Friday, January 25, 2013

fo: feather and fan

I'm back on the feather-and-fan bandwagon. It's my favorite stitch pattern, hands down. 
pattern: Lillie Baby Cardigan, by Laura Edwards
yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted, cranberry, 1 skein (225 yds)
needles: Clover US 8 and 9 bamboo circs and DPNs
size: 0-3 months

Such a sweet little pattern! I used size 8 needles for the stockinette sections and size 9 for the feather-and-fan bits.

Since the finished projects on Ravelry all looked kind of long, I did 8 repeats of the feather-and-fan pattern on the body of the sweater. It might still be kind of long! We'll see how the length looks once it's worn by the intended recipient. : )
in the kitchen

I'm really enjoying the blog Skinnytaste lately -- some great, easy recipes! A few of our favorites so far:

- avocado egg salad (I skipped the yogurt and used regular mayo, as the light stuff seems kind of creepy)

- crock pot buffalo chicken wraps (added extra Frank's Red Hot, served them on tortillas, and skipped the dressing, using crumbled blue cheese instead)

- crock pot Santa Fe Chicken (substituted fresh garlic and onions for the powdered versions)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

clearing the decks

I'm still in the midst of a finishing frenzy. There's going to be a serious FO parade around here as I finish seaming, blocking, sewing on buttons, and the like.
I'm calling this my "virtuous knitting." It's a great feeling to finish things up (though mostly relief and an assuaging of guilt), but really I'm just dying to cast on a new project or two. Or four. 

I'm enamored of this new shawl pattern by JuJuVail -- Pop Spots:

I love the contrast of both color and texture! So pretty.

in the kitchen

- a delicious quinoa salad recipe from Serious Eats

- Smitten Kitchen's gingerbread spice dutch baby pancake (from her new-ish cookbook, one of my favorite Christmas presents)

- skillet curried vegetables and couscous with almonds 
(adapted from Main Course Vegetarian Pleasures, by Jeanne Lemlin)

serves 4

2 T. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
2 tsp. curry powder
2 tsp. red curry paste
dash of cayenne
1 red bell pepper, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 carrot, very thinly sliced
2 C. tiny broccoli florets
1 small apple, peeled, cored, and cut into1/2-inch dice
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 C. frozen peas, thawed
1/4 C. raisins
1/3 C. sliced almonds
2.5 C. vegetable or chicken stock (I use Better Than Bouillon)
1.5 C. couscous
1/2 tsp. salt

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, ginger, curry powder and paste, and cayenne, and sauté for 1 minute. Stir in the red pepper, carrot, broccoli, and 1/4 c. water. Cover the pan and steam the veggies until almost tender, about 3 min.

Mix in the apple, scallions, peas, raisins, and almonds. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil. Stir in the couscous and slat, cover the pan, and remove it from the heat. Let sit for 7 min.

Remove the cover, fluff the couscous with a fork, then cover again. Let sit 2 more min. before serving.

Monday, January 21, 2013


I did get to wear my Shalder cardigan up north last autumn, but after a few Flashdance moments, I realized that the neckline was too sloppy and slouchy.

I tried the Yarn Harlot's ingenious method for a crochet edging to stabilize the collar. On my first go I worked the crochet chain through every purl bump. It was firmer, but still too floppy to stay put. Take 2 -- I worked through every other purl bump:
Worked like a charm! The neckline is a little wrinkly as a result, but it looks better on, and it means that I can actually wear the cardigan without constantly fussing with the neckline, so I'm pleased.
The weight of the yarn had been stretching out the neckline, not an uncommon problem, particularly with top-down raglans (which Shalder is not) and sweaters where the collar is worked directly off the live stitches from the body without any seams for support (which is the case here).
I think Shalder has received Sugar's seal of approval.
That Stephanie Pearl Mc-Phee is a genius.

Friday, January 18, 2013

fo: purl bee little baby sweater

I have been on a finishing kick lately, trying to clear the metaphorical knitting deck at the start of the year. Apparently I had squirreled away quite a few baby knits that just need buttons or seaming! I am all set for the next round of baby showers.

source: the purl bee
yarn: Kitchen Sink Dyeworks Seacell Merino Fine, Ruthie
needles: Hiya Hiya US 2.5 bamboo circs (3.0 mm)

I really like this yarn, which is now sadly defunct. The sea cell content gives it a nice sheen. My stitches looked a bit uneven as it knit up, but blocking really helped plump up the stitches and even things out.

The pattern itself, however, made me nuts. It is clever in construction in theory (a la EZ), but overly fiddly in execution. Thank goodness I did a solid color instead of stripes, or it doubtless would still be languishing in knitting limbo. What prompted me to dig it out of ye olde knitting basket was a blog post by Anna Maria Horner (love her cheery colorful fabrics!) that she just learned to knit in 2012 and finished a striped version already. I would not recommend this pattern to a new knitter, but kudos to her! Lots of ends to weave in and seams to sew.

Friday, January 04, 2013

new year, same old tricks

So I started a little baby cardigan to use up some leftover yarn, and lo and behold, I'm running out of yarn. The yarn is Knit Picks Bare Swish Worsted (very squooshy merino, lovely creamy natural color), and the pattern's Burnett, a freebie from Berroco. The directions get a bit confusing once you get to the neck, so the pattern requires careful reading. I moved the buttonholes closer to the edge, as I’m planning to work a single crochet border around the whole shebang (once I get my hands on more yarn).
Moxie does not approve of my careless project planning! There's one New Year's crafty resolution for me -- always check yardage. Luckily it's not a precious or hard-to-find yarn.
Moxie really enjoyed nestling amongst the Christmas presents, as well as hunting toy mice under the tree. You can spy one more star-crossed slouchy beret in the photo above (Malabrigo in Bobby Blue) -- that makes a total of four SCSBs this Christmas!
A few years ago I knit up a few mini mittens, intending to knit many more and use them on a wreath. Yeah, they're very fiddly to knit, though quite cute, so they languished in ye olde knitting basket. I finally affixed them to a wreath, along with some owl ribbon from World Market. Perhaps I can add a mitten or two each year?

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

handknit holidays, part II

I'm happy to say good-bye to 2012 and hello to 2013! 2012 was in some ways a hard year, marked by sad losses and bad luck, but it also crystallized how lucky I am to have Paul, sweet new kitties, gainful employment doing something I love, and the freedom to pursue my interests. Here's wishing you and yours a wonderful year of good things and lovely surprises!
I have been a veritable hat factory over the past few weeks...

a star-crossed slouchy beret for my dearest friend (who has recently started liking blue, or as I call it, "the best color")
a cozy, slouchy Mmmmmalabrigo hat for me

pattern: a most bespeckled hat, by Alexandra Tinsley
yarn: Malabrigo Merino Worsted, in Bobby Blue & Natural
needles: US 7 Clover bamboo 16" circ + DPNs

Quick, fun knit! Some of the floats are a bit long, but Malabrigo is soft, fluffy and forgiving of this.

It is a long hat, and requires a certain positioning to make it look good. I might cut the ribbing down to 3" next time. Lots of compliments on it already!  I should really post a modeled shot to show the cute, slouchy shape of this one.
another star-crossed slouchy beret in progress (in Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Natural), this time for my mother-in-law. This really has become my go-to gift knit hat pattern -- always a hit, and it's quick, fun, and easy to knit.
Moxie was a little skeptical of all this hat knitting, as you can see.