Telegraph sweater: Done!

I finished yet another sweater. This year I have now completed six sweaters.

In case you forgot or didn’t know, the pattern is “Telegraph Sweater” by Peter Franzi and it was published in Interweave Crochet magazine.

I really like how this fits and the color is perfect for combining it with khakis, jeans, or other color pants, even my purple pants. It’s also very warm. I couldn’t wait to be done with taking photos of myself in it. I think I broke a sweat. Although the pattern calls for sport weight yarn, I got away with using fingering weight wool sock yarn by El Gato Negro.

Pressure cooker flan

This recipe is the product of a lot of experimentation. I found some recipes for flan to make in the pressure cooker and they were not what I wanted. First of all, I live in Spain and speak Spanish at home, so for me a flan is a flan and everything else is pudding or custard. Second of all, I know what a real flan is supposed to taste like because of “first of all.” I certainly do not protest against this free, open, global world that reinterprets things and reshapes them. I just want a good old flan the way I think it’s supposed to be, as do most of the people who live in my neighborhood. I want the kind you can get in Spain at a cafeteria. I also want it to be convenient to make at home. Making flan the slow way with a hot water bath is a bit tedious.

Photo Aug 17, 22 10 09

Making flan in the pressure cooker takes about 40 minutes total, from start to finish, or an hour if you’re multitasking in the kitchen or are especially slow at doing things. It’s totally not rocket science.

For equipment you need: a pressure cooker and a steaming rack that can support ramekins. Also, six 3-inch ramekins will also be necessary. Here’s the recipe:


3 eggs, medium or large are fine

1 cup whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup white sugar

zest of one lemon (or half a lemon if you don’t want too much lemon flavor)

1 tsp vanilla

liquid caramel (get the store-bought kind in a squeeze bottle unless you want this to take an hour and 40 minutes)


Squeeze a layer of caramel in the bottom of the ramekins, enough to coat the bottom. In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Gradually whisk in the sugar, milk, cream, and vanilla. Over the mixture, grate the lemon zest and whisk that in. Ladle mixture into six ramekins that have the bottoms covered with caramel. Cover each ramekin tightly with aluminum foil. Add two cups of water to the pressure cooker. Insert rack. Place as many ramekins on the rack that will fit into the pressure cooker. Cover the pressure cooker with its lid and cook on high pressure for 9 minutes. When finished, allow the pressure to reduce on its own until no more pressure remains in the cooker. Repeat for remaining ramekins. Allow the flans to cool completely. When cool, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours before serving. To serve: with a knife, separate the edges of the flan from the wall of the ramekin all the way around; cover with a saucer and turn upside-down; if necessary, give the flan a few whacks and it should plop onto the plate.

Note: It is especially convenient to do this in an electric pressure cooker because it times itself, beeps when it’s finished, etc. However, if you have a traditional one to use on the stove, you can still do this, you just have to use a timer.

A can o’WIPASSessment

Now that I’ve got the naughty WIPs under control and disciplined, it’s time, on this WIP Wednesday, to open up a can o’WIPASSessment on what’s left, which are five projects plus 1 new one I started on Monday. The rest of them aren’t featured here in photos because they look the same as the last time I photographed them.

If you pay close attention to what I blather on about, you might remember that I said I would only start a new project when the crochet table cloth, the sweater, and the cross stitch pumpkin were finished. Recently I have had a conference with the WIPs and, as we now do in education, from elementary to university, an assessment was performed. Higher Education administrators who read this blog will be just thrilled to know that I prepared paperwork for this tedious – yet administratively necessary – procedure. The evaluation questionnaire, filled out by all WIPs, collected the following data:

WIP Title:

Indicate to what degree you agree or disagree with the following statement. 1 = strongly disagree 2 = slightly disagree 3 = agree 4 = slightly agree 5 = strongly agree

