Friday, October 20, 2006

finished afghan

Dear Mom,
It is my hope that as you wrap in this blanket, you can know how much I love you. Not a single moment spent on even one stitch was wasted. Each wrap of the yarn around the needle was a prayer for you.

Because I could never thank you enough ...


Well, I wanted this to stay serious but because my mom has such a funny sense of humor, it can't. The pillow reads: "Maybe the Hokey Pokey really is what it's all about!" Mom was given this by a friend one Christmas and faithfully it sits in her living room. She even made a few of her own to give away to other friends the following Christmas. The afghan does not live there on the rocking chair. I don't know that it actually has any one place where it belongs. It kind of migrates around the house as far as I can tell - and that is fine with me.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Gorilla Cookies

Last month I posted a picture of my no-bake cookies (and by the way my brother in law says those are the only real "cookies" a more accurate name for the others would be bakies. He has a very yummy recipe for choco-chip cookies that we call "Sammy's Bakies"). Anyway so after I posted the picture Kim asked for a copy of my recipe. My recipe calls for evaporated milk (do they all? I don't know) and she wondered if it would work to make them with the skim variety (I didn't even know there was such a thing).

During my next trip to the grocery store I was walking down the baking isle when what to my wondering eyes should appear but a can of skim evaporated milk. Now I liked the idea of making my already adjusted recipe even less guiltful but was slightly nervous about making a blind leap from full fat milk to skim. I decided to also grab a can of 2% to try first. Those cookies met with great success, so I moved on to trying the skim milk (each can makes two batches so it took a little while before I used up all of the 2% - while I can eat 2/3 of a batch in one evening, I try not to make it a habit).

The original recipe was one my mom always made when we were growing up. It is the first treat I remember ever making on my own. They used to be called "Uncooked Peanut Butter Cookies" but were renamed by my second oldest brother who renamed pretty much everything and everyone (my third brother was once dubbed "Guybo Wheezie Kubo Sootie Weebo Sautie RAH RAH! A name that stuck, much to his chagrin. We called him Rah Rah for short).

Because I no longer use white sugar for anything (with the occasional exception of powdered sugar for frosting) I found I had to adjust the recipe to suit the changes brought on by raw sugar. My problem was that the cookies weren't setting up. One day I accidentally left out the butter and lo and behold the cookies set! Of course without butter they were a little on the dry side, so the next time I tried using half of the butter called for in the recipe. The end result was a yummy cookie. Success!

Here is my mom's recipe with a few changes:

Gorilla Cookies
boil together for 4 to 4.5 minutes:
2 C. raw sugar
1/2 stick butter (4 TBS?)
1/2 can evaporated milk (maybe 6 oz?)
1 T. cocoa powder

after boiling, remove from heat and add:
1/2 C. peanut butter, stirring until melted then add:

3 C. oatmeal
1 tsp vanilla
Though I didn't have any this day, I also like to add some unsweetened coconut - I'd say in the neighborhood of 1/2 cup or so.

stir until mixed - drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper and the rest is history.

Results: With the skim milk I found it took longer to set up than I am used to, but I think it is worth it in the long run.

by the way Pampered Chef makes my very favorite measuring cup for PB or honey or any of that sticky sort of thing.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Shadow Knitting - Illusion or Reality?

Ok, cheesy title. I know. Because I have a few knitting friends whom I can't help but copy nearly everything they do (knitting and otherwise) I determined to give illusion knitting a try. The particular friend who most recently brought this cool technique to mind does not have a knitting blog but her mom and sister do. A while back her sister knit a really cool scarf. While I admired it greatly, I did not think I could ever pull off such a knitting feat. This was, after all, almost a year ago (can I say that when it was actually only 10 months ago?). I am much less knitting timid with all the practice I've had this year.

So recently when this friend started talking about doing some illusion knitting of her own ... well. It got the better of me and I decided to see if I could figure it out.

Now I really don't learn well by reading. It makes little to no sense to me. Knowing this about myself I picked a simple heart cloth (pdf) with written instructions (the charts brought on nothing but stress and confusion). It only took a few hours to knit this and the girls and I are really pleased with how it turned out. Even my husband was impressed!

I decided to use some very old fingering weight acrylic and give it to my daughter to be used as a blanket for her little tiny dolls. It was a lot easier than I imagined and now that I have got the hang of it, I think I may be ready to make up my own shadow knitting pattern! What shall I knit? ...

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Tiger says Muu(Muu)

Now I admit that "muu" is not normally what you would hear coming out of a full-grown cat - perhaps a kitten, but even then it is more of a "mew". At any rate... a fellow knitting blogger and I were having a bit of a chat about our cats (cats, ya gotta love 'em!) when she suggested we knit sweaters for our (uh-hem) darling feline friends. It reminded me of my childhood when, much to our brothers' chagrin my sisters and I would dress our family cat (named Barkley after the dog on Sesame Street - it suited him as he considered himself at least as tough as any dog) in our doll clothes, including booties (how were we to know he'd slide all over the kitchen floor?). What self-respecting male cat (pure black even) would be subject to such humiliating and degrading acts?

Meet Tiger (please forgive the slightly blurry picture - I had to sneak in my daughter's bedroom and take this in the pitch black). She is a little over five years old and was born in the closet of my daughters' room. She is pretty lazy, despite the name. She's a good mouser though, as we've never had a single rodent in the house (well once I thought I heard one, but it was soon gone, so I assume it either never existed or Tiger got it). She has left us a few rodent gifts at the back door. Once she tried playing with a black widow (*shudder*) but thankfully quickly realized she wanted nothing to do with the creepy black thing and backed away allowing my husband to kill it instead. Tiger doesn't care much for children, but does know her place as pet. We feed her, change her litter box and don't allow her to abused. In turn she allows the girls to play with her sometimes never meowing just occasionally shooting her death glare around the room. If looks could kill...

So about the muu muu you ask? Get to the point? Ok I will (I really should go wash the dishes anyway). I did a little search on my favorite free pattern site: Knitting Pattern Central under pets and found they have recently added a pattern for a cat muumuu.

So what do you say Knit a Little, do you think Roland (scroll down a bit for his picture) is man enough for a muumuu?

Ok, perhaps I'll keep looking for a cat sweater...