Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

From Me To You, All The Best!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Bit Of Italy On Christmas Day

For those that have emailed me, you probably know from my last name I am Italian; Panciarello.  Both of my Grandfathers were from Italy and came to the U.S. (settled in New York) as so many did in the early 1900's.  My Grandmothers were born in the U.S. but full fledged Italian.  You would have thought my Fathers Mother was from Italy, but no. My Mothers Father was "Landi" I love that name.  Anyway, as we all know back in the day no one measured or wrote anything down as far a recipes are concerned.  Luckily my Mother (a very, very smart woman) who was an Executive Secretary for the President of a Company that is now part of Armstrong Carpeting.  She had beautiful handwriting, took short hand and could type (on the old manual machines) like  a crazy lady while she was conversing and never looked at the keys; I can only imagine how fast she would be on todays computers.  She would watch her Mother cook and bake and before she added anything into a bowl or pot she would measure it and write it down.  Boy am I glad my Mother did this!

My Fathers side is from Bari, Italy and my Mothers side from the northern suburbs of Naples.  Two distinct styles of cooking and living.  My Mothers side always seemed reserved, quiet and the food was lighter.  The opposite held true for my Fathers side.

Both sides of my family made the below Christmas "Pies" recipe, each a bit different than the other.  My Mothers side made it lighter and sprinkled (dipped) sugar on the little pies, my Fathers Mother saturated them in honey.  If my knitting friends in Italy know the proper name of this wonderful Christmas treat please let me know.

Here is Grandma Landi's recipe for "Christmas Chocolate Pies":

1  lb. dry Chestnuts, soak overnight, boil until very soft
2  Cans Garbanzo Beans (15 oz ea)
1-½ lb. Mixed Nuts (in shells) OR  24 oz unshelled mixed nuts
1  Large Can Pears (in own juice)
6-12 Ginger Snaps (grated with roasted nuts)
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup VERY strong espresso
Grated Rinds of 2 Oranges, 2 Tangerines & 2 Lemons 
½ lb. Milk Chocolate, melted
½ lb. Semi Sweet Chocolate, melted
3 tablespoons Grape Jelly (odd huh?)
3 tablespoons Candied Citron (can't find it?  leave it out)
¾ Teaspoon Cinnamon (I like a bit more)
Pine (Pignoli) Nuts (place 2 in each pie, I leave these out)

NOTE:  You can find dried chestnuts in Italian specialty stores or Asian markets.  If not, you can use fresh, do not use the prepackaged shelled variety.  If using fresh you must allow for the weight of the shells, purchase 1-½ lb.  Cut a cross in them and boil for about 20 min.  Take them out and while hot peel them.  Place back in boiling water and cook until very soft, drain.

Roast mixed nuts in oven until their color start to deepen, 5-10 minutes turning as needed.

In a blender or food processor, grind up the roasted nuts with ginger snaps (until similar to bread crumb consistency), add the Chestnuts and pears (use pear juice if needed to process).  Pour into a large container.  Blend remaining ingredients EXCEPT citron and pine nuts (in batches as this make quite a bit).  Pour into container and mix well add the citron.  The mixture will be VERY thick.  If not add some more ginger snaps.  Refrigerate overnight.

6-7 Cups Flour
3 teaspoons Baking Powder
1-½ teaspoons Salt
3 Sticks Margarine (1-½ Cups)
2 Large Eggs (slightly beaten)
Orange juice 

1 beaten Egg White (to brush on edge of each pie)

Mix dry ingredients then work in margarine with hands until well incorporated.  Add eggs and some orange juice, keep adding the orange juice until the door holds together.  Turn out onto a smooth surface and knead well until dough is elastic and smooth.

Cover dough and let it rest 15-30 min.

Taking about 1/8 of the dough, roll out on a floured surface into a large circle (the bigger the better will reduce the rolling).  Dough should be thinner than regular pie crust. Cut with a 6" bowl into individual circles.  Brush ½ of each circle with egg white and place 1-2 tablespoons of filling on each (this is where you can add the pine nuts).  Fold over dough and pinches edges with fork (dipped in flour) to seal them.

Fry the pies in oil heated to 375℉, fry until rich golden brown, drain on paper towels or brown paper.  Cool completely and store in refrigerator.  Pies are best when fully chilled as filling sets up and flavor is at it's peak.

I dip mine into white sugar then shake off the excess.  You could try the honey by drizzling warm honey on them just prior to eating.  This recipe can be cut in half as estimated amount of above is 100 pies.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Tom's Butter Horn Recipe

Nope, not about Machine Knitting today.  Thought it would be nice to post a recipe that goes back in my family more than 50 years.  I remember my mother getting together with her friends to bake these for a fundraising dessert.  As they baked, I played in the horse corral with another kid my age, hearing the ladies chatting with the sound of the rolling pin going back and forth.

They have been a Christmas tradition ever since.  Not having any family to pass my recipe on to you I thought I would share with my machine knitting family.  Hope my friend Katherine in Idaho makes them (and you too!).

P.S. So easy to make!  I usually double the recipe.

