Friday, April 25, 2008

Making bread the easy way!

I know, this is not a knitting post and belongs in hakucho's kitchen, but I just had to share with you my latest bread making experience. I found out about this super easy technique for making this bread in my ravelry group Bread and Yarn. Does that make it count as a knitting post now that you know that?The recipe for this delicious, wonderful, hard, crispy, crunchy, crusted artisan bread is from the book: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking.
This book contains the basics for making the bread plus a large quantity of additional recipes.

This is an incredibly easy method of baking bread with four basic ingredients: flour, water, salt and yeast. You do need a large mixing/storage container, a pizza peel and a baking stone. Although all of these things are not 100% necessary it does ensure a hard artisan crust. This bread is much better than the other No-Knead method I had tried and liked before I knew about this method. Much better...hands down! My first loaf was going well until I heard a big bang from the oven. My approximately 20 year old baking stone cracked into 4 pieces! Have no idea why that happened except for the fact the stone was so old. We ate the bread even though I had to finish baking it on the broken stone. Did this discourage me from wanting to try again?...NO....the bread was incredible!! The loaf was a little small for us, but I knew I would be baking more of this bread so I went right out and bought a replacement stone from our Williams and Sonoma outlet store for eight dollars and some change. Baking on the new stone yielded a wonderful loaf and no breakage this time. I did make a larger loaf though (hard to tell from the picture). If you want to see a video of the book's authors demonstrating the technique click here. Here's the link to their website. Here's a link for you to try the basic recipe before buying the book. I think if you try it you will be impressed. I can't wait to try more of the recipes. Yesterday I baked a loaf in a bread pan for sandwiches. Sorry no photos. My only problem now is slicing the bread. I sure wish I could afford a bakery type bread slicer like this one or even this one. I am terrible at slicing even slices. Does anyone know the secret for slicing perfect slices of homemade bread? Do you think this Rival Folding Food Slicer would do the trick? I would be so happy if I could find something that would make slicing bread easy and affordable :)

As far as knitting goes I should have something to show you soon. In addition I am working on a top secret project for a birthday present that is not a quick knit, but so far I am really enjoying working on it.

Hope you all have a nice spring weekend. Happy Knitting everyone :)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Diagonal Bee Stitch Cloth

This pattern is an easy variation of Grandmother's Favorite by using the Bee Stitch instead of garter stitch. I must give Rhonda of Knitting Knonsense fame credit for the idea for this cloth after I saw her baby blanket in her ravelry notebook. She kindly gave me permission to post the directions for this super easy pattern! Thanks Rhonda :)

Note abbreviations:
YO = yarn over
K1SB = k1 in stitch below (directions found here)
K2tog = K2 together

With worsted weight yarn,
Cast on 4 stitches with size 7 (us) needles for cloth [10 1/2 (us) for blanket]
Row 2: K2, YO, K2
Row 3: K2, YO, K3
R0w 4: K2, YO, K4
Row 5: K2, YO, K5
Row 6: K2, YO, K1, K1SB, K4
Row 7: K2, YO, Knit across
Row 8: K2, YO, K1, K1SB, k1, K1SB, K4
Row 9: K2, YO, Knit across

Continue in this manner always starting every row with K2, YO, K1 and ending every row with K4.
Odd rows: Knit across
Even rows: *(K1SB, K1 ) repeat from *

Until there are 50 stitches on your needle. (more stitches if your are making a blanket...amount of stitches will depend on desired size)
Begin decreases:
R0w 1: K1, K2tog, YO, K2tog, *(K1SB, K1) repeat from * ending K4
Row 2: K1, K2tog, YO, K2tog, knit across

Repeat these two rows until there are 4 stitches on your needle, bind off and weave in ends.

For easier printing download PDF file.

Copyright © 2008 Knitting Knonsense and hakucho, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

...finishing up my post from the other day

Yes, I did tell you I had a few more things to show you.

Another honeycomb cloth...this time a solid:
I really love this cloth. Marie made it out of self striping yarn that is awesome. Check her cloth out here.

