A Month of Hats

The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it. ~ Michelangelo

It’s the last day of January. That means it’s time for a group photo of my eight liberated orphan wips of January. Some how I managed to only finish hats. I have one frogged attempt at a pair of socks and seven hats. Five are Super Kitty Hats (three were gifted). One is my Snoqualmie Hat (I love wearing this one), and the last is Malabrigo Love of my Life Hat Edition.

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How did I do with my knitting goals:

  1. Dishcloths: Still working on these three. I should have some finished soon.
  2. Christmas ornaments: I have one started! I’m making Fancy Balls by Tin Can Knits. I’m starting with self striping yarn and will then use solid colors.
  3. Dewberry Dancer: Section two is complete. Now onto the 34 rows of section three!

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Poor Ernie seems to be having a hard winter. He suffers from the cold the most so I bought him a treat. He loves his new thermal bed. The reflective part comes out so the blanket can be washed, and it heats up nicely to keep Ernie toasty. Sharing is a hard concept for the kitties so I should probably get at least one more.

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February is a short month, but I’m determined to finish eight more projects and keep up with my knitting goals. See you next month!

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Knitting Goals

It always seems impossible until it’s done. ~ Nelson Mandela

Normally, I don’t like to make too many knitting goals for myself. Knitting is my hobby. I knit for enjoyment. You’ve probably already guessed I’m a process knitter. I don’t focus too much on the end product, but on the adventure of knitting said object. That being said, I did set a few knitting goals for myself for 2017 and January.

  1. Knit two dishcloths every month. Dish cloths make great gifts, and my gift bin is dangerously low. I have three dishcloths in process and almost completed.
  2. Knit two or three Christmas ornaments each month so I don’t have to churn them out in December. There’s about 50 hours left in January, and I haven’t even started on this one!
  3. Finish section two of my Dewberry Dancer. Just two more rows to go on this one! The shawl has about 355 stitches now so each row takes awhile to knit.

We enjoyed the sweet n’sour turkey dish so much, The British Hubby suggested we make it again this week. It’s just as tasty the second time. Doesn’t this look like Spring?

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Ernie and Gracie spent the afternoon like this. Poor Ernie tried to snuggle with Gracie, but she got up and move away. She just needs her space.

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We did hike number seven yesterday, but I forgot my camera. The path we picked was full of mountain bikers.  I leave you with a lovely photo of a more serene hike.

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Friday Celebrations

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.

~Robert Brault

A few years ago, I decided to start celebrating life every Friday night. Some times, just making it through the work week seems like reason enough to celebrate. Many Fridays I celebrate with my favorite tea latte and tea cookie. This Friday, I’m celebrating with a new stout. My reason for celebrating this week is because sunset is officially after 5:00 pm.

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Here’s a progress photo of my British Tea Latte socks hanging out with my pint of Samuel Smith’s Chocolate Stout. I’ve always thought knitting a simple pattern with self striping or variegated yarn would be boring. That’s not the case at all. It’s relaxing to have a simple pattern and watch the subtle color changes. Perfecting knitting to enjoy with my Friday night drink.

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Ernie’s idea of a great Friday night!

Cheers to celebrating the small victories in life.

Thinking of Spring

Stop watering the weeds in your life and start watering the flowers.

January and February are normally the gray and gloomy times of the year in the PNW. Naturally, I found myself gravitating towards more vibrant colors. This also translates into knitting with colors that remind me of spring. Yesterday, I noticed how at least two projects I’m working on remind me of flowers. I love the bright pink in my Malabrigo Love of my Life Hat Edition.   I just started decreasing for the the crown on this hat. I should have a new hat this weekend!

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My current aviatrix hat also reminds me of Spring. This yarn is so bright and cheerful. It reminds me of those first Spring blooms. Now if it would just stay light long enough for me to get photos with some sunlight after work.

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Update on other wips:

  • Frank in Paris: Four Paris stripes completed, and I’m just a few rows away from stripe number five.
  • Dewberry Dancer: 78 rows completed in section two. I’m trying to make it to section three yet this month.
  • Project Peace: Nothing new to report on this one yet.

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Ernie and I have been listening to an audio book together this week. Sometimes he gets a little spooked when he thinks it’s scary. I snuggle him and make it all better.

 

 

Reflections

The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear. ~ Lao Tzu

This weekend, I took some time to reflect. I went on hike number six. This one was very different than the previous five. It was full of pavement, buildings, more super kitty hats and about 129,999 other people. It covered about eight miles. While, I didn’t commune with nature this weekend, I still feel uplifted, rejuvenated and oddly at peace.

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Here’s an extra kitty photo since I don’t have any new knitting snaps. 

Update on other wips:

My wips took a mini break while I made numerous super kitty hats. I pulled them back out yesterday. With a week left in January, wouldn’t it be awesome if I could finish one of these?

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Tonight, I tried a new recipe, Mom’s ground turkey and peppers. Well, I started with this recipe and then decided it needed pineapple along with sweet n’sour sauce. The British Hubby contributed by adding some bacon chipotle spice. I’m a big pineapple fan (okay, that’s probably an understatement).

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The kitties had a new treat over the weekend. Cat nip bubbles. They don’t understand what happens when the bubble bursts. Ernie was very intrigued by the bubbles. I think you can just make out the bubble by Ernie’s face.

 

But Wait: More Super Kitty Hats

You’re going to make a difference. A lot of times it won’t be huge, it won’t be visible even. But it will matter just the same. ~ Commissioner James Gordon

I have a couple of non crafty co-workers making a pilgrimage this week to our nation’s capital. They thought my Super Kitty Hat 1 was so awesome, I had a few more requests. Somehow I managed to make three more hats this week. That makes my finished wip count for January at seven! I might just finish extra wips this month.

P.S. There is a third hat I forgot to take a photo before it started it’s journey East.

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This week in cat politics, Gracie has decided to take over Burt’s favorite sleeping spot.

I think all my finished projects this month have been hats! I’m off to work on some socks.

Battenberg Experiment

Cake is for life not just birthdays.

Several months ago, the British Hubby caught an episode of The Great British Bake-Off (he calls it, Bake or Die) with me. They were making Battenberg cakes. The British Hubby mentioned he remembered having that cake quite a bit growing up, and it had been at least a decade since he had one. Naturally, when I found a Battenberg recipe in Baking with Mary Berry, I knew at some point we were going to attempt to make this cake.

Once I realized the chances of me finding a proper Battenberg cake pan at the thrift store were slim, I decided to purchase a can pan that was made by the Brits. They’ve been eating this cake since 1884 when Princess Victoria, granddaughter of Queen Victoria, married Prince Louis of Battenberg. This cake pan has three removable slats. You can see above, I decided to split the pan in half with my cake mix. This was my first attempt at making a cake like this from scratch. I thought it would be easier to cut the each cake in half than make four cakes.

As I’m relatively new to cake baking, I thought checking the cake five minutes early would have been enough. I should have checked after 25 minutes. When the cake is dry, it’s more likely to crack or break (ask me how I know). Nothing some extra apricot jam couldn’t cement back together.

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The British Hubby helped out with the almond paste. He’s idea was to put a layer of jam on the paste to help it stick to the cake. At one point, I may have given him incorrect cake measurements so we had to do a bit of patch work on one side.

Once sliced, it looks pretty professional.

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We had a great time making this together, but I don’t think we’re ready for the big stakes of Bake or Die. It was sort of intense and humorous putting the cake together. Next time, I might try this with strawberry or raspberry jam. Yum.