2 cups all purpose unbleached flour
1/2 lb. margarine (2 sticks) - make sure it is very cold
3/4 cup sour cream
1 egg yolk slightly beaten


3/4 cup sugar
1 lb. chopped walnuts (substitute what you like)
1/2-1 teaspoon cinnamon

Blend flour and margarine in bowl with hands until well incorporated and crumbly (like making biscuits).  Add sour cream then egg yolk.  Mix well, dough will be wet and sticky.  Cover and refrigerate 3 hours or overnight.

Pre-heat oven to 375℉

Divide dough into 4 equal sections and roll out on a well floured surface with a well floured rolling pin to about a 12" circle (and slightly thinner than pie crust).  Cut circle into 8-12 triangles (depends how big you like them) and sprinkle generously with the filling.  Roll up like a crescent starting with wide end.  Place on an ungreased baking sheet and form a crescent shape with point on underside.  They can be close together on the sheet.

Bake approximately 20 minutes, until light golden brown.  Cool and eat.  These always taste better the next day.  Store in covered container.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I Can't Get Enough Of Vanda's Creations!

Please take a look at Vanda's beautiful work, you need to follow her blog!  Just click here:

Vanda's Blog

Monday, December 17, 2012

Brother Electronic Machines Have MORE Than 555 Built-In Patterns!

Did you know that?  If you own a Brother or Compuknit Electronic with 555 pre-programmed patterns in memory, there are more!  Why wouldn't they tell us?  We'll never know...


Pattern 601 thru 626 A-Z Upper Case
Pattern 627 thru 652 A-Z Lower Case
Pattern 653 (a period) "." (use isolation setting)
Pattern 881 1X1 Alternate Selection (seed stitch - changes each row)
Pattern 882 5X5 Needle Selection
Pattern 883 1X16 Needle Selection
Pattern 884 1st Row: 1 needle selects every fifth needle
                    2nd Row: 2 needles select
                    3rd Row: 3 needles select
                    4th Row: 4 needles select
                    5th Row: all needles select

All variation switches can be used on the above patterns.  Remember when knitting letters, you must wrap your yarn to avoid holes.  Use the letters in the isolation setting and can be double high and wide!  There are more hidden, can you find them?

My 930 update:  The new one arrived, in bits an pieces...I want to scream.  Thank goodness for shipping insurance, I hope...

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Brother 930E Update...

As you can see from the posting below, my battery change went well.  Unfortunately, this did not "fix" the problem.  The board(s) in my 930 seem to be toast. (there are more than 1).

So, being in love with this machine (my ribber and Garter Carriage are also "E's) and being an A type person, I sought some help in my search for replacement boards.  All I can say is EEEEK!  The price I got for the main mother board alone was more than I paid for the machine.  Then if it was one of the other smaller boards I would really be up the creek.

Some people I know and contacted looking for the boards were wonderful, others no reply or could not offer any help.  Dorothy at Custom Knits & Mfg. was wonderful as was Norm at Newtons, special thanks to them!

So, I decided to buy another machine and use it for replacement parts.  I was very lucky, got a great price on a very well kept one original owner machine.  They are getting harder and harder to find and the ones available are pricey and not in the greatest of shape.

The machine should arrive soon and I plan on offering the items I won't need (carriages, rails, tension mast, combs, tools and etc.) to those Machine Knitters who may be in need.

I'll post once the machine arrives, so much for all the holiday gifts I had planned for this machine.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Changed 930E Battery Today

Last post I was whining about my knitting carriage not selecting needles for lace patterns (below post).  Odd as when I select KCl or KCll the pattern knits.  With that in mind, I decided to change out the battery as on this machine I haven't done that.  The original sales receipt and product registration card that came with the machine is dated 09-29-88, 24 years old with the original battery!

Typically, you know your battery is going when the machine starts to make that "pinging ring" or you can't program in a new pattern.  That was not an issue for me and the original owners patterns were still loaded.

A few months ago I bought a back-up 3V battery from "Digi-Key" they carry the batteries we need for our Brother machines.  You can't beat their price either, $5.85 per battery.  Need a spare battery (for all Brother machines except the 970) just click here: 

It is easy to replace the battery and you should not be intimidated by it.  The hardest part was removing the solder from the holes so I could insert the new battery.

For those who have not looked at a knitting machine mother board and battery, here are some photos:

Battery Located In Upper Right Hand Corner

Close-up Of Old Battery

Cables Pull Out & Go In Easily 
All back together, took about 40 minutes start to finish.  When you plug your machine back in, you will probably get error code 888.  No worries, depress the "step & input keys" at the same time, then release, depress the "input key" once.  The machine will reboot in 30-60 seconds and return to normal.  BE WARNED: Changing your battery will result in any patterns you entered being deleted.  You may want to back up your files first.  The factory installed programs will not be deleted.

And guess what?  The needles are still not selecting when carriage is set to N-L and lace pattern is in play.  On to the next fix, I hope!

Hmmm, wonder if Ye Olde Yarn Shoppe in Grandville, Michigan is still in business (where this machine was purchased)?