Need a holiday handknit? Time for a Schmatta!

This, That, and the Other

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Dear Kay,
And a happy Fourth of July to you. In anticipation of this year’s picnic up here, I have been researching deviled eggs again, and I hope to achieve some kind of eggy bliss this time. Sweet relish is definitely out of the picture. One friend up here whispered to me that she has a friend who puts finely ground . . . BACON . . . in the filling. And I have one recipe that really mucks about with tradition and replaces half the mayonnaise with BUTTA, a half a stick of butta, can you imagine?
What’s everybody making for their celebrations? I have been ordered to produce potato salad for our group, and I think I’m going with some kind of vinaigrette, green-beany type deal.
Blanketing the World Around Me
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I am still motoring away on my log cabin blanket for Clif. It hasn’t gotten boring yet, not even for a minute. The secret, in this case, is having a lot of colors in my basket. I walk around the Assembly with my big bucket of yarn, looking like a crazy woman with a big bucket of yarn. But it means that at any moment, I can dive in and make some new combination of stuff.
Someone asked for the recipe for these squares. Here you go. (It’s supersimple, as these things tend to be.)

Clif’s Squares Blanket
Size 6 (4mm) needles
DK or the occasional aran weight yarns, the more shades the better. Inifinite is a good quantity.
Gauge: I didn’t check it. I just wantonly and brazenly STARTED.
Using a color, cast on 30 stitches. Knit 27 garter ridges (54 rows). Break yarn.
Using another color, knit 2 rows.
Using yet another color, knit 8 garter ridges (16 rows).
Cast off purlwise. Break yarn.
Turn the square you just finished clockwise.
*Using still another color, pick up stitches along the edge, one stitch for every garter ridge and one for every stitch when you get to the part where it’s the cast on edge for the first square.
Knit 1 row. Break yarn.
Using another color, knit 8 garter ridges (16 rows). Break yarn.**
Repeat from * to ** until your square is, um, square.
Weave in all those ends now, unless your plan is to break a world record in end-weaving down the road.

As for the ends, I experimented with spit-felting them; I tried weaving them in as I went. But it was too fiddly for me. I like to weave ends which I realize is a mark of perversity. Besides, it was really slowing me down to do all that fiddly end stuff when the fun for me is the simple act of cranking these squares.
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The color plan here, such as it is, is to have squares with gray borders and squares with green borders. This scheme is not going to hold up very well once I run dry on green yarn. Let’s just say there’s a lot of purple in the bucket of yarn. I really do want to try to make this a 100% pure stashbuster. But I don’t know whether I will be able to stand it when the green runs out, because green is IT for me, just the best.
While cranking on this project, I have heard many interesting lectures up here at the Assembly, and I’ll share with you highlights:
1. Check your ductwork for air leaks. This is a house’s leading source of wasted energy.
2. One kilowatt hour of energy requires about a pound of coal.
3. The finest cut glass does not get dusty. Cheaper cut glass becomes foggy because the surface is not as smooth as the good stuff, and it catches dust.
4. Turn long-cooking oats into quick oats by chopping them in the food processor. That’s how the big oat companies do it.
5. Katherine Anne Porter spent 20 years writing Ship of Fools.
Thrilling News
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We hear that our audiobook is coming out soon, so if you’re wishing for some company on your next four-hour car ride, and your children don’t talk enough about knitting, well, you can bring us along with you. It’s called Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines and Stories from America’s Leading Bi-regional Knitting Blog, and you can find a copy here.
Have a wonderful Fourth! Go watch John Adams and think about what it would be like to START A DANG COUNTRY. And how lucky we are that the guys who did this weren’t TOTAL AND COMPLETE NUTCASES. We could have ended up with a Kim Jong-Il situation, you know?
Love,
Ann
PS: That’s Tinkerbell the dog, up top, who received a supercomfy knitted dog collar from her human companion, Stokes. Stokes is a brilliant young knitter, veering from crochet to knitting without a blink, and she can lay down the least buckety log cabin you ever saw.

67 Comments

67 Comments

  1. The New York Times had a recipe last week for deviled eggs that were spicy and smoky and kind of red (to look like a devil). If you don’t have online access toss me a note and I’ll email it to you, it sounds great and I think I’ll try them, even if not tomorrow. Happy 4th, the blanket is coming along great.

  2. I am about to obtain the peaches, butter, and boxed yellow cake mix to make the requested (this recipe, even) cobbler. After being unable to string more than three hours of sleep together at once, and no more than five on any given day, I am pleased about the simple request.

