November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! 

(I know this turkey is thankful to be stuffed, but not cooked. Pattern available here.) 

November 25, 2013

Betty Wason

This week, there will be a lot of cooking going on. I've seen so much yummy goodness already posted in the blogosphere that I think I'm starting to sniff my computer screen some days. 

I won't be cooking the turkey this year -- I'll leave that one to my mother. (Let's all give pause to the women -- and men -- who will be cooking up a storm this week. Let's also give thanks for shared recipes that get passed down through cultures and generations.)

Eons ago back in July, I made German Sauerbraten and I mentioned The Art of German Cooking author, Betty Wason. I also promised to tell you more about this fascinating lady.

I picked up this book at a thrift store for a whole dollar -- I have a thing for old cookbooks (especially bargains) and figured this one could actually come in handy with some practical recipes. 

I perused the anecdotes to the stories and was a little transfixed. This woman could write. I mean it's one thing to write a recipe... it's quite another to offer the reader the added bonus of an entertaining story to go along with it. I just assumed Betty Wason was a great cook who also had a talent for writing. 

Her name sounded so familiar to me though. 

I delved a little deeper, and then discovered, amongst many other talents, that she had been a war correspondent between 1938-1941. She country-hopped through various invasions, but despite finding the stories on the ground, her employer, CBS, asked her to find a man to read her texts. 

Wait, what?! 

Apparently they thought the audience wouldn't be receptive to a woman's voice on air. Later, the man who read her texts was offered a contract. (There is so much more to the story here and here.)  

Eventually, when Betty returned home to America, where she was rebuffed by CBS (!) and turned her attention instead to writing books. Her cookbooks are by far the most numerous. 

She has also been featured in one of my all-time favorite books: The Women Who Wrote the War by Nancy Caldwell Sorel.

So, as we all gorge ourselves on American goodness this week, let us also give thanks to the amazingly brave and talented women like Betty Wason -- who not only gave us some fantastic recipes from around the world, but who more importantly, reported on events that changed the world forever -- even if they didn't always get the credit.   


November 23, 2013

Ideas for Stash Busting

Last weekend, I mentioned that I've been busy stash busting my yarn. 

I'm happy to report that the yarn pile is slowly dwindling, but I do still have a bunch of balls. Most aren't a full skein (and let's face it, sometimes patterns and books that talk about 'knit this with only a skein of yarn' are actually referring to those big industrial things of yarn that are 435 yards long, rather than the 25 yards you have leftover from that sweater you finished.) 

All week I've been fiddling around with small projects, and I continue to stare at the pile on the floor trying to figure out what to do with rest of these random balls. 

(Note the messy corner of the office/craft room... I've been plopping myself down in the middle of the mayhem so that all of the yarn is only an arm's reach away.) 
Whenever I want to get distracted, I go to Buzzfeed. (Warning: slightly addictive.) There are so many hilarious posts, and some super cute ones. Need some puppy love? Check this out... I miss Dexter the Wonder Dog, but Buzzfeed still gives me those daily adorable moments.

There's also a ton of very practical things too -- like 34 Adorable Things to Do With Leftover Bits of Yarn.  

Buzzfeed, you did not disappoint. 

I have a shadowbox that needs a bit of pizzazz, so I'm already plotting to make #3 -- and even though I'm working on this Holly Garland pattern from the Holiday Issue 2013 of Knit Simple, I still have enough leftover green from this cardigan, that I can make plenty of pint sized trees for wine corks (#12). In keeping with the holiday spirit, I'm also thinking that #25 would also make an amazing wreath for the door, rather than a clock.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have more stash busting to get to. 

November 20, 2013

Thanksgiving Bird Blanket

I sometimes hesitate to post certain photos on Instagram or on this blog, because I would rather surprise my friends with their gifts, rather than have them see it online before they receive it. 

I don't think I gave anything away in this post, but I'm happy to finally share these photos with you, now that I know the recipient has received and opened the package.

Behold, the Thanksgiving Bird Blanket. 

A friend of mine is due with Baby #2 this week, and because I believe every baby needs a gift of their own, I made this bird blanket from the Holiday 2013 issue of Knit Simple magazine. And then I scrambled to get it in the post before her due date.

Since my friend's baby is due so close to our national gluttonous holiday, I personalized mine to be look more like a Thanksgiving turkey rather than just a bird. I also changed a few things, like making the hood seam on the outside rather than the inside of the hood. 

(And yes, that is a slight seed stitch mistake on that bottom row near the tail. I only noticed it by about the fifth stripe as I was working my way up towards the bird's head, and when I calculated out how long it would take me to redo the stripes, I figured the recipient would rather have one weird stitch than a Thanksgiving Bird Blanket AFTER Thanksgiving.)

I like how the 'turkey' looks like he's ready to give the baby a hug.

What Thanksgiving-inspired crafts are you cooking up these days?

November 17, 2013

Weekend Stash Busting

This weekend, I did what I should have done a long time ago: I emptied out every last bin of yarn and put it all on the floor to assess the stash. (Yes, even those wicker baskets that were hiding out under the coffee table... as well as a few balls of yarn tucked into a Pyrex bowl.)

Here's a glimpse of what I unearthed.

(Remember I said that's a glimpse. GULP.)

Needless to say, I've been stash busting all weekend. I'll share more with you later, but you can expect a stuffed turkey, more granny square slippers and some DIY dryer balls in the mix.