Mom’s Birthday Knits

My mom’s birthday is coming up on Dec 1, as it is every year of course.  This year I’ve been knitting up a storm for her.  I decided to use Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Natural as she requested something in a cream or neutral colour.  Her winter jacket is a dark brown with purplish highlights to it in some light.  I’ve finished 2 items and am over half done the third.


The first item is a keyhole cabled scarf.  It was a very quick knit and used up very little yarn.



Next was Jared Flood’s Turn a Square toque with malabrigo worsted and a brown Noro Silk Garden striped together.


These are what have taken the longest.  I’m working on Ysolda’s Snapdragon Flip-Top Mitts.  They’re very cabled and really pretty, but can take awhile to do.  I’m done one mitten and have 8 rows left on the 40 row chart before doing the flip top, the top of the mitt and the thumb.  I’m going to post a picture of the mitts later and hopefully get a picture of my mom wearing it all in December.

On my Needles

Since I want to post more, I figure I should ease back into it with something relatively easy; a list of what I’m currently working on.

Gauge Swatches for various Sweaters and Cardigans

I finished my gauge swatch for the Rivel Cardigan on the first try using my Filatura Di Crosa Zara Solid in a dark chocolate brown on size 5 neeldes, which is the size listed in the pattern.  I then worked on Breakwater using Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label Fingering Weight in Stormy.  I’ve already completed one project with the blue label, so I know it tends to stretch out a bit after washing.  My first instinct was to use size 5 needles, instead of the size 7 suggested, but went with the size 7’s anyway.  It was very much the wrong gauge after washing and laying flat, something like 18 stitches/4″ and I needed 22 stitches/4″.  So I redid the swatch using size 5 needles and after washing, it’s perfect!  The third swatch I’ve been working on is for a Rocky Coast Cardigan for my mom.  She bought the yarn for it when my parents were out at the end of september to visit, it’s Berroco Ultra Alpaca in a dark teal.  I’m doing the swatch on US size 10.5 needles because that’s what is listed in the pattern and I’ve never used Ultra Alpaca before.  I’ve also never swatched and had to count gauge while knitting in a pattern.

Birthday Presents

My mother’s birthday is on December 1st, and I have one more Snapdragon Flip-top mitten to finish before her birthday present is all done and just needs to be mailed out.  She will be getting these mittens, a keyhole scarf and a toque, all made of Malabrigo Worsted in Natural.

Other things…hibernating, I want to forget about them but don’t have the guts yet to frog them things

I have a shawl that I started in June out of Noro Taiyo which I was in love with, but am getting tired of the purl rows.  I’m not using a pattern with this one, just using the standard increases for a triangle shawl and doing stockinette sections separated with yo, k2tog rows and then a few garter stitch sections to break up the stockinette and add some textural interest.  I want to do a ruffled border on it, but haven’t gotten there yet.  Since Noro Taiyo is a self striping yarn, I wanted to keep it very simple to let the yarn speak for itself.  I also originally wanted to use up the entire skein, which is over 400yds of fingering weight, but I’m currently at 1/2 a skein and don’t think I have the patience to go on.  When I picked it up again in August I finished a stockinette section and was going to do one more garter stitch section then do the ruffle border.

Another project that I’m about half-done is a shrug.  One sleeve is completely done and the other sleeve is about halfway up my forearm.  I will need to buy more of the yarn if I want to finish it but it has to be ordered online and we don’t really have the money for it right now, which is why I’m thinking about frogging it and using the yarn for something smaller.


It’s been about +5 and rainy here in bc for the last week, so I’ve got projects I really want to cast on that I don’t think will take that long to actually knit up.  I want to make another pair or two of fingerless gloves for me and a cowl.  Fall definitely is knitting season!

Tanis Fiber Arts Blog Giveaway

So I know I don’t post all that often, but I really want to start up again. Due to school and living with my boyfriend’s parents, I don’t really cook anymore, so it will be focused on my knitting and probably some about schoolwork.

So, in the knitting stream of things, one of my favorite independant Canadian dyer’s ever, currently has a giveaway on her blog. Go here: and enter if you knit! Her colourways are absolutely amazing, and all her yarn is so soft.

