Archives from March 2010

Rocky Mountain High

Photo: Sheri Berger
Monday, March 29th, 2010 in Contest, Shop News

DSC02464Yes – I’m enjoying the time up here in the mountains! We have to send Web Guy back to Florida tomorrow already, but the rest of us will be here for several more days. I won’t tell you how many projects and books I brought along with me, but you’d think I was staying a month, based on the size of it.

Before I get to tonight’s update, I wanted to let you know the winner’s of our Favorite Teacher Blog Contest for the month. Thanks to everyone who participated!  The winners are Bev in IL, Kim in WA, and Michelle in IL. (Illinois was well represented in this contest, I guess!) We’ll be sending your Wollmeise on its way this week and Congratulations to all of you!

Now – on to the Update. We just added in: Lorna’s Laces, Cascade 220, Heritage and Eco Alpaca, Malabrigo Sock, Worsted and more Twist, Dream in Color Smooshy in NEW colors (Blue Sage, Green Lantern, Malibu Sail, Melon Bomb, Pinky, Pomagrenade, Still Spruce, Torchwood, Tokyo Creme, Valentine and Velvet Port), Schoppel Wolle in the new laceweight, as well as regular re-stocks, Team Spirit in Fingering weight, Trekking, Namaste re-stocks, patterns from Wendy Knits, Nutty Creations and Born to Knit, and Addi Click sets and regular re-stocks. (Yes, we’ll be getting the Addi Click Lace sets in April, too. Email us if you want to pre-order!)

Have a great week and I’ll be back to blog about next week’s Update, next Monday.(Two knitting projects finished so far. Yay!) Back at Loopy Central on Tuesday.

Sheri maybethelackofoxygenat9000+feetmakesmeknitfaster?

Least Favorite Chore?

Photo: Sheri Berger
Friday, March 26th, 2010 in Sheri's Recipes

hershey's-chocolate-kissesI made the monthly Sam’s run for Chocolate Kisses this week. Remember I told you that I get looks and comments whenever I buy the Loopy Kisses? This is what 105 pounds of kisses looks like (along with peanut M&M’s for the Elves, and 3200 page protectors for the May Sock Club and Sock Club Lite patterns). I’m thinking this might be my last kisses run until the fall, since we have to switch to non-melting options for the warm weather. And warm weather starts up here pretty darned soon. (No one blinks twice when I walk by with a cart full of peppermints. Go figure.)

So what’s your least favorite household chore? Mine is grocery shopping. (Well, really, the whole process. Menu planning, shopping, dragging it all in from the car, putting it all away.) I like cleaning, I don’t mind laundry, and I like cooking and baking. But grocery shopping? Not at all.

And speaking of cooking and baking, I’m sharing a pizza crust recipe with you today. Why just the crust? This is from Cook’s Illustrated (love that magazine) and the whole deep dish pizza recipe is too long to type it all out for you. But the crust was the best part of it, anyway. :-)  I thought their sauce recipe was ok, but next time I’ll use my grandma’s spaghetti sauce for this pizza. This was adapted for my big deep dish pizza pan, but you can split it up for smaller pans. Don’t be put off with the wordy instructions. It’s actually pretty simple, and totally worth it.

delicious-deep-dish-pizza-doughDelicious Deep Dish Pizza Dough

4 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
2 1/4 tsp. salt
3 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 packs instant or rapid rise yeast (just over 3 tsp.)
15 oz. water, room temperature
4 1/2 Tbl. unsalted butter, melted
plus 6 Tbl, softened
1 1/2 tsp. plus 6 Tbl. olive oil

Mix flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer and knead with the bread hook on low speed for about a minute. Add water and melted butter and mix until fully combined (low speed). Mix at medium spead for 4-5 minutes until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl as it mixes. Coat a large bowl with 1 1/2 tsp. olive oil and put the dough into the oiled bowl (flipping it once so that the top and bottom are coated in oil). Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled (about 45-60 minutes).

When done, turn dough out onto a dry work surface and roll into a 12 x 15 rectangle. Spread the softened butter over the surface, leaving a half inch border around the edges. Roll up into a tube (starting with the short side and rolling to the other short side). Now flatten the tube into an 18 x 4 inch rectangle. Fold the rectangle into thirds (folding the short ends in). Pinch the seams together and return to the oiled bowl, cover with plastic and let double again (about 45 – 60 minutes).  Turn out onto a dry work surface and roll into the size circle you need for your pizza pan. (Note – you can split the dough before the final rise, if you’re going to be making smaller pizzas.)

