Monthly Archives: February 2013

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Madeleines and Quilting

Happy Monday.  Ha.  Did you have a good weekend?  Mine was quiet — with a little baking and a lot of quilting.  Perfect.  When I made my first batch of madeleines years ago, I thought I’d found the perfect recipe.  Light and crispy on the outside and soft and tender on the inside.  Then, I promply lost that recipe.  In the years since then, I’ve searched through my cookbooks and elsewhere for a decent recipe, but they’re always tough and heavy like rocks.  (Sorry Martha, I didn’t like your Madeleines.)  Over the weekend, I decided to try the Madeleine recipe from the book Laduree: The Sweet Recipes.

Thimbleanna: Madelines

They were pretty darn perfect, crispy and light, just like I think they should be.  I know you’re probably thinking that I burned them.  And what are those funny humps?  Well, that’s how they’re supposed to look — see, here’s the picture from the Laduree book.  (I still might take them out a bit earlier next time though.)

Thimbleanna: Madelines

If you’d like to try them, you can find the recipe here .  They’re really best eaten the same day that they’re baked.  They still taste good today, but the crispness is gone from the exterior.  (Any tips or hints to keep them crispy on the outside?)

Hey, wanna see MeMum’s little teacup up close?  Isn’t it cute?

Thimbleanna: Madelines

I also machine quilted this weekend.  A Lot.  And my arms are sore to prove it.  I worked on the foundation quilt for all the yoyos.  I finally got up enough nerve to try it and the quilting went well.  Look Ma, no walking foot!

Thimbleanna:  Machine Quilting

I do love my little Hester. Viking has an even feed feature on some of their machines (maybe all of them for all I know) and it makes quilting SO much easier. More on the yo-yo quilt in the days to come. The machine quilting is done, but she’s still a long way from being finished!

XOXO,
Anna

Darn It!

Darn it — my sock got a hole in it, so I had to darn it.

{Sorry, you may groan now.}

After 7 or 8 years of knitting socks they’ve finally started to get holes in them. I don’t waste my time darning store-bought socks because they’re so inexpensive to replace, but hand-knit socks are expensive and take a lot of time to knit — therefore well worth the five minutes it takes to fix them.

So, while I was fixing the hole, I thought I’d show you how I do it. I can’t even remember how I learned how to darn socks and I’m by no means an expert. I don’t even know if it’s the right way, but it works for me.

Thimbleanna: Sock Darning

You need a sock with a hole, matching yarn (or not, your preference), a needle, scissors, and a darning egg. (You can use a lightbulb. Make that an incandescent lightbulb — those goofy corkscrew lightbulbs probably won’t work.)

Thimbleanna: Sock Darning

I thread the needle with a reeeeeeeally long piece of yarn and then I stitch a circle around the outside of the hole. Can you see it in picture below? I don’t knot the end of the yarn — I leave a tail hanging out to weave in later.

Thimbleanna: Sock Darning

Then I stitch fairly close parallel lines back and forth until I’ve gone all the way across the circle.  I make sure that each line starts and ends outside of the original circle that I stitched.   My lines aren’t neat and tidy but I’m not entering them in a contest, so I don’t care.

Thimbleanna: Sock Darning

After the base threads are laid down, I start at one end and weave perpendicular lines.  Over and under every other stitch, just like we did with our little weaving projects in elementary school.  When I have the needle all the way across for each line, I squish a little on the lines that have already been woven.  This helps to pack the yarn in a little.

Thimbleanna: Sock Darning

When the circle is filled in, I weave in the ends of the yarn.  Then I go back and weave in the tail that was left when I started weaving.  There’s nothing attractive about my little patch, but it will extend the life of my socks for a little while longer.

Thimbleanna: Sock Darning

If you want more info about darning, a quick google search will turn up lots of resources. There are even different patterns that you can follow so that your patch will look much prettier than mine!

Happy Darning!
XOXO,
Anna


Dear Julian,

Downton Abbey

Thank you for another splendid season of our favorite show.

But seriously. What were you thinking?

I do hope you didn’t shoot your ratings in the foot. I don’t really see how you’ll recover, but I know you’ll try.   You could start by sending Cora to see Dr. Clarkson.  I fear she may stroke out from all those simpering side-long glances.

Very Truly Yours,
Anna

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Well, it’s almost over, but Happy Valentine’s Day anyway. I’m popping in to wish you cookies and milk!

