Archives from February 2009

Mmmm, Chocolate Cake and Spring!

Photo: Sheri Berger
Friday, February 27th, 2009 in Sheri's Recipes, WH's Photos

reflection9370lorez_normal-1It can’t decide if it wants to be Winter or Spring here in St. Louis. One day it’s in the 20′s and the next day it’s in the 60′s. Our two cats don’t understand why it’s ok to be let out on the screen porch one day, and not ok the next. (Did I ever tell you about the bell on the back door? When we got our dog as a puppy, someone told me to hang a bell on the back door and teach the dog to ring it whenever she needed to go out. It was GREAT advice, and Casey quickly learned to do just that. No matter where we were in the house, we could hear it and knew that she wanted to be let out. Then the dog apparently taught that to the cat.  After we’d had Zoe for about 2 weeks, I was in the kitchen and watched her walk to the back door.  She reached up and swatted the bell and then turned around and looked at me expectantly, waiting to be let out. Cracked me up!  She still uses that method regularly.  Gracie, the other cat, has never caught on.  Or chooses not to.)

The Elves made dinner for WH and I this week and it was such a nice thing for them to do! (Birthday dinner. Tomorrow is my birthday.) This chocolate cake that Karen contributed to the meal was so good that I asked her if I could share the recipe with all of you.  I hope you like it.

dsc02404Karen’s Chocolate Bliss Cake

1 pkg chocolate cake mix, any variety
1 pkg (4-serving) Jell-O Instant Chocolate Pudding
4 eggs
8 oz. sour cream
1/2 cup flavored coffee, cooled (any variety)
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup water
8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips (Karen uses Ghirardelli)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease and flour a 12 cup bundt pan, or a 10″ tube pan.

Beat all ingredients together on low speed, except the chocolate chips. Beat until just moistened, scraping the bowl often.  Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes or until well blended.  Stir in chocolate chips and then pour into prepared pan.

Bake 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes.  Loosen cake from sides with spatula and turn the pan onto a wire rack, easing the cake out gently.  Cool completely.

Top with Chocolate Glaze (below) or sprinkle with powdered sugar. Garnish with fresh raspberries or strawberries.  Serves 12-16.

Chocolate Glaze

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 Tbl. butter or margarine
2 Tbl. corn syrup
1-2 tsp. hot water

Heat chocolate chips, butter and corn syrup over low hear, stirring constantly until chocolate is melted.  Cool slightly. Stir in water 1 tsp at a time, until desired consistency.  Drizzle over the cake.

Can’t you just imagine how wonderful this smells while it’s baking? I think it’s twice as nice to then give the whole cake away, without even getting to taste it.  Thank you again, Karen!

Sheri whospentalldayyesterdaythinkingitwasFriday

Contest Winners and Sock Patterns

Photo: Sheri Berger
Wednesday, February 25th, 2009 in Finished Socks

Thank you for all of your wonderful comments for this month’s blog contest! It has been so fun to read them. (And yes, I do read all of them. I still freak some of you out when I email you back about a blog comment – like you think I don’t read them or something. I promise, I do, and I love that you all take the time to read and comment!) We have three randomly drawn winners from the contest: Doris in MD, Didi in CA and Karen in MN. Your prizes will ship out tomorrow!

dsc02399I finished my Brooklyn Handspun sock this week and I like the color – Aquatic.  This is done up in Wendy’s S(p)ocks pattern – very easy to memorize and knit up, so it goes quickly. It did get me to thinking about my favorite sock patterns and made me wonder what your favorite sock patterns might be. Typically I like to do different patterns (thus the problem with single socks) but there are some patterns that I like the looks of so much that I know I’ll be making them several different times. One of dsc02400those is Debbie O’Neil’s Celebratory Chevron Socks pattern. She designed this for our first year anniversary and it’s now available as a free download from the Free Patterns link here on my blog. (There are some very fun patterns there – I hope you’ve downloaded and used many of them.) I used the Celebratory Chevron pattern on The Alpaca Yarn Co. Paca Peds (shown here in the Fireside colorway). This is really pretty yarn when knit up, and it’s wonderfully warm as well.  dsc02401I love the new colors they have recently come out with. (Anyone else notice that their Vampire Kiss looks a lot like “Loopified” from our Second Anniversary Kit? Great combination of colors.) The other pattern that I had fun knitting and will do again just because I think it turns out so pretty – Meida’s Socks from Nancy Bush’s Favorite Socks book. I knit these with Louet Sport in the Sage colorway and added in a couple of extra repeats on the cuff to make them taller. I have decided that a lot of the single socks that I did for our display here at Loopy Central, can now be made into pairs. Enough time has lapsed that I’m ready and looking forward to doing those patterns again on the second sock. Maybe I’ll put that on my Spring Break schedule.

So leave a comment and tell me which sock patterns you like well enough to do more than once. Or do you seldom knit the same thing twice?

Sheri it’sbeautifuland61degreesheretoday.Timetogoforawalk.

