"The Nation's Leading Bi-Regional Knitting Blog" --Ann's husband • "Kay sure is wasting a lot of time on this" --Kay's husband

January 31, 2008

Owl Right, Already

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Dear Ann,

People are whimpering about the owl. They want to know how to make the owl. Me, I got no idea. The owl, my studio confidant (remember Naive Knitter?), was a gift from a friend. The belly is felt and the rest is vintage fabric. It's your basic fold-down beak owl.

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I love how the eyes are just plain shank buttons. Do not underestimate the expressiveness of a shank button.

There is a tutorial here, at Moonstitches, which is always worth a trip, even if you have no interest in making tiny owls. (Thanks to Lynn in Tucson, we have a link to the pattern.)

Love,
Kay

PS Dept. of Eye-Related Crafts: If you don't think the writers' strike is very grave, consider that Stephen Colbert is making googly-eyed clams on his show (scroll down for clamtorial video). He may be the greatest American, but he could use some help from Moonstitches.

Posted by Kay at 03:08 PM | Comments (18)

If You Liked Purgatorio, You'll Love Inferno

Dear Ann,

This is a case of using one's blog as a goad to finish something. Whatever gets me through the night, you know?

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This is what 29 squares of i-cord edging looks like. (For subscribers to welovethatchair.com, I apologize for the lack of upholstery reveal. Maybe tomorrow. Keep hope alive.)

Good news! I am only 4 squares away from the halfway point, because I only have 66 squares in the edges, not 76 as previously calculated by the Kay-o-meter. (38 + 28=66. This is very well established.) I'm also working them faster than predicted. With the writer's strike, you can pay more attention to your knitting, due to fewer laff breaks. I was knitting for about 2.5 hours yesterday.

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Now here's a pernicious sapper of perfectly good knitting time: Great Books. Years ago I told a professorial pal that the next time it was his turn to teach that freshman Lit. Hum. class, I wanted to audit. Well, danged if it isn't his turn this semester. That's me in the back of the class. The one with the unexposed abdomen and no laptop. The one who is not 19. The one who is not making any interesting remarks about St. Augustine. (Yet--I feel one coming on!)

Except for Pride and Prejudice (which informs every moment of every day), my only previous acquaintance with any of these books was through crossword puzzles. Guess what: The Aeneid? A page-turner! Torrid! Who knew?

Love,
Kay

Posted by Kay at 08:59 AM | Comments (58)

January 30, 2008

Internal Blanket

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Dear Ann,

Help! I'm i-cording and I can't get up!

The borders are on, both inner and outer. Every seam is sewed. Every end is wove.

The perimeter of the blanket is 76 squares around.

I am i-cording at a rate of 4-5 SPH. (Squares per hour.) The specific hour is between 11 and 12 when I'm exercising my rights as an informed citizen, keeping up with current events. (I.e., watching A Daily Show and The Colbert Report.)

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Joseph was talking to me the other day, and I was listening with one ear (as one does to talk of Hank Aaron's records or the workings of a game called Zelda), and I thought I heard him say something about "internal life". "What?" I asked.

"You know,' he said, with patience for the slow-witted, "Internal life, Mom! It lasts forever!"

Such a deep thought: Internal life lasts forever.

Like i-cording a blanket that is 76 squares around.

As you've probably guessed, I'm quite enjoying the process. Applied i-cord is to be savored like a fine wine. Internally.

For those who are jonesing to buy raffle tickets for a beautiful blanket that is actually finished, check out UK blanket number 2 over at Michaela's. Michaela is breaking all speed records over there. North American readers, look for some of your squares in her blanket. We had so many squares in our apartment that Hubby sent a group of them on a package tour of England. (They loved Hadrian's Wall.)

Love,
Kay

P.S. I had to go get Super Eggplant's cool blog toy.

(They didn't have Nashville.)

Posted by Kay at 09:49 AM | Comments (28)

January 22, 2008

Rise Up, O Knitters! Take Thy Knitting to the Polls with Thee

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Dear Kay,

Feeling very ranty this morning.

I keep hearing all the snippets of Martin Luther King's speeches, all that resonant language, all the mountaintops and dreams, and I have to say: I actually feel an optimism about the future that I have never felt. The situation that we currently face--the lingering wars, the downward-spiraling economy, the social ills, our reputation abroad--is so gruesome that it's starting to get even MY attention.

Here's the reason for my optimism in the face of all these troubles. I feel around me a rising tide of unhappiness about it all. People are worried, frustrated, angry, jaded. Are we sick and tired of the way things are going? I believe we are. Is it possible for a group of people, dissatisfied with the way things are, to find a way to change this mess? I think it is.

Do we all have the same solutions in mind? Certainly not. But is it our duty to participate in our government? Absolutely. Am I going to keep asking these rhetorical questions? Probably so. Does it make me sound like Donald Rumsfeld? Quite possibly.

In this season of primaries and caucuses and elections, we each have the incredible luxury of participating in what happens to our country. People die every day, fighting for the chance to vote, wishing they had the rights that we have here.

So here's what I suggest: figure out who you're going to support in this election, and get out there and actually support that candidate.

