Thursday, January 08, 2009

Yet Another New Year

I haven't celebrated New Years for quite a few years and must be getting cynical with age as I'm no longer optimistic about changing calenders be full of promise. I just get new pictures to change to every month.

No New Year's resolutions here. The very last New Year's resolution I made is the only one I've been able to keep and that is; No more New Year's resolutions. I find that resolutions are easier to keep when the need and urgency is at it's strongest. Like Scarlett, in Gone With Wind, swearing her oath, in the garden, on her return to Tara.

A review of the past few weeks since my last post. I dyed 10 skeins of merino/silk fingering yarn for the shop. I just need to upload them. There is still over a pound of BFL combed top to dye, however, the dying came to a stand still with Christmas candy making, then the storms after Christmas. If you've been reading this blog lately, you know what weather changes do to me. Time to force myself to get back at it.

I made 15 pounds of chocolate fudge, 5 pounds of maple walnut fudge and 2 1/2 pounds of peanut brittle. Believe it or not, that is tiny compared to what I usually make and had planned. Lots of supplies left over. I would say Valentine's Day candy, but the supplies will get munched up as snacks by various persons. No, not me, really. I can eat just one M&M and make a bag last for months. Go ahead, hate me.

The fudge this year was the best ever, very creamy. I follow the ingredients on the back of the large container of Fluff. Older containers call for 12oz, 3/4 of 16oz jar, this years tub said to use the whole container. Yes, I still had a container from last year to refer to. But that small difference was not the reason for the creamier taste, I don't believe.

Who knew bad legs could be benefit? I believe the creamier texture was because I was unable to babysit the pot, standing over the stove, due back and leg pain. So, I put the first five ingredients in the pot, set in on med low, then sat down, checking on it occasionally and giving it a stir. I use a candy thermometer, so when it was about 10 degrees to soft ball stage, is when I turned it up to medium and babysat til it reached proper temp. I believe it was the very slow cooking that made it creamier. No, it didn't stick to the pot with the infrequent stirring.

For maple walnut fudge, I replace the chocolate chips with white chocolate ones, add one teaspoon of maple extract along with the vanilla. You can make any flavor of fudge using the white chocolate with a teaspoon of whatever flavor extract you want. I have also cut different flavors of fudge into inch squares, set on a wire rack over a cookie sheet and drizzled with chocolate ganache for a chocolate coating. I was going to take a picture, please forgive me for being lazy.

I had a nice surprise on Christmas Eve, my youngest stopped by for a rare visit. He graduated this past June and is now working as an apprentice in a machine shop. I thought of knitting him a nice pair of wool socks to keep his feet warm while standing on cement floor at work.

His calf measures 18 inches and his foot is a size 11 1/2 EEE width. I knew better than to have him take his boot off for a foot measurement. If a Google search doesn't give me the measurements maybe a call to a shoe store will give me approximates. I thought about spinning the yarn for this endeavor until I took those measurements. It would probably take about 8 ounces for a pair. I can knit myself a small sweater with that much. Someone on Plurk said to use sport weight yarn. I have an 8 oz skein of SW merino sport weight, I bought awhile back, so I think I will go with that. He did say his boots are a little loose on him as they are size 12, the sport weight should work out.

Did you finish your Christmas knitting? What Christmas knitting??? I make Christmas candy. Go back, see above.

Here I was on Christmas eve with Mom's leg warmers, four inches. This is the first time I've used the two socks on circular needle method and I'm not a fan. The two needles not in use flopped around, got in the way and was just too fiddley for my tastes. Not to mention, hard it is to figure out where you left off if you don't finish knitting both the socks on the needle in use before you set it down.
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I love the way the yarn changes colors like Kauni, only softer in texture. Strange thing happened with this fiber. I rinsed all the excess dye out before spinning, and had no problems while spinning the singles, but when it came to the plying my hands turned blue. Even with a thorough rinse when I set the twist, my hands turned slightly blue while knitting. I'm going to wash them and soak with cold water and bit of vinegar before I give them to her. Here's hoping she doesn't get blue legs. Here they are finally finished over the weekend. Bootsie is checking for errors.

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I'm almost to the point of starting the sleeves for Mom's Kauni sweater. Just a couple more repeats left on the body before I attach the yet to be knitted sleeves. I've decided to part from the instructions and knit the sleeves as one unit, then, gasp, steek them. The purpose of this is to make them both matching. This will be a first time at steeking and I'm not afraid of it. It's just yarn, knitted yarn. Not at all like attempting surgery on say, one of my pets. (click for a bigger picture)

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Christmas, we had a quiet dinner at my Mom's. Duane made lasagna with a side of Italian sausages in a bed roasted red peppers and onions. Mom was happy she only had to make a salad and I believe she got my step-father to do that.

I gave my step-father his yearly large container of peanut brittle. While he was crunching away, I told him that Wegmans was selling 3oz squares of peanut brittle for 3.99. Duane looked at him and said, "You have about 50 to 60 dollars worth of brittle there, and it's homemade." My step-father just looked considerately at the piece he was holding, grunted a hmmph, and continued crunching. Why do I feel he might have been more impressed if I had forked over $50.00 for store bought?

GD loves to run and sit in Duane's and mine chairs whenever we get up. So, Mom and I went in together to buy her, her own little recliner. She still steals my chair whenever she gets the chance, however, I now have retaliation as I fit more comfortably in her little one. Yes, I am tiny, go ahead hate me.

Bootsie believes it is really her chair.

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Bootsie says, "What do you mean it's not my chair? harumph."

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That was about three or four posts in one and I even left some stuff out for later. I really should blog more often. If I were the type to make New Year's resolutions, I guess blogging more often would be one.

7 comments:

Beverly said...

Thank you for the wonderful fudge tips! Please tell Bootsie that I think that she looks wonderful in the chair.

Bevsyarncrazy

Nan said...

I share your gasp at the notion of steeking. Be sure to report back on that. Some day, maybe, perhaps, I might make the attempt myself.

Pretentious Wombat said...

Geez, that takes me back to my childhood when I would spend all summer in Rhode Island. My great-uncle had a "popcorn shoppe" but he actually made lots more stuff that they sold. Like taffy, peanut brittle, fudge, hand-dipped chocolates. They made every bit of the stuff themselves. I used to help out by wrapping taffy. I remember well the way my uncle would pour out the peanut brittle on the marble counter. Wow - what memories!

fleegle said...

Bootsie has excellent taste!

And I do like that turquoise sock as well :)

The Kauni sweater is completely gorgeous.

Glad you liked my little fishy bag!

Daniele said...

Lots of good stuff you have going on.

I feel for you. My son has size 13 feet and his socks took forever. I used handspun (somewhere between sport and dk I think - probably both being handspun). I'm not sure if he's wearing them or not. I'll just pretend in my mind that he is!! :)

Also, I love your Mom's Kauni in those colors. Great!

AND - I too agree on the two socks on two circulars. It's not that I totally hated it, it's just that I like my dpns much better. It seemed there was too much fiddling.

Happy New Year Denise!

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

I need to take your advise on fudge! Your's sounds perfect.

Carol said...

Mmmmm fudge......

And yeah, some peoplein my family don' tget the home-made vs store bought thing either. I gave up on them,,,,,