Thursday, November 18, 2010

Yarn Lust

I have yarn lust. I've been knitting almost exclusively for the last couple months for the local homeless shelter, using acrylic/wool blend yarns and I find myself looking longingly at my sock needles and my etsy favorites for some more higher end and/or exotic yarns and fibers.

I thought I'd share with you a few that particularly caught my eye. Christmas is 37 days away and for us knitters that means panic! A couple of these yarns are worsted or bulky weight so would knit into a super quick gift for you if you too fall in love with them.

First we have "Caramel," a hand painted merino/cashmere sock yarn in a gorgeous burnt gold color. I am not normally attracted to gold but the color on this yarn is delicious and who doesn't want to knit with cashmere?!
Find it at:

Then I saw "Truth or Dare," a fun and funky bright colored thick and thin handspun plied with a commercial black yarn. At super bulky weight this would make an almost instant (and most awesome) hat. I'm thinking a Gnome hat, but that's just me! You can go drool over it at:

Back to sock weight, we have "Midnight". Oooh... I love this one. Gorgeous, gorgeous blues. With my love of short socks this 400 yard skein could get me two pairs of luscious socks! If you'd like to nab it before I do, hit:

Or cool down your color palette with this super silky handspun bamboo yarn, "Ice Princess." Barely discernable colors lend this the hues of reflections in ice and would make a wonderfully soft scarf for someone special on your list! Check it out at:

I've had the pleasure of working with "Mystic" and I was not disappointed! It knits up super squooshy and warm, with the blue and purple colors pooling and patterning nicely and is very soft on the feet! Pick up your own skein from:

"Chutney..." how warm and inviting are the colors in this yarn?! It makes me think of sitting before a fire, eating a hearty bowl of soup and keeping warm. And warm is just what this BFL wool yarn would keep you. I'm thinking some chunky mittens. What do you think?

The wonderful color of "Eire" makes me think of course of the rolling green hills of Ireland and maybe even, a little luck? And again, this yarn is a superwash merino/nylon/cashmere blend! Knit your man some lucky luxury socks to stick in his stocking this Christmas. Go ahead, you still have time!

And how can I not include "Palette by Yarn Lust? A super stripey cashmere blend of pinkish-red, yellow, green and blue, this yarn would be so much fun to knit with! Let the fun begin at:

This "Black Beauty" is simple gorgeous. Slightly thick and thin worsted weight yarn, handspun from local (to that shop) alpaca. Could it be better? Could it be more warm? I don't think so! Very manly but very beautiful, truly a unisex yarn. Drool over it at:

"Pretty in Pink" is another fun and chunky handspun. If the blend of very soft merino, bamboo and sparkles weren't enough it's also had some light pink jump rings spun into it! How fun is that?! Jump on over to it at:

And last but certainly not least, I give you not a yarn but a decadent carded fiber batt. I have a CD spindle just itching to get this fiber on it! It's gorgeous!!! "Bloodlust" is almost 6oz of scrumptuous, yummy fibers like superwash merino, bamboo, milk fiber, etc. It will make a killer yarn! Lust over it at:

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I can TOO make Pumpkin Pie!

I've never made pumpkin pie before. This is because I have a mother. A mother who makes the best pumpkin pie ever. But...

My church let all the kids decorate small pumpkins for Halloween and had a ton leftover and my boss let me take 4 home. So these pumpkins are sitting around, staring me down for a week. I know I have to do something with them before they expire. Finally I got up the nerve and called my Mom.

"Can I bake pumpkin pie from a real pumpkin?" There was silence on the phone, I assume she was deciding whether to pretend she didn't know who was calling. Finally, "Yes."

"Can I bake pumpkin pie with small pumpkins?" Sigh..."Yes."
"How do I do that?"

