Many Questions, Some Answers

Since I am still busy knitting the worlds most beautiful scarves, which also happen to be the worlds least bloggable topic (I am finding it hard to be intriguing about 1×1 rib for days on end) I’m going to do a little Q&A.


I went to my local LYS to look at the Noro. I thought it felt too much like straw to knit into something so gorgeous. Does it soften in the wash?

The Silk Garden does for sure, although it’s never going to be as soft as a pure merino or something like that. I find it totally approachable after a wash, and I have a couple of hats out of it an don’t find them itchy at all, though I have a high wool-itch threshold. I’m willing to sacrifice that tiny bit of a rustic nature for the pretty colours and the way it wears like iron. The Kureon’s another story. It softens some too, but always feels a little more scratchy than the Silk Garden. It’s the nature of the beast.


Would The Scarf work as well in Kureon? I’ve got a lot of singles in a variety of eye-popping colours and I’d love to stash-bust rather than running out to buy Silk Garden. (Oh, gods, MORE yarn?!?!)

Sure it would work, though have a slightly different look. Mick made one. Hello Yarn has a pretty one, Saartje did it too. Check it out.


Seriously? Sculpted butter?!?!? Well, I suppose it doesn’t melt like ice, but I’m curious, what happens when it softens? Does it still keep it’s form?

Seriously, sculpted butter. It’s even got its own wikipedia page here. I’m sure that these dairy glories do lose their shape when it warms up, but they keep them in refrigerated cases at the Royal. (Also, Canada is cold.) I’m seriously interested in what they do with a multitude of kilos of butter when the thing is over though.


Do they use real butter for the butter sculptures? The Iowa State Fair has butter sculptures but I think it is actually colored lard.

They do use real butter, and the Iowa State Fair should be ashamed of itself (if they are using lard, and we’ll just consider it a filthy rumour until it’s confirmed or denied) if that’s true. Butter is the one true medium – and doesn’t “lard sculpture” just sound wrong?


Could you share the hat specifics? All the how to’s? I’d love to make that hat to match my scarf.

Sure. I started with Le Slouch (a great pattern, Meg’s made a bunch of them, just as Wendy wrote it. Also – have you seen Wendy’s new book? Custom Knits? Very nice, and worth the price of admission just for the instructions on how to make a duct tape mannequin.) and about 74 stitches and worked 1×1 rib in the round on 4mm needles, striping as I did for the scarf. When I had about 5cm, I switched to 4.5mm needles and began to work in stockinette, increasing to 114 stitches in that first round. (Increase as you like. I used a simple yarn over, and worked them through the back loops on the next round to close the hole.) I carried on, still striping, until the hat measured about 12cm from the cast on edge. When I was there, I decreased at six equal points around the hat. (k17, k2tog – six times) then worked a round plain. On the next row I decreased at one stitch less (k16 – k2tog) and kept going like that, alternating a plain round with a round of decreasing -with ever fewer stitches between the decreases. (Interesting fact: If you k2tog for the decreases, the spiral on the top of the hat moves clockwise. If you ssk instead, you get a counterclockwise one.)

When I had got down to the last few rounds I worked only rows of decreases because I don’t like hats to have nipples on the top, and that’s the only way I know how to avoid it. The last round was just K2tog six times, then I broke the yarn, drew it through those six stitches and bob’s yer uncle. Hat.

(Disclaimer: I winged this sucker, and I’m not guaranteeing those instructions are right. Your mileage may vary.)


Can you tell us how you are doing the slipped stitches at the beginning and end of each row? I feel like that will make a big difference in how polished the finished scarf will look.

It does change it, and it hides the colours you’re carrying up the side beautifully. I’m doing it by slipping the first stitch of every row purlwise (or tip to tip, depending on how you like your phrasing) with the yarn in back. ( I think that Brooklyn Tweed said that he slipped the first and last stitch of every other row, but to each their own, and the end result is similar – though if you do it my way you don’t need to know what row you’re on when you come back from getting coffee.)


I’m being a little bit careful to keep the tension even…it’s easy to give it a tug, especially on the yarn switching side, and have one selvedge tighter than the other. Done right, it’s pretty slick.



What’s an apple dumpling? Like a turnover?

Nothing like a turnover, and I feel tremendous pity for the empty, shallow husk of a life you have been leading if you’ve never had one of these. I just so happens that I took pictures of the process. (Once a blogger…)

The whole shebang starts with a whole apple, that’s cored, peeled and spiral cut into a continuous slice.


The the core gets stuffed with brown sugar, butter and cinnamon, and wrapped in a piece of pastry (and more butter, sugar and cinnamon.)


Into the oven they go, right there at the fair, and the sugar, butter and cinnamon melt into the apple as it cooks and makes a sort of yummy sauce. The outside is crispy and has more cinnamon and sugar on it.


When it comes out of the oven they put it in a tin while it’s still hot and add ice cream and top it with butterscotch. You can get it without that stuff, but frankly my dear, I don’t know why you would. Granted, you have to skip nine meals to make up for the calories, but who cares? It’s once a year. (Although really – that’s only because I don’t know where to get them the rest of the time – but I’d rather pretend I’m virtuous enough to limit it. )

Many people:

Did you know your feed at bloglines isn’t working? I didn’t know you were posting. Please fix it.

I know. Ken knows. The problem is on the bloglines end and they are working on it. Apparently the “RSS feed is stuck”. Probably has butterscotch on it. Sorry about that.

169 thoughts on “Many Questions, Some Answers

  1. OMG, THANKS now that I know I live a shallow husk of life w/o that apple turnover! Dang it, now I gotta hunt ’em down in CA … πŸ˜‰

  2. Indignant knitter and former Iowa State Fair Queen replies to “colored lard” comment: That would be a negatory on the colored lard. The butter cow has been sculpted by the same “butter artist” for some time, although she has an “apprentice” working with her now. They reuse a lot of the butter from year to year as well. BUt is definitely IS BUTTER. Check it out!
    There USED to be a “lard pig” much on the same line as the traditional “butter cow” but as with lard itself, it seemed to fade in popularity.

