Sunday, November 22, 2015

Postcard: Charleston, SC

The wedding was beautiful!  Charleston is a beautiful city - too much to see in a short time.  Already making plans on a return trip.

Photo Credit:  Sandy Parker

Photo Credit:  Sandy Parker

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Postcard: Augusta, GA

I can't believe I had no idea that Augusta was such a historic city.  In the hotel lobby, we found a brochure for the Woodrow Wilson boyhood home and since it was close by, we decided to visit.
And the Augusta Canal was pretty interesting too.

Happy Knitting! 


Sunday, November 8, 2015

Sunday Dessert - Fried Apple Pies

My Grandmother and her sisters, Sevella, Flora, and Velma were famous 'round the parts for their fried apple pies.  If you were ever at Decoration or Homecoming at Graves Gap, then you probably had one.  That is, if you were smart enough to get it when you filled your lunch plate.  If you waited until you were ready for dessert, they were long gone.  They were always stacked on a plate or in a box and wrapped neatly in wax paper.  In the family, these things are of sainted memory.  And, I do mean sainted memory.  These pies not only bring tears to your eyes but are the standard to which every other fried pie is judged.

Many years ago, I had a lesson in making Fried Apple Pies from my Grandmother's sister, my Great Aunt Flora.  And for whatever reason, I haven't made 'em since.  After a cousin's death last month, I vowed to start making them.  Someone needs to keep the tradition alive.  Today was the day. 

Full disclosure:  I used canned biscuits.  I know, I know.  But my biscuit making abilities are lacking and besides, the day of my lesson with Aunt Flora, we used canned biscuits so I figured it was OK.  And I had to use packaged dried apples.  Back in the day, they would have dried apples from their apple trees.

Per the directions, I cooked the apples last night.  And today, I rolled the biscuits out, filled them with the filling, and fried them.  In lard.  In an iron skillet.  Just like my Grandmother did.  Oh, and I figured out really quick that the heat needs to be turned really low.

They looked right.  They were the right size.  I think they might need a bit more filling.  My Dad and I both agreed that the taste was close.  Very close.  And I'm good with that.

After they cooled, I wrapped them up in waxed paper just like my Grandmother and Great Aunts used to do.  I need more practice with that too. 

I think I'll try again next weekend and see if I can get any closer to the right taste.  If you've ever been one of the happy family members who've eaten these pies, leave a comment with your thoughts. I'd love to hear them.  And let me know if you'd like to volunteer as a taste tester. 

Here's the recipe.  It was given to me by my Great Aunt Flora Graves Pettit.

6 ounces dried apples
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter

Combine all ingredients and cook down.  Chill overnight.

Make biscuit dough as you normally would.  Chill overnight.

1.  Roll out biscuit dough and cut into biscuits. 
2.  Heat oil (lard is the secret ingredient).
3.  Roll each biscuit out into a circle about the size of a saucer.  Keep only a few ingredients out at a time.  Keep remaining biscuits in the refrigerator.
4.  Place 1-2 tablespoons of apples on the dough and spread.  Fold pastry in half and using a fork dipped in flour, crimp around the edges.
5.  Fry pie until done on one side and then carefully turn and fry on the other side until done.
6.  Bake leftover biscuits.

I think that a pie and a cup of coffee will be supper tonight. 

Happy Knitting (and baking)!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

A Day of Reckoning

This has not been a pretty day at Graves Gap Knitting.  This morning, I decided to gather up all my WIPs (works in progress) that were scattered all along the house.  I much prefer to call them WIPs rather than UFOs (unfinished objects) because in my mind, I'm still working on them.  I know, I have a serious case of denial going on here.  Here's what they looked like piled up on the blocking bed:

In that mess of piled up yarny goodness are:
3 blankets
2 baby blankets (only one pictured, I couldn't find the second one.  Uh oh.)
1 dish cloth (really? An unfinished dish cloth?)
1 shawl that needs a decision - weave in the ends or ripping it out. 
5 shawls
1 cowl
1 pair of socks
1 pair of fingerless mitts
1 scarf
1 washcloth, which is my current take along/purse project

I decided that the shawl needing the decision should be ripped out.  It just does not spark joy.  At all.   And that cowl?  I realized as I was taking the photo why I wasn't far into it.  That dungy grey just doesn't suit me.   I took it off the needles and popped it into a ziplock bag and into the freezer.  Why in the freezer?  Kidsilk Haze yarn is like velcro and I forget all the whys about how putting it in the freezer for a couple of hours makes it easier to rip out but it does.   As for the scarf, every time I knit on it, I keep thinking how it should be a pair of socks instead.  It was ripped on the spot.

The square in progress for one of the blankets, dishcloth, two shawls, socks, and fingerless mitts all went back into my current WIP bag.  The washcloth went back into my purse.  One shawl went into the project queue basket.

Finally, I corralled the last shawl and the blankets into a bag to be worked on intermittently and moved to the current WIP bag, hopefully, in the next few months. 

I think this definitely looks better. 

