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!