  3. I think I need to go and bake me some dumplings and start a new scarf now. The scarves are pretty and those dumplings look so delicious.

  4. dairy princesses get sculpted at the Minnesota state fair as well, They get to keep their 200 lb butter sculpture, and may use it however they like. Our fair is in the summer, and they look pretty silly in the winter threads.

  5. Bloglines is stuffing up everyone’s feeds right now!
    I’d like to add a yarn suggestion for people who think Noro is too scratchy – the other day I discovered Rowan Colourscapes. Wow. The colourways are very long colour repeats, designed by Kaffe Fassett, and they are amazing. The fibre is a single-ply, slightly felted lambswool. Soft as a cloud! I don’t work for Rowan, I just saw some knitted up at Liberty the other day and fell in love πŸ™‚

  6. And the Lardettes, Your Majesty? I have heard that there used to be Lardettes at the Iowa State Fair, but it seems too much to hope…

  7. My 2 cents: Switch to Google reader. The feeds are never stuck that I’ve seen. You can even import your list from Bloglines so you don’t have to re-subscribe to all your blogs.

  8. Kaffe Fasset is THE MAN. He’s forgotten more about color than I’ll ever know. Any colorways he’s made up will knock your socks off!
    Unless they are knitted, of course.
    Jane exits to go look at imags of Rowan Colourscapes and drool

  9. First, I feel very sorry for CraftyGryphon that she is allergic to apples. You would not last long in our house. It is a staple – no peanut butter (allergies) but definitely apples.
    Even thought I have lots of Christmas gifts to knit up and craft I am going to have sneak in this scarf. It is to die for. Beautiful.
    And I really want one of those dumplings but with caramel instead of butterscotch.

  10. PS – Sorry CraftyGryphon I should have said she or he. I would hate to presume or offend. πŸ™‚

  11. The Michigan state fair has butter sculptures as well but I believe they are donated to charity at the end of the fair.

  12. Oh, those apple dumplings look delicious. The scarves are beautiful. Can you also post where to find the pattern for that pink cabled scarf?

  13. The Dairy Princesses who get their busts sculpted into “butter heads” at MN State Fair get to keep their butter sculptures. My college roommate had a friend who kept her (butter) head in the freezer and trotted it out for corn feeds. I can only imagine what it must be like to dip a cob of corn into your very own buttery skull…surely not as tasty as an apple turnover!

  14. Hey! I have one of those apple corer/slicer/peeler gizmos. I have apples, butter and cinnamon. And sugar! and I’ve been known to make a pretty good sheet of pastry now and then. I’ve even got some vanilla ice cream. No butterscotch though… Hmmm. I may have to spend some time in the kitchen tonight and see what I can concoct. πŸ™‚

  15. See what happens when you deny your desire to knit something just because “everyone else did it”. When you finally give in, you get total OCD and you just can’t stop yourself!! Now you know for next time…LOL

  16. Oh, we have a Butter Cow sculpture at the Big E (Eastern States Exposition). It’s cool because the sculptor works on it throughout the fair, and by the end of the fair, it’s done. πŸ˜€ And I know *OURS* is butter. πŸ˜‰
    I want to go make apple dumplings now. Hmm.

  17. I, too was going to defend the Iowa State Fair and their use of real butter, but others beat me to the punch. Besides, they save the lard for the deep-fat-fried-anything-and-everything-on-a-stick. Oh how I miss the fair food…

  18. My grandfather owned a grocery store in Wisconsin way back when. During WWII rationing, the dairy state outlawed importation of fake butter products in a somewhat misguided attempt to not undermine its primary product.
    Grandpa smuggle oleo into Wisconsin and sold it on the black market (i.e. — the back room of the shop).
    I was kinda hoping the Iowa butter scandal would have a similar angle, but LisaM has put that little fantasy to rest.
    At least I got to tell that story. It’s not everyday I get a segueway into “my grandfather smuggled margarine.”

  19. Regarding the slipped stitch edge: if you slip the first stitch of every row then you will be slipping color A onto color B (or B onto A) at the beginning of row 1 of each stripe. However, if you slip the first and last stitch of the second row of each stripe you will not overlap colors in your selvedge. Just so you know. And I still want to know what happened to number 4.

  20. Much thanks to Lisa M. for commenting on the legitimacy of the butter sculptures in Iowa. My mother knows Ms. Lyon (the sculptor) and she is quite the character. Very nice lady!

  21. Switched over to Google Reader a while back and haven’t looked back since.
    My Life Is a empty shallow husk… might have to experiment making those dumplings at home;)

  22. You have convinced me that I have to make one of those scarves… and a hat…. and maybe some arm warmers (I do nothing in a small way). Now though I have to decide what two shades of Noro to use. Decisions decisions!
    And those apple dumplings… way easy to make at home, I forsee apples and refrigerated pastry dough going in my cart at the grochery store (yes, homemade pastry would probably be better but I’m lazy).

  23. I knit my stripey scarf using Kureyon, and then soaked it in wool washing stuff and quite warm water. I rolled it in a towel and let it dry, and it turned out to be very soft. I’m sensitive to woolly itches, but I can wear this without troubles. πŸ™‚

  24. Mmmmmm, those apple dumplings look blazingly tasty. Thanks for sharing.
    For those thinking of kureyon for their scarves, after my lizard ridge blankie, I think that I can say that kureyon definitely softens up as it’s worn. It does, however, feel scritchy at first. (Well, and sometimes the color change is simply a knot that has to be undone and woven in.)
    I think that this project would be great for someones dyeing first.