I don't really care which candidate you support, because mine's going to win. ; ) (If you're a Raveler, you can find me over there, campaigning. But I'm not going to violate our sacred rule of getting in the particulars of politics on our blog.)

We rarely have the chance to vote in an election that matters so very much, so I'm encouraging you to git with it.

February 5 is a big day for primaries. If you live in one of the 22 states, lucky you! Go stick a sign in your yard, wear a goofy button, make the supreme statement and put a bumper sticker on your vehicle. Talk somebody into voting for your candidate. Send money, even!

And for heaven's sake, take your kids with you to the polls. When they see you voting, and taking it seriously, then they will, too.

That's all I have to say about that. For the moment. Thank you for listening.

Handspun Festival Continues

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My fat skein of sockweight handspun from SewKnitNBeads2 has met its destiny as a skinny, potholder-like scarf.

I had such slack-jawed fun watching the unspooling of the colors that I immediately cast on another skinny, slightly-less-potholder-like scarf using another skein of this colordy crazy yarn.

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Moss stitch. All-time favorite stitch. Such a flat fabric it makes.

Going through all the book proofs last week has got me ITCHIN' to make stuff. Once my bedsores heal from our confinement last week as we hacked away at the book, and once I get the circulation back in my legs, I want to start an actual project that requires actual attention.

Love,
Ann

Posted by Ann at 11:08 AM | Comments (57)

January 21, 2008

Welcome to the Coven

Dear Ann,

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From Sunday, a 100% candid photo. Three girls knitting. We live for this.

Love,
Kay

Posted by Kay at 11:17 PM | Comments (22)

January 18, 2008

We'll Tawk, We'll Knit, We'll Have Cawfee in Lawn Guyland

Dear Long Island Knitters,

If you're a Long Island knitter, and you're reading this, and you're not doing anything tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon, would you please drop by the A.C. Moore Craft Superstore in Carle Place and rescue me from loneliness and overspending on crafty goodness? I'll be there from 1 to 3. Just me and the Sugar 'n Cream.

Here's the address:
157 Glen Cove Road
Carle Place, NY 11514

On very short notice, made even shorter by going to Nashville and holing up with 160 pages of damn fine knitterly carrying on (damn fine but slightly out of order) and forgetting to blog about it, I am appearing at a Free Yarn Event at the A.C. Moore store. I have never been in an A.C. Moore store. I hear they have a LOT of dishcloth cotton, so it will be something of a pilgrimage for me. I am hoping to finally see the miracle of self-striping dishcloth cotton. Not ombre. Not space-dyed. SELF-STRIPING DISHCLOTH COTTON, PEOPLE!

I don't think I will be doing anything other than hanging out and participating in the Free Yarn Event, which I think might involve doing some charity knitting but surely will involve some chit-chatting and DEFINITELY will involve undying gratitude to anybody who shows up to say hi.

I will try to get out of there without buying (unreasonable amounts of) dishcloth cotton or quilting fabric. I will try not to be tempted by the spray adhesive that some quilters keep recommending to me and other quilters keep warning me off of. (I'm trying to stay old-school with my quilting. I don't want to use anything Ma Ingalls couldn't get at the Oleson general store. Except the sewing machine of course.)

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My other plan for the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend is to put the finishing touches on Oliver's blanket. I'm even closer than this picture shows. The inner borders are attached now, so it's just one more set of borders and an endless attached i-cord, and we'll be having a raffle!

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As expected, it's not exactly what I expected.

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I keep seeing new things in it. Sock yarns are so subtle. What color is that, red? Orange? Pink? No.

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Still my favorite. Chartreuse and gray are my It colors.

With that, I wish you a Numa Numa weekend.

I'm getting my YouTubes from Carrie now. Kind of cool.

Love,
Kay


Posted by Kay at 09:50 PM | Comments (43)

January 14, 2008

Sudden Outbreak of Quiet Good Taste

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Dear Ann,

We were sposed to get a whale of a Historic Three-Incher last night, but it has come to naught so far. (I wouldn't have put it past the school to declare a Wet Day, but they didn't.) I'm heading for the airport and I'll be seeing you soon. Don't linger too long knitting at the library--we've got work to do! They've listed Book 2 on Amazon, woman. We better finish the book.

When not devoting my energy to recipe collection and preservation, I have been busy with the sewing machine. Something curious has happened. My quilting habit, which originated in a desire to crank out splashy, clashy blankets faster than the speed of knitting, has taken a bizarre turn: tastefulness and straight seams.

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Exhibit A: The mixed media project. First I knitted the edging, intending that it would edge 2 yards of shot cotton embellished with machine embroidery. Then, whilst innocently stopping by Purl Patchwork one day, lo, I beheld the Nani Iro. I stood in the radiant light, blinking. What, I asked nobody in particular, did the Nani Iro demand of me, its handmaiden? The Nani wanted me to buy 2 yards of 2 coordinating prints. It wanted me to take the yardage, and the linen edging, to Philadelphia and await further instructions.

