~DragonKnits~

But she’ll share…..sometimes.

Pending Projects

Just a quick note tonight. I am zeroing in on starting socks! Yes, I actually bought LB striping yarn tonight and the next step will be getting familiar with the pattern, then I’ll have to modify it to make a wider sock as my left foot has a swollen ankle. I also want to make a toe up sock so that I can estimate how long I can make the leg as I go along and not run out of yarn. I also want to use circular needles and I cannot find the book I bought just for that purpose… so I’ll have to guess at it from a regular pattern.

Another bit of news is that I’ve decided to make a shrug before starting the sweater for my niece. It’s easier and it will give me some confidence before really diving into foreign waters.

Oh, I want to share with you something I found on the Lion Brand site. You might know of it already, but I thought it worth posting. It’s the Learn To Knit page; and there is one for crochet, as well. The great thing about it is that there is a link for Spanish and a link for French. I really love the LB site. There are always new things to discover there.

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Friday, April 27, 2007 ~ Posted by | Crochet, Knitting | Leave a comment

Podcasts and Patterns

Won’t be able to write much today about knitting, but just that my baby blanket is almost completed.  Just a few more squares to go, then to sew together.  If I kept the project to the size indicated in the pattern, it would be done; but because I want a bigger blanket, I am making 10 more squares to add on 2 more rows to it.  I have 8 more squares to go and most times I can get 2 or more squares done a night, listening to Brenda Dayne’s podcast, “Cast On”.  I really look forward to listening to her show when I knit.  It keeps me in the “knitting” frame of mind while knitting.  She’s got great music, as well.  Always something different and always pleasant to my ears… and that is not lightly said.  As a matter of fact, I  have been really trying to fast-forward past the music to catch up with her podcasts, but to date, I have not done so because the music is so good.  As stated, I am catching up and I am so happy to say that I have just 7 episodes (out of 48) to go.  Then, like the rest of her audience, I’ll have to be satisfied with one show a week. <sigh> (((((Big sigh, there)))))  The big reason why I love this show is because I’ve found so many other knitting sites, news, techniques, and interesting things through her show.

I WANT MY OWN MRS. BEETONS!  Guess I’ll have to knit some up.  What’s holding me up is that I really do not have luxurious wool in my stash and I can’t bear to make a pair without the luxurious feel that is so evident in the pics of these beautiful gauntlets.  I did buy some yarn that I think will work, but now I’ve got to see if I can use it by …. dare I say it?  Swatching.  I have stopped shivering now.  This project will be my first attempt at beading as there are lovely beads in this pattern, but I think I can handle it as the directions look pretty straightforward, plus I’ll actually be knitting from a pattern… yes!

I have a feeling that before I take this big step, I’ll have to read and reread the pattern over and over.  Even then, I’ll need to have my laptop handy so that I can look up things I don’t understand and learn techniques which are new to me. It will be worth it.  Once you think about it, I’ve got it a hell of a lot better than previous generations of women who had to have someone actually be around to teach them in person as that was how this craft was handed down from mother to daughter.  Now, all you need is an internet connection and a little imagination.  You might be thinking, “what is all this hysteria over reading patterns?”   Well, I know that I am working from a pattern for the baby blanket, but it’s all granny squares, which I already know how to do.

Oh, I also wanted to post a link to a great video page at KnittingHelp.com.  The reason I am posting it was because I found a great little video on how to make your own wooden needles and save tons of money.  This is great for me as I do want to experiment with DPN’s, but don’t want to actually buy them because I really like working in the round with circulars… but I am still curious about them.  Plus, it’s a cheap way of making knitting needles for people I know who really cannot afford the supplies for knitting but want to learn.  Outside of this, I just LOVE learning new ways of doing stuff…. it’s called improvision!  I love to improvise, manipulate, modify established techniques to create something new.  I am SO itching to learn to read patterns, but so far I’ve not had the chance to really clamp down on myself and take the time to try.  Maybe my hesitation is due to the fact that this is truly uncharted waters for me and I have no idea HOW to start, yet I know that I should probably not think about it and just DO it.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007 ~ Posted by | Crochet, Knitting | Leave a comment

Frozen Hot Chocolate

In celebration of the warmer weather we’ve been having, I’ve decided to bump the recipe originally planned and post the one below. Apparently, this is a very popular drink at New York City’s Serendipity 3. It’s noted as being a celebrity hang out place on East 60th Street; so if you’re in the area, you might like to try it out… OR you can try the more economical version at home! Fred Thompson says that if you were to follow the original recipe, you’d have to go shopping in Europe. His version makes the shopping a lot easier. I really recommend this book if you love chocolate there are SO MANY creative ideas packed in this compact little book.

