Cheddar Cornmeal Pancakes and Rainy Day Knits

It’s an impossibly rainy dreary winter day, and waking up this morning to hot coffee and complete grey, I wanted nothing more than to cook some hearty savory pancakes and finish off some knitting projects.

In my fridge I had about quarter block of my favorite cheddar cheese that was just dying to be made into something delicious. I’ve turned out some pretty delicious cheddar cornmeal waffles before, so I decided to adapt the recipe into a pancake.

old croc

My all time favorite cheddar cheese!

pancake collage

I was decadently happy with the result, although I have to say these puppies aren’t exactly health food. But I love the flavor of the cheddar and the dense cake-like texture that would be great with some thick gooey maple syrup.

pancakes 2

Eating mine with some thick-cut orange marmalade

Cheddar Pancakes

The recipe is pretty straightforward:

  • 1 cup cornmeal (yellow stoneground)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup milk of choice
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tbsp melted butter (plus additional for cooking)
  • 1/2 cup grated extra sharp cheddar
  • (optional) 1 tsp chopped dried sage

Mix the dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients except the cheese together, this works best if the wet ingredients are at room temperature. If you can’t use room temperature ingredients, mix the wet ingredients without the butter, then combine the wet and the dry together first, then mix in the melted butter. Lastly, stir in the cheese.

Melt some butter in a skillet and cook ’em up! This recipe made about 10 large pancakes.

  • Servings: about 4
  • Calories per serving: 291
    • Total Fat: 11g, Protein: 10g, Carbs: 39g, Sugars: 2g

Hat VernonAfter breakfast, I was finally able to finish the hat I’ve been working on, the Vernon Hat from Interweave Knits Winter 2016 issue.

I thought this hat was the perfect mix of interesting, challenging, and quick, all at the same time. The color combination is a little challenging to match with, I suppose I could have used more neutral colors instead. I initially loved the purple, but when I was looking for a contrasting color for the brim I bought a faint blue instead of the recommended white/ash, just by accident. I think they still work well together. I would definitely make this pattern again!

Vernon2

I really think the two colors make this hat so much cuter than if it were all one color. I would love to do it in a yellow/grey or a navy/ grey as well.

Vernon

Love the slouchy back

I used to subscribe to Interweave Knits magazine through the mail, but now I just get it straight on my iPad. What that means though is I have a lot of old issues lying around containing patterns I wanted to make but never got around to. I was thinking of going through them again and re-evaluating which ones to keep and which ones to toss. I don’t know if it’s better to digitize the ones I like and store them on my computer, or clip them into some kind of scrapbook collection. Any recommendations?

I thought for my next project, I might use a super chunky yarn to arm knit pillow covers, to give my living room a fresh look. We’ll see how that turns out!

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Knitting Projects from 2015 and 2016 Plans

Another year gone! It’s hard to believe it’s 2016, and I have to say I didn’t knit much this year and when I did, I mostly tried other people’s patterns rather than trailblazing my own. It doesn’t help that I’ve been knitting the same sweater for what seems like ages, so in addition to finishing it up, I want to work on a few smaller and fast projects in the upcoming year.

I did finish a few other small projects this year. I tried to knit this Archway Hat from Interweave Knits Fall 2014, but somehow my gauge was off and it ended up waaaaay too big for my or anyone’s head! I turned it into a sort of cowl thing instead by mirroring the pattern up to the end. I actually love it, so that was knit mishap with a happy ending!

Cowl Picture

A friend from work gifted me the Harmony Cloche pattern by Heidi May (inset picture), and I made it a full three different times for myself and others. I definitely recommend this pattern! It is so versatile that I can wear it cloche style with the brim flipped up (as intended) or with the brim down so it’s more like a front billed hat. I love it both ways. I made it in blue, purple, and black using the recommended yarn.

harmony cloche

I also whipped up a winter classic for my hubby, a hunter green cable knit pom-pom hat! I did make up this pattern, but here is a similar one on Ravelry that is free and easy. We sported our hats at the airport flying home to Boston, with me in my green Slouchy Knit Beanie and him in this cable hat, and the flight attendant asked us if we were matching on purpose in our green knit beanies. I told her no, I just like to knit hats! So funny and totally unintentional.

cable hat

I have a couple projects in progress, including the Vernon Hat from the latest issue of Interweave Knits. I am loving this issue and want to make absolutely everything, but I’m starting small. I feel like I need at least one new hat for myself every winter!

