. 

The colors are finally changing around here and it never gets old. The photo above was taken with my phone and I can't believe how good it turned out. My husband was with me on a hike and I told him how the landscape looked just like a painting. Then later when I looked at the photo I had taken it really looked like a painting in the photo. Sometimes it is hard to capture what you see in a photo. This time it worked.

The photo above was taken on my run in the late afternoon yesterday.  It was a pretty good view.

Right before I ended my run and headed home I stopped to take one last photo. You know, having a phone with a camera is one of the best things ever. I really enjoy being able to capture moments in time so randomly. (This makes me sound old but when you don't have a cell phone until you are in your mid-forties you can understand that it seems pretty wonderful.)

Have a great rest of your week, dear Knitters. I'll be back soon with more.
xo ~ susan

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

'Tis Mitten Knitting Season

Hi, Knitters,
Mitten knitting season is now upon us. It never fails that as October rolls around and the air begins to cool I feel the need to knit mittens. This urge hasn't changed for decades. Last fall I devoted a week in October not only for mitten knitting but for adding sizes to my original Waiting for Winter Mittens & Fingerless Mitts pattern. And I also made a new pattern for baby and kid-size mittens called, Little Waiting for Winter Mittens & Fingerless Mitts.

For this fall of 2016 I am celebrating mitten knitting season in a couple of ways. First, I had both the Waiting for Winter and the Little Waiting for Winter patterns refreshed with a new and more concise pattern design. It is easier to read, has fewer pages and I've added some new photos. It's a bit of a makeover if you will. The actual patterns are exactly the same, no changes there.

The second way I am celebrating is by offering a big pattern discount for both of the Waiting for Winter mitten patterns big and little, and for my Half Pint Mittens bookmark/ornament pattern. For your convenience the discount prices are set for you on the pattern pages so no coupon code is necessary. 

It's a Mitten Sale!

Here are the links to the patterns for more information or to purchase, all discount prices are set:

The sale prices will go for one week starting today, October 12, 2016 through the end of the day on October 19, 2016. You can get the entire set of three mitten patterns in sizes for the entire family (10 sizes of mittens in all) plus the tiny bookmark or ornament pattern for $7.00! 

Half Pint Mittens are made with fingering weight yarn. These make the perfect bookmark with the string resting in between the pages or the perfect ornament with the string draped over your Christmas tree branch. 

My latest mitten knitting this week was from a gift skein of yarn from The Lemonade Shop. It's her worsted weight yarn, 100% superwash wool, in the Pinwheel colorway. This pair is a gift for a 14-year-old friend of my daughter's on her cross country team. I think they are going to be perfect for the cooler running weather ahead. 

The mitten blockers were purchased from Burning Impressions on Etsy! Mine are the medium size and I simply adore having these mitten blockers.

Here are some fun photos from the new pattern design!

These are striped using two balls of Noro Kureyon.

Yarn used here is Noro Kureyon. 

Yarn is Noro Kureyon, two balls striped. 

A stack of old and new Waiting for Winter Mittens

Waiting for Winter Mittens in Fresh Isle Fibers worsted singles Watermelon yarn

I hope you are able to enjoy the new pattern design for the Waiting for Winter mitten set and that you can take advantage of the discounted pattern prices this week. I am loving the fall season already and I am really anxious for the cooler months ahead. 

I have so much new and exciting stuff in store over the next couple of months. There is some big news brewing around these parts and I'll be filling you in very soon over the next few weeks. I hope you'll be as excited about it as I am! 

Much love to you all.
xo ~ susan

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Episode 26: Knit City

Hi, Knitters,
I have a new podcast episode up on YouTube. I looked back and it has been at least three months since I last recorded and that seems about right. The last three months have been the craziest months of my life. Hopefully I can get back to recording with a little less time in between now that things have settled a bit.

Here are the links to find me all over the interwebs:
My Ravelry group, Itty-Bitty Knits~ come join us!

Here are the links for the things I talked about:

I'm wearing the Louise cardigan knit in Quince & Co. Osprey in the same colors as in the pattern. 

Lemonade Shop  worsted in the Pinwheel colorway

Cable Sourcebook by Norah Gaughan

Within ~ the new book by Jane Richmond and Shannon Cook

Signature Needle Arts ~ I always buy the 6-inch length dpns

Knit Circus Yarns ~ My socks are knit in the Twister Stripes colorway. I got the 100 gram set.

