[knitting] Hats and Hats and Hats

I am so obsessed with hats right now.

It's so flipping cold out. I'm just going to stay under blankets, netflix and knit. The hat pile grows. #netflixandknit #knitting #hatknitting

In two weeks, I've made 7 hats and just started the 8th.

The first was the purple one at the bottom right of the photo. Pattern is The Elm Road Hat at Ravelry but it's just a twisted rib beanie. The yarn is a lux 50% cashmere / 50% yak blend (Lhasa by Debbie Bliss) gifted to me by my sister. The hat is so warm and so soft- already claimed and being worn by Dollar. 

Next was the dark blue variegated one in the top center. Pattern is The Glen Abbey Hat. Nice, a little long to make it slouchy. Yarn is Mountain Goat by Mount Colors, 55% mohair / 45% wool. It's a little itchy at the forehead if I'm being honest. But this is a great pattern for breaking up variegated yarn.

Then the brown one. Pattern is Graham at Ravelry. Basic broken rib. I like that it's knit on the wrong side and then turned inside out for a nice, nubbley purl texture on the outside. Knit a little long for slouch. Yarn is Berroco Ultra Alpaca, 50% alpaca / 50% wool. 

The blue cabled pattern at the bottom center is Father Cables. Knit the smallest, fitted size and it's still quite large. The yarn is Aslan Trends Invernal, 50% angora, 25% nylon, 25% wool. So soft- I don't work with angora enough. The yarn is whatever while you're working with it but after going around and around and around and pushing stitches along, you can see the angora start to bloom and make a nice halo several rows down. I particularly like this hat.

The natural colored ones to the left in the photo are from a pattern called Spicule- which is actually three hat patterns (and three little matching hat ornaments- so cute!). I'm doing all three. My plan is to do five natural-colored aran(ish) hats and then give them to Dollar's bandmates. And then they can wear them out to winter gigs. The yarn is mystery undyed wool from the stash (ripped from a big, off-white cabled sweater that someone started, never finished, gave to me and I've reclaimed the wool).

I've started the fourth aran hat (from a pattern I've made three times). Now to scour Ravelry for the last pattern... Then I miiiiiiiiiight take a break from hats.


[knitting] Seascape Scarf

I've had this Seascape scarf finished for quite a while but only got around to blocking it this past weekend.

Seascape stole

I think the pattern as written only has you do six repeats for a wrap-around-the-shoulders type stole. I made it much longer (ten repeats) for a scarf length.

I used less than three skeins of Louet Kid Mohair (discontinued- bought at Webs years ago, I think). Overall the scarf is light and fluffy and sun-shiny. I just had to be very very very careful at the start to get the pattern right- because ripping back mohair is never easy or fun. Once I got the hang of things, it was smooth sailing the rest of the way.

☀️ #knitting #seascapestole

Murderface helps me pin out the blocking wires. His nails come in handy.

Murderface helps me block a knit scarf. #knitting #seascapestole

The scarf is getting mailed off today- sending it to a friend for her to give to her mom for the holidays. I think she'll just have to look it over for cat fur before she wraps it. Because there's going to be cat fur.


[misc] Murderface Monday

It was so flipping cold this weekend. Temps in the 20s with wind chill in the teens. UGH. Murderface shows me how to cope...

Find a spot in the sun:


Lay down on a blanket:


Relax and wait for someone to rub your belly and scratch your cheeks:

Murderface has the right idea.

It was a pretty productive weekend- baking, painting, knitting... all my favorite stuff. After moving along at a galloping pace knitting hats, I've slowed to a grinding trot. The last pattern from a trio of hats has a larger cabled motif that is a little slow to work across.

[misc] Santana Monday

Santana is so needy for attention on the weekends:

So needy on the weekends. 🐯

Had a good weekend- made even better with a extra hour on Sunday (I always forget). Got a lot of knitting done. Working on an angora cabled hat now (while we watch Stranger Things Season 2)- and then will move on to a series of five natural-colored aran watch caps (all different patterns) for Dollar's band members. The band is called WOOL, so it seems fitting ;)


[art] Misc. Fluid Acrylic Pours

Still waiting for some of the paintings I poured last week to finish drying. Here are a few random ones:




I can hopefully spend some time this weekend cleaning and varnishing some.

