Spring Startitis

April 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

In addition to the little shawl I mentioned starting (and which I intended to finish last night had I not left my yarn somewhere that is not Here…grrrr), I cast on a sweater for my daughter and my first pair of socks in years. The sweater for Becky was planned — she’s just about outgrown the last sweater I made for her, so she’s due.

8 rows of garter stitch...exciting, huh?

This one is going to be a zippered hoodie just like the sweatshirts she practically lives in. I think she’s going to love it a lot (I’m adapting the Childhood pattern from Knitty, using KnitPicks Shine Worstedin Crocus, which appears to be a discontinued color). I got the bottom border done (working the back and both fronts at once up to the underarms), but then didn’t have the right size needles with me to continue. More accurately, I had the right needles but they had another project on them so I worked on that instead (my Carnaby skirt, also from Knitty, out of LB Collection Organic Worsted in Teal — which I should be finishing up this evening).

The socks were not as much planned as serendipitous. Craftgossip linked to the Fun in the Sun KAL at Knitters Brewing Company. I’d never heard of them, but they apparently do these knitalongs quite a lot, and they have gorgeous yarns and great notions so I’ll definitely be going back. This particular pattern made me think immediately of the Seacoast Handpainted Merino Tencel in Kelp that’s been aging in my stash for several years, and in fact almost became my second pair of Inflorescence. But it became clear that the yarn didn’t want to be that and so it’s just been hanging out since I ripped them a while back. Clearly, this is what it was waiting for.

Another super exciting pic...no matter how involved, three rows of a project just isn't that compelling

So I cast them on, thinking I’d at least get the ribbing done while I caught up on the DVR…yeah. Turns out the ribbing is not plain as I’d expected, but pretty heavily patterned. Makes for a gorgeous sock, but not so much TV knitting. I’m going to try to do a round or two a day — it’ll take me awhile to get through them at that rate, but I can only do what I can do.

I also re-started a hat of my own design…should be able to finish that up in the next couple of days and hopefully get the pattern up first thing next week. Keep your eyes open — it’ll be a freebie! Now I’m going to try to return to the rule I (sort of) successfully instituted last year: I can only start a new project when I finish a project that’s currently in progress. It seems to actually work pretty well for me, except that I still continue to pile up new projects that I want to make a lot faster than I can finish what I’m currently working on. Still, though, every little bit helps.

And now, it is time to bake some cakes, for Saturday is Becky’s party and I have promised to make her a castle.

Advertisements

The Little Easy (Shawl)

April 23, 2011 § 1 Comment

I decided after the frenzy of the past few weeks I needed something super simple on the needles. (You know, in addition to the 80 gajillion projects I already have going.) I came across this little shawl pattern when I was looking for a shawl to make for Fortunetide, and fell right in love with it. It’s super simple, just garter and stockinette stitch, with simple increases and short rows for shaping.

Shawl

Just getting started...not too exciting yet

I’m making it in Lion Organic yarn, and I finally understand why people who knit Continental style hate cotton — it’s a real pain to pull it through the stitches that way. I generally work garter or long patches of stockinette Continental style just because it’s a bit faster, so I’m a little disappointed that I won’t be able to do that on this one…but on the other hand, the yarn feels gorgeous in my hands so I’m not too upset about the extra time I’ll need to spend handling it.

This shawl strongly evokes New Orleans for me…I can just imagine being on Bourbon street on a sultry summer night in a little cotton tank top with this shawl to keep the drafts off in the watering holes and juke joints. New Orleans is high on the list of places I’ve always wanted to visit. Someday I’ll get there, and I’ll be wearing this shawl.

Getting saucy in the kitchen

April 22, 2011 § 3 Comments

I hadn’t planned on doing a ton of cooking yesterday, but the day felt differently about things. I had a couple of days off for Passover (I’m not Jewish, but my company observes) and had been planning to make country style pork ribs in the slow cooker. I made a double batch of BBQ sauce last week so I’d have enough sauce to cook in with a bit left over to serve on top. First time I’ve tried making my own sauce, and I have to say, it is absolutely delicious. Definitely a keeper (see recipe below).