  3. I’m not sure about your potato salad plans. While I have a wll-loved salad recipe similar to that, it can create near mutinous results to serve non-traditional dishes for the holidays. I believe the saying goes, “Never change the foods for a holiday, it makes the young ones cry and the old ones cranky.” Good luck!

  4. I usually read without commenting, but I had to throw in my two cents to vote against butter in your deviled eggs. The thought is making me feel a little queasy. Can I recommend vinegar? Do you already do that? It’s great.

  5. The recipe for the finest deviled eggs in the NYC Tristate area is discussed in this post by my friend Trouble:
    http://blog.wfmu.org/freeform/2009/04/you-are-the-egg-man.html
    I think they cost $3 per egg at the bar, but they blow all other deviled eggs out of the atmosphere.

  6. I have made my basic non recipe version of deviled (devilled?) eggs by leaving out a little of the mayo and adding melted butter. Quite decadent and delish, but the all mayo is my preference.

  7. tinkerbell looks to be a dog bear !

  8. Tinkerbell looks to be a dog-bear !
    i agree wichya about john adams and the others starting our country – could have been ugly. INCREDIBLE miniseries you recommended- that abigail adams was one strong woman.

  9. There is no cut glass on this planet that could escape the dust in my house.
    LOVE those squares!

  10. Our family’s tradition of deviled eggs is to put in mustard and LOTS of horseradish with a smidgen of mayo. Hope you find your perfect egg! Happy Fourth of July!

  11. Damn straight we’re lucky, forget Kim Jong-Il, could have been Pol Pot.
    Tinkerbell made a little noise come out of my throat involuntarily. So cute, and so long suffering. Puppies. They grow up into dogs. For the greater good of mankind.

  12. I’ll second that recommendation to see the John Adams miniseries. Seriously great stuff! Interesting how the country became a combination of federalist with state’s rights. And truly amazing men that were able to see it through!

  13. The best deviled eggs I’ve had used about a Tbsp. of horseradish with the mayo, mustard, and dill relish. Gives them some snap!

  14. I have three words for you: fried deviled eggs. Don’t knock ‘em until you try ‘em.

  15. For our devilled eggs, we use finely chopped sundried tomatoes (packed in oil), scallions, kalamata or black olives, and jalapenos along with mayo and yolk. I don’t eat them myself, but everyone raves about them.

  16. That made me laugh about the cut crystal. We have some cut crystal bowls which are very heavy — add food and the dining room table seems a mile away because those sharp edges are pressing into your hands and you swear you will be lacerated before you can put it down. We call it “Holiday Serving Agony.”

  17. Hi Ann,
    Righteous squares, man! (I vote for the “more green” solution…)
    Deviled eggs? Hellman’s mayo, mustard (I like ‘Guldens’) and salt to taste. A bit of paprika sprinkled on top can make it look pretty, if so desired.
    From founding fathers to brave troops over seas, thank you that we may be free to enjoy potato salad, peach cobbler, deviled eggs, hugging cuddly puppies etc. in their infinite varieties.
    HAPPY FOURTH! Knit on!
    LoveDiane

  18. I made edamame hummus for our 4th celebration. Also, a raspberry lemonade lemonade stand pie. Personally, I like the warm German potato salad, but I am in the minority. Except maybe in Germany.

  19. well.. i think in the case of devilled eggs, the simpler the better. go with the natural flavor and enhance it just a bit with some mayo, mustard and salt…
    and very refreshing to find a dog in a blog. i am so not a cat person….
    and have yourselves a very happy happy fourth to everyone that roots for the red white and blue. times like this i am proud to be an american and miss the good ole U.S.A…

  20. Potato salad: http://tinyurl.com/nmmutw
    Red potatoes, roasted little yellow squash, green herbs. So pretty.
    I love these squares! I think I would just like to gaze into your bucket of yarn!

  21. I’m always in charge of potato salad and there’s no way I could produce something involving vinaigrette and show my face. (c: On the other hand, my deviled eggs involve curry powder and those are pretty well received.

  22. I tried the butta route last year. Just tasted like over-rich boiled eggs. Don’t go there. Bacon’s a much better idea!

  23. Will you give us a hint at the yarn you used? I really like the heather look…thanks in advance!

  24. Will you give us a hint at the yarn you used? I really like the heather look…thanks in advance!

  25. Will you give us a hint at the yarn you used? I really like the heather look…thanks in advance!

  26. Will you give us a hint at the yarn you used? I really like the heather look…thanks in advance!

  27. just a simple happy july fourth
    nuff said

  28. My grandmother makes her deviled eggs this way: smash yolks with a little mayonnaise until somewhat smooth. Add in a little (tablespoon or two)vinegar and a little sugar (2x the amount of vinegar, a little more or less as needed depending on the number of yolks). Smoosh together with fork. Then dollop in just a little sweet pickle JUICE (the brine the pickles sit in), until the mixture is very smooth. Smooth back into the egg cups and sprinkle with yummy paprika.

