Unlike those more ambitious ones out there participating in Ravelympics 2008 (of which there are over 6,000 participating) Puff and I are enjoying a respite from our busy lives. Everyone experiences ups and downs in life. I try to enjoy the good times and ride out the tough times knowing that they too shall pass. One thing I like to do when I'm not too busy is participate in my Topanga Knitters Group. There are 4 of us "Topaganites" in this group formed through the connectivity power of Ravelry and one rather more social and computer savvy member who organized us.
It is a bit of a risk getting together with people that you don't know anything about. For that reason, our first meeting took place in a local coffee shop. Now that we know each other we rotate meeting at each of our homes (we meet every other Wednesday) and everyone brings something to nibble on. As you can see from the spread above, we enjoy our nibbling and imbibiling. Typically it's some savories and sweets along with wine and iced tea but after I missed the last couple of meetings they toasted my return with champagne! Any ole excuse, me thinks.
This week we met at Jane's house and sat outside on her deck and enjoyed the quiet shade and late afternoon sun. Jane has a beautiful rose garden and the roses pictured on the table above were cut from her rose bushes. When we leave she always cuts a rose for us to take home too. So sweet. I can only offer a weed from my "garden" of which I have plenty to give away.
Although we are a small group we are diverse both in life and knitting experience (everywhere from a new knitter to a knitwear designer) which makes for lively discussions. The topics flow from knitting to life and back to knitting again. As I noted once, collectively, around the table we have the combined experience of 200 years of living. That's a lot of knitting and life experience represented.
We always bring along our current and recently finished projects. This week one of the ladies brought a baby sweater as well as a tam, which we wisely convinced her that she needs to keep for herself, it looked so cute on (I'm talking about the tam - not the baby sweater).
For those out there who don't immediately recognize this baby sweater, it is the Baby Surprise Jacket ("BSJ") designed by Elizabeth Zimmerman. This sweater pattern is such a classic there is even a Knit Wiki article which includes background information; links to various pattern sources; and helpful techniques. By the way, Knit Wiki is a great technical resource which I have only learned about through this group (see what I mean about these ladies).
Scouting for Brownies
Brownies are particularly nice around Halloween but are enjoyable any time of year. The ones I made for our knitting group (pictured above) are from a recipe I discovered years ago in Dying For Chocolate by Diane Motts Davidson . Parenthetically, the first book in this series is Catering to Nobody . I always find it hard to figure out which is the first book in a series, so I mention it here for your convenience.
This is a series of culinary mysteries that are better than average summer reads and have quite good recipes to boot. I've read probably half a dozen or so of the books and have enjoyed them all. The protagonist is a single mother raising a son and earning her living as a caterer. Since I love cooking these books were a natural for me. I really enjoy the way she weaves stories of catering events and food preparation through her mysteries. The way she described the food - oh my - can she describe food in an appetizing way.
Here's a link to the brownie recipe "Goldy Bear's Scout's Brownies." It's a very versatile and reliable recipe and I've made it many many times over the years. In the shot above I added fresh smashed blackberries to the top with milk chocolate chips sprinkled on top and it tastes a lot like a truffle this way. Sometimes I'll add a cup of walnuts to the batter with semi-sweet chips sprinkled on top and at Christmas it's nice with broken candy canes sprinkled on top. I've also added an espresso flavored icing instead of chips on top and that's wonderful too. It's really hard to go wrong and there's a million ways to enjoy it.
Have a great week everyone and I hope that you get the chance to meet some of the local knitters in your community!