Thanksgiving knitting

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While making the Thanksgiving meal and enjoying visiting relatives, I tried to sneak in some simple knitting.  It did not go well.

I had two colors of Noro silk garden yarn and planned to make a simple striped scarf.

Step 1 – Cast on 45 stitches.  In between stuffing a turkey and ricing potatoes for lefse, knit about six inches of the two row stripe pattern.

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Step 2 – Decide the edges are too ragged.  Rip it all out and start over, slipping the edge stitches at the start of each row.

Step 3 – Start worrying that the yarn is a little rough.  Will it be too inchy?  And since I added some stitches to the cast on, will I run out of yarn?

Step 4 – Rip back half the rows, then have second thoughts and decide that it will soften over time as other Noro projects have, and that I can always order more yarn if it is too short.  Pick up the stitches and start reknitting the rows I just ripped back.

Step 5 – During a board game of Would You Rather with the extended family, ask self if I would rather have a cowl.  Decide yes and rip all rows back to zero.

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Step 6 – Eat way too much really good food.  Wash way too many dishes.  Tear apart the craft closet looking for another size 7 needle so I can cast on a spiral knit cowl.

Step 7 – Knit seven or eight rows of a long cowl, but dislike the single row look. Rip it all out.

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Step 8 – Look up directions for jogless two row stripes and start again, on one needle.  Decide that I won’t like the thin strips in a multi-wrapped cowl.  Rip it all out.

Step 9 – Cast on 45 Stitches and restart the simple two row scarf.

Step 10 – Eat pie to forget.

Thanksgiving Eve

 

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My family tree is filled with Danes.  My ancestors spread from Denmark to the Dakotas and then to the Pacific Northwest. My mom was a Christensen, and married my dad, another (presumably unrelated) Christensen. A Norwegian or two found their way in, and we’ve since added branches for family members from Taiwan, Israel, Japan, and even Alabama, but we maintain a few Scandinavian traditions for the holidays.

When I was little, my Uncle Ray (one of the Norwegians who snuck in) would always make lefse, a Scandinavian potato bread, for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.  As we got old enough, my cousins and my siblings and I got to help.

Uncle Ray had high standards.  Insufficiently round lefse meant wielding the scissors to trim them back into shape.  Thin meant really thin, not the lumpy, uneven surfaces mine tended to.  However, Uncle Ray also was a firm believer in a couple or three cocktails while cooking in the evening, so inevitably, some lowering of the standards crept in.  Those lefse didn’t make it to the feast, however.  The mistakes were eaten out of sight, to the joy of those of us who got to gorge ourselves on them.

I’m not sure what Uncle Ray would make of this:

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The ingredients in lefse are really simple.  Potatoes, butter, flour to hold it all together.  Some recipes call for cream, others leave it out.  We’ve done it both ways successfully.

Our recipe calls for drinking potato based alcohol while preparing the potatoes, but that is also not a strict requirement.

This year’s lefse makers were my mom, my sister, her younger daughter, my older son, and me.

The potato ricer seems to have vanished into thin air, so we used a grater to rice the potatoes.  Not ideal, but whatever gets the job done.

Every year there is a learning curve to rolling them out and getting them to the pan with the lefse stick.  But as you can see from these pictures, we do improve as we go.  And if some of them are more fjord-coastline than spherical in shape, well, we just eat the evidence with some melted butter.

Lefse is supposed to be made on a flat griddle that gets really hot – we set ours at 450 degrees.  But I only have one, so we added in large frying pans and gas burners turned up high.  It was a struggle to get the flimsy uncooked pieces into the pans with high edges, so a second griddle is on my shopping list.

I inherited my grandmother’s lefse griddle, but a few years back it was plugged in and immediately caught fire (that was the year  we added vodka to the routine – everything went wrong to the point of almost succumbing to purchased lefse, and a bit of drinking seemed to help as we lurched from crisis to crisis). So my lefse griddle is a replacement.  If anyone knows a way to clean that black off aluminum, I’d love to hear suggestions!

We eat the lefse a lot of ways – rolled around turkey, with warm butter, with cranberry sauce.  We like them with cinnamon sugar, which is apparently heresy – my sister was once threatened with lefse confiscation by a Norwegian for doing this, so Americanisms have definitely crept in.  Now that Uncle Ray is no longer with us, we’ve thankfully abandoned the gelatinous lutefisk he served with them.  (No one should make small children eat lye soaked boiled fish – it is just cruel, and a holiday feast mood killer.)

We could probably swap out most of the foods we eat for Thanksgiving for different ones without much protest from the crowd, but not the lefse.

Ours may not be pretty, but it is oh so tasty!

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A final note: my sister has declared blueberry-pomegranate tea with a splash of vodka to be the official Thanksgiving Eve beverage of 2016.

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(I feel compelled to say that really, we aren’t much for drinking usually.  Our bottle of cheap vodka is at least four years old and I had to search for it in the garage.)

To those of you who gather with friends and family for this American holiday, I wish you much laughter, fine food, and a complete absence of political arguments.

 

So many squares!

I hope everyone who celebrated had a good Thanksgiving.  It was rather crowded here in our little house with my sister’s family here for the first time in years, as well as my Cousin’s family and my mom.  We needed an extra table in addition to the extra table leaves.  And I see a need for floor pillows for the living room before next time.  Yay! More sewing projects!

We made lefse, which is traditional in our family for holidays – pretty much the only carryover from the Scandinavian ancestors.

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I also learned that 1) brussel sprouts come on enormous, thick stalks, and 2) I don’t like them.

In addition to hosting Thanksgiving over this holiday weekend, there was crafting. I did a lot of cutting.  Square after square after square.

Some of it was for an upcoming mystery QAL that starts in January.  The cutting list requires more than 600 squares ranging from 2 1/2 to 4 1/2, with lots of 5/8 and 7/8 variations inbetween.  It is the new Scrapitude QAL, in case anyone else wants to join in.

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Looks like a pretty small pile for 600+ squares! doesn’t it!?  I went through my black and dark blue scraps, added some gold and yellows, and very pale neutrals for the rest.  I’m still debating the background color – white or medium gray probably.

While I worked on the fabric squares, my cousin spent an equal number of hours playing with my sister’s cricut machine, cutting out all manner of shapes.  I snuck in a few snowflakes.  (The boys and I hope that putting them up in the window will attract real snow, though the strong El Niño makes that an unlikely event this winter.)  That machine is so much fun!Cricut snowflakes

I cut a bunch more 2 1/2″ squares for my scrap bin as well, and then yesterday I got ichy for the sewing machine after all that family togetherness so I started making wonky stars with them.  I’m throwing in as many different fabrics as I can, so it is going to be very colorful.  Hopefully, the white stars will give eyes a place to rest from the bright mish-mash.

Making them is addicting – I was up this morning before I even got dressed, making more.

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