The new puppy is taking up all of my attention. Having said that, I did manage to knit just a few new miniature Cub Scout Sock Ornaments.
There are a lot of other projects sitting on my desk begging for my attention, but these are the auto-pilot knitting items that jumped into my hands. Easy knitting while I am on dog care duty.
It's been a great week of cuddly puppies around here. The no-named puppy is getting used to us and we're getting used to him. He has a quiet, skittish little personality.
He loves being in Wilma's crate. It's a safe and secure place.
He sleeps in a smaller crate in our bedroom. This is how I found him the other morning. Awe.
Wilma and Puppy are getting along really well. It's actually been a tough week for my Girly Girl. She had a tumor removed from her leg. It's been an ugly wart for years, but this past week while BF and I were traveling, it nearly doubled in size. So it had to come off. The only bad part is that she should have been under general anaesthesia for this and she couldn't a) because she's a bulldog; and b) because of her heart condition. So we gave Wilma extra hugs and said lots of prayers that she'd come through her otherwise simple procedure with flying colors. When the vet's office called to say she came through really well and was in recovery - it was music to my ears. She came home a little out of it, and Puppy was very happy to see his friend again.
And this is where you can find my two bullies - one on either side of me - sleeping on their bean bags. They're twice the fun. And we're so happy that Wilma is doing well. The new puppy is actually giving her new life.
Guess who has a little brother?
Here is one of nine Olde English Bulldogge puppies that my friends Matt & Virginia have. These puppies are the 5th generation of their original bulldog. They're so cute. I've been visiting them at least once every single week since they were born the first week of August. During my first visit - they were this small and fit in the palm of my hand.
Puppies are always so cute and cuddly. Look at them. They're about the size of a hamster!
We visited regularly, even though I was adamant that we weren't getting a puppy.
Before we knew it, they weren't little hamsters anymore. They were BIG English Bulldog puppies. They were eight weeks old and they were ready to go to their new homes. They were weighing anywhere from 9-15 lbs. And they had puppy breath.
Who can resist puppy breath?
Puppy and Wilma seem to be getting along just fine. At 10 weeks, puppy is just a little smaller than Wilma. In a few more weeks, he'll be as big as she is. By the end of the year, I'm pretty certain, he'll be twice her size.
So there you have it. We now have two bulldogs. Puppy doesn't have an official name yet. BF and I thought we had one, but Primo- and Segundogenitures both vehemently vetoed our first choice. We're going to officially name him this weekend when we're all in once place at the same time. It's kind of funny that we don't have a name yet, because we selected the name Wilma before we even knew she existed.
I guess that just goes to show you that I wasn't kidding when I said we weren't getting a bulldog puppy. No way. No how.
Haha! Who was I kidding?
So did you guess correctly? My swatch from the other day was just enough so I could make Claire's vest from Outlander. I call it The Jacobite.
I'm knitting a medium vest as my test. It's actually a pretty quick and easy knit. But I've been distracted by puppies... so I'm slowing down a bit. Hopefully I'll have more progress to show you over the next week.
My friends Matt and Virginia bred their Old English Bulldog and had nine puppies. I've been spending a great deal of my time these past two months visiting the puppies. It's so wonderful. Puppies are just fun, cuddly and so wonderful. The puppies are starting to go to their new homes this week. I'm quite envious of these new bulldog owners. Their journey of love and doggone affection are just beginning. There's something about bulldogs that is so endearing. You know how much I adore Wilma. I really can't imagine my life without her.
Today I took some friends to visit the bulldog puppies.
What's better than four beautiful ladies on a bright sunny October day holding bulldog puppies?
Susie and Freckles
Kelly and Charlotte ?
Katie and a cuddly puppy. Look how happy he is to be loved!
Joanne and Dotty. It's true puppy love!
Can't you just hear the puppies saying "Pick me! Pick me?"
What would fall in New England be without making a batch of homemade applesauce?
First, I simply wash and quarter the apples - peels, core, seeds, stems and all. I put them in a large pot with about 1/6 of the pot filled with water. I cook/steam the apples until they're soft and perfectly mushy.