Still knitting along on a new hat. I need to take some more pictures of things this afternoon...


[knitting] Fall Palette

After knitting on the sunshine yellow mohair scarf for so long, when it came time to pull yarn from the stash for quick hats, I went darker...

After sunshine yellow, this is my color palette 🎨. One hat down, three more to go. #knitting

Already one hat is done and I'm well into the second. Super simple hats to work on while watching Mindhunters on Netflix.


[cooking] Pumpkin rolls and cake

I tried some pumpkin-shaped pumpkin rolls this past weekend:

Pumpkin dinner rolls. 🎃 They are so. Freaking. Cute. 🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃

I used this recipe but cut it in half, to only have one sheet of rolls. Well, first I cut, cleaned and roasted the last of the pile of pie pumpkins. More puree, more seeds. I used a half cup of puree for these rolls. They were pretty easy to bring together and shape. You make 8 cuts around the outside and it doesn't have to be perfect- the 2nd rise puffs everything up and any uneven areas get filled in.

Here's what the rolls looks like after cutting, before the second rise:

Pumpkin rolls

They are so cute- and I think I'll do them for Thanksgiving this year. Going to try out bird-shaped rolls this weekend.

Next, I used more puree to make this pumpkin espresso bundt cake:

Pumpkin espresso bundt. #kingarthurflour #yearofthebundt #baking #pumpkinrecipes #pumpkincake

This was really good- lovely fall recipe to add to my ever expanding list of pumpkin recipes. And any excuse to use a bundt pan...


[misc] Penny Monday

This was Penny from last Sunday:

I let Penny sleep in long enough. Time to vacuum. 🙀

But also this Sunday. Because this is what she does every Sunday. What is she so tired from? All the cats get into bed at night with me and sleep around me for 8 hours. Is it so exhausting to get up  and eat breakfast? You need a five hour nap to recover?

Sunday Morning Penny

I guess so. 

Was a good weekend- Saturday was sunny and cool. I processed the last of the pie pumpkins (hurray) and made some pumpkin recipes. My mom and sister came up Sat night for dinner. Sunday was football

I cast-off the yellow mohair Seascape Stole. Just have to wash/block. Immediately cast on for a simple twisted rib beanie using some luxury cashmere/yak yarn from my sister. Time to do lots of super quick/easy projects...


[art] Fluid Acrylic Painting: Negative space and round form

One technique for pouring is to use negative space- areas that aren't covered with colored paint. You set up for a normal dirty cup pour but surround the upside down cup with white paint before lifting the colored cup. Then the edges blend together but there is still lots of "blank" space:

Trying out negative space. #art #fluidacrylic #fluidart #fluidpainting

These blank areas aren't bare canvas- the are covered in white paint. I love this- would definitely like to try more like this.

I also ordered some round pieces of wood to make planets:


This was my first time using the swipe technique and it really saved this one. It was a jumbled up mess but the swipe kind of gave the colors direction and evened out the cells. And makes it look more planet-y.


Planet close-up

After doing these paintings non-stop (NON. STOP.) for seven days, the novelty is starting to wear off and I'd like to try and be a bit more careful/thoughtful with how I mix and pour colors. I'm going to put away the paints, allow everything I've made to dry and then start cleaning/varnishing the finished pieces.

I've got plenty of knitting to keep me occupied in the meantime.

TGIF. No big plans for this weekend- just puttering around the house- maybe more sun prints since it's going to be sunny. Patriots on Sunday. 


[art] Fluid Acrylic Painting: Blues and leftover colors

It looks like this week is just going to be posts about my new acrylic pouring obsession. I'll go back to other stuff next week. For now, all I can think about is mixing pant.

Here's a 12 inch by 12 inch canvas with black and blues and white:

Blue - Fluid Acrylic Painting


Blue - Fluid Acrylic Painting

I like using fewer colors. I need to be less stingy with the paint I mix up to pour- If I have to move/tilt the canvas a lot for coverage, the cells lose their shape and the entire thing looks a little too mixed up.