I would really like to finish up the WIPs by the end of the year so I can start on working through my queue basket.  Hopefully, I can resist starting something new!

Happy Knitting!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Postcard: Hanceville, AL

I had a great time at the Mike Farris concert last night.  He and the Roseland Revue did a great show.  I wore my Meet Me at the Ryman for the occasion.

(photo credit: Sandy Parker)

(photo credit: Sandy Parker)
Happy Knitting!



Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A Summer of Shawls

I motored my way through the summer by knitting three shawls.  All a little different and all much loved already.   Here goes…….

This one was actually started in late April but not finished until towards the end of June.  This is not a project I put down for a while and came back to finish later.  I knit it twice.  Twice.  Seems that at the first few repeats at the beginning, I was so involved with the border portion that I forgot to increase.  I was nearing the finish line when I realized it and I immediately went into knitter’s denial.  I thought if I kept knitting it would right itself.  It didn’t.  So, I ripped it out and started over and this time, I knew the pattern so well it was knit practically in my sleep.

Meet Me at the Ryman
Note to Sandy, Virginia, Martha, and Allyson-you might want to skip this one since you all lived through it with me! 

This shawl was deadline knitting at its best-or maybe not.  This was one of those project that should have been relatively easy but somehow just wasn’t.  Like all knitters, I’m eternally optimistic.  I started it in the middle of June thinking I’d have plenty of time.  After all, I didn’t need it until the end of July!  But I didn’t count on knitting the first portion and then ripping it out and starting over, knitting the border and binding off, only to discover that I had dropped a stitch during the bind off.  Sigh.  I ripped out the border plus three rows and knit them again.  By this time, I was more than ready for this to be OFF my needles.  It was knit and blocked in plenty of time to wear to a Conference in Nashville.  And it got to meet the Ryman!

I have wanted to knit this shawl since it first came out.  I was gifted a very generous gift certificate to my LYS and with it, I purchased MadelineTosh in Thunderstorm just for this shawl.   Thankfully, there was no drama this time, just a nice straightforward knit.  I’ve already worn it several times and it is just perfect for throwing over my shoulders on a cool day or evening.  As usual with MadelineTosh yarns, it is difficult for me to capture the exact color of this yarn.  It is acutally black with little touches of light blue and gray.

As usual, these shawls traveled with me and were knit in various living rooms, a hotel room, roadtripping in the car (no worries, I was riding), at least one Starbucks, listening to Bluegrass over on Pine Mountain, knitting groups, and countless lunch breaks at work. 

Happy Kniting!

Monday, October 19, 2015

A Year of Knitting

The blogging all went downhill when my laptop crashed last summer.  I may have stopped blogging for a while but I never stopped knitting.

Last fall was filled with Christmas knitting.  There were hats and mitts for the fellas and so many mittens, that when I cast off the last mitten three days before Christmas, I declared I was DONE with mitten knitting for the rest of the year!

Every year, I say I’m going to knit more for myself and I never do.  But this year I have knit mostly for myself and I have to say, I have certainly enjoyed the journey.  Here are just a few things I've knit this year.  I knit this fabulous pair of Lumberjack housesocks in Liberty Wool.  I love ‘em so much that I want at least seven more pairs! 

The summer has been the Summer of Shawls.  I’ve knit three - Chance of Flurries, Meet Me at the Ryman, and Sandness.  I think that knitting three shawls is pretty good, considering that I knit Flurries twice and almost lost my mind trying to knit Ryman on a deadline (I made the deadline with time to spare but it was iffy there for a while). 

There were two trips to Nashville this year.   I went to Stitches South back in the Spring and brought home a big bag of knitterly loot and I'm slowly knitting my way through the yarn I bought.


And there was the trip in the summer to the Conference for the Community Concert Series where my Meet Me at the Ryman shawl met the Ryman.  And a nice visit to Haus of Yarn. 

Fall is taking her time arriving here in the South, but the cooler evenings are the perfect excuse to curl up on the sofa with a nice cup of coffee or tea and my knitting. 

Happy Knitting!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sunday Dessert - Lazy Day Cake

Today is a lazy day here at Graves Gap Knitting.  For dessert today, I made what I call a Lazy Day Cake.  Here's the recipe:

1 box cake mix (I like Duncan Hines) made by the directions on the box except that I used a trick my Mother taught me - use milk instead of water.  Trust me, it makes a difference.  And I baked it in a 9x13 pan.  Easy peasy. 

The icing is the recipe on the Domino's Confectioner's Sugar box:
1 box confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
3-4 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla.

On low speed, combine all ingredients.  Beat at medium speed 1-2 minutes until creamy.  Add more milk until of spreading consistency.

I added sprinkles on top to jazz it up a bit and because I just like sprinkles.

On another note, I didn't realize it had been so long since I've last posted.  My laptop died last summer and because buying a computer is so daunting to me, I just put off buying one for several months.  Then life and the holidays hit.  But I'm back and with a plan. 

Happy baking (and knitting)!