We added cheese, sauce and toppings (in that order), ending with Parmesan cheese on the top. For Deep Dish Pizza, bake at 425 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

I’m off for Spring Break – yay! At the moment, we’re driving through the lovely state of Kansas, heading to the mountains. Knitting Daughter will join us for the week and Web Guy will join us for a long weekend (no more Spring Breaks for Web Guy – it’s all Working World now.) I’ll be back in the office on the 5th, but I’ll blog on Monday to let you know what we’re putting up for you that night. Of course Loopy goes on whether I’m here or not, thanks to Awesome Susan and the Elves. I just love them.

Contest winners on Monday!

Sheri whoplanstobesnoozingwhenwepassthecreepywindturbines

Are You Adventurous?

Photo: Sheri Berger
Wednesday, March 24th, 2010 in Finished Projects

DSC03538We’ve talked about recipes, and I’ve asked if you make the recipe as written, or if you tweak it. Many of you said you used it as written the first time and then made changes the next time (if any). Now I’m wondering about your knit/crochet projects. Do you tweak there? I’ve come to realize that I do. Probably 90% of the time. Socks, shawls, sweaters – all changed. Sometimes it is a small thing – I make the sleeves or body longer. I knit toe-up instead of cuff down. Sometimes it’s a bigger thing – I change the heel construction or move the pattern around a bit. This week, I changed the edging. This pattern was the non-sock pattern that we sent out with our March Sock Club and I love it. We asked Samantha Roshak to take her worsted weight, extremely popular “Shawl That Jazz” and come up with a fingering weight scarf/shawlette version. She did a great job on “A Little Jazz” out of Fiesta Baby Boom. I liked it so much that I cast on immediately. I was looking for a cute pattern to make for a friend of mine, that wouldn’t involve blocking when she hand washes it in the future. (That cut out a lot of fun patterns right there!)

DSC03540I wanted to use a skein of Wollmeise, because my friend Susan (not Elf Susan – she’s knitting her own!) looks so fabulous in reds and pinks. This colorway was perfect. Since Wollmeise is quite a bit lighter than Fiesta Baby Boom, I knew some modifications would be in order. I added stitches to compensate for the difference in gauge (which then changed the number of row repeats in each section) and then realized I’d still have a lot of yarn left over. So why not do the cute, pleated Mara ruffle that I like so much? It seemed like a perfect addition to the body of the scarf. I love how it turned out. And I love how there are a lot of different ways to wear this scarf.

DSC03543We do keep sock club pattern exclusive to the club for 6-9 months after they come out. I know I wasn’t too on top of that with the 2009 patterns! So I promise that this year, we’ll make sure they are available in 6 months. This pattern will go up in early September, so that you have plenty of time to make some for holiday gifts. :-)

Back to the question I have for you – do you make changes on patterns the first time you knit them? Sometimes? Most of the time? Never? How adventurous are you? Maybe you should pick a pattern and a skein of yarn and jump in and make a change. Just for fun.

Sheri nowreadytomakeoneoftheseformyself

Teachers and The Monday Update

Photo: Sheri Berger
Monday, March 22nd, 2010 in Shop News

I have loved reading all of your posts about your favorite teachers. (Keep posting – the contest goes through this Friday.) It’s often the little things that will make that special connection and encourage students forward in a way that no one could have predicted. I hope that if your favorite teacher is still around, you’ll consider contacting them to let them know they had such an impact on your life.  Teachers love that sort of thing. (Actually, everyone loves knowing that they have touched a life somewhere, or made a difference. Don’t limit it to past teachers. Maybe this is a good week to identify those special people in your life and let them know!) Reading through your responses almost makes me want to go back to teaching. But not quite. I’d miss Loopy too much. :-)

DSC03586We have new things up on the website – did you catch it? We just added:

Two pattern books from Malabrigo
Two pattern books from Shibui
Dragonfly Fibers Djinni
Dream in Color Classy (including our exclusive Don’t Be Blue colorway)
Madelinetosh DK
Knitspot Patterns
Schoppel Wolle Zauberball Starke 6 (2 more new colors)
Malabrigo Silky
Schacht Spinning Accessories (bobbins, drop spindles, wheel oil)

And just as we were finishing up getting things entered into the website for tonight’s update, the UPS guy dropped off 16 more cases of fun. So we’ll get those unpacked tomorrow and start in on them for next week. Never a dull moment ….

Sheri wonderingifchocolatekissescountasdinner?

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