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Pardon My Absence

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No Friday Roundup post today, as I’m attending an all-day writer’s conference (and had no time for knitting, cooking, or reading this week anyway! Yikes!).

In lieu of a post, here’s a picture of my fridge, sporting one of my favorite comic strips:

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Friday Roundup: A Finished Object and a Helper

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What I’m Knitting:

I finished the knitting on the nautical pullover. I’m mostly happy with it. It fits my son with a little room to spare, so that should be perfect for a fall photoshoot. I’m not altogether pleased with the way the topmost white stripe is pulled up by the collar, but I’m hoping a good blocking should even that out. Blocking will commence tonight or tomorrow, so stay tuned.

Here it is in all its unblocked, lumpy glory (see my helper underneath the table?):

IMG_8746I also knit up a very large, intricately cabled swatch this week. It’s for a design submission to a yarn company, so I can’t show a full pic, but here’s a teaser. I love the way cables look in heathered wool:

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What I’m Cooking:

Some old standbys this week. We were still playing catchup from our trip, so I didn’t have a whole lot of time to cook. My favorite lentil, kale, quinoa stew made an appearance. The MVPs of this stew are my time-saving helpers, pre-chopped garlic:

IMG_7074And veggie broth bouillon cubes, so I always have broth on hand:

IMG_7073And again, I had a little helper keeping me company:

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What I’m Reading:

Back to the second Raven Boys book, The Dream Thieves! (I just got a notification that it’s overdue from the library. Oops. To renewals I go!)

 

Friday Roundup: I’m Back!

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What I’m Knitting

I missed posting last week while on vacation, but I’m back home as of a few days ago and settling back into the routine! Thanks to a road trip from the Seattle area to Sacramento, CA, I managed to finish most of a little nautical-themed pullover idea I’ve had brewing for a while:

IMG_8622I would have finished the whole thing, but I only brought one ball of the blue yarn, thinking I’d never get through that much with the little one to worry about. Oh well, now that I’m back, hopefully I can get it wrapped up this week. It just needs the second sleeve and the shawl collar, so not too bad.

We stopped in another lovely little yarn shop on our travels and I managed to score another couple of great skeins…but our suitcases were overfull, so I had to have those shipped. Hopefully I’ll have them by next week!

What I’m Cooking:

I actually cooked quite a bit in Sacramento, but I forgot to get pics (and it was mostly my old standbys that I’ve shown a few times here already, anyway). My son’s favorite food right now is my vegan broccoli “cheddar” soup, so I whipped up a big batch of that for his first birthday party last week. It was a hit!

Now that I’m home, we’re about to go on an epic grocery shopping trip and much cooking will commence. I always feel like I need to detox after a vacation—anyone else feel that way too?

What I’m Reading:

My husband and I have been fans of Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half blog for years, so I had to get him this book version for his birthday. I got to read it when he was done. It’s just as funny as the blog! I was reading it on the plane with my son sleeping on my lap, trying not to laugh too much and wake him up.

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Friday Roundup: Vacation Edition!

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What I’m Knitting

I’m on vacation! (A working vacation, but still.) