Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wooly Sheepy

After I had been knitting a while--that is, some of my projects turned out mostly all right--I started a tradition: I knit a baby sweater for each baby in the family. And sometimes close friends. This tradition started three years ago, when my cousin Cora and her husband had their first child, a smart and smiley little boy. They recently had their second child, a little girl, and I'm a little late in mailing the sweater.

Sheepy Time, by Laurie Undis, published in Stitch 'n Bitch Superstar Knitting (2010). 

I added to the tradition this time:

A stuffed sheep of my own design. I wanted to incorporate a lot of texture, so the body uses bobbles, the belly is reverse twisted stockinette stitch, the neck is stockinette stitch, the head is moss stitch. It sounds like a lot, but when you hold it in your hands, it's just enough to make you want to feel all of them.

The construction is different, cast on at the butt, then knit the underside; then the body, picking up stitches at the CO edge; the two parts are then joined, and the neck and head are worked in the round.

The pattern is available for free(!) as a Ravelry download.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Blueberry Awesome Cookies

I picked up some late-season blueberries. I love me some blueberries. Seriously, blueberries make everything better. During peak blueberry season, July-August, I've been known to eat them by the pint. But these late-season berries were a bit tart to eat by the handful, and I hadn't made cookies in a while. I had some oatmeal on hand that I wanted to use, but not enough for Oatmeal Cookies. Since I am neither  Master Baker nor Chemist, I found a basic recipe online and modified it. These have a nice, cake-like texture.

Blueberry Awesome Cookies

1/2 cup shortening
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
3/8 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange zest

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup oatmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pint fresh blueberries

1. In a large mixing bowl, cream the shortening and white sugar. Add the eggs, milk, vanilla extract and orange zest, mixing well after each ingredient.
2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, oatmeal, baking powder, salt, brown sugar and cinnamon. Blend dry ingredients in with wet ingredients, mix well.
3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Press blueberries into top of cookies. Bake 12 to 15 minutes. Let cookies cool on baking sheet for a minute or two before transferring to cooling racks.

Modification Details
The original recipe called for almond extract instead of vanilla, and lemon zest instead of orange. It did not call for oatmeal, brown sugar or cinnamon. It called for one egg instead of 2, and 1/4 cup of milk instead of 3/8; and folded the blueberries in instead of pressing them in. Lastly, the dough was covered and chilled for 4 hours.