Lately: Early March Edition

I recently took a cheese-making class and learned how to make mozzarella and ricotta. And you know what? It's surprisingly easy! The most important thing is to get the temperature of the milk right. (Our first batch of mozzarella failed because the milk wasn't warm enough.) I'm already dreaming of making pizza this summer with fresh cheese and just-picked tomatoes and basil from our garden.

Valentine's weekend I made a really amazing dessert. It's rich and chocolate-ly and very easy to put together. I followed this recipe for Chocolate Pot de Créme and used Lindt Excellence 70% Cocoa for the chocolate. I think using high-quality chocolate is key. 

Photo by Tieghan Gerard.

And speaking of chocolate, I found a new favorite. I normally don't buy flavored chocolate so I'm not sure what possessed me to buy this but I'm so glad that I did!

I've been bit hard by the travel bug. Maybe I'm just sick of winter and ready to get out of town but I can't seem to stay off of travel sites these days. My husband says I have to finish putting together photo books from our last 2 vacations before he'll take me somewhere new. Arg! I guess that's pretty good motivation to get them done. We may go back to Glacier National Park this summer. Or we may take a 6 day rafting trip somewhere. Wouldn't that be amazing?! I have my eye on a float trip down the Salmon River in Idaho. 

photo from oars.com

Do you have any fun trips planned for the summer? I would love to hear!


Yarn Along: Wrapped Up Finished

I'm linking up with Ginny for this week's Yarn Along.

FO: Wrapped Up Poncho
I finished my poncho in time to wear it to the Madison Knit-In last Saturday! I am in love with how this knit turned out. I think the long stripes in the Colorflow yarn worked perfectly for this project. The funny thing is that I didn't get one comment on the poncho but I got about 15 compliments on my tote bag which was the first thing that I ever knit 6 years ago. 
Pattern: Wrapped Up by Susanne Sommer
Yarn: Blackberry Ridge Colorflow Yarn in colorway Santa Fe and Cascade 220 in colorway 8013 Walnut Heather (I think! Lost the tag for the 220.)

And here's my haul from the Knit-In. I had a list all made out ahead of time with yarns/rovings that I needed for upcoming projects and I'm proud of myself for sticking to it. The only impulse buy was the Silk/Bluefaced Leicester roving (the blue & green one) from River's Edge Fiber Arts. As I was on my way out of the Knit-In I checked the door prize chart and I won a gift certificate to River's Edge so of course I had to go back in and spend it!

The Quince & Co. Chickadee yarn will become a Madalynn cowl. The Yarn Hollow rovings will become a Freeport vest. And the River's Edge Chunky Monkey yarn will be a Tilled Scarf. I can't wait to get started!

What are you knitting/reading?


Yarn Along: Wrapped Up Scoop

I'm linking up with Ginny for this week's Yarn Along.

Knitting: Wrapped Up Poncho
This Saturday I'm going to the Madison Knit-In. Two weeks ago when I decided I was going to go to the event I thought, "Wouldn't it be fun to have a new knit to wear?" I've had the Colorflow Yarn in my stash for years and have been looking for the perfect project for the long, slow color changes. Found it! I should finish the poncho tonight or tomorrow - just in time to wear on Saturday! I don't think I'll have time to block it but I really don't think it will need it. Is anyone else out there going to be at the Knit-In?
Pattern: Wrapped Up by Susanne Sommer
Yarn: Blackberry Ridge Colorflow Yarn in colorway Santa Fe and Cascade 220 in colorway 8013 Walnut Heather (I think! Lost the tag for the 220.)

This top-down poncho has an i-cord tab cast on. I swear I had to watch the YouTube video 5 times to get the hang of the cast on. Good to learn something new, though.

Reading: Scoop by Jeff Miller
Two middle-aged guys leave their successful careers in London to revitalize and run an ice cream shop and a bed & breakfast in Hayward, Wisconsin in the middle of the Northwoods. At times I have dreamed of owning an ice cream parlor and a B&B (but not at the same time!) so I'm enjoying the read. Plenty of colorful characters keep the story interesting. Typical small-town Wisconsin life. The B&B is still in operation but it's up for sale. I'm curious to see if that is revealed in the book or if I can pick up on any impending doom.          

What are you knitting/reading this week?


Yarn Along: Awful Yarn - HELP!

I'm linking up with Ginny for this week's Yarn Along.

