In My Life, I've Loved Them All

DIY Chunky Knit Scarf II

This is the same pattern as my 1st cowl, but I cast on 5 Extra stitches so it would be a little looser…

You can find the original pattern with step by step instructions (and videos tutorials) in my Post DIY Chunky Knit Cowl- A step by Step Guide.

If you’re on Ravelry, you can find the project here: DIY Chunky Cowl II

For this cowl, I knit with Lion Brand Yarn – Homespun Thick and Quick Yarn in Pearls.

It is still a Super Bulky (6) yarn, but instead of being dense, it’s a standard yarn that is crinkled/ruffled to make it bulky. This bumpy yarn is a litter bit harder to knit (for a beginner).

The texture of the finished cowl is so soft and interesting, and much lighter.  Ok, technically only 10 grams lighter, but it seems much more air-y.


Chunky Knit Cowl in Pearls

The yarn technically calls for Size 15 needles… But I only have 13 and 17.  The size 13 needles worked out just fine.

I skein of Homespun Thick and Quick is 227 grams, and I only used 150 grams for this cowl… so even if your gauge is a bit different than mine, you should only need to buy 1 skein.

I also ordered the Bulky Yarn Tapestry Needles... they have a big eye and are slightly bent at the point… little features that make the task of weaving so easy!

Supplies used:

 

   

Here is the basic pattern:

 

Cast on 45 stitches.
Knit 4 rows in stockinette stitch.
Increase 1 stitch. Knit 4 rows in stockinette stitch
Repeat ** until you have 50 stitches on your needle.
Bind Off.
Sew seam.

Let me know if you’ve had any success with other Chunky Knit patterns!  I’ll be sure to add them to my Pinterest board!

 

Follow Cindy’s board Yarn Projects and How-Tos on Pinterest.

DIY Chunky Knit Cowl- A Step by Step Guide

I finished my airplane-ride-to-Charlotte knitting project!  As in I DIDN’T just throw the half/completed project on a shelf to finish at a later date!

Done.
Ready to wear.
Except, it is 104° outside.


Chunky Knit Cowl

I am a slow knitter, so it’s just as well.  If I’d waited until it actually was cold to start, who know’s if I’d finish it before Spring!  On that note, ANYONE who wants to give handmade gifts over the holidays should probably start now (if you haven’t already).  That way you wont get crazy overwhelmed come December!

This is a nice, easy to remember pattern… so it’s a great project for travel!  Knitting needles are OK to carry on to a plane, and the supplies are not too cumbersome.  I love the look of chunky knitting, which is great because it make the project finish up fast!

If you’re on Ravelry, you can find the project here:  http://www.ravelry.com/projects/inmylife99/diy-chunky-cowl

Here is the basic pattern:

Cast on 40 stitches
Knit 4 rows in stockinette stitch.
Increase 1 stitch. Knit 4 rows in stockinette stitch
Repeat ** until you have 50 stitches on your needle.
Bind Off.
Sew seam.

I’ve broken it down here (with YouTube tutorials) for knitters like me that need to be reminded of the basics from time to time!


The Supplies


2 skeins* of Super Bulky Yarn (Pictured is Lion Brand Hometown USA in Dallas Grey)
Size 13 Knitting Needles
Large Tapestry Needle **

*Depending on your gauge, maybe you could complete this project with 1 skien.
I needed yarn from a second for the last few rows, to have enough yarn to stitch the seam, and to weave in the ends.

** I did not have a needle big enough for the bulky yarn, so I used a crochet hook to weave the seam together.  It worked fine, but probably took 3x longer than if I’d just used a needle.

   

Cast on 40 stitches


I like the Long-Tail Cast-On method. It reminds me of a sling-shot.

 

Knit 4 rows in stockinette stitch.


This means knit the 1st row, pearl the 2nd row, knit the third row, pearl the 4th row.

 

Increase 1 stitch. Knit 4 rows in stockinette stitch


You are adding 1 stitch to the beginning of the 5th row. This is where a YouTube demonstration comes in handy (starts at 25second mark).
Then just continue knitting 4 rows of stockinette.

 

Repeat ** until you have 50 stitches on your needle.


You will increase again at the start of the 9th, 13, 17, 21… etc row and continue knitting in stockinette.
Stop when you hit 50 stitches on your needle (aka the end of the 40th row).

 

Bind Off.


This is how you get your work off your needles.
This bound off edge will end up being the bottom of your cowl.
Stockinette knits naturally want to roll, so if the edge doesn’t look perfect, no one will know!

 

Sew seam.


