Saturday, November 3, 2012

Amstel Hat and Hiking in Topanga

This is the Amstel Hat from the Fall 2012 Interweave Knits magazine.  I love it and it's going to be perfect for all the outdoor hikes that I go on.  I have to be honest and say that might not have chosen to knit this hat if I hadn't seen it in person in a LYS.  Some projects are like that.  They don't look all that wonderful in a magazine picture but are fabulous in person, probably because in a picture you can't really see the great texture or experience the tactile appeal.  As I don't have much to say about this project (other than I love it) instead I'm going to share a little about the hikes that Simcha and I take here in Topanga, California which is one reason why I need all the hats, mittens, and shawls that I'm constantly knitting.  


Particulars:  Amstel Hat designed by Kelbourne Woolens and published in (Interweave Knits Fall 2012); 2 skeins Road to China (The Fiber Company);  I made the following modifications to the pattern: 1)  I used the disappearing loop CO from techKnitting; 2) I used a twisted K rib for the brim; 3) I completed the pattern design twice and eliminated the final rows of pattern; 4) After completing the final row of patterning I purled a round and made the recommended decreases on that round with P2Together stitch; and 5) I used Jenny’s Surprisingly Stretchy BO from Knitty.  Love this hat!!!!




The Misadventures of Claudia and Simcha ~

I think I've mentioned before that Simcha and I go out on a hike every morning and sometimes again in the afternoons as well.   We both love being outdoors and we have tons of great trails all around us that we mostly have to ourselves.  Mostly.  We do share them with the local wildlife and that is primarily coyotes, deer and an occasional skunk.  

And, as can happen, the other evening when Simcha and I were out hiking I heard in the distance a pack of coyotes going crazy and yapping loudly.  I knew instantly that this was going to be too strong a temptation for Simcha to resist chase after them, which I obviously did not want him to do.  So I came up with a new command.  I call it the "Wait for Me" command and basically what you do is run after your dog calling out "Waaaaait for Meeee."  This should be interspersed with an occasional "I'mmmm Coming Tooooo."  Hopping up and down as if you have twisted your ankle adds a nice effect if combined with a sharp cry of pain for attention.  Thankfully the years of training and discipline have paid off because in the distance I could see Simcha turn his head to look back over his shoulder at me and then slow his pace as he waited for me to catch up.  Once I had his attention I picked up a stick and threw it for him to chase and thereby successfully diverted his attention away from the coyotes.  


I can't tell you what a pleasure it is to have a dog that is responsive to commands and is such a great hiking buddy.  He's been primarily trained to follow hand signals and I think that has fostered a strong bond that allows us the freedom to take the type of hikes that we do.  Which isn't saying that we don't have the occasional misadventure along the way. 

A Sweet Treat ~ Pumpkin Poppers


These fragrant pumpkin poppers are moist and spicy ~ a perfect Fall treat to enjoy with your coffee or tea.  I used the recipe from Domestically Speaking and modified it by using dark brown organic sugar (versus light brown) and whole milk versus low-fat.  I had tons of cinnamon sugar left over even when making less than the recipe called for.  I made my cinnamon sugar mix using 1/2 cup white sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon.  As you can see in the picture I made some "poppers" and some small muffins.  If you don't have a mini muffin tin making small cupcake sized muffins is a great alternative you simply need to increase the cooking time.  I cooked my muffins approximately 22 minutes.  Instead of rolling mine in gobs of butter I melted 2 tablespoons of butter and applied that with a pastry brush and then liberally sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.

Simcha really enjoyed these, judging from the four (4) muffins missing from my kitchen counter (paper included).  Other sweet pumpkin treats I've shared in the past are a pumpkin bread and a pumpkin chocolate  chip cake ~ both very yummy.

Until next time be well and love well and enjoy the colors, texture, and flavors of this season as we are fast approaching Winter!

20 comments:

subliminalrabbit said...

We just finished our first round of training with Penny the puppy and have been thinking of Topanga for our first dog-friendly hike. Any particular trails you recommend for the pup? (We humans love it up there.)

Allie said...

So good to see you Claudia, and Simcha too! Love your new hat, you wear it well. I was pretty horrified about the coyotes - but glad Simcha waiting for you and heeded your command. Got a good laugh about the poppers - and they're dog-approved!

Brenda said...

Glad to see a post. It has been a long time, and I so enjoy your blog with its touches of Simcha and goodies. And Knitting with a capital "K".

Monika said...

It's a lovely hat. I like the color you've chosen. Beautiful photos of Simcha.

SissySees said...

Some of our favorite things! Pumpkin, hikes and a pretty knit... It's knit-wearing time here too. We haven't seen coyotes, but we heard a shot across the river yesterday, and soon after, Sissy jumped two deer right on the side of the river.

My girls hunting instincts are too strong for off-leash walks. Simcha is a smart, lucky boy.

missyinedmonds said...

