Monthly Archives: January 2019

Mending

I skipped knitting last weekend because I have a serious backlog of mending to catch up on.

First some leggings Windsor tore. There was no chance of making this seam invisible. So instead I used the catch stitch and some superwash yarn for stretch and durability.

And I added an embroidered daisy, because she’s 5, and I can get away with it.

Next up (not exactly mending) I broke out the crochet hook and added hair to her Elsa hat. Which is now her favorite hat ever. Yay for cool-mom points!

girl in knitted hat with braid attached to brim

And finally, a little something for me. I hemmed these sparkly work pants so I can finally wear them!

Because they’re made of stretchy fabric I used the same stitch, just in a horizontal line, and hidden in the cuff. (a modification I don’t see online, but am sure I just unvented it.)

Basically invisible! And that’s why I prefer hand-sewing hems over breaking out the sewing machine for that job.

Image

Flower season?

Another WIP

I have big plans for fingerless mitts this winter. As in, I’m hoping to knit 4 or 5 sets… This mitt was my slow project from the GAL last month.

fingerless mitt with cable around thumb

The pattern is Brighde, by Liz Corke. I love the cable that wraps around the thumb. There’s another one that runs up the hand.

fingerless mitt with cable along back

The yarn is sock art lana from Green Mountain Spinnery.

Now the question is: can I bring myself to knit a second one?

Vegan banana bread

Turns out I make a pretty mean vegan banana bread! And by “mean” I am suggesting that it actually tastes just like regular banana bread*. It has the same texture too.

I don’t usually cook vegan, but one of my friends at work eat vegan and I was in charge of snacks for our meeting.

I was up at 3:30am (with the toddler, who is teething again) so I googled for recipes. I know about subbing applesauce for eggs. But I needed to sub out milk too. And that’s too far out of my element. I found a recipe that seemed good, except it called for almond milk. So then I started googling milk substitutes after all.

The internet told me that one thing milk brings to baked goods (besides liquid) is protein. It had many suggestions which I don’t keep on hand (Soy milk! Rice milk!) and coconut milk, which is more shelf stable and I usually do have a can available.

Fast forward 1 hour, and it turns out I don’t have coconut milk on hand. I’m about to give up, add water, and hope for the best when I remember the jug of smoothie protein at the back of my pantry (pea protein, luckily that’s vegan)

And that’s how I concocted the best vegan banana bread recipe yet*.

1C sugar
1 1/2C overripe bananas
1/2C refined coconut oil, melted
1tsp vanilla
1/4C water +1 Tbsp protein powder
1tsp apple cider vinegar
2C all-purpose flour
3/4tsp baking soda
1/2tsp salt

Preheat the over to 350F and grease a bread loaf pan.

Mash the bananas in a large bowl. Mix in the sugar, oil, vanilla, ACV, water, and protein powder. Mix with a beater until smooth.

Add the flour, baking soda, and salt and stir until just combined. Pour into the loaf pan and bake for 1hour. You may need 1hr plus 15 minutes. Use the standard toothpick to test.

*we made people try to guess the secret ingredient at first. But no one did!

WIP – moonflower rug

During the gift-along I absolutely fell in love with the moonflower mosaic by Valérie Miller:

knitted table cover with candles

I just want to move into that photo and sit down with a cup of tea. But I do not live the kind of live that includes knitted table covers (unless I really WANT to encourage my cats to sleep on the table.)

Instead I hatched a plan. My plan involves my very large stash of spinning fiber:

several trashbags full of unspun fiber

And some very large needles. I’m knitting this pattern out of roving, and felting down each tile as I finish it to make a bedside rug!

one felted mosaic tile plus slippers

The first tile shows that the different types of fiber are felting at different rates. I could probably have predicted that. It’s the equivalent of knitting with different types of yarn and expecting the same result.

two felted mosaic tiles

However I’ve been able to pair up some of the smaller petals with the larger ones upon seaming to balance everything out. This is about when I realized that the original pattern uses SIX petals per tile. And for reasons of gauge My mosaic tiles are working best with only 5 petals. So far that seems to be going ok, right?

two felted tiles and one unfelted, much larger

I’m showing here, with the third tile, how much these things shrink down with felting! They’re somewhere between 50-60% of the pre-felted size. They’re super thick and cozy too, which makes sewing them together tricky but the resulting rug is going to be very cushy and soft! (it will make an excellent cat bed.)

three felted tiles

Here are the three tiles sewn together. See that gap between the blue and red petals in the center where all three tiles meet? I’m pretty sure this is because I’m knitting 5 petal flowers instead of 6. Oops. I’m going to have to come up with a plan for filling in that gap. Right now I’m considering knitting a diamond and sewing it in. Or just needle felting a filler.

Oh right, because this project is letting me mix my crafts further! Along with using spinning fiber, knitting, and wet felting the fabric. I’m also needle felting extra fiber onto the joins to reinforce the sewing:
underside of rug showing needle-felted joins

I’ve only drawn blood with those needle felting needles once so far! I think that’s a pretty good track record…

How (not) to maintain a sourdough starter

I know many bakers will tell you sourdough is finicky. I’m here to tell you I wholeheartedly disagree. I imagine sourdough is tricky to maintain if you expect the same outcome every time. It’s difficult to get sourdough to follow a recipe. Sourdough is not jarred yeast. It is not baking powder or baking soda – providing a measured chemical reaction.

Sourdough is alive. And like any creature it prefers staying alive. It does best if you feed it regularly. But lucky for me it doesn’t die as quickly as a houseplant if you forget.

It’s been a couple of weeks (two? maybe three?) since I baked a sourdough loaf. It was Christmas time, I did a lot of baking, all of it sweet. I was pretty sure I’d fed the sourdough the week before Christmas. But when I pulled it out Tuesday morning there was just a sad little half-cup of flour sitting under some grayish liquid. It smelled sour-but-not-spoiled. Good enough for me!

I put two thirds of it (plus the liquid) in a big bowl with three cups of flour and 1.5C of water. I mixed it all into a paste and put it in my warming cupboard.*

I mixed another half cup of flour and water into the mason jar with the remaining starter. Quietly apologized for neglecting it, and stuffed it back in the fridge.

10 hours later my dough was bubbly and happy. I added salt and enough flour to keep it from being sticky. I kneaded it, divided it in two, and formed loaves.

Sometimes my sourdough is amazing and tangy. Sometimes it’s yeasty. Sometime it is dense and maybe could’ve stood to rise a bit longer. Sometimes it’s poofy and baked a little too long. I imagine I’m more like a medieval peasant than a professional baker. My bread is a little different every week. But it’s always good. If I need it to ferment faster I keep it at room temp. If I need to make two loaves I feed it daily. If I’m not using it as often I keep it in the fridge and feed it every 5-7 days (if I remember.) Obviously all this variation is why I never get the same thing twice. But I also haven’t killed it yet!

*I’m not some fancy baker with a fancy setup. I just keep the cupboard over my fridge empty enough to hold a bowl of dough. I imagine everyone here could put bread dough on top of their fridge with a little rearranging.