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Note that the knitted edging (Euroflax Sportweight Linen) is sandwiched between the top and bottom layers of fabric. There is also a layer of lightweight cotton batting. This was a challenging project, sewing-wise. I now know that I should have basted the batting to one of the layers, and then do everything else I did. (Basically I think my method of binding the quilt is called the pillowcase method. You sew right sides together, leaving an opening in the stitching, turn the piece inside out, and then sew the opening shut. Before I did this, I had to handstitch the knitting to the edge of one of the pieces of fabric so that it would lie flat. The machine-stitching was more or less done by feel, as I was trying to stitch down the center of the yarnover row so that the edging would appear even.) One step remains: doing some sashiko style embroidery, through all the layers, to keep the batting in place. The Nani Iro sticks to the batting really well, but it needs a little insurance. I'm planning to go back to Purl for some orange embroidery floss or quilting thread. Silk? We'll see what the Purl girls recommend.

My not-so-humble thought about this project is that the somewhat awkward execution is redeemed by the marriage of edging and fabric. I rely, hard, on beginner's luck. I would have hated to ruin this fabric.

Exhibit B is a long slide further down the slippery slope of refinement:

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This is a limited-run Liberty fabric. (Limited-run meant that I had no choice but to buy it, regardless of the fact that I had no idea what to do with it at the time.) Last weekend, I desperately wanted to sew a quilt top from start to finish in a few hours. Flipping through Last-Minute Patchwork Gifts, I saw the project "Cutting Corners", which uses a simple plan for a large swatch of Liberty fabric framed by a second cotton print and solid borders. I had some leftover beige linen, in a heavier weight (which actually came to me from Liberty of London, which I took as a Sign and a Symbol). I had some (Joel Dewberry?) fabric that matched like destiny. I followed the pattern (really!), cut all the pieces (including the binding) in an hour, and the quilt top came together like magic. My favorite part is something you can't see--the way the dense, soft linen's substance and subtle texture contrasts with the smooth, almost transparent cotton lawn. (It was tricky telling the right side from the wrong side of the Liberty print.)

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This one is going to the machine quilter's house, once I find a backing fabric. I'm taking suggestions for a zingy all-over print, preferably with some chartreuse and a dull gray or brown. I've already cut and pieced the binding. I can't wait for this one to Be a Quilt. It is quite a feeling, this ability to run up a blanket top on the machine.

I know you probably can't believe the non-crookedness of these projects, the lack of bleach, the absence of recycled shmattas. I don't know what came over me.

See ya soon!

Love, Kay

Posted by Kay at 08:51 AM | Comments (39)

January 13, 2008

Knitting SAT

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Dear Kay,

Isn't this lace LURVLY?

It's time for a knitting quiz.

Cristina over at Philacraft sent along this tantalizing pair of photos. She writes: "I'm trying to figger out what this is. A friend had this stole hanging in her window. The lace mohair was too itchy to wear, she said, but the stole was too beautiful to give away and she didn't like to think that people in cars passing by could see right through that glass door. Close inspection will show that every side is knit to give garter bumpiness and full reversibility."

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Wot is it? Can anybody out there identify this pattern? Or cook up the pattern for it?

Love,
Ann

PS Edited below to add the lace shown upside down (or right side up, actually), at the suggestion of Recipe Box Recipe Contest Winner Julia. While she's figuring this out, I'm going to make some of her award-winning salad dressing . . .

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Posted by Ann at 01:33 PM | Comments (53)

January 11, 2008

Never Underestimate How Long a Blog Post Can Be

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Dear Ann,

I haven't forgotten about the recipe box contest. I got sidelined this week, moving our long-stored Stuff out of storage and back home. The good news:

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Little Rabbi is in the house!

The bad news: I hate the rest of our stuff. I had gotten used to the stuff-free lifestyle. My next project: getting rid of stuff, without (and this is the tricky part) acquiring more stuff.

The Contest

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It was really hard to pick winners for Best Recipe Box and Best Recipe. It was really easy to put the prizes together. I put together the world's first Recipe Box-N-Dishrag Sets, using my powerful eBaying and dishrag-knitting skills. I love a matching set!

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The winners will also receive dishcloth cotton (a great packing material), and a favorite cookbook: Lost Recipes by Marion Cunningham. (It's also a recipe "box"; it has a folder for storing clippings so they don't get lost again.> Thanks to Marion Cunningham, I rediscovered the doctored-up mayonnaise dressing (in Marion's Waldorf Salad recipe) that Grandma Mabel always used to garnish a square of Jell-O "salad" after styling it on a chic leaf of iceberg lettuce. This was her standard first course when she had lady friends over for lunch. I had completely forgotten it, but the taste memory nearly knocked me over.

So, on to the winners:

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BEST BOX goes to: Lacey at Random Stitches. The makers of Mod Podge have a lot to answer for, but I love this box.

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BEST RECIPE goes to Julia of Moth Heaven, for her deliciously different salad dressing. In January one tends to eat a lot of salad, so the fact that this concoction makes a huge jar of dressing is a plus. Please don't be mad at me for picking a salad dressing when there were so many decadent and delicious and flat-out-strange other choices. I had to pick one thing and the salad dressing hit a chord. I promise not to use this dressing on Jell-O salad, and I would ask that everyone else respect the dressing, and do likewise. Jell-O salad is no longer viable. We loved it, we hated it, it's over. (Does anybody remember 1-2-3 Jell-O? The Nor-O of Jell-O. Self-striping! Unusual texture!) (Edited to Add: Look! A recipe for fake 1-2-3 Jell-O! As if the original weren't fake enough!)

