Monday, October 12, 2009

Knitting for Sasha


I've loved and collected dolls nearly from the time I was big enough to hold one. One of my all time favorite dolls is the Sasha doll, designed by Sasha Morganthaler, and manufactured at various times by Gotz, in Germany, and Frido or Trendon, in England. Sadly, these dolls are not in production at this time, but they are still widely available on the secondary market, and have an enthusiastic following on the web.

A large part of my enjoyment of the dolls I collect is derived from clothing them and collecting or making accessories for them. Sewing and knitting for Sasha and her brother, Gregor, is particularly satisfying, as the dolls are both well proportioned and easy to pose. They do not require a stand and are so well balanced, they can even stand on their heads!

Recently, I have been participating in a KAL with the Sasha group on Ravelry, and have just finished this sweater for my latest Gregor, a brunette boy from the 1969 Trendon production. He has had a rough life up until now, and has the scars to prove it. His hands and feet have slight chew marks, there is a dent on his upper right shoulder, and when he arrived, he had several ink and marker "bruises", which have finally faded with repeated applications of Oxy 10. He's apparently been the client of a young barber-in-training at some time or another, and still has a spot of shorter hair at the back of his head as a souvenir of that adventure. He also has a few spots where the hair just wants to stick up, no matter how long I keep his nylon stocking cap on, in an effort to convince it to lay flat. He is still a very handsome boy, though, and I'm happy to have him. He tells me that his name is Harry.

Anyway, getting back to Harry's new sweater, it is made of Telemark wool, from Knit Picks, in a nice shade of blue green, called Fjord Heather. The pattern I used is "Guernsey Fest" from Sirikind.com. I really love this pattern, and think I will be using it a lot. It is fun to knit, has lots of style options, sizes to fit both the Sasha dolls and American Girl dolls, and at the time of this writing, at least, the $5.95 purchase price is being donated to "Room To Read."

I started my sweater on October 5th, and finished it on October 12th. I primarily knit on it during my lunch hours at work, and for the occasional hour or so on the few evenings that I had something I wanted to watch on television. I knit the turtlenecked version. The only thing I wasn't crazy about was the crocheted cast off that was used to finish the turtleneck collar. It does give a nice stretchy edge, but I just don't like the way it looks. In all fairness, it's the first time I've ever done a crocheted cast off, so maybe I'm just not doing it correctly. I'll have to do a search and see if I can find video instructions. In the meantime, Harry thinks it's lovely and warm, and is not as picky about the finishing details as I am!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Winter Warmth


Okay, I admit it. Winter has never been my favorite season, and now that I’m older, it’s pretty much lost any attraction it ever held for me. The cold is not invigorating as it once was. Now it just bites unpleasantly. The lack of sufficient sunlight hours leaves me feeling lethargic and reluctant to leave my warm bed in the mornings. Although I still think that snow falling silently to the ground is beautiful to behold, I no longer want to get out and play in it. I’m more than content to watch it from inside the house. Ice is no longer a venue for winter sports, but has instead become the enemy, having dropped me unceremoniously to the frozen ground twice this year...so far. No permanent damage done, but I don't like to tempt fate, so I've ordered a pair of "Yak Trax" for my boots, as insurance against the third time being a charm.

Having said all that, there are some things about winter that I do like. For instance, a nice, long soak in the hot tub will leave you pleasantly warm and toasty just before bed in the winter. In the summer, it will leave you gasping for breath and cranking up the air conditioning. The warmth of a fire in the woodstove is hard to beat at the end of a cold winter’s day. It’s wonderful to be able to pull a rocker up in front of the stove, prop my feet on the hearth, and read or knit away an afternoon or evening, with a mug of tea or hot chocolate and a plate of warm, fresh scones close at hand. Add a cozy afghan and an Ott light, and winter becomes downright inviting!

Speaking of knitting, I’ve been doing quite a bit of it lately. My mother has new hand knit cotton dishcloths made from two different patterns, Grandmother's Favorite Dishcloth, and Home Spun Living's Waffle Knit dishcloth. Many members of my Sasha family are now attired in warm winter woolies. Most recently, I’ve been working on knitted toys for my grandchildren for Easter. The two middle boys are getting knitted Sack Boys from a pattern by Alan Dart and the two youngest are getting knitted animals from patterns by FuzzyMitten.com. My first one, a Chocolate Bunny, is finally finished, and pictured above. The Fuzzy Mitten patterns are so cute, and so much fun to knit, I’m afraid they could easily develop into an addiction!

Another pleasant, but far more dangerous activity for a cold winter’s day is baking. When I have the time, I really love to bake. Lately, cakes, pies, hot rolls, brownies, and multiple batches of fudge have been rolling out of my kitchen with alarming frequency. For the past week, I have been thinking longingly of fresh, hot from the oven cinnamon rolls, and my Mom’s apricot fried pies. Mmmmmm! Fortunately, I know from experience that once it begins to warm up, and stay light longer, the baking gene will go dormant again. I just hope that happens before I have to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe!

In the meantime, I’ll share with you my Mom’s recipe (which came from her Mom,) for her wonderful fried pies. We love the cooked filling, made with dried apricots or apples, but you can actually use any fresh fruit pie filling recipe, or any canned fruit pie filling.

Fried Pies

3 1/2 Cups Flour
1 Tablespoon Salt
1 Cup Crisco shortening
1 1/2 Cups Buttermilk
1 tsp baking soda

Mix flour and salt, cut in Crisco until the consistancy of cornmeal.

Add baking soda to buttermilk. Add a little at a time to flour mixture until a soft dough forms, (you may not need to use all of the buttermilk mixture.) Pinch off pieces of the dough, and roll into saucer sized circles. Spread pie filling onto center of each circle, fold over, wet the outside edge and seal with fingers or a fork. Fry in a small amount of crisco, preferably in an iron skillet, until brown. Turn over and brown other side. Remove to paper towels to drain and serve warm.

Thanks for stopping by!