  29. Do you want us to send you some green? I’ll bet we could inundate you with no problem. Seriously. My stash has green bits in it. (and purple too – why do I keep buying purple???!!!)
    I love the inside edging on the squares – very effective.

  30. Question about the knit squares.
    In the part copied below…do you only knit ONE row, not 2 as you did before you turned to knit along the side?
    Thanks,
    jakkimitch
    *Using still another color, pick up stitches along the edge, one stitch for every garter ridge and one for every stitch when you get to the part where it’s the cast on edge for the first square.
    Knit 1 row. Break yarn.
    Using another color, knit 8 garter ridges (16 rows). Break yarn.**

  31. Thank you Ann, for the instructions of the beautiful squares. I will make these, as soon as my hand heals form carpel tunnel surgery, in the mean time I am getting all these ideas together . Thanks a lot, Rita

  32. Thank you Ann, for the instructions of the beautiful squares. I will make these, as soon as my hand heals form carpel tunnel surgery, in the mean time I am getting all these ideas together . Thanks a lot, Rita

  33. Thank you Ann, for the instructions of the beautiful squares. I will make these, as soon as my hand heals from carpel tunnel surgery, in the mean time I am getting all these ideas together . Thanks a lot, Rita

  34. I always love your 4th of July posts, Ann. Deviled eggs are like America; we never find the perfect version, but we should always keep trying. :)
    And on the potato salad: lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, and fresh parsley, whisked together and poured over hot, freshly steamed yellow fingerling potatoes. You’ll never go back to the mayonnaise days…

  35. One year at the beach my daughter made the deviled eggs with guacamole. They were quite tasty, but that green tinge didn’t set well with some people. So this year I’m just going to mash the yokes up with some mustard, mayo and sweet pickle juice.

  36. Re: the deviled eggs: adding some very finely chopped red onion to the classic version (mayo, a little dried mustard) is very good too. Out here in foggy-ish San Francisco, the weather somehow isn’t quite suited to traditional July 4th fare, so reading about all the traditional picnic recipes makes my mouth water.

  37. Re: the deviled eggs: adding some very finely chopped red onion to the classic version (mayo, a little dried mustard, and of course paprika on top) is very good too. Out here in foggy-ish San Francisco, the weather somehow isn’t quite suited to traditional July 4th fare, so reading about all the traditional picnic recipes makes my mouth water.

  38. My mom’s secret ingredient in deviled eggs was celery salt or celery seed. Just a *tiny* pinch in addition to the usual mayo, mustard and paprika on top. She served them in a deviled egg dish — you know the kind I mean? white glass, with twelve oval indentations and a gold rim? probably came free in a box of Duz detergent? Did I just date myself?

  39. Somewhere on Utube there is a potato salad recipe from “Dave” that is pretty good. He boils evenly cut up potatoes and eggs. He makes deviled egg guts from the yellow of the eggs using mayo, mustard, pickle juice and s & P. He uses that mixture as the dressing on the potatoes. Then he chills everything before stiring together. Add some finely chopped onion and some paprika. Simple and very good.

  40. Is it just me, or does Tinkerbell appear as though she might have a bit of pot bellied pig in her? Regardless, she’s absolutely beauteous. As are your squares.

  41. My favorite deviled eggs are made by mixing the yolks with Marzetti’s Slaw Dressing. That’s all. First you mash the boiled yolks with a fork, and then you mix in the Marzetti’s.
    The trick is to mix it while the eggs are still very warm. Keep adding more Marzetti’s until you get the consistency you want.

  42. My brother makes the best deviled eggs – may0, dijon, shallots, jalapeno, salt & pepper – perfect! Try it! Love the squares, love them! I think this could work for me, I am color-challenged!

  43. the squares are beeyoutifull. I am making a Gees Bend version now from your blog long ago. It is turning out well. I am following your advice to just go with it and not worry too much about the “pattern”. I also agree with the John Adams miniseries. Pretty darn amazing that the right combination of minds got together and saw it through till the end. Abigail was terriffic.

  44. The Assembly sounds like such a wonderful place. How lucky you all are. If, however, one is far from the Monteagle Assembly, I agree that knitting while watching the John Adams miniseries is a great way to spend a few July evenings!

