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Friday Roundup: Contest Winner!

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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!

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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

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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!

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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!

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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:

IMG_6533

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.

Friday Roundup: Colorwork FO and Plenty of Cooking

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Last week was just as busy day-job wise as the week before… but somehow I managed to get plenty of cooking and knitting done. Go figure, right?

What I’m Knitting:

The adult version of my baby/child Transposed Hat is finished! We went out to the field around the corner from our house and spent a cold fifteen minutes getting some pictures with the baby strapped to the back of my husband. I think they turned out rather well, considering those circumstances:

Transposition frontI’ll be releasing the pattern in the next few weeks, so expect more pictures soon!

I’ve also finished that secret hat I was talking about last week, and guess what? The yarn isn’t secret anymore–Knit Picks just announced that their Preciosa merino single-ply is back. I’m knitting away on the matching mitts, so hopefully I’ll have a set to show off next Friday.

What I’m Cooking:

Like I said, plenty of action on the cooking front this week! First was a rare scramble made with actual eggs rather than tofu or some other analogue. Served with fake sausage patties and toast, it made excellent Sunday breakfast:

Scramble

I only had about ten minutes to throw together this next meal, so I took a can of Amy’s Tom Kha Phak (Thai coconut soup), added veggies and some cornstarch to thicken it up, and served it over rice. It worked surprisingly well. I’m rather proud of this one.
IMG_5919

I was cooking for a crowd again on Wednesday (I do this most weeks), so I whipped up the coconut vegetable curry from Budget Bytes (adding chickpeas for additional protein). With some naan on the side to soak up the sauce, it’s soooo good.

IMG_5920And finally, continuing cold temperatures yesterday (boo) called for a large pot of stew with dumplings. I used fresh thyme instead of dried like I usually do. It made such a difference!

IMG_5926

What I’m Reading:

I’m a little ways into the second book in THE EIGHTH DAY series, THE INQUISITOR’S MARK. It’s just as good as the first one (which I loved) so far!

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Friday Roundup: More Secrets…

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What I’m Knitting:

Okay, I’ve been meaning to stay away from secret projects that I can’t show off (after so many months of them!), but I couldn’t help myself. It’s actually not the project that’s secret in this one, it’s the yarn. But as soon as I get the go-ahead to post about it, I will!

Here’s a teensy little sneak peek:

GETS blue sampleI finished the adult Transposed Hat and finally have decreases I’m happy with, and it’s going out to test knitters this week. It just needs blocking and a photoshoot–hopefully that will happen this week!

What I’m Cooking:

I’m kinda mad at myself for forgetting to take pictures of the black bean and avocado enchiladas with mole sauce I made this week. You’ll just have to imagine. But here are a few things I did remember to photograph:

Risotto with peas and shiitake “bacon” (just as delicious as the first time I made it!):

risottoAnd this one is kind of cheating because it was so easy, but… grilled “cheese” with spinach and tomato. Yummy with soup on a cold day.

grilled cheese

What I’m Reading:

I finished Greenglass House (so good!) last night and need to go to the library to pick out my next read. My top picks from my to-read list are Masterminds by Gordan Korman, Magic Marks the Spot by Caroline Carlson, and The Young Elites by Marie Lu. But what I end up with will be dependent on what’s checked in, so stay tuned.

 

 

Friday Roundup and Bonus New Pattern Release

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What I’m Knitting:

I’m still knitting the adult Transposed Hat from last week, unfortunately. I finished the whole thing… and realized it was too long, and I didn’t like the top decreases. So I ripped it out and started again from the beginning of the crown shaping… and then the day job got crazy, so I haven’t had time to finish, sigh.

So to distract you, here’s the last pattern included in my Babe in the Woods collection, the Riparian Vest!

Riparian front(You can purchase the pattern here on Ravelry.)

I was going for the knitted equivalent of a puffer vest, and it turned out rather well! It’s knitted in Malabrigo Mecha, same as the cabled hat and scarf set in the collection. The interesting thing was that the skeins of yarn in this colorway were noticeably thicker than the Mostaza (the gold-colored colorway). I ended up using a completely different needle size on each one. Moral of the story? Always check your gauge, even if you’ve used the yarn before.

Riparian backThe vest is sized from 0-6 months to 4-6 years. It’s shown in the 12-18 month size. As you can probably see from these pictures, the vest is a little big for my son, who was wearing 6-9 month clothing when we took the pictures. It’s tough to estimate how big your baby will be when you knit the sample months in advance!

