I’m making progress on the first sleeve of Knitter’s Dude for Bob.
I am keeping up with the Celtic Mists mystery knitalong.
On Monday we had a surprise visitor to the garden.
I decided to name her Kéya, which is Lakota for turtle. I did some research. It’s nesting season for snappers, so I think she was off to find someplace to lay her eggs.
I offered her a strawberry from the garden, but she wasn’t interested. Once we stopped gawking and went back inside, she booked it to the woods. Turtles can move pretty fast. My last snapping turtle friend won 2nd place in the Stigler, Oklahoma Reunion Days turtle race. I was 10.
We’ve been making pizza dough with the gluten-free sourdough starter for months, but I’ve never posted the recipe. The sourdough starter changed the game for our gluten-free pizza crust.
1 tablespoon psyllium husk powder
1 cup warm water
1 cup gluten-free sourdough starter discard
1 cup room temperature water
2 1/2 cups gluten-free flour blend
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
In a small bowl, whisk the psyllium husk powder into the warm water and let it set until congealed.
In a mixing bowl, dissolve the sourdough starter in the room temperature water. Add the rest of the ingredients, including the psyllium mixture, and mix until blended. Turn the dough into a bowl greased with olive oil. Cover lightly and let set in a warm place for 2-3 hours. The dough will almost double.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat pizza stone or pan in oven. Prepare pizza toppings. When oven is to temperature and you are ready to assemble pizza, remove pan from oven and prep (cornmeal for stone, olive oil for metal pans). Press dough onto pan until size, shape, and thickness desired. Add sauce and toppings. Bake for 30 minutes. Makes 2 thin pizza crusts.
We top our pizzas with basil pesto and veggies, or Bob’s homemade tomato sauce. Bob likes vegan cheese while I prefer goat mozzarella. We mix it up with toppings.
I’d like to try a thick crust in a cast iron skillet with Margherita toppings next time.
I’ve been having a wonderful birthday month. (A little joke but I mean why not?) I went for tacos, a hike, and to a folk music festival with my kids. Bob and I drove to Oklahoma to visit my Mom and sister. I got to stop over at Bonny’s on the way there. I went to a yarn shop in Oklahoma City with a yarn-bombed bicycle in the window and — yes — bought yarn with birthday money. I even finished knitting a project!
I am keeping up with my Celtic Mists mystery knitalong. The designer makes the clues short and sweet! While I love alpaca’s softness and drape, I normally prefer wool for elasticity. But the way this yarn is spun keeps it springy. I love working with it!
Bob and I used to struggle with gluten-free waffles, especially if we were trying to make them vegan. This sourdough starter recipe with eggs is a keeper though. I’ve made them a few times, and it is my own recipe based on decades of waffle making experience.
3 cups gluten-free blend flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sourdough starter discard
1 1/4 cups oat milk
Blend the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Add the wet ingredients and mix until it is the consistency of cake batter. Heat the waffle iron and brush with canola oil before adding the batter. Cook until golden brown, using your waffle iron manufacturer’s directions.
I use a Belgian waffle maker and scoop 1 cup of batter for each waffle. That means I only get five waffles per recipe, but they are big, so Bob and I share one. We like them with butter, maple syrup, soy yogurt, and fresh blueberries. I add chocolate chips for Freya’s and freeze them so she has a quick breakfast ready on school days.
I also like a waffle for lunch topped with chicken sautéed with onions and celery in a chicken broth gravy, kind of like a pot pie on top of a waffle.
I post these recipes here for my own use. Someday I will print my recipes into a booklet. Maybe I’ll self-publish it, for myself.
Today I baked gluten-free sourdough coffee cake based on this recipe. I cut the sugar in half, as most recipes are too sweet for our tastebuds. I also added sunflower seeds to the crumble topping.
It could use more sugar. Next time I’ll only cut the sugar by 1/4.
It was a little over baked because it needed an extra 15 minutes to ensure the center was done. I think this is too much recipe for an 8X8 pan.
It is very crumbly, but might have been better if I hadn’t cut it right out of the oven. (I couldn’t wait. I was hungry!)
