Feeling thankful, a week late…..

This week I made a prayer shawl for a family friend who is about to undergo a double mastectomy. I was happy to have yarn in my stash that would work and a pattern I knew would be perfect and quick to work up. But today as I was running errands I realized that more than anything I am grateful to my childhood best friend’s mother Gale, for teaching me how to knit. I vividly remember sitting in her living room by the wood stove as she taught us both to knit. Without her, I might not have developed my love of crafting and yarn. And I wouldn’t have been able to make this meaningful gift for my friend. So a little late to the party as usual, I am thankful today for that simple gift she gave me many years ago.

Teaching someone to knit or crochet is a gift you can give. So please spread the love, and teach someone, share your love of the craft. Knitting and crochet are fun, and science says its good for you.

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Moremom’s Stollen

Every Thankgiving morning I had Stollen for breakfast, while watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. And I would like to share the recipe, so you can have the same tradition.

This is my grandmother’s recipe, we called her More-mom. My mother always tells the story of how she learned my grandmother’s recipes. Nothing was written down, she did everything by memory and feel. So my mom watched her make this bread enough times to write out the recipe.

Stollen is a traditional german bread.  It is a slightly sweet with raisins and citron. Citron is the stuff that’s in fruitcake. But in this case there is not too much of it, which is good in my opinion.

If you have never made a yeast bread I suggest you give it a try. Bread is fun to make and not as fussy as most baking. If you are nervous, pizza dough is a good simple dough to try.  I hope you try this recipe and enjoy it as much as I do.

1 C milk

1/2 C sugar

2 T lard (you can use butter in place of the lard)

2 T butter

2 Eggs

1 package dry yeast

4 1/2 C unbleached white flour

1/2 t mace

1 C raisins

1/2 C Citron

grated rind of 1 lemon

Dissolve yeast in  1/4 C warm water (105 – 110 degrees) . Scald the milk, then add the sugar and lard and/or  butter. Let cool slightly. Add eggs and yeast then 2 C flour, raisins, mace, citron and lemon rind. Add more flour until you have a dough that is slightly sticky. The amount of flour will vary depending on the day. Turn out onto counter and knead until smooth. Place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place for 2 hours or until doubled in bulk. After first rise, knead and divide in half. Take each half, divide into three ropes and braid. Place on baking sheets, cover with a cloth and let rise a second time for 1 hour. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes

Icing – Combine 2/3 C confectioners sugar with 2t lemon juice and 1t water. Mix until smooth and drizzle over each loaf when cooled.

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New England Fiber Festival

Last weekend we went to the New England Fiber Festival at the Eastern States Exposition in Springfield Massachusetts.

It was a really nice show with, as you might expect, all New England vendors. So much great stuff all made right here in New England!

The highlight over all for me was looking at all the samples. I had fun seeing how they were constructed, what the fibers were, the color choices. It was inspiring.

Here is where I shopped;

North Light Fibers –  I liked their samples the most. They were drop dead beautiful.

Katrinkles – they have really neat tools and buttons made out of wood. I picked up some cute sheep stitch markers.

Olympia Farm – I follow them on instagram so I stopped by to say hello. Here I picked up a book, and marveled at the cable work on Yankee Knitter’s sweaters . The book was Drop Dead Easy Knits by Gale Zuker, Mary Lou Egan and Kristen Kapur. I can’t wait to try out some of the patterns.

 Romney Ridge  – I have to admit, their logo made me stop. Their yarns were beautiful and I picked up two skeins. Can’t wait to use it. Their website gives a great description of their yarns and what makes them special.

Here are some links: https://northlightfibers.com/

https://www.katrinkles.com/

http://www.olympiafarm.net/

https://www.romneyridgefarm.com/

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Why you should go to Rhinebeck when it’s not NYS sheep and Wool #3

This post of the series is about hiking. For each of the yarn stores I mentioned in the first post there is a really nice hike nearby. Oftentimes more than one. I haven’t been around the world – but I think I am safe in saying the Hudson Valley of NY is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Come spend some time and see for yourself.

Near Rhinebeck I have two favorite places to hike. One is Ferncliff Forest. This is a mostly wooded hike right near the village. It includes a fire tower that you can climb. As I am afraid of heights I have never done it, but I hear the view is awesome. But by far my favorite is Poet’s Walk. Poet’s walk is a very large property with open meadows and woods and spectacular views of the Hudson River. There are also lots of benches and gazebos where you can relax. It is stroller friendly if you have a jogging or all terrain stroller, although coming out of the woods is a pretty steep climb. Both parks are free.

Near New Paltz I love Mohonk. This is a privately held preserve and resort and you have to pay to use the grounds. But in my opinion it is well worth the approximately $25 for a day pass. You can also make reservations for lunch and the day pass is included. Mohonk sits high up in the Shawangunk Mountains. Their trails are really well maintained and provide beautiful views. There are carriage roads that are an easy pleasant hike and rock scrambles for the more adventurous. Like Poet’s walk there are plenty of spots to sit and just enjoy the view.