The next step is to get out my Foley Food Mill. It is absolutely essential for making the best applesauce ever. I press the cooked apples through the Foley Food Mill about 2-4 cups at a time. Lovely perfect applesauce comes out the bottom of the mill and the stems, cores, seeds and skins remain in the mill. I clean out the mill between each batch. Yes, it's a hand crank, but it isn't really hard. You press a little while you crank, but you can think of it as a mini-upper arm workout.
We picked so many apples that I had enough applesauce to fill three large pots. Some of this will be saved as applesauce, and most of it will be further cooked and seasoned to become my annual batch of apple butter.
But as for the applesauce, I add pure maple syrup to taste and a bit of cinnamon. Add about a 1/2 teaspoon at a time - season to taste. We like to eat the applesauce fresh off the stove while it's still hot. It's sort of like eating a delicious hot apple soup.
But for dinner tonight, I decided to make our family favorite - potato parsnip latkes. Our friend Angel introduced us to this recipe nearly 10 years ago. I've been making it every holiday since then.
I still make them the old-fashioned way - hand grating the potatoes and the parsnips. No food processor for me. I like the feel of using the same stainless steel self-standing four-sided grater like my mother had.
So, what do latkes have to do with the tried and true New England tradition of fall apple picking? Well, I find that latkes are the perfect applesauce delivery device!
I served them with dinner - - Truth be told, BF and I could have just eaten latkes for dinner with homemade applesauce. Yum.
What are your favorite fall apple picking bounty recipes?
When you buy bushels and bushels of apples, the first question that comes to mind is "Now what do I do with this many apples?"
In my house, that's simple. We eat them. We slice them. We dehydrate them. We sauce them. And finally, we turn a large amount into a huge batch of apple butter.
First things first - we dehydrated apples. Teresa and I washed and cut about 25 apples and put them on the dehydrator trays.
My brother-in-law asked my sister - what did you put on these?
Teresa - "Nothing"
BIL - "No they have a kick to them."
Sure enough, I was found out. I'm certain you remember the last thing I made on the dehydrator trays this past week... Needless to say, I only wiped off the trays and didn't take the time to fully wash them. So some of the capsaicin was still on the trays. It was an interesting combination - apples that burn. It was interesting.
In fact, we managed to eat half the batch we made already today. I filled nearly 1 1/2 jars with apple zingers (as I dubbed this version - it's my new creation - not a mistake!). I'm not sure I'll repeat this recipe, but it was very interesting.
My sister and her husband are visiting from Nebraska this week and on our list of things to do was apple picking. Saturday morning's plans got trashed due to the rain, rain and more rain. So Teresa and I decided to brave the elements and head out to my favorite spot for apple picking in Connecticut - Beardsley Cider Mill and Orchard in Shelton, Connecticut.
There's my sister halfway down the aisle between macoun and jonagold apples (with a random crabapple tree on the left). You can't see it in this picture, but it was 100% precipitation. We picked our apples in the drizzle and outright rain. It didn't matter. It was fun.
My cap is soaking wet and I was dripping from the brim of the hat. It was hilarious.
See, even with the rain we were both smiling!
After we paid for our apples and stored them in the car, we headed into the store where we purchased everything apple - hot apple cider, apple cider donuts (THE BEST!), apple pie, apple cheese cake, a few gallons of fresh apple cider, apple crumb pie and more. I bought a few pies for the freezer as they are a favorite in my family. Teresa and I were really smart... we put all the goodies in the back of the SUV for the half hour ride home... otherwise the donuts we bought for the family might have been in jeopardy. They're that good!
If you're looking for some great apple picking this fall, check out Beardsley Cider Mill. Tell me what you think. Don't forget the donuts!
My favorite scene, well, one of my favorite scenes from Starz Outlander based on the novels by Diana Gabaldon, is the wool waulking scene where Claire helps Donalda Gilchrist and the women of the village set the dye in the wool with ammonia, er, hot pi$$.
It's really hard to get a good look at these mitts but this is what I came up with for my version.
You can find this pattern in my Ravelry store - aka Major Knitter's PX.