To help Olly in her quest for different looking cloths knit diagonally, I found a few for her that look very interesting. In addition to one of my all-time favorite the diagonal ripple, which is the only one of the lot that I had done myself, here are a few I found:
Then once again in ravelry, I found Rhonda's baby blanket knit on the diagonal with bee stitch. There was no pattern as how to do it, but it was super easy to figure it out on my own. All it is grandmother's favorite, but instead of garter stitch you use the bee stitch. I felt compelled to try it out, not as a blanket but as a cloth:

First as a solid,
Then variegated,
What you end up with is a very nicely textured cloth, but it ends up being a very soft wash cloth, in fact a perfect washcloth. The knit stitch reminds me of a thermal blanket. I love it!

Since I knit baby blankets for my church using grandmother's favorite. The Deacons give them out to the babies being baptized in the church. Here is one of my most recent ones I finished:
Our prayer shawl group sews on a tiny gold cross in one of the corners. This one still needs it's cross. I have to admit, they do get to be a little bit boring.

Now I know what I am going to make for my next guess right...the diagonal bee stitch :) Oh, the possibilities, need I say more!!

Happy knitting everyone :)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Good News and a new pattern for you!

I received good news today about Elizabeth, the little girl who had a tumor removed from her chest a few weeks ago. The tumor was benign :) Her family is very thankful for the good karma all the knitted squares brought to her. I'm sure all of your prayers helped as well. I'm still praying though for her recovery. From what I have heard, her incision would make you weak in the knees. I hope and prayer she'll soon be back to what she was before the surgery and then some. She's a brave and strong little girl.

Now on the knitting front...I finished my socks.
Toe-Up Totem Socks
Please note PDF file edited 8/15/08. Minor corrections made. Sorry for any inconveniences.

This is my toe-up version of the Nutkin Sock pattern.

The short row heels and toes of the Nutkin sock pattern by Beth LaPensee for inspired my sock pattern. Beth kindly gave me permission to use her instructions in my modified pattern. Beth pointed out to me that Priscilla Gibson-Roberts originally designed this method of doing short row heels and toes. Beth found Priscilla’s instructions confusing, so she rewrote the instructions. I love this method so much and even more so when I realized that it could easily be done toe-up. By starting with a provisional cast on, a short row toe can be immediately started. From there on it’s a cinch and no kitchener’s grafting. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

The pattern stitch is ”Totem Pole” from Barbara Walker’s A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns page 254. I converted the stitch pattern to knitting in the round for these socks and Meg Swanson of Schoolhouse Press kindly gave me permission to share this stitch pattern with you.

THANK YOU, Beth and Meg :)

You can download the free pattern in PDF format from ravelry or from my design page. This is my first attempt at a sock pattern so if you find any discrepancies please let me know.

I have a few more things to show you, but I think I'll wait for another day...happy knitting :)

Friday, April 11, 2008

A New Favorite

First of all I want to thank everyone who prayed and wished Elisabeth well from my last post. Her surgery went as well as was expected, but with her chest being opened up as if it were open heart surgery, she'll have a long recovery of at least six weeks. As of Tuesday it still wasn't known if the tumor was cancerous or not. The power of prayers is powerful. I am keeping her in my prayers and hope for a good outcome. There was a huge response to the request for knitted squares and there were enough extra squares knitted so that each of her siblings would receive a patchwork pillow. Elizabeth is one of four children, so you can see there were many squares knitted.

I have found a new favorite wash/dish cloth thanks to Olly. She wrote to me this week needing a little help with this interesting pattern. When I first looked at the pattern I was stumped. I really had no intention of knitting cloths this week, but the pattern had a stitch that was very different and I had never done it before. This could only mean one thing. Drop my sock knitting, find some cotton (I must say it felt a little weird knitting with cotton again after socks. The yarn feels so FAT) and give it a try. Olly was patient, I was swamped with commitments (i.e. life) and needed a couple of days to find the time....but I did eventually. I sure was glad I did. I found a new favorite :) The first one I tried exactly as the pattern suggests using two colors:
This is a relatively quick knit with groups of three slipped, really fast. Once you get the hang out of knitting under the's really easy. The only downside was it was a bit of a pain using the two colors (3 balls of yarn). You know when I'm hooked though, because I just had to try another one...this time with a variegated yarn, couldn't help myself:
Looks much different from the two color one, right? It's the same pattern, honest. Now I want to try it with a solid color :) If you are interested in trying a new cloth pattern, I would definitely give Honeycomb Washcloth a try. ...try it you'll like it!

Now I have to finish my new pair of socks, which I am very excited and anxious to show you. Be sure and come back, because I'll be posting a new free pattern, hopefully soon. Happy Knitting :)