The Loopy Ewe Sock Blockers

Marigold Jen on Etsy,  Ghost Walk and Lazy Days sock colorways

River City Yarns ~ Adam and Eve and Epic Yarn

That should do it! I hope you enjoy the fun links and the video.

Have a great weekend, friends!
xo ~ susan

Monday, October 03, 2016

Butterfly & Cocoon ~ Making Issue 2: Fauna

Hi, Knitters,
I am sitting in the airport in Vancouver with a bit of time to kill so I thought I would write a brief post about my latest pattern release. I am proud to announce that the next issue of Carrie Bostick Hoge's Making Magazine is now available for pre-order. 

Click here to find out more about Making Magazine Issue 2: Fauna! Issue 1 sold out quickly, you can pre-order a copy. The magazine has seventeen knitting patterns but there is so much more like sewing, embroidery, baking and more.

My new design that is in the magazine is called Butterfly and Cocoon. The pattern is only available in the print magazine at this time. In March the pattern will be available for download in my Ravelry pattern shop.

The other knit designers include Melanie Berg, Norah Gaughan, Carrie Bostick Hoge, Karen Templer, Ashley Yousling, Mary Jane Mucklestone, Carol Sunday, Cal Patch, Jenny Gordy, Bristol Ivy, Cecily Glowik-McDonald and Beatrice Dahlen. 

It's quite a line up. 

Photo by Carrie Bostick Hoge

Here is my introduction to the pattern:

Late summer into early fall is a completely magical time here in Wisconsin. On my daily hikes through the prairies with grasses towering over my head, and around nearby ponds surrounded by milkweed, the terrain is intoxicating. These natural habitats offer a huge variety of fauna-watching including wild turkeys, deer, chipmunks, herons, cranes, birds galore and my favorite, the butterflies. Oh the butterflies! To see their beautiful, airy wings flitting about in abundance from plant to plant has added so much to my daily excursions. Each walk in the fading heat of the season is a heady experience.

Butterfly and Cocoon is a knitted tribute to these beautiful, delicate creatures. The sweet Butterfly and Cocoon are both worked seamlessly from the bottom-up, picking up stitches for the wings and antennae after the body is knitted. This makes for a slick and fun knit. Children will love to tuck the winged friend into its very own cocoon for a rest or nap and take it out again when it’s time to fly! The loop on the top of the cocoon hood is perfect for hanging on a hook, backpack or most definitely on a little finger for toting along on adventures in the wild. 

Photo by Carrie Bostick Hoge


October 2016

Sport / 5 ply (12 wpi) ?

6 stitches = 1 inch
in stockinette stitch

US 3 - 3.25 mm
US 5 - 3.75 mm

200 yards (183 m)

5½" tall
Finished measurements
5½” (14 cm) tall
Chickadee by Quince & Co.
(100% American wool; 50 grams / 181 yards)
• 1 skein each (only small amounts of each color are used) in the following color ways:
Sample 1: Kumlien’s Gull (A), Egret (B), Shell (C), Split Pea (D)
Sample 2: Clay (A), Chanterelle (B), Aleutian (C), Honey (D)
Sample 3: Iceland (A), Petal (B), Lupine (C), Pomegranate (D)
50 yards (46 meters) or less of each color in sport weight yarn
• Tapestry needle
• Removable stitch markers
• Fiberfill
• Safety eyes, size 4.5 mm (see Notes)
• Black embroidery floss
• Waste yarn
6½ sts = 1” (2.5 cm) in stockinette stitch with smaller needles
6 sts = 1” (2.5 cm) in stockinette stitch with larger needles
Butterfly is worked in the round from the bottom up and stuffed as you go. Face detail, wings, and antennae are added after. Cocoon is worked from the bottom up in the round, then bound off at beginning of hood and continued in garter stitch. Top of hood is grafted, with stitches kept live at center of hood to make I-cord loop.
Warning: Safety eyes are considered a choking hazard for young children and infants. Embroider eyes if this is a concern.

Photo by Carrie Bostick Hoge

This is one of my all-time favorite toy designs. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed creating it.

The following photos are my early shots of the Butterfly and Cocoon. 

I was so excited about the finished design that I had to quickly knit up two more versions!

The beautiful Quince & Co. Chickadee yarn never fails. It's so beautiful. Finding four colors to combine is so easy with the Quince colorways. 

Love the hood with the loop for hooking on a little finger.

The entire project is knit from the bottom-up and in one piece. The wings and antennae are picked up and knit on to the body. 

Going home is always a good feeling. I'll be back soon with more.
xo ~ susan