Tuesday, April 26, 2011

abominable snow cupcakes and sweet georgia

Even though it is almost May, only a week ago I was driving through a blizzard. So I think it's still topical to write about my latest cupcake adventure - the abominable snow cupcake. This is a white velvet cupcake with a hint of vanilla, baked with marshmallows. When the cupcake bakes, the marshmallows melt into the batter and infuse the cupcake with marshmallowy goodness. So fantastic! On top, a 7-minute icing and coconut. This is the first time I've done a 7-minute icing. It was delicious! Almost like melted marshmallows, so it went well with the cupcake.
This cupcake recipe is found in my usual tome, Cupcakes Galore. However, I thought I'd give you a recipe for 7-minute icing, as it is my new favorite icing and I will be using it again!

7-Minute Icing
2 egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla

Mix egg whites, sugar and corn syrup in the top of a double boiler. Heat and whisk until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is hot. Remove from heat and beat icing for 7 minutes until it is cool and stiff peaks form. Beat in vanilla. Spread on cupcakes. Lick bowl clean!

I think you could probably replace the vanilla with a different flavour, such as orange or lavender essence, for a different taste. You could also add food colouring to give colour. Although, I do like that the icing is quite WHITE - I find buttercream icing usually takes on the colour of the butter and is more CREAM. So this is a nice, pure white icing for those situations when you really need it!

Aah, being on vacation is nice.

On another note, I visited a local yarn shop a few days ago, and for the first time encountered sweet georgia yarns. I have heard a lot about them, but never seen the yarn in person. It is true to their word, popping with colour! And so soft. Somehow, I caved, broke my "no new yarn" rule and bought the most expensive yarn I've ever bought. CashSilk Lace. 45% cashmere and 55% silk. o.m.g. It is so amazing!The colour is "ginger". I bought it on impulse, so I don't know quite what to do with it. However, it deserves something really special. I'll have to think about it. And squish it lots.

Friday, April 22, 2011

pysanky

I am not Ukrainian, nor do I celebrate Easter. However, there is a tradition in my family to make Ukrainian Easter Eggs (or Pysanky) every spring, to go along with the chocolate bunnies and cadbury creme eggs -- yum!

This year, due to the hiatus between jobs, I had lots of time. In fact, I had time to make 4 different eggs. My first was a little rough, trying to get back into the swing of it:
The second I did not plan in advance but just tried to make it up as I went along. This did not go very well:
The third I am quite happy with. This time, I got my inspiration from a finished egg I found on the internet. I wanted to do a paisley egg. The colours didn't turn out quite like I planned, but I think it still looks pretty good:
Finally, the fourth I made for a friend. I decided to try something different and do a more modern take on the pysanka. I really like the result! I will definitely try something like this again:
Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

3-needle bind off

I've been working on my geodesic cardigan recently, and today I finished the body. The next instruction: join the shoulders using a 3-needle bind off. Time to learn something new!

As soon as I heard "3 needle", I was sure it was something complicated. But after a quick google search, I discovered it's actually easy as pie! Here are a couple of good resources I was able to find that taught me everything I needed to know about a 3-needle bind off! The first one is a youtube video by Planet Purl, and the second is a knitty tutorial from Techniques with Theresa for those of you that prefer the written instructions.

I took a couple pictures because I thought the result was really neat. From the right side, it is a very neat and even seam:From the wrong side, a very even ridge is created. Since this is a lace weight yarn, the ridge is barely noticeable. You can see it right where my thumb is: What a great new skill to learn, so easy and yet will improve my knitting in many ways!

On a different note, the pictures show very clearly an issue I've been wondering about. I used two different kettle dyed skeins for this project, and in the first picture, you can clearly see the two different shades. When I look at the cardigan, I can see a very distinct line between the two skeins, at about armpit height. I don't believe that it will be very obvious once it is on, but these pictures confirmed my suspicion that it really is there!

Only the sleeves left to knit. Hopefully it will be done this spring sometime!

Saturday, April 02, 2011

new spring patterns

The 2 feet of snow that just fell (and continues to fall) in Calgary wouldn't signify it, but it is now April! And something lovely happened on April 1st. And no, it wasn't an April Fools prank. It was the release of the Spring/Summer 2011 edition of the twist collective. Now, although I've yet to knit anything from this publication, I have many patterns in my favorites list, and thoroughly enjoy perusing the online magazine whenever it comes out. So I thought I'd post the two patterns that immediately caught my eye and were added to that list - for when I get some knitting time again!

The first is Devonshire by Pam Powers.As you may have guessed by now, I am a huge fan of cardigans, and of lace. This is a nice simple cardigan with lace detail. And when you turn around - surprise!More lace!

The second pattern is a blanket pattern called Sunbreak by Margaret Mills. I love that it is yellow. It is so sunshiney and fun! I'd love to do this in a bulky weight yarn - I think it would be a fast knit and a nice throw for around the house. Or a picnic!

I guess while I'm talking about new patterns, I should bring up the Summer 2011 issue of Knitscene. This is another one of my favorite magazines, and I can always find at least one pattern that I absolutely love. This time, it is the Vergennes Pullover by Amy Christoffers.
Love it. And for once it's not a cardigan, which would be a nice change for me! I was thinking I had the perfect yarn in my stash for it, but it uses a sport weight and mine is more of a lace/fingering weight so I think I'll probably have to ... buy more yarn! I have been doing pretty good this year, I don't think I've purchased anything yet and I'm still working my way through my WIPs, so soon I will allow myself to pick one of these new projects and get some new yarn!

And of course, on a post regarding knitting magazines, I can't forget Interweave Knits. I usually love the spring issue (most items I've made have been from spring issues) but the Spring 2011 issue was underwhelming to me. However, there was one pattern that caught my eye and has apparently been very popular in the raverly community as well - the Ruched Yoke Tee by AnneLena Mattison.Very cute.

As for my WIPs, I am still working on the geodesic cardigan. I'm getting closer - have finished the back and left front, and almost done the right front. After that, it's just sleeves! However, I did notice that the second skein of kettle dyed yarn that I am using for this cardigan has a different hue from the first. So in certain lights, it looks like the bottom of the sweater is a different shade from the top. A bit odd. I'm hoping that you won't notice this once it's on!

Well that's all for now. I can't wait to get my stash back - it is currently on a truck somewhere in the US midwest - and start some more spring projects! I'm thinking purple socks ...