Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Since I'm On A Roll...

Tonight I ripped out the bind off to Ian's Trellis pullover and re-did it using a looser bind off. Now the collar doesn't stand straight up; it's floppy enough to turn outward. Here's a pic.
The bind off I used is called Sarah's Favorite Cast Off (SFCO). Between each knit or purl stitch on the bind off row, you make either a forward (M1F) or backward (M1B) loop. Forward loops precede knits, while backward loops precede purls. If you forget which direction to make the loop, just remember that the working yarn from the M1 loop has to come out the back before a knit and vice versa for a purl. For example, let's say your first two bind off stitches are both knits. You would K1, M1F, K1. There are now 3 stitches on your right needle. You pass the M1 and rightmost stitch over the leftmost stitch. If your next stitch is a purl, you'd make an M1B followed by that purl. Again, you'd pass the M1 and rightmost stitch over the purl stitch you just made. This bind off is similar to JSSBO (my favorite toe-up sock bind off!), but you employ forward and backward loops (M1s) rather than forward and backward yarnovers.

Now for some fun! Here's an edited photo of me using a feature called "Coloring Book" effect (Kodak EasyShare). It looks like a sketch, and my hair looks like something you'd see under a microscope. Weird, huh?! I've been playing around with my new camera and picture software :-)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Stolen Moments Wrap

Pattern: Stolen Moments Wrap
Yarn: KP WOTA Bulky, 2 skeins Wine and 1 skein Cherry Cordial Hand Dyed
Needles: Harmony US 10 straights
Notes: Used a twisted loop CO using my right thumb. To get the extra twist, you mimic what's done in German Twisted CO: Holding needle in left hand, go under right thumb loop and then down into it from the top (Confused? Look up any German Twisted CO video.). For the BO, I used JSSBO. Using the loose CO and BO helped when it came time to block. This wrap grows a bit upon blocking.
Comments: This is a comfy wrap to have around your shoulders. Actually, it's my first wrap ever! I enjoyed the fairly mindless pattern and trying out the Harmony needles. (Sorry in advance for the crappy cell phone pics.)

Finished Cherry Edwardians

Pattern: Edwardian Boating Socks
Yarn: KP Stroll Tonal, Queen Anne 1 skein
Needles: 2.5mm (US 1.5)
Notes: 2aat, substituted slip stitch heel, decreased toe to 11 sts
Comments: Fun at first and loved working with this colorway, but I'm really looking forward to making socks with my Christmas sock yarn! The linen stitch wasn't hard, especially if you switch to Continental. However, a whole pair of socks with it made the process slower. They're pretty, but I'm glad to be done!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

You Should Try It! A Stir Fry I Actually Like

After following a friend's suggestion (thanks, Brandy!) to check out a stir fry recipe by Jamie Oliver, I made it tonight for dinner. Very, very tasty -- a total win!!! I forgot the beansprouts, but hey, it was still awesome. I had to make a couple of substitutions and alterations: I used red pepper flakes instead of a red chile, refrigerated ginger paste instead of fresh ginger, refrigerated minced garlic instead of fresh garlic, lime juice instead of fresh lime, and whole cilantro instead of only the stems. The mixture of ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, scallions, cilantro, soy sauce, honey, and lime juice turned out to be a great combination! I never would've expected the cilantro to work well with the other ingredients, but it was surprisingly good. If you've run out of dinner ideas, or this just sounds good to you, try it! Oh, oops! I guess I should mention the other main ingredients: sliced top loin of sirloin, sugar snap peas, chow mein noodles, and beansprouts (which I forgot). Here's a pic :-)
In knitting news, I'm nearing the toes on my Cherry Edwardians, have gotten about one-third of the way through my Stolen Moments wrap on my new Harmony US 10 straights (LOVE!), and am still ploughing my way through the 2-color mosaic maze that is Marie's Maze Jumper. Since I just recently received a Knit Picks coupon that's good till April 23rd, I'm also trying to decide what I'd like to buy with it. Ah... decisions, decisions! ;^D

In running news, I've recently (finally!) experienced improvement since I started running again about 3 weeks ago. Saturday, I pushed Marie in the jogging stroller and felt like I had a breakthrough run! I felt like my breathing was under control, my legs felt okay, and my energy level wasn't that of an out-of-breath beginner. Now, if I can just get to the point where I'm running the entire time after my 5-minute warmup walk, I'll really feel back in the swing of things.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Final Pic: Mi Escuelita (w/buttons)

Pattern: Mi Escuelita (Knitty)
Yarn: Premier Yarns Serenity Sport Weight (Deborah Norville Collection)
Needles: US 4
Notes: Omitted the back cables and added slant inset pockets. Changed the method of the shawl collar by picking up stitches around the neckline and working upward with yarnover short rows.