Sunny in St. Louis

Photo: Sheri Berger
Monday, February 23rd, 2009 in Shop News

dsc02390It’s sunny today and looks deceptively nice outside. (I know for a fact that it’s still cold out there – I was just out buying a truckload of Loopy Kisses.) We had a nice visit with College Guy and College Girl this weekend. It was sleeting and snowing the whole way up on Saturday, but it stopped about 5 minutes outside of the bustling metropolis of Upland, IN. The rest of the weekend was cold and windy, but snow-free. We had some meals out, caught Slumdog Millionaire, and did the requisite trip to Wal Mart so that they could stock up on stuff while their dad was paying. :-)  I’m a little sad that we missed out on a trip to Ivanhoes this go-round, but when you’re only there for 24 hours, something has to give. Here’s a picture of our two, plus Jess, a friend of College Guy’s who was also in town for the weekend. Can you guess where we had Sunday brunch? (The rocking chairs on the porch are a dead giveaway.)  It was great to have some time with them and I think it might hold me over until Spring Break at the end of March. Or at least I know that the end of March will be here before I know it.

dsc02392This is the wall that I’ve picked out for our “Why I knit” collage. Doesn’t it look bare? It’s in our little kitchen here at Loopy Central.  This area is opposite the red couches, so it will be in a great location for visiting knitters to view and read. (Or for them to show to their non-knitting friends dsc02393who came along for the ride.) We don’t have many empty walls here, because they’re full of shelves of yarn, so this is the perfect place for something like this. Thanks to those of you who have already emailed me photos for the wall, and please keep them coming!  I’ll keep you posted on the progress as we move forward on it. WH is coming up with a good way for me to make this permanent-looking, but portable. If we ever move Loopy, I will want to take it along!

dsc02394We just put new things up on the website for you! Check out: Fleece Artist 2/6, sKNITches Bebop Sock, Lane Borgosesia Cashwool, Farmhouse Fannie’s Fingering, Shoppel Wolle’s Zauberball (aren’t those colors gorgeous?), Earthly Hues Cashmere Sock, Offhand Designs Weekender bags, and new patterns from Spillyjane Knits. We’re also working on Sock Club kits this week, so watch for your invoices sometime next week if you’re a Sock Club member.

Sheri whomayhavetwonewlycompletedsockstoshowyoulaterintheweek

Knitters – Got Photos?

Photo: Sheri Berger
Friday, February 20th, 2009 in Finished Projects

theloopyewecomWow – I’ve so enjoyed reading your comments on Wednesday’s post. (I still have more to read – not through them all yet.) Whether it’s continuing a heritage passed down from your great (great great) grandparents, or seeing you through some tough life-situations, or enjoying the beautiful yarns and fibers, or blessing others with things that you have made with your own hands, or giving you something to do when you’d be likely to otherwise fidget, I think it’s pretty unanimous that we all love knitting. So far, I haven’t seen anyone say that they are knitting “for now”. A few people hope that this will stick with them for life, but the great majority of you feel that you will definitely be knitting for years and years to come.  As knitters, we love the portabilty of knitting, we love the huge variety of things that we can make, we love the challenge of hard patterns (and the mindlessness of others), we love the fibers and colors, and we love that there never seems to be a shortage of things to make and keep or give away. (As several of you pointed out, someone may not have room in their house for that picture you spent hours cross-stitching for them, or the pillow you needlepointed for them, but not many people turn down hand-knit socks!)

theloopyewe-1comSince I think these comments are so priceless and I think they share so much, I had an idea. I’m going to print off some of the comments (without names attached) to make a big collage for one of the walls here at Loopy. To go along with that, I’d love to have you email me a photo of you and your friends, knitting. I’ll sprinkle photos in among the quotes of “why do you knit?”. I know I won’t be able to use all of the quotes and all of the photos, but I think it will make for a very fun wall here.  Of course I’ll show you a picture when I’m done. I always get a little sad for people who have pre-conceived notions about knitters, don’t you? They think of the toilet paper roll covers that their grandmothers made (not that there’s anything wrong with that…) or the scratchy (ugly) sweaters and goofy slippers that their aunts gave them for their birthdays years and years ago, and they wonder why anyone would want to knit? Or how it could possibly be challenging in any way?  They’re sure missing out, aren’t they? This wall just needs to be done. And then I’ll need to find a way to get non-knitters in here to see it and convince them to give knitting a try.

theloopyewe-2comNo recipes today, but how about some low calorie treats for you? Marlon from Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, mentioned knitting up wonderful pastries with yarn from The Loopy Ewe, so I asked for photos!  The patterns came from this book, and of course the varieties are endless. I’m afraid that if I had that chocolate cake sitting out on the counter, I’d be hankering for a real piece of one by the end of the day. Too tempting!  But what a fun way to use up your leftover yarn and to make people smile. :-) Thanks, Marlon, for sharing photos and giving me permission to use them on the blog today. You did a beautiful job on all of these.

WH and I are heading up to Indiana to visit College Guy and College Girl tomorrow – yay! I can’t wait to see them. (Still trying to figure out why kids think they need to grow up and move out of the house, but I know that it’s supposed to be a “good thing”. sigh.)

Sheri whocan’twaittostartinontheLoopyCentralKnittingCollage

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