Thursday, September 25, 2014

autumn already?

These early autumn days are flying by. Cool, crisp mornings, pumpkin spice lattes, lots of baby hugs and kisses, swinging at the park, even a jaunt to the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival.

I met up with Rue at Wisconsin Sheep and Wool and had a lovely time. My purchasing was rather restrained, which is just fine since our flat is already full to the rafters with wool. Some Briar Rose merino wool for a sweater for Erik, a beautiful skein of Sun Valley laceweight just because, and whimsical buttons by Jennie the Potter. I also ran into the lovely Caffeine Girl at the Briar Rose booth. So nice to meet her in person at last!
Some bad to go with the good -- making three trips to Minnesota in four weeks to help with some family health problems was exhausting, but all seems to be well now, and we're thankful for modern medicine.

I knit Erik a hat while sitting at airports and waiting in hospitals.

pattern: barley, by tin can knits
yarn: orange flower sw merino worsted, about half a skein
needles: US 5 and 7 16" circs and DPNs
size: child

Erik has a large head, so I went with the child size rather than the toddler size. That was overkill! This won’t fit him for another year or two.

Well-written pattern, lovely yarn. I will definitely use both again. I learned about tin can knits' free, truly easy "Simple Collection" of patterns with tutorials for new knitters from the Double Knit podcast, which I've been enjoying during my lunch break.


A child-sized hat doesn't take too long, so I knit a shawlette while I was waiting, too.

pattern: mirabelle texture sampler shawl, by Zehava Jacobs
yarn: madelinetosh tosh sock, turquoise, 1 skein
needles: Clover US 7 bamboo circs

The yarn was extremely disappointing -- many, many knots. Weaving in lots of ends in a lacy shawl is a pain. Tosh light more to my taste than Tosh sock anyway.

I ran out of yarn partway through section 9. I bound off purlwise on row 7, doing a p2 tog, slip stitch back to the left needle bind-off.

I love the texture in this shawl, but the dark yarn was too murky to show off the stitches. I also hate doing the butterfly stitch. It ends up too taut for me, and in one case I missed purling the slipped stitches together and had to go back and make a creative fix.

As noted by others, there are some typos in the pattern, but it is not too bad. I would knit this again, using a lighter colored yarn with more yardage, and I might substitute a different stitch pattern for the butterfly stitch section. 
I learned something from this experience -- I tend to knit with yarn that's already wound. There were many skeins of yarn in my stash that would have worked better in terms of color and yardage, but I was in too much of a hurry to wind them.

I finished another shawlette, too, but will save the details for another post.

Pasta with Roasted Eggplant and Mozzarella

Serves 6

1 lb. eggplant, diced
1-2 large red bell peppers, diced
4-6 medium-large tomatoes, diced
1 medium onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, pressed or chopped
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
3 T. olive oil, divided
1 lb. conchiglie (medium shells), rigatoni, or penne
1/2 lb. spicy Italian sausage (pork or chicken, loose/removed from casing)
8 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, diced
1/2 C. Parmesan, shredded
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees for the veggies. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.

In a large bowl, combine the eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, onion, garlic, basil, oregano, crushed red pepper, and 2 T. of olive oil. Toss to coat the veggies thoroughly. Spread the veggies on a baking sheet or shallow pan -- it's best if they are in a single layer, so you may want to use two pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the peppers are tender. Toss with a spatula a couple of times during baking.

Once the water starts boiling, drop the pasta in and cook until al dente.

Brown the Italian sausage, breaking it up as it cooks, and drain.

Drain pasta thoroughly in a colander and place in a large bowl. Add the veggies to the pasta along with the remaining T. of oil. Add the sausage, mozzarella, Parmesan, salt, and pepper, and toss.

NB: A good vegetarian option would be to substitute oil-cured black olives for the Italian sausage.