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After a detour in pastry-land, I turned back to Nancy Baggett’s Kneadlessly Simple for an old favorite:  beer bread.  We had some beer left over from a get-together at our place, so I thought I could sacrifice a bottle to make bread with.

The recipe calls for a whole bottle of beer, plus some water.  But I found that the beer was enough liquid, so I left the water out.  I got one of the crackliest and most beautiful crusts I’ve ever made, while the crumb was dense and smelled like beer (in a good way!).  This bread made great toast and we even used it as a delicious substitute for burger buns.

See more breads here, at YeastSpotting!

After weeks and weeks of baking only breads, I decided to branch out into pastries.  I was partly inspired by an old can of Love ‘N Bake Schmear Cinnamon Filling that I found in the cupboard. We had bought it in Brooklyn when we visited our old ‘nabe and stocked up on the stuff we missed from our favorite Brooklyn grocery: Sahadi’s.  I peeled off the label, followed the recipe, and voila!

After they cooled, I whipped up some simple white glaze and dribbled it on…

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I stuck with “Beard On Bread” this week and made his “Buttermilk White Bread”.  I’m calling it “Encephalitis Bread” (no offense to the swollen-headed intended) because it rose so much that the top was gigantic! 

The crust had bite but was softer than that of other breads I’ve made, and the crumb was pillow soft and very airy.  It made great toast for breakfast and bread to eat with dinner.

So how did this odd shaped bread come to be?

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We’re still waiting for the little one (two weeks to my due date!), but I have another baby knit to show off. This is the Baby Sophisticate pattern, and I’m totally in love.  This is the 6-12 month size, but other Ravelers said it runs small. I hope this will be just the right size for the baby in the fall. I’m already excited about fall walks in the park with the little one!

Daybreak Shawl

The final shawl I have to show off is Stephen West’s Daybreak pattern. I saw this shawl going around Ravelry and loved it’s shape and style. I picked yarn that is outside the range of my normal color palette but I really like the results. This shawl is springy and energetic, and very easy to wear.

Tom bought me a beautiful wooden shawl pin for Christmas that is perfect for this shawl. I’m so pleased to finally have a shawl pin because I think it makes my lace items a lot more wearable – I can just anchor a shawl once and go, rather than constantly adjusting my shawls as they slide off my shoulders.  As a result, I wore my lacework a lot more often this winter than I have in the past.

Do you knit lace, and if so, do you wear it frequently? With a shawl pin or without?

Last weekend Tom and I went up to our hometown and both of our mothers threw me a beautiful baby shower. The whole event was really wonderful, but there was one gift in particular that I wanted to show off.

One of my mom’s friends is a knitter and she made us this beautiful baby blanket. I love the Adirondack theme, and really appreciate how much work into it. It’s almost too beautiful to imagine actually wrapping a baby in!

Shawls, take two

Another shawl that I finished a while ago and photographed this weekend is the Eliina shawl.  I was lucky enough to receive a gift certificate to the Stitch House from a friend, and I decided to buy this beautiful purple cashmere yarn with it.

I liked this shawl pattern because of it’s beautiful edging.  Of course, partway through my knitting I realized that I wasn’t going to have enough yarn to complete the shawl at the size I wanted.  Rather than shrink the overall size of the shawl, I  used some lace weight Knitpicks Bare Merino to do the edging.  I actually really like the results – I think doing the edging in a contrast color makes it really pop.

The looped bind-off took forever, but I think it was worth it.  It makes me look fancy (and helps cover the big belly!)

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