Red Heart Yarn Prize Giveaway!!

12 winners will be chosen to receive $75 of your choice of Red Heart yarn and a Year’s Free Subscription to Knitting Today! or Crochet Today! Winners will be posted on Red Heart’s blog and Facebook page every Thursday from Sept 1 to Oct 1. The grand prize winner will be announced on October 13, 2011.

Fill out this form to enter

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Baby Crochet!

One of my friends has just let me know that she is expecting! I’m so happy for her and her husband, but I’m also happy for me, too.  I’m thinking of the wonderful baby crochet projects I can start on now that there will be someone to get them!

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Back again!

Phew!  After being hacked and then having a family emergency, I’m back again and raring to go.  I have started off with my recipe for Challah, and I hope you’ll all like it.  I developed it after trying multiple recipes and then synthesizing my own out of what I liked and didn’t like from them (as well as a few mistakes!).  Enjoy!

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Challah Recipe

Ingredients

loaf of challah

Photo from flickr. Some rights reserved by Canadian Starhawk.

1 1/4 C lukewarm water
2 packages active dry yeast
2 T  honey
1 C dry milk
2 eggs, beaten
4 C unbleached bread flour (divided)
2 t salt
1/4 C butter, melted
1/2 C unbleached bread flour (for kneading)

Egg Wash

1 egg and 2 T cold water mixed together

Directions

Place the water and honey in a large bowl, and sprinkle the yeast over it. After stirring in the yeast, let it to stand for 5 minutes.  Stir in the eggs and powdered milk.  Add 2 C of the flour, and stir until smooth.  Cover and let dough rise in a warm place until nearly doubled in size (about 45 min).  Gently fold in the salt and butter.  Add 2 more cups of flour slowly, stirring after each addition. Turn the dough ball onto a clean, smooth work surface that has been dusted with the final cup of flour. Knead the dough ball until smooth. Cover and let rise for 1 hour.  Punch down, and let rise for half an hour.  Divide dough into three parts and roll into strands.  Braid strands, pinching ends together and turning them under the loaf.  Place braid on greased cookie sheet.  Turn on oven and heat to 350 degrees.  While the oven is heating, allow the braid to sit for another half hour. Brush top of braid with Egg Wash and place in oven. Bake for 45 – 55 minutes until golden brown.

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Link Roundup

Knit your own Big Lebowski sweater
http://blog.craftzine.com/archive/2011/05/knit_your_own_big_lebowski_swe.html

Strawberry-Rhubarb Tartlets
http://half-bakedbaker.blogspot.com/2011/05/strawberry-rhubarb-hand-pies.html

Embroidery Basics from Wild Olive
http://wildolive.blogspot.com/search/label/embroidery%20basics

Squee Honey Hedgehog Bread
http://cookistry.blogspot.com/2011/05/honey-hedgehog-bread.html

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My Favorite Bread Recipe

This recipe is my favorite bread recipe, and makes a wonderful wheat bread.  I adapted it from the Tassajara Bread Book, which is one of the best cookbooks ever to grace my kitchen.

photo of a partially sliced loaf of bread

Photo from flickr. Some rights reserved by 60 in 3.

3 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
1/3 cups honey
1 cup powdered milk (optional)
4 cups whole wheat flour
4 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup oil
3 cups white flour (plus flour for kneading)

Combine Water, Honey and Yeast and let rest for 5 minutes. Add Powdered Milk (if using) and Whole Wheat Flour. Mix well and let rise 1 hour.

Fold in Salt and oil then gradually add the white flour.  Knead the dough until elastic.  Let rise for 1 hour.  Punch down dough, and then let rise for 30 minutes.  Divide dough in 2 and place into greased pans.  Let loaves rise for 30 minutes.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

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3/4 Sleeve Shrug Progress

As I predicted, I am working this pattern in Cotton Ease yarn (the Azalea colorway), and it is turning out very soft and drape-y.  I have modified the pattern to be an elbow-length shug, and it is coming along well.  Hopefully it will be ready for my upcoming trip.

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Mothers’ Day Scarf

My mom really liked the scarf I sent her for Mothers’ Day.  Since it was such an easy and fast pattern to make, I thought I’d share it with you.

Begin with an N hook and bulky  yarn.  Gauge doesn’t matter too much for a scarf — though if it starts to turn out to un-scarf-like proportions, you’ll know something is off.  Otherwise, don’t worry about it.

1) Chain 201 and turn.  SC in 1st stitch from hook, and single crochet to the end.
2) Chain 2 and turn.  HDC in 2nd stitch from hook, and half-double crochet across.
3) Chain 3 and turn.  DC in 3rd stitch from hook, and double crochet across.
4) Chain 2 and turn.  HDC in 2nd stitch from hook, and half-double crochet across.
5) Chain 3 and turn.  DC in 3rd stitch from hook, and double crochet across.
6) Chain 1 and turn.  SC in 1st stitch from hook, and single crochet to the end.
7) Tie off and weave in ends.  Finish with fringe, if desired.

I worked this in a blue and green variegated yarn, and I wanted to make something reminiscent of a waterfall.  I decided to work the scarf long-ways to enhance the waterfall-y-ness of it, and I think I succeeded.  Too bad I didn’t take a picture.

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Tiny Crochet Turnip

I have been out sick for a couple of days and that is why I haven’t been posting.  Not to worry, though, much blog-ful goodness is in the works.  To tide you over, here is a pattern for a tiny little crochet turnip.

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Free Crochet Pattern: Ladies 3/4 Sleeve Shrug

a photo of a ball of red yarn

Image by moria on Flickr. Some rights reserved

Most shrug patterns I have seen are worked lengthwise (across the shoulders). Not that there is anything wrong with that, but working the pattern width-wise (up and down the shoulders, parallel to the spine) gives the finished product some extra give across the shoulders, right where it is needed. So, seeing a need, I decided to create a shrug pattern that does this.

In addition, working into the back loops only creates a ribbed pattern in the fabric of the shrug,  and provides a bit more flexibility.  Crochet has the (unearned) reputation of being really stiff and rigid, and working in only one of the loops makes a more flexible fabric.  If you are unfamiliar with working in the back loop only (BLO), there is a nice photo tutorial at the Stitch Diva website.  If you prefer a video tutorial, there is one up on YouTube.

Here is my pattern.  I hope you all enjoy it.  I’ll be making one of these for me, soon, and I’m looking at working it in Cotton Ease,  or maybe Berroco’s Bonsai yarn.  I’m hoping to make this a light summer addition to my wardrobe.  The Bonsai is particularly tempting because I have never worked with bamboo yarn before, and I have heard such wonderful things about it.

Anyway, please let me know what you think about the pattern.

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