Sunday, July 8, 2012

Bud ~ a Summer Sweater and Lemon and White Chocolate Muffins

I'm out for an evening stroll in my new cardigan.  Anyone who thinks knitting is only for the Winter months is seriously missing out on all the wonderful Summer knits.  To knit clothes for the Summer you simply have to knit in fibers other than wool.  It's that simple.  This cardigan is knit in a combination of silk and cotton and is perfect for cool Summer evenings or foggy mornings at the beach and typical for a Kim Hargreaves design it is a classic and timeless wardrobe piece.

As I've gotten older I've found it harder to find my personal style.  I don't want to I no longer can wear the same styles that I did in the past but we all want to look the best we can at whatever age we are.  Knitting has helped me transition to middle age by allowing me to wear the colors and styles that suit me best.  I know for some knitting is a fad but for me it's a means of self expression and a connection with a part of myself that is still me no matter what age I am.  I guess what I'm saying is that I want to age like a cozy cardigan that is classic and timeless and loved no matter how misshapen and lumpy and bumpy it becomes!    

But enough about me!  It's time for a Mr. Puffy Knitting Tip ~ whoo hoo.

This knitting tip is the key to knitting a large oversized sweater such as Bud and not have it look (and feel) masses too large.  It's all about getting the sleeves to fit well.  I knit the small size for this pattern exactly as written - except - for the sleeves.  I knit the sleeves custom by calculating the stitches so that the cuff fits my wrist with just a little ease and the arm length and width similarly have been adjusted.  If I had knit the sleeves as directed for the small size then the sleeves and cuff would have been almost twice the size that they are which would have been waaaay too big.  The best way to figure out how to adjust a sleeve to your own custom fit is to lay out a sweater you already have with sleeves that fit you comfortably or close to how you want your finished sleeves to fit. Measure the width of the cuff and arm as well as the length of the sleeve.  Then, using those measurements and your gauge adjust the pattern accordingly.  I find that I often have to custom knit the sleeves in a pattern even if the body measurements and gauge otherwise can be knit according to pattern instructions.

Particulars:  Bud (a classic cardigan with pockets); design by Kim Hargreaves ~ Misty in Light and Shade collection; US 6 & 8 needles; 11 skeins Rowan Summer Tweed (70% silk / 30% cotton); 4 sea green abalone buttons.  I knit the XS size with sleeves modified as explained above.  Overall this is a very simple design to knit and a pleasure to wear although to be honest I didn't really enjoy knitting with this yarn.  Kim Hargreaves is a wonderful knitwear designer and I have previously knit her following designs: Flo (cardigan); Emily (sweater); Calm (Sweater); Bonnie (hat); Soul (hat); Haven (scarf set); and Raindrop (cardigan).  

Lemon and White Chocolate Muffins ~

About 10 years ago Steve and I traveled through New Zealand and whist there I quickly ascertained that the New Zealanders knew their muffins.  Everywhere we went they had wonderful coffee shops serving fabulous looking muffins.  So when I recently had a taste for a muffin I searching for a good muffin recipe on a New Zealand recipe site and found this wonderful Lemon and White Chocolate Muffin recipe.  I modified it to add a very thin slice of lemon on top and made them slightly larger (I used a large muffin tin versus cupcake size tins).  Due to the larger size I increased the baking time to 30 minutes and yielded 7 muffins.  Prior to baking I added the lemon slice and sprinkled it with extrafine white sugar.  After baking I spooned the glaze over the top of the lemon slice and over the top.  I have to say white chocolate and lemon is a sinfully delicious combination.

Until next time, be well and love well and make time to enjoy fresh baked muffins this Summer before you start contemplating your Fall knitting  ~