Thursday, June 23, 2011

A dyeing adventure on a moody day

I just finished a project yesterday (that I am still processing) and I was feeling kind of down this morning. In other words, I needed a new project. While going through my stash, I found this yarn that I've had for ... at least 7 years. That is nearly as long as I live in Greece, one of the oldest yarns in my current stash. Beige, but not pretty beige. It's a 50/50 mix of wool and acrylic purchased in a LYS (local yarn store). I hardly ever use acrylic anymore, but I decided to play around with it. And here is what I got:
Thanks to acrylic, the colors are slightly dull, and a bit... melange? I love it! Now I surely will knit something with it!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Adriana's sweetheart blanket

 I know, it's summer. It is way too hot for wool. BUT.... you can always find a good excuse if you're looking for one. At least I can :)
I've been thinking about it for a while. My son has three hand knit/crochet blankets, my daughter inherited them, but she doesn't have one that would be just for her - a special one. And, since we are planning a trip to Latvia in August, airplanes are usually cold and weather in my homeland is often unpredictable, I finally knit her one. A true sweetheart blanket, since she is the sweetest little girl in the world!
lace baby blanket

The pattern is my own again, not particularly difficult, but it does require a good deal of concentration. This is a light blanket, perfect for traveling and for unexpected weather changes in summer / fall.

I plan on a test-knit starting next week. It took me a week to knit it without stress, so I believe the pattern should be out by the end of the month! (If you'd like to test knit, please, leave a comment and I will get back to You!)


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Really really yummy!

Cinnamon Sugar bread
Once upon a time while browsing the world wide web, I stumbled upon a recipe... And what recipe it was! I instantly bookmarked it for future use, but, instead of forgetting all about it soon afterwards, this one kept bugging me... until I finally gave in. Beware, you might follow the same destiny, so unless you are free from calorie counting, don't read a word further! And definitely do NOT look here - that's the original recipe, with plenty of how-to photos, I sort of forgot to snap a pic at the cutting dough part (which was a little bit tricky, read on to find out why).
BUT, while I really wanted to eat it, I really did not have the time/mood to make the dough myself. When both kids are home and one is sick, and you still have a million things to do before you can sit down, it sometimes happens. So, this is my Lazy version of the Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread, using a recipe from my bread maker as a base. It's really similar to the one on the cooking site, and I will definitely try it next time, but when you just want to put all things in and forget about it till the dough is ready, this is a pretty good variation, too.

Ingredients for the dough (based on Izzy bread maker recipe for croissant):

1 egg
225ml milk
60g butter ( I used the real thing - totally worth it! but you can replace it with margarine)
1 tea spoon of salt
2 table spoons and a bit of sugar
400g flour
3/4 pack of dry yeast - about 7g or ~ 1,5 tea spoons
vanilla - I used 2 of those little tubes of vanilla powder

Ingredients for filling:

sugar to taste
cinnamon - plenty
butter for spreading it over dough, melted
nutmeg - just a bit - optional

So, in my lazy version, I combined all ingredients in my bread maker (I always whisk the egg a little bit). Wet ingredients go in first (butter needs to be melted), last is flour with vanilla and yeast. Start the dough making program, clean up the kitchen and you're free till the timer beeps. I have Izzy bread maker, and it takes 1 1/2 hours till the dough is ready.

Once the dough is ready, take it out, sprinkle some flour on your work space first, so it won't stick, and roll it out in an approximate rectangle as much as it will go. Spread the melted butter over the dough, then add sugar and cinnamon. I have learned that in order for it to be really tasty, it needs quite a bit of sugar, so be generous. The original recipe mentions a whole cup, I have not measured mine, I believe it's less though, but you get the idea. Be generous with cinnamon. I had not added nutmeg, but if you like it, add a little bit of that, too, just for the aroma.
plenty of cinnamon and sugar!

Grease a loaf/cake pan (mine is 30x11cm) with butter. Slice your rolled dough into ~8-9cm wide strips, then slice these in smaller peaces, about 5-6 cm wide. You get a rectangle. Now the tricky part.You need to put these rectangles one on top of the other. The sugar and cinnamon will want to fall down, which is why I found it easier to lift smaller peaces rather than long strips of soft dough, as the original recipe suggests. Place 3-4 peaces one on top of the other and then start stacking them in the pan. They don't have to be perfectly straight, and don't try to push them too close - the dough will raise more. Once you are done, cover it with a towel and start pre-heating the oven.

place all rectangles in the baking pan

I baked mine in 200`C (392`F) for some 20-ish minutes, the original recipe suggests 350`F (176C) and 30-35 minutes. I used the pastry program of my oven, with upper + lower heat + air.

just out the oven, I wish I could transfer to You the aroma!

That really is it! I absolutely love it. The cinnamon bread is fantastic, perfect with a glass of milk, tea or coffee. But besides that, the smell of the freshly baked bread, yeast, cinnamon all over the house... it just smells like happiness.

Friday, June 3, 2011

My Sunset Shawl

Waterloo Sunset

It all started with yarn....
Around Easter time I was experimenting with some egg dyes and section died some mohair/merino yarn. I was planning a shawl with it, and cast when the ColourMart contest on Ravelry began. I was planning and playing around with stitches creating several versions of patterns, but when I started to knit... they just did not seam right. I wanted something flowing, something with clean, clear lines. So I started all over again and once again, this is designed "on the go"...
When I was knitting this shawl, I was thinking of the last year's summer evenings, that we spent near the beach. There is a playground for children, and we usually stay there till it's dark. Watching sunset every evening while listening to the sea and children play is my perfect ending of a summer day and I am so looking forward to do just that this summer, too! Just the thought of it makes me feel happy and puts a smile on my face. One of my test knitters named her shawl "Waterloo Sunset", and I looked up the song.... although this had not been on my playlist before, it surely is now. I'll be quietly singing it while watching my sunset and wearing my shawl...

Have a happy summer!
Waterloo Sunset - 2

You can find this shawl on Ravelry as "Waterloo Sunset",
a downloadable pdf version is also available here: $6.00 .