look what i saw the other day!!
(i’m not quite sure what it is; i only know it’s a fresh sprout)
it’s an understatement to say that the anticipation of spring is running very high around here. the weather is just about all anyone talks about lately. i’ve kept a watchful eye on the yard for birds to arrive and crocuses to sprout, but up until a couple of days ago i was met with dead silence.
then suddenly i woke to a chorus of chirping and fluttering activity, all at once. no crocuses yet, but i’m sure they are on their way now. two days ago i ran in a tank top and shorts in 65 degrees under a warm, sunny sky.
and today . . .
pink and fresh and pretty, yes, but still—ten degrees at 9 am? really???
but i’ve started washing and putting away my sweaters for the season.
no wonder we’re not seeing crocuses yet . . . mother nature keeps smothering them.
everyone is walking around the house and the office with hats still on. david and sarah haven’t taken off their polartorte hats for days; i think they must sleep in them.
even the heat register wears one, haha. one last slouch potato hat getting a blow dry before tomorrow’s big release.
we got a last few photos of them with emily and erica the other day—who fell in love. i think they’ve put their official endorsement on the design, in case you needed any encouragement, haha.
it even looks pretty good on me and i have a notoriously difficult head to fit. in fact, all of this recent hat activity is part of my continuing quest to find the perfect hat for me—if in the process, i happen to knit one for everybody i know (and some people i don’t know), well, that probably isn’t the worst harm i could do in a life of blundering about, trying to “find” myself.
that said, i do think that polartorte is the perfect hat for me, with slouch potato a close second. so i will knit myself one of each; i just haven’t decided which shade of stone soup or kent DK i want to knit them in . . .
mostly, i just like playing with them all. and knitting them of course—they have joined the family of memorized, go-to, giftable, projects that i turn to when i just want something quick and satisfying to knit over an evening or two (a few others include cabled keyhole scarf, les abeilles, barrel o’ monkey, plain jhaynes)
so tomorrow we’ll release the slouch potato pattern and you can see for yourself; i hear that david and sarah are putting together a kit for it as well, for those who like a nice tidy project package.
with such drastic and crazy change ups in the weather lately, i’ve begun thinking about spring sweaters, mostly the ones i don’t have and wish i did.
or better said, the ones i should have finished by now. i have literally two on the needles that should have been finished ages ago. but when it was under ten degrees for weeks at a time, i really couldn’t couldn’t see the point.
fair weather friend that i am though, i am realizing the folly of my ways—if i’d been diligent and knit on them just twenty or thirty minutes each day during the winter, they’d probably both be done and ready to wear. sigh
well, the only think i can do now is try my best. this top-down cardigan—artus & anne in briar rose sea pearl—is the closest to being done and i think i could finish it in just a few nights if i was diligent and didn’t get distracted.
i might need one of you to threaten me with some dire consequences.
the other garment is a surprise; i can’t talk about it quite yet. it’s been in the works since last summer and i’ve known there was kind of a deadline to finish it since then but again, kept moving it back on the priority list when more urgent winter projects bullied their way forward in the queue.
but then on my trip to albany, i got a great jumpstart on it and have been working away very diligently since. it’s growing fast now and taking shape quite nicely. i have every expectation that i’ll get it done by my self imposed deadline.
that said, i took a break the other day to work on a completely different project for my monday afternoon knitting class; a made a lemon meringue pie for my friend debby’s birthday
because my cook books are still packed away (i don’t know why!) and i was relying on a recipe from the internet i hadn’t yet tried, i started on sunday evening just to be sure the filling would set up properly (i’ve had some, ahem, issues with that in the past).
but this recipe worked a treat and i highly recommend it; the filling thickened right up with no problems whatsoever and the flavor is excellent. in fact if anything, i would say i could get away with a bit less thickener.
on monday i made my regular pie crust recipe, this time with gluten free flour, which worked out great. it was a little hard to transfer it into the dish without breaking but i figured out a way.
again i had to go to the internet to grab information about oven temperature for the pre-baked crust and while i was there i read a good hint: after rolling and forming into a pan, freeze the dough for thirty minutes before baking. this will prevent a tender crust from slipping down into the pan as it bakes (something that happens to me even when i use pie weights).
bake the crust WITH weights for fifteen minutes, then cool slightly and remove the weights. pierce the crust all over with a fork and put it back in the oven fro 10 minutes to finish baking and browning.
perfecto—the crust is baked evenly all over and maintains its original shape. i will use that technique again for sure.
next i put the filling back on the stove over low heat to bring it back to bubbling hot. this is essential so that the meringue will properly cook through, which prevents it from collapsing, leaking, or releasing from the top of the pie.
while the filling warmed up, i started the swiss meringue—it is cooked a bit first to dissolve the sugar, then whipped. i like this meringue because it is more elastic and easier to handle; you can work it slightly longer than a non-cooked meringue and it mounds up into lovely soft pillows.
i probably could have taken it out just a bit sooner (i like it a little less tan), but i was afraid it wouldn’t be cooked enough. i let it cool on the counter top for about an hour or so, then put it in the fridge to chill.
mmm—mmmm; heaven on a plate
and dessert before dinner—who doesn’t love that?
be back tomorrow with that new hat pattern—everyone is preparing it now.