Monthly Archive for: ‘April, 2015’

Friday Roundup: Winner, Take 2


Since I didn’t hear back from the winner I picked last week for the Golden Morning book, I went back to the random number generator to choose a new winner:

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 2.15.38 PMComment #4 was Sarah, who said “My knitting changes a bit seasonally. I cannot bear to have a pile of alpaca on my lap during the summer. Lace is always a favorite, and laceweight yarn is a staple in my stash. I think I keep my knitting focus on smaller things that will not cover all of me as I knit them, but if they are large, they need to be light.”

Congratulations, Sarah! I’m sending you an email to get your address details and the pattern book will be on its way to you shortly.

Now to your regularly scheduled Friday Roundup post:

What I’m Knitting

A secret accessory design I can’t show you. I know, I know, I said I was done with these for a while, but a call for submissions that I couldn’t refuse came to my attention a few months ago and I got a design proposal accepted. This accessory is small and fun, though, so I should hopefully be back to something blog-able next week.

What I’m Cooking

I forgot to take pictures of the amazing (if I do say so myself) enchilada casserole I made for my usual crowd dinner on Wednesday, but I managed to snap a few pics of other meals.

Basil was on sale at my local grocery, so I snagged a bunch of it to try a vegan pesto dish from my favorite cookbook, Isa Does It. The pesto was tasty, but the real star of this dish is the breaded tofu on top. I’ve never tried to make breaded tofu before–it was much easier than I thought, and soo00 tasty. My 9-month old son loved it too!

pesto tofuI’ve never been the type of person who can whip up sauces without a recipe (kind of funny, since one of the first things I did when I started knitting was to go “off-recipe” and start making up my own things!). But I tried a almond-milk based cream sauce last week that was completely tasteless, so I started adding things to it (like miso and nutritional yeast, my favorite vegan flavor enhancers). The resulting sauce was so good that I tried it again this week, with different proportions of ingredients and a whole bunch of veggies.

White pasta sauceIt was amazing. I can’t believe how cheesy a sauce can taste with no cheese whatsoever. I think it’s the umami flavor (pleasant savory taste) that the miso brings to the table. I have a new favorite sauce recipe that I can tweak to my heart’s content! My son also loved this one, even though it was loaded with garlic and onions. He’s definitely my son. :-)

What I’m Reading

Not too much to say on this front either–I’m still working on my writer friend’s manuscript. Baby’s sudden sleep regression = major dent in my reading/knitting time, unfortunately.




Deb, are you out there?


I haven’t heard back from the winner of the Golden Morning book yet! Deb (who left the comment “I have moved to lightweight yarn for warmer weather and airy shawl patterns” on 4/13), you didn’t log in or leave an email address, so I have no way to get in touch with you if you don’t contact me.

In the interest of fairness, if I haven’t heard back from Deb by Friday, I’ll use the random number generator to pick a new winner. But hopefully Deb sees this before then!

Friday Roundup: Contest Winner!


First things first: the winner of the Golden Morning pattern book! Thanks to everyone who entered–it was fun to hear about your summer knitting plans. Lots of you said you were switching over to lace shawls or smaller projects, and a few were working on tanks or tees.

The random number generator says:

random number generatorComment number 38 is the winner! That was Deb on 4/13, who said “I have moved to lightweight yarn for warmer weather and airy shawl patterns.” Deb, send me a message through the contact form on this website with your address and I’ll get the book mailed out to you.

Now, on to the regularly scheduled Friday roundup.

What I’m Knitting:

The scrap blanket got a few more rows this week:

scrap blanket WIP 2I’m loving the way the random stripes look! I’m starting to get a little worried about having enough yarn to make a whole blanket, though, so I may have to revisit the way I’m doing the stripe sequence.