Everybody, politely tap your melamine slotted spoons for Lacey and Julia.

(Lacey and Julia, please send me your snail mail addresses.)

And now for the prize for all of us: a virtual recipe box of all the entries. Please note that I have carefully arranged the entries to mimic an authentic home recipe box. In other words, there is no order to this mess whatsoever. (If I left out your entry, please email me. I tried really hard to keep all the entries in one place, but as with a real recipe box, every once in a while a great recipe walks off with a scheming sister-in-law.)

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Anna C emailed this box, with this recipe for Sweet Adeline Fruit Salad.

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Susan P emailed this box and the following short and sweet recipe that was date-stamped by her meticulous gran:

Dumplings (Butter) October 26 1937

1 c sweet milk 1 c flour
1/2 c butter (or butter and short) 2 eggs
pch salt

Heat 1st 3 ingred to boiling. Add flour & stir until paste leaves sides of pan. Cool. Add eggs, one at a time, beating very well after each. Drop by t in boiling broth. Very good vs chix broth.

Chili that will not lead to "indisposition", from Becky at Attention Span of a Gnat

A beautiful old notebook and box filled with the collection of a lifetime and Banana Drop Cookies from Nancy at Wyoming Breezes

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Yarngal 's box..

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Yarngal's recipe for Eggless Applesauce Cake. Sometimes you don't have, or don't want, eggs.

Beautiful new notebooks and Dad's Yummy Chicken from Shelly The Heathen Housewife

Ham Delights from Pam at Knitting and Sweet Tea

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Suzanne's mom's recipe purse! Inside this beauty is a recipe for Anise Cookies that I couldn't manage to read.** But the purse just about did me in with nostalgia for wooden purses with coins stuck on them. (During this era, I had a child-sized white wicker purse with yellow gingham lining that thrilled me to the core, even if it did snag my Sunday school tights.) What a brilliant idea to turn one into a recipe box!

**EDITED TO ADD:

Suzanne sent in the recipe for Anise Cookies, and it's in rhymed couplets!

Here goes:

Tips from the Pixies who live in the Miles Kimball gift shelves

Springeril puts you in a cheerful mood
Particularly if you like the taste of food
We know you'll become a Springeril extoller
Now that you've got our special roller!

4 eggs (beaten)
2 cups sugar
4 drops anise oil
4 and 1/2 cups cake flour
Anise seed for the pan

Until they're thick the eggs you beat
Stir in sugar 'till the combinings complete.
Now beat some more with tempo increased
And keep it up... 15 minutes at least.
Add anise oil now, blend to and fro,
Fold in the flour and roll out the dough
Flour your roller, press out the design
And cut your cookies on the imprint line.
Aniseeds to a greased sheet now apply
And set over night for the cakes to dry.
At 300 degrees you set the flame
And these could be your claim to fame.
WIth Springeril sip a cordial mint green,
To heighten the pleasure of a moment serene!

Here's our recipe and we hope you like it.
Thank you -- we did appreciate this order!

Sincerely,
Mrs. Pixy

Kristen's Kitchen gives us perfectly photo-styled Peanut Butter Kisses and many more recipes.

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From Kathryn, a classic box, and a classic recipe: Maid Rites!.

Margaret's vintage boxes have provenance at Knitching.

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One of Megan C's beautiful vintage boxes, and one of her recipes:

Mustard Pickles
8 c. lg cucs (chopped)
8 c. gherkins (left whole, so they should be small) 8 c. large onions (chopped)
1 qt. silver skinned onions
1 med. cauliflower (cut into small flowerettes) 3 red hot pepers (cut fine)
Put in a pot. Cover with hot brine (1 c. salt & boiling water to cover)and let stand until morning. Drain. Heat to boiling point, 3 c. cider vinegar, 3 c. white vinegar, 3-4 c. sugar, 2 1/2 tbsp celery seed, 2 1/2 tbsp mustard seed. Add vegetables and heat thoroughly. Make paste of 2/3 c. flour, 4 tbsp mustard, 1 tbsp tummeric. Dampen with water and add slowly to above. Cook 20-25 minutes. Pour into jars and seal. Makes 16 pints.

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Kelly G sent in her grandma's recipe collection and a recipe for Banana Bread:

Banana Bread
2 loaves

2 C mashed bananas (3)
1 1/2 C sugar
1/2 C shortening (margarine) (1 stick)
2 eggs
2t soda in 2/3 C Buttermilk
3 C sifted flour
1/2t salt
1t vanilla

Mix in order given & bake 1 hour 350 degrees. (Kelly says she only bakes it 55 minutes.)

A well-used oak box and Fresh Apple Cake from Jeannie at I Would Rather Be Knitting

A box she won from a food market, and lentil soup you could feed to a monk, or eat yourself, from Lisa at Exhibit L.

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Renee emailed photos of her mom's meticulous scrapbook of recipes, saying, "gosh darn it, it's the best!" And who could argue with Ox-Blood Cake? I don't know about you, but I'm sending ox-blood cupcakes to the next school bake sale. Hey--no peanut products, but they never said anything about ox blood.

