Sunday, September 6, 2009

A Little Gift for a New Arrival

So, my friend Megan from college just had a little girl (Renee--isn't that lovely?), and given that Megan works for a rock-and-roll kind of place, I know this is going to be one hip little chick. Pastels? Pinks and ruffles? Not for this kid. Think ACDC and Megadeth tee-shirts, sized to show off a little bellybutton action. Lucky for me, I found some grape-a-licious yarn at my favorite little yarn shop in Roberts, WI. Located on the railroad tracks, it is called Color Crossing. Isn't that great? Everytime I go there I drool over the floor-to-ceiling crates of yarn. And I mean, crates! Too bad my yarn budget is strained by house payments. Anyway, this yarn is called Jelly Beens by Plymouth Yarn. The pattern is a free one I found at It is called Jimmy's First Sweater Set, and includes the little cardigan as shown, a hat and a pair of booties. The little sweater took two balls, so if you wanted to make the accessories I think you'd need at least one more, but probably two. I modified the pattern a little. I really don't like picking up stitches along necklines and front sides of a cardigan. Somehow, it ends up looking messy and too tightly knit on me. So, I broke out a trusty crochet hook and crocheted a couple rows of edge along the neckline and sides. Don't forget to make your button holes when you do this! I always get crochet-happy and seem to forget little things like that... I had found funky buttons up at Bargain Bill's (they have a HUGE bin full of buttons, one cent each) but when I looked for them, I had put them in such a safe place I couldn't find them. I had daisy buttons left from a project, and I think they look darn cute. Even a rock-and-roll baby needs a little flower power now and then. My little sweater only took an afternoon to make, which is great when you've procrastinated on a gift and the receipient has already arrived to the party! It did need a bit of blocking, I think mostly because it is a small item and done in stockinette stitch which gets curly at the edges. As soon as it dries, I'll stuff it into a priority mail box and off it goes to Brooklyn! The best part is, the kid won't have outgrown it before it shows up. Now that is good baby gifting!

Friday, September 4, 2009

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

Well, maybe his smaller cousin at least. My pumpkins are fat and orange and the stems are drying out--a sure sign that they are ready to harvest! So this evening I decided to save a medium sized one from an imminent slug attack and hauled my golden treasure inside. It was tricky but it did fit on my antique kitchen scale, and weighed in at 17.5 pounds. This is my first attempt at growing pumpkins, and being a fan of many things girly (pink, floral fabrics, shiny baubles and glittery chandeliers) I decided to grow Cinderella pumpkins. They are gorgeous! I have 10 more in the garden, and while I am not sure that they will make it to harvest--slugs and stem rot seem to like to wage war in my patch--I have one that is THREE times the size of the one pictured. Isn't that exciting?? In any case, these pumpkins not only look lovely and as though they were pulled from the pages of a fairy tale, but they are also good eating. Shortly after its photogenic debut, I hacked this orange monster apart, scooped seeds and pithy flesh, and wedged it all into my turkey roaster. It is now happily simmering away in a 400 degree oven, and in an hour I should have it soft enough to make oodles of pumpkin puree. I plan to bag it in 2 cup portions and hide it in the freezer to be reincarnated as pumpkin bars, pumpkin soup, pumpkin scones, pumpkin spice cookies, and more wonderful treats. I just love harvest time!