But what to do when there's lots of little bits of leftover colors? Pour them all into a cup and use them:

Misc colors - Fluid Acrylic Painting

Lots of areas of interest:

Misc colors - Fluid Acrylic Painting

Fluid Acrylic Painting

I tried a couple new techniques and forms, which I'll post tomorrow. Then it's back to regularly scheduled knitting and cats and food.


[art] Fluid Acrylic Painting: More better cells

The next fluid painting- I remembered to add the oil before pouring this time!- was a mix of white, red, yellow, gold, brown:

Fluid Acrylic Painting

This canvas is 12 inches by 12 inches. I had enough leftover paint to pour another (same colors) onto a 8 inch by 10 inch canvas:

Fluid Acrylic Painting

That little green splooch in the lower lefthand corner was because I accidentally dropped the wet canvas after the pour and it landed face down (Murphy's Law FTW) and got a little of the sea green from yesterday's pour on the corner.

Also had enough paint leftover that I was able to pour over five little wooden coaster squares:

Fluid Acrylic Coaster

Fluid Acrylic Coaster

Fluid Acrylic Coaster

Fluid Acrylic Coaster

Fluid Acrylic Coaster

The colors aren't too muddy. The cells are nice and distinct. I'm really happy with how these coasters turned out. They're small, so a good object for leftover paints.

Some close-ups:

#fluidart #fluidacrylic #fluidpainting

Fluid Acrylic Painting

So now I need to turn my mind to properly finishing these things. Cleaning, varnishing, framing. They're matte after the paint dries and I'd like to make them super shiny (to enhance the colors and bring out some of the metallic/glitter paints that I use). 


[art] Fluid Acrylic Painting: Sea green

Here's my third fluid acrylic pour:

Fluid Acrylic Painting

This was after I got some necessary supplies. 

- Floetrol by Flood. You can get other art/craft flow aids from the craft store but this is much cheaper at $7 for a quart (or $13 for a gallon) from Home Depot. Mix this with paint to get it to flow better. It doesn't dilute the final paint color- it dries clear. It just helps with thinning and movement. This is also good because it saves how much actual paint you end up using.

- Butane torch. Like one of those little handheld guns that you can finish the top of a creme brulee with. This is to quickly sweep over the surface of the paint after it's poured to pop air bubbles and create more cells.

- Something that doesn't mix with water. Oil. Lubricant. Silicone. Dimethicone. Treadmill oil. Maybe sewing machine oil? You can easily get something that will work at the drug store: KY True Feel (Dimethicone), Astroglide X (Cyclomethicone, Dimethicone), OGX Coconut Hair Serum (many ingredients but dimethicone is the first).

I've been much happier since I started using the above. Then you just need acrylic paint, cups, stirrers, canvas. And something to keep the canvas elevated as the paint drips off and dries.

A ratio that seems to work well is: 2 parts floetrol, 1 part paint, 1 part water. Then depending on how much paint you're mixing up, you're really only going to want 1 - 3 drops of oil per color.

Here's a close-up:

Fluid Acrylic Painting

These colors are kind of muddy because I mixed all the individual paints, poured them sequentially into a dump cup- and realized I forgot to add oil to each individual color first. Argh! So I dropped in 5 drops and kind of mixed it up before I poured. The colors are more blended than I wanted but I got some cells.

Tomorrow- I'll show my next projects- that have better cells and color distinction.


[art] Fluid Acrylic Painting: My new obsession

Fluid acrylic painting. Who knew. This is one of those things were I see a craft video and I'm like, "I have all that stuff. I'll try it." And I go home and try it and it's awesome. Apart from the first failed attempt to even mix the paint correctly. (Turns out I didn't have all the stuff I needed and I tried improvising with random home chemicals; I'm no chemist so all the paint turned into snot consistency which was pretty much the opposite of the nice, runny, fluid consistency that I needed.)

Anyway, here was my first real pour:


The paint was thick (only thinned with water) and I tried getting "cells" with a hair dryer. This really didn't work and it just ended up pushing the paint around the canvas.

From what I've gathered from my extensive history of researching this technique over the past, like, 5 days, the gist is that you mix paint and water (yes, I'm using plastic knives, I don't have Popsicle sticks):


Pour it in some color sequence into another cup and turn that cup upside down onto the canvas:

Dirty cup pour

Lift up the cup:

Liquid acrylic pour

Then tilt the canvas to cover the entire surface. Let excess paint drip off the sides and set it on something to keep it elevated while it dries.

