Thursday, December 31, 2009

After dinner cupcakes

Last weekend, I made these. (Unfortunately, I don't have a picture, because I brought them to a friend's house and the ones I kept were kept only because I'm not a pro at icing. Hence crumbleyness. So no photo)(EDIT: Obviously, there are photos now. We're not going to talk about how I pretty much had a cupcake photo shoot. Not at all).
Things I love about these:
  1. They're cupcakes. Which I ADORE. It's your own personal cake. Enough said.
  2. They're chocolatey. And minty.
  3. They're pretty light, not even remotely overwhelming, like a lot of chocolate cupcakes can be.
  4. And they're super easy to make.

What you need:

Oven, bowls, spoons, the regular baking stuff. And a muffin pan, with muffin cups

1 c sugar
1 c sour cream
2/3 c vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp mint extract (NOTE: you can replace either of the extracts with the other [like 1 full tsp of mint] for either a mint-free or super minty cupcake)
1 and 1/2 c cake flour
2/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1 and 12 tsp baking soda

ICING (Well, it's really more of a glaze...)
1 c confectioners sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp mint extract (NOTE: see above)
about 3-4 tbsp heavy cream


Whisk the sugar, sour cream, oil, eggs, and extracts together in a medium bowl. Sift in the cocoa, flour, and baking soda. Stir until blended, divide into prepared cups. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes, or until knife/toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Allow to cool completely.
Meanwhile, stir the extracts, vanilla, and cream together. Make a smooth icing. Ice the cupcakes.

Honestly, that's all there is to it. It makes about 18-20.


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Not-so-Minnie Mouse

I really like cute little stuffed animals. For a while, I was making some crazy knitted monsters, and I recently received a book full of patters for kids' toys.
Here is an adorable mouse, knit on size 5 needles (though pretty much any size could work). I used two contrasting grey yarns I had, but anything could work, from one color to all your scraps.

So, mouse:


CO 3 in MC
P around
Increase by 3 (6 stitches)
[K2, inc] twice, k2
K2, inc, K4, inc, K2
[K2, inc] four times, k2 (14 stitches)
K2, inc, K10, inc, K2
[K2, inc, K5, inc] twice, K2 (20 stitches)
K2, inc, K16, inc, K2
IN CC: Inc, K9, inc, K2, inc, K9, inc (26 stitches)
IN MC: K across, inc at the ends
IN MC: K across, inc at the ends
IN CC: K across, inc at the ends
IN MC: K across, inc at the ends
IN CC: K across, inc at the ends
IN MC: K across
IN CC: K across, inc at the ends
P (38 stitches)
IN MC: K across
IN CC: K across, inc at ends
P (40 stitches)
IN MC: K across
IN CC: K across
IN MC: K14, slip knit pass over, K1, slip knit pass over, K2, K2tog, K1, K2tog, K14
IN CC: K14, slip knit pass over, K4, K2tog, K14
Cast off


(all in CC)
CO 13
Work 35 rows stockinette, decreasing at each end of the 9th, 17th, 24th, 28th, and 35th rows.
Slip 1, K2tog, pass stitch over
Fasten off


(all in MC)
CO 13
Work 16 rows of stockinette, decreasing at each end of the 9th, 12th, 14th, and 16th rows
Fasten off


(obviously, make two. both in CC)
CO 4
K row, increasing at each end*
Repeat between ** until you reach 14 stitches
*K row, decreasing by two at each end
Repeat between ** until you reach 4 stitches
Fasten off


Cut three 7 inch long lengths of MC and CC. Braid together. Tie the end off.


Okay, bear with me here. You'll want to use embroidery thread for all the sewing.

Embroider the nose. Use buttons (or embroider) the eyes.
For the ears, fold the circles you made in half, so the CO side and bind-off side are opposite. (In other words, "hot-dog" style). Sew the two corners together, and then sew that to the middle part (where you stopped increasing and started decreasing). This should make a 3D half-circle.
Sew this to the body, where the first CC stripe begins.
Sew the stomach to the body.
Sew the circular part of the back to the body. (This should leave you with the back end of the stomach and the bottom of the back open).
Stuff! I'd recommend actual pillow stuffing stuff, but you can use anything from cotton balls, (unused) tissues, or knitting scraps (yes, this is actually what I used. I had a lot).
Now (finally), sew the remaining flap part closed, making sure to tie the tail in.
And, well, then you're done.


(Without tail)
Mine's about 6 inches long, 3.5 wide, and 2.5 tall. Or something close to that.

