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Archive for April 17th, 2006

Crochet and Cleaning and Brownies

Monday, April 17th, 2006

I had a lazy Sunday. I have recently needed a lot more sleep than usual, and so I slept till noon. OK, I went to bed at 2am so that’s not as bad as it might sound but it’s still noon. That sure makes the day seem short before even starting!

I didn’t work as much as I usually do on Sunday, at least not on my business stuff. Usually I teach on Sundays, but not on Easter!

Brian and I went to the Gone Wired Cybercafe’ for some nice tea… it was more busy than I expected for Easter, but they pointed out that MSU finals are in a few weeks. And not all students will go home for a “traditional” Easter, not all students are Christian even if they are near the home where they were raised. So there we were by a nice sunny window in a lovely cafe that was about half-busy. Very pleasant.

LynnH Tea CosyI knit on my First-Time Toe-Up socks that I’m knitting along with my class at Rae’s. (Can I call them that if they are not *my* first time making them?) These are a turquoise/aqua/white/blue-black Opal sockyarn, and they are knitting up very pretty, even prettier than in the ball. And somehow I lucked out and the striping matches from one sock to the other. Opal has really long stripe repeats that are hard to even find, so how I lucked out I don’t know.

But I’m also working on a new project. I’m crocheting a hat for myself in a new lightweight Noro yarn. It’s a rayon blend, not sure what else is in it but it’s very rainbow-like and maybe DK weight.

The yarn is wonderful… I have dreamed of a tank top in it, but right now I already have yarn purchased for a tank top and spring is not a good time for splurges. One skein seemed most reasonable to the pocketbook, and if the hat turns out well I’ll wear it considerably more than any tank top.

I am sort of making up a single-crocheted hat from the center out, in a spiral. The colors are magnificent. If I can get this thing to fit well (I expect I can), I sure expect to get some use of it this summer. My best hats are angora, which are pretty warm in summertime. And I wear hats almost every day… during winter for warmth, summer to protect my hair from sun.

This hat is a bit like some imported cotton multicolored hats I have purchased over the years. They are really wonderful in summer but they fade in the sun and if multicolored they will run in the rain. Maybe you can imagine the hat, it’s a smaller version of the kind people use to cover their dreadlocks sometimes. My best one is pretty big for my needs and mostly fuschia with a bunch of other colors. I even embroidered on it some, to put brighter colors on top of the paler colors in the pattern.

My new hat-in-the-making has all the best attributes of these hats that are hard to find in stores. And it’s in colors I really wear a lot (one ply changes color very slowly from cobalt blue to turquoise to periwinkle to forest green and back to blue and purple… the other ply is like a bright rainbow. Gorgeous.

I do better with crochet when I can make things up as I go rather than counting stitches and matching a pattern. I even tried on this project to count, and when I did, it got a little bulged-out, although that works fine in the center of a beret. Yet when I started just working by eye, it flattened right out and looks just gorgeous.

I put my regular angora beret on the table and put the new hat on top of it, and I still have maybe two inches before I start decreasing again toward the hatband. I’m really crossing fingers that I’ll have enough yarn with one skein. If it was knit, I’d have way more than necessary, but crochet makes a thicker fabric than knitting and eats yarn by up to 1/3 more, from what I’ve read.

(The crocheted bag, now that my crochet class is over with, is sitting and waiting for me to have the patience to count stitches. It’s really gorgeous but I’m not even finished with the third of six panels (and then it needs straps). Maybe it will be the sort of thing I can work on in the car sometime when Brian and I go somewhere together. Long trips are good for thinking-projects.)

What else did I do Sunday? I cleaned… I mean I really dug down in the kitchen and moved things that have been in the way of my working on the counters. Things went on shelves or in cupboards so that I can start cooking more again. The kitchen looks like someone else’s house now! Not really, it’s still plenty cluttered but I cleared off two counters where I can work.

And once I cleaned it, I made dinner. And then I rewarded myself with brownies I made without wheat/corn/potato/yeast/egg/dairy/nuts. Yum! Good brownies, really. It takes a bit more thought to translate recipes into anti-allergy food, but then my little inner toddler gets a treat. Gotta love that!

And I’m sitting here, past my bedtime, crocheting a hat, listening to Daisy May sing one more time, and drinking some very nice Ceylon black tea while eating a home-baked brownie. Why would I want to go to sleep? This is as good as it gets.

Here’s my brownie recipe for you adventurous ones:

LynnH’s No-Nothin’ Brownies

Veggie Oil Cooking Spray (or just liquid oil)
3/4 c Oat Flour (if you are celiac, be sure it’s labeled certified gluten free)
1/2 c Brown Rice Flour
1/2 c Buckwheat Flour
(May substitute 1-3/4 c of whole wheat pastry flour or all purpose wheat flour if not allergic, for above 3 ingredients.)
1/2 c Cocoa Powder (such as Hershey’s all-cocoa powder, not hot drink mix)
1-1/2 t Baking Soda

3/4 c Dark Brown Sugar

1/4 c Light Olive Oil (or Veggie Oil if not allergic)
1/2 c Water
3/8 c Honey (or Agave Syrup, or Corn Syrup if not allergic)
1-1/2 t Good Mexican Vanilla
1-1/2 t Lemon Juice or Lime Juice (substitute vinegar if not allergic)

-Preheat to 350F.
-Oil two glass bread pans (spray or wipe with oil/paper towel).
-Combine dry ingredients except sugar, using wire whisk.
-Add brown sugar, mix well with dry ingredients using whisk.
-Add wet ingredients, mix with fork (will be fairly thick).

-Divide mix between two pans and bake 20-25 min (center will be depressed with sides higher and pulling away slightly from the edges of pans).
-Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.

They cut better if cooled before eating… if you can resist! Otherwise, wet the knife before cutting and cross fingers, preparing for many delicious crumbs.

Photo: My “Cozy Corner Teapot Sweater” (Tea Cosy). Not a perfect illustration for today, but any reading is nicer with photographs, somehow. And tea was a big part of my day today, at any rate. I re-organized my teapot collection. (And drank much tea. As always.)