Thursday, February 26, 2015

cabled wedding blanket - my version

This is my take of the Cabled Wedding Blanket.
The original pattern calls for super-bulky yarn.  What I wanted to use was worsted-weight Red Heart's Fleck in Oatmeal.  I already had the yarn in my stash as a partially done, crocheted afghan.  I had decided I would not finish it due to the strain on my hands from crocheting and the amount of yarn the afghan was sucking up.  I knitted this whole afghan (48" x 72") with about a skein leftover from about a 48" x 36" partially done crocheted one.

I decided on 12-inches of my favorite basket-weave pattern around the center panel.  Then I decided 5 cables in the 24" x 48" center would fill it nicely, 2 Celtic braids and 3 Aran braids on reverse stockinette.
I knitted it on a 40" US #6 circular needles. My gauge was 5.25 stitches/inch.  So needless to say I did a boat-load of swatching and research to get it to work.

One thing I learned was that cables pull in and you will have to add stitches to get it to lay flat without heavy blocking when going from one pattern to another.  I had to add 4 stitches/cable on the set-up row before beginning the cables.

I still got some rippling after washing the afghan as you can see in the picture above.  I didn't dry it in a dryer so I don't know if it would have dried tighter or not. (Laundromat dryers are notoriously hot!)  Nor did I block it very hard.

The basket weave pattern I used is:
Row 1:  Knit
Row 2, 4 & 6: K6, P4
Row 3 & 5:  K4, P6
Row 7:  Knit
Row 8, 10, & 12:  P5, K6, *P4, K6*, to last 9 stitches then P4, K5
Row 9 & 11:  P5, K4, *P6, K4*, to last 11stitches then P6, K5
I cast on 250 stitches and did seven-n-half repeats to get my 12-inches of basket-weave.

I built myself a chart in Microsoft Excel for the center panel.

I highlighted the two spots I kept screwing up the crossovers.  It is a pain to un-knit that part of the cable and re-knit it up to get the crossing right when you notice you screwed-up several rows down.  And, I did it a time or two even after I highlighted it!  Shesh!!!
When you get to the last row of the center panel and are decreasing it helps to decrease the same amount that you increased!  LOL  I had to rip back the last row of the center panel twice until I figured out what I was doing wrong!

So there you have it!  I saw a concept on Ravelry that I liked and made it my own.  It only took me 3 years to finish it!  And no, my dearest sister I am not going to send it to you!  You have to knit your own.

I hope everyone is having a good day!


Sunday, February 15, 2015

finished my pretty

This is what I had planned.
This is what I ended up with.
The little preprinted hearts I was going to use in the corners had an off-white background which just didn't look right so the strips at the top gave me the length I was looking for.   I wish I had taken more off the top of the block and centered it better top-to-bottom, but didn't see the centering problem until I had it almost quilted.  Next time!

To build this 10-inch block you will need three fabrics, a background, and 2 fabrics with lot of contrast.  The fabric with the red background uses a block 4 1/2" by 6 1/2" and a strip of 2 1/2" by 12 1/2".
The fabric with the light background uses a block 4 1/2" by 6 1/2" and a strip of 2 1/2" by 10".
The white background uses a block 4 1/2" by 4 1/2" and a strip of 2 1/2" by 10".

I used 3/4-inch echo quilting around my heart and stitch-in-the-ditch for the heart and strips at the top.

The label is on and a bit wonky.

So it is time to work on other projects.

I hope everybody is having a good day!


Sunday, February 8, 2015

I had a brain storm

I was looking at that wall hanging that hubby's maternal grandmother made the other day and had a brain storm.
Remember the flags that you hung outside depending on the season?  Well, why not make a wall hanging/quilt block and have something different to hang on the wall each month or season?  Half the year will be easy; it's one block; a quick sew.

This is what I have planned for February.
The center block is from Quilting Assistant.  I'm surprised that EQ6 doesn't have this block in its library.

Remember making these when we were kids in school to give to our mothers for Mother's Day?  What I didn't know was those woven paper hearts are Swedish or Danish.  Which says to me, a more accurate description would be Scandinavian.

So I'm going to indulge my ADD and go make me a pretty!

I hope everybody is having a good day!