Knitting: Hannah Jacket
I need some advice on what to do with this awful yarn. Sure, it looks pretty but my fingers turn black every time I knit with it. I'm really worried that all of the pretty color will wash right out. Is there any way to set dye in a yarn? It's 100% cotton. I've never run into this before. I'm beginning to realize why the yarn was so cheap...
Pattern: Hannah Jacket by Nikki Van De Car
Yarn: Newton's Yarn Country Softball Chunky

Reading: In the Company of Others by Jan Karon
Still working my way through this lovely book that's set in Ireland. I'm beginning to wonder what the "journal" has to do with the rest of the story. Those sections are really starting to bore me. Has anyone else read the book? Does the journal mean something in the end? I hope so!

FO: Lily Cardigan
It only took me 2 years but I finally finished my first knit garment! I picked this pattern because it has a very relaxed fit and I was panicky that I would put so much time into knitting something only to have it too small. The cardigan turned out a little big but I'm okay with that. It wears like a comfy sweatshirt. I really like the flower details around the yoke. 
Pattern: Lily by Lene Holme Samsøe
Yarn: Cascade 220 Heathers in colorway 2425 Provence
Buttons: GreenEarth by La Mode (50-60% recycled plastic) bought at JoAnn Fabrics

You'll notice that one side is longer than the other. I know I knit the same number of rows so I'm contributing that to bad blocking. I was just so excited to wear it for the first time that I didn't want to re-block it.

What are you knitting/reading this week?


Wednesday Welcome Home

January 28th, 2015 at 5:15 p.m.
I love the purple and red sunsets of winter. 

The snowmobile trail runs down the length of the road alongside our barn. This winter has been quiet. Not enough snow. I would love to get out snowshoeing. Just may have to take a trip up north in order to do so.


Yarn Along: Sunnyside Company

I'm linking up with Ginny for this week's Yarn Along.

Knitting: Baby Sunnyside
I just finished my Baby Sunnyside cardigan that was supposed to be done in October for the KAL. Oops. Just a little bit behind schedule... In any case, I'm glad I slacked off on the project because Christian gave me those perfect pottery buttons for Christmas. I was really excited when I sewed them on and exclaimed, "Isn't this just the cutest thing you've ever seen?!!" Christian intoned, "Yes, dear." He just doesn't get excited about knitting like I do.
Pattern: Sunnyside by Tanis Lavallee (free on Rav)
Yarn: Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label Fingering in Colorway Chestnut
Buttons: sheppardhandmade

Reading: In the Company of Others by Jan Karon
This is my first Karon book and I've been wondering why I haven't read some of her books before! The Irish accents really come through in the dialogue and I love that! And the sense of place... [SIGH]

Every winter my little library has an adult reading program called Biblio Bingo. Participants receive a bingo sheet and each square is a reading category. In order to get a stamp on your sheet, you have to read a book in that category (the librarians have pre-selected the books that qualify). Once you get 4 in a row, you receive a prize (mug, tote, notepads, etc.) and are entered into the drawing to win a gift basket. I've never read Karon before but this book was in one of the Bingo categories so I picked it up. And, that's the whole purpose of this reading program - to introduce readers to new authors. Pretty cool!

What are you knitting/reading?


Yarn Along: The Great Sand Fracas Cowl

I'm linking up with Ginny for this week's Yarn Along.

Knitting: Chunky Lace Cowl
When I first started knitting this cowl I cast on 121 stitches. I quickly realized that I wouldn't be able to get a wide enough cowl out of just two skeins of Bazinga. So, I frogged the cowl, CO 105 stitches, and added trim in Pima Silk. My hope is that the cowl is still long enough to wrap it twice around your neck. Time will tell!
Pattern: Chunky Mochi Lace Cowl by Barbara Breiter & Susan Druding (free on Rav)
Yarn: Cascade Yarns Pima Silk in Colorway Regal and Plymouth Yarn Bazinga in Colorway Lime Grape.

Reading: The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County: A Novel by Jerry Apps
This book could have been written about my own town as we have been trying to stop a frac sand mine from coming into our community for over 2 years now. Actually, the fictional town of Link Lake is located in the same neck of the woods that my Wisconsin town is so it's really fun for me to read about the nearby places. The author has done a great job at portraying some of the tactics that these rich mining companies use to gain favor in a community: sending in a frontman to scope things out, contributing money to local events, promising to be a good neighbor and bring jobs to the community, trying to get their operation up and running before much opposition can mount, etc. It all hits very close to home. Apps is not the best writer but he does tell a good story.

What are you knitting/reading this week?