Malassada Day; Or, Dough-Frying Good Times

This is a throwback post published on March 8, 2011.

Today is Malassada Day!malassada
Amongst the many labels applied to the day before Lent begins, Malassada Day stems from the same gorge-yourself-crazy spirit of Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, Pancake Tuesday and the like.

Things like sugar and lard were meant to be used up before the fasting of Lent began, and what better way to do this, so the São Miguel islanders thought, than to make copious amounts of delicious, delicious fried dough.

Malasadas1 are basically doughnuts, and hoo boy, are they good when fresh out of the pan!

My grandmother’s always made them with a hole in the centre, but apparently the “traditional” way is to simply form a ball of dough, sans hole.

Want to fry up some of your own?
Here’s my grandmother’s recipe

Vavo’s2 Malassadas

2 tbsp soft butter
1 tsp salt
12 eggs 1 cup sugar
sliced lemon rind
2 lbs flour (6 cups)
jar of Mazola oil


Put 2 packets of Fleischmann’s yeast in 1/2 cup lukewarm water, for about 5 minutes
Stir yeast. Put in a big bowl.
Add everything, except flour, and mix with electric mixer. When soft and blended, add flour and mix by hand.

Let rise for around 4-5 hours.

Take small amounts, shaping them into doughnuts, and carefully putting them in a frying pan, filled with boiling oil.

Let both sides get golden brown (this doesn’t take long at all!)

Remove, and coat with sugar.

Oh yes, and consume immediately.

1 Here’s some info about Malassadas.
2 Vavo means grandma in Portuguese.
3 Image sourced from this site.

Malassada Day; Or, Dough-Frying Good Times

Cinnamon Bun Deliciousness

This is a throwback post published on March 5, 2011

There are few things in this world I believe I do well. I’m no horn-tooter, but I can bake a pretty mean cinnamon bun.

On more than one occasion, people have requested the recipe, so I thought I’d share it here.

Hope you have a very sweet and cinnamony day!
Preheat oven to 425 F.

2 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup milk

1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 tbs cinnamon

Combine all ingredients for dough (except milk). Mix until a crumbly texture forms, then add the milk and knead.
Lay out dough on flat surface, and spread the filling mixture on top.
Roll up dough (the tighter you can roll it the cuter they end up looking, I find). Pop them into lightly greased muffin tins and bake for about 14-18 mins. I usually keep them in a bit less, but that’s personal preference.
And of course, icing is always good on top!

Icing: a random mix of butter, icing sugar and a very little bit of milk.

Sometimes I’ll use cream cheese with, or instead of, butter. They’re both very good.

Cinnamon Bun Deliciousness

Garden-Given Great Gastronomy

This is a throwback post published on September 10, 2013.

This year my garden focus was mainly on tomatoes.
And whoo boy, do I have tomatoes!


I’ve made a few batches of sauce so far, and the most delicious tomato jam evar.


Here be the recipe:

Tomato Jam

3 lbs fresh tomatoes
9 cups (but I only use 4!) sugar
2 lemons
fresh ginger (1″ thinly sliced)

In a large pot on medium heat place the tomatoes, cut roughly into chunks, lemon juice and ginger.
Bring to a boil and reduce the heat.
Cook slowly for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Add sugar and stir until dissolved.
Boil slowly for 30 minutes more or until desired thickness is reached.

And, to go with that jam, the worlds greatest Cheese Crackers:

1 cup butter
1/3 tsp salt
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1/3 tsp cayenne pepper (more if you prefer spicy!)
2 1/2 sups flour
1 tbs water (approximate)

Blend all ingredients together to make dough. Roll out to approx. 1 cm width and cut with cookies cutters (alternatively, you can roll it into a log and just slice “coins” of dough that are about 1 cm wide).
Bake at 375 degrees F for about 12 minutes.
Best served hot!

Spotty apples

I’ve also been gifted loads of pears and apples from my parent’s place, with the promise of yet another year of apple butter making ahead!

Garden-Given Great Gastronomy

Knit-Strology; Or, Extrapolations Based on General and Specific Nonsense – Gemini

Once every month, I’ll be re-posting from the old blog all the Knitstrology posts

This one was originally posted on January 14, 2012.

Sketching a Personality; Or, How I Have fun with Knitting and Astrology

Gemini: The Sign of the Twins Photobucket
May 22 – June 21

Howdy Gemini!

