Event Review: The Principles of Knitting

Last Tuesday I did something that I haven’t done before. I went to a knitting event! I am a pretty solitary knitter because I don’t really know anyone else who knits and I often get out of work too late to participate in these sorts of things. But, last week, I decided to ask to leave work a bit early so that I could treat myself to the experience. What I found was an extraordinary person and knitter in June Hemmons Hiatt, author of the definitive reference book, “The Principles of Knitting.”

I attended the Q&A session and book signing at The Lion Brand Yarn Studio in lower Manhattan. This was also my first time to the shop, which I found welcoming with its stock of beautiful yarn set into display shelves built into the walls. The event was held in the back of the store with a few rows of chairs set up in front of a small stage.

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After an enthusiastic introduction by the Q&A leader (who did not introduce herself, leading me to feel a bit out of place as I was obviously seated with regular customers who needed no such introduction) June Hemmons Hiatt took to the stage to explain her book and her approach to knitting.

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Here’s a crash course on the book if you don’t know the history: The first edition of “The Principles of Knitting” was published in 1988 by Simon and Schuster. It was being marketed and sold to a knitting audience that was just beginning to grow. According to Hiatt, it sold slowly and was eventually put out of print. In the years it was out of print it gained in popularity and copies of the first edition were selling for hundreds of dollars. It took Hiatt 10 years to retype and revise the second edition, which is now available for purchase. If you’d like more info on the book–here’s a great review of it.

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I wasn’t expecting to learn much from hearing Hiatt speak. I thought that she’d just repeat what she writes in the introduction to the second edition. But she said many things that made me consider the book and knitting in a different way.

What I loved about her story was her approach to writing the book. She is an academic at heart and when writing the book she approached it almost like a knitting scientist would. She actually tested all the techniques described so that she understood why the yarn behaved that way under a certain technique. I can relate to this approach when researching a topic. In the news business, you don’t want to just tell the viewer what happened but you want tell how and why it happened.

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Out of everything she discussed, the idea that struck me the most was that knitting is a discipline. People often knit for pleasure and you tend to start thinking of it as a simple hobby–something you’ve mastered and can just relax and do. But “The Principles of Knitting” is proof that it’s a field of study, it’s something that you train in, something that corrects, molds, and perfects itself.

At the end of the Q&A, Haitt signed books and answered audience questions. I had a really great time at this FREE event and I would love to go back to The Lion Brand Studio for more of these….hopefully they will start have more events that start past 7pm so that I can actually make it after work!

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I have the book sitting on my nightstand…just waiting to be cracked open when I start my next knit project. I can’t wait to discover all the goodies and nuggets of information within!

Fun Take On An Old Recipe: Lasagna Cups

There are so many reasons to love Pinterest…and to a gal that loves to cook, it is a great resource for finding new, interesting recipes. I have over a dozen recipes pinned on my Food for Thought board…just waiting to be tried. I’ve got everything from breakfast to dessert saved on there.

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Now, if only I can find the time to try them. It’s tough getting home from work after 8pm–all I want to do is curl up on the couch with some fast food and then go to sleep. Of course, if I actually did that, I’d be as big as a house. So instead I default to the same easy recipes week in and week out–Lemon Chicken, Spaghetti and Meatballs, Steak with Steak Seasoning. BORING!

So, finally this weekend I decided to make an old food new again…with the help of a fabulous recipe I found via Pinterest. Lauren’s Latest has the cutest recipe for Lasagna I’ve ever seen–Lasagna Cups! I didn’t have all the ingredients so I improvised with what I had in my pantry. Here’s what I used:

Ingredients:

12-Cup Muffin Tin

1 Box of Barilla Lasagna Noodles

2 Table Spoons Olive Oil

2 Palm Fulls of Salt

1 Bag of Reduced Fat Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, divided in half

1 15oz Container of Part Skim Ricotta Cheese

1/3 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

1 Egg

1/2 Teaspoon Ground Black Paper

1/2 Teaspoon of Italian Seasoning

1 Jar of Barilla Roasted Garlic and Mushroom Pasta Sauce

I also didn’t assemble it quite like Lauren says because I was missing the parchment paper. I had to use wax paper which is much thinner and if it gets too wet it sticks to the food. So here’s how I made and assembled it.

