pumpkin flavored pumpkin seeds

Don’t laugh, these are delicious. And I’d argue that in this world where EVERYTHING is pumpkin flavored around the fall, pumpkin seeds have as much right to wear the spices as anything else.

What makes things pumpkin flavored, anyway? Because I promise you there’s very little actual pumpkin going into that latte*. The truth is that what people are labeling “pumpkin” flavored is really just the collection of spices that go into pumpkin pies. Personally, I would see nothing wrong with “autumn spiced lattes” but maybe I’m just too much of a stickler for the truth.

Anyway, back to my pumpkin seeds. These actually came out of a pumpkin, although you can make equally good toasted seeds with any other winter squash. I think the acorn squash seeds are a bit small for toasting, but it’s a personal preference. Since I was aiming for “pumpkin flavored” I didn’t bother to rinse these after I separated them from the pumpkin guts. I was pretty clean about the separation though, so there aren’t any chunks of pumpkin on my tray, just a nice orange sheen to the seeds:

seeds untoasted

For one pumpkin’s worth of seeds (almost a full cookie sheet) I sprinkled on 2Tbsp of raw sugar and less than 1/4tsp of salt. Plus the spices: just a pinch or two of each sprinkled on from a height over the pan so they spread evenly. In this instance I stuck with cinnamon and allspice. I considered clove, but I only have whole cloves and getting out the mortar and pestal for “a pinch” seemed overkill.

I’d recommend toasting these at 350F for 6-8 minutes. The trick is that with all the sugar and the pumpkin juices they can burn easily. For example, I got distracted by Windsor and my seeds were in the oven for almost 15 minutes.

seeds toasted

15 minutes is much too long, but they were still tasty.

*There’s a well known pumpkin beer which actually contains ZERO pumpkin. It’s kind of a scandal in the beer world…

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Stick season

sticky seeds

Sweater revisited

I’m revisiting this sweater, in part for Twist Collective, but mostly because it’s an awesome sweater. I knit my own version of their Orange Pop back in 2010 as part of my 12 sweaters in a year challenge. (Lime Pop, on Ravelry) I knit mine out of Quince & Co Lark yarn, which has held up beautifully over the last 4 years. Especially when you consider that this was one of three sweaters I wore constantly while I was pregnant and most of my collection didn’t fit.

full term

After all that stretching the first thing this sweater needed was some care and attention. Into the bath it went for a soak and a full re-blocking.

pop soak

After a trip to the spa this beauty is as good as new. I love the way the reverse stranded yoke blends all five colors, the pattern is truly more than the sum of its parts. I’ve tried my hand at designing a few reverse stranded patterns and none of them have worked. Knitting this yoke is easy, the pattern even includes directions so you can work it knit in the round (not purled in the round, thank goodness!) But designing a pattern that’ll look good? The way Norah Gaughan has done here? It is much harder than it looks.

pop yoke

Along with the eye-catching yoke this sweater has many little details that make it fun to knit and really stylish to wear. The little notch in the collar may be my favorite part. It’s understated, visually it doesn’t compete with the yoke, but it makes everything fit just so.

pop collar

Overall this sweater is a classic. The shaping in the body makes it hang perfectly from the yoke. And the loose drape of the fabric blends well with the current aesthetic trend toward less fitted sweaters. The hem mirrors the colors in the yoke. And while I made my sleeves full length, the half length sleeves in the pattern are really cute too. This sweater makes anything you wear with it look like a complete outfit.

pop portrait
(please excuse my camera’s focus, apparently it thought the cat was the subject of this photo)

Babies everywhere!

There’s a couple of batches of babies headed into my social circle in the next 6 months. Like any good knitter I feel the need to welcome them to this planet with wool. First up I’ve knit some baby booties:

baby booties

In the interests of speed I’ve chosen one big skein of yarn that’ll work for several items (Briar Rose Chris in some version of foresty green that I dug out of the deep stash) and I picked a few patterns.