  1. I am necessary for use in the upcoming season.  1  2  3  4  5
  2. I am handy for this season and can be finished now.  1  2  3  4  5
  3. I am boring to work on.  1  2  3  4  5
  4. I am 3 hours or less from being finished.  1  2  3  4  5

The tablecloth is nice enough, but it’s summery and this hot season is almost over, not to mention the fact that it is pure decoration for the table when it isn’t being used. You know, it’s for “company” that comes over to sit about on a sofa for a cup of coffee or a stiff drink to chit chat. When subjected to assessment, it strongly agreed that it is not necessary for the upcoming season and strongly disagreed that it is 3 hours from being finished. Clearly, the administrative procedure has revealed that its moment is not this year so it shall vacate the back of the sofa and rest a while in the bottom of a bin in a dark closet.

The cross stitch pumpkin is good for about twenty minutes of cross stitching once a week because it’s really boring to get through and has this tedious nature about it that is quite revolting. Its prime moment for being done is in October. It is now August. I don’t have to work on it more than I’ve been working on it. Once it’s done it’s only going to get processed through the sewing machine so it’s displayable with its other pumpkin friends for Halloween. The three finished vegetables alone, in fact, could serve a decorative purpose without this fourth gourd. Its current pace of completion is just fine. It should be no surprise, therefore, that the cross stitch pumpkin strongly agreed that it is useful for the upcoming season and that it’s a bore to stitch on.

The two afghans and the Celtic Wheel cushion were going to be permitted to be in progress for a long time. So, their status remains the same. Don’t worry, though, they got a taste of the very same paperwork the others were tasked with and so very much deserved. It was not necessary to assess them, but the administration requires everyone to participate in the process even though it’s a waste of time.

I finished my “Telegraph” sweater – it’s drying now, and should be ready for supermodel photos by FO Friday – and so it escaped the assessment. To celebrate, I have started a new crochet sweater that I’m inventing on my own without a pattern. I began the project after the paperwork, so it, too avoided the questionnaire. It’s just in its very first stages:


This sweater is going to be for my partner, who is unaware of this. I have decided to keep the wearer out of the know due to a general lack of patience and a constant asking about when things are going to be finished.

You can tell that, in the past three weeks, I have devoted a total of about 30 minutes to my last cross stitch pumpkin.


Trust me, this pumpkin is really cool when it’s finished. I saw the photos in the magazine where the other ones you’ve seen are published. It’s just annoying to sit down with and commiserate because it’s too easy, which makes it a very dull companion. The last five minutes I spent with it I didn’t even get out the chart. Before I put it away I checked the chart and I made no mistakes. Really. That much of a dud.

Conclusion of this WIPASSessment report: It’s all a total no-duh.

Pineapple Shawl: WIP SMACKDOWN

Actually, I finished and blocked the pineapple shawl I was crocheting last Saturday. Another WIP has been smacked off my list of in-progress projects.

By the way, you may not know this, but if you wash something and lay it out flat to dry, you block. So, if you do this activity to your knit and crochet projects, please don’t tell me you don’t block. It is not necessary to get out a bazillion pins and fuss with your finished project for 50 hours to block something. When I wet block, I hardly ever have the need or urge to pin the living daylights out of my project. I didn’t do that for this shawlette, either. I washed it and while it was wet I laid it out flat on a towel to dry, smoothing out the wrinkles and making sure the pineapples all looked the same size.

It is so much easier to see the pineapples now that it isn’t all wrinkled!

It’s been ready to be sent off for almost a week now. I can’t decide when I want to drop it in the mail.

Today I fidgeted with different background colors and photographed it. This is the best photo out of the 20,000 I took. It seems a yellow towel was necessary to show off the different shades of blue to full effect.


I’m not really happy with the photo but this is the best I could do to get it at least useful enough to see the design clearly.

As I said in a previous post, I didn’t have enough yarn to give it a border, but it really doesn’t need one. The double-v stitches on the edges are elegant enough.

And now back to crocheting my sweater! I’m almost ready to start making the sleeves.


