May 18, 2020

Work in progress

Another week went by.
I stayed at home. I baked. I cooked. I cleaned. I did laundry. I cooked. I cleaned. I cooked more. I baked. I read. I played with yarn and knitted. I took the dog for a walk. I took the dog for another walk. I talked to my mom on Skype. I took a lot of pictures, of nature, garden, our dog, knitting.  Etc, etc.
Baking week VIII

Pictured are Linzer cookies, Ginger Bread, Sourdough Bread, Panna Cotta, Sourdough Bread, Dandelion Honey, Sourdough bread, Sourdough Bread, Sourdough Bread. 
In some ways it might seem like a very limited entertainment, but on the other hand I have ventured into a new territory of sourdough baking. I am at the beginning of the journey and I continue to learn each time I try to make and bake a loaf of bread.  As you can see in my collage of baking I have baked quite a few loafs of bread. Each was slightly different and I learned something each time I baked the bread.
Dandelion Honey

I also made Dandelion honey. I remember it as a special treat my mom and grandmother used to make in the spring. It feels as if each jar is filled with childhood memories, sweet and tender.
Under the normal circumstances, I would never be able to make this. It is time consuming. Collecting the dandelions (carefully picked up flower heads, with enough behind to leave for the insect to feed on), simmering in water, allowing the aroma and flavors to intensify.

In my knitting world, the first clue for Leonard and Lola was released. Second clue is coming tomorrow. See my previous post Leonard and Lola, toy mystery KAL how to join the fun.

Leonard and Lola, yarn

We also have a new neighbor. Somewhere in the woods across the street lives a fox family. I keep seeing her and her four babies. It is amazing to watch them play and frolic around, while their momma is out hunting for food. I named her Frances. I managed to capture the fox babies on a video playing around. Even though I keep seeing them almost daily, my phone camera is not good enough to capture a decent close up image of them.  Bellow see the picture I took during one of my walks with the dog.
Fox babies

During these walks, I imagine that Frances is a single mom, busy running around trying to feed her babies. I am not sure if the father is around or what have happened, but this is what I imagine Frances might look like....
Frances and her baby 
And here is their encounter with our dog...
Frances, her baby, and T-Bone

 In the real life their encounter would be rather different, and I am making sure that they only see each other from far away.

I will spend this coming week working on the knitting pattern and after the test knitting, and TE is completed the pattern will be available.

Thank you for visiting.

May 11, 2020

Leonard and Lola, toy mystery KAL

As I mentioned in my previous post, the new toy mystery KAL is about to start.

Leonard and Lola
Leonard and Lola is the new toy mystery KAL, starting with clue one this week. The pattern will be released in four clues with the final pattern available June 9th.
Pictured is the yarn I used for Leonard. I have used Knitpicks Palette, fingering yarn held double. I will be using slightly different yarn (worsted Cascade 220 Superwash) for Lola. I have already knitted another sample about a year ago for a colleague from work. For her sample I used some random worsted weight yarn from my stash, held double to make the toy a bit larger.

More details and the pattern to download is here:
Leonard and Lola

Don't forget to join my group on Ravelry where you can find the coupon code and where you can participate in posting the work in progress pictures and chat with fellow knitters.
Stana's Critters Etc group

In my small stay at home world I continued on my baking adventures path. I baked my tried and successful recipes, some comfort food, and I tried few new thing. After many years of being asked to try and make the sourdough bread I have gone down the rabbit hole of sourdough baking. It is a challenge and I am not sure how successful I have been. I followed the book The Bread Baker's Apprentice  by Peter Reinhart and started my sourdough adventure last Monday morning with the Day one for Seed Culture, I continued with the Barm and yesterday evening we had the first sourdough bread. The sourdough bread didn't rise as much as my usual bread I bake using the commercial yeast, but it tasted good. I guess I just have to continue and I am sure with time and practice the bread will be better and better. Just like with knitting. My first attempts were so much different from what I am knitting these days. And it also took practice and perseverance.

Baking Week VII
 In my collage picture are: My first sourdough breads, Linzer cookies, Bread, Bread (I baked another), Focaccia (This time I added few thing on top to make it more interesting), Bundt Cake, Tortillas (my first time making them from scratch, they taste different from the store bought tortillas, and they were harder to use for Fajitas, but still tasted good), Ginger Bread (my mom's recipe, fast, easy and good tasting), and my Monday adventure of starting the sourdough seed culture, my bread (I baked it three times this week) and our comfort food of Chocolate Brownies (it's so good to bite into a warm, and soft chocolate brownie).

This week proved to be challenging for our garden. Last week we planted two Pear trees, Blueberry, Currant, and Raspberry bushes, and then this weekend we had a freezing temperatures overnight and it snowed. We will not know if the trees will make it through this temperature change and produce some fruit or not until late in the season.

Pear tree bloom
We also had our first crop of the season. We seeded the radishes early in March, in our new cold frame, and now they are maturing, and are ready to be picked and eaten.

Yesterday, on my walk with our dog through the neighborhood I looked up and saw for a brief moment this wonderful heart shaped cloud.