All the colors blending and not blending and swirling make a totally unique picture with lots of visual interest:

First liquid acrylic pour

I liked it. Obviously, it was my first time and it's not going to be amazing and ready to be hung in a gallery. I wanted cells, though, and you need to add some kind of lubricant to the paint (oil and water don't mix). I've seen people use treadmill oil, 3-in-1 household oil, KY or hair care products that contain dimethicone.

I wanted to try again, so I mixed up some different colors and added some WD-40 (what I had on hand). Made another dirty cup pour and this is the result:


I really like this one. There are more noticeable spots of cells from the WD-40:




There are many things that I learned just from doing these two small 8" x 10" painting. There are some special things that you do need (notably a paint flow aid and a torch). It's messy but a very fast process. I did a bunch more paintings over the weekend and will post them here throughout the week.


[cooking] Red curry pumpkin coconut soup

More pumpkin for supper last night:

Thai red curry pumpkin coconut soup. And naan. 🎃 #pumpkinsoup

Pretty simple and quick to bring together. I finely minced a small onion and sauteed in olive oil. Add minced ginger. Then garlic. Then a couple cups of pumpkin puree, a cup of chicken stock and a cup of coconut milk. Added a tablespoon of Thai red curry paste. Heated and garnished with coconut milk and cilantro. Served with homemade naan.

TGIF! Going to pick up some art supplies after work- I just found a new art hobby: fluid acrylic painting. I tried it on a couple small canvases I had on hand last night and I loooooove any piece of art that is unique and only takes 45 seconds to make. That budgets well into my schedule.

Tomorrow should be sunny so I'll finally be able to try some solar printing. My sister gave me a lot of cyanotype paper for my birthday- you just put things on top of the paper, leave it in the sun and then rinse in water. Voila- nature silhouettes. I went around last weekend picking and pressing leaves and flowers, so I have everything I need.

More pumpkin recipes to try this weekend: pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin cinnamon rolls. Pats are playing Sunday night, which is better for me- when they play Sunday at 1pm, the afternoon is shot and the house doesn't get cleaned. I've got to make a dump-run; find a nearby laundromat to wash some big blankets and rugs (which should be good knitting time). I'm so ready to be done with this fuffy yellow scarf- but at least I'm on the last ball of yarn. I've printed off a dozen new hat patterns- I just want to move on to quick things for holiday gifts!


[cooking] Rugelach

This month's King Arthur Flour #bakealong challenge is rugelach:

This month's #bakealong is #rugelach. #kingarthurflour

This was my first time making these traditional Jewish sweets and I did the recipe basically as written. My filling is chopped dried cranberries, pecans, brown and maple sugar, cinnamon. I do have a bottle of boiled cider and I used that to brush over the rolled dough to make everything stick. Easy enough to vary the filling based on what you have on hand. 

Lovely little flakey, spiced croissant-y cookies. A rare treat considering all the butter and cream cheese in the dough. Would love to try a savory version next time (spinach or pesto filling? minced sun-dried tomatoes and parm cheese? pepperoni pizza rugelach? pizza-lach? roo-ge-za?).


[cooking] Dehydrated apples

One of our wild apple trees is fully loaded with large apples. I went out to pick some this weekend:

Wild apples picked from the front yard. To dehydrate. 🍎🍎🍎🍎🍎🍎🍎🍎🍎🍎

Maybe not the prettiest but my plan was to peel and dehydrate them. I got a new Spiralizer to make quick work of it:


This product works so well, it makes me angry. Think of all the apples I peeled by hand. All the slicing I did by hand. All the apples. All the pies. All the years. This thing is amazing- pop on an apple and turn a crank- it peels and slices and cores. It's wonderful to have all the slices uniform thickness for dehydrating. I just cut the cored apple spiral in half and lay all the slices on the trays. 8 or so hours later:

Dehydrated apples. Will use softer ones soon and store the driest ones.

What to do with all the dehydrated apples? I think we'll have them for snacking (they're more like apple jerky than apple chips) and then King Arthur Flour just posted a recipe for Appalachian Stack Cake