Still not cooking much…

Well, it’s been over 8 months since posting and I figured it might be time for an update.  Tons has happened in the last 8 months, I moved from Winnipeg, MB to Mission BC, I’ve changed Universities from the University of Winnipeg to the University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, BC.  I’ve been doing tons of knitting and basically zero cooking!  The bad thing about moving is that I had to leave my job in Winnipeg and look for a job here in the Abbotsford/Mission area.  Thankfully I was only unemployed for 5 weeks, I finally found a job at Best Buy in Abby as part of the Merchandising and Product Placement team.  Basically doing inventory, organizing, rearranging shelves, and putting up displays.  I’m really excited about it, hoping to find a job I love like I loved my job at Chapters.  Classes start in 3 weeks from Tuesday and I’m kind of excited about that too.  Another wonderful thing about moving to Mission is that I was able to move in with my boyfriend, Chris.  Things are going awesomely awesome and I haven’t been this happy in a very long time.

The only thing I’ve cooked is a roast in the slow cooker last week when Chris’ parents were in Calgary visiting his brother.

Slow Cooker Potroast

3lb beef roast

1 pkg french onion soup mix

3 cups water

3 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced

1 onion, peeled and cut into rings or wedges

3 large potatoes, cut up


1. Place onions on the bottom of the slow cooker.  Put roast on top of the onions, put potatoes and carrots around roast.

2. Put onion soup mix on top of the roast, pour water over.  Cook for 4-5 hours on high or 8 hours on low.  The gravy can be thickened with cornstarch or arrowroot powder after the roast is done on the stove.





























Not much cooking going on ’round here…

With final exams and christmas and work this month, I haven’t done a whole lot of cooking or baking.  Especially since I had $500 of tuition to catch up on this month and haven’t been able to go grocery shopping since November.  I’m trying to do some knitting before school starts again next week as I got to go shopping at Ram Wools Co-op here in Winnipeg as part of my christmas present.  I bought some very nice self-striping sock yarn (at $16/ball) and some Rowan Kidsilk Haze, which is a mohair/silk combo (at almost $20/ball) and am attempting to do a cabled scarf.  I just hit my first cable and am scared.  It made it so tight and I don’t think it looks right, but I’m going to keep on trucking and see how it turns out further along.  Fingers crossed it’ll work cause this is an expensive scarf to give up on!

This is the link to the pattern that I’m using.

This is how far along I am!

Christmas Baking

The last few weeks have been pretty busy between school, exams, work, and getting ready for Christmas.  I don’t have a lot of shopping to do exactly, but am in charge of practically all the christmas baking for our family and am organizing some stuff at work as well.


Christmas Baking List

Sugar Cookies – done!

Gingersnaps – done!

Banana bread – done!

Pumpkin cake – done!

Fudge – done!

Peanut butter balls – not done, need icing sugar

Peppermint patties – not done, need crisco

Peanut Butter Cups – not done

Chocolate Toffee – not done, need butter


Lots to do in the next few weeks.  I’ve been working on a curried roasted potato recipe but don’t have any potatoes left to try again and it’s not quite right yet.  Tonight I’m making lamb and chickpea curry because that’s basically all I can make with the ingredients I have at home.

Calzones…aka Pizza Pops

When I was at my parents for Thanksgiving, I had a spur of the moment idea to make Calzones.  They’d be ideal to bring to work and school.  Portable, microwaveable, freezable and much healthier then storebought Pizza Pops, which is what they most closely resemble.  The recipe is supposed to make 10.  The first time we made them, I got 9.   Then my mom made some 2 days later and got 24 (!) out of the recipe.  This weekend I got 14, and that was a good number.  There are an infinite variet of fillings to use, you could go traditional pizza toppings or do broccoli and cheese or bbq chicken or anything you can imagine.  My mom made a beef taco filling, which was pretty tasty too.


1 1/2 cups soymilk (or regular milk I guess)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp granulated sugar
3 tbsp shortening (vegan margarine or butter works well)
3 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp bread machine yeast

1. Measure ingredients into baking pan in the order
recommended by the manufacturer. Insert pan into the
oven chamber. Select Dough Cycle.
2. Remove the dough to a lightly floured surface and cover with a clean towel, let rest for 10-15 minutes.  Divide dough into 2.5 oz portions (should get 14) and roll into 6″ circles.

3. Prepare your fillings (which I would’ve done while the dough was mixing for 90 minutes) and place on one half of each circle.  Add cheese or sauce and fold in half, sealing the edge with a fork.  Cover and let rise in a warm place till doubled in size.

4. Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes or until calzones sound hollow when tapped.  Let cool on a wire rack and freeze.  Reheat in a microwave for about 90 seconds.  Be careful not to overfill them, as cheese and sauce WILL go all over your baking sheet.


Now I know what you’re all thinking.  Really?  Applesauce?  How boring!  How bland and uninteresting!  We want excitement!  Well…applesauce is about the most exciting thing I’ve done in awhile, besides the pumpkin puree, which I already talked about.  Applesauce can be exciting.  And easy.  Honest!

First, buy apples.  I used Royal Gala and Macintosh for mine, I prefer the batch that is royal gala only.  It’s sweeter.  I also used my slowcooker for this, because I’m lazy.


6lbs apples, cored and quartered (leave the peel on!)

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 cup water

sugar to taste

1. Put cored and quartered apples into the slowcooker (better be a big one!).  Add the water and lemon juice.  Cover and cook on high 3-4 hours.  Once apples are soft and mushy, puree with an immersion blender.  You could use a regular blender or food processor as well if you like, but an immersion blender is more fun.  Add sugar to taste.

I was lazy this year and froze my applesauce instead of canning it.  You could process jars of applesauce in a hot water bath for 15 minutes before storing in a cool, dry place if you really wanted to, but I decided to freeze it in jars instead.  You could also freeze it in ziploc bags if you wanted.  Unsweetened applesauce is great for baking, you can replace up to 1/2 of the oil or margarine called for in a recipe with applesauce.

Homemade Pumpkin Puree

This summer I set quite the goal for myself and I’ve followed through on pretty much everything I wanted to try and some stuff I didn’t know I wanted to try!  I do think I’m done canning and freezing stuff for this winter tho, mostly because I’m getting swamped with school work and trying to make sure I have “me” time.  I’ve got a lot of food put away and I honestly doubt I’ll eat it all before next summer, although I hope I get close so I can make some room for next years canning because otherwise I need to move to have more cupboard space.

The key to making good pumpkin puree is to buy Sugar or Pie Pumpkins.  They’re quite a bit smaller then jack-o-lantern pumpkins, usually about 3-5 lbs is a good size.  You want them this size for a few reasons, the first one is that fitting a 20-30lb pumpkin in your oven is going to be a challenge, and we don’t want a challenge.  Another important reason is because the bigger the pumpkin, the more stringy and tough the pumpkin flesh. 

I’ve realized while writing this, that this isn’t so much of a recipe as it is a process but I’m ok with that, it really is easy.  Preheat your oven to 350 C.  The most difficult part is the first bit.  You need to cut your pumpkin into halves or quarters and scoop out the seeds and stringy bits.  You can save the seeds for roasting, but I got frustrated with trying to separate them from the stringy stuff and gave up after about 20 minutes.  Patience I do not have. 

Once you have some nice cleaned pumpkin halves or quarters, place them cut side down in a roasting dish or 9×13″ pan and put about 1″ of water in the bottom.  Roast in the oven until the pumpkin is discoloured and you can easily pierce the flesh with a fork.  Let pumpkin cool till you can handle it, then scoop the pumpkin meat into a bowl.

Once you have all your pumpkin meat in a bowl, process it in your food processor (or high powered blender…or regular blender in very small batches) till smooth.  The smoother the better, it will end up looking a lot more like bought canned pumpkin if it’s smooth.  Your pumpkin will be a lot more yellow-orange then canned pumpkin, so don’t think it’s wrong if it looks different!  Once all your pumpkin is nice and smooth, you want to line a collander with cheesecloth and put all your puree in there.  Place the collander in a larger bown to catch the liquid and let it sit, in the fridge, for at least 24 hours. 

Keeping it in the fridge is VERY IMPORTANT so nasty bacterias don’t grow on your pumpkin!  Letting it sit is also rather important, especially if you want your pumpkin to act like canned pumpkin from the store later on.  Normally the pumpkin you buy in cans is “solid pack” pumpkin.  A lot of the moisture has been removed from it, making it more solid.  You’ll probably get quite a bit of pumpkin juice out of your pumpkin, but the overall volume doesn’t decrease that much. 

Once your pumpkin has drained, portion it into ziploc freezer bags, about 2 cups per bag is good and store in the freezer.  Letting them freeze flat works best for easy storage.  Pumpkin will keep about 6-8 months in the freezer, maybe up to a year.  I had 6 Pie pumpkins that I purchased from a local farmer.  I paid about $18 for them and got approximately 20 cups of pumpkin puree from them.  It’s much, much cheaper and most of the prep is waiting! 

I ❤ pumpkin.