I laughed at your misadventures...how wonderful to have all of those hiking trails for your walks. Simcha has come a long way from when you first got him.
I made pumpkin bread the other day after seeing your pumpkin poppers...yum!

Katherine said...

What a good boy! He waited for you so he deserved those pumpkin muffins!

Yes, we have been using the "Waaaaait for Meeee" command for years with Macy. Jack Russell Terriers are a tough nut to crack. After two years of training we finally got her to respond to a few hand signals but with Macy the most useful command will always be that of pointing a finger in her face and saying, "I'm talking to you!"

Simcha is a beautiful boy and I'm it is a pleasure to hike with him!!

gMarie said...

I'm so glad that Simcha responded to you and I'm hoping the jumping and cry was for show and not because you actually twisted your ankle.

Beau loves to help in the kitchen too. Jay was making salsa yesterday and offered Beau a lime - he sniffed it, then opened his mouth to take it. At which point hubby decided maybe giving the dog limes wasn't such a good idea and gave him a cookie instead.

Your hat is fantastic! May you wear it in good health. g

monica said...

I love that hat! Usually have the opposite effect with some projects - it looks better in the magazine/on the pattern than in person!

I'm so glad that Simcha didn't chase after coyotes. That would've been so scary!!

Andi said...

Love that hat and the color!
How is it possible for me to fall more in love with Simcha with each appearance?
I am so going to make those pumpkin loves.

betty said...

That's a great hat, and you really are lucky that Simcha responds to commands. We've had our Large Dog for years now, and he's still not great at responding to voice commands. Actually, I should say he's great as long as there are no distractions like other creatures.
We only let him hike off-leash on rare occasions.

Kristen said...

I love your stories about Simcha. He has grown into such a great guy, hasn't he? Cute hat and nice day in Topanga, lucky you!

Tracy said...

LOVELY hat, Claudia! And I love that dusty-purple shade of yarn. The color and hat style look great on you! I just let my subscription to Interweave Knits magazine go. For a while now I've just thought that most of the styles in it really don't suit me. I can't "see" them on me, you know. I'm finding more of my patterns online now anyway. Love your call of the wild there, "Waaiittt fooor Meee!" haha... Best of all though, is that Simcha actually does respond, and he waits. Good lad! Thank you for the recipe... I saw this when you posted on Flickr last week. YUM! Happy Days, my friend ((LOVE & HUGS))

Willow said...

Wellll, pumpkin IS good for dogs...I love your new command to Waaait for Meeeee! I think it works well for training toddlers too. Obviously, Simcha recognizes you as the head of HIS pack and he isn't going to be truly interested in the coyote pack.
Beautiful hat. I'm going to relook at my Interweave Knits mag and compare the changes you made. Maybe it will be a good one to knit for my Ohio daughter.

Anonymous said...

Another fun post. I also loved the Amstel Hat but was diverted from it by the Horizontal Rib Hat in the Sock Yarn One Skein Wonder which passed me by totally unnoticed until I saw it made up in a different yarn and color (purple variegated in MadelineTosh sock in case you have the book)in my LYS (3 cheers for LYS's). Loved the Simcha/coyote story. I remember when you were at wit's end with Simcha as a pup. Now all the work has paid off. My husband will adore those pumpkin poppers (he thanks you in advance). It's a beautiful fall day here in the mid-Atlantic too! Life is good.
Chloe

Renee said...

Lovely hat! It's well below freezing here now and I was just thinking I should knit hats for my crew for Christmas.

Good to hear that Simcha is responsive and a great hiking buddy! My hikes are very short now as Nina's in the motherly way.

{Hugs} and be well, Renee

diabollicalknits said...

Hi hi, you WERE successfull in getting Simcha to learn to at least react to those commands. those morning walks must be wonderfulll.....do share some more pics from thos when u get a minute or two free...and internet at hand...and acces to computer...

I am bit apprehensive about anything done with pumpkin - fo the plain simple reason that until recently, I have no tried any pumpkin dish. Only two days ago I made pumpkin soup with Philadelphia cheese blended in....and after a long time battling my urge to not touch it...I had it...was sooyummmyyy :D These Pumpkin Poppers will go down even easier and faster! Thanks for the recipe!

Anonymous said...

So busy trying to a squeeze everything into a concise comment that I forgot to include how much I love your Amstel hat. Everything about it. I bet you get a lot of envious looks (or are those really meant for Simcha)?
Chloe

Mr Puffy's Knitting Blog: said...

Thank you all for the nice comments ~ it's lots of fun for me to read them and to know that you enjoy hearing about Simcha and our hikes. Chloe I had to laugh at your comment. When I'm out with Simcha sometimes people call out "hey beautiful" and I know they aren't talking to me LOL He does catch people's eye.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what there is about Simcha but...he's somethin'. Lucky you, Claudia! Chloe