Thimbleanna: Valentine Cookies

And while I’m here I have three little tidbits for you. ‘Cause I LUV ya!

  • You probably already know this, but, you know those annoying word verification things at the end of some blog posts if you want to leave a comment? And you sit there squinting, trying to figure out the numbers in the picture that appears on half of the puzzle? Did you know that the blogger software can’t read the numbers in that picture to know if you typed the correct number in there? You can type anything you want for the numbers in the picture and the software will take it. Unfortunately, you still have to type in the correct letters for the other half of the puzzle. The picture below shows an example of an answer that will work, so save yourself some time in your comment leaving and try the little shortcut!

Thimbleanna: Robot Verify

  • Here’s a cute little dog video.  Keep an eye on the two dogs on the right when the video starts.  And if you’re doing something you want to keep secret, make sure your dog’s not in the room — he’ll tell on you!

  • And, in light of the day of love, in case you haven’t seen it, here’s a super fun marriage proposal.  Try not to cry.

Have a good weekend!
XOXO,
Anna

Double Knitting

We made the trek to the Big City yesterday to visit TheFirstChild and SweetiePie.  We had two main reasons for visiting:

The first reason was to give SweetiePie her very belated birthday presents.  If you’ll recall, a few weeks ago, I showed you a knitting project.  In late December, I took a class and learned how to double knit.  Double Knitting involves using both hands and it was a BIG challenge for me.  I’ve never been able to use my left hand effectively.  Years ago, when we lived in Germany, I used to ride the train to work everyday, watching ladies knitting on the train in continental style.  It seemed so much faster than the old English method of  throwing the yarn.  I tried and tried to teach myself continental style to no avail.  Fast forward 30 years, and now I can knit with both hands!

Thimbleanna: Double Knit Cowl

Ha.  I’m not very good at it yet (and I’m VERY slow), but I’m thinking I’ll give continental style a try again.  Anyway, this project was for a Cowl from the pattern Double Knit Three: Dots, Spots & Arrows by Hilary Smith Callis.  Here’s the outside of the cowl.

Thimbleanna: Double Knit Cowl

Double knitting is pretty cool — it produces a reversible piece of knitting.  Every other stitch belongs to the other side.  Did that make sense?  For example, the odd stitches are knitting the outside and the even stitches are knitting the inside.  Here’s the inside.  you can see that I was having tension issues here and there, but hopefully I’ll get better.

Thimbleanna: Double Knit Cowl

I love the feel of double knitting — two soft, plush layers.  I’m not sure I’ll ever knit anything terribly big with this method though — it is rather tedious.  Here’s SweetiePie modeling her new cowl.  We probably should have artfully placed it around her neck, but we were in a hurry and goofing off.

Thimbleanna: Double Knit Cowl

The reason we were in a hurry was because the boys were waiting on us.  Which brings us to the second reason we were visiting the kids – to relive a piece of the boys’ childhood.  Sadly, TheSecondChild couldn’t be with us.  When the boys were little, they loved watching Top Gun.  TheFirstChild was obsessed with it.  We had little die-cast jet fighters to prove it and SweetiePie has told me that she refuses to watch the DVD version with TheFirstChild because he annoyingly recites all the lines.  (Happily, SweetiePie, agreed to come along with us this time.)  When I told TheSecondChild that we were going to go see the re-released IMAX 3D version, he laughed at me.  Then he reminded me that I used to fast forward through the sex scenes and how could we possibly watch it in a theater where I didn’t have control?  Yes, what a dilemma — I’m sure they’ve never seen those scenes before.  When the time came, I made them cover their eyes.

Top Gun

We had a great time. TheFirstChild even commented he didn’t remember all the sexual overtones in the movie.  I didn’t either.  Obviously, speeding through the big scenes worked — and the spoken lines were over his head at the time.   Bad Mother!  Ah well, he doesn’t seem to have been damaged from it.  The minute the music for the movie started, I could see my little 4-yr.old running around the house chanting “I feel the need…the need for speed!”  How fun to go back and re-live those moments with my little boy.

One last photo for you.  We were back in a corner of the theater taking pictures and laughing.  SweetiePie pulling her model schtick and me snapping away.  This was the best we could do for the sultry, pouty lip shot because we were laughing too hard.

Thimbleanna: Double Knit Cowl

So.  A wonderful weekend in ThimbleannaLand.  I hope you’ve had a good weekend too!
XOXO,
Anna