Nothing but crochet this week

My WIPs are moving forward and if I ever consider starting a new project I sit on my hands like someone who wants to quit nail biting. I currently have zero knitting projects and I’m keeping it that way until I finish my sweater and my cross stitch pumpkin.

Since the weekend I’ve been alternating between my hexagons afghan and my “Telegraph” sweater. Suddenly, the afghan seems considerably larger!

Yesterday I finished shaping the raglan on my sweater and joined the front and back sleeve seams together. From here it’s just round and round to the bottom.


I think the sweater will be done soon if I work on it diligently.

Potato pancakes

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I think it’s been a while since I last shared a recipe. Tonight I had some leftover mashed potatoes and I decided to make potato pancakes. Usually my default is bubble and squeak, but I didn’t have any leftover cooked vegetables. Really, there isn’t much skill required to make these little savory cakes. I make these every once and a while, especially if I have cheese that needs using up. Here’s my recipe. Please feel free to alter it any old way you wish.


2 cups leftover mashed potatoes, cold

1 egg yolk

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or whatever you have on hand)

1 tsp onion powder or 2 tbsp fresh chopped chives

oil for shallow pan frying

all-purpose flour for dusting and handling raw pancakes


Combine all the ingredients except the last two in the list. Mix well. The consistency should be rather stiff, enough to handle without too much stickiness. If the dough is too sticky or wet, add a little more flour. With floured hands form 3-inch patties, about 1/4 inch thick. If frying later, line a plate with floured parchment paper and keep them in the fridge on that. To fry: over medium heat in a nonstick frying pan, heat oil. When the oil is hot enough, begin frying the pancakes in batches. If making many pancakes they can be kept warm in an oven. Serve with ketchup and / or sour cream. Makes approximately 5 3-inch potato pancakes.


This recipe is not for people who wish to lose weight or need to avoid fattening foods. Just imagine: mashed potatoes have butter and if you’re the type of person who prefers to use cream instead of milk for mashing potatoes, well, there’s all that fat. Then, we’ve just added cheese and fried this lovely mix. Generally speaking, we’re frying some carbohydrate-rich mass of fat in more fat. If eaten with sour cream, well, there’s more. I usually only eat one and have a salad on the side. Any remaining pancakes heat up well in a 350 F oven.




Another WIP bites the dust

Well, actually two are now finished. My roll up tool case is done and I’ve decided to keep it for myself. It’s really useful for working on projects in the living room because I don’t have to spend time searching for hooks and needles anymore. I leave this on the coffee table, open it, and there’s the thing I need to continue working on something. This system, of course, relies on me being thoughtful enough to return a tool to the case when I’m finished using it. So far so good!

I changed my mind about some things, obviously. I decided not to sew a binding to the edges of the knitting because once I got the liner and pockets done I was simply happy with how it looked without the extra decoration. When I sewed the pockets I opted for a denim look with light colored thread. I also put a backing on the pockets so that each one has two compartments, allowing them to hold more stuff.

Another thing I love about this roll up tool case is that I could do all the sewing with a machine. The knitting was fine enough not to get jammed up under the sewing machine’s foot. I will use this cheap and handy cotton yarn again and again. I think it only took me an hour to cut the fabric, iron it, and sew it.

I’ve also finished a pair of socks. They aren’t blocked but I consider them finished. If you’re a fan of The Knitmore Girls and believe a project isn’t officially finished until it’s blocked, well, that’s your thing. I disagree with this rule. It’s done when I say it is.


My reason for not blocking them, or the other three pairs of socks I’ve finished recently, are that 1) it’s summer, a time when I don’t wear wool socks and 2) I have so many wool socks now that I can leave the blocking until later indefinitely.

Two WIPs down, a few more to go and I’m out of the woods with this lunacy. Have a great weekend! I’m nearing the finish line on my sister’s shawl and then on to getting a cross stitch pumpkin done.