Sunday, February 1, 2015

leftover pulp from almond milk

As you know I'm allergic to the casein protein in milk.  So to get some creamy goodness for my tea, coffee, hot chocolate and ice cream I make and use nut-milks.  Some nut-milks can be drank without straining like cashew milk after blitzing in the blender for three minutes (some people do strain cashew milk).  Almond milk however tastes best strained; it has a gritty mouth feel, to me, if you don't.

So what do you do with the leftover pulp?  Some folks actually throw it out, but I can't.  Seems a waste to me, so I went out on the web looking for recipes that use almond milk pulp and ended up at Elana Pantry.  She has some great recipes that use almond milk pulp and a boat load of them use almond flour (very finely ground almonds).

What I usually do with the pulp is save it up in the freezer and then dehydrate the pulp-patties until dry.  Then, one at a time, I break them up and pulverize them in the blender.  I sift the contents of the blender just in case I don't get everything ground up.  Regrind anything that needs it with the next broke-up patty.

One of the things I do with the resulting almond flour is to save it to make chocolate chip cookies for Sister Suzy to take to set as her theater director has Celiac disease.  Today I tried a new recipe for almond flour, Chocolate Coconut Macaroons from Elana's Gluten-free Almond Flour cookbook.  Oh, My, Good!

(A copyright free image)

I did modify her recipe a little, as usual.  LOL  I only used 3/4 cup of honey instead of 1 cup of agave nectar and the recipe on the proceeding page was for Almond Macaroons.  Yeah, why not, Almond Chocolate Coconut Macaroons!  So I added 1 teaspoon of almond extract to the blend.  This is what I ended up with:

3 egg whites

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of almond extract

3/4 cup honey

1/4 cup of cocoa powder

1 1/2 cups of my almond flour

1 1/2 cups of shredded coconut, should have been 2 but that was all I had.

Preheat oven to 350.  I lined a cookie sheet with parchment paper so nothing would stick.  I whisked the egg whites until they were frothy.  Then, added the next three ingredients and whisked very well.  I sifted the cocoa powder in and blended well.  Finally I folded the last two ingredients in.  I scooped heaping teaspoons full of dough on the cookie sheet, patting into smooth mounds and baked for 15 minutes.  Cooled the cookies for 30 minutes on the cookie sheet.  I got 20 cookies in total.  These cookies don't spread so they all fit on one big cookie sheet. 

If you like a more Almond-y flavor add more extract, Elana used a whole tablespoon. That seemed too much to me as I wanted to taste the chocolate, also.

I hope everyone is having a good day!


Sunday, January 25, 2015

sister suzy graduates

One of my reasons for heading back to Kansas in December was for Sister Susy's graduation.
(Not the best picture but considering it is from my little point-n-shot from half-court...)

They had her stand to acknowledge her grade point average.  It was announced to be a 4.0 but final grades were not in yet.  Last class was Friday, graduation ceremony was Saturday, and grades weren't due until the following Tuesday. 

I had to laugh, she is so disgusted because she made an A- in one of her class so her grade point average is 3.999 instead of 4.0.  She said they jinxed her by making her stand for the 4.0 acknowledgment.  I don't think that's too bad considering Hubby passed away a month into the semester, the Saturday after he died she started a full time job and was taken a full load of 15 hour with no fluff courses.  Those last 3 weeks were touch-n-go to get all the papers and projects finished and turned in on time, along with the job.

Afterwards we (family and friends) head over to the local Chinese Buffet for a celebratory meal.
Two of her high school teacher, Kent Harms her Softball Coach and Algebra teacher, Julie McCreight her Theater Director and forgive me I can't remember Julie's daughter's name.
One of the girls she runs around with from high school, Kylsie
One of her cousins, Sami.  I didn't get photos of the rest of the crowd.  Big hugs to you guys for coming and making our day!

Now for Graduate School!  I have my fingers crossed she gets into the program out here with Midwestern because it has a Doctorate Program and all internships are done on campus and are paid.  (Not to mention, I sometimes want to play Helicopter Mom.)  She, of course, is torn between staying in Kansas to be close to friends and the Doctorate Program out here with Midwestern.  Time will tell.

Hope everyone is having a good day!


Thursday, January 15, 2015

the niece's quilt

On to happier topics, the first being, the quilt I finished up for my brother's youngest daughter's wedding.
I really like how this quilt turned out.  It is the combination of three quilting ideas I had.