Near Chatham there is Beebe Hill. I have never been here, but the all trails site says it is an easy hike. There is also Bash Bish Falls. Bash Bish is very cool, especially when we have had a lot of rain or it is spring thaw. This is a uphill hike with a rocky path that runs along a creek. At the top are the falls. It is the highest single drop waterfall in Massachusetts. It is always about 20 degrees cooler in the woods than anywhere else on a hot day. Sometimes we just bring a lunch and hang out next to the stream. You can do this hike with an all terrain stroller but it would be easier to carry the kids. You walk from New York into the Massachusetts which my kids thought was cool when they were little.

Here are three suggestions for a day trip that would keep everyone happy;

  1. Knitting Garage, Aba’s Falafel for lunch, Poet’s walk and then a snack a Gigi’s Trattoria
  2. White Barn Sheep and Wool, Mohonk Preserve (bring lunch), Pretzels and Beer at Mountain Brauhaus
  3. Bash Bish Falls, Old Chatham Brewery for Lunch and The Warm Ewe

https://ferncliffforest.org

https://www.scenichudson.org/parks/poetswalk

https://www.mohonk.com/

https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/new-york/beebe-hill

https://www.mass.gov/locations/bash-bish-falls-state-park

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Why you should go to Rhinebeck when it’s not NYS sheep and Wool #2

The first post in this series was about yarn stores, this one is about food!

The first stop mentioned in the previous post, AL Stickle, is in Rhinebeck. Rhinebeck has a crazy amount of restaurants. The Rhinebeck chamber of commerce website shows 46. You really can’t go wrong, but I have my favorites. For breakfast, a lot of people choose Bread Alone but I suggest you go a little west and try Rhinebeck Bagels AKA The Bagel Shop . It’s nothing fancy, but they have great, interesting sandwiches and good bagels (for anywhere out of NYC). For lunch Aba’s Falafel is great. They don’t have much more than falafel but it’s really good. My favorite dinner option is Gigi’s. We always sit at the bar and get a skizza and an appetizer. Try the truffle fries! They have lots of entrees but the skizza’s are my personal favorite.

In Chatham, by The Warm Ewe, there are also a few nice options for lunch or dinner. Right down the block from the store is The Chatham Brewery. A great bar and beer and lunch. It’s a small menu but good stuff. Try the chicken tenders, you won’t be disappointed. There is also a gluten free bakery across the street called Our Daily Bread with fantastic baked goods. Worth the stop for you gluten free folks for sure. They also have a restaurant just outside of town. So you have choices.

White Barn Sheep and Wool is just outside of New Paltz, which is a fun college town with lots of restaurants. I don’t have any recommendations there, but travel out of town and towards Mohonk and you will find The Mountain Brauhaus. Go there and get one of their homemade pretzels and a beer. It’s worth however long it takes to get there. They serve great German food and have an extensive beer list. I’m just partial to their pretzels.

So, now you have yarn store recommendations and restaurants to go along with them. Next post in this series will be about hikes nearby so you can make a day of it. A hike, some yarn and a good meal – sounds like a great day to me!

www.breadalone.com, www.rhinebeckbagels.com, www.abasfalafel.com, www.chathambrewing.com, www.odbefree.com, www.mountainbrauhaus.com

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Why you should go to Rhinebeck when it’s not NYS Sheep and Wool #1

Come to the Hudson Valley of NY, come anytime. It’s beautiful and has a lot to offer. Full disclosure, I live 15 minutes for the DC Fairgrounds where the NYS Sheep and Wool festival is held. And I want to share why you should come visit.

I can’t fit it all in one post, so this is the first in a series of blog posts about why you should visit my neck of the woods any old time. This post is going to focus on the yarn shops.

Your first stop should be A.L. Stickle in the village of Rhinebeck. First of all this is a cool 5 and dime. They have everything, I mean it, everything. But in the back, there is The Knitting Garage, a beautiful collection of yarn and patterns. Plus a nice spot to sit and ponder a project or knit something up. This is a hidden gem for sure.

Next head north to The Warm Ewe. This little store in Chatham NY is a fun stop. A small shop with a big table for classes in the back, they have a lot of patterns written by the owners and always some great samples knit up for inspiration. The shop owners are always ready to lend their help.

And I suggest you visit White Barn Farm Sheep and Wool. Housed in a beautiful old barn, they have their own yarns produced right there from their flock of Cormo sheep. They also carry some other great local yarns.  A small shop, it’s still well worth a visit, plus they just added a café. This is as close to farm to garment as we can get without owning the sheep.

My next post will be about places to eat, then another will be about hikes and parks. Last, I will put together a post about how to put plan your visit.