The edges you are sewing together are the sides that were never on the needles (aka NOT the cast on/bind off edges).
Here, a mattress stitch looks great! It’s practically invisible from the front.
This is where a tapestry needle with a big eye would come in handy!

That’s it!  Now you are all set with a pretty Cowl for when the weather gets chilly!

Let me know if you’ve had any success with other Chunky Knit patterns!  I’ll be sure to add them to my Pinterest board!
 

Follow Cindy’s board Yarn Projects and How-Tos on Pinterest.

Playing in the Kitchen: Cake for Breakfast! Blueberry Buckle [Coffee Cake]

Hooray! It’s that time of year when berries are in season!

Right now, a pint of Blueberries is only $1 at Kroger (as opposed to $4-5 during the winter). Luckily, berries freeze well, so it’s a good time to stock up. By comparison, the same amount of “Kroger brand” blueberries bought in the freezer section cost $3.79.

Alton Brown recommends freezing your blueberry pie filling for extra juiciness upon baking.

You can also throw frozen berries in your breakfast smoothie, if that’s your thing.

MY personal favorite is a Blueberry Muffin!
Especially the ones at la madeleine... which I seriously want to replicate at home.

Blueberries are superfoods, so these are super muffins, no?

For a Blueberry Muffin in cake form, I’ve discovered the Blueberry Buckle (also recommended by Alton Brown). Buckle is an old-fashioned term for Coffee Cake. Which means this delicious dessert is perfectly suitable for breakfast or brunch. Or after dinner.
Whenever you want cake. #NoJudgement


Blueberry Buckle Coffee Cake

I need to try this particular version a few more times before it becomes my go-to blueberry muffin-cake recipe. But at least I can guarantee you it will make your home smell heavenly when it’s baking. AND it only takes 1 egg (with stores rationing eggs, a low-egg recipe is seriously good news to any baker).

Blueberry Buckle

Ingredients:
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup Crisco vegetable shortening
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups blueberries

Topping:
1/2 cup sugar (I used brown sugar)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup butter, cubed (1/2 a stick)

Glaze:
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbsp milk, more if needed

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Prepare Topping:
In a bowl combine topping dry ingredients (sugar, cinnamon, flour).
Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or 2 knives until dry ingredients have combined well with the butter. If the butter is soft, you can use your fingers. There should be little clumps without a lot of extra loose flour mixture.
Refrigerate topping while you make the batter.

Prepare Batter:
Using a stand-mixer, combine sugar and shortening until well blended (3-5 minutes).
Add in egg and mix until combined.
Add milk and vanilla extract. Mix again.

Sift dry ingredients together in a separate bowl.

Gradually mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients.

Remove bowl from mixer. Gently fold in the blueberries with a spoon (try not to let the berries burst).
The batter will be very thick.

Put in a greased 8×8 or 9×9 inch baking pan and press batter out to the corners of the pan.

Remove topping from refrigerator and sprinkle evenly over top of the cake batter.

Bake for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

While cake is cooling on a wire rack, mix up the ingredients for a glaze, adding milk 1Tbsp at a time until it reaches the desired consistency. If it gets too wet and runny, add more sugar. Cover glaze until cake cools.

After cake has cooled completely, use a spoon and drizzle the glaze over top of the cake.


Enjoy your delicious breakfast [coffee] cake!

If you try this recipe, please let me know what you think! If you have a great blueberry muffin recipe, I’d love to know that too. Comment below are send me a message.

Be an Advocate for Craft Beer in Texas

It has come to my attention that many of the Craft Beer Bars in Houston, including The Petrol Station, Flying Saucer, Hay Merchant, and Mongoose versus Cobra are removing some wonderful craft beers from their menus… for the time being.

These local establishments are now boycotting the distributor Silver Eagle (“The Budweiser Distributor”). This means that Craft Beers like Saint Arnold, Karbach, Sierra, Firestone, and 8th wonder will not be available (see post by The Petrol Station).

Oktoberfest - Houston Craft BeerOriginally, my family was so happy when Saint Arnold started contracting with Silver Eagle for distribution. It meant we could purchase or favorite Houston Craft Beer at the local grocery store…they were going there to drop of Budweiser anyway, now Saint Arnold was on the truck too!   This eliminated our 30-60 min trip to a liquor store closer to Houston proper for our craft beer.

According to The Petrol Station, ABI (Budweiser) raised their keg deposits to Silver Eagle to $70 because kegs shells were going missing from large accounts (stadiums, kegs sold to individuals from retailers). So in the last 5 years, Silver Eagle has raised their keg deposits from $25 to $60 ($70 by September). Now small Craft Beer businesses are bearing the weight of mistakes made by the Macro Businesses. Hence the boycott.