  25. I am drooling over Noro now and spending entirely too much time in the work day contemplating color combos. As for the sculptures at the Iowa State Fair, they ARE butter, pure Iowa unsalted butter in fact. It is not colored lard! The butter is reused from year to year and some of it has been used for 10 years. Every year Sarah sculpts a butter cow and other sculptures. I’ve seen Superman (the most recent Superman was an Iowan), Elvis and the Last Supper.

  26. Thanks for the slouch hat heads up (oops!); my knitting group was wondering how to make some as it is totally in for HS kids up here, and now we know!
    You have made some young American heads (oops again!) very happy.

  27. Hey Jude, there is a restaurant in San Luis Obispo, CA that specializes in apple dumplings, just off Hwy 101. I googled and came up with Apple Farm Inn (, but I’m not sure if it is the same place I went to a couple of decades ago. I doubt they went out of business as the food–especially their apple dumpling–was fantastic.
    Hey Stephanie, when you were in Santa Rosa, CA a bit back, you were surprised by the colors of our hills in the various seasons. Well, about 10 days ago, we had some rain, followed by warm weather. The hills are starting to green up. The tall hills in the distance which haven’t been grazed on still have last spring’s growth, all dried and brown with the green so far under we can’t see it yet. But the closer lower hills, especially those which have been grazed to the dirt, have sprouted green growth, the green only seen first thing in the spring in snow country. Well, that green is seen first thing after rains here in northern California. Come back and see it (and us) anytime.

  28. Allergic to apples? that’s a damn shame.
    I imagine you could substitute a pear, or a pitted peach. i hate to think of someone being denied that deliciousness. and i think dumplings are going to be on my dessert list soon too!

  29. You know, it takes someone telling you what you’re missing on to know exactly how empty your life is… Now I want one. And I want to know how to make one. This is totally doable.
    Diane: I am going to SLO this weekend. I know exactly where I want to go now. XD

  30. Alas, my shallow husk of a life will continue – can’t eat butter or wheat! (Of course I can substitute…)
    I’ve had a go at making The Scarf in other yarns that self stripe. It works with all of them! Not that I have ever finished one cos it is all about starting here, not finishing…

  31. Crap. I just finished a Noro Silk Garden scarf for myself. Now I need to make a Kureyon one, too, just because they are so gorgeous.
    I gave up on Bloglines a month or so ago. Google Reader rocks — picks up feeds within minutes.

  32. Oh, those apple things look so delicious! This is a random posting, I thought you might enjoy this cartoon on xkcd:
    (It’s work safe.) I am not Canada bashing, I think it’s more making fun of how some Americans think of Canada…:-) Sort of like “Canadian Idiot” by Weird Al Yankovic, where he says, “They don’t even take their guns to the mall.”

  33. I gained five pounds just looking at those pictures. I agree with Lissa at 4:02 though, caramel would be the way to go. Loving the hat-n-scarf thing too!

  34. Sorry but I am not drooling over Noro. Apple dumplings yes, Noro no. Noro would not benefit from ice cream and butterscotch sauce in the same way.
    You could spin some yarn from those pretty coloured batts after you’ve run out of silk garden. It wouldn’t have the knots in but you can’t have everything.

  35. Fianlly a way to get those 4 balls of Noro Kuryeon out of my stash – thank you!
    I’ve never had an apple dumpling, but in the UK where I’m from we bake cored apples with currants & brown sugar and butter in them, and a couple of cloves poked into the outside – very tasty, and seeing those pictures makes me want to run to the kitchen and make some.
    Best wishes!

  36. They do butter sculpture at the Eastern States Exposition also. We were there toward the end of things; the fair is like a month long. The butter sculpture was a bit…discolored. And not in an attractive manner. So lard or no, I hope no one eats them.

  37. Ummmm, Stephanie? Laura Ingalls, in the Little House books, made her own apple dumplings when she was about 10. Soooooo . . . I would dare say that you can make your own from the outline you posted today, too. With organic apples . . . yummmmm. I’m sure that Google has a great & simple recipe somewhere, if you’re sketchy on the details.
    This would make GREAT blog fodder for the 1×1 rib phase. :o)
    Now I want to go buy some apples and make some dumplings . . .

  38. Ok, now you’re making me miss:
    apple fritters
    pumpkin fritters
    PA Dutch apple dumplings with cream
    shoo-fly pie all in one fell swoop just with your photographs of the making of apple dumplings. Gah. Maybe Dad could send me some from back home.

  39. Okay, the apple turnovers are so tempting. I’m going to go add “apple corer/peeler” to my wedding registry, stat.
    Thanks so much for the link!

  40. Don’t make a duct tape dummy. The duct tape will turn to glop in the summer, or even just in the house with the heat on, and the duct tape SLIDES. Then it is no longer the right shape. It gets sticky and leaks onto other things. ICK. I made one…it’s how I know!
    I’ve heard that Paper Tape, the kind that you have to wet to make sticky (old fashioned kind), works much better to make a dummy with. The hat boxes I made with this tape have lasted two years quite well.
    Just a heads up!

  41. I’ve heard that the Minnesota butter heads are sometimes used at the girls’ wedding receptions. Yep, your entire head in butter on the buffet table.

  42. Jude at 3:39, I had the best apple dumpling evah here in brown-turning-green CA. If you live in Northern California, now is the season to head to Apple Hill off of Hwy 50 (not far from Placerville). Tons of apple and pear farms, many with hot apple dumplings waiting to be eaten. Oh, and there’s a lot of wineries there, too, with free tastings. Great fall weekend vacation.

  43. Stephanie, I feel so stupid. If you are using two ro three different colourways, how do you know when to change yarn and to which colourway? The scarf is so beautiful and I have to make one, but I don’t quite get it. I’m a pretty new knitter so still fairly stupid….

  44. When I read the directions it says to change color every third row and he slips the first and last stitch of the second row. why? Aren’t you just carrying the yarn up one side of the scarf?