Vernon hat

Lastly, I’m still working on the Second Story Tee by Debbie O’Neill (below) and with any luck, will finish that up soon. I decided to do it in a deep wine burgundy color, since I have a lot of blue in my closet right now. I’m hoping it turns out okay!

I’m always looking for inspiration and people to make things for. I cast on a new hat and my husband asks, “who is that going to be for?” I gift hats or gloves almost every year, and it gets harder and harder to figure out who to give them away to, so I often end up just keeping them and wearing a different hat every day. What did I do when I lived in sunny California? At least Boston has cold knit-appropriate weather.

I wish everyone a happy, healthy, and productive 2016! I welcome ideas for knitting projects and suggestions, as I dip my toes into writing patterns (pretty roughly) and making new things.

Some projects I have in mind for 2016 include:

  1. Pot holders/trivets
  2. more hats!
  3. An arm-knit blanket or pillow cover
  4. Baby hats and blankets for expecting friends!
  5. Another sweater?

What projects are you casting on in 2016?

 

Never got the Legwarmers thing…

Until now! Today was the first seriously chilly day (okay, so it was only 48 degrees this morning) but after such a hot summer I think I’m ready for fall and winter. Now that I’m living a seasonal life with real hot and real cold, knits are a must in winter and I’m ready! I went on a knitting binge in fact, and in a month or so broke out the knitting needles, stocked up on the yarn, and got going. What did I make? Everything! Except the Legwarmers (coming soon) which I did not think I would ever need and now have the strange urge to wear. Now let’s be clear. Knitting for me is a hobby which I’ve never quite taken the time to graduate from medium to hard, so sweaters are usually out of my league unless they’re pretty easy (as in a previous post). I like the small things because they give more or less instant gratification also, when I try big things I usually take shortcuts and then the pattern never looks like the picture. So my favorite patterns are those that are small, quick, easy, but not too boring because I’ve definitely knitted my fair share of hats and scarves.

So here’s a scarf with a twist: literally! Termed a Mobius, (it can be twisted or not), and I got this one from the Interweave Knits magazine, intrigued by the dropped stitches, which make the pattern unique. Starting as a straight cabled scarf which looks the same in front as it does in back, you knit until it’s long enough to wrap around your shoulders then drop the stitches in between each cable to make it look more interesting. I thought this was clever, and you can add some buttons to make the whole thing wrap-able. I started experimenting with different ways to wear it with buttons (I chose the toggle ones you can kind of see at my shoulder) and while one can never quite wear it like the model does in those glossy pages, I’m positive I’ll at least be cozy this winter.

But what winter ensemble would be complete without a hat? Although this hat isn’t made go with my scarf-y thing,  in a different color it could I suppose. From the same magazine I also took a hat pattern, unique because it’s knitted in two directions.  There is a horizontal ribbed band with buttons, then a vertical portion to cover your head. I probably should have chosen a thicker yarn for more warmth, but it’s still good for below average temperatures like those springing up about now.

Since cowls were the knitting obsession of last year I could never quite get right on my own, I looked to the site Ravelry for inspiration and a free pattern. I chose a purple self-striping bulky yarn to get the most for my money and in less than a skein knit a lovely cowl. I’m almost chomping at the bit for winter. (Of course I say that now…)

Basically during fall I can get away with wearing hats, scarves, cowls and the like without a second glance. There are some knitted accessories however that are reserved for snowy outings, and consequently I have never personally donned. One I have already mentioned: legwarmers. The other is an earwarmer, or at least I think that’s what those cold weather headbands are called, so this year I thought I would give one a try. I like the cabled look, so I tried a  pattern for a woven cable. Making it wider around the ears is what I believe differentiates the “earwarmer” from the “headband” even though I’m sure they are pretty much the same. I was a little bored with the look alone, so I tried adding some little crochet flowers and I think it makes it cuter. We’ll see if I ever actually wear this thing! Learning how to do the flowers was fun though, something I may do a lot in the future. I’m still working on the legwarmers which I’m not too excited about because they are basically just fat tubes, but last winter I definitely needed some filler in that calf area where the boots fail to reach and the coat doesn’t fall. I haven’t made mittens either this year, but I find when the weather reaches -10 degrees that knitted gloves actually protect those fingers less than you might think. That and when I make them the two hands never look the same. This weekend I’m definitely unpacking my winter gear and welcoming the sweaters back to my closet!One thing of note: two of the patterns (mobius and hat) while taken from the magazine I mention actually derive from two books (Knitting Wrapsody and New England Knits, respectively) that I really want to try. If you’ve checked them out let me know if they’re good!