Of course, this is the no-holes-barred version, with all the extra fat and calories. I post it, as is, to keep the integrity of the recipe; but as always, you can modify it to fit your dietary needs and tastes.

hot chocolate art

Summer’s Frozen Hot Chocolate

1 1/2 tsp. sweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp salted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 oz. milk chocolate, chopped
4 cups crushed ice
Sweetened whipped cream for garnish
Grated chocolate of your choice for garnish

  1. Place a double boiler over medium heat. Add both cocoa powders, the sugar, and the butter. Whisk until the cocoas and sugar have melted and creamed together with the butter.
  2. Add a little of the milk. Add the chocolates, whisking as they melt. Slowly pour in additional milk, reserving 1 cup milk for step 3. Whisk until the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
  3. In a blender, make 3 servings at a time. Add 1/2 cup of the chocolate base, 1/2 cup milk, and about 2 cups crushed ice. Blend until smooth, adding more ice or liquid as needed to reach a perfect texture. (Repeat with remaining ingredients or store any unused chocolate base in the refrigerator, covered.) Pour frozen hot chocolate into large goblets and top with whipped cream and grated chocolate. Serve immediately with a straw and a long spoon.

Serves 6

Wednesday, April 25, 2007 ~ Posted by | Chocolate, Recipes | Leave a comment

Frog to Unravel Fantasy

Are you sitting down?  Okay, are you ready for this?

I’ve decided to frog my wrap/scarf made with my fantasy yarn.  It was a tough decision to make, but to be honest, it did not come out the way I envisioned it.  To see a pic, you can go here.  I made it way to long and it came out very heavy as well.  When I put it on, it always got in the way, so…. sometime this summer I will “gently” unravel it and look for something else to do with it.  <sigh>

It was sort of anti-climatic the second I tried it on.  I just knew.

On the up side, today I actually bought some plain, but really colorful buttons for my ipod cozy.  I will liven it up doing something with matching colored yarn for embellishment.   I’ve also decided that I will try my hand at handmade buttons.  Joanns had the Sculpty clay for .99 cents!  Got seven really nice color coordinates that I really love.  Will let you know how that goes.

Ta Ta!

Saturday, April 21, 2007 ~ Posted by | Knitting | 2 Comments

iPod/Cell Phone Cozies

I finished my second iPod cozy tonight.  They really knit up quickly, especially using the backward knit stitch on the flap, which I had done in one session.  Since this was pretty much an experiment for me, I did not go out and buy wool yarn.  I used the only wool yarn I had, which was from a recycled sweater and it’s a plain, cream color.

I had felted my first cozy before I thought to take a before pic, so I made up another one and took this pic.  You can see how much is shrunk… so cool!  My ipod is in there to show the size of the finished product.  The one on the left will be felted tomorrow and I plan on running the finished one again for one more cycle, even though this ipod is sitting in there very nicely.  I am thinking about making my own buttons.  Another new adventure!  I’ll be getting some polymer clay and try my hand at it pretty soon.  I’ll definitely let you know how it goes. I am thinking that I can use yarn to sew in designs, but I don’t want to get too crazy…. or sometimes that is just how I am.

Felted iPod cozy before and after

If you like this basic idea, you can find the pattern here.  Just scroll down a few entries and you’ll see a very nice photo of four cases of two different sizes.  The smaller one is for a cell phone.

Friday, April 20, 2007 ~ Posted by | Felting, Knitting, Patterns | Leave a comment

Building Up Skills

I’ve been reflecting lately on my knitting skills. Seems like things are happening so fast as I push myself and have learned so much in just a couple of months. Necessity is the mother of invention. Though learning new skills is not necessarily “inventing” anything, it does lay the foundation. I am too disorganized to learn something new just for the heck of it, there must be a need present.

And so. The Log Cabin Blanket project was the first time that something other than knitting was needed for production. The first thing I needed to learn was casting on new stitches onto a finished object. I simply could not get away without knowing how to do this, so I learned. I got that one down really quickly because it’s done continuously throughout the whole blanket. The second thing I sort of improvised, thinking that I was inventing something new (HA), was weaving the starting and ending strands into the piece as I went along. After a few strips, I could see the many, many ends that I would need to weave in at the end, so I started knitting the strands into my stitches; and it worked out perfectly. All I did at the end was snip the remaining ends away. As the strips got bigger and bigger, I knew that I was going to die of boredom and my blanket was in danger becoming a very small one… yet with each strip, I was getting more and more addicted, and would always cast on another strip. I resolved to learn Continental Knitting so that I could knit faster and more efficiently than with the American method, and I was so glad that I did. Then, when I decided to end it all because of other blankets I wanted to start, I needed a border. I had heard a lot about the Mason-Dixon book and decided to check it out. I made a trip to Borders and plopped my son down in the kiddie section after getting a copy to leaf through. I decided on the plain border that you can see here on the Log Cabin KAL . I learned how to increase stitches at the ends so that I could fit the pieces together like the sides of a picture frame.

I was elated that I could actually learn something new. When I started making the loomed preemie hats 2 years ago, I never-in-a-million-years imagined myself going beyond those four KK looms. NOW I can say that I am a Knitter, capital “K”. While knitting the Easter Tie , I learned how to knit backwards so that I could do the short rows without actually needing to turn the work. I learned it quickly, but ooops, I was doing garter stitch and the backward knitting would produce not garter, but stockinette…. but at least it was LEARNED. I am sure that there is a backward purl stitch, so I’ll be searching that out, too. I now knit my swatches that way… otherwise, I would not even do swatches. You can be sure that I will look for opportunities for knitting backwards.

The flood gates have been opened. I now REALLY want to learn cables. I feel like I can take on anything, but the essential here is that I need to apply it to something that I am doing. I simply cannot learn something new for the sport of it. Big reason is that once I learn, then what? I will forget what I just learned and all will be for naught.

I just finished a felted ipod cozy. I’ve not posted pictures because I forgot to take a picture of it before felting, so I am knitting up another one just for that purpose, then I’ll post both pics, sort of before and after pics. It is working up rather quickly and I suspect that I’ll have a pic by the weekend. BTW, I am using the backward knitting stitch to do the flap and I had that done in no time. These two are rather plain as I just wanted to see how they would come out before trying designs and such. I remembered how to join the cast on stitches to knit in the round. How cool is that? I put down my socks months ago, yet I just “knew” what to do.

My interest has turned it’s roving eye on spinning and dying yarn, though, I don’t see myself actually taking it up at this point in time. I’ve also recycled sweaters and I’m interested in recycling plastic bags by making tote bags out of them. There is so much on the web. I had no idea what a rich and wonderful the world of knitting, and I’m sure ALL aspects of the fiber arts, could be. The www. has been such a help to me in searching for and learning new techniques. I am constantly searching for demos and videos on knitting and crochet. There’s a whole world of knowledge out there just waiting to be accessed… and I am definitely up for the job.

Yes, the craft has come a long way baby!

Thursday, April 19, 2007 ~ Posted by | Knitting, Personal | Leave a comment

Hot Chocolate Mix

Good Day, all! Welcome to Hot Chocolate Wednesday. Today I thought I would bring you a recipe for a “mix”. A mix is a premixed preparation of hot chocolate, like Swiss Miss and other commercial ones. Now you can take your HC with you.  Isn’t that great?  The BIG difference here is that YOU are in control of the ingredients that go into it. From a very young age, I dismissed those instant mixes because they were of a too thin consistency, definitely NOT chocolaty enough for me and I would use 2-3 envelopes for one cup!

If you have been following along and trying out these recipes, you will have accumulated enough experience to do some tweaking on your own. I would LOVE to hear about any variations that you come up with. Don’t be shy!

Please keep in mind that I relate the recipe, as is, from the book “Hot Chocolate~50 Heavenly Cups of Comfort”, written by Fred Thompson. These recipes are easily open to modifications needed for diet and nutritional needs. This one refers to “cinnamon chips”. I am assuming he means melting chips, like for chocolate making; but still, I have never seen that flavor. You could possibly find them in a candy making store or a craft store that sells candy making supplies. Here is this week’s recipe. It’s called:

Cinnamon Chip Hot Chocolate Mix

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup natural cocoa powder
1 cup nonfat dry powdered milk
1/2 cup cinnamon-flavored chips
2 tsp. kosher salt ~ for full flavor advantage GET kosher salt, or don’t use salt at all.
Confectioner’s sugar for serving

  1. Combine the granulated sugar, cocoa powder, powdered milk, cinnamon-flavored chips, and salt in a large bowl. Pour into a 1-quart airtight container.
  2. For a single serving, scoop 1/3 cup of the mix into a mug and pour 1 cup boiling water over it. Stir until the cinnamon chips have melted and the mixture is smooth. Dust each serving with confectioner’s sugar and serve immediately.

Now, you may have been wondering why you must serve the hot chocolate immediately, and you have every right to ask. The reason is that once the hot chocolate starts cooling off, the actual chocolate, or melted chips will start to solidify again and will no longer be fully integrated into the drink.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007 ~ Posted by | Chocolate, Recipes | Leave a comment

The dog ate my post!

In this case, it was the WP dog! I tried to save a post tonight and it disappeared! When this happens, I am just drained. I will wait to hear from WP to see if they can find my post…. In any case, I’m too drained right now to try and recreate it. I am definitely coming down with something, throat is very sore and my nose is drip drip dripping. Thank goodness DH is not working overtime tomorrow! BUT I am supposed to go out and get a much desired wireless router for our computer. The one we need is on sale this week!

As a consolation I will try to resurrect an old post from my other blog. Oh, just got a pattern for a beach sarong from YarnOverLounge.com. I really can’t wait to start making it. Thanks Lee! You’ve got some lovely patterns over there.

This is a poncho I knitted with the yellow Knifty Knitter Loom.  I am happy to say this challenged me. I needed to improvise what I usually do to her taste. To be challenged, promotes growth and that is always a good thing. Here, I post Florie modeling her poncho… just in time for Christmas 2006:

Florie in Green Poncho

This was done with two strands of yarn from Knitpicks, called Suri Dream in Fern Heather. It’s got the look and feel of mohair, soft, light and warm. It’s actually categorized as a #6 extra bulky yarn, but the strand is very thin. Still, it worked out great. The third strand is Red Heart worsted Frosty Green. These two colors could not have been matched better. The Frosty Green, a bit lighter, blends in great, creating a sort of 3D look. I used the yellow KK loom to make two flat panels, then sewed them together. Florie did not want fringes and it was just as well because it came out on the longish side. She wanted a square neck, so I crocheted the neck to fill in the “v”. Florie just “loves” it and that made me very happy. Now I am going to start something for myself.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007 ~ Posted by | Crochet, Knitting, Patterns | Leave a comment

New Page

Just added a new page called “Knitting Origins”.  This is my official “How I learned to knit” page.  Everyone has a story and this is mine.

I’d love to hear YOUR story.  Please, do tell!  Grab a cup of hot chocolate and let’s sit, chat and exchange stories.

Stories are a major part of keeping any craft alive, so let’s hear it!

Thursday, April 12, 2007 ~ Posted by | Crochet, Knitting, Loom Knitting, Personal | Leave a comment

Nun’s Revenge

It’s Recipe Day! Today, I just flipped open to this one called “Nun’s Revenge”. It just wants to be posted because I pasted this one up last week. One of the most heavenly flavor combinations is dark chocolate and orange and though I’ve not made this recipe yet, looks pretty good. My only change would be to add a drop of orange extract into the mix and, of course, omit the sugar and put something else in there. I know that some people hate to “zest” citrus rind, so again, just add a bit of orange extract!

Again, this recipe is from the book, “Hot Chocolate~50 Heavenly Cups of Comfort”, written by: Fred Thompson.

Without further ado, here it is:

DSC02325

Nun’s Revenge~
Fabulous Italian Hot Chocolate

1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. half-and-half

1 tsp. Arrowroot

1 tbsp. Sugar

2 oz. Bittersweet Chocolate (at least 70% cacao), chopped

2 to 4 strips Orange Zest for garnish

In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the half-and-half with the arrowroot, whisking until smooth.

Place the remaining 1/2 cup of half-and-half in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer.

When the half-and-half begins to bubble around the edges, whisk in the sugar. Whisk in the arrowroot mixture until the half-and-half thickens slightly, usually less than a minute.

Remove from the heat and quickly whisk in the chocolate until smooth. Pour into cups, top each with a piece of orange zest, and serve immediately.

Serves 2 in cappuccino cups OR 4 in espresso cups.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007 ~ Posted by | Chocolate, Recipes | Leave a comment