Tuesday, December 29, 2009

more handknits in action

As the temperature plunges, more handknit gifts are seeing action! It warms the cockles of my heart, I tell you.

My friend sent me a photo of her little girl snuggled up in the Diagonal Stripes Blanket that I knit. (details on Ravelry)
One of the Owl Tuques is also seeing some serious use! I knit this one for Paul's coworker's little guy.
I knit the 6-month size, which apparently works OK for a 2-month old with the brim turned up. The Swish Bulky is very soft and cushy. I've knit 3 of these already, and I'll most definitely be making even more.

Monday, December 28, 2009

(there and back again) again

Look who packed her bag for a Christmas trip to Milwaukee
My, what a large suitcase for such a small creature!

Paul had the perfect opportunity to model some handknits:
Yep, we trekked up to Green Bay for the Packers/Seahawks game yesterday. There's nothing like outdoor football on an 18-degree day!
Cheeseheads right in front of us, of course.

Alas, I ran out of green yarn for a hat for me, so I stuck with my trusty Unoriginal Hat and Just Enough Ruffles scarf combo. Blue Moon Fiber Arts Leticia is some warm stuff. I may have made my hat a wee bit too snug, though, as it tends to migrate northwards and give me a gnome-like appearance.

Wishing you peace, joy, love, and adventure in 2010!
~ Jodi

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

more mmmmalabrigo goodness

What's cozier on a chilly winter day than a Malabrigo neckwarmer? I knit a Thermis for barefoot rooster for parcel #2 from my long-ago 3rd blogiversary giveaway. Here's a modeled shot, ganked from her blog:
Pattern: Thermis, by Kris Patay (rav)
Yarn: Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Sweet Grape, .75 skein
Needles: egads, I've forgotten already (note to self: take notes)
Size: s/m

Notes: Super soft and cozy! Perfect for cold weather – more like a warm neck gaitor than a decorative cowl.
The cushy thermal stitch pattern was so fabulous that I knit up a thermal scarf for Paul for Christmas. We exchanged gifts last night, so I can unveil it!

Yarn: Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd's Wool, Sage, 2 skeins
Needles: US 8

Notes: Man, is it a challenge to knit a 6-foot long scarf in secret! I've been knitting like a fiend on this one -- hence the late-afternoon marathons of Tivo-ed Bones . Whenever I heard Paul's key in the door, I stuffed it in my knitting bag or hid it under a blanket on the sofa. Turns out he never suspected a thing...

Thermal Scarf Recipe

CO 42 (or any multiple of 4 + 2)

Rows 1-2: K all sts
Rows 3-4: K2, P2 ribbing - end K2

End after completing a Row 1. Bind off knitwise.

I'll post modeled photos soon.
I picked up the Shepherd's Wool yarn at Stitches Midwest in 2007. It's a great value, especially when you factor in the generous yardage (250 yds), cushy feel, and almost local origin (Michigan). On a side note, I was not a big fan of Stitches, and I don't think I'll return. Even though the vendors were quite nice and there was a wide array of yarn and sundries, convention centers are my idea of hell. I'm sticking to the outdoor fiber festivals as much as possible.

Monday, December 21, 2009

happy solstice!

God jul, as my ancestors would say!The tree is up, cookies are baked, most of the shopping and wrapping is done, and it's officially winter break. Hurray! There's even a Yule party on my agenda for tonight. I still have at least two knitting projects to finish for Christmas, though, so it's not exactly smooth sailing, but close enough.
With Paul's extended family we do a drawing for a holiday gift exchange. I managed to draw the name of a dear family friend who is a doctor and owns a villa in Italy. What do you buy a man who owns an Italian villa? I ended up putting together an odyssey of syrahs from around the world. Sigh...

The other challenge was a gift for a good friend who gave me a car last winter. Yes, she gave me her old Jeep. How do you possibly reciprocate? I ended up knitting her a hat. Small peanuts, but at least it took time, thought, and effort.

Pattern: Star Crossed Slouchy Beret, by Natalie Larson
Yarn: Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Pagoda, .75 skein
Needles: US 9 and 10.5

Super cute! I enjoyed knitting this, especially with the soft and cushy Malabrigo. It was looking a bit small and not so slouchy when I finished knitting. Then I blocked it on a dinner plate, and the plate may have been a bit too large. Time will tell if it fits properly -- I can always wash and re-block, I suppose. Great free pattern -- definitely give it a try.
I found this at a used bookstore last week:
Fabulous illustrations by Edward Gorey may make this one of the best books ever.
I've determined that Kylie is a Gumbie Cat:

I have a Gumbie Cat in mind, her name is Jennyanydots;
Her coat is of the tabby kind, with tiger stripes and leopard spots.
All day she sits upon the stair or on the steps or on the mat;
She sits and sits and sits and sits--and that's what makes a Gumbie Cat!

But when the day's hustle and bustle is done,
Then the Gumbie Cat's work is but hardly begun.
And when all the family's in bed and asleep,
She tucks up her skirts to the basement to creep.
She is deeply concerned with the ways of the mice
Their behaviour's not good and their manners not nice;
So when she has got them lined up on the matting,
She teaches them music, crocheting and tatting.

I have a Gumbie Cat in mind, her name is Jennyanydots;
Her equal would be hard to find, she likes the warm and sunny spots.
All day she sits beside the hearth or on the bed or on my hat:
She sits and sits and sits and sits--and that's what makes a Gumbie Cat!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Finally, a sunny day when I'm at home and can take pictures! I'm puttering around the house in my PJs when I should be reading books and articles on literary theory. Ah well, it's nearly Christmas.
I knit these slippers using Mission Falls 1824 wool last year, and they're holding up marvelously! The seaming's a bit of a pain, but they're cozy and snug. Plus I feel rather elven as I wear them. Not as elven as Pam's cute new Elf Shoes, though. ;-) Anyway, if you're looking to knit up a quick holiday gift, I do recommend the pattern.
I'm using Knit Picks Palette for my wee mittens, and I'm quite taken by the color combination:
The scent of fresh-baked cookies was in the air chez Caffeinated Yarn over the weekend.
I tried something new as well as an old favorite. The little circles are a variation on Sarah's peppermint cookies on the blog Handmade Homeschool (which I found via Mary Catharine's post). I substituted 1/4 C. Penzey's natural cocoa powder for 1/4 C. of the flour. Yum! I used my usual powdered sugar icing, adding a dash of mint flavoring.

A few years ago I tested many recipes in a quest for the perfect sugar cookie. The winner is from one of my mother's old church cookbooks -- Peaceful Pantry, from Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, Minnesota.

Grandma's Sugar Cookies
~ Ilah Robbins

1 C. butter
1.5 C. sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3.5 C. flour (sifted if you're feeling fancy)
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Cream butter; add sugar gradually, creaming until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Sit in vanilla. Sift dry ingredients together; add gradually to creamed mixture. Chill thoroughly (at least 3 hours). Roll out on well-floured surface to 1/4" thickness. Cut in desired shapes. Bake on cookie sheet covered in baking parchment 6-8 minutes at 375 degrees.

Tip: fill each pan with the same shape so that the cookies bake evenly

Makes about 6 dozen cookies.

Frost with a basic powdered sugar/butter/milk/vanilla icing.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

wee mittens

on the needles...

a bounty of wee mittens is in the works (pattern here):
What have I been up to? Another trip to Minnesota, lots of (unbloggable) gift knitting, cookie baking, and reading, both for research and for pleasure. Busy, busy. :-)
in the kitchen...

Over the years I've learned that there are a few key ingredients that nearly always ensure culinary success chez Caffeinated Yarn. Leeks, shallots, almonds, pumpkin, goat cheese, and black beans are at the top of the list. Leeks and shallots are under-appreciated in the U.S. but absolutely phenomenal. They're like onions' more sophisticated older cousins. You know, the ones who can get by with wearing dramatic hats and actually impress you when they pull out the guitar (rather than send you scrambling for your earmuffs).

Shallots are more delicate than onions, with a slightly garlic-y and sweet flavor and an immensely satisfying deliciousness.

Rice Pilaf with Shallots and Parmesan

Serves 2-3 as a side dish ~ doubling this recipe works very well

2 tsp. butter
2 T. minced shallots
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 C. basmati rice (can sub long-grain, but basmati has more flavor and aroma)
1 C. chicken broth
1/4 C. dry white wine (or sub more broth)
2 - 3 T. grated fresh Parmesan cheese (I use something halfway decent like Grana Padano)
2 T. minced fresh parsley
dash of salt freshly ground black pepper
dash of salt

Melt butter in a small saucepan over med-high heat. Add shallots & garlic, saute 1 min. Stir in rice; saute 1 min. Stir in broth and wine; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15-20 min.

Remove from heat. Stir in cheese, parsley, pepper, and salt. Bon appetit!

Friday, December 04, 2009


A few snowflakes danced merrily through the air yesterday, and it made my heart sing.
The holiday decor on this lovely row house caught my attention on my way to campus yesterday. Badgers spirit! Now that's what I call decorating.
I should have spent all of Wednesday on my research, but I surfaced for air partway through, binging on Tivo-ed episodes of Bones and casting on for a new (Bones-related) knitting project -- Saroyan by Liz Abinante (rav).
The pattern is completely intuitive and makes perfect sense. I can tell this is going to be one of my serial knits (like owl hats, feather and fan shawls, and just enough ruffles scarves). Saroyan's very similar in appearance to the Cedar Leaf Shawlette, but much less fiddly in construction, plus it's free.

The yarn is Elsebeth Lavold Silky Cashmere in Cassia, purchased on closeout at a steep discount from Webs. Talk about skimpy yardage! 44 yds/skein. Now briefly ponder the blurb about this yarn on the website:
Silky Cashmere from Elsebeth Lavold is a worsted weight yarn of 55% silk and 45% cashmere. Wrap yourself in comfort as this fiber is exceedingly soft and feels wonderful against the skin. Silky Cashmere is designed for cooler weather fashions such as stoles, shawls, boleros, pullovers, cardis and blankets. (emphasis mine)
It truly is soft, with a nice sheen to boot, but can you possibly imagine knitting a blanket out of this yarn? At 44 yds/skein? Can you imagine the number of joins and ends to weave in? Or the cost? Someone was definitely smoking something when they wrote this up.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

over the river and through the woods...

Paul and I made the trek to Minnesota for Thanksgiving. It was unseasonably warm and sunny, which was a delight. We managed to squeeze in visits with family and friends, a baby shower, a trip to the Happy Gnome in St. Paul (great selection of microbrews from the Midwest), and a walk along the mighty Mississippi in St. Paul. So pretty despite the lack of foliage!
view from Mississippi River Blvd. in St. Paul

Plus we stopped at State St. Brats in Madison for a Spotted Cow and cheese curds. That's a lot to do in just a few short days! All that time in the Jeep was good for my knitting mojo, although my leg muscles feel as if they've atrophied from too much sitting.

Pattern: Upside-Down Daisy, by Susan B. Anderson (rav)
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran (pink), less than 1 ball
oddments of Lion Brand Cashmere Blend (cream) and Cashmerino DK (green)
Size: 6 months
Needles: US 6 needles for the hat
US 5 for the green stem (I used a DK weight yarn to make it less bulky)
US 7 for the cream-colored petals

This little hat reminds me of flower fairies! The hat itself is very quick to knit, and the pattern's very clear but rather fiddly. Only 5 petals fit on the hat (rather than the 6 specified in the pattern), and applying them is a pain in the neck. I made each of the petals a few rows longer, a fairly common mod on Ravelry. The finished product is darling, and I'm looking forward to giving it to my friends' new baby girl next Sunday.
Babies are popping up everywhere, by the way. My friends are reproducing at an alarming rate, and I'm hard-pressed to keep up with the baby knits!

I had sworn off knitting baby blankets a while back. They take too long, they use so much yarn, they get pretty boring... you know the drill. Well, apparently I fell off the wagon, as I'm almost done with one:

I'm using Jennifer Braico's Hip to Be Square pattern (rav) and (many, many) balls of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky. It's soft, squishy, and nice to knit, but most balls have a knot or two, plus the yardage is pretty skimpy. All that's left is the applied i-cord edging and weaving in a million ends.

One more photo from Minnesota:
Minnehaha Falls, Minneapolis

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Scarfvember too?

Let's move that grumpy post down a notch! Things are looking up around here.

Turns out that I'm not the only one around these parts who likes the heating pad. I got up for just a minute and returned to find this scene.
Oh Kylie... That little spot of pumpkiny orange in the top left managed to turn into yet another scarf, practically overnight. Also, in the process I learned that I can watch Bones, just not in HD! In HD it's way too gross for me, and I have to cover my eyes for half the show.
Pattern: Easy Lace Scarf (here)
Yarn: The Plucky Knitter Aran Cashmere, Pumpkin Latte, 2 skeins
Needles: US 9 bamboo straights

Notes: Easy pattern -- I always love feather and fan. This is a skinny scarf, which worked out great for the small amount of yardage I had. The yarn is absolutely scrumptious -- so soft and cozy, the plies aren't splitty at all, and the colors are deep and lovely. Perfect for autumn!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

spots of cheer

Another dismal, grey, rainy day here in Chicago. A few spots of cheer, though:My Windy City Hat and Irish Hiking Wristwarmers finally saw their trial run, and Ysolda's new book arrived in today's post. My handknits kept me warm and cozy but didn't succeed fully in cheering me up. When I met one of my university friends outside the (dreadful) library today, I told her she was witnessing me at my most cantankerous. She laughed and laughed...

Oh well, not every day can be full of rainbows and unicorns, I suppose.

Then again, I do live in Boystown, where every street corner is bedecked with giant rainbow-striped pylons:
Last night I baked chocolate chip maple walnut cookies (recipe here) before scurrying off to my guitar lesson.
Not the best looking cookies, but they taste pretty great even though I substituted vanilla extract for maple extract. My kitchen is well-stocked, but not that well-stocked. The maple extract would definitely kick up the flavor another couple notches.

OK, off to fix another cup of tea (Candy Cane Lane, best holiday tea ever), down a couple Aleve, and bust out the heating pad. Have you ever read the warning label on a heating pad? Apparently you're not supposed to use it in any way that would actually benefit you at all. I blame the lawyers. Hear that, Paul? ;-)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Socktober? I must have meant Scarftober!

Scarftober doesn't have quite the same ring, but apparently that's what October turned into around here.
Pattern: Crest of the Wave Scarf, by Judy Jacobs
Yarn: Madelinetosh Pastoral, Oxblood, 1.5 skeins
Needles: US 10 bamboo straights
*on ravelry*

Notes: Since I substituted aran-weight yarn for fingering, I decreased the cast-on to 41 stitches. The scarf is still nice and wide. This is a wonderfully intuitive pattern that has such pretty results.

The yarn is so soft, and it has a gorgeous sheen. It's very similar to Sundara Aran Silky Merino. Like its Sundara cousin, it bled a good amount in the wash.
on the needles...

A scarf pattern by Ysolda that isn't terribly popular. How can that possibly be?!?!? It's even free!

It's the Ariel Scarf, and I cast on 42 stitches to make it just a bit wider. The lace pattern's almost sculptural -- I love all the texture. I'm using Sundara Aran Silky Merino in Ruby Port for this, and it's already bleeding like a mofo. My hands are red when I finish knitting, and I can see the dye swirling down the bathroom sink as I wash my hands. My bamboo needles are now red. I'll have to try adding vinegar to the wash water; I'm a bit anxious about it, especially since Sundara yarn is so darn expensive and difficult to acquire. Sigh...
getting ready for the big show...
on holiday knitting...

I'm considering knitting a Modern Garden cardigan for my mother for Christmas (ravelry details here). Mom has lost a lot of weight in the past year due to health problems, and this looks like it would keep her warm and cozy. As an added bonus, it would not take too long to knit! Double-stranded Eco Wool + size 15 needles. :-)

I had thought about knitting an o w l s sweater for her, but trying to guess about the waist shaping sounded like a recipe for disaster, plus it may be too twee for her.

Friday, November 06, 2009

booga 2: electric boogaloo

Anyone else remember this movie from the 80s? It was absolutely terrible. You can tell this by just a quick plot synopsis: local teens breakdance to save the community center from a local developer who wants to build a mall. Further evidence of its crappiness is that I misremembered the teens as breakdancing to save the mall. Wow...

Anyhoo, here's Booga 2. Please forgive the less-than-stellar photograph, but it's pitch black by 5 PM here these days.

Pattern: Booga Bag, by Julie Anderson
Yarn: Noro Kureyon (#164?), 3 skeins
Needles: Clover US 10.5 16" circs and DPNs

Next time I'd use Chris's great idea and braid 3 i-cords together to make sturdier handles. I didn't have any extra Kureyon, though, so no dice this time. This would make a very cute and handy project bag to take to knitting night. I'm still not entirely sure about felted bags, but there are a couple more patterns that are intriguing:

- Felted Tote with Kureyon Scraps, by Janet D. Russell (AKA Twisted Knitter)
- Ashling Tote, by Heidi Hirtle (Lilibeth's Garden) ~ rav
Mia, being the ever-awesome and thoughtful person that she is, sent me the nicest parcel. This super-soft merino, in the perfect shade of dark plum, is destined to be a Damson shawlette.
Handspun yarn + a book about Charlotte Bronte + a very cute cable-knit mug = a heavenly combination! Thanks so much, Mia.
Speaking of the Brontes...
One of my favorite moments in Cold Comfort Farm comes when Stephen Fry, in the role of Bloomsbury-type intellectual (and doubtless D. H. Lawrence enthusiast) Mr. Mybug, poses the question to Flora Poste, "Do you believe that women have souls?" He later contends that Branwell Bronte wrote Wuthering Heights. ;-) Both the book and film are fantastic.

My little bookworm, curled up with The Mountains of California:
I think she was inspired by the all the bits about John Muir in the first episode of Ken Burns' National Parks PBS miniseries. Apparently Muir used to bend over and look through his knees to contemplate the "upness" of mountains:
Come to the woods, for here is rest. There is no repose like that of the green deep woods. Here grow the wallflower and the violet. The squirrel will come and sit upon your knee, the logcock will wake you in the morning. Sleep in forgetfulness of all ill. Of all the upness accessible to mortals, there is no upness comparable to the mountains.
P.S. John Muir is a fellow UW Badger. :-)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

autumnal awesomeness

We started off this sunny autumn Sunday with harvest pancakes and apple/gouda chicken sausage. YUM! I tweaked this recipe a bit.
Harvest Pancakes

Pulse in food processor or blender:

1 cup quick cooking oats

3/4 cup nuts – any combination of pecans, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts

Place in large mixing bowl and combine with:

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup all purpose flour

2 Tbsp ground (or whole) flax seeds

1 Tbsp. baking soda

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

3/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/3 cup sugar

Whisk together in separate bowl:

1 3/4 cup buttermilk or milk (skim is fine)

2 eggs

1/4 cup vegetable oil

Add to dry ingredients and stir just to combine.

Lightly oil or spray a large skillet and cook over med to med-low heat.


Capricha is enjoying a lazy Sunday, too:
AND I'm almost done with a new scarf...
Crest of the Wave pattern (rav), knit up with an aran-weight wool/silk blend rather than fingering weight yarn. I decreased the cast-on to 41 stitches. The Madelinetosh Pastoral (in "Oxblood") is wonderful to knit -- so smooth, soft, and with just a bit of sheen. It's a bit delicate, though, and I don't think it will stand up to heavy wear.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I'll make up for yesterday's brief, drive-by post with a bit more substance today.

1) Francis Revisited ~ off the needles, onto me
Pattern: Francis Revisited, by Beth Silverstein (free!)
Yarn: Cascade EcoWool, "Latte," 2 skeins
Needles: US 9 and 6 bamboo circs

Notes: Super easy and unbelievably quick to knit. I actually used less yarn than the pattern recommended -- 2 skeins for a custom size somewhere between xl and xxl. I did not make it as long as the pattern said, and it actually might have been nice to do another inch or two on the body. The bell sleeves are cute and comfy in real life, but don't photograph terribly well.

The cowl is written the same way for the whole gamut of sizes; if you knit a larger sweater, you may want to add a few more rows and a few more extra stitches. It would be great to use a yarn with a little alpaca or silk for more drape, but it's hard to beat Eco Wool for affordability. The yarn really softened up when washed and blocked; it's no merino, but it's good stuff nonetheless.

2) cable owls ~ still love 'em, this time in squishy "squirrel heather" merino...
Pattern: Owl Tuque, by Barbara Prime
Yarn: Knit Picks Swish Bulky, "squirrel heather," 1/2 skein
Needles: US 7 & 8 16" bamboo circs + US 7 Brittany Birch DPNs
Size: 6 months

Notes: Amazingly cute and exceedingly fun to knit. I gave this to a fellow knitter's little guy on Sunday, and it fit great. I love that Barbara Prime worked seed stitch into the hat. Switching to larger needles for the owl section is a very clever move, especially since those cables really do pull in.

This isn't a free pattern -- it's a $2.75 download on Ravelry -- but it's worth every penny. $2 from each pattern sale goes to the Montreal Ecomuseum.

3) Stephen Fry in America
Awesome! I loved Stephen Fry in Jeeves & Wooster and Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story (plus he was the only palatable part of V for Vendetta); this 6-part TV series wherein he visits all 50 states does not disappoint. Originally aired in 2008, it's being shown again on HDnet. Two things especially noteworthy: 1) winters in the upper Midwest are apparently a bit too chilly for this Briton, and 2) he actually goes ice-fishing in Minnesota.

4) One Fast Move or I'm Gone
Ben Gibbard & Jay Farrar teamed up to write songs inspired by Jack Kerouac's Big Sur for a new documentary. A little bit of Son Volt-style alt country, Gibbard's wonderful voice, inspiration from Kerouac, what more could you want? Especially if you went through a teenage Beat poetry phase, as I did. You can stream the new album here, from the sidebar of this review. More info here.

Gibbard and Farrar are playing a show at the new Lincoln Hall on Oct. 26. I'm so there! Apparently the makeshift band for this limited tour includes members of Son Volt, Death Cab, and Mountain Goats.

Monday, October 19, 2009

red or dead

striped baby hat
size: 6 months

yarn: Mission Falls 1824 cotton ~ 4 partial skeins
needles: US 7 16" circs and DPNs
(I actually used US 6, but I'm a loose knitter)
gauge: 4 sts/inch


Cast on 66 sts with color A. Do 5 rounds of K1P1 ribbing, then knit 5 rounds.

Join color B and do 1 purl round, then 10 knit rounds. Same deal with color C.

After I did 1 P round with color D, the hat measured about 5 inches. I started decreasing every round, and topped it off with a little 4-stitch i-cord (worked for about 5 rows).

Next time I’d do 8 rounds of each color, and I’d decrease every other row at the top.


goody two, goody two

goody, goody two shoes

you don't drink, don't smoke,

what do you do

Hooray for new shoes! I copied Kate at Needled and ordered these Red or Dead "Rolos" from Schuh. They appear to be out of the red, so I went with this playful purple/burgundy shade. The brown ones are super cute, too.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

nothing says fall like...

a wool handbag?
Pattern: Booga Bag, by Julie Anderson
Yarn: Noro Kureyon, #170, 3.5 skeins
Needles: US 10.5 16" circs and DPNs

Easy pattern, and it's fun to watch the Noro knit up, but the handles seem a little insubstantial. Fulling took a few rounds through the washer and created tons of fuzzies in the washer even though I used a zippered washing bag. I'm always afraid of destroying the washing machine with felted knits (NB the Yarn Harlot's warning).
My parents (in Minneapolis) actually had snow yesterday, and already I have busted out scarves, mittens, sweaters, and wool socks for the season. Paul and I still ate brunch outside today at Milk & Honey Cafe despite the cool breeze, as it's probably our last chance this year.

We also tried O'Fallon Pumpkin Ale - pumpkin-y and spicy, but not nearly as good as the pumpkin whiskey from last weekend.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

starting off Socktoberfest...

on the right foot!
I'm not a big sock knitter (although I am a big wool-sock wearer!), but the Socktoberfest bug does seem to have bitten me. I finished #1 of my little pumpkins socks on Oct. 1, setting just the right tone for the month.
My aim is to knit second socks (Dragonfly, Little Pumpkins, & Little Shell below) so that I actually have some pairs to wear as it gets chilly.
Also on the list are the Cable Footies from One Skein in red Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted that has been earmarked for this project for eons, but perhaps that would be shooting the (harvest) moon.
also on the autumnal front...
Milwaukee's Great Lakes Distillery teamed up with the Lakefront Brewery to make Pumpkin Seasonal Spirit. It's distilled from Lakefront's Pumpkin Lager, and it's quite tasty -- essentially a pumpkin spice whiskey. Last night Paul mixed up some Pumpkin Old-Fashioneds, inspired by a recipe here (and a trip to Brocach last fall):

Pumpkin Old-Fashioned
2 oz Great Lakes Pumpkin Spirit
2 maraschino cherries, muddled
2 dashes blood orange bitters (or regular bitters + an orange slice)
dash of maple syrup
maraschino cherry or orange wheel, to garnish

In an old-fashioned glass muddle the cherries and orange bitters. Add Pumpkin Spice Seasonal Spirit, seltzer, maple syrup, and ice. Stir well. Garnish with a cherry or an orange wheel.

I'm excited about trying a pumpkin spice martini next!
Francis Revisited is blocking on the dining room table as I type. What an easy and quick pattern! I'll post photos as soon as it's dry.