Zig Zag Blanket

 09.01.13

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Like I said, I love making things for babies.  Blankets are a great gift to make.  Practical and pretty and long lasting.

Adult size blankets seem, well, unlikely.  They use so much yarn.  Even when you find yarn on super amazing sale that is still a TON of yarn.  It takes so long to make that it sit in the To Do pile for so long it just taunts you.  A baby blanket though is much friendlier.  I know I can accomplish a baby sized blanket.  Babies are little!

I’ve been working on a knitted zigzag blanket over the summer.  (Another perk for the small size is that you can work on it in the summer and not get overheated as it sits in your lap.  It is just a little thing remember).  I got the idea from this pattern found on Ravelry; Pram Baby Blanket.  It is made from scrap sock yarn and is a fantastic collection of colors.  I haven’t ventured into sock making yet but I do have an abundance of worsted weight yarn from baby sweaters and animals.  I used Berrocco Comfort Solid and Heathers.  I like that the nylon/acrylic blend is soft but practical for cleaning.

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I used green for the border and in the interior.  For some reason, I had a lot of green.  I don’t remember what I thought I was going to make with it but I’m glad I had it for this  I didn’t plan out my colors before starting.  I just grabbed as I went.  There started to be a little bit of a pattern in width of stripes but it really doesn’t repeat in any meaningful way.

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I’m very happy with it.  It is just what I thought it would be.  I don’t know what more I could ask for than that…accept maybe for someone to weave in the ends for me.  There were A LOT of ends to weave in!

This blanket is on its way to Project Linus.

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Flannel Blankets

 08.17.13

I love to make things for babies.  Knitted animals and blankets are my favorite baby items to create.  Playing with color is a definite perk as well as the projects are small so they, usually, are completed quickly.  The first baby blanket I made was a flannel receiving blanket with blanket stitch edges.  This is still one of my favorite gifts to give.

Here is the first one from 2004:

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Not too long after this baby girl received her blanket, she also received a line up of little brothers.  So they all needed blankets too.

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I had a bit of a theme going for this family…

I did something a little different with this most recent blanket (which happens to be for the cousin of the approve blanket recipients).  Instead of applying a blanket stitch edge with embroidery thread, I made a single crochet edge with thin yarn.  I got the idea from Purl Bee’s: Lara’s Loop Flannel Receiving Blanket.  It has a lovely crocetted shell pattern around the edge of a simple piece of flannel.

I used two pieces of flannel sewn together with right sides facing, turned out and edges pressed.  Two fabrics allow for extra coziness and extra color/pattern fun. When I attempted the shell edge I discovered my yarn was too thick.  I was shopping for color not weight when I picked out this perfect shade of purple. The shell pattern became overwhelmingly bulky and I needed to rethink my strategy.

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The end result was a single crochet followed by a chain stitch repeated all the way around.  Three of these repeats in the same hole to turn the corners.

The best part of a crocheted edge versus an embroidered edge was not having to cut the yarn, re-thread, and deal with knots.  The most difficult part was finding a crochet hook that wasn’t too small or too big.  It had to be juuuuust right.  This hook does not exist in my collection.  My options were too small and WAY too big.  I went with too small.

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Do you see how tiny that hook is?!

It was easy to make the hole in the flannel but practically impossible to hold on to the yarn.  I managed to create some kind of rhythm of stabbing, looping, and pulling that made to process go rather quickly.  

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I really think it turned out lovely.  I like the yarn edge even if it isn’t a fancy shell.  Although I would like to try the shell pattern some other time.


Farmer’s Market and Strawberry Jam

 07.10.13

Two things I really like the idea of but haven’t had much success with: going to the Farmer’s Market and making jam.  I experienced great improvement with both of these things over the weekend.

I love the idea of going to the Farmer’s Market.  Strlling up and down the aisles in the open air, soaking in the aromas of fresh produce and flowers, and picking the week’s meals from what is in season.  Instead, what I get are people.  Lots and lots of people, all with the same idea, getting in my way and making it so I can’t browse, I have to plan ahead.

This week I set out with a goal.  I wanted strawberries.  It is summer in southern California and there is no reason I shouldn’t be constantly eating strawberries.  So I went to the Farmer’s Market with my goal in mind along with the knowledge that if some flowers happen to come home with me too, all the better. 

First thing I saw were the happiest teddy bear sunflowers.  “Those are coming home with me”, I thought.  I knew I shouldn’t get them first because they were HUGE.  So I continued on the strawberry hunt.  I found the smallest display with the biggest berries and they looked perfect.  Sampling proved it – goal accomplished!  Quickly grab the sunflowers on my way out.  Oh wait…peaches?  I managed to purchase an assortment of fragrant peaches without dropping my flowers (believe me that was an accomplishment.  These flowers were HUGE!)

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I did it! I got what I needed and some treats without getting overwhelmed by choices or the crowd.

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On the way home I had an idea…jam.  Realisticlly I wouldn’t be able to eat all the berries before they went bad and I love the idea of making jam.  I’ve had some bad results in the past but I don’t want to give up. The first strawberry jam did not gel at all and wasn’t even thick enough to call a syrup.  While wallowing in despair a friend suggested I turn it into ice cream.  Brilliant!  It made a delicious base for strawberry ice cream.  I shared it with family and they were all very impressed.  Delicious mistakes are the best mistakes.

The next attempt was marmalade.  It was almost amazing until after two days of working on it, right before canning, I got distracted and it burned.  Badly!  That is probably my worst kitchen experience since I was very young and put vinegar in the brownie mix instead of vegetable oil.

I found a recipe from one of my favorite blogs (Honey & Jam) and set to work on Strawberry Balsamic Black Pepper Jam.  It was super easy.  Put it all in the pot and heat it.  It filled the house with the most amazing smell.  

It mostly worked.  It still wasn’t quite as gelled as it should be.  I think my simmering technique might need some improvement.  That seems to be the time in the processes where gelling should be happening and isn’t.  Most importantly, it tastes delicious and so interesting with the unexpected pepper flavor.

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The sme afternoon I enjoyed the jam with fresh Baking Soda Biscuits and tea.  Later it was tasty in a turkey sandwich.

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About Manorette
I'm Margaret and I like to make things: in the kitchen, on my knitting needles, with the sewing machine, and for the home. Manorette is a delightful home to share my inspiration and maybe some goof ups. It is never a grand manor.
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