Being in the kitchen and immersing myself in tweaking recipes or prepping things so I can time them to come out so they’re ready to eat together, losing myself in the feeling of food…it’s all so therapeutic. No matter how much I have on my mind, eventually I become completely immersed in measuring, chopping, kneading, pouring, stirring — whatever the task at hand is. It’s almost meditative. When I come back from it, I may still be stressed and upset, but I am calmer and more well-balanced, better prepared to face what needs facing.

Dinner

Country-style pork ribs, fresh bread, apricot-maple goat cheese

So while I was in the kitchen, I went ahead and whipped up a batch of my favorite bread (which I loaded up with apricot-maple goat cheese from my favorite local farm — accented the ribs perfectly; also, see notes for modifications I make to the recipe), a blackberry cobbler(see notes), and a couple of quarts of ice cream (vanilla and praline — both came out great). The bread dough was much wetter than usual, which made it difficult to handle, so I was concerned about how it would come out flavor- and texture-wise. It turned out just fine, even though I forgot to steam it so the crust is a little chewier than usual.

Dessert

Blackberry cobbler, homemade praline ice cream

I had been planning to whip up some cheese grits, but I was a little under the weather and thought (rightly) that I probably wouldn’t be able to eat more than a few bites of anything, so it would just be a waste of grits. Most things I’m fine with having leftovers, but I just don’t care for leftover grits. Something about the texture. Leftover ribs, I discovered a while back, make excellent pulled pork. I’ll use some of it later in the week to make pork and cheddar pies, then freeze the rest.

NOTES:

Bread: The recipe calls for hand-milled wheat flour; I use King Arthur’s from the store. I also store the extra dough already divided into loaf sizes in quart Ziplocs

Cobbler: I grew up with pie crust cobbler and still love it that way, but this recipe has an almost cakey crust that’s absolutely delightful. I often have this cobbler for breakfast as well as dessert (though usually sans ice cream). The recipe calls for 6 cups of fresh berries; I find that 2 bags of frozen berries works perfectly — just thaw and drain before cooking.

RECIPE:

Laura’s Sweet ‘n’ Sticky BBQ Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4c brown sugar
  • 1/2c chili sauce
  • 1/2c rum
  • 1/4c ketchup
  • 1/4c Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4c garlic vinegar
  • 3Tbsp molasses
  • 3tsp onion powder
  • 1tsp ground dry mustard
  • dollop of vanilla
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed

In a 3qt saucepan over low heat, mix all ingredients. Simmer 30 min., stirring occasionally. Let cool, then refrigerate until ready to use. Note: You may wish to remove the garlic cloves before storing.

Sold! to the lady in the pretty dress*

April 20, 2011 § 1 Comment

In addition to all of the fab crafting I did for myself at Fortunetide, I also knit a few donations for the silent auction:

Owl Keep You Warm Mittens

Owl Keep You Warm mittens

I whipped up a pair of Who? mittens (Ravelry link…as far as I can tell the designer doesn’t have a site of her own) in Lion Brand Fisherman’s Wool. They were both fast and easy, though I’d go up a needle size if I knit them in this wool again, as they were a little on the small side.

Nakiska headband

Nakiska headband

Fetching fingerless mitts

Fetching fingerless mitts

Then there were the matching Nakiska headband and Fetching fingerless mitts, both from Knitty. Lovely patterns — this is actually the second time I made the Fetchings and I think I’m going to start making more to give away to friends and family. Love them! The yarn I used was a heavy sock yarn that I had hand-dyed a while back — I held it double for both projects.

Cabled throw

Cabled throw

Finally, I made a Cabled Throw from the only 100% acrylic yarn I’ve ever found that I like: Hometown USA. It’s the Cambridge Tweed Colorway, and it’s actually black with little colored flecks — it was just really bright sunlight that day and I didn’t get another chance to take a picture of it. You can even see that I haven’t woven in the ends yet — I was waiting for the damn thing to dry. It finally did, and the ends got woven in before the auction.

I make a habit of not really looking to see what my items brought — I figure that way my feelings won’t be hurt if they don’t go for much and I won’t get too cocky if they sell for a bunch — but I do know that they all sold, so I consider that a success.