  45. Well, I now have my weekend project. Obviously I am going to need to take a few apples and some pie dough (or maybe the fried dough-style dough would be better) and bake a couple of these this weekend. I’m sure the hubby will not object to the sugary goodness!

  46. Apple dumplings just like my granny used to make, only I’ve never seen the spiral slice – it/s a winner though and will make eating it easier. Why doesn’t my fair have the good stuff like this? We only get deep fried candy bars or deep fried soft drinks. Although the flowering onions might make up for a it.

  47. Now that I know about your technique for slipping every first and last stitch in a row, I feel that I have to frog the entire scarf that I made for my mother for Christmas and re-do it. Dangit, Steph. Why you gotta go gettin’ all these grandiose ideas? Now when I look at my scarf it just isn’t good enough. Hehehe.

  48. thank you for the posting
    i live in florida we had sand scuplting
    contests this past weekend good fun
    we go down to freezeing tonight
    we will not need a frige for the
    butter tonight
    visit garn studios – drops web site
    not a boreing scarf on this site
    patterns are free- thier advent calendar
    is so fun

  49. We never spiral sliced the apples, and it was always hard to get them soft enough without burning the pastry, so I haven’t made them since I moved away from home. Mom always served them with a lemon sauce. Sounds quite strange, but it’s really, really, really good!
    And I have to recommend google reader as well. You can set up iGoogle as your home page, and put your reader feeds on it – you’ll always know if you have anything new to read!

  50. Noooo! I have been to the Iowa State Fair every single year of my life, since I was 4 months old, all 23 of them, and never do they use lard in their sculptures.
    It is butter, my dear.
    This year, they had a new building where you could watch baby Iowan farm animals being born right in the pens in front of you! I watched 3 lambs being born over two hours and walk for the first time. No one could drag me away. For children my arse.

  51. kmkat, I’m doing it the other way around… I started with a Kureyon striped scarf and it turned out so lovely that I can’t resist making a softer Silk Garden one!

  52. I can confirm that lard sculptures are real! I actually participated in a lard sculpture competition in high school (in Vancouver). My team was even in the local paper thank you very much πŸ˜‰ This and the gingerbread house competition were BIG events around our school district as well as other districts in the area.
    It’s not an uncommon thing either. My best friend went on a culinary tour of the Pacific Rim and she saw many spectacular examples of lard sculptures in the various culinary institutes they visited.
    Let me tell you, my hands were never so soft!

  53. One of my previous knitting teacher’s swore if you took your Noro Kureon (or any semi-scratchy wool) and applied some hair conditioner directly and then do a nice thorough soak and rinse, it made it just fine for next to the neck wearing. I have not ever tried this, but I’d love to know if anyone else has and how it went. I too have a lot of Kureon and not much Silk Garden.

  54. I see of us are going to satisfy a craving for apple dumplings (my grandfather’s cousin made THE BEST apple dumplings in the whole wide world for our church festival).
    But how many of us are going to design an apple dumpling sock?

  55. I think the Joy of Cooking has an apple dumpling recipe in it. I haven’t tried it, but I have been tempted.

  56. Ok. I give up. I can’t stand it anymore. I’ll knit the dang scarf. I swear I’ll cast it on just as soon as I can get some silk garden! I promise!
    Hey, CraftyGryphon! Try peaches! I make apple dumplings for just about every holiday or festivity that my family enjoys. My nephew doesn’t like apples, so I make one peach dumpling just for him. Treat the peach just like an apple, peel it and get the pit out. Then slice it and stack the slices right back up in a peach shape just like the apples. Butter, sugar and cinnamon, wrap in pastry, sugar and cinnamon on the pastry and bake. It’s very good.

  57. Mmmm….Apple Dumplings…That’s actually my preferred desert at The Cheesecake Factory. Except for some inexplicable reason…they add RAISINS. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m all for raisins, but in an Apple Dumpling? LOL But one of those and a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream melting all over it….mmmmmmm Heaven.

  58. rj at 5:06, shoo-fly pie! I haven’t even thought of that in ages, and now I’m really missing it. Gail at 5:24, fried *soft drinks*? HOW??
    People have been telling me I missed out not sampling the apple cider doughnuts I didn’t know existed while I was in Vermont the last five days. Now it’s apple dumplings over here (Ben and Jerry’s on the ice cream, right?) Goodness. I think I need me a good party with some really good local-fall-apple-based desserts. I’ll reduce the fresh cider on the stove to get the doughnuts started if someone else peels the apples for the dumplings.

  59. Aa a native Iowan and acquaintance of long-running butter sculptress, Norma “Duffy” Lyon, it is INDEED real butter used from year-to-year (recylced butter, as it where).
    BTW, my brush with greatness: My best friend in high school was the Iowa Wool & Sheep Queen in 1984. Her “sash” was made of fleece.
    No apple dumplings at the Iowa State Fair but the deep-fried corn dogs are sublime.
    How blessed are we?

  60. Apple Dumplings, yum… I make them once in a while as a side dish (without the ice cream and butterscotch and with less sugar) and call them baked apple tarts. My kids love them with pork.

  61. “>Many people:
    >Did you know your feed at bloglines isn’t working? I didn’t know you were posting. Please fix it.
    >I know. Ken knows. The problem is on the bloglines end and they are working on it. Apparently the “RSS feed is stuck”. Probably has butterscotch on it. Sorry about that.”
    May I suggest those of you having trouble with the feed switch from clunky Bloglines and use either the RSS reader feature built into most modern web browsers (Firefox and Safari have this for sure) or switch to Google Reader, which has been notifying just fine. No, I do not work for any of these companies but as a 4-year Bloglines user who eventually got fed up with it and switched to Google Reader 2 weeks ago, I can tell you I’m much much happier.

  62. I have a good trick for softening up noro.
    give it a soak in vinegar and water overnight. then after I swish in a little hair conditioner and then rinse and voila! Kureyon works beautifully like this.