  45. Ever since last year’s fiasco of trying my local newspaper’s recipe for “The World’s Best Potato Salad” (They must have been talking about somewhere other than Earth), I cheated and bought some instead. If it’s crappy, it’s not my fault…

  46. Where did you get such lovely yarn for your log cabin?

  47. Where did you get such lovely yarn for your log cabin?

  48. Okay, the audio sounded very wonderful to me. Tried to order but turned out “they” do not find me eligible ’cause I wanted to do Visa. Not a PayPal person, sorry.
    Any change it will be at Knitty City in NYC?
    yr fan, naomi

  49. Had to order the CD immediately, esp. since I heard Kay’s voice in June but it’s been years since I’ve heard yours (not counting the music video ~ I mean in person)!
    Did I ever tell you how I kept notes about all the deviled eggs brought to our house when my father died?
    As I have recently acquired the actual giant “scissors” that hung outside the tailor shop in the John Adams series, I must get to watching it soon!
    XXO

  50. I’d love to take the two of you along on a 4 hour car ride. Congrats on the audiobook.

  51. Naomi, you may also order the audiobook on Amazon.

  52. Hope you all had a good Fourth of July. Congrats on the audio book. We’ll be checking that out on our road trip this summer.

  53. I love Ship of Fools, though not quite as much as some of her short stories, essays and poetry. Maybe I’ll read Ship of Fools again this summer. Not exactly light summer reading, but I have Harry Potter for that!

  54. Bacon? It’s brilliant! Everything’s better with bacon. Or butta.
    Cute squares! But I’ve been on a circle kick lately. The pinwheel blanket on Ravelry is my newest go to knitting, aside from socks. Always with the socks.
    But I love the squares!

  55. I’ll tell ya, Ann — between you and Kay and those beeeuuutiful log cabins! I am beside myself and trying to finish several other projects so I can start something log cabiny myself. Regarding food for 4th get-togethers, I am generally relegated to making a Southern Living pasta salad recipe from years ago — all kinds of fresh vegetables, two types of pasta and fresh herbs. I love the Southern Living test kitchens.

  56. Is it wrong that I’m now dreaming of a deviled egg with bacon AND butter?

  57. Rachel and Cherie are right–vinegar or horseradish, mustard, mayo. (Of course down here it’s Duke’s instead of Hellman’s.)
    In your book you have the most precious knitted “jeans” but the size stops at 24 mo. Any chance you’ll expand that pattern to toddler sizes? Please, please…!

  58. Rachel and Cherie are right–vinegar or horseradish, mustard, mayo. (Of course down here it’s Duke’s instead of Hellman’s.)
    In your book you have the most precious knitted “jeans” but the size stops at 24 mo. Any chance you’ll expand that pattern to toddler sizes? Please, please…!

  59. Your blankets are wonderful. Love the squares, but likely won’t emulate. Can’t handle sewing them together. I’ve made several log cabin blankets though, and a couple absorba the great (love the name) bathmats. Great stuff. Thanks!

  60. What a hoot. This book would be fun, One of the ladies where I work is due in mid August. I could make here some of these items.
    Di

  61. I will order the CD!! Wish I’d had it on my 4th of July trip. Ok, I’m confused about how you weave in the ends. Love the blanket squares! I keep thinking there ought to be a way to crochet the squares together!
    Marsha

  62. What breed is Tinkerbell?

  63. anyone else think the blue and green squares look perfect on that bench? i’d be tempted to sew em together and leave them there!

  64. Oh shoot! I still haven’t gotten the last recipe for log cabin squares out of my system, and here you are! With another! I saw you knitting these, and I thought, Whew, I’m safe, I am not even going to look at these more closely to try and figure out how they’re done. And now there’s the recipe.
    You’re just plain cruel. ;)

  65. Could you give me some advice on turning these beauties into potholders? I’m using Cascade 220 and Silk Garden – would you use a double strand, and any thoughts on a size needle to start with? (Yes, I could swatch, but I am turning to the Maven of Log Cabinning instead!)

  66. Thank you for feeding my log cabin frenzy. My summer knitting is 3 different log cabinish projects from what turned out to be a surprisingly gigantic cotton yarn stash…(did I really think I was going to make 10,000 dishcloths? Apparently, at one time that seemed sensible). I’m having a blast and I knit everywhere I go — because there’s always time for just one more row….

  67. I’m still laughing – and hopefully the pun WAS intended:
    “We hear that our audiobook is coming out soon, …”
    Janey