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This is a binder of recipes from Tanya's grandmother, who was a restaurant cook, made a mean pie, and kept a
no-name recipe for candy on a matchbook
for over 40 years. "Can be dipped in chocolate and nuts!" It's got to be good!

(The very reluctant cook) Sonja shares her Betty Crocker, her box, and her Sock-It-To-Me Cake at Stringplay. Here come da judge!

Cat at Crap on My Shoes, Egg in My Pocket has a Soviet and/or US Navy-issue recipe box that is 110% redeemed by her spiral bound Star Trek cookbook and her grandmas' 1935 cookbook with handwritten grandmotherly notes including, "needs more salt" and, simply, "NO!" (One is tempted to make the recipe to see what prompted such vehemence.) (Which reminds me of how as a kid, I pronounced "vehement", which I had read but never heard, as "Vee-HEE-ment". Which still sounds much more angry to me than the correct pronunciation, "VEE-uh-ment." It was almost as much of a disappointment as when I learned that "macabre" was not pronounced "MACK-a-bray".)

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A charming booklet of Cookery Notes from Rita H.

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Susan O sent a really unusual box, and this recipe for elegant cocktail tidbits:

Hors d'oeuvre--"Cream Cheese Puffs"
1 8oz pkg. cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup parmesan cheese
4 T mayo
4 green onions, chopped fine
a few drops tabasco
Mix above well. Cut a generous 1/2 loaf of bread into squares,
rounds, triangles etc., and toast one one side. Spread mixture
thickly on untoasted side of bread. Put on cookie sheet and chill 1
hour, then remove to freezer bag to freeze, or cook under broiler
until mixture bubbles--about 3 minutes.

Olga the Uberstrickenfrau proves that not only is she not the garbanzo bean in every soup, she doesn't know how a garbanzo bean gets into a soup in the first place.

Paula PJBKnit has a trove of great vintage stuff. (Campbell's Soup recipe box: COVET!)

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Patricia M sent in this charming lobster recipe box--I'm betting it's Ohio Art. (Edited to add: I have had confirmation that this is true.) Patricia writes:

"My recipe is for 'Goop.' This was the featured dessert at every family gathering of my childhood. My mom and my aunts would talk on the phone weeks in advance to determine who would bring the Goop. We kids would wait in anticipation and talk about what flavor the Goop would be--cherry was the best, blueberry definitely inferior. Once one of my aunts made pineapple Goop--that was a dark day.

Bake a graham cracker crust in a 9 x 13 pan. Cool.

Beat 1 lb soft cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla for 10 minutes. Fold in 1 envelope prepared Dream Whip. Spread on crust. Top with one can of cherry or blueberry pie filling. Refrigerate.

How can you go wrong with powdered whipped cream????"

You can NOT go wrong, Patricia. I remember Goop! The cherry was the best.

Lisa who Can't Stop Knitting reminds us that without Lipton's onion soup mix, we would be nothing. (You gotta love a main course recipe with 3 ingredients, two of which are aluminum foil and soup mix!)

Run, don't walk, to see Mehitabel's genuine Hoosier Kitchen! The thing holds 20 pounds of flour! \

Knitspot's Anne has an awesome souvenir recipe box from Howe Cave, which still smells like cedar. And her grandma could write a really concise recipe. ("If you want to make a half recipe, cut it down.") That's how I want to write a knitting pattern: "if you want to make it bigger, do that." Somehow that approach always results in emails. Back in Anne's grandma's day, you didn't have to worry about emails. People just had to cut the recipe down.

Shivery Knits Laura is getting all haute on us with her gourmet brie recipe. Style! Grace! Kahlua! Pecans!

Edna at Kentucky Bluegrass Knitter shares the state of the applesauce in 1942.

Allergic to Harvest Gold? Avert your eyes if you must, but don't miss Cathy-Cate's toffee bars at Hither and Yarn.

And then there's Live Bait Sandwiches. No, that's not the recipe. The recipe is good, and so is the story about something that was in the recipe box. Memories of Brainerd! (I've been to Brainerd. I think I've even been sunburned in Brainerd.)

Hillary at Knitting4Shirley shows us Shirley's very tidy recipe box.

Sharon at Pinwheels and Purls gives us glitter glue and a great bean soup recipe, but would it have killed her to tell us how to make a rice-gelatin ring in which to nestle meatballs and sauce? (Ew. Rice. Gelatin.)

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Elizabeth H shared the recipe holder she made from Japanese papers, plus this recipe she stole from her brother:

Corn Pudding
1 8 oz pkg corn muffin mix
2 eggs
1 8 oz can creamed corn
1 8 oz can corn nibblets, drained
1 c sour cream
1/2 cup butter
mix tog. bake in 350 for 45-50 mins
serves 4-6.


A classic pedigreed box (I wish Martha Stewart would reproduce this one) and a tearjerker of a story of daughterly devotion from Jennifer the Major Knitter.

Did you know that Wendy is Swedish? The things you learn when you throw out a challenge.

Carole's box and her mom's sour cream coffee cake recipe. Yum-O!