  63. Apple dumplings are definitely a joy of the northeast of North America…though I’m not sure I could enjoy them quite as much in the raisin-free form you describe.

  64. Thank you to all of the people that came to the rescue of the Iowa State Fair butter sculptures. That was always one of the big highlights of going to the fair with my family growing up. I’ve got to admit though, the thought of using my butter head at my wedding day is a little creepy, but hey, it’s better than wasting it! (If you were a guest, which part would you use??? Hair? Nose? An ear? Anyone a guest at one of these weddings? I want to know!)

    One more question. Do you have the pattern (or stitch recommendation) for the #9 scarf in the above blog entry? I’m having a wee love affair with cables, and would love to gie that a go.
    Not quite as healthy as the apple dumplings, but gorgeous winter good nonetheless – Golden Syrup dumplings:
    That recipe says to substitute honey. Do Not DO that. Golden Syrup is *the business* for this recipe, and if you do not have any, I will gladly send you some. (Canada is a bit like Australia, so I’m thinking maybe the Commonwealth factor includes golden syrup?)

  66. Now I have to do it. I’ve been resisting the lure of the Noro scarf, even though a bunch of my pals have made it. You just pushed me over the edge. Sigh.
    There’s a place in Ocean Grove, New Jersey (down the shore, as we say) that makes spectacular apple dumplings, but they only make them on Saturdays and they sell out immediately. Mmmmmmm!

  67. Another question: I discovered your blog earlier this year and have spent the last several months reading from the beginning. I may have missed the answer, but….
    Did you ever finish Joe’s Gansey?

  68. The New York State Fair in Syracuse in late August also has a butter scupture and it is in a refrigerated glass “box” for all to see. Last year it was a life-sized sculptures of people drinking milk (white, chocolate or strawberry!) and this year was the cow jumping over the moon!

  69. If anyone is thinking of making apple dumplings, which is a wonderful idea on a cold, miserable day, there are some common variations from the canonical brown sugar, butter, and cinnamo. Some non-purists sneak raisins into the apple core. Ditto English walnut pieces. Ditto vanilla extract.
    I personally prefer the canonical version, maybe with a little vanilla. The English walnuts aren’t bad, but they mostly add texture and there’s a lot of texture already with the crust. I don’t like raisins in general, particularly in baked goods, but that’s just me. If you love raisins, no one is going to take your apple dumplings away because you added some.

  70. Ahah! The peeler! The problem with dumplings made with intact apples is the mushy-outside-crunchy-inside problem. The peeler solves this! I have some Northern Spy apples and am inspired …
    Given the amount of knitting I’m already committed to, perhaps making apple dumplings will keep me from starting a scarf. I, too, have a large Kureyon collection.

  71. Ohhh, Maggie at 6:43pm, you might be new here, but you said the magic words.
    Don’t bet on an answer.

  72. FWIW, Bloglines has had some real issues lately – serious enough that I quit using it and switched to a different RSS reader. They *said* they fixed it, but I have my doubts.
    Also, omg the apple dumplings look awesome.
    Last, I love the hat and scarf, but I’ve run into enough problems with noro that I’ve sworn off their yarns forever (unless I happen to get real lucky at a sale, of course). :/

  73. I forgot to say that Little Knits recently got Elle Merino Brights, which has colors very much like the Noro yarns but doesn’t have VM or knots. It’s also softer in the ball.
    I bought four balls each of three colorways and am now thinking of making scarves like yours with some of it. However, I’m not sure I can bear to do that much 1×1 ribbing.

  74. I hope it is not in Ken’s brief that he is required to get butterscotch out of the blog! He might appreciate an apple dumpling though for all his other work.
    My mother (English) used to bake apples – sounds like a less calorific idea than the dumplings. Though once a year isn’t going to hurt that much. A bit like wanting a ‘gin and tonic’ but not having enough money for the gin, so just have tonic and Angostura bitters – the memory fills in for the lack of alcohol.

  75. The absolute best apple dumpling recipe in the history of the world is my grandmother’s, which goes like this: “You take some pastry and roll it out and cut it to the right size, then you put in some apples, (she cut them up into chunks, same diff) and some cinnamon and sugar, and make it up (into a dumpling, that is) and before you put it in the oven, you melt some brown sugar and a lump of butter in a pan with a little water, and pour that around them in the (baking) pan. Bake till done.”
    I’ve tried, and I make a pretty good apple dumpling, but it’s not quite the same. Probably comes from not following the recipe exactly. Oh, well.
    PS: The brown sugar syrup you put around them makes its own butterscotch. Darn good.

  76. I knit lots of longies and soakers for my little ones. Something I’ve learned is that soaking “rustic” yarn, like Noro or Peace Fleece in vinegar, softens it up considerably. You can also use hair conditioner.
    Sooo-those concerned about using Noro b/c of the coarse feeling-this could help you out!!
    who desperately wants to get some silk garden NOW and knit one of those scarves-but I have three other really really need to finish projects on the needles right now-how COULD you show us something soooo tempting right before Christmas, when most of us are in the middle of Christmas knitting? (LOL!!) (and nope, I don’t knit as fast as you, (plus 3 young kids, and a farm kinda tie me up a little) so even the scarf would set me back in time too long…. Oh well, could buy the yarn and pet it til after Christmas anyways…

  77. Had to weigh in on the apple talk! We make baked apples here in Australia (well, my family do anyway!). No pastry, but we stuff the apple with butter, brown sugar, sultanas or raisins and walnuts, and then wrap it in silver foil to bake it. Very, very yummy, and you don’t have the pastry calories to feel guilty about! πŸ™‚

  78. The idea that Iowa would use lard instead of real butter seemed rather specious to me, so it’s good to see it refuted. My first experience with butter sculptures was when I lived in Minnesota within walking distance of the state fairgrounds. Every year, the Dairy Queen (no joke!) would get her head sculpted in butter and it would remain on display for the duration of the fair.
    The most impressive butter sculpture I ever saw, though, was at the North Carolina state fair about 8 or 9 years ago. It was a life-sized memorial to a recently deceased former state Secretary of Agriculture who had served a long and distinguished career and consisted of the man himself seated on a stool and milking a jersey cow – all in butter and incredibly detailed. Truly amazing.