Once again, you'll notice that I used my favorite Outlander wool, which is readily available across America: Lion Brand Fishermen's Wool in Brown Heather.
For the mitts, I used a US size 7 (4.5 mm) needles.
And of course, there's always a freebie. I worked out a miniature version of the Wool Waulking Mitts to fit my American Girl Doll or any 18" doll. I included those directions in the pattern, too. These used a bit of fingering weight yarn (Knit Picks Palette Hale Heather) and US Size 2 (2.75 mm) needles.
I hope you enjoy knitting the Outlander Series patterns as much as I enjoy creating them.
Hello my friends. I wanted to tell you about a sale I'm running on all my critter hat knitting patterns. From now until the end of the year (December 2014), the critter hat patterns will be on sale for just $2.99 each. You could knit them up now in time for the holidays. They make great gifts for family, friends, children or yourself.
I currently have four critter hat patterns in my Ravelry shop - Major Knitter's PX so please check them out.
and last but not least, my Bear Hat.
I had a lot of fun this week figuring out how to utilize that half bushel of leftover hot peppers.
On Friday, Maggie and I sliced them in half and put them on the dehydrator trays - sorry - no pictures.
They stayed in the dehydrator for 24-36 hours until they were quite crispy.
In small batches, I ground the dried hot peppers in the blender to turn them into a fine powder.
Granted, it's not chili powder, but it's pretty darned close. I'm going to give it a try in exchange of chili powder and make up a small batch of homemade taco spices. I use this for tacos, burritos and chili all year round. With a quart of hot pepper powder I could have enough for gifts or for seasoning my favorite dishes for years to come!
Tonight is the mid-season finale for Starz Outlander. I can hardly wait.
I may be getting into the highlander spirit a bit too much.
I found 5 yards of green calico fabric in my overflowing stash and turned it into a gathered drawstring skirt.
Now look how we match. I think we both might consider getting curly perms next.
Anyway, I wanted to let you all know that I've finally published the pattern for the Rent Collecting Shawl in my Ravelry store - aka Major Knitter's PX. When you purchase the pattern, you'll get the bonus gift of notes and adaptations to make a matching shawl for your 18" doll, too.
Check out the pattern HERE.
I've also created a separate Ravelry group to follow my patterns and designs - Major Knitter's Designs - where it will be helpful to discuss and questions people might have for individual patterns. I find that to be very helpful to have a community to discuss tips, techniques, suggestions and show & tell.
And when you're done knitting up your adult sized shawl, you can make one for your favorite doll.
Check it out.
I've been publishing more and more patterns through Ravelry so I decided to create a discussion group to open the conversations about each particular pattern. Community chatrooms can be so much more helpful than trying to contact the designer. Someone else might have a better solution for a problem, modification or question posed by another knitter. Also, it can often provide the quickest answer - given the chance that others are online more regularly than I am.
So you can check out my Major Knitter Designs Group by clicking HERE. Please join along in the fun.
Since I've been knitting my Rent Collecting Shawl over and over, I've been looking at different videos and trying to figure out the best way to teach people how to knit garter stitch intarsia correctly.
Here's the video I watched that first piqued my curiosity.
What? Why is she saying in-tar-ze-uh? (Which by the way, is close, but slightly incorrect).
I have always pronounced it this way - similar to Eunny Jang. After all, she's Eunny Jang. She knows everything about knitting.
That may be true... except apparently Eunny doesn't know how to pronounce intarsia properly.
She pronounces it in-tar-zhuh.
*BUZZER SOUND* (Wrong answer - sorry Eunny!)
I never, ever imagined that the biggest lesson of all would be learning how to pronounce the word intarsia.
Intarsia does not rhyme with anything.
It does not rhyme with Marsha.
The closest thing it rhymes with is dyslexia.
So I looked it up from several references. It turns out I have never, ever heard anyone pronounce intarsia correctly. Have you?
Merriam Webster Dictionary tells us that it's pronounced
You can click on that little speaker and listen over and over again until you've got it, too.
Let's get everyone to pronounce this knitting term correctly. Spread the word. The word is intarsia.