I also think this recipe makes too much crumble topping. I thought that at first, but then told myself the crumble topping is the best part and surely you can never have too much. I was wrong. I would cut it down to 3/4 of the recipe, unless I baked it in a 9X12 pan, then it might be the perfect amount.
I am still enjoying my coffee cake with a cup of chicory coffee.
I also made the annual May Wine since the Sweet Woodruff is starting to flower. Simply cut and wash a few sprigs and add them to your favorite white wine and refrigerate overnight. The herb imparts a distinctive sweet flavor. Sweet Woodruff is also used medicinally, but large quantities can be toxic. This recipe includes strawberries in the May Wine, though I’ve never tried it that way.
I hope you have a lovely Sunday planned. We are experiencing a cold snap, so it’s the perfect excuse to stay inside and get some knitting and sewing done!
Since there has been a little confusion, I thought I would write a post about the name change so I don’t accidentally lose anyone. I’ve decided on Snakes and Cranes because these are animals I feel a kinship with, and what they represent.
Psychology Today says, “…snakes are close to the ground and shed their skins, making them symbols of the nourishing earth, the underworld, rebirth, immortality and creativity—and, by extension, of culture and wisdom.” We saw a snake in the yard a day or so after I decided on the name change, and it was the first we’d seen after living here for three years. I felt like it was a sign. And, as you may know, my garden path is a winding snake of stones.
My choice of this title is an effort to be true to myself and my voice. (My word for 2023 is “voice.”) I have had some feedback that this name does not reflect knitting or fiber arts, and I appreciate the feedback. However, this is not just a knitting blog. It’s a personal blog that features a lot of knitting, but also sewing, gardening, baking, sustainability, nature, books, movies, history, the paranormal, life — basically whatever I feel like blogging about. I also follow many knitting and fiber art blogs that don’t include the topic in the title, so I don’t feel beholden to that convention.
Most importantly, I need this to be a place where I want to spend time writing and sharing my thoughts. HeadKnits wasn’t that place anymore. I’d like to think my head is now blocked and seamed with the ends woven in — ready to wear! Even so, the wisdom of the snake tells us it’s a never ending cycle, so please don’t mind me while I shed my skin. And I hope you’ll stick around! I am really grateful for the community of bloggers I’ve met here.
Just for fun, here are some other names I considered:
For the last three weeks I’ve been applying for jobs, getting called back for second interviews, received a call from HR to presumably be offered one of them, and then my current employer offered me more work (and more income) so I would stay. And stay I did. It’s a remote position that pays well, is exceedingly flexible, and working for the nicest man in the world. Never underestimate the influence a kind and caring boss will have on your life. This week I’ve been training on my new responsibilities and my brain hurts. Not much crafting going on.
I’ve been knitting sporadically on Freya’s purple Lodge Sweater. I also cast on a blue beanie. The blue beanie is my reset knit, when I feel overwhelmed by life and don’t want to knit anything. I frogged my Who Ya Gonna Shawl. I wasn’t enjoying it. I think colorful, complicated shawls are stunning, but not my kind of knit. I was once described by a friend as an “Over the Pond” knitter. I guess that means I like classics and basics. Technically, I know it means UK, but I’m trying to put it into a style context. However, I like trying new things, so I don’t regret giving it a shot.
I’m so sad my casual cotton pants are too big. I love the fabric, and did a beautiful job sewing them. I need to rethink my sizing before cutting anymore cloth. I did just take my measurements, but the weight is coming off faster than I expected. It’s probably not a good time to be making things for myself.
I’ve been gardening mostly. It’s that time of year, and takes more brawn than brain.
Tudors Art and Majesty
I had a lovely day trip to The Cleveland Museum of Art with Bob to see The Tudors: Art and Majesty in Renaissance England. Other than the Hans Holbein sketch of Anne Boleyn, this small, mixed-media fiber work of Elizabeth I was my favorite piece in the exhibit. There were lots of textiles, though. Tapestries, especially. They were so grand, it was hard for me to take them in.
As you may have noticed, I’m experimenting with the title of my site. I feel I’ve outgrown Headknits. I tried Okie in Ohio, which I’m using on Instagram. But I also like Snakes & Cranes, because these are animals I’m fascinated by, and I like them as symbols. Other than that, it’s fairly meaningless, but rolls off the tongue and is memorable. (Although there is a martial arts film I clearly need to see.) (Also, it is meaningful — balance — but only in hindsight.)