  79. Okay, that’s it. I have to knit me some extra-striped Noro. I’m thinking of doing some knee socks, like the AWESOME ones Knitting Iris just posted. Aren’t those to die for?
    While I’m posting links, I just came across this really interesting post on A Dress A Day that I thought you’d be into, about mathematically (okay, ignore the math part) calculating your skill level at a craft by the number of hours you’ve put into it. Check it out if you’ve got the time, my answer was really surprising.

  80. Thank you for clarifying the edging…I went out today to get Noro silk and was going to start it tonight.

  81. Oh, I love Q&A sessions!
    One thing I can say for the Kureyon if anyone is interested is this:
    I always wash my wools in gentle shampoo (it’s what I was taught and it’s what I’ll always do) but with the Kureyon and other scratchy wools I add a bit of conditioner to the bath and it really softens them up. I’ve had knitters tell me that they’ve never felt Kureyon knit up that soft before…
    Anyway, hope that encourages people to knit with it, since it’s so beautiful. πŸ™‚

  82. 1) For a hat that is similar to the Noro Striped Scarf, check out the Turn A Square Hat on Ravelry (also by Jared Flood). It is super cute, and the decreases make a cool square at the top fo the hat.
    2)How long do they bake those apples, do you think?
    3) Oh My Gosh, that Kauni Yarn (that I ordered after reading last year’s archives) is the Best.Thing.Ever. What pattern did you use to make your sweater?

  83. Jude, way up there at the beginning, if you find out where to get the apple dumplings in CA (I assume you meant CA for CAlifornia, not CAnada), let me know – I need one.
    Funny how this blog affects me, I crave with deep and sincere longing an apple dumpling, and the Noro scarf is haunting my SoCal dreams. But do I feel a call to make a butter sculpture? From LAST YEAR’S BUTTER??? Not so much.
    The lard pig sounds sort of endearing, though, doesn’t it?

  84. At the New York State Fair they have one huge butter sculpture on a rotating refrigerated pedestal and after the Fair is over I hear they carve it up and donate it to food banks. There’s usually a big article in the local newspaper about the butter sculpture and I’m pretty sure it said that at some point. I’m not sure I would be happy knowing the butter on my toast had been seen by thousands of people, but at least it isn’t going to waste (particularly because it’s at least several hundred pounds of butter).

  85. I keep seeing instructions that say that this scarf is knit one, purl one all the way across and then on the return journey. Is this true? It doesn’t look it. It looks like St stitch on both sides.
    I’d like to make the scarf but want to be sure of my results!

  86. Apple dumplings? Yummy! And thanks for the inspiration. My sister’s Navy boyfriend is coming up to spend Christmas with us, and that should do to feed him. He’s 25, and, from the sounds of it, a bottomless pit. The dumplings should fill him up! Besides, those dumplings look so steamy delicious, especailly since it is about 15 degrees Fahrenheit and snowing here (NNY, NOT Albany).
    Began my very first sock today. Tip- Don’t begin your first sock in a moving vehicle. Induces car-sickness, eye-strain, and hand cramps. Ugh. The yarn’s pretty, though (Franklin Hand Dyed, color Frog In A Party Dress)!

  87. My mother made Baked Apples in New England in the 1950s, with butter, sugar, and cinnamon in the middles. She just filled the loaf pan with apples (cored, but not peeled) and they baked soft enough, though I’ve seen special ceramic apple baking pans with a ceramic post to carry the heat up the core to avoid the crunchy center. Maybe Mom just baked them longer or hotter.

  88. I knew there was a reason I wanted one of those apple twirly thingies!!
    I’m also still trying to resist the simple beauty of the scarf.

  89. Being a Pennsylvania Dutch woman, I just want to let you know that apple dumplings are NOT a dessert in our world. They are the entire supper on a cold winter’s day. There’s nothing that beats a warm dumpling swimming in warm cream except for two of them swimming in cream. But the sauce thing looks good.

  90. Ah, the butter statue…I can understand them in Canada in the fall, but they have them at the Oklahoma State Fair in September, and the amount of air conditioning required to keep a butter sculpture from becoming a greasy puddle could cool several houses full of menopausal women for an entire Oklahoma summer.
    And now I desperately want an apple dumpling. What types of apples work best for them? Granny Smiths? Jonagolds?

  91. Sorry to say, but you really haven’t lived till you’ve seen the sculpted butter cow at The Ohio State Fair.

  92. Its a good thing that I don’t have a current passport because I would be lining up a plane ticket just to get my hands on one of those dumplings.

  93. Canada has another cool thing, besides my sister and her family. those apple turnovers look amazing. What to do with all that butter sculpture? Why not send it to Idaho (USA) they are famous for their potatoes and what goes better with a baked ‘tater than butter?!!

  94. Now that I’m in Iowa (not Ohio πŸ˜€ ) I had to reply about the butter cow, but many others have already commented. Last year there was a butter Harry Potter too. πŸ˜€

  95. One more Iowan weighing in on the butter cow and variety of butter sculptures. Definitely butter!
    With all these Iowans reading the blog/books….I’m still wondering why we can’t get your publisher to schedule a visit to our fair state? I think you’d like it!