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CK's box is not old, but she has two words for us: Tuna. Wiggle.:

Tuna Wiggle

1 can tuna (I get Bumble Bee Premium)
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 small can peas

In a pan over low heat melt 1 tsp. butter
Add tuna and divide into small pieces
Add can of mushroom soup and 1/2 can milk
Stir until it starts to bubble
Drain peas and add.
Serve over crackers or toast.
Eureka! Tuna wiggle.

Trista has a fast garam masala veggie recipe at Slow Me Down.

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Susan emailed me this photo of a battered but surviving recipe box (which I just saw on eBay in a more minty-fresh condition--it's a beauty!), and a sadly illegible recipe for sugar cookies.

Mary has a Trader Joe's box (the Bisquick Box of Tomorrow), and beans that are looking for God, at The Tactless Wonder.

If you have tender memories of granny's homemade booze, check out Kniterella's historic box.

You've been wondering and wondering about it. It's been driving you crazy. Now, thanks to Brynne at All This By Hand, you will know all of the Six Kinds of Toast.

Tender family memories (Aunt Ag! Uncle Crawford!) and pineapple upside down cake from Chris at >Woolybuns. (I think we're related, on the Uncle Hermit in the Woods side.)

Set off your smoke alarm with Erin and her Longaberger recipe basket (uppity!) at Such a Girl to Me.

The terror threat level is at Cornbread Yellow over at Miss T's Mystery House of Yarn and Horrors. What's really frightening is the sheer number of cookbooks. Frame of reference: more cookbooks than I have knitting books. I know! Scary stuff!

For that flat Coke you can't stand to throw away: Cygknit has a tantalizingly partial recipe for Coke Cake. (Ann, finally, just the dessert to indulge in after Diet Coke Chicken!)

Make It Right With Lard, with Judy from Persistent Illusion. Or make it wrong with lard. Just make it with lard.

A Thanksgiving Cake that looks delicious but hasn't been tested since they started putting dials on ovens, from Marian the Geekweaver. Let us know if you try it. Throw another log on the Aga!

Karen has a vintage spiral notebook, and BROWNIES.

You'll go to My Life Is But a Tapestry for Grandma Maisie's sweet recipe box, but you'll stay for Kathy's tapestry of Grandma Maisie herself, and the little knitted coat. (Note to self: remember to tapestry Grandma!)

Many great recipes at Chasing the Nuns. (Scroll down for chili!)

Chappy's Mom's resolution for 2008: collect more recipes! Fill more large Tupperwares!

Barbara at I'm Crocheting to Keep From Smoking has a Never Fail Coffee Cake that is a guaranteed diet-killer.

The Library of Congress is not as well indexed as Sade's recipe collection.

Vintage boxes and sloppy joes at Needles and Hooks, Brushes and Books. (And she didn't get them from eBay!)

A reminder of how pretty recipe boxes used to be at The Feminist Knitter.

This just in: Famous Felter Fixes Fab Fudge. Film at 11.

Kim at Knit-Tea Kitty has a recipe for caramel rolls that has got to be good (it's scribbled on the back of a hymn).

Cat, Knits and Things has a Million Dollar Pound Cake that looks like it will live up to its name. NINE EGGS, people. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Jenny held back the doctored-up peas, but gave us Mom's Quiche.

Clugeons, which are nothing like klingons or bludgeons, from Carol at Mad For Knit. (Excellent use of rubber bands, also.)

Carol's friend Diana's cheesecake, at Knit and Run.

Judy at Smatterings has a relic-worthy recipe book from her grandmother, and an ancient recipe for Welsh Rabbit. Rarebit. Grilled cheese.

Janna's tower of boxes and her grandma's Molasses Crinkles at Knitting Relaxes Me.

Granmo's beautifully preserved 1964 recipe box; it was a wedding present. (Aw!)

A great recipe system and pineapple cookies from Julie at Woolgathering.

I was starting to think we might not get a recipe for liver, and naturally I was bumming out. Mary Lou of Yarnerinas came to the rescue.

CC at Thread, String and the Rest of It. An oatmeal cookie recipe calling for "sweet milk". (Pickle juice not recommended.)

Lemon cookies that won't kill you (despite ammonia ingredient) from Jan at Twinset. Also great for cleaning the tub.

Pam's Black Bottom Cupcakes at Works in Progress. They make the rockin' world go round.

Crockpot soup at You'll Never Know.

Becky gives us a jelly roll, plus a wonderful rundown of recipe finds from her 2007 kitchen. I'm doing the Martha minestrone!

From Lisa, a Monastery Lentil Soup. Vow of silence not required.

A custom-made family recipe album at Birdyknits.

Amy has 4-star sugar cookies with bonus recipe for washing windows. (Do it on a cloudy day. I did not know that.)

Frances from Home Made Originals shares a recipe for Chicken Piccata. I respectfully disagree that the capers are optional. Capers are compulsory! Why would you miss a caper opportunity?

Kelly's mom's pots de creme, plus a swell idea about scotch-tape collaging recipes inside all the kitchen cabinets. (Why not? I plan to be in this kitchen for a long time, and the next occupant can roll her eyes all she wants after I'm gone. I built this kitchen, honey!)

Knitnzu's Sinfuls: are they candy? cookie? PMS remedy? You decide.

Leslie at The Sound of One Hand Knitting has a classic avocado green plastic box and an equally classic 70s sour cream casserole. (The ground beef is presumed, of course.)