Any votes for your favorite site title?
And I’ve switched to the Jetpack app, but only because they made me.
Today is our “date-iversary,” a celebration of our first date when Bob and I went out for mango sorbet. It was awkward and now we’re married. Bob agrees this statement is accurate.
Burn Anne the amazing gluten-free sourdough starter continues to delight and amaze. This week I made biscotti, based on this recipe. I substituted gluten-free ingredients, increased the flour by 1/4 cup, decreased the sugar by 1/4 cup, and used sunflower seeds instead of almonds since I can’t have tree nuts. Next time I’ll record exactly what I do and post a recipe.
This has been delicious dipped in a brew of roasted dandelion and chicory root, which we drink as our coffee. I’m sure it would be delicious dipped in coffee as well. I wish I could drink coffee!
A “burn” is a watercourse, which I imagine as a bubbling stream. This is why I named my starter Burn Anne, because I have a Burn Anne Agate necklace I love (which is how I learned about the term burn), the starter bubbles and froths like a burn, and because Burn Anne is named after Saint Anne, the patron saint of motherhood and labor. She keeps birthing more starter and baked goods for us. It’s also a homophone for a silly way I sometimes say banana, “burnana”. My necklace has a hawthorn leaf on the back of the pendant, which is my Celtic tree zodiac sign. This is how I found the necklace in the first place.
Do you name your sourdough starter? Do you talk to it? I find it helps.
I’ve progressed a few inches on my Arrowhead sleeves. I try to knit four rounds on each sleeve every day, which is a decrease repeat, but missed the last two days. I’m going to try to make it up today.
Freya liked my Lodge sweater so much, she asked me to knit her one with a few modifications. I told her it would have to be her birthday present. She wanted purple yarn, so we picked out this Cascade 220 superwash together in Purple Heather.
I wanted to join in on the Who Ya Gonna Shawl? knitalong, but needed the yarn to come from my stash. I decided on 80’s neon with this skein of black and red variegated, which I overdyed to be solid black, for the contrast.
To exhaust the dye bath, I grabbed a variegated skein from my stash which I’ve never liked. I think the resulting yarn is lovely: a deep charcoal with hints of the blue, yellow, and pink showing through. I see a beanie in my future.
I did sew my PJ pants in the floral flannel I shared last time. They came out great. I only had flimsy elastic, but in the spirit of using it up, I serged the elastic directly to the fabric edge to prevent it from rolling. I also sewed this gift bag for Bob’s Valentine’s Day present.
DIY Hair Care
I like natural skin and hair care products, but they are so expensive. I decided to start making my own. Today I made a natural conditioner from avocado and argan oils, emulsifying wax, and water. It seems good, but the real test will be how it performs on my hair tomorrow. I also made some beard oil for my middle child (another March birthday gift) based on his favorite kind, which he says is too expensive. This is a mixture of avocado, jojoba, and argan oils, which was easy. I scented both with bergamot and amyris essential oils. Next up is shampoo with Bob’s homemade castile soap, argan oil, and water. I found this website with some great recipes. Once I get the basics down, I’ll start experimenting with other ingredients, like aloe gel from my aloe vera plants and soapwort from my garden.
We had a couple of nice days this week, so I spent some time in the garden. I made a dent in the weeds and managed to get daikon radish, lettuce, kale, broccolini, and mustard planted under the greenhouse. Today, Bob and I moved the Elderberry bush out of the garden and into the yard. It was getting too big where it was, but not getting enough sun to flower. Hopefully it will do better in the yard. We picked a place where the drainage will keep the ground moist like it likes.
Yesterday, Bob and I had our Valentine’s date. We went to our favorite theater to watch Saturday Morning Cartoons: Cupid Edition. It included old cartoons from our childhood plus old commercials. Some were before our time. Included were Underdog, Pink Panther, Popeye, Schoolhouse Rock, and an oldie from the 1930’s. This one made me cry nostalgia tears. It was fun seeing them on the big screen. Then we went out for Thai food. I just received my gift, which is an Addi Express knitting machine! I’ll play around with it and report back later.