Sunday, September 23, 2012

Beer for Nerds

When I posted about my first beer, I mentioned that I had plans for something darker and stronger and more complex.  Well, tonight I finally got to crack a bottle of my second brew.  As planned, I made this one darker than the first, by adding a nice brown malt extract.  I also added some brown sugar for body (and for increased alcohol - should be around 6% for this one) and some extra Fuggle hops for aroma.

The end result is a beer that is darker (I would call it a dark brown ale, not quite a stout) with a smooth mouthfeel and a nice creamy head.  The aroma of the hops is more subtle than intended, probably because I added them later than would have been ideal.  Live and learn.

I have a stout conditioning in my closet right now, and a witbier fermenting in my brew keg, plus some exciting plans for a collaboration with my HLM.  Crafty girl plus clever chef hopefully equals kick-ass beer.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Pumpkin Hand Pies

I recently saw a post online for some salted caramel apple hand pies, and while they sounded just divine, I found myself craving something in a pumpkin flavor, instead.

Canned pumpkin just happens to be on sale (Thanksgiving is coming, after all) so I picked some up and took a few minutes today to make some of the little darlings.

The only drawback is the lack of whipped cream - one of the best parts of pumpkin pie, in my opinion.  The good news is that they are very dippable, particularly in the aforementioned whipped cream.  I checked.  Several times, just to be really scientific about it.

Because the filling was so runny before baking, I couldn't fit much into the little pies.  Apples would be better, in that respect, since they can be piled up a bit higher.  I ended up cooking the bulk of the pumpkin filling in little ramekins, which will make for nice desserts, as well.  Overall, a delicious success.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Aphid Scarf

Getting all those placemats done opened up Miss Bennet for a new weaving project.  This time it was a lovely (and quick!) alpaca scarf.

Last winter, I made an alpaca scarf for my HLM, and I had someone at work admire it enough to offer to buy it from me.  Well, I could hardly give away his scarf, so I had to refuse the offer.  Since then, she's hinted a couple of times at wanting a similar scarf, something in houndstooth, in unorthodox colours...  So I decided to take her up on it and weave her a little something.

This scarf is made of sport weight fair-trade alpaca from Frog Tree Yarns, in a pale lime green and a cool grey brown, woven at 15 epi.  I chose an 8-shaft houndstooth, since I felt like it makes a bolder statement than a 4-shaft houndstooth would.  The houndstooth draft is a 4/4 twill, which gives long floats and lots of bias movement in the final cloth.  I fulled it a bit in the sink before laying it out to dry, to make the cloth more cohesive, and of course alpaca will naturally felt together with use, to stabilize the fabric even more.

It is light and soft and airy in the hand, but will be warm and cozy on her neck in the cold winter months.  Needless to say, I got myself enough yarn (in dramatically different colours, mind you) to make myself a similar one.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Some Fancy Placemats

I've been doing a fair bit of weaving in the last week or so, making a couple of sets of placemats for holiday gifts.  (Yes, I know it's only September.  That's when holiday planning starts, right?)  Having finished those, I decided to whip up a little gift to myself, and make some new placemats for our own kitchen table.

These ones are similar to the Burnt Sienna ones I made for my Mom a while back, although those were simply huck, and these are huck lace.  If you look at the photo, you can see that the center of the mat is a bunch of little squares, alternating between horizontal and vertical floats, with little spaces between them.  Once they are off the loom and washed, those holes should open up even more as the threads all cuddle up against each other.  I've made mine in a fancy frost grey colour - with any luck, they'll class up this joint a bit.