Made while
Watching: Bones season 4
Listening to: She's Got You High - Mumm-Ra

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Striped nightcap

So my sister's super picky. (I am too, I guess.) I made her a hat, which I still need to give to her. She wanted a really long hat, and I wanted to make her something she could wear with a lot of her clothes.

I got the pattern from here, but I knit really tightly and it just didn't turn out right. It was cute, but on size 7 needles knit exactly as the pattern she gives is, it was just way too small.

Knit on size 10 needles, Vanna's Choice Sapphire (107) and Silver Grey [?] (149). I used another blue (which I can't remember the name of or find) for one of the stripes, but honestly, any colors can be used. About half a skein of each was used.


CO 75 in MC
K5P5 around for 24 rows in MC
In CC, knit 5 rows stockinette (K row, P row, etc.)
Still in CC *(on K side row), s1, ssk1, k until last three, k2tog, s1
P around*
Repeat between ** fifteen more times for a total of 20 rows
In MC, repeat between ** for 18 rows
In CC, repeat between ** for 14 rows
In MC, repeat between ** for 12 rows
In CC, repeat between ** for 10 rows
In MC, repeat between ** for 3 rows, or until there are ~5 stitches left.
Cut 2+ foot tail, bind off. Use long tail to stitch edges together.

Mirrored cable hat and scarf

So for Hanukkah, I made pretty much everyone I know a hat or scarf or both. For my mom, I made her a nice scarf/hat duo, except I only finished the hat today. Seems as if big heads run in our family, so of course the one I made her from a pattern I had edited didn't work. Below is the second hat I made (which thankfully turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself).

Hat and scarf both knit in Lion's Brand Vanna's Choice Dusty Blue (108). Total, it was probably two skeins. Both knit on size 10 needles.


(This is for big heads, so maybe decrease CO by 8 [average] to 16 [a bit smaller] for heads that aren't as giant as mine and my mother's. Also, it's a bit long, so if you want it shorter, decrease by one cable.)

CO 88 stitches
K2 P2 around for 10 rows for ribbing
*P2 K6 around
K2 P6 around*
Repeat between ** twice more for a total of 6 rows
P2 C6F P2 C6B around
K2 P6 around
*P2 K6 around
K2 P6 around*
Repeat between ** twice more for a total of 8 rows
[P2 C6F P2 C6B around
K2 P6 around
*P2 K6 around
K2 P6 around*
Repeat between ** twice more for a total of 8 rows]
Repeat between brackets three more times for a total of five cables
P2 K6
K2tog P6 around
P1 K2tog K2 K2tog around
K1 P2tog P2tog around
K2tog around
P2tog around (this should leave you with 7[?] stitches)

Cut a 1ft long tail and pull through remaining stitches. Sew edges together with long tail (I use a crochet hook for this). Tie off, cut remaining.


I stole this pattern. It was super easy to knit. I did it on the size 10 needles, not 7, and my Vanna's Choice yarn.

(Also, all the pictures above are of the exact same scarf and hat. The top picture is closest to the actual color.)

About me

I'm just trying this out, so cut me some slack. Please.

So, hi. I'm Melissa. I live in a suburb of Atlanta, where there's not really much to do. The rest of the time, I'm at the University of Tennessee - Knoxville, where I'm spending my time making, baking, and other stuff. Studying, some, too.
I really like to knit. I know it's silly and makes me sound like a grandma, but it's calming. And with how much television I watch, it gives me something to do. As for cooking, I don't get the chance to do much of it at school (except for some Easy Mac and ramen), but at home, I cook constantly. Honestly, expect a lot less cooking posts, unless I'm on break. But I've been entertaining the idea of opening up a bakery, but with all the ideas I have, I'd be lucky if just one of them turned out.
I actually have other hobbies besides knitting and cooking, but it's not like people need a recipe or pattern to learn how to do the other stuff. I read a lot, and watch way too much television. I write some, too, I guess. I was on my high school's newspaper, and am thinking about going into journalism (I'm also a NaNoWriMo-er, but I've yet to finish even one NaNo). When I'm home, I spend a lot of time at an art studio, throwing pottery on the wheel. During the summer, there's a summer camp there where I help teach kids how to make things with clay. Right now, I love it, but if you ask me the last week of camp, it's sort of excessively hellish.
I have absolutely no idea what I want to do for the rest of forever. Honestly. I'd like being an undecided major until I graduate, but it doesn't really work that way. Besides being a Sea Shepherd, or backpacking around the world for the rest of my life, I've been thinking along the lines of archaeologist-journalist-museum curator-book editor. We'll see.
But until I figure all that and everything else out, I'll be knitting to fill the time and cooking to put a pause on some boredom.
So, yeah. I'm not very good at this yet.