Normally, I don't like knitting with acrylic yarn, but this blend is nice. The pockets were made by starting them as afterthought pockets with waste yarn. I picked up the top live stitches to knit the liner downward and the bottom live stitches to knit the outside slant upward. At the pocket top, I used a three-needle bind off to join the two layers together. For the short rows, I placed markers in the same spots as the pattern directions and kept working four stitches past the previous turning point, beginning with four stitches past the markers. To keep the shawl collar folded in front, I folded the corners down and sewed the edges.

In other knitting news... I found a copy of Knitting In Color by Margaret Radcliffe at my library today. It's a fairly new book that I've had my eye on. If you want to know anything about color knitting of any type, this is a very thorough book. I can't even list all the color knitting topics here because it would be too tiresome. In short, this book leaves out nothing. By the way, I learned that the colors I chose for Laura's Cardigan (an upcoming IK pattern on my queue) happen to be a tetrad: a fortunate coincidence in my choice of colorways. Yay! :-)
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Friday, April 09, 2010

Future Project Ideas

Thanks to Kristie tipping us off last night of the free Knit Picks sock pattern downloads for the new Stroll Tonal sock yarn, I added 3 more sock patterns to my Ravelry queue: Butterfly Garden Socks, Evergreen Socks, and Bare Bark Socks. This action led to about an hour of rearranging and editing my queue. It's nice to be reminded of patterns I've had saved there for a while, as well as see new ones. I came across a pattern called Stolen Moments Wrap by Amy Swenson. The recommended yarn per Ravelry says 3 skeins of WOTA Bulky, Gloss HW, or Cadena. It just so happens that I have 3 skeins of WOTA Bulky from a discontinued Knit Picks kit I recently acquired. The kit pattern is meant for a beginner (i.e., boring to non-beginners like myself), and I knew that I wouldn't use it. The Stolen Moments Wrap will be a perfect pattern to substitute for this yarn. The colors are Wine (2 skeins) and Cherry Cordial (1 skein). I'm thinking that I'll use the multi-colored skein in the middle of the long wrap. I'm happy that I found a pattern that will go perfectly with this yarn! It looks like it'll be a good TV knit.

At the top of my queue is a long list of socks patterns for all the sock yarn I bought after Christmas. When I run out of yarn, I have more sock patterns ready to go. Of the 3 Knit Picks patterns I mentioned above, I LOVE the Butterfly Garden one! In the latest issue of my newest favorite online free pattern magazine, Petite Purls, is a girl's sock pattern called Just-Spring. It's very cute and has beaded, fold-down cuffs! Two other patterns I really like are Sacre du Printemps and Simple Skyp Socks. I have many others queued, but those are the ones at the top.

For the fall, I have a vintage tweed cardigan I want to make for Marie called Chanelette, another adorable pattern from Petite Purls. Since it calls for an aran weight yarn, I'm thinking KP City Tweed in either DK or Bulky depending on which size I choose to make. City Tweed has such nice colorways, and I still haven't knit anything in it yet! For myself, I'd like to make one of two patterns: Tweedy Aran Cardigan or Ariann. Whichever I choose, I'll eventually knit the other, too. Another sweater I'm interested in making for myself is Skara Brae from Twist Collective. The stitch pattern goes very well with my Knotty or Knice socks, and I could match them perfectly in color by using the same yarn colorway as my socks, Tidepool Heather (Knit Picks).

There are so many patterns I didn't mention! That's all right, though, because it feels really nice to have a heavily loaded knitting queue! -- 5 pages on Ravelry, to be exact :-) Without mentioning pattern names, I have plans to knit an illusion blanket for each of my kids, steek, knit lace shawls, double knit, and make cowls. SO, soooooooo much to knit!!!!!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Vestee FO

Oops! I forgot to blog about Vestee (a knitty pattern). I used Naturally Caron Country in Foliage. Very splitty yarn and not the most pleasant to knit with for that reason. But, it makes for a comfy sweater. Actually, I'm not quite done with this because I need to fix the BO on the collar. It's not loose enough. When I get that fixed I might take a picture of Ian wearing it, though it's way too big for him right now.

