Garden Vegetable Purée
We are members of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture
---essentially, we buy shares of a farm and get fresh produce) and around this time of year there is always plenty of summer squash.
My family does not love summer squash, though. What to do?
The answer is in Jessica Seinfeld's cookbook, Deceptively Delicious. Steam it and purée it. It's ready to use in souffles, pasta "butter" sauce, or baked goods. Wonderful!
The "butter" sauce is one of my family's favorite ways to eat pasta. My husband has such an aversion to zucchini I started calling it garden vegetable. Only this year I forgot that plan and when he asked what was in that delicious pasta I called it magic beans. That was only slightly better than coming right out and calling it zucchini. Maybe next year I'll call it That Which Shall Not Be Named.
Animal Hats by Vanessa Mooncie, photography by Chris Gloag and Rebecca Mothersole, pub. The Taunton Press, 2012.
This book contains 15 adorable patterns for hats that resemble animal heads. Most have earflaps; the cat and the pig do not. (The pig does, however, have a fetching curly tail.) The ones with earflaps mostly have cords at the ends of the flaps, with pompoms or tassels at the ends of the cords, but the penguin and the dog have buttons to secure the flaps to the hat.
There are only two sizes for each hat: child and adult. Nonetheless, they seem to fit a variety of heads, as evidenced by the staff portrait below. I do wish dimensions were given for the hats themselves. It would be helpful to know beforehand whether the hat I was working on had a chance of fitting my oversized noggin.
Though this is mainly a pattern book, it includes a basic techniques section which describes everything needed to make the hats---from basic knit and purl stitches to intarsia to embroidery, pompoms, and sewing up.
Also, this book contains a helpful section on lining your hat either with polar fleece or a knitted lining. Instructions are fairly clear, but as a non-seamstress I would be nervous when following the instruction "Stitch the darts where indicated on the pattern template." I see the indication, but I don't know what it means to stitch a dart. Am I supposed to cut it out and then stitch it together? But as a non-seamstress I would probably just knit a lining.
The photography does a good job of showing each hat from various angles, and the model truly looks good in each of these silly hats.
Many of the hats have a pointy crown, perhaps because of the back seam. Seamed hats, you say?
Well, some of these hats feature intarsia, which is most easily worked flat. I'm not sure about the reasoning behind the others.
The koala, for instance, at top center, looks distinctly pentagonal, yet its nose is knit separately and the eyes are buttons.
This book is full of cute designs. When I knit one for my sister in Minnesota, I will probably convert the pattern to knit the majority of the hat in the round.
Which one should I choose? I love the lion (reminiscent of Luna Lovegood's hat in one of the Harry Potter movies), but the elephant looks wonderful in tweed, and they all bring a smile to my face!
Kangath reviewed this copy of Animal Hats from her library. All opinions in this review are her own.
Gluten-Free Peach Coconut Muffin Bread
I seem to have developed a sensitivity to gluten. According to my endocrinologist, this sometimes happens with people with thyroid problems. Besides tummy problems, symptoms included a lip sore that wouldn't heal. That struck me as strange, but not only has it disappeared since I went off gluten, it returns every time I accidentally ingest some. Sounds like a correlation to me.
I love baked goods, so I developed a killer recipe for gluten-free muffins that even my gluten-receptive family fights over. Here it is:
1 cup whole grain gluten-free flour mix
1 cup brown rice flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
spices to taste
1/4 cup sweetener (dry like sugar or liquid like honey)
1 cup milk
1/2 cup oil or melted butter
1 tsp vanilla (optional)
Stir together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, stir together wet ingredients. Add wet to dry and stir just to combine.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups or a greased pie plate.
Bake muffins at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 - 20 minutes.
Bake muffin bread at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.
I have made this recipe with
frozen cranberries, allspice, and cinnamon
dried cherries and almond extract
chopped peaches and coconut
and it's been a hit every time!
I finished my Unique Sheep Zodiac Club design a couple months ago, but am just writing about it now. It's been busy around here---children's activities as well as my own work (both knit design and music) and I haven't managed to sit down and write.
The design is for Taurus, and the shawl is in the shape of the Taurus symbol. The head is a Zodiac wheel with twelve sections. There's a pillar-and-post division between the solid center sections and the alternating mesh and solid outer sections. The edging is a leaf-and-bud lace I developed when I couldn't find anything that exactly suited my needs. The pillar-and-post pattern is repeated on the left "horn" of the bull, and the leaf-and-bud pattern winds down the right.
