mod bkgd

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

spring cleaning, part 4, or, scarftastic

Another project done and dusted! This spring cleaning knitalong is really paying off. I started this Wisp scarf soon after Erik was born. I've knit this pattern twice before, and it's very intuitive and easy, so it was perfect for my sleep-deprived and baby-addled brain. I dug into my precious stash of Plucky Knitter yarns.
While I loved the yarn in the skein, I'm not 100 percent thrilled about how the colors knit up. Such is the way of variegated hand-dyed yarns, I suppose. Always a roll of the dice. I, however, am not much of a gambler, which is why I've backed away from hand-dyed yarns in recent years and returned to the land of solid colors.
pattern: Wisp, by Cheryl Niamath
source: Knitty, Summer 2007
yarn: The Plucky Knitter Merino Wool Handpainted Fingering Weight, Verde Valley
needles: US 7 bamboo straights

notes:
I skipped the holes and buttons, as I intended this to be just a scarf. The single-ply merino wool is very soft and cozy -- lovely to knit.
--------------------------------------------
Happy spring from our little Easter bunny!
(Erik was a remarkably good sport about the ears.)

P.S. Speaking of bunnies, I just discovered this heirloom bunny blanket pattern on Ravelry, and I'm dying to cast on! I especially love this grey bunny blanket. Sigh, must finish a few more lingering projects first.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

spring cleaning, part 3, or, block party

Two more projects washed and blocked as part of the spring cleaning knitalong! Phew, does it feel good to clear the decks. Now if only I could get motivated to wash the windows and do some actual spring cleaning...

 pattern: honey cowl, by Antonia Shankland
yarn: Briar Rose Fibers Celebration, .6 skein
needles: US 8 bamboo circs

notes:
I picked up this yarn at the 2009 Midwest Fiber and Folk Art Fair. The Briar Rose booth is always one of my favorites to visit, and I linger there far too long since there are so many beautiful yarns that it's hard to choose. Celebration (sadly discontinued) is a 60/40 merino/bamboo blend, with plenty of sheen and drape. There's plenty of yarn left to make a coordinating hat (pattern suggestions are welcome!).

This pattern is easy and intuitive -- perfect knitting while tending to baby or at knit night. The length is great and perfect for doubling up. I don't love the rolled edge, so next time I knit this pattern (which I will!), I may skip it.

I'll post details on the other project soon.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

spring cleaning, part 2, or, Elsie revisted

Another project done and dusted! This wee cardi just needed blocking and buttons.

yarn: Rowan Wool Cotton, 2 skeins
needles: US 6 (4.0 mm)
 size: 6 months
my ravelry project page

notes:
Another Elsie Cardigan off the needles! I think this is no. 3. Great little pattern knit from the top down. I do think the sizing runs a bit small. I keep knitting this pattern since I love working the crochet picot edging at the end. Rowan Wool Cotton is nice to knit, but I'm not sure how well it washes and wears. Oh well, it just went to a fellow knitter's sweet new baby, so at least it won't get put through the dryer on high!
--------------------------------------------------
 This is how Erik likes to wear his crochet earflap hat:
And this is how I like him to wear his hat
 Silly boy!

Monday, April 07, 2014

spring cleaning

Ness at Bunnies and Bettas is hosting a spring cleaning KAL, and I'm all aboard this train. Spring's the perfect time for a fresh start, and quite a few projects in my knitting basket just need a few more rows, buttons, blocking, or (gulp) sleeves. Here's project no. 1, destined for a friend's new baby:


pattern: diagonal box-stitch crochet blankie
6.5 skeins, haze heather
hook: G/4.0 mm, Clover Soft Touch
my ravelry project page


notes:
I love this pattern! It's intuitive and easy, and working from corner to corner eliminates those pesky foundation chains (mine are always too tight). I've made at least four of these blankies already. The yarn is terrific, but sadly all the colors aside from marshmallow (natural white) have been discontinued. I needed just a smidge more yarn, and a fellow Raveler came to the rescue. Thank you so much, Sarah443!

-------------------------------------------

How about cleaning out the fridge, too? I usually have the ingredients for this soup on hand (I keep ham in the freezer), and it's perfect on a rainy day.

Slow-Cooker Yellow Split Pea Soup

8 C. chicken stock
1 lb. dried yellow (or green) split peas, sorted and rinsed
3 medium carrots, diced (~ 1.5 C.)
1 medium onion, chopped (~ .5 C.)
1 medium stalk celery, chopped (~.5 C.)
8 oz. chopped ham or Canadian-style bacon
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
freshly ground pepper, to taste

- Mix all ingredients in slow cooker.

- Cover and cook on low heat for 8-10 hours or until peas and veggies are tender. Stir occasionally to prevent the split peas from clumping.

- Serves 8.

Friday, February 28, 2014

bookish

Two beautiful books have been providing some serious knitting inspiration lately.

The first is Knitbot Yoked, which I picked up over Christmas at a lovely little knitting shop near my in-laws' house -- Cream City Yarns (which just happens to be the only store in the Midwest to carry Quince and Co. yarns!). The Birdie Fair Isle Cardigan is calling my name, but I'm afraid that it may be a bit twee for my non-petite stature. Kaye's Cardigan may be a safer, more flattering choice. I'm enamored of the Sunset Cardigan for wee ones, too, though the pattern isn't in the book.


The second is Kelbourne Woolens: Baby Collection, which I received as a holiday gift from a dear friend. Such a treat to receive knitting things for Christmas! The projects are just darling, and they have a classic, old-fashioned vibe, but in subtle, modern colors. Beatrix is on my to-knit list for little Erik, and Mildred is a close second (we got so much use out of his Tiny Trees Baby Vest that I'm inspired to knit more vests).

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

and this is why I make things

Look what we found in a basket at the Garfield Park Conservatory! Our little woodland sprite is wearing the Baby Sophisticate I knit for him.



 Erik all snuggled up the crochet blankie I made last spring.

Why yes, of course, baby feet are delicious!

P.S. Photos by Ania Scheiman.

Monday, January 20, 2014

catching up

Hope your 2014 is off to a good start! We're a little slow off the mark here, as I'm adjusting to being back at work, navigating the intricacies of daycare, muddling through Erik's first cold (poor pumpkin!), and surviving the polar vortex with a wee one.

More handknits in action!
 Erik keeping warm in his Baby Sophisticate cardigan

 Nothing beats getting wrapped up in a cozy leaf blanket!

Mary from my knitting group made this for him, and it's absolutely darling.

Mama in her Aidez cardigan, Erik in his Puerperium, and Papa in his favorite flannel shirt. Looks like someone needs a handknit sweater. : ) 

Erik pumping iron while wearing his Easy Baby Cardigan (now sadly felted after an accidental trip through the dryer)

 tummy time in his ill-fated cardigan (btw, I was skeptical of this sweater when it came off the needles, but the fit was great and it looked good on him).

-----------------------------

 
I have been knitting a bit -- the Honey Cowl is the perfect pattern for this tired mama. Not too complicated, easy to pick up or put down when a squawk comes over the baby monitor, and I love how the Briar Rose yarn is knitting up (Celebration, a merino/bamboo blend with a nice sheen).

Cooking, on the other hand, has been going full-force chez Caffeinated Yarn. Some recent favorites:

- split pea soup
- seriously healthy 4-bean chili
- West African peanut soup