  96. “lard sculptor”? isn’t that another name for a plastic surgeon?! hahahaha
    and thanks for the apple dumpling pics. i’m going to make some of those for dessert tomorrow night! mmmmmm

  97. I may just be an idiot, but I just cast on and knit about 2 inches of the amazing-technicolor-crackscarf, and the side where I’m carrying the yarn not currently in use looks like absolute crap. I am slipping the first stitch of each row purlwise, and I have the working yarn in back, but I somehow can’t figure out just what to do with the non-working yarn to make it be hidden instead of making my edge messy.

  98. Yes, why would you get a treat like an apple dumpling without ice cream and butterscotch?
    If you poke holes in the dumpling first, the calories all evaporate with the steam. (May or may not be true, but who gives a crap if it makes you feel better).

  99. The Austrian version of Apple Dumplings goes something like this –
    peel and core apples,
    cook in water, sugar and lemon juice until tender
    put in middle of pastry square (pie pastry, puff pastry, doesn’t really matter)
    Fill center with apricot jam (YUM!)
    fold up pastry to top and seal – stabbing through with a sliver of almond is traditional.
    Brush with egg wash
    Bake in oven until done.
    Then, around here, we eat with vanilla ice cream, but not butterscotch sauce.
    I’m liking the peeler, slicer thing better, though.

  100. kiminAK: thanks! In case anyone missed my earlier comment, the majority of those are actually lard. We called it the lard sculpture competition when I did it (about 16 years ago), perhaps they have changed it to the more general ‘fat’ in case people use butter or shortening?

  101. Okay, and how do I get all that drool out of my keyboard?? Posting about apple dumplings seems highly unfair if they are hardly available to your readers…

  102. I know where to get apple dumplings at other times of the year……but you have to go to Kansas, and go to a place that is not at all veg friendly (well, except for the apple dumplings….) What?! Prime Rib isn’t a vegetable?

  103. I am totally offended at the notion that the Iowa State Fair butter cow is not made of butter. As an Iowegian (you heard me) born and bred, I visit the butter sculptures every year, and I have no doubt that the cow is made of butter.
    In fact, the BUTTER is reused for the sculpture for up to 10 years! That’s right. Butter AND recycling.

  104. I went to the Texas state fair in Oct with my sister who lives there (I’m a native Texan but live in Washington state) – they had butter sculptures too. And fried everything. The best was chicken fried bacon – you can feel your arteries hardening as you eat, but SO yummy. And fried grilled cheese sandwiches, and fried chocolate dipped strawberries, and fried s’mores, and fried pineapples, and fried okra, and fried green beans, and fried cheesecake, and fried choc truffles, and fried jelly belly beans, and fried banana splits, and fried oreo cookies, and so on…. I think you get the picture.

  105. Another question about the hat (sorry if someone has already asked)… did you do a jogless join trick when striping your yarn, or is there a jog?

  106. Here are 2 more questions for you. How’s the Christmas knitting going for you and when do we get to start reading about it? (Infinitely amusing last year!)

  107. Must stop for vanilla ice cream on the way home…those dumplings just look too yummy, especially with the off/on snow this week.

  108. OMG! I use Bloglines, and I didn’t even know I was missing your posts!! OK, I’m now caught up.
    I love your Noro scarf. I have made 3, and they are hard to put down, huh? I pairerd mine up with the Noro hat by Saartje. I love the hat you made to match. It’s a good thing I don’t need any more Christmas gift ideas for this year. I’m still cranking out socks, and then 1/2 of a sweater to go (or not; DH will accept a WIP under the tree). I’m glad you are back on Bloglines!

  109. Just so you know, this is from the wikipedia entry on butter sculptures.
    Each sculpture was life sized. They were created in refrigerated, glass cased enclosures and were displayed for the duration of each fair. At the end of the events, the butter was reclaimed and put back in the trade.
    I am wondering what the butter has to go through to be considered reclaimed…

  110. Mm, dumplings. I’m on my second bushel of apples from my sister’s farm, and I needed another apple idea I hadn’t done yet.
    And while I would not for a moment diss the butterscotch, which sounds outstanding, I believe I shall concoct a maple-based sauce (a popular flavor at my house).
    And then I need to think about more exercise…

  111. I don’t know why butterscotch is getting the blame here. Butterscotch is innocent! And delicious! Please do not besmirch butterscotch’s good name! But, for serious, if Bloglines needs me to send it my oil can, or some WD-40, I will, because I keep missing posts and then I feel all out of date and LAME.

  112. Here’s a little more info on the Iowa Butter Cow: The Butter Cow starts with a wood, metal, wire and steel mesh frame and about 600 lbs. of low moisture, pure cream Iowa butter. Once inside the 40-degree cooler, layers of butter are applied until a life-size butter cow emerges – measuring about 5-1/2-ft high and 8-ft long. Each year features one of the six major dairy breeds – Jersey, Ayrshire, Brown Swiss, Holstein, Guernsey and Milking Shorthorn.
    While a real dairy cow weighs more than 1,000 pounds, a 600-lb. butter cow would butter 19,200 slices of toast and take an average person two lifetimes to consume, according to sponsor Midwest Dairy Association. Much of the butter is recycled and reused for up to 10 years.

  113. For the dumplings you know the middle, here is one of my favorite pastry dough recipes that can be used for this purpose just roll out place your prepared apple in the middle add the center toppings (sugar, nuts, raisins, butter, apple pie spices) and then wrap the apple, cut off what is not needed. put a few vent holes at the top, place on a cooking pan and cook at 350 – 400 degrees F.
    —Pastry dough—
    2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour; 1 teaspoon salt; 1 teaspoon sugar; 1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces; ~ 1/4 cup water
    In bowl add flour, salt and sugar and with fork/pastry knife stir to mix. Add butter and with fork/pastry knife blend until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add cold water 1 Tablespoon at a time until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed. Take dough divide into two equal amounts and knead once or twice on a work surface until it comes together, flatten into 1-inch discs and cover with saran wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes then roll out to desired width and thickness.
    Oh and I have to make one of these scarves too. Had some Noro in the stash just marinating for this pattern. πŸ™‚

  114. When I knit projects that call for Noro, I use Plymouth Yarn’s Boku. In all honesty, I think that Plymouth outright copied the Noro and probably the colors, but they put a wee bit of silk in there, so it ends up being just a touch softer than the Noro (as well as a bit cheaper). I have found that I love the colorways that are available, and after the holidays, I might just make one of those delicious striped scarves you’re making!