Kathy posts her home-ec teacher grandmother's impressive recipe box at The Knitigator, plus brownies!

More lemony chicken from Sandra at K-or-K.

Cath the New England Knitter serves up something healthy, for crying out loud. What's up with that?

Amy reveals the answer to the burning question: what is pieplant? Is it on Gilligan's Island, like breadfruit?

Berry's Mom has a delicious recipe invented by her kid. I'm tempted to melt those marshmellows (sic), dump that whipped cream and choclet (sic) chips and just eat it out of the bowl.

Karen has a old-time box (Ohio Art if I'm not mistaken) and an old-time recipe for Thousand Island Dressing (chopped egg! chili sauce! mayo!).

Cheesy Tuna Ring from Michelle at You Just Gotta Keep Knitting. Anything that's a "ring" has got to be good.

Angie at Purling Oaks has one of them swanky recipe baskets and a pan-fried noodle recipe that has been known to hook a man. Use with caution! One man per customer!

Saffinity's cheese crisps have a secret ingredient: Rice Krispies!

More man-catching goodness from Renee at A Good Yarn. Again, be careful with all man-attracting dishes. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

Sara L sent me a picture of a spiral bound "Theme Notebook" and this fancy pie recipe, which she has tasted only once but still dreams of:

Blum's, one of California's oldest confectioners, has been a part of the San Francisco scene since 1890, when Simon Blum sent his carriages lumbering up the steep, cobblestoned streets to make deliveries at the mansions on Nob Hill. San Franciscans have long been devoted to Blum's melting pastries, tortes, and napoleons. Here is Blum's luscious Coffee-Toffee Pie.

Blum's Coffee-Toffee Pie

Pastry shell:
1/2 package (10-oz. size) piecrust mix
1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 square unsweetened chocolate, grated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling:
1/2 cup soft butter or margarine
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 square unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
2 teaspoons instant coffee
2 eggs

Coffee Topping:
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons instant coffee
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
Chocolate curls

1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. Make Pastry Shell: In medium bowl, combine piecrust mix with brown sugar, walnuts, and grated chocolate. Add 1 tablespoon water and the vanilla; using fork, mix until well blended. Turn into 9-inch well-greased pie plate; press firmly against bottom and side of pie plate. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack.
3. Meanwhile, make Filling: In small bowl, with portable electric mixer at medium speed, beat butter until creamy.
4. Gradually add granulated sugar, beating until light. Blend in melted chocolate and 2 teaspoons instant coffee.
5. Add 1 egg; beat 5 minutes. Add remaining egg; beat 5 minutes longer.
6. Turn filling into pie shell. Refrigerate covered, overnight.
7. Next day, make Coffee-Topping: In large bowl, combine cream with 2 tablespoons instant coffee and the confectioner's sugar. Refrigerate, covered, 1 hour.
8. With portable electric mixer, beat cream mixture until stiff. Decorate pie with topping using pastry bag with number-6 decorating tip, if desired. Garnish with chocolate curls. Refrigerate at least 2 hours. Makes 8 servings.

Swedish cream wafers from the Queen of Stuff, who comes by her title honestly.

Considering that Kelle says she's such a recalcitrant cook (I hear ya sister!), she gives a Food Channel-worthy pictorial recipe for potato soup, sharing tips about the "common knowledge among the potato people".

A vintage box and 2, 4 or 6 pumpkin pies, from Helen.

Pie plus beverage from Lindsey of Look Honey--The Midwife Knits!

You've been looking for a recipe for Bolivian Fluff, I know you have. Linda from Mouseyblog has the answer.

Fudge! Fudge, I said! From After Lunch.

Ingredient of the month: a recipe calling for chopped-up candy orange slices at Maple Corners.

Yvonne made the Never Fail Cake and says it's good! And in other news, she posted a recipe for Brown Bread, which I've always been kind of afraid of because of the coffee-can thing. Are coffee cans designed for heat? What happens if they sproing apart just as you open the oven? Why is this particular bread baked vertically? Is it just because the first person who baked it didn't have a normal pan so they used a coffee can, and everybody keeps thinking it must have been important?

Bizcochitos at The Knitting Sanitarium. I like that this one came from high school Spanish class. Keep your eyes peeled: there are recipes everywhere.

Divine divinity from Stoneview. Ah, divinity. Like spritz cookies, divinity is one of those things I associate with Christmas, but only because everybody else's mom and grandma made it, never mine. There were the divinity people, the fudge people, the brittle people, and the spritz people, and we were not of their tribe. (Their tribe used a LOT of wax paper.) The name divinity reminds me of a sweet rice salad (with FRUIT in it for pete's sake) that Grandma used to make for ladies' lunches, called "Glorified Rice". It also had nuts and cream. It was kind of a 50s thing. (Ya think?) Tasty despite the weirdness. I do remember wondering why this bizarre preparation was considered glorifying to the rice. The birth of a smartass!

Teresa gives us meatloaf and pound cake, covering the Department of Things Baked In Loaf Pans. (She also BUSTS a Christmas cookie mag for duplicating 2002 and 2006 issues! Investigative blog journalism at its best.)

Sour Cream Coffee Cake at Carole Knits.

