Blanket Blocking

I finished my big blanket this week. The applied i cord was a breeze to put on, and it gives the blanket a great finished look. I’m so happy I decided to take that extra step. It only took about half of one of the two hanks of yarn I bought for it. I’m thinking I’ll try out some skimmer socks soon, as I love wearing tiny socks in my Chucks.

I brought the blanket with me to Cedar Falls, as my mom has a clothesline I could dry it on. I thought about just leaving it on my patio to dry, but then I remembered I have a large dog and two kids that run all over the patio and thought better of it.

Have you ever blocked a blanket before? I had not. The largest thing I’ve ever blocked, or even washed by hand, is a sweater (granted, that includes the cocoon sweater, which was basically a blanket). I was nervous. It felt like a large undertaking. I considered not doing it, but some of the yarn was given to me by friends with cats, so I knew I needed to wash it if I ever wanted to use it without sneezing.

Here’s how I blocked it.

Step 1: Let it soak. 20180522_134134597907800.jpg

I put it in the tub with cool water and two packets of soak and let it sit while I fed the kids lunch and put them down for a nap. Then I made bars (milk chocolate and caramel for the middle layer this time). I took the trash out. I got the mail. I was really looking for any excuse to avoid the next part, so it probably soaked for an hour.

Step 2: Roll it up

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I put the blanket on top of two cotton blankets to soak up the water. Then I rolled it up.

Step 3: Hang it up

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I hung it out on the line to dry. I draped it over three lines, which I hope will help it dry more quickly. I then spent about 20 minutes just staring at it and thinking about how pretty it is.

Have you ever blocked a huge project? How did you tackle it?

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Scrap Yarn Shawl Knockoff

A month or two ago my sister Mary-Claire sent me a message on Instagram about a scrap yarn shawl she thought was really cool. She didn’t say cool though, she said “While I think this is too much work for a Christmas present, please look at this and marvel at how awesome it is.”

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I looked at it, and thought it was awesome. I also thought it looked really simple. I offered to make one for her for Christmas. I thought I could find a pattern, but a search on Ravelry came up empty. Luckily it looks pretty simple. I think it is just a rectangle knit on fairly large needles. I’m thinking I will go with size 12 or 14, whichever ones I find first.

I sent her a few pictures to make sure we were on the same page. First I made a sample piece with paper. Then I used safety pins and an afghan, so she could get a better idea of the drape. I may have gone over board with illustrating it. I just wanted to make sure we were thinking the same thing.

I offered to do it all in one color. She is the sister that has requested something other than gray once. I assumed she would want gray. To my amazement she wanted color. I suggested I knit it as a fade. I sent her a few examples of a fade, as she is not a knitter and wouldn’t know that term. I was quick to offer fade as a way to introduce color, as I have wanted to try the technique for a while, and because they are so popular I’m worried I’ll be the last knitter to work on a fade.

She sent me her color selections and I ordered them right away. They have been sitting in my closet for a month. That changes today. I’m going to be casting on a gauge swatch as soon as I find my needles. I’m going to be keeping you updated on Mondays on my progress on the design and knitting of this piece. Mary-Claire gave the OK to keep you updated. I didn’t want her to see her Christmas present before she opened it.20180427_192904864481651.jpg

Have you knit a fade? Have you ever created a pattern when you couldn’t find one you were looking for?

 

Butterscotch Revel Bars

I have a problem. A baking problem. I can’t get enough of it. It is a problem because most recipes make 12-24 servings and there are only 4 of us in our home. That means we are stuck eating all of whatever I make. I suppose I could freeze some of the treats, but the truth is neither John nor I are good at moderation when it comes to sweets.

After weeks of looking at a recipe for Chocolate Revel Bars I had pulled out of my latest issue of Cooks Country I decided it was time to make them. I opted for the butterscotch version, as we are big butterscotch fans in our house.

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Oh my wow. These suckers are delicious. Imagine using the topping for apple crisp (oatmeal, brown sugar, flour, almonds, and a shameful amount of butter)  as a cookie bottom layer. Now imagine that is topped with a mixture of butter, butterscotch chips, and sweetened condensed milk. The top layer is even more of the crumb topping.

Are you drooling yet? You should be. These heavenly bars are almost gone. I brought some to my book club this afternoon to help us get through them. John is in charge of eating the rest. They are amazing but incredibly unhealthy (337 calories each!).