The lone star block was a twin quilt-top I made years ago while taking a quilting class on how to make lone star quilts.  The border is the border for the lone star quilt-top expanded out to go around a king-size quilt.  I liked the idea of it only being a partial border with the quilting echoing the block pattern for the other two corners.  The twin top had lots of open space that just begged for some beautiful hand-quilting that I was never going to get around to doing.

The big stars were an experiment with blocks following a quilting tutorial from the Missouri Star Quilt Company's you-tube channel.  I loved how the blocks turned out but didn't like the fabric I used for the sashing strips.  The sashing fabric took away instead of enhancing the blocks.  Oh, and be careful when building the blocks because you can get left and right-handed blocks.  I have one oddball block. ; >)

The pinwheels were part of the original idea I had for the quilt.  You can get left and right-handed pinwheels, too!  So pay better attention than I did, when you are setting up your half-square units before sewing into pinwheels.  I have a few extra blocks that are opposites laying around now.

The quilting was stitch-in-the-ditch, running diamonds; echo quilting the colored strip of the border and using a cereal bowl to draw curved lines on the sashing.
For something special, I used some gingham blocks that Mother had made on the back.  I thought she(the niece) would get a kick out of having some of Mother's blocks incorporated into her quilt.
All I did was square up the blocks and I got to spread Mom's love of gingham around to others in the family. : >)
Well the label is on, so it's time to wrap up this post.

I hope everybody is having a good day!


Saturday, January 10, 2015

first the sad part

Psycho Kitty escaped in Liberal, Kansas.  I pulled into the Mickey D's for something to eat and drink.  The bum right-knee is slow to unlock and that first step can be a crap shot after sitting for four hours so she took the opportunity to escape while I was stretching out the leg and seeing if I was going to be able to stand and walk.  I stooped to pick her up; she went off the deep-end, again, and took off running.
To begin the saga, when I tried to put her in the kennel the morning we left, she decided she wasn't interested and took a hunk out of the base of my left thumb.  (I'll probably have a scar.)  I did get her stuffed in the kennel and into the car.  The ride to Alamogordo, NM was not pleasant with her letting me know just how unhappy she was for most of the ride.  Have you ever spent eight hours listening to a cat bitch?

When I got to the motel, I got her all set up with her paraphernalia in the bathroom, so she would be easier to catch the next morning, and let her out of the kennel.  She ate cat treats from my hand, let me pick her up, love on her and acted like she was okay.

When I woke up the next morning I decided not to put her in the kennel and just carry her out to the car thinking maybe her biggest objection might just be the kennel. So I stepped into the bathroom gave her a quick love, put her down and reached for the kennel.

Psycho Cat FREAKED out!  I grabbed a towel and threw it over her so she would have a place to hide and to break eye contact.  I left the bathroom in hopes she would calm back down.  When she got quiet I went back in to get the rest of her stuff to put in the car.  She started in again even though she was still under the towel.  I waited about an hour but she was not having any of it.  I didn't feel like getting bit again and the only safe way for me to handle her was at the end of a capture pole.

So I called the Alamogordo Animal Control and had them come out.  It took thirty minutes to catch her and stuff her in the kennel.  His comments were: A. That is the most pissed-off cat he had ever handled. And B. I needed to get some serious amounts of Dramamine from a vet for her to be calm enough to travel.  If she had figured out how to get through the mesh windows of her kennel she would have tried eating both of us, that's how unhappy she was.  I held the kennel out at arms-length to get her back in the car and covered her up so she would have a dark place to hide.

It took a couple of hours before she got quiet and by the time I got to Tucumcari, NM I decided to let her out because she was calm.  She laid on top of her kennel, let me pet her, purred, drank from a cup of water I had for her (dipped her paw in and licked the water off).  I thought we had made peace with the situation.

All the time trying to figure out how-the-hell I was going to get her into a vet's office to get some Dramamine.  And how-the-hell was I going to hang-on to her and stuff a pill down her throat, anyway?  Or use a syringe with a liquid and get her to swallow it?  Maybe, if the Dramamine came in a gel I could rub it on her nose and she could lick it off like the 'Vaseline on the nose' trick.

So we got to Liberal, I was slow getting out of the car and shutting the door.  Sigh :(

Hope everyone is having a good day!