Thursday, September 29, 2011

60 - We Find Bargains

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Latte: Abby is back on track with Strata Sphere. She discovered the secret with a simple project: counting. She's continuing to work on My Heart Beets 4U socks, and has started the Anemoi mittens again with very different yarns (see above). Ben is making great progress with his Daybreak, and continues to work on the Java socks. He thinks that the beginning of classes next week will give him great knitting opportunities.
Brewing: We discuss planning a wardrobe and designing a line. Abby mentioned the use of a croquis as a tool for sketching. You can download your own croquis "families" here and here. The croquis is placed under tracing paper, you draw your garment, then add the parts of the body which would be showing (i.e. head, arms/hands, legs, etc.)
Taste: Abby reviewed 60 Quick Baby Knits. She recommends knitting as a great way to try out new techniques or perfect those you feel need work. She added  that if you don't have a baby to knit for, there are many ways to knit for charity. You can find charity knitting lists here and here. The second link organizes charities geographically by state (sorry US only).
Chai: Ben had a very productive day at the Seattle Public Library Book Sale which is held twice a year in an airplane hangar in Warren G. Magnuson Park. His haul included the Moosewood Cookbook, as well as the original Stitch 'n' Bitch, Romantic Hand Knits, Knitting on Top of the World and Indigo Knits.
Abby found her bargains on the Lower East Side of Manhattan where she scored two leather jackets, one for her and one for Dalya, but advises you that you MUST haggle to get the best price.
Tip Jar: Ben suggests that different fibers really do behave differently: use it to your advantage. Abby shared a tip from Cat Bordhi: buy a small straight edged mirror to hold up to swatches, samples and swatch photographs to double your view.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Knitting Funk - Episode 59

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Latte: Ben is working on the same projects as last time, and so is Abby(!!!)
Brewing: Ben's designing a sweater vest. He wants to shape it, unlike much men's wear.
Bitter Cup: Abby is in a funk. Nothing in her knitting is making her happy. She's decided to begin the Knitting Guild Association's Master Handknitter  Program, Level II. If yo'd like to join her, or start Level 1 (or 3), click here.
Chai: Abby taught knitting at the TNNA booth at this year's Maker Faire. If you live near a Maker Faire, don't miss it!
Don't forget Ben's Challenge! Make something unexpected out of unloved yarn, post a photo on Ravelry to enter the challenge.
Check out some cool new podcasts: 2KnitLitChicks and Geek Girls Crafts!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sheep, Cats, Dogs, Moose - Episode 58

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Latte: Abby is working on Strata Sphere and learning to tolerate some small mistakes on the Anemoi Mittens, Ben is still knitting Daybreak and the Java socks.
Grande: Ben finished his bowtie, and talks about turning it into a proper pattern.
Brewing: Abby ponders in-class knitting, Ben chooses shoulders for an ugly sweater.
Taste: Abby reviews the Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook.
Caffeinated: Abby shares her experience with the literal bulletin board social media site Pinterest.
Chai: We recorded the music of the New York subway. Check it out.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Last Woot of Summer - Episode 57

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Ben is back in WA, but the New York stories continue...
Latte: Abby is working on Strata Sphere, Lisianthus, and an old UFO, Tree of Life socks. This required re-learning to knit backwards. Abby's favorite instructions for doing this maneuver can be found here. She also cast on Anemoi Mittens and had some real challenges with the Tubular or Italian cast on.  Ben is knitting a bowtie (bowties are cool), Daybreak and the Java socks.
Grande: Abby finished her Intrepid Traveller socks, which she has named "Psockadelic".
Ben fondles the yarn at Brooklyn General
Home of egg creams and insane sundaes
Chai: Ben joined the Men's Knit Night at Knitty City. The next day, we journeyed to Brooklyn General with our friend Deborah, and we met Maria, host of Subway Knits there. We enjoyed some decadent desserts at the Brooklyn Farmacy, where it was too dark for Abby to knit backwards with black yarn. She wished she had her Stitch Light from Buffy Ann Designs. We ended the night, after a detour to Uniqlo, at the Columbia Knitting Group.
Caffeinated: We baked a cheesecake! Have a look:
The recipe is from Cheesecake Madness by John J. Segreto. This book is out of print, so we're going to share the recipe with you here:
Macadamia-Mocha Cheesecake
1 1/2 cups chocolate wafer crumbs
1 cup finely ground macadamia nuts
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 lb sweet butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, softened
8 ounces semisweet baking chocolate (the best quality you can find)
1 tsp. instant coffee, dissolved in 1 tsp. hot water
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups sour cream
3/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts
4 Tbsp sweet butter, melted
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
1 ounce semisweet baking chocolate (to make chocolate curls)
1/2 cup whole macadamia nuts
Pan: 10 inch springform pan
Crust: In a medium size bowl, combine the chocolate wafer crumbs, ground macadamia nuts, cinnamon, and butter. Blend well with fingers, fork or pastry blender. Press or pat the mixture onto the bottom and sides of a well-buttered springform pan. Chill in the freezer or refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Filling: In a large bowl, beat the sugar and eggs until light and smooth, then beat in the cream cheese. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler and add to the mixture. Add the dissolved instant coffee, the cocoa and the vanilla and continue to beat until very smooth. Beat in the sour cream and chopped macadamia nuts. Mix in the butter, then pour the mixture into the chilled springform pan and bake in a preheated 350  degree oven for 45 minutes or until it is firm around the sides and jiggly in the center. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, then chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours or more.
Topping: Prepare chocolate curls. When almost ready to serve, remove the sides of the springform pan, then decorate the top of the cake with whipped cream, chocolate curls and whole macadamia nuts.

More caffeinated: Abby will be teaching Knitting at the TNNA booth at the Maker Faire in Queens on Sunday, September 18th. It's a fantastic event you won't want to miss, with something for everyone -- really!