The instructions were: Cut the pumpkins in half and lay them on waxed paper on baking sheets and bake for a couple hours until they were mushy. I didn't have waxed paper (or tin foil, this brought more sighs.) So I lined my baking sheets with butcher paper, plastic-y side down, and sprayed it with Pam. This worked marvelously but left the edges of the pumpkins a little black (not burnt!) but I dealt with that later.

Amidst this there was a lot of, "Are you sure this is gonna work?" "Yes."

I baked my pumpkins at 375 for 3 hours; while I watched TV. You may choose to clean or knit or have a roll in the hay with your hubby; any of these are an option for passsing the time.

Then I turned the oven off and went to bed, leaving them to cool in the oven overnight.

The next day:
"What now?" Sigh. "Scoop the guts out."

"How do I do that?" Sigh...

I cut each half pumpkin in half again just to make it easier to handle.

I armed myself with a gallon size ziplock bag, a large spoon and a smallish sharp knife.

  • First I trimmed the black edge off the pumpkin, which I assume was just caused from the butter flavored Pam. This did not harm the pumpkin nor the flavor.
  • Then I used the spoon to "scoop" the guts out of the center of the pumpkin. This was SO much easier to do after the pumpkin was baked!!

  • Then I used the spoon again to scoop around just between the rind of the pumpkin and the mushy pumpkin I wanted to "harvest." Kind of like you do with avacado. See picture. This also was a lot easier than peeling the pumpkin before hand, and was actually easy to do with the spoon than the with knife. I tried both ways.

  • In the middle of this my darling husband called and said, "What're you doing?" To which I replied, "I am channeling the spirit of my prairie foremothers in preparing food from raw form with my bare hands." He said, "Sorry I asked. See you later."

    Once you have all your pumpkin scooped and the part you want to keep (that's the mushy soft part between the rind and the guts, okay?) put all the "keep" pumpkin in the gallon sized ziplock and throw it in the fridge overnight. Throw the rind and guts away in an manner you wish (compost pile, garbage, pig slop, neighbors' doorstep).

    The next day:
    The Making of the Pie:
    A text to Mom: Pie. Directions.

    The resulting ingredients and directions were:
    1 1/2 cups pumpkin
    2 eggs
    1/2 cup sugar
    dash of salt
    small can of evaporated milk (5oz I think)
    about a teaspoon total of pumpkin pie spice or a mix of cinnamon and nutmeg (I used almost 2teaspoons)

    Bake about 45 minutes at 400 degrees. It's done when a knife comes out moist from steam but not gooy with pumpkin.

    This makes ONE pie. You can double it for two. It's good.

    To do all this I started with the pumpkin and the eggs in the bowl and beat them to total mush with the mixed. Then I added the sugar, etc and beat it. The mix is runny when you're done (I was concerned but Mom assured me it was fine). It does set up just fine in the oven, so no real cause for alarm.

    I cheated and used a STORE BOUGHT CRUST. This is because I was leaving for a 34hr trip to Parris Island, South Carolina the next morning and was also baking an applie crump-topped pie and a spiral sliced ham. I can make pie crust. I can make really good pie crust. I just chose not to. Don't judge me.

    Bake your pie; let it cool while you run to the grocery for a small container of heavy whipping cream. Do not eat Cool Whip, it will kill you. I never understand people who buy Cool Whip "cause it's easier." Heavy whipping cream is $1.48 at Walmart. You need about 1/4 cup of white sugar, a clean mixing bowl and cold beaters and 4 minutes. How hard is this?

    So if you want to put whipped cream on your pie:

  • Toss your metal beaters in the freezer for 5-10mins.
  • You don't have to, no, but it helps.
  • Pour cream in mixing bowl.
  • Begin to beat on speed 1 for minute or two.
  • Slowly sprinkle about half your sugar in the cream. Increase speed to 2.
  • Continue to beat until it begins to thicken. Sprinkle the remaining sugar in and continue to beat until it's completely whipped and fluffy in texture.

    Enjoy! Impress your inlaws! Or, keep it all to yourself and eat it out of the pan in front of the TV. Just enjoy!