Kelly Eells evolved this colorway from the Cafe Bouquet colorway from another Unique Sheep club. I didn't capture the greenest portions of the shawl, but I think the orange is fairly accurate. I enjoyed watching to see what color the next bud would be as the knitting progressed.
Every time I wear this shawl, my husband comments on it. I think it's mostly the color, but the shape is very flattering on me and I know he gets a real kick out of the bobbles.
I'll have to post modeled photos of the shawl after we take some. The pattern will be available for sale to non-club members around December.
The Unique Sheep has accepted one of my designs for next year's installment of the Zodiac Club. I'm not allowed to say which sign I'll be depicting, but I think it's okay to tell you I'm very excited about this particular shawl. More about this closer to the time.
Holly and Lars from Suburban Knits wanted to do something to materially help those affected by the recent (and ongoing!) tornados in Oklahoma. To that end, they decided to sell an eBook of 20 donated knit designs and donate 100% of the profits to Other Options, Inc., an Oklahoma charity and food pantry.
The Meandros Scarf is included in this collection, along with patterns by designers such as Anne Podlesak, Stephannie Tallent, Annie Modesitt, and Ray Whiting. Suburban Knits plans to offer this eBook only until August 31st, so get yours while you can!
Having witnessed a handful of infamous hurricanes and their aftermath, I understand how important it is for neighbors to do what they can to assist those affected by natural disasters. Please support this eBook, k*tog. It's an admirable project for a good cause.
Aran Knits by Martin Storey, photography by John Heseltine, pub. St. Martin's Griffin, 2012.
This book contains 23 patterns for cabled garments with contemporary twists. Since the book has very little accompanying text, this review will follow suit and jump right into the patterns.
The cover features Isla, whose collar and waistband are all in one piece. The rectangular sleeves require no shaping, but the body is shaped. I might do a sleeve first if I were working this piece, to get used to the pattern.
The first pattern in the book is Morag, a cute, cropped, short sleeved sweater. All the patterns in this book (with the exception of the 5 Berry patterns) are named after people (loosely speaking) or places. Morag is a creature who inhabits Loch Morar, similar to Nessie of Loch Ness. This piece is knit from the bottom up, with arms emerging from the body after extra stitches are cast on each side.
The patterns are often shown next to mood-setting photos, perhaps even photos of the very objects which inspired the design. This scarf is Moira, whose cables have extensions which are tied in knots at each crossing.
Murray is another scarf, not quite as long as Moira, but still over 5 feet long. It's one gigantic horseshoe cable done in chunky yarn, so it's the perfect quick knit for a new cabler.
Bonnie is an open beaded vest with a simple yet unusual collar. It would be a good alternative to a shawl for cool evenings.
At left is Cora, one of my favorite pieces from this book. I particularly like the organic way in which the collar corners are formed.
Women's garments are sized to fit a 32 to 42 or 46" chest, and Men's garments to fit 36 or 38 to 46 or 58". All hats are given in one size, "to fit an average size head" (you know how I feel about that). The mitts and socks are both given in two sizes.
Schematics with minimal measurements are given for each garment, neck and armhole measurements being the most conspicuous omissions.
The Fiona hat is a sideways cable tam with a tassel. Wonderful! I'd also like to mention Adair, whose wide border does triple duty as fronts, collar, and waistband, and Lara, an appealing, understated piece whose cabling is limited to trim on the cuffs, waistband, buttonband, and pockets, and a single strip on each sleeve.
Skye (below) is a pretty little piece, with front sections which can be tied, draped, wrapped, or pinned. Another good alternative to a shawl for those of us who have trouble keeping them on.
There are no charts to be found in this book, but the written instructions seem clear and the definitions are thorough. The lovely photographs show the items from many angles.
This book is a good one for knitters new to cabling, or anyone who appreciates good design with classic cables. The designs have just enough creativity to make them interesting.
Martin Storey worked for the trendsetting knit design team known as Artwork before moving to Rowan, so he has a good feel for blending innovation with tradition. I look forward to his next project.
Disclosure: St. Martin's Griffin sent Kangath a free copy of Aran Knits for review. Kangath was not compensated for the preceding review. All opinions expressed in the review are the blog author's and are not necessarily the opinions of St. Martin's Griffin or Martin Storey.
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knit designer, musician, writer, and mother
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