It is about more than just beer drinkers wanting beer. Replace “beer” with any other commodity (like coffee?  Or widgets?).

It’s about Big Businesses dominating the marketplace and crippling small businesses.


The Beer industry in Texas is already a complex legislative issue.  Owning a Microbrewery, Craft Brewery, or BrewPub is a lot more of a challenge here than other states… possibly any other state!

Here is an incredibly interesting read from the State’s Comptroller’s Office.

Know the facts and become and Advocate for Craft Beer in Texas!

For decades in Texas, by law, a business could only be a brewer, distributor, or retailer of beer (1 of 3 tiers). What does this mean? If you are AT A CRAFT BREWERY, you cannot buy any beer to take home. The beer must go to a distributor, then a retailer, then your home.

Legislation to change this is constantly blocked in Texas courts by, guess who, lobbyists for beverage giants like Budweiser.

There have been recent changes to let “BrewPubs” (hybrid retail drinking/dining business like FreeTail Brewing) self-distribute. This means they can sell 10,000 barrels per year directly to a retailer without using a distributor (like Silver Eagle).

However, they must sell their beer to distributors and buy it back to sell it at remote, unlicensed locations, such as fairs and other public events.

Craft Breweries without “pubs” (aka Production or packaging breweries) can now sell up to 5,000 barrels a year directly to consumers, but for on-premises consumption. Sorry folks, no growlers to take home.

There are businesses, like Whole Foods or The Petrol Station, that will fill a growler of Craft Beer for you. As long as a distributor brings it to them.

Did you know neither brewpubs nor production breweries in Texas can sell their distribution rights. Texas is the ONLY state with this restriction in law.

And a Bill has been introduced to DECREASE the amount of Beer a microbrewery (defined as a brewery that does not exceed 125,000 barrels) could self-distribute from 40,000 barrels to 5,000 barrels.

For the Brewery that sells 18,000 barrels a year, this will hurt.  For reference, Budweiser sells about 16 million a year. Side Note: Anheuser-Busch used to sell 50 million a year (back in 1998).

There is this convoluted, archaic, 3 tier system in Texas that needs to adjust to the current market landscape. A place where mainstream beers and craft beers can be served side by side in peace.  *Sigh* Don’t they realize there are enough beer drinkers to go around?


Before Prohibition, every small town had their own local brewery, usually next door to the town bakery (since they used virtually the same ingredients). Beers had regional differences in taste.  The Craft Beer Industry is trying to keep the uniqueness and diversity alive.

I don’t just “like beer” or “drink beer.”
I’m an enthusiast.
I’m an advocate.
I’m concerned for the wellbeing of the microbrewery, craft breweries, and independent retailers that keep the Industry unique. Small businesses provide differentiation and competition in the marketplace. Competition is good. And there is more to [beer] life than Bud Lite.

CHEERS!



BONUS 


The historical significance of beer is quite fascinating. If you are looking for an interesting documentary, I highly recommend How Beer Saved The World. It’s on Netflix, it’s not too long, and it’s educational… so add it to your queue today!  The oldest written recipe: Beer.  Louis Pasteur developed the pasteurization process for…. Beer! (you thought it was milk didn’t you?). Why did the Pilgrims land at Plymouth Rock?   They ran out of beer (100% true).  So, essentially the World as we know it would be completely different if it weren’t for Beer!


Do you have a Craft Beer you think I should try?  I particularly like Reds and Browns (more malty, less hoppy)...

 

For the Love of Penguins, a $1 Birthday Wish

Hello!

This may come as a shock… but I LOVE penguins!

For my Birthday, I am fundraising for World Wildlife Fund.  I have been a supporter of WWF for over a decade.  It’s such a worthwhile organization deeply committed to protecting the future of our natural world.

Birthday Wish Penguin Collage- small 

Donate Button

 

I am asking for a $1 donation Birthday wish!

With every dollar donated, we are helping the Penguins!  And Polar Bears. And Tigers.  And Elephants. And countless other species we are sharing the world with.

Your support will benefit WWF’s mission to conserve the great outdoors and reduce the most pressing threats to the diversity of life on this Big Blue Marble we call home.

Thanks you in advance for donating to a cause near and dear to my heart!

wwf_penguins

PayPal or CC accepted
World Wildlife Fund is a 501©(3) charitable organization

Please Visit http://wwf.worldwildlife.org/goto/InMyLife

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