What I’m Cooking:

Lentil, quinoa, and kale stew:

A new recipe that I’ve been wanting to try, tofu stroganoff (it was yummy!). I put it over rice noodles instead of wheat pasta, which was a little weird–next time, I’ll use regular pasta like in the recipe:

IMG_5871Eggplant parmesan with rice mozzarella and cashew/nutritional yeast “parmesan” (much better than it sounds, I swear!):

IMG_5875And this one is sort of cheating because most of the ingredients were pre-made… but I did cook the meatless meat crumbles with onions and spices, so I’m counting it, haha:

IMG_5881

What I’m Reading:

Fairly boring here too, I’m afraid. I only managed to get about halfway through Greenglass House (see previously mentioned day job craziness). It’s really good so far, though! I’m looking forward to reading the rest.

Friday Roundup: Comfort Knitting and Comfort Food

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What I’m Knitting:

I’m almost finished with my Transposed baby hat in the adult size.

Transposed Adult WIP

It’s such relaxing knitting–an easy colorwork pattern that I’ve already knit before, so no surprises. This skein of Malabrigo Rios in Pocion is the kind of crazy colorway I usually wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole, but I LOVE the way it’s working up in this hat.

Transposed adult close

What I’m Cooking:

Lots of comfort food this week! I started with a nice goopy stir fry (love me some thick, glossy sauce):

stir fryEarly in the week I was craving pasta, so I made some roasted red pepper sauce and poured it over quinoa-corn pasta. We’re not a gluten-free household, but I was happy to discover this GF pasta that’s much more tasty than any other kind I’ve tried. Sometimes you don’t want a whole plate full of wheat, y’know?

Red pepper GF pastaThe leftovers were delicious over some steamed broccoli the next day:

pasta leftoversA few days ago, I had to come up with something to cook for a crowd that included vegans and GF people… so I decided to make the same thing! This time I threw in lots of veggies, though. With fake parmesan cheese (raw cashews, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and salt pulsed in the food processor), a salad and crusty bread, it was deeelicious.

IMG_5768

 

The last vestiges (I hope!) of winter are making themselves felt here in Indiana today, so I’m planning a big pot of hearty stew. Can’t have enough of that, right?

What I’m Reading:

I just finished Stormbreaker yesterday. I wasn’t a huge fan–it was like one of those loud action movies in book form, although it was decently written. Today I’m starting Greenglass House by Kate Milford, because I keep seeing rave reviews. I want to know what all the fuss is about!

Greenglass House

Friday Roundup: Mmmm, Colorwork

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What I’m Knitting:

Remember that Stitch Sprouts Yellowstone I mentioned a few weeks ago? I’m most of the way through the first of a set of mitts in a fun colorwork pattern. I wanted the back to have totally different colorwork for variety’s sake, but I also wanted to keep it simple. I like the way it’s coming out!

I’m not a huge fan of magic loop in general, but I favor it over DPNs for colorwork. Getting the tension right when switching between three needles is that much more annoying than switching between two. The only thing that makes me sad is that I can’t use my beloved ChiaoGoos for magic loop–the cable is too stiff.

And then for good measure, I also started an adult version of the Transposed Hat I showed off in last week’s post. I picked out the most crazy variegated skein of Malabrigo Rios I could find at the yarn shop, and I’m loving the way it’s working up! I hope to have the hat finished by next Friday, so stay tuned.

What I’m Cooking:

Not a ton of stuff to show off  (I feel like pasta with pre-made sauce and veggies thrown in is cheating, and we’ve had that several times this week), but here are a few things.

Breakfast, featuring tofu scramble with veggies (told you that one was going in my regular rotation), breakfast potatoes, and meatless sausage patties:

breakfastI was cooking vegan for a crowd on Wednesday, so I made a taco bar with all the fixings (including meatless ground beef and vegetarian refried beans), as well as some guacamole. My husband has an outstanding guac recipe with some secret ingredients that make it delicious. Apologies for the bad phone snap, but here’s the result:

tacos

What I’m Reading:

I’ve had the Alex Rider series recommended to me several times, so I picked up the first one. It’s like James Bond for teenagers! Hard to believe that this came out sixteen years ago. Yeesh.

Stormbreaker

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