Let us put by some hour of every day for holy things...

Think on th' eternal home,
The Saviour left for you;
Think on the Lord most holy, come
To dwell with hearts untrue:
So shall ye tread untired His pastoral ways,
And in the darkness sing your carol of high praise.

--from Keble's The Christian Year, Thoughts in Verse



Thursday, February 6, 2014

Snow Day...Knitting Day

My husband and I both had appointments with the dentist early this morning and, since tiny dry flakes of snow were peppering down and swirling around the road surface, we decided not to linger about in town afterward, but to begin the slow and cautious drive homeward immediately.
The snow wasn't predicted to become a problem so early in the day, but I guess this system didn't read/heed the forecast, because by the time we had traveled ten miles, we were creeping along at 20 miles per hour. We don't have snow tires on the pick-up, so I was very glad my husband was driving. We eventually managed to get home with only a few minor slithers and slides, but it was a bit of an adventure. Still, as this is only the first snow of any significance we've had this winter , I can't complain too much. The schools are all sending the kids home early and are expected to be closed tomorrow. So now I'm going to hole up and knit. That is, as soon as I've finished this post.

The view from the road up our lane.
I've been busy over the past several days digging out and reorganizing my sewing room. This meant totally disemboweling the closet and the drawers and boxes where my fabric and yarn are stowed, and culling the stuff I know I won't use. I packed up a boxful of fabric and craft supplies, two big boxes of books, and three boxes of  homeschooling science experiment/lab supplies, and carting them off to the Salvation Army. It's a good start to a housewide clear-out project that will probably keep me going for some weeks to come. I am determined to reduce the amount of clutter in this house.

Despite this upheaval, I did manage to knit up a cute hat this week, finishing it (except for weaving in the loose ends) last night. 



This was a fun, forgiving hat to make. Apart from the cable headband, there wasn't much stitch-counting involved, which made it very relaxing to work on. The pattern is from Craftsy; you can purchase and download it here:
 http://www.craftsy.com/pattern/knitting/accessory/weekend-cable-beret/3287

I made mine of some lovely thick variegated 100% wool yarn I got from a sale bin at Michael's; it's Kaleidoscope in "Seaglass" by Loops &Threads. The hat took 2 skeins, or about 100 grams.


Aren't my big clear sparkly needles fun? This was the first time I used them. They're vintage (surprise, surprise) and were made in Germany. I found them at a thrift store last summer.

My next project is already underway. I cast on the stitches for a little girl's pleated skirt this morning while in the waiting room at the dentist. I'm making the skirt shown at the bottom:


 Instant Download PDF : Vintage Seventies  KNITTING PATTERN  to make three styles of flared and pleated girls skirts to fit 20" to 28" Waist

https://www.etsy.com/listing/109803930/instant-download-pdf-vintage-seventies 

I bought the pattern from YesterdaysMagic on Etsy. I'd been hoping to track down a knit pleated skirt pattern like this for a long time. 

Years and years ago, when I first learned to knit, an older woman showed me a skirt like this she was knitting for her granddaughter. At the time, I was bedazzled by Fair Isle and intarsia and other multi-colored knitting methods, and totally dismissive of anyone bothering to knit a solid color textured garment. I smiled politely, but personally thought it was the stupidest waste of time and effort I'd ever seen. And now here I am, an older woman knitting a solid color pleated skirt for my own granddaughter! What goes around comes around, eh? 

When I get tired of knitting this afternoon, I plan to make chocolate doughnuts. I made a half batch on Sunday morning, and they were so good I have been sighing for them ever since the last one was eaten. I must have more! 


And the good news is, these are healthy!
The original recipe comes from King Arthur Flour and you can download it for free right here:

http://search.kingarthurflour.com/search?p=Q&asug=&af=type%3Arecipes&w=chocolate+fudge+cake+doughnuts

Although it's meant to be made with a nonstick doughnut pan (for baking, not frying!) they also provide instructions for making this recipe into muffins. 

I altered the recipe slightly because I'm trying to be careful of what I eat. Here is my (full) version, which will make 12 doughnuts:

2/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa (or Hershey's Special Dark cocoa)
1 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup NuNaturals More-Fibre Stevia Baking Blend
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. instant coffee crystals
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips (miniature chips recommended)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
2 large eggs
3/4 - scant 1 cup milk
2 tsps. vanilla
2 tsps. vinegar, white or cider
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup melted butter or coconut oil

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease your pans well. 

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and set aside.

Whisk wet ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl and add to the dry ingredients, stirring to blend. Don't beat it to death! Just make sure all is moistened. (Depending on humidity and other factors, you may find the 3/4 milk is not quite enough. Feel free to splash in a bit more.)

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 12-15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean.

Remove from oven, allow to cool slightly, then loosen the edges and turn them out onto a baking rack. Top with chocolate icing if desired.

THESE ARE SO GOOD! They will even fool a diehard health-food skeptic!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

While I've been typing up this post, the snow has continued to flow down unabated, and the birds have gone ballistic over the seeds and cracked corn my husband provides for them. I've never seen so many--this photo doesn't do it justice. There is a continual wheeling and dropping down of bird after bird, just waves of them! Juncos, chickadees, varied thrushes, towhees, stellar's jays, starlings, wrens, and even a few doves have been chowing down the food. The feeder hanging in the window is being swung around so much by all the attention, it clunks against the glass every so often. I wonder what they know that we don't? This snowfall could end up being heavier than we expect.


Wickham and Lollia enjoyed a wintry romp earlier. I didn't let them  hang out in the snow too long, or Wicky would have ended up with a bellyful of snowballs clinging to his underside, but he does love the novelty of playing in the snow. And both of them love "tag".


 Well, stay warm, everyone!





 



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