What I’m Cooking:

Not too much action this week on the cooking front, but I did manage to whip up a seriously tasty vegan mushroom cream sauce to go with gnocchi and brussels sprouts. I used to hate brussels sprouts, but then I figured out if you cook them properly they aren’t bitter and actually taste really good. I seared these ones in a pan first, then added 1/4 cup water and covered the pan until the water was gone. Perfect!

mushroom sauce & brussels sprouts

We had overripe bananas a few days later, so in the grand tradition of bakers everywhere, I made banana nut muffins:

Banana nut muffins

What I’m Reading:

No details this week, as I’m beta reading another manuscript for a writer friend! I do have several books I ordered on the way, including one written by a writing friend/critique partner that just came out. I’ll definitely post about that when they arrive.

Elva Cardigan and Pattern Book Contest!


My newest sweater pattern is included in Knit Picks’ Golden Morning collection! This is the Elva Cardigan:

51885220_9 copyHere’s the description from the pattern:

This flowy, lightweight cardigan is designed to be worn open or with a skinny belt. The garter fan pattern, charted and described line by line, adds a gorgeous detail to the sweater back, while easy raglan shaping and flattering lines make Elva easy to pull on and hard to take off.

Constructed from the bottom up, the sweater is worked seamlessly with raglan sleeve shaping. The elbow-length sleeves are worked with a slight flare at the cuff and then joined to the body at the yoke.

Elva frontI’ve been in love with the laceweight-at-a-loose-gauge concept for sweaters since I knit myself a Featherweight Cardigan years and years ago. It was my go-to sweater when I lived in LA: just the right amount of warmth for overactive air conditioning or a cool-ish night, but small and lightweight enough to fit in my purse. So I thought it was about time I designed one myself!

Bonus: laceweight yarn sweaters are very economical. This one only takes 2-4 hanks of Knit Picks Shadow (a really lovely yarn with subtle heathering that gives the finished sweater shine and depth).

I added a little flair with the fun-to-knit lace pattern on the back:

Elva back closeKnit Picks generously sent me two copies of the Golden Morning pattern book, so you know what that means–it’s contest time!

Golden Morning coverTo be entered to win, leave a comment on this post and tell me what you’re planning for spring and summer knitting. Do you switch over from wool pullovers to lace shawls, or carry on with bulky accessories all year round?

I’ll use a random number generator to choose the winner this Friday morning, so comment by the end of day on Thursday to be entered! I’ll ship anywhere in the world, so this contest is open to everyone. Good luck! :-)

Friday Roundup: Scraps


What I’m Knitting:

After 10+ years of knitting, I have a huge drawer full of partial skeins of yarn that are at least 1/3 skein each. Most of them are worsted-ish weight, and there’s a distinct weighting toward the green-blue-purple color families. I had the idea to start a scrap lap blanket last month. First I organized my yarn into a rough color progression:

Scrap skeinsAnd then I pulled out some size 7 needles and cast on! I love it so far:

Scrap blanket in progressI figure it’s going to take me a while to get through this one, but it’s nice to have an easy project for road trips and nights when I don’t have any deadline knitting.

What I’m Cooking:

I’ve been wanting to make this cold noodle salad with peanut sauce for a while, and it finally got warm enough so that a cold salad sounded appetizing. It was really good–a little spicy, which is just how we like it.

noodle saladI was in the mood for a little spice later in the week too, so I tried out a new curry recipe. This one has potatoes, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and chickpeas. It was really yummy and made a ton–leftovers FTW!

Isa curry


What I’m Reading:

After finishing THE INQUISITOR’S MARK (so good!), I started another book that I didn’t like much after the first few chapters. So I’m giving that one up and starting a beta read of a writer friend’s YA manuscript instead. Much better!

I have a cardigan pattern in the brand-new Knit Picks pattern collection, and you know what that means–a pattern book giveaway! Look for the post later in the week for your chance to win.

New Pattern Release: Avelina!


I released a new pattern this week! This is Avelina:

Avelina full


This was one of the secret projects I was working on last winter. I’m so, so happy with the way it came out. I was going for a casual yet easily dress-up-able vibe, with simple details. This is one of the closest picture-in-my-head to actual-FO conversions I’ve ever done. :-)

The specs:

Pattern: Avelina, available to purchase on Ravelry for $6.00 here (you don’t need an account to purchase).