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Look at this beautiful Bisquick box from Carol in Oregon. All ready! Plus a sweet recipe for Pineapple or Apricot Preserve Cake.

Very cool card catalog recipe retrieval system at Purling Swine plus a coffee ring. Again, the ring presentation is your guarantee of success.

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So lovely: a 1970s hand-illustrated recipe book and tabbouli salad
recipe from Rabbi Wendy.

Phew! My photoshopper is busted. Enjoy, everybody! Thanks for playing!

Love,
Kay

Posted by Kay at 11:48 PM | Comments (47)

January 07, 2008

The Audacity of Handspun

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Dear Kay,

I AM BACK. Really! Reentry has been pure H-E-double hockey sticks since we got back from San Francisco. Mostly it's grief I've been struggling with, the end-of-camp feeling that hit the minute I looked out the plane window Thursday morning, seeing the boiling clouds over that beautiful city (OK, so it was a last-plane-out-of-Saigon feeling--we made it out just before the Apocalypse storms hit) and thinking, OhRIGHT. We DON'T live there? It was just a FANTASY?

What can I say? It was a great trip. I got to see Mrs. Lear for a tiny moment, along with the Learettes and Mr. Lear.

Had a transcendent salad of avocadoes and beets here.

I let the fellas take most of the photos, which meant that I ended up with about fifty photos of their faces at extreme close range. But they did an admirable job of documenting the trip. Here's one of my few photos of them when they weren't wrasslin':

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This one cracked me up:

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I think the message of David's photo was, "Hey mom. How about you set our table like they do at Chez Panisse? OK?"

I could have spent a LOT more time in the Muir Woods.

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And I loved all these mailboxes on the road to Muir Beach:

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Sigh.

A Bit o' Knitting

Santy Claus brought me two skeins of handspun fingering weight yarn made by SewKnitNBeads2.

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Now, at this point in my knitting career, I am content simply to own these skeins. They're so pretty. They have that random thing going in the mix of the colors. I sit and look at them for fairly long periods of time. I like thinking about Miss SewKnitNBeads2 and how long it took her to make these 346-yard skeins. It was awfully nice of her to spin up these batches of thin, colory yarn. It's enough, simply owning this stuff.

However, as I packed for my trip to San Francisco, I had to (of COURSE) bring some knitting. And the blanket-for-Clif project wasn't really all that portable, though in a certain mood I'd talk myself into thinking I should in fact tote along 20 skeins of DK-weight tweed yarn.

So at the very last possible moment I grabbed my number 2 needles and the two fat guinea pigs of SewKnitNBeads2 and hoped for the best. Something would come of it all.

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Well, a 2 x 2 ribbed scarf isn't exactly a tour de force, but once I started it on the plane, I got completely absorbed in the drama of watching the two plies of yarn shift, contrast, and occasionally converge. I was listening to Barack Obama reading The Audacity of Hope while I knitted, and there were periods when time passed in a complete and utter flow state. So great.

You'll be happy to know that I de-Christmased the house yesterday. Just about killed me. Remind me to get one of those self-destructing Christmas trees next year.

Love,
Ann

Posted by Ann at 11:37 AM | Comments (34)

January 04, 2008

Risky Business

Dear Ann,

I hear you're back from vacation. I feel like a teenager who's thrown a party while Mom and Dad are away, except I screwed up and blogged the party. While you were gone, I had a little contest. I did a little eBay shopping for prizes. I didn't break anything, I promise. And I totally re-set the odometer on Dad's car. (Wait, wrong movie.)

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You would not believe how many cute recipe boxes there are on eBay. This one thrilled me because of its gently used condition (those spots are not rust, they are the golden centers of the flowers) and the fun recipes that came with it on matching recipe cards. I love the matching!

I went a little nuts when I found several of "my mom's" recipe boxes up for sale. They are "rare"! Why are they being sold for $1.99 and up? I only bought one. But I learned that mom's box, and practically all of the boxes that speak to me, were made by the Ohio Art Company.

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Ohio Art was known for its sturdy metal boxes and sweet paint jobs. (OK, I made that up but it must be true.) The Ladies Home Journal box is from Ohio Art, which I didn't know when I bought it. On top of the box, it says, "Never Underestimate the Power of a Greal Meal". This is the first to arrive of my (ahem) several purchases. I have high hopes for the Family Circle box. Will it be Ohio Art? Can I stand it?

The contest is officially over. The results are being tabulated (and photoshopped). A post on Monday will reveal the winners, each of whom will receive a priceless eBay recipe box and other items to be determined. (I know there has to be yarn, or I'm a dead man.) I've decided I was crazy to do this contest, because how do you pick the best recipe? The best beat-up old recipe box? They're all great.

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In other news, sew-up of Oliver's American Blanket is proceeding apace. Over the New Year holiday I conscripted Aunt Kathy to work on a strip. We will soon have a blanket to auction.

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I've been sewing, and so has niece Maggie, who got a Janome Hello Kitty 3/4 size sewing machine for Festivus. I really like this little machine. It makes sense, and it works. And the price is right. Father Festivus found this one at Target.

Happy weekend everybody!

Love,
Kay

Posted by Kay at 03:46 PM | Comments (23)
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