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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.
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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!

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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:

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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.

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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

New Pattern Releases: Transposed Hat and Mittens

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Here’s the next installment of patterns in my Babe in the Woods collection, the Transposed Hat and Mittens:

transposed set

The inspiration for this design came from the highly variegated skein of Malabrigo Rios in Fresco y Seco. I wasn’t expecting it to be quite so variegated, so I knew I had to come up with something that really showed off the color changes. I’ve always liked the look of “faux Isle” knits, where it appears that there are many different colors used when there are really just two. I sketched out this chevron design and got to work.

I’m especially happy with the way the crown decreases worked out in the hat:transposed crownLike the Aureate set I showed off last week, I wrote the matching mittens pattern for baby, toddler, and child sizes–thumbless in baby size, thumbs for the rest. I knit up a child-sized sample to show the thumb:

transposed thumb

The hat, baby mittens, and single child mitten were all made with a skein each of Malabrigo Rios in Natural and Fresco y Seco. There’s a ton of yarn left, too–definitely enough for another baby hat or a second set of mittens. So it ends up being pretty economical!

You can find the pattern (and the rest of the Babe in the Woods collection) here on Ravelry.

My next design project is going to be an adult version of the hat in a different colorway, since I’ve gotten such good feedback on the baby version. I think lots of people (myself included!) are looking for ways to make beautiful variegated colorways really shine.

Ronan was very cooperative through the whole photoshoot, but he did seem to think the mittens were rather tasty:

transposed

Friday Roundup: Big Sister, Little Sister

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What I’m Knitting:

I finished the Entrechat for my niece! Here it is with the teeny one for her little sister, due in May:

Big and Little Entrechat

Entrechat back

The specs:

Pattern: Entrechat by Lisa Chemery (Ravelry link).

Yarn: Ella Rae Cozy Soft Chunky Solids in Purple Eggplant. I bought 5 skeins of this yarn and only used 3 for both shrugs. If I had one little teeny criticism of the pattern, it’s that the yarn requirements are extremely generous. But the yarn is nice and soft, seems very sturdy, and blocked nicely despite its 75% acrylic content.

(PSA: Always, always block your handknit garments! Here’s the before blocking shot in all its ugly glory, if you need proof.)

Pre blocking EntrechatNotes: Like I said before, I now totally get why everyone and their mother has made this. It was an enjoyable and interesting knit, even when I knit the largest size directly after the smallest size. Usually I hate working the same pattern more than once (even if it’s my own!), but this wasn’t bad at all.

I found perfect little wooden sunflower buttons at Joann Fabrics, which made me happy. Their button selection can be very hit-or-miss for me, but they’re the only place in town with any kind of selection.

What I’m Cooking:

I have to get better at remembering to take pictures of my meals before I dig in, because there were a few I missed this week (like the tasty chickpea curry we had for dinner on Wednesday). But here’s what I did get.

I made this tofu scramble with peppers, mushrooms, and spinach after the success of the plain one I made last week for my vegan Egg McMuffin analogue. It was really tasty! Tofu scrambles are definitely going in the regular breakfast rotation, now that I know how to spice them properly.

Tofu scrambleI also whipped up a recipe I’ve been wanting to try for a while: seitan sloppy joes! (Seitan is a meat substitute made from wheat gluten–the tastiest sub out there, if you ask me.) They were goo000d.

seitan sloppy joes

What I’m Reading:

I finished the beta read for my friend and started in on the second book in Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series. It’s fast-paced and funny, as usual for his books.

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New Pattern Releases: Aureate Collection!

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Remember all those secret projects I’ve been talking about?

I released a collection last week!

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Ravelry link to purchase is here.

This is my first collection ever that isn’t just a bundle of a few related accessories, and it’s really exciting to have so many new patterns out there at once. The e-book includes five accessories, sized from Baby to Child, and the vest shown above (sized from 0-6 months to 4-6 years).

I thought I’d introduce the collection in parts, so today I’m showing you the first three accessories. Here’s the Aureate set, modeled by my very obliging son:

Aureate SetThese were all knit with two skeins of Malabrigo Mecha, a wonderfully soft and squishy yarn (and you longtime readers know how much I like the squishy). Although the yarn is labeled as a bulky weight, I did find out that skeins of this yarn can vary in thickness. This particular batch knit up at more like a heavy Aran weight on size 9 needles.

Ronan has been wearing his Aureate Hat out and about constantly since the photoshoot, and it gets compliments everywhere he goes. Part of that is because he’s ridiculously adorable, but I like to think the hat should get a little bit of the credit.

Aureate MittensHe’s also wearing the Aureate Scarf in that shot. Long scarves aren’t practical for babies or small children (and can be a choking hazard), but I wanted to design something to keep the chill off his neck. I toyed with the idea of a cowl, but eventually decided on a short scarf that’s fastened in the front with snaps, ascot style. This way it’s easy to put on but will come off easily too if there’s an issue.