Here’s the description from the pattern page:

Clean and modern, this sleeveless top features reverse stockinette with small cable details. The v-neck and subtle waist shaping help it pair equally well with a skirt or jeans.

To minimize purling, the top is worked inside out in the round to the armholes. The neckband is worked right along with the upper body, so the only finishing is sewing the straps together and knitting the armhole edgings.

Avelina neck detail

Yarn: I used absolutely scrumptious Baah! Aspen (75% merino, 15% silk, 10% cashmere). I actually managed to squeak by with 2 skeins, but that required unraveling my swatch to knit the armhole edgings, so I recommended 3 skeins for this size. Still an economical project and a great way to get a pretty garment out of just a few skeins of luxe yarn.

Notes: This isn’t the first time I’ve worked a reverse stockinette garment body inside out to the armholes to avoid purling (my Put Together tank has this too). I love this trick! The hardest part for me is remembering to join new yarn on the knit side rather than the purl side. This time I wrote a big reminder in my notes so I wouldn’t forget.

I also really like the fact that the back and front neck edgings are worked along with the body. I swatched for a while to find just the right combo of stitches to make the edge look neat and finished–I think it works well!

Avelina back

My friend Cheryl did the modeling for me, since I had just had a baby and the top was, erm, rather stretched out in the chest area on me. Luckily it fit her like it was made for her. And she has that gorgeous glowing skin that complements the hand-dyed color so well.

I’m running a 25% off sale on all of my individual self-published patterns for the next month in honor of Madelinetosh May. Just enter the coupon code MADMAY15 in your Ravelry cart at checkout. So if you want to pick up a copy of Avelina, now is a good time. :-)

Oh! And if you live anywhere near the Knitting Temptations yarn shop in Dublin, Ohio, my sample of Avelina will be displayed in the shop starting in a few weeks, so you can see it in person.

Friday Roundup: Two FOs!


What I’m Knitting:

Remember the sneak peek of the blue yarn from a few weeks ago? Well, the yarn (Knit Picks Preciosa Tonal) has now been released, so I can show my new FOs off properly.

GETS KP setHere are the specs:

Patterns: My own Give ‘Em the Slip Set, modified slightly for the different row gauge of the Preciosa as compared to the original Malabrigo Worsted.

Yarn: Knit Picks Preciosa Tonal in Maritime, 1 skein for both (with a generous amount left over!). This yarn is yummy! It’s very much like Malabrigo Worsted, but slightly lighter–and with more generous yardage as a result. I love that I got both parts of the set from a single skein.

IMG_6315 IMG_6337

Notes: I wrote these patterns and knit the original samples three and a half years ago, when I was just a baby designer. They were only the third and fourth patterns I published. It was kind of fun to knit from something I wrote so long ago and see that it was well-written and error-free. Not to toot my own horn too much, but I think that’s pretty cool. :-)

What I’m Cooking:

I snapped up some shiitake mushrooms on sale this week, so we had a sort of vegan pasta carbonara:

pasta carbonaraThe day job has still been crazy, so I was looking for quick meal ideas mid-week. In the grand tradition of taking something pre-made and making it my own, I started with this:

image1Added a whole bunch of green veggies:

IMG_6111And ended up with a tasty and healthy meal!

IMG_6528I also made a double batch of our favorite vegan queso. This stuff is OUTSTANDING. Cashew cream, miso, nutritional yeast, veggie broth, and spices are blended together and cooked up with fresh onions and jalepeños. We put it together with some sautéed bell peppers and other fixings on corn tortillas:


What I’m Reading:

Don’t you hate it when life gets crazy the moment you start a good book? I’m still working on THE INQUISITOR’S MARK, but not because I don’t like it–in fact, I’m frustrated every time I have to put it down! Ah well, at least it means I get to savor the book longer.