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For the Pasta:1- Put a big pot of water and the 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil to boil on the stove.

2- Once the water starts to boil put 2 palm fulls of salt into the water.

***I know 2 palm fulls is A LOT of salt….but I took a cooking class recently and the chef said the water must be like ocean water in order to get the pasta to taste right. So in went the 2 palm fulls of salt***

3- Cook pasta for 2 minutes less than the box says. Drain and lay the cooked noodles out to cool.

4- Stack and cut 9 of the pasta sheets into quarters.

For the Sauce:

Lauren has this great recipe for the sauce complete with Zucchini and garlic. Yum. Unfortunately I didn’t have all the ingredients AND have very picky roommate in my mother who won’t eat anything green. So I just used the Barilla sauce right out of the jar.

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For the Cheese Filling:

Stir the ricotta cheese, half of the bag of mozzarella cheese, the parmesan cheese, egg, Italian seasoning and pepper together in a medium sized bowl.

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For Assembly:

1- Cut 12 large squares of wax paper and put into muffin tin (waxy side down!).

2- Roll up the pasta into a circle and line the muffin tin with it. The pasta sheet will overlap itself.

***Be careful not to roll them too small or else you won’t be able to fit the layers of pasta squares inside. Don’t roll them too big either!***

3- Press one piece of the pasta sheet into the rolled piece of pasta, making a bottom for your cup.

4- Fill with about 1 tablespoon of pasta sauce and a generous tablespoon of ricotta cheese mix. Then press another pasta sheet onto the cheese. Repeat this 2 more times.

5- After dong the sauce-cheese layering for a total of 3 times, top the lasagna cups off with more sauce and the rest of the mozzarella cheese.

6- Bake for 25 minutes OR until the cheese is bubbling.

***I left mine in a little too long and the tops of the lasagna cup started to get a little brown and crunchy. But they were still delicious!***

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I loved making this recipe! Thanks Lauren’s Latest and Pinterest. I can’t wait to try another recipe. But…*sigh*…it will have to wait until I have another free weekend.

I’m Back…Back in the New York Groove

It has been a while since I wrote a blog post. It hasn’t been for a lack of something to say or lack of a project to discuss. I let my crazy schedule get in the way. I have so much to do and not enough time to do it so I let this blog slip away. But I’ve missed blogging. So, here I am, back at the keyboard, ready to give this another try.

And I’m not the only one who is back. Today is the start of baseball season and the Yankees are back in The Bronx! I’m not the type of girl who gets excited over sports–I like them but I don’t usually follow sports with any sort of regularity…except for Yankee baseball. And I’ve waited months since the heartbreaking end to last year’s playoff run. So, to celebrate the Yankee’s triumphant return, I’ve knitted myself a hat.

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Last year, around Christmas time I bought some awesome Red Heart Team Spirit Yarn. They come in all different team colors. I ended up making some stuff for the Mets fans in my family but the yarn I bought in Yankee colors has been sitting in my yarn box ever since.

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So, I found this pattern on the Red Heart website. It is a super easy hat to make…although I recommend using a 16″ circular needle and then switching to double pointed needles half way through the decreasing section rather than what the pattern tells you to use. I found that it was too annoying to balancing 90 stitches on my double pointed needles right away. You have to be extra careful that they don’t fall off. Instead of adding braids I added a pom pom for a cute bit of detail.

It was my first time making a pom pom. I found this tutorial and it worked perfectly! It was also my first time doing a crocheted edge. I’m really proud that it turned out so well. I am good at a lot of crafts but crocheting is just not one of them. I always have a tough time keeping the yarn on the needle. Thanks to this tutorial by KNITFreedom I was able to do it. It was a bit of a struggle and it took a bit longer than it probably should have but I made it work!

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Here’s the final product…unblocked but finished. Looking forward to wearing this until it gets warm and then again when the Yanks make the playoffs in October!

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