Sunday, July 16, 2017

YOP Week #3

Woe is me!  Do you remember last week when I said I was just sure I would have an FO this week.....well....I worked my little tail off and I was so close but cigar!  This is a very sad tale so you might want to grab some Kleenex.
I finished knitting all my star points, took a tutorial and learned how to properly block, I cleaned my new blocking mat (one), I washed my star points in Eucalan wool wash and used a million pins to block all 10 of them.  I took them off the the blocking mat yesterday morning and spent a majority of the day learning and stitching the mattress stitch and sewed all of them together!  Ta Da!...........except for one tiny little error............I sewed too much.....up one side and down the other.........when in reality I should have only sewn halfway up the from the point on each side.  Granted...the instructions did not specify but had I looked at the picture of the pattern it would have been fairly obvious........
  This is what I have...............
This is what it should be..........(stuffed and finished).....I told you it was a sad tale.........oh well......on the bright side I learned several techniques............beading, blocking and the mattress stitch.  I will make this ornament some day......just not today.........(there is no way I can remove that mattress stitch as I did such a good job I can't even see it so they are officially ruined....I can't even reclaim the yarn)
As for some other WIP's.............I have finished the heel flap on sock #2 and I daresay I would like to have that finished by next Sunday but I certainly don't want to jinx myself so I won't say anything...........
 I already fell off of the YOP wagon too.........I started a new project!  But in my defense, I had no T.V. project to work on.........the socks were at the heel, the star points needed focusing on and I found it difficult to work on my cross stitch with my reading glasses because then I couldn't see the t.v.
So, you see, I really had no choice and when Becki showed the Happy CAL Place project of the kitty cat blanket I was a goner!  See the little kitty cats?  Aren't they cute?  This project is fun, easily memorized and you only change colors every 3 rows.....LOVE! 
     I did not get much cross stitch done this week so I  will show you next week.  I really needed to watch t.v. because I was hooked on The Crown on Netflix.  I finished it last night and I wished it would have gone on and on it was so good!  I will most probably watch it again and again.
I'm off to search out the next Christmas ornament to work's July and I have 1 pair of socks done out of a dozen by the end of the year, I have no ornaments done out of a dozen by the end of the year.........I told you.........woe is me! LOL!  I hope you all had a more successful week than I did!
Happy Trails! 

Saturday, July 15, 2017

My favorite bread the moment......

I love bread...homemade that is.  Crusty breads are my favorite but there is a place for just plain everyday bread for toast and grilled sandwiches of which this bread excels.  This recipe never fails unless you have dead yeast...otherwise you are guaranteed a perfect loaf each and every time!
This recipe is from Apples for Jam, a cookbook by Tessa Kiros and not only is it one of my favorite cookbooks but it reads like a novel and you get to meet her family and her history in beautiful photos along with the dishes.
Tessa says "You can make this as one loaf or shape into smaller rolls. Children love small white rolls, it seems.  Naturally, you can make different sizes or a different shape...long is nice for hot dogs.  You can easily make a batch and freeze them in small bags, a few together; to whip out at almost the last moment of need.  My kids like these with butter spread so thickly that they can see their teeth marks."
I was going to publish some pictures but Google doesn't seem to want to cooperate just now so I will give you the recipe straight away (I have since edited and Google is working again so pictures are in!).......all credit is given to Tessa Kiros and if you run across her cookbook (I got mine on Thriftbooks) I highly recommend it...that is, if you like to cook.....her recipes are for cooks as some are lengthy and involved and use real ingredients but not this bread recipe...this recipe is easy peasy!
Ingredients: (*FGS indicates my own personal notes for this recipe)

1 cup warm (comfortable to your fingers) milk
1 (1/2 ounce) cake of fresh yeast, crumbled, or 1 (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast.
*since I buy my yeast in a jar I figured it to be 2 1/4 teaspoons~FGS*
1 teaspoon honey
3 2/3 cups bread flour *FGS - I recommend using the bread flour not regular*
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons butter, melted

Put the milk, yeast, and honey in a small bowl, and stir until the honey melts. *FGS - I also stir until the yeast is fairly well dissolved*  Leave it for about 10 minutes or until it begins to froth a bit.  Put the flour and 1/2 teaspoon of salt into a larger bowl (*FGS - I use my Kitchen Aide mixer).  Add the yeast mixture, the egg, and butter, and mix through well.  (*FGS - I use my mixing paddle for this and then switch to my dough hook for the kneading*).  Knead for 10 minutes or so and , if it seems sticky, just hold the bowl firmly and move the dough around with your hand, rather than add more flour.  Cover the bowl with a cloth and leave in a warm, draft-free place to rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until it has puffed up well.
Lightly grease a 12 X 4 inch loaf pan and dust it with flour (*FGS - I greased the pan but forgot to dust it with flour but it came right out!  Lucky me!*)  Punch down the dough to flatten it and shape it into a rough loaf of a size to fit the pan.  Cover with a cloth and leave in a warm place for another 45 to 60 minutes, or until it puffs right  up in the pan.  Meanwhile,  preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Put the pan in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the top is firm and crusty and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.  Remove from the oven, knock the loaf out of the pan, and cool on a rack in a fly-free zone.
This is best sliced warm and spread with butter, but you can keep the loaf for a few days (*FGS -  I've kept it for over a week in the frig with no problem*) in an airtight container for excellent toast.
 Enjoy and Happy Trails!!!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Knitting blocking or blocking knitting?

I have never truly learned how to block knitted or crochet items so today was the day!  I had finished all my little star ornament points/pieces and they were all curled up so I thought blocking would help before I tried to sew them together..........
I got my new blocking mats out...I only needed one....
 I didn't know the letters came out........... 
Not knowing where they had been I decided to wash it good with my Mrs. Meyer's counter top spray..........
I also downloaded and read a free lesson on Craftsy about 'finishing' items which included how to block properly.  I got out some Eucalan wool wash that I had bought on my way back from a Canadian fishing trip when I stopped at a sheep farm several years ago.....

  If you don't have wool wash Craftsy suggested baby shampoo which is actually what I use on my hair but since I had the wool wash I figured I would use it.  I followed the directions which uses just a tiny bit of the wash in a bowl since my pieces were small.......see how they are all curled up?  I hope the blocking takes care of said to let them soak for 5 minutes....I let them soak for 15....if 5 minutes is good...15 must be better right? LOL!  Also, there is no need for rinsing with the Eucalan wool wash.
a little bit of dye came out but not much.........
then I squeezed the water out and rolled them up in a towel to get as much moisture out as possible...........
 I grabbed my pins and my blocking mat which I put a towel underneath and started the process of pinning them down into the shape they would hopefully dry into......
This was backbreaking as I was leaning over my desk and I had to take a break when I was about halfway done........but finally they were all pinned....I used every pin in that container except for 3!  Maybe I over did it but better safe than sorry..........
Tomorrow I hope to sew it together and be ready to have a finished object come Sunday's Year of Projects post....we shall see but I think I now know how to block items...I hope.
Happy Trails!!!
P.S.  Tomorrow I am posting my white bread recipe that several of you have requested so tune in again tomorrow!