*All of the ladies at Fortunetide had gorgeous dresses this year, and the gents looked quite dashing as well.

Belle of the Ball

April 15, 2011 § 2 Comments

Tomorrow I get to go to one of my favorite events: the annual Fortunetide Ball*, where I get to dress up all fancy and feel glamorous for a few hours. I’m pretty excited about this year’s dress…I usually go with basic black and then accessorize, but this year a gorgeous smoky grey-blue dress came across my browser and I knew it was The Perfect Dress. It arrived, and was just as beautiful in person. Unfortunately, it didn’t fit. See, the seller said, “Under bust must be within this range: 28 inches to 34 inches. As long as you under bust is within the above range it will fit you.”  Yeah, the underbust fit fine. The actual bust? Not so much. Also, see how in the picture the band appears to be at the true waist? It was very much an empire waist on me — not my best look.

Dress strap

Crochet edging creates a new strap for my gown

So I got out my brain and let it go to work on solving this problem. The fix I came up with was so simple I almost couldn’t believe it…all I had to do was cut the shoulder seams and add some extra material. Sure enough, about 6″ of strap added there dropped the waist down and made the bust fit beautifully. I had originally thought I’d use ribbon for the extra straps, but I found a cone of silver mercerized cotton in my stash and crocheted a couple of lengths of edging instead.  I am absolutely loving the way it came out.

I was lucky enough to find a yarn at my LYS (Creative Knitworks — love them!) that matches the dress beautifully…it’s Arucania Ranco and it’s a gorgeous hand-dye with all the colors of the dress. I made the Aphrodite capelet from Caron, and it worked up nice and easy (though I did modify it slightly to leave off the last few rows of the main pattern and the shells on the edging). I am thrilled with the final result.

Aphrodite shawl

Aphrodite shawl

Aphrodite shawl, detail

Aphrodite shawl, detail

New shoes

The perfect shoes: free, comfy, and pretty

Even the shoes for this year’s outfit had a crafty element. I couldn’t find cheap-yet-attractive silver shoes, and I wasn’t willing to shell out for the pretty-but-expensive ones, since I’m not really the kind of girl who has a lot of call for silver shoes. So I took my favorite pair of strappy black sandals from last year, which were on their last legs as black sandals, and spray-painted them silver (thanks to Kit for the suggestion!). Win!

*Fortunetide is the yearly fundraising ball for Otherworld. Otherworld is one of the most awesome things in the world. Every year, we give 48 very lucky people the chance to have a fabulous adventure and be heroes. It’s relaxing, invigorating, recharging, and sometimes even lifechanging. To find out more, go here. There’s even a spiffy video here. If you have any questions or want more info, drop me a line.

Same as we ever were (only different)

April 14, 2011 § 2 Comments

I feel a little weird writing this post as if it’s my first blog post evah, because I used to have this other blog where I blogged about lots of crafts, and a little bit about cooking, and a bunch about personal stuff. I stopped blogging there regularly for a number of reasons, but mostly it was a combination of Blogger (where I hosted that blog) changing some stuff that required me to make a bunch of changes that I never really got around to, and Facebook, which is really where I now talk about all the little personal stuff that I used to blog about.

Iunctio Socks

Shown: Iunctio Socks -- A Lauriginal pattern available for puchase on Ravelry

I don’t miss sharing my personal life with a bunch of strangers…that was always a little weird for me, this idea that I was posting picture and anecdotes about my life so that my friends and family could keep up, but that really anyone with a computer and some free time would also now know all these things about my life. What I do miss is sharing all my great recipes and craft ideas and patterns.

Pear and Grape pie

Shown: Pear and Grape Pie, with All-Butter Crust

I considered just relaunching the old blog and changing the nature of the content, but the old blog was called “A Frayed Knot Knits” and I wanted this new, er, improved, er, can I get away with “new and improved” just this once? Anyhow, I wanted this incarnation of my blog to be about more than just knitting. It’s not a knitting blog that sometimes has some other stuff…it’s a blog about creating and inspiration, whether that’s in the kitchen, on the needles, at a park …whatever.

So please, come along with me and let’s make something delicious.

Where Am I?

You are currently viewing the archives for April, 2011 at Tasteful Diversions.