  115. Well, I think I now know what yummy dessert I’m going to be attempting to make at my annual Yule feast this year! This dumplings look delicious!

  116. “Apparently the “RSS feed is stuck”. Probably has butterscotch on it.” Oh gawd. This line sent me into hysteria — I was picturing a server flat on its back, one of those cartons and a butterscotch-coated spoon next to it, with a trail of ice cream and crust crumbs leading from the carton to the server . . .
    I should know better than to read this blog before coffee.

  117. “Apparently the “RSS feed is stuck”. Probably has butterscotch on it.”
    Ha! The next time one of my web applications gets stuck, I’ll tell the end users that butterscotch is the culprit. πŸ˜‰
    Also, thanks for the hat & scarf tips. I’d resisted making one of these scarfs for my own, but then the perfect storm occurred: you linked to all those lovely completed scarves, b) you rhapsodized about your own scarf, and c) Webs offered the yarn at a closeout price. Sigh. I never stood a chance after that…

  118. Bloglines has eaten my feed too. I miss my readers & commenters! I have given up on Bloglines and have switched to Google Reader. Hopefully others will too!

  119. Just my experience on the itchyness in Silk Garden and Kureyon – I find the Silk Garden more scratchy than Kureyon – It think it is the mohair in Silk Garden, that makes it more scratchy. I kindda like the scratchyness in 100% wool. I also find that Kureyon gets more and more soft for everytime I wear it – and wash it.
    And Stephanie – I am reading your books – and I love them! Only sorry, that I did not found them sooner in my Knitting-lifetime.

  120. Apple dumpling…drool…Wish I could have gone with you guys to the fair and had one! Oh yeah, the fleeces would have been nice too.
    I must say though, that is one hell of an ugly rutabaga, I don’t think that bigger is necessarily better in the vegetable world.
    Those scarves are really lovely; I think that you are going to start a run on Silk Garden πŸ™‚ thank you for showing us how to make the tidy edge, ever so much better than the ugly bumpies that I usually get along the side.

  121. I want some Apple Dumpling. Now. I wonder if they have copyright on that and if I can get one of the food shops here to create a version of it.
    Thanks for the photo tips on the scarf. I haven’t carried yarn up the sides before, always snipping them and rejoining which is a pain really. I will try this method when I decide to jump in the bandwagon and knit this scarf.

  122. I really can’t remember what you wrote before you wrote the description of those apple dumplings.
    It has turned my brain into one giant Cookie Monster, except for Dumplings.

  123. I think with the butter cow controversy/filthy rumor put to rest that this means you’ll actually have to set foot in I-O-W-A, and see for yourself the cow of butter.
    And sign a few books while you’re at it. I’m just sayin’…

  124. Being from Iowa and attending the State Fair every year, I actually had a butter pig at my wedding reception. He sat among the bread choices with dinner and even had a little bitty apple in his mouth. To this day my guests can still tell you what part of the pig they used to BUTTER their bread!

  125. Mmm, thanks for sharing the apple dumpling process. I need to get some now. (And no, I’m not pregnant again – Not ready for a 3rd kid yet – LOL).
    Ah, so there was a problem with the bloglines RSS – thanks for letting us know!

  126. One more unanswered question – what about the pink cabled scarf? Did I somehow miss a post about this? Am so curious about the pattern!

  127. maybe its because I live in the uk but I really cannot understand making sculptures in FOOD. I’m just too young to remember rationing but to waste good food like that! or is it not fit for human consumption before its used to make cows out of. I love reading the blog and the comments–some of which sound like the life I’ve read about in Lake Wobegon by Garrison Keillor.

  128. seems i’ve been living a shell of a life too. what kind of pastry for the apple dumplings? is it like a pie crust? i seriously need to try to make these! (nice hat and scarf too, but really, i’m most tempted by the apple dumplings…)

  129. I covet the Custom Knits books in the worst way, and I am not by nature a coveter. I mostly covet being transformed into the tewtally kick-ass awesome surfer chick on the cover, which I will be as soon as I have a) been given the book for Christmas b) bought the yarn and c) made the sweater, at which point I will be seen heading for Western Australia toting a longboard.
    If that’s what surfers do. I wouldn’t know. But I will as soon as I have made the sweater.

  130. Think you answered your own question in there, about what they do with the great amounts of butter –
    Clearly they just make a few dozen of those apple things. Woof.
    They sound so delicious =)

  131. Apple dumplings….butterscotch….bliss….. As soon as I get back and get over my jetlag, I’m going to experiment with making these in UK. Thankyou for the mouth-watering pictures and recipe.

  132. A bust of my grandpa was carved out of butter at the Iowa State Fair. It really is butter, at least the bust they did was butter. /random information that bears little weight on knitting

  133. we have the butter sculptures here at our New York State Fair. i asked someone once what did happen to all that butter afterwards and the “butterminder” told me that it went to nursing homes, shelters etc.

  134. Wow, love the apple dumplings! I gotta stick up for you and all of us–especially women–and say that if you love dumplings, and they’re made of really good and fresh foods, let’s not say it’s “virtuous” to deny ourselves apple dumplings. We as knitters band together to end empty guilt about our stashes or our yarn, and we can cut out the negative food talk, too, darn it all!

  135. I’m working on the Undulating shawl and for the life of me I can’t get the beads to lay right. The beads just hang down in a loop. I find lots of information on how to knit with beads but only with one bead. No info on yarn overs with beads. Can you help me??

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