Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Finally Free-Motion

FMQ= free-motion quilt(ing)
After walking around the blue quilt blocks, starching, prepping, observing... procrastinating... avoiding...

front of block 1
back of block 1
I took the plunge.  I finally said, "Adri, get it together and just free-motion quilt.  Just do it!"  So, I revved up my FMQ mojo by watching Leah Day on her Craftsy class and her blog videos.  I finally bent back the pin of my FMQ foot, wrapped it with a rubber band, and then, I did it.  I free-motion quilted.  The mods to the quilting foot work well by the way.  I had tested it before - I've been practicing on a quilt sandwich for a while - and working with the modifications afterward make a difference.  It's worth giving it a try if you have a generic foot at home like mine.

front of block 2

back of block 2

 And, I think my first two quilt blocks are a really good effort!  Whadya think?  I feel like I have more control when my hands are further apart, so I'm going to try and rig up a stand or something to keep the blocks at the same height as the sewing machine.

The sensation of FMQing is a lot like drawing or doodling, but with a whole new kind of stylus!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Recipe: Bacon Apple Pancakes

This one started out as an experiment, and it's results were delicious...

Whole-Grain Pancake base...
1 C Whole Wheat flour
1/3 C cornmeal
1/4 C All-Purpose flour
3 tbsp brown sugar (half for apples/ half for batter)
4 tbsp sugar (half for apples/ half for batter)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/4 C vegetable oil
1 1/2 C milk
2 fave apples (peeled, cored, sliced thin or chopped)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or vanilla sugar)
1 /2 tsp cinnamon
1/8  tsp cloves
(see sugar above)
pack of bacon (in strips)

Toss chopped apples with lemon juice, brown and regular sugar (leave half for batter), vanilla, cinnamon, cloves.  Set aside.

In a separate container, combine dry ingredients for pancake batter: whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, cornmeal, sugars (leftovers from apple toss), baking powder, and salt.  Combine the wet ingredients (2 eggs, vegetable oil and milk) and add to the dry ingredients.  Let sit for about 5 minutes so everything is really absorbed, then stir in the apple mixture.

The griddle... make sure it's hot, and place your bacon strips alongside each other and cook until crisp on one side.  Turn over bacon strips (interlace or basket weave if you like).  Then pour a 1/3 cup of batter (with apples) onto the bacon.  When the batter starts bubbling on the outer 2" edges and looks dry, flip with bacon.

Cook for another few minutes until the pancake is easily shifted.  Transfer to plate and repeat (or eat!).  Serve with maple syrup or butter or powdered sugar if desired.

Makes a great brunch or dinner!  Each pancake is really filling.  Makes about 8 pancakes, about 8" in diameter.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Strawberry Picking!!

strawberry ice-cream! my favorite summer treat!

olive oil cake w/lemon and icing, perfect w/strawberries!

Does this mean summer is really here?

freaky strawberry
I hope so!  I went strawberry picking today since the fields opened earlier in the week.  I think it's true...perhaps summer really is here.  The strawberries say so, and I'd like to believe them.

I love eating fresh strawberries and making ice-cream with them.

Strawberry Ice-cream Recipe (adapted from the Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream & Dessert Book):
1 pint fresh strawberries (sliced, hulled)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/3 C sugar

--- sweet cream base #1 (no eggs)
2 C whipping cream (I use soy cream)
3/4 C sugar
2/3 C half & half (I use soy milk)

Mash the strawberries, lemon juice, 1/3 C sugar, refrigerate, cover for 1 hr.
Then mix with sweet cream base until blended/pureed. Pour into ice-cream maker.  Let ice-cream maker do it's thing.  Enjoy!

As an alternative to the egg-less sweet cream base, you can also use this one with eggs:
--- sweet cream base #2 (with eggs)
2 eggs
3/4 C sugar
2 C heavy or whipping cream (I use soy cream)
1 C milk (I use soy milk)
prep this sweet cream base by beating the eggs until fluffy, slowly adding sugar, then the cream and milk.  You can cook this base at 160° F (71° C) stirring constantly if you want to prevent any chance of salmonella.  Let it cool completely in the fridge before adding the other ingredients and putting it into the ice-cream maker.

What do you like to make with fresh strawberries?

Sunday, June 9, 2013

World Knit in Public Day

This weekend, a friend and I did a fiber-upcycling awareness demo at a nearby LUSH store.  LUSH is a really environmentally friendly hand-made cosmetics franchise originally from the UK.  They have stores all over the world now, and focus on reducing packaging as much as possible.  The manager at the local LUSH approached us and asked if we knew anyone who worked with "plarn".

Knowing World Knit-in-Public was coming up and all that, I agreed with the manager that it would be great to combine recycling and fiber fun.  What is "plarn" you ask?  Plarn is literally plastic yarn.  It is easily made from loops made when plastic bags are cut across horizontally.  Dunno what to do with all those extra plastic bags that one collects from here and there?  I had a stash under the kitchen counter, and I raided it.  If you'd like to do the same, check out this handy etsy post from 2010 here.

I ended up crocheting a basket and making a ribbon with all the grips and bases of the bags.  I think the ribbon or flower or whatever would make a fine bicycle bow or luggage identifier.  My friend and co-conspirator, Celina, made a lovely lace knitted bottle cozy, and a LUSH employee made a wonderful plarn crocheted purse!  All-in-all I believe the demo was a success.  So many people looked in, took photos, asked questions, and were generally curious about this alternative use for the excess plastic bags in our lives.

Then on Sunday, World-Knit-in-Public we gathered at our local SnB and knit the night away!

Need some inspiration?  Saw this interesting intarsia jumper on the streets of Munich back in May...

Happy Knit in Public Day!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

WIP: Blue Quilt Progress

Just a quick note on the blue quilt.  I finished attaching the blue borders to all 20 squares... next up is the free motion quilting!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Rosita Mittens & Hat, Bow Slouch Hat revealed

This month on newsstands or at your local yarn store, you may see this magazine...

Inside, though, there are three of my designs!  I can finally reveal them since they're officially out in the open.
These three designs mark my first official printed-in-a-magazine knitwear designs. I'm super excited about them!

Firstly, there's the Rosita Hat & Mittens set.  The Rosita Hat & Mittens were inspired by the beautiful embroidered motifs on the traditional dresses of the Yucatan.

my inspiration
The mittens are knit in the round from the cuff to the fingers using stranded colorwork. Duplicate stitch is used to embellish the main mitten with flowers to finish the look!
photo property of Knitscene/Harper Point
The hat is made in a simpler way and uses a nice dots and dashes pattern to provide a bit of contrasting color.  The brim also looks nice folded up.

photo property of Knitscene/Harper Point
Here's me modeling the hat two different ways...

The third design in this issue of Knitscene Accessories is the Bow Slouch.  This is an easy pattern with a twist.  The brim is actually folded up and doubled for a nice, snug fit.  It can stay on even when worn at the jauntiest of angles!  This yarn, Accordion, is awesome.  It's so soft and knits up beautifully.  I never thought I'd be a fan of a mohair blend, but here it is folks.  I loved it.  And even made up a second hat for my mom.  Hers has a more modest bow, though.  I only wish I had more of this yarn to make up a third sample for myself!

photo property of Knitscene/Harper Point

And there you have it!  One of my big secrets I've had to keep under wraps since last year!
If you are interested in the magazine, you can find more details here: