Friday, June 29, 2012

Perfect Pumpkin Bread

I woke up one morning a few days ago and couldn't figure out what to eat. Somehow we'd run out of pretty much all breakfast stuff. I was trying to decide whether or not to put the effort into making pancakes (didn't really want to) when I noticed one lone can of pumpkin puree in the cabinet. Pumpkin bread seemed like the most reasonable thing at that point and I went in search of a recipe. I found one online that had some good feedback. I'm sure it was probably delicious, but without giving it a proper chance I decided to tweak a bunch of stuff. For one thing the original used 1.5 cups of sugar, which seemed a little over the top. I also added some sour cream to keep it moist and reduced the oil from 1/3 cup to 1 table spoon. The end result was delicious and it was devoured in two days. And it takes far less effort than standing at the stove flipping pancakes. 

Preheat the oven to 375
Lightly grease a baking pan approximately 7x13" in size

In a bowl combine:

  • 7 ounces pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbl spn olive oil
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbl spn sour cream

Mix these ingredients together and then add the following to the same bowl:

  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ginger

Mix and pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

If You Were A Hat

A little randomness just for fun...

If you were a hat, what kind of hat would you be?

I'd a be a super slouchy knit hat. My stitches would be plain (thinking ribbed band, stockinette upper). The yarn would be were the fun was at. A single spun heavy worsted weight hand dyed yarn with purples, blues, browns, grays, and greens. Not bright colors, kinda muted, but still really happy and fun.

And now I need to dye that yarn and knit a simple super slouchy hat. Once all these other projects are off the needles....

Monday, June 25, 2012

Getting Gauge & Shawls

I'm a loose knitter.

I want to start with that statement because it's very important for those of you who choose to follow one of my patterns to know this. When I list the needle size and gauge for a design it always indicates what I achieved with the sample piece shown in the photos. If I were to fudge the needle size and choose something larger than I have no way to determine accuracy or know if it's me or the yarn that wants to use a certain needle size.

Getting gauge is important. (We've all heard this before.) On hats, sweaters, and other wearables we know it's crucial to achieve gauge for the obvious reason of wanting the knit to fit. It's also important on pieces where it tends to get ignored like shawls and scarves. Most people would probably agree that the greatest reason it's important for these items is yardage. If you stray from the designer's gauge you may end up using far more (or less) yarn than the pattern calls for. If you have the yarn then you might not consider it for long at all. BUT if I'm a loose knitter and I'm giving you a 4.5 stitch per inch count on size 5s with fingering weight yarn and your a tighter knitter and jump into the size 5s without checking then you might end up with a teeny tiny shawl. I've seen it happen. A lot. So even if you're only working on a shawl, check your gauge and make sure you're actually getting the same count and go up to size 7s if you have to.

Now that I've pointed out these things I'm going to throw you for a loop. It's possible to get the same gauge as the pattern calls for and have it still be wrong. As if you needed something else to worry about. (And yes, you read that right.)

Keep in mind that this isn't true with all yarns, gauges, needles, and patterns. I usually run into the misleading gauge issue when dealing with fingering weight yarn, needles 4-6, and lace shawl patterns. It's shawls, specifically in lace and fingering weight, that I really want to focus on now. In the last week I've had a chance to see several unblocked shawls that were knit from my patterns. They were all much smaller and tighter knit than the shawls of the same design that I'd knit myself. And for the most part they were also spot on gauge. Seeing these shawls made me realize that pointing out "misleading gauge" might be a helpful thing to do.

Never blindly trust the needle size listed on a lace pattern. Just because the piece doesn't need to "fit" you doesn't mean that the designer's needle is the best needle for you. Try out a few needle sizes and select one that gives you the best fabric. In the case of lace designs you want to use the largest needle possible to get the listed gauge. If you're getting the 5 stitches per inch on the size 4s that the instructions call for give it a shot with size 5s anyway and see if it looks better. You might be surprised to find that you still get 5 sts per inch, but the drape is better.

Now go forth and knit shawls! Lots of them.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Yarn Giveaway: June - Solo DK in "Forest Dweller"

Solo DK in "Forest Dweller"
Time for a little fun!

This month I'd like to giveaway a skein of Solo, my new DK weight yarn line. It's a single spun superwash merino with 257 yards per 100 gram skein. The skein to be given away is shown above.

For a chance to win all you need to do is leave a comment on this post saying what pattern you would use this yarn for. The design you mention does not need to be a Fiddle Knits pattern.

Deadline to enter is July 1, 2012. I will be selecting a winner via random number generator the morning of July 2. Any comments with a date stamp after July 1 will be excluded from the count. The winner will be announced between July 2 & 4 via Facebook, Twitter, newsletter, and my blog. Please be aware that if your profile on Blogger is set to anonymous I will have no way of contacting you. Leave your Ravelry name, email address, or Twitter ID in your comment to be sure I'll find you.

Giveaway is open to US and international participants.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Yarn of the Month: June - "Summer Solstice"

"Summer Solstice" - Color of the month for June 2012
Every month I'll be announcing a special colorway that will be available exclusively for that month. To kick it off this June I've dyed "Summer Solstice," a combination of warm golds, oranges, and brown. This color is dyed on my Aria Gold yarn [438 yds; 100 grams; 75% superwash merino/20% nylon/5% stellina (the glittery part); fingering weight].

Please note that you may order as many skeins of this color as you'd like, but after June 30 "Summer Solstice" will no longer be available. Your yarn will be dyed for you, so please allow 5-7 days for it to be dyed before it's shipped.

Yarn of the month skeins have reduced shipping rates (just $1 for US shipping!)

The colorway for July 2012 will be announced on Friday, June 28.