Are you a process or a product knitter? Do you have a love/hate relationship with your stash?
Does your clever wit uplift a possibly downbeat knit night?

You might be a Gemini!

This sun sign says you’re meant to be dualistic; possessing traits, likes and dislikes that are, apparently, contradictory. Now, for this author, that seems like I could say anything about you, and it’d adhere to the “Gemini” personality sketch.

But lo, this may not be so!

Gemini love change, freedom, independence and communication. When you do show up for knit nights (sorry, you can be flighty! things don’t always hold your attention for very long), you’re the one to ask for advice. What should I knit for my impossible-to-knit-for brother? Will this variegated yarn compliment my hair colour?

Your restlessness might lead you to be one of those knitters who has, say, 30 WIPs and perhaps only a handful of FOs. Your voracious appetite for knowledge and learning may lead you to be attracted to projects because they’ll teach you something new.

Remember how I said you rule in communication? That applies to more than just chatting with your friends. You might make a great knit blogger, too! Try setting down some of your clever ruminations on knitting and sharing them with the cyber-public.

Gemini rules the hands and arms. Mitts, gloves, and armwarmers will all be welcome gifts for a Gemini!
Your lucky day is Wednesday, so starting projects then is a good idea.
Lucky colours for Gemini are lemon yellow and orange. I’m jealous! Such lively and happy colours. Pick up some sunny skeins for yourself or other Geminis you know.

Want to knit your own personalized astrological sign pillow? Check out my “What’s Your Sign?” design!

What’s Your Sign?


Knit-Strology; Or, Extrapolations Based on General and Specific Nonsense – Gemini

How To: Deal with Negative Ease

This is a throwback to a post published on February 6, 2012.

What is ease?

In a knitting pattern, ease refers to how loose or tight a garment is. Designers write their patterns with a particular “fit” in mind, and will base their numbers for each size on whether they want their garment to be loose, tight, or otherwise.

How do you know what ease a pattern is written in?

Any good pattern will have a garment schematic. Referring to this garment schematic will show you the numbers the designer has calculated for the finished size of the garment, not the human (or dog, cat, bird, reptile, and so on!) who will be wearing the garment.
A designer may also choose to add notes or suggestions to the pattern. Check these as well for any ease information.

How do you choose your preferred ease?

Each pattern and person will be a different case, but as a general rule, ask yourself these questions:
-Do I like the way the garment is fitting the model in the pattern photograph?
-Do I want the garment to fit me in the same way that it fits the model in the pattern photograph?
-What information does the designer provide/suggest in any pattern notes?
-What do the garment schematic numbers tell me?

What does negative ease look like?

A negatively eased pattern is a garment that is designed with dimensions that are smaller than the intended wearers’ actual body size. Negatively eased garments can, of course, run the gamut from body skimming (just an inch or so less than your actual measurement), to snug (up to around 5″ smaller than your actual measurements) to really rather tight! (generally, 6″ or more smaller than your actual measurements).
The number of inches of negative ease will also, in some cases, be effected by the gauge of yarn being used (for example, extremely bulky yarn, in a elastically-inclined fibre, will want even up to 10″ of negative ease in order to fit snugly).

For illustrative purposes, here are a few images of the same sweater pattern, Corona, in a variety of negative ease sizings:

astrahl and her very slightly negatively-eased sweater.
luvnary and her moreso negatively eased Corona.


impostinator‘s negatively eased Corona.


LonghornDiva‘s negatively eased Corona.

What does zero ease look like?

Zero ease is a garment that has the same numbers as your actual measurements.
If the schematic shows that the cross-bust measurement is 16”, and you happen to be a 32” bust, then the finished garment will be the very same size that you are (that is, it will have zero ease).
Zero ease garments hang close to your body, without being snug or tight.

See examples of the same Corona pattern, but knit with zero ease.

bamboonumner1 and her zero-eased hoodie.


SophieAnn‘s no-eased Corona.

What does positive ease look like?

A positively eased pattern is a garment that is designed with dimensions that are larger than the intended wearers’ actual body size. Positively eased garments can range from almost-body skimming, to loose and comfy, to definitely over-sized.

Here, a selection of the same sweater to demonstrate a variety of positive ease.

AshleighPie and her hoodie.


WorstedKnitt‘s positively-eased Corona (blog here: WorstedKnitt).