Here’s a detail of the scarf and its fastenings:

Aureate ScarfAnd finally, the Aureate Mittens complete the set. They’re thumbless in the baby size and knit up in no time flat. The toddler and child sizes take a little bit longer, but are still very quick projects.

The cables on these mittens are shorter than on the hat and scarf, but definitely still along the same theme. Here are the baby mittens:

Aureate Baby MittensAnd here’s one I knit up in the child size to show the thumb:

Aureate Child MittensI love chunky knits on chunky babies, don’t you?

Friday Roundup: Vegan Bacon(!)

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What I’m Knitting:

I finished the larger Entrechat shrug for my niece and it’s awaiting buttons and blocking like the little one. I got two super-cute flower buttons that I think will look really nice. Hopefully I’ll have pictures of both together by next week (I’d better, because the baby shower is on the 28th and I should have the package sent by then).

Which means, for the first time in a very long time, I have no deadline knitting. Zero. Nada. I can knit whatever I want, which feels impossibly decadent. I’m thinking of doing some playing around with this gorgeous Stitch Sprouts Yellowstone (sport weight, 80% wool, 20% silk) that’s been marinating in my stash:

Stitch Sprouts YellowstoneMaybe some colorwork mittens? Or a slouchy hat?

What I’m Cooking:

Okay, first, I have to tell you that I love the taste of bacon. I don’t love what it does to my waistline or my digestive system, however. So when I found a recipe for shiitake mushroom “bacon”, I thought I’d give it a try! You slice the mushrooms thinly, toss them with spices and liquid smoke, and bake in the oven, tossing a few times.

IMG_5516I was really surprised to find that it actually does taste somewhat like bacon! It’s mostly the liquid smoke, I think, but the chewiness of the mushrooms is almost the right texture, too. I ate it on a baked potato with chili, veggie sour cream, and veggie cheese and it was delicious. Definitely making this again!

I also whipped up some creamy corn-potato chowder, one of my favorite cashew-based soup recipes:

IMG_5546One morning when I woke up, I was craving a junky breakfast sandwich… so I whipped up a vegan version! This is tofu scramble (way more delicious than it sounds) on an english muffin with a meatless sausage patty and a slice of veggie cheese. Not health food by any stretch of the imagination, but it was soooo good.

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What I’m Reading:

I’m working on a beta read of an amazingly weird middle-grade manuscript (unpublished as of yet) for a friend of mine, so no published books for me this week.

Friday Roundup: An Actual FO!

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What I’m Knitting:

Look, look! I finished the last project for my secret collection and actually knit something I can show you. This is an teeny, adorable shrug for my future niece, who’s due in May:

Entrechat IMG_4746Pattern: This is the ever-popular Entrechat pattern (Ravelry link) by Lisa Chemery. I can see why it’s so famous! The shrug was fun and interesting to knit, and the pattern is very well-written. I knit the smallest size and it worked up in just a few days,

Yarn: The only yarn store near me that was open when I had the chance to buy yarn was one with a fairly limited selection, so I ended up with the only washable yarn there that would knit to gauge. Fortunately, I like it! It’s Ella Rae Cozy Soft Chunky, a 75/25% acrylic/wool blend. I got perfect stitch gauge on size #8 needles, but I was totally off on row gauge. So it’s a little longer, but still very cute!

Notes: I started another one of these with the same yarn in the largest size for the new arrival’s big sister! I always like to do something for the older sibling when I knit a baby gift to avoid any jealous feelings. I think she’ll love having a matching outfit to her baby sister.

Maybe I should have started with the larger one, though, because it already feels like it’s taking forever. :-P

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What I’m Cooking:

It’s been cold here this week, so I’ve been making lots of soup. Didn’t get a picture of the beef-less beef stew or the broccoli cheddar, but I did get a shot of this vegan-tastic quinoa, lentil, and kale soup. It’s so much more delicious than it sounds!

IMG_4717I’m slightly obsessed with creating the perfect dairy-free mac and cheese, so I tried a new recipe this week. Instead of using blended cashews for the creaminess, this one uses unroasted sunflower seeds, miso, carrots, and nutritional yeast. It was really tasty, although I’ll soak the sunflower seeds for longer next time because it was hard to get all of the graininess out.

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What I’m Reading:

I finished two middle-grade books I LOVED this week. I devoured both of them!

The first is At Your Service by Jen Malone, which was an adorable tween book about a junior concierge who lives in a fancy NYC hotel. I think this age range gets shortchanged sometimes–there are so many younger chapter books and so many older YA books, but not much in between. This one was perfect!

18104774I also finished Ordinary Magic, which I couldn’t put down. It’s like a reverse Harry Potter–in a world of magical people, the main character discovers that she doesn’t have any magic and is sent to a special school for ords (ordinary people).

12969596So overall, a good week on all fronts!

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