Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Knitspot 2018 Pairing Club and Bake Sale Cookies

I really love this cowl and Simcha does too!  It's the first of four projects in Anne Hanson's (Knitspot) 2018 Pairings Club. This club pairs food with knitting so how could I resist?  And I have always loved Anne's designs so it was an easy decision to join.  This first installment was inspired by Anne's love of sweet corn and her childhood memories of growing up on a working 10-acre farm upstate New York.  The Entrope yarn (spun to resemble handspun) beautifully captures the colors and texture of fresh sweet corn and was the perfect choice for this project.

The recipe that came paired with this project was a delicious corn chowder dish that was contributed by former chef, Katharine, who knows corn well as one should living in Ohio or really any part of rural America.  I'm looking forward to corn being back in season so that I can experience it at it's best.  I really didn't expect a vegetable to be the inspiration for this round but I'm glad that sweet corn was the featured food ingredient.  It brought back sweet memories of the summer that my family drove across country from California to Minnesota and we passed acre after acre of farmland.  The small family farms were the best.  They often had signs out front selling their produce to passers by and you could get out and wander through the fields.  Some of the best sweet corn that I've ever eaten was from those roadside farms.  When I look at this cowl I'll always think of corn and remember that wonderful summer vacation.

Although it's late Spring and starting to warm up I've had a few chances to wear this cowl on our morning hikes (I'm hard hearted and I've not given this cowl to Simcha). It's a bright and fun addition to my wardrobe. Worn with a long sleeve blouse and a vest it provides just enough warmth to my neck and chest to protect me from our chilly winds.  It's a DK weight yarn and the colorwork adds some heft too so it definitely keeps you warm, as you would expect from a rustic woolly accessory.  The gradient yarn has three main colors (light yellow, bright green, and a marled yellow and grey.  While some might not have been pleased that the marled color did not contrast well with the grey design I think that just added to the unique beauty of this piece.  I don't want something that looks "off the rack" that's why I knit.  It really is striking in person and I couldn't be happier with it.  I also have enough of both yarns left to make myself matching mitts which I will get around to at some point.  There was a coordinating hat design included but I thought this cowl with a matchy-matchy hat was not a look that would suit me.  If you look at Simcha and visualize him wearing a matching hat I think you'll see what I mean.

Particulars: Hectare Cowl, Anne Hanson's Pairings Club 2018 (Knitspot); US 5 & 7 needles; DK weight yarn, Feederbrook Farm (100% bluefaced Leicester wool; 260 yrds./100gms) and 1 skein Bare Naked Wools Kent DK colorway Tide Pool (60% merino wool/40% romney wool; 300 yrds/116 gms).  This is a fun and easy pattern to knit and I made no modifications whatsoever, except for the cast on.  For my cast on I used the Twisted German Cast On which is my favorite for stretchy edges.  My finished lightly blocked dimensions: 10" x 28."

Previous Anne Hanson patterns I've knit include Greenshadows Lace Scarf (blogged) and Pine and Ivy Lacy Shawl (Ravelry only).  For additional colorwork projects (include my tips) see Sunset Highway (sweater), Stranded in Toronto (hat), Osebury Rock (scarf) and Hebe (hat).

Bake Sale Cookies

After a long winter of baking breads and seasonal treats to share with friends and family I'm ready for Spring.  Spring is a time when I bake for myself and there's nothing I enjoy as much as a good crisp chocolate chip cookie.  I have a variety of recipes that I like but this is a favorite and I've made it many times over the years (case in point you can probably tell the pictures are from different batches!).  I hope you will enjoy these cookie as much as I do.

These are called Bake Sale Cookies because they make a large quantity and everyone loves them so it's a good and reliable recipe to turn to when you need to bake and share cookies.

Yield ~ 4 dozen good sized cookies ~


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated (white) sugar
3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups (12 oz package) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup dark or golden raisins
1/2 cup shredded (sweetened) coconut


1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. and cover baking sheet with parchment paper to prevent sticking.
2.  In a small bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.
3.  In mixing bowl, cream butter, sugars, vanilla.  Add eggs one at a time and mix just until incorporated.
4.  Remove bowl from mixer.  Using a wooden spoon stir in flour mixture.  Add chocolate chips, walnuts, raisins, and coconut and stir until incorporated.
5.  Drop dough onto baking sheet by rounded tablespoonsful.  Baking 9-11 minutes or until golden brown.  Let cookies rest for 2 minutes before removing with spatula to wire racks to cool completely.

Adapted from cookie recipe in Parade magazine May 11, 2003.

Until next time be well and love well and be sure to sweeten your Spring with a gradient cowl and cookies!