First I knit Eco Baby Booties. It’s a remnant you have to get from an archive of someone’s old blog – but I really didn’t want to have to think about what I was knitting so that worked for me. I did some k2tog, yo eyelets around the ankle and made a crochet tie. The booties themselves are knit flat and seamed up the front. The shaping is all in the toe but the garter stitch is stretchy and molds into a 3D boot easily.

baby booties yellow 2

The best booties I got for Windsor were the ones I could tie on and thus – all the booties I’m making have ties. The second booties are the classic Cutest Booties which I gauged-up for worsted weight yarn. Basically these are top down, heel flap socks- made tiny.

baby booties pink

One set of booties has crochet ties, the other has three strands of yarn plied back onto each other. For the record making the thicker yarn is faster. Then there’s the tassels (yellow) vs the pompoms (pink) and here I must note that the tassels are both faster and use less yarn.

Overall I love them both, and I’m so glad I didn’t try to knit FOUR of the same thing. If you’re looking for a fast baby gift I absolutely recommend worsted weight booties.

(see my eco and cutest booties on Ravelry, if you want)

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photo vs photography

new siding

Dolly

I managed to finish dolly’s outfit in time for Windsor’s birthday. Mostly. I mean, it was done but far from perfect.

dolly
Dolly’s hair was done in plenty of time. All her hair is sock yarn, so hopefully it’ll hold up well and not get fuzzy. It’s a combination of all three colors used in the Lady of Rohan shawl, along with some reds and a little bit of pink, brown, and white, just to make it variegated. I like the way it can be french braided.

dolly hair

I stitched up a little t-shirt out of jersey fabric. I solve the “I hate machine sewing jersey” problem by hand stitching the whole thing. It wasn’t too time consuming since the longest seam is 3 inches, and gave me a chance to do a little embroidery on the collar. Unfortunately dolly’s shirt is too big, but since she’s a doll she doesn’t mind. (see what I did there, ahh puns…)

dolly shirt

Next came the sweater, knit out of some peace fleece DK. Instead of using standard sweater construction the “yoke” is a flat circle, because dolly’s shoulders have no slope. The shaping is perfect, but the whole sweater is too small by about 3 inches. I’m not sure what happened there (might be that I skipped the gauge swatch) but dolly, being a doll, doesn’t seem to mind.

dolly sweater

The jeans have the same problem. It’s like I forgot dolly was three dimensional and would need fabric to go all the way around. The pant legs fit, but the seat doesn’t go over her dolly butt, or the body fabric that passes for a butt. Luckily, dolly doesn’t seem to mind this either.

And since Windsor doesn’t have the dexterity to put clothes on and take them off yet – she doesn’t seem to mind either.

new dolly

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Dewy

dewdrops

Officially one

Somebody is officially one year old this month!

cupcake

We had a little family party over the weekend. Just a few presents and some bunting. We got everything set up while she was down for her nap. Daddy got her a push-toy with alligators that clack when it moves. I managed to finish dolly and her clothes on time. And of course there were several new books – she loves books. She only sort of picked up on tearing the paper, but she loved pulling things out of gift bags (she’s at a “putting things in boxes and taking them out again” stage right now.)

After some time spent enjoying her new toys she started to get hungry. So we had a quick nursing session, and then it was time for cake!

cake 3

Cake was a hit.

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peak

foliage

crafting

My current crafting project is a hybrid. I started with something boughten, added some embroidery, some crochet (yes, crochet!) and there’s more sewing imminent. There will even be some knitting before I’m done.

dolly wig

What is this thing? It’s a waldorf doll. I didn’t want to make one from scratch (I hate sewing jersey fabric) so I found an etsy store (WildMarigold) where I could buy one – actually just a naked doll body. I got to embroider the face myself. Then I taught myself single crochet so I could make the wig cap, and add the hair. Now I’m sewing an outfit. And yes – dolly will need a sweater. Can I get it all done before October 6th? We’ll find out!

W and the squash

I hope the soon-to-be birthday girl will love it as much as she loves hanging out in the garden with me. Which, for the record, she does!