2muchfun‘s positively eased sweater.



jiva‘s positively-eased Corona.

What if a pattern is written with negative ease, and I want zero/positive ease?

This can be an easy fix.
Firstly, check the garment schematic. Sometimes it’s as simple as going up a size or two. You can do this by checking the numbers you see on the schematic, and comparing them to your own body measurements.
If this solution isn’t a possibility, you have other options:
-going up a needle size/yarn weight
-doing some math (any good pattern has the basic tools you need to do this, including gauge and the garment schematic)
-and, the always fantastic and helpful Ravelry. If you’re lucky, there’s another knitter out there who’s posted their modification notes – perhaps you can even ask them yourself!
-and certainly, the designer can be of help her/himself.

Any other questions about negative ease?
Please check out CanaryKnits on Facebook, or ask here. I’m always happy to help!

How To: Deal with Negative Ease

Corona: Memory Lane

This is a throwback to a post published on June 16, 2015.

It was seven years ago today that I posted my completed Corona.

2008 on the left, 2015 on the right.

This pattern holds special significance for me. I had already done a bit of knitting and designing. I’d even published a pattern or two. But Corona was my first major foray into design, with my first attempts at grading and real concerted efforts to be A Knitwear Designer.

I’ve knit it twice for myself, and once for my sister. It’s served as a fantastic illustrative tool for ease in knitting, and has been modified in many wonderful ways by many knitters. And ultimately I’d like to think it stands in as an example of my own design philosophy. That is: I want people wearing my designs to feel happy and powerful. Like they can create exactly what they want for their own body no matter their age, shape, or size.

Right now on Ravelry there’s over 700 Coronas listed.
Any time I see this, it make me so pleased that I could create something that many knitters have chosen to spend their precious knitting time, energy, and yarn on.

Thanks to everyone; thanks for reading this blog. Thanks for commenting, tweeting at me, interacting on Facebook, purchasing my designs, knitting any of the free ones. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and ideas and projects with me. I appreciate every single one.

And it all started with Corona.

Here’s to seven more years with you all.

Corona: Memory Lane

Corona Deuxième: Or; How I Learn to Keep Notes

This is a throwback to a post published on August 20, 2008.

Pattern: Corona
Yarn: about 3.5 balls of Cascade 220
Needles: My beloved Boye interchangeables (methinks it’s 5mm… whichever are the light pink ones)

Changed from first Corona: had to make the sleeves a bit wider at the bottom (this’ll be reflected in the pattern).

Having already knit this sweater once, I’m able to directly compare the effects of expensive vs. economical yarn choices.

Both the Cascade 220 and the original Dream in Color “Classy” yarn were nice to work with. Neither had any knots in any of the hanks, the plies stayed together nicely (although if agitated, the Cascade would split a very small bit), the stitch/cable definition is perfect and the yardage count per hank is awesome-o.
Where the Dream in Color zooms ahead of the Cascade is in the beautiful colour and texture. Soooo very smooshy and inviting. If you’ve got the cash and you want a sweater to dive into, then this would be the way to go.
The Cascade 220 was exactly half the price of the Dream in Color, and this you can tell by its rougher texture (though not itchy! I wouldn’t buy it if it were) and overall less elegant feel.
I’ve worn the Dream in Color Corona a few times, and can happily report pilling has not been an issue. I’ve only put on the Cascade Corona for the photos, and I fear that pilling may be imminent. When I was buying the yarn the cashier actually asked me if I was planning on felting a bag because “This yarn is really great for that!”
Ah well, I may or may not have a trick up my sleeve. I’ve heard through the grapevine that liquid glycerin, mixed with some water for a knit-soaking, will solve the pilling problem. I have as of yet to get my hands on the elusive liquid, but I’ll definitely get back to you if it actually works.
These photos were taken pre-blocking, so the hood edge looks a bit floppy and rolly. It’s easily fixed. (What can I say – I was excited that the day dawned bright and sunny!)
As for the pattern – since I’ve now completed this one, I have the info required to write up other sizes. Me and the maths are not the best of buds, so I’ll have to be very nice to it and see if it’ll cooperate with me and produce accurate numbers for all. The plan is to have it written up and ready to go by the end of the month.

unfortunately, I’ve tried to paste it here, but it just won’t work with me.
Please see it here on Rav.

Corona Deuxième: Or; How I Learn to Keep Notes