Heart shaped cloud

I see this as a sign of hope, that we as humans will make it through this pandemic and learn to be better and kinder to each other and to the Earth especially.

Thank you for visiting.

May 6, 2020

Work in Progress and new toy mystery KAL

Another week went by. I am not sure anymore how long I have been at home, not going to my work and not receiving a real paycheck. I am not complaining. We are lucky, so far we are healthy and my husband continues to receive his paycheck and our bills are covered so far. Life is good.
According to my weekly baking pictures I have been baking six weeks already. This week was a rather adventurous. I tried for the first time to make croissants from scratch. It was a success. I also baked brioche bread. I used the middle class brioche recipe from the book  The Bread Baker's Apprentice, by Peter Reinhart. And of course I returned to some of my favorite comfort foods and desserts.

Pictured are: Salmon Cakes, Croissants, Brioche Bread and Buns, Bread (though this time it baked in a funny shape, mushrooms?), my mom's Crepe's recipe, Fruit Salad (it is a dessert though not baked), Apple Strudel, Chocolate filled Croissants, Brownies.
baking week VI

In the knitting world I managed to finish a work for a third party. I cannot post pictures until after the publication goes live, but I really enjoyed knitting this project.
I also made the Mask Buddy to help with wearing the face mask and I started to work on our next toy mystery KAL. Later this week I will post more details in my Ravelry Group and add the pattern to Ravelry. I have named them Leonard and Lola, but I might change my mind.  Pictured  is the yarn I am using for my Leonard and Lola.

May Toy Mystery KAL

Mask Buddies
Across the street we have a new family. Fox mama and her cubs are living somewhere in this small piece of wood that is surrounded by houses and we are so lucky to be able to see the fox family from time to time.
I am trying to capture the little foxes on my camera, but my phone camera is not good enough to zoom in and my real camera still uses film and I have not use the camera in a long time, and it seems to be harder and harder to actually find a place where the films are still developed.  As you can see foxes are one of my favorite animals to use in my knitting patterns.

Thank you for visiting.

Knitting Pattern for Cherie, Stella, or Brooke

Cherie, Stella, or Brooke

Cherie, Stella, or Brooke was our last month toy mystery KAL. You can see the work in progress in these two blog posts:
the beginning
after second clue post here 
The mystery KAL part is over. But you can still knit your own Cherie, Stella, or Brooke.

The complete pattern for these funky hens, or chickens, or some other similar kind of bird is available now in my Ravelry store, on Lovecraft, or you can purchase the pattern by clicking on this button:

 Thank you for visiting.

May 2, 2020

Knitting Pattern for Mask Buddy (and perhaps future bookmark)

Mask Buddies

This is a simple half an hour project that might help with the face mask. I have seen variety of similar things on the internet. I decided to use cotton yarn for mine and make it double to keep the mask buddy from stretching too much. These I made in less than an hour, while talking to my mom on Skype. They are for my friends, and neighbors. I will be making few more for others. A friend of mine sew the mask on her sewing machine. I have added the elastic, knitted the mask buddies, added two buttons and I have a small gift of appreciation for my neighbor. Sewing the button took me the longest, or it seemed to be. 
Once this pandemic is over, you can use it as a book mark, or a needle holder. 

Finished Mask Buddy Size: 7" (18 cm) long.

Yarn: Cotton yarn in your favorite  color. For my sample I used Sugar and Cream yarn, I think.

Yardage: Approximately 30 - 40 yards (28 - 37 meters).

Recommended Needle Size: DPN US # 7 / 4.5 mm (set of 3).

Notions: Yarn needle, scissors, stitch marker, two buttons.

CO = Cast On
DPN = Double Pointed Needles
K = Knit
K2tog = Knit two sts together, this decreases two sts to one st.
K3tog = Knit three sts together, this decreases three sts to one st.
KFB = Knit in front and bag of the same st, this creates two sts from one st.
PM = Place Marker
Rnd, Rnds = Round, Rounds
SSK = Slip st, slip st, and knit the two sts together, this decreases two sts to one st.
St, Sts = Stitch, Stitches

Gauge: 20 sts & 23 rows 4" (10 cm) in stockinette stitch.

This mask buddy is knit in the round, in one piece. The two buttons are sewn on after finishing. 
With the yarn and two DPN, CO 6 sts. PM and begin to work in the round.
Rnd 1: Knit
Rnd 2: (KFB, K1, KFB) 2x (10 sts total)
Rnd 3: (KFB, K3, KFB) 2x (14 sts total)
Rnd 4: (KFB, K5, KFB) 2x (18 sts total)
Rnds 5 - 34: Knit
Rnd 35: (SSK, K5, K2tog) 2x (14 sts total)
Rnd 36: (SSK, K3, K2tog) 2x (10 sts total)
Rnd 37: (SSK, K1, K2tog) 2x (6 sts total)
Cut the yarn, leaving long enough tail, and thread the end on a yarn needle. Pull the end through the remaining sts on needles, gather up and close the hole, stitch to secure.

Weave in ends. Sew the two buttons on the knitted piece. If you need to make the mask buddy longer or shorter just add or substract few rounds between the increase and decrease rounds.  

Face mask and mask buddies