Monday, December 1, 2014

It's December. Time for a treat.

It's beginning to look a lot like a blizzard.  The kind filled with strangely dressed miniatures, evergreen shrubbery, and shiny trinkets.  It has descended upon my portion of the world, covering it's destruction with a sparkling un-meltable frosting and high pitched singing.

In the madness of the season, sometimes it's just nice to just take a moment and relax.  There are so many expectations and things to do that it's no wonder people tend to act their worst right before the season of giving.  So take a breath, and remember to keep breathing.

This month I present my family's recipe for mulled apple cider.  It must have come from somewhere originally, but I haven't figured out were.  We've made a few tweaks and changes to the recipe over the years, and now it's an annual favorite that I make during the colder months for gathering and sipping at home.  The smell of this simmering in the kitchen always calms me down and reminds me of cold nights curled up with a good book.

To have something to go along with your cider, I also have a pattern for a lightweight hot-pad done in double knit.  It features a snowflake for the season, the is a different color depending on what side is facing up.  Use it for taking the warming pan off the stove, as a coaster, or to help clean up the holiday messes.

As always feel free to change a pattern's aspects.  Just please don't try to sell the patterns as your own.

If you have any questions about the pattern, please email me at and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.

Enjoy and be safe out there.

Mulled Apple Cider


4 qts. Apple cider or juice
1 orange's worth of fresh squeezed orange juice
1 lemon's worth of fresh squeezed lemon juice
4 Tbsp. sugar
6 cinnamon sticks
4 tsp. whole cloves
(Additional cinnamon sticks for garnish are optional.)

  1. Mix ingredients in a large saucepan on medium heat.
  2. Stir occasionally and bring to a boil.  
  3. Let the cider cool and then strain out the solid bits.
  4. When ready to serve, reheat and pour into cups.  Garnish with cinnamon sticks, if desired.
  5. Save any unused portions in the fridge.
For the apple juice or cider that is used for the base, try to find one that is 100% juice.
I usually save the container that the apple cider/juice came in to put the extra cider into for storage.
Goes well with dark or spiced rum.

If you would like a pdf copy of the hot-pad pattern and have a Ravelry account, you can find a copy here.

Snowflake Hot Pad

            Size 3, 3.25 mm Knitting Needles
            1 skein Brown Sheep, Cotton Fine, 80% Cotton & 20% Merino Wool
                        1.75 oz. (50 g); 222 Yards (203 m)
                        Color CF115 Driftwood
            1 skein Brown Sheep, Cotton Fine, 80% Cotton & 20% Merino Wool
                         1.75 oz. (50 g); 222 Yards (203 m)
                         Color CF590 Lapis
            Darning Needle
            26 stitches x 36 rows = 4”x4”
Finished Size:
            8 ¾” wide x 7” tall
            Pattern is done in double-knit, so the back side will be the opposite pattern from the front.
            Cast on 55 stitches with both colors at once.
            With the cast on, make sure that the yarn colors alternated the same way with each stitch, starting with the lighter color, followed by the darker color.
            Odd numbered rows are right side; even numbered rows are wrong side.
            Each stitch is comprised of the front and the back stitch.  Knit the front stitch first, and then purl the back stitch in the opposite color.
            Twist yarn before starting each row.
            Finish all 55 rows, and then bind off both colors at the same time with a knit 2 together bind off.

Here is a chart of the snowflake if you are just looking at one side. Remember, if you work off of this chart, you will need to do the opposite color on the knit side every other row.

Now if you would like a little help so you don't have to turn your brain around every other row, here is the chart as you will knit it row by row. Each row shows the knit stitch color for that row.

Happy cooking. :)

© Grid Mammal 2014