Since Vestee is too big, I have some mushroom-colored yarn to make Ian a second sweater. Not sure yet what I want to make... I might just wing it because after a while, I get tired of looking through patterns.
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Wednesday, April 07, 2010

New WIP and Cherry Edwardians Update

Finally, I have a picture of my latest project: Maze Toque and Jumper by Celeste Culpepper (Ravelry project link). It was a pattern that used to be available exclusively through Knit Picks. I bought it back when Shine Sport used to be called Shine since there wasn't a worsted weight version of it then. The colorways I chose are Serenade and Green Apple. You can't see the colors at all in this cell phone pic, but they go together very well! The stitch pattern is a Barbara Walker mosaic stitch pattern. So far, I'm about two-thirds of the way done with the first of ten 16-rnd chart repeats on 224 sts. This is fun and interesting -- and totally new to me! It's my first time doing mosaic knitting, and I like how I only have to hold one color at a time.

Project Notes: For the cast on, I used JSSCO (Jeny's Stretchy Slipknot Cast-On) instead of longtail. Why? I couldn't fathom screwing up the length of my tail yarn with 226 sts! So, I did the single version of longtail using only the working yarn. It took longer, but I didn't waste any yarn and it looks nice with my garter stitch edge. Plus, I got practice using a new technique. For the garter stitch edge, I chose to knit this flat to avoid a jog. I know very well how to do jogless garter stitch ITR, but I decided to take the easy, mindless way out. To accommodate the seam, I cast on 2 extra stitches. To join ITR after finishing the garter stitch, I put my 2 live extra sts on locking stitch markers to be seamed up later.

Here are my Cherry Edwardians (aka Edwardian Boating Socks)! The Knit Picks Stroll Tonal Queen Anne colorway is so lovely and makes me smile, especially now with all the trees in bloom. This pattern isn't difficult, but you definitely can't be distracted while knitting it.

Project Notes: I modified the heel turn directions since the original directions left holes at the turns. Instead of turning immediately after each decrease, I worked one more regular knit or purl as I usually do. Problem solved :-)

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Chile Rellenos Recipe

Before I forget how I made these delicious chile rellenos, I thought I'd share my recipe here! We had them for dinner, and I must say I'm proud of myself for sticking with my imagination on the ingredients because I love how these turned out! Since I didn't keep track of recipe amounts, I'm just going to explain what I did step-by-step.

Jackie's Chile Rellenos Recipe
Broil 2 poblano chiles in the oven until the skin is blistered. Make sure to turn them with tongs occasionally to brown on all sides. Remove from oven and place in closed plastic bag for 30 minutes to sweat. Remove the skin, cut one side lengthwise, and remove stem and seeds. Roll open and lay flat, ready to stuff. Brown a small amount of ground beef in a skillet. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and chili powder. Just before completely browned, add diced onion. Turn the heat down to medium. Add green chiles, taco seasoning, pat or two of butter, a couple small cubes of cream cheese, skinned and diced tomatoes (seeds and juice, too -- everything), and 2 Tbsp salsa. Turn off heat. Fill the chiles with the meat mixture and a good helping of a shredded blend of Mexican cheeses (I like the all-white, authentic variety). If you have toothpicks, use them to hold the chiles closed. Separate 2-3 eggs from their yolks. Beat the whites and yolks separately (Why? IDK, but many recipes have you do this... ). Mix the yolks into the whites. Place some flour in a second bowl. Carefully lower your stuffed chile rellenos, one at a time, first into the flour bowl and then into the egg bowl. In each bowl, make sure your chiles get completely coated. This is tricky! Use your hands to carefully lift each stuffed chile into a greased baking dish. Place remaining meat mixture around the chiles. Bake for 25 minutes at 350, or until coating is lightly browned. Remove from oven and top with more salsa and shredded cheese. Return to oven for 10 more minutes. Enjoy!

ETA: I just realized how silly the packaged apple sauce looks next to my from-scratch chile rellenos! Oh well, at least the applesauce is organic and unsweetened, and it complemented the spiciness of the entree ;-)
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