Frog or Finish 2011

Posted on by MK Carroll

Around October I started thinking that I should frog or finish my WIPs by the end of the year. This week, it got obvious that I wasn't going to finish everything, so I buckled down and made decisions (and live-tweeted it with the hashtag #frogorfinish).

It quickly became obvious that I like making hats, but I don't like weaving in ends.
Hats in the 'to finish' pile

I remembered the dishcloth kick I got onto last year.
Washcloths in the 'to finish' pile

I even had a few projects that had been finished and just needed a wash! A few more hats were finished and washed, then dried in the oven (with a timer so I wouldn't forget - 170F, checked every 10 minutes). I bagged up several finished hats and mailed them off to a dear friend of mine in the Pacific Northwest, to be used/shared/gifted as she chooses.
Bag of Hats

Now I have two big bags of WIPs that can be finished quickly; my plan is to keep one next to the couch so I can grab projects to work on during my commute or while relaxing at home. I grabbed two dishcloths on my way to the post office yesterday; they just needed the edgings finished and ends woven in. Done!

Last night, I couldn't fall asleep, so I finished a set of crochet potholders and coordinating dishcloth. Done!
Potholders and dishcloth set

I've also gotten started on destashing. More on that later.

Where to find me

Posted on by MK Carroll

Last year I blogged a lot less and started tweeting on Twitter (mk_carroll) and tumblring on Tumblr (mkcarroll). This month, I've also been pinning on Pinterest (mk_carroll). I'm still active on Ravelry (mkcarroll), although I have scaled back on the amount of forum posting I do and I've disabled Ravelry messaging.

Twitter: mostly little glimpses into my day, including, yes, what I have for breakfast sometimes.
Tumblr: still working this out. When I have more to say than the 140 character limit on Twitter, or want to share a photo. Had been using it to bookmark pages and sites as well, but I haven't done that since I got started on Pinterest.
Pinterest: 13 boards, currently, including But What Do You Knit or Crochet in Hawai'i (short answer: whatever you want to), Handmade Accessories, Vintage Costume Jewelry, and Books I've Been Reading.
Ravelry: knit/crochet projects, mostly.

Email (mail[*at*]mkcarroll[*dot*]com) is still the best way to contact me directly online.

Chocolate Mint Cupcake

Posted on by MK Carroll

Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World

Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World: 75 Dairy-Free Recipes for Cupcakes that Rule

I've been baking cupcakes at least once per week for the past several weeks, ever since I picked up the recipe book. The recipes I've tried so far I've briefly reviewed here previously and they've been so good that I've been making them over and over again (Green Tea, Banana (from the Banana Split recipe), and Gingerbread). Since I'd found Frontier Peppermint Extract at a big-chain grocery store recently, I figured it was time to try the Chocolate Mint cupcake recipe. These are gooood. The mint icing is a light accent that contrasts nicely with the dark chocolate ganache, although I made half the recipe amount of the mint icing and I could have used half the recipe amount of the chocolate ganache. I am not a huge fan of heaps of icing, and the recipes in the book tend to lean towards big fluffy mounds of it. I also opted to dunk the tops of the iced cupcakes into the ganache rather than try to drizzle the ganache on, and I think it worked out well. The ganache did not solidify as much as the recipe seems to suggest, but I don't care, it's delicious! Next time I think I will make the mint icing a pale pink, just because.

#1 best reason for me (an omnivore) to keep baking vegan cupcakes: no fears about eating the raw batter! I think I liked this raw batter more than the gingerbread batter.

Frontier Natural Products Co-op carries a wide range of organic and fair-trade herbs, spices, and baking flavorings and extracts, including great Fair Trade certified loose-leaf teas , an alcohol-free Fair Trade certified vanilla flavoring (glycerin base) and vanilla flavoring powder (but only in a 1/2 lb. package). If you are in Honolulu, Kokua Market Natural Foods Co-op (open to the public!) carries Frontier herbs, spices, and a couple of the flavorings (almond and vanilla), and you can special order any Frontier item they don't have in stock. In case you are wondering why no-alcohol and powdered vanilla is desirable, if you are using vanilla in something that isn't going to be cooked (like, say, a mango smoothie), the flavor is, in my opinion, far superior. Quite frankly for baked goods I think even fake vanilla extract does fine, but for frosting/icing, smoothies, drinks, fruit salads, and so on, using for-real vanilla without alcohol can make a big difference. Some of the other flavorings and extracts (including peppermint and lemon) are also no-alcohol.

Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World

Rip. Repeat. Make cornbread.

Posted on by MK Carroll

So Sister Super Princess is heading off to Toronto tomorrow and I repurposed one of the Anne Crochet Scarf Kits so I could do a quick, chunky, waffle-knit hat for her.

Waffle Beanie: outside

Cascade 109, waffle knit (aka broken rib) on US 10.5 needles

At the most recent Aloha Knitters meeting, I started thinking it might be too big, and kept on knitting anyway. I got home, got out a measuring tape, and knew that it was too big, so I ripped back. One of the nice things about a top-down hat - I didn't have to rip the whole thing, just back to the crown and into the increases until it was the right size around.

Waffle Beanie: inside

Cascade 109, waffle knit  - reverse side

On my way to and from work today, I kept knitting and stopping to measure the length. While sitting in a parking lot waiting for my Dad, I noted with a bit of annoyance that one skein wasn't going to be enough, and that I would need to use just a little more yarn to do two more rounds and the bind-off. I bound off on the way home.

Once home, I tried it on. It's too long. By about two rounds.

I'm going to rip back the bind-off and three rounds (it will ease up a bit when blocked), then wash this and pop it in the oven (yes, it's another one of those days). Afterwards I might make cornbread.

update: after washing the hat, I ripped out about 8 more rounds. The cornbread is delicious.


Skillet Cornbread

8” cast iron skillet (all iron - will go into oven)
an uncooked strip of bacon, chopped
1 c stoneground cornmeal (1/3 cup in mixing bowl, remaining 2/3 cup in small bowl)
1/2 c boiling water
1/2 c plain yogurt and 1/2 c water blended together with 1 tsp salt

1 lg egg
2 Tbs sugar or 1 Tbs honey
1 c whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

Heat oven to 450 F with skillet (containing bacon) on middle rack.

Blend the 1/3 cup cornmeal and boiling water with a whisk to make a mush. Slowly add yogurt, beat in egg and honey (if using honey). Blend remaining ingredients in a separate bowl. When skillet is very hot, blend dry ingredients into wet just long enough to combine. Pour bacon bits and fat into batter and stir in quickly. Scrape batter into pan and return to oven for 20 - 25 minutes or until golden brown. Turn out onto cooling rack immediately and let cool at least 5 minutes before serving.

One of these days I'm going to arrange to be at home alone when making this cornbread so I can peel the crusty bottom off and eat it first, while still hot.