Here are links to the websites for the shops mentioned here:

 https://theknittinggarage.com/

http://www.thewarmewe.com/

https://www.whitebarnsheepandwool.com

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Saturday Baking

It’s chilly here today and cool weather always makes me want to knit (or crochet) and bake.  Since I also almost always have some over ripe bananas hanging around, I make a lot of banana muffins. I have shared the recipe for my gluten free banana muffins before and they are frequently a go to for me. But this morning I felt like something a little more decadent.

This recipe was given to me years ago, by a friend in a mom’s group I was part of, so that means about 20 years ago. Yikes! It can be a loaf or muffins. It’s simple, delicious and quick. Enjoy.

Chocolate Banana Bread

4 ripe bananas

1 C sugar

1 stick of butter, melted and cooled

1 egg

2 t vanilla

1 1/2 C flour (can use some whole what flour if desired – I suggest no more than  1/2 C)

1/2 C cocoa powder

1 1/2 t baking soda

1 C chocolate chips

Beat together bananas and sugar for 2 – 3 minutes. Add butter, egg and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and chocolate chips.

Bake at 350 degrees

Loaf 1 hour

Muffins 15-20 minutes

 

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Pocket Prayer Square

I like to make prayer shawls. It makes the meditative quality of knitting or crochet even stronger when I repeat my simple prayer as I go along. Don’t get me wrong I get distracted and start thinking about what groceries I need  – but it’s easy to get back on track. Years ago I started a prayer shawl ministry at my church. It is one of those wonderful things that continues on without much maintenance. But prayer shawls, depending on the pattern, can be a large project. When I want or need something quick to send off, I often make a little square that can fit in your pocket. This time of year it also seems more appropriate. And it’s a great way to use up bits of yarn.

I have only made a crochet version of a pocket prayer shawl. I found a few patterns on Ravelry and tweaked them. I liked the concept and texture of the ones I found but not the proportions. I thought I would share my little pattern with you. Make a few and send them off to anyone who might need a little extra care.

CH 13

Row 1 – Starting in the second chain form the hook, SC in each chain (11 SC total) CH1, turn

Row 2 – SC in each stitch across (11 SC total) CH1, turn

Row 3 – SC5, PC1, SC5, CH1, turn

Row4 – SC in each stitch across (11 SC total) CH1,  turn

Row 5-12 – Repeat rows 3 and 4 (4 times)

Row 13 – SC1, PC1, SC1, PC1, SC1, PC1, SC1, PC1, SC1, PC1, SC1,  CH1 turn

Row 14 – SC in each stitch across (11 SC total)

Row 15 & 16 – Repeat row 3 & 4

Row 17 – SC in each stitch across (11 SC total)

Row 18 – Without turning, HDC 3 in corner, HDC around, putting 3 HDC in each corner, slip stitch in the beginning HDC.

PC – popcorn stitch, SC – single crochet, HDC – half double crochet, CH – chain

Popcorn stitch: Make 3 DC in the same stitch, take the hook out of the loop of the last double crochet and insert in the top of the first DC. Hook the loop you dropped and draw it through the stitch. Pull tight and then CH1

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Gluten Free Chocolate Bourbon Cake

This past Sunday I made a doctored cake mix recipe I have been making for years but used a gluten free cake mix. It was good, really really good. This recipe is from a friend of my mother’s named Marilyn. I have no idea where she got it. We always called it Marilyn’s Killer Bourbon Cake. You call it what you like.  Be aware the recipe calls for instant pudding and while I don’t think there is any gluten in pudding mix, they are not labeled gluten free.

Cake: 1 package GF chocolate cake mix (I used King Arthur)

1 package instant chocolate pudding mix

4 eggs

1/2 cup oil

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup bourbon

1/2 cup chopped nuts

Glaze: 1 stick of butter

1 cup of sugar

1/4 cup bourbon

Grease very well and flour a Bundt pan, then coat with nuts. (they will sit in the bottom of the pan and that is fine, it makes a nice top and helps to keep the cake from sticking to the pan) Combine all the cake ingredients and mix well. Pour into the pan and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. It’s a good idea to put the pan on a baking sheet. The glaze sometimes boils over and makes a mess of the oven. While the cake is baking put the glaze ingredients into a pot and cook over low heat until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved. Pour over the cake and bake for another 10 minutes. Total baking time is 55-60 minutes. Let cool completely. The glaze has to harden back up. It can be hard to get out of the pan – look closely at the picture,  you can see that it did not come out in one piece – still tastes good. Enjoy.

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My little life

This is the view out my back door. And I love it. Something about looking out and seeing the goats grazing makes me happy. I was thinking about this over the weekend. Some people would think it’s an odd life. Getting up on the weekends to milk, raising our own animals for meat, having bees for honey. It wouldn’t be for everyone.

Don’t get me wrong it’s not always fun. When the goat kicks over the full milk bucket, when it cold and the water buckets freeze. It’s work. But I do love it. And I love my animals, not to mention having a freezer full of meat that has no antibiotics and has only been fed local sourced grain. Yum…..

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