Sunday, August 31, 2014

Groovy Loops Lapghan

Many years ago, when the Crochet Dude came out with his free Groovy Loops square pattern, I made up a few squares because I thought the pattern was totally cool. Then I got busy with some other life thing and I put them away with the rest of my UFOs.

About a month ago, I pulled the few finished squares back out and decided I would make a lapghan with them to donate to the annual Stride to Save Lives event in my hometown which raises money for SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education), an organization that is personally close to my heart since the loss of my dad to suicide almost five years ago.

So I'm back making Groovy Loop squares. I had about half the number I needed sitting in my UFO stash made from yellow Red Heart Kids yarn, so I crocheted up the other half in a couple of other colors using the same yarn.

Once I had the squares completed, I decided to join them with a variegated color that included the colors I had used for the squares. Settling on the variegated Crayon in Red Heart Kids and using the rounds of the patterns, I continued around the squares in the variegated color.

Joining the squares

I joined the squares using the single crochet method from the back to give it a little personality on the back since the front was very busy with all of the groovy loops and the back was looking rather plain.

Reverse side of lapghan

Around the border, I added one more round of groovy loops, and continued the pattern around until I finished up with the double crochet round. Once finished, it measured about 29 x 38½" and it's very heavy. It makes a really nice throw to keep you warm on a chilly evening!

Close up of corner of finished lapghan corner

Friday, August 29, 2014

Eggplant and Walnut Bread Recipe

I decided a couple of weeks ago to supplement our grocery buying with organic fruits and veggies from a local farm, Grindstone Farm. In order to save a few bucks, I decided to order the prepackaged boxes that the farm puts together. With that decision, I knew I was going to get some vegetables I didn't normally buy, but I figured it was an opportunity to try to cook them in ways I'd never had before.

Cue the eggplant!

I received an eggplant in a box and wanted to do something different with it rather than the old eggplant parmigiana dish that I've had before dozens of times over the course of my life. With a quick Bing search, I found an Eggplant Bread with Honey recipe and was intrigued. I figured it would be similar to zucchini bread, and even the recipe says it's a twist on the carrot cake, so I decided to give it a go.

I substituted sugar in the original recipe for the honey because I didn't have any honey in my pantry, and I used walnuts as my nuts because that's what I had on hand. Following is the recipe I ended up with:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups grated and drained raw eggplant
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup walnuts
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray loaf pan with Pam.
  2. Beat together the eggs, sugar and oil until well blended.
  3. Stir in the flour, baking powder and salt until moistened.
  4. Fold in the eggplant and walnuts.
  5. Pour into pan and bake for 40 minutes.

During prep, I found that it was actually a bit more difficult to grate the eggplant than I originally thought it would be. I peeled off the purple skin of the eggplant before I started grating even though I wasn't sure if that's what the original recipe expected. I was worried that leaving it in would be tougher to chew in the bread, so might as well discard it beforehand. Then I tried grating it from the bottom. No go. Once I shifted my eggplant onto it's side, it was much easier to grate. I did not remove the seeds.

After it came out of the oven and cooled a bit, my husband and I cut pieces off to try. Our first thought was that it was somewhat bland. I even considered this when I was making up the batter because there are no spices included like cinnamon or nutmeg. My husband thought it could use a crumb topping.

Regardless, it actually is quite good overall. I like it even better after it's fully cooled and has set for a day. It's very moist while still being firm, and does remind me of a zucchini or banana bread type recipe. If I have the opportunity to make it again, I will definitely use some more spices and add a crumb topping to make the husband happy. I'd like to try it with honey instead of sugar, and add dates, too.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

How to Make a Carnation Flower

I took the original vintage carnation pattern, modified the materials using the following:

Red Heart Super Saver Yarn, 0724 Baby Pink
Miscellaneous green yarn I had on hand
F-5 aluminum crochet hook
Paper stem wire
Yarn needle

I also changed the way the ring was made to start it off because using worsted weight yarn, ch 3 to form a ring made it too small for me to work with and get 10 s c into the ring. Instead, ch 5 or 6, then follow the rest of the directions. 


With Green ch 3, join to form a ring, ch 1 and work 10 s c into ring, join.
2nd Round—Ch 1, 2 s c in each s c, join, ch 1 and work 6 rounds even.
Attach color, * ch 7, skip 1 s c, s c in next s c repeat from * around row. (10 loops.)
Next Round—Sl st into loop, ch 5, 20 d tr c in each of the 10 loops, join.
Next Round—* ch 2, s c into next st, repeat from * all around. Break thread.
Fasten a knot into wire and pull through calyx, fill calyx with cotton and sew to­gether under flower.


For the stem, I followed the instructions for the stem wire to attach it to the flower itself. Then I finished it off by making a long chain in the green scrap yarn I had and winding it around the stem wire.

Pictures of the process follows:

Finished carnation up close:

And the full finished carnation in a bud vase for show:

The carnation is actually very real looking. In fact, after I finished it up, I had to take off and go to work. So I cleaned up and left it sitting in the vase on the kitchen counter.

When I got home from work, my husband told me that he had come in the house, saw it on the counter and wondered who had gotten me such a beautiful flower. Then he noticed that the vase didn't have water in it, so he walked over to pick it up and fill it with water and didn't realize that it was created out of yarn until he touched it!

This pattern is very easy to make, doesn't take many materials or much time at all to complete.