These are now my go to pot luck dessert recipe. I can only be trusted to make them when I can get them out of my house. I really want to make them again, so please invite me to a party at your house. I promise to bring delicious treats.

These are from Cooks Country magazine. The website is a subscription, so it doesn’t work for me to post a link to it. I am able to e-mail the recipe from the site however, so if you are interested in the recipe leave me a comment with your e mail address and I’ll get it to you. If you don’t feel like leaving your e mail address out in a public space, you could send me a message on Instagram (I’m mildly_granola over there).

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to eat the crumbs John has left behind. I said I was done with the bars, but I didn’t say I was done with bar remnants.

Weekend Morning

6 out of 7 days I wake up and drink coffee while hanging out with the kids. I make them a full breakfast around 8:30. There is not a lot of time for relaxing and contemplation.

One day each weekend that changes. Today was that day. John was on kid duty, so I had a relaxing morning. I slept in. I drank coffee in bed and worked on the applied i cord on my blanket. I watched the latest Knitting Monk podcast.

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Do you watch the Knitting Monk? He is amazing. I get something out of each of his podcasts – every time I watch one I walk away thinking about the mindfulness of my craft a bit differently. In his latest podcast, which I watched this morning, he spoke about finding the opportunity in what you have in regards to your stash.

For me that means if I find something I want to make, I shouldn’t think about how I don’t have the yarn called for in the pattern. I should look at my stash and see if there is a way to make it work. Will that always work? No. Will it stop my from buying yarn whenever I see I project I think I need to make? Yes.

I am still on my yarn diet, and thinking about the opportunities to knit with the stash I have is something I’ve been trying to do more of this year. I have so much yarn in my house. I don’t need to buy more.

I am so thankful that I found that episode this morning. It set my day off on the right track.

Do you watch any knitting podcasts you would recommend?

Knitting Picture Books

My two favorite hobbies, knitting and reading, are things that I like to share with my kids. While I haven’t taught the kids to knit yet, they both pretend to knit while saying “In. Around. Through. And off.” Considering they are only 2 and 3 I think that is pretty good.

Both kids love to read and being read to. We have a lot of books, but I’m always looking to add to the collection. Some of my favorite books to buy are picture books about knitting.

These books are great for anyone looking for new books for their kids. You don’t need knowledge of knitting to enjoy them. They would also make a great baby shower gift if any of your favorite knitters are expecting.

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This book is about a little girl who finds a magical box of yarn – she can knit and knit and knit and never run out of yarn.  It is a cute story – who wouldn’t want an endless supply of yarn? I love how the knitting is illustrated.

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Everyone in our house loves Ned the Knitting Pirate. It is a fun read, with a rhyming pirate song to enjoy within the story. My only issue with this book is that Ned appears to knit exclusively with boucle yarn, and I just can’t get behind that.

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The Surprise, by Sylvia van Ommen, is one of Audrey’s all time favorite books. It’s a book without words that follows a sheep as she dyes her wool, knits a present, and gives it to her best friend.

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I love reading these books to the kids. We get to talk about the story as well as knitting. Do you have any knitting picture books to recommend? I’m always looking for more books to read.

Today

I had a hard time coming up with a topic to write about today.

I could write about how Elliot has taken to climbing the learning tower and throwing toys to the floor. Even metal toys. Our floor has new scratches in it.

I could write about how I realized my borrowed digital copy of Trevor Noah’s Born A Crime is due in three days and I really need to finish it. I cannot begin to explain how interesting that book is, so finishing it won’t be a problem if I can find the time.

I could write about how Audrey now says “Mama, I’m sick of you” and “Mommy I don’t like you.” It breaks my heart. I responded to her with words I remember my Mom saying to me, so I sent my mom a text to apologize for being a jerk.

I could write about the cute things that happened today, like Audrey saying maybe we would see R2D2s at the Kansas City Zoo and Elliot attempting to blow bubbles.20180517_170926883889581.jpg

But instead I’ll just show you my finished sock, because I am not up to a long, thoughtful post today.

I messed up the decreases on the toe. It turns out decreasing while pushing kids on the swings doesn’t work as well as I would have hoped. I decreased on rows that I should have decreased on twice on the top of the sock. I decided it worked and I’m not going to tear it out. It’s still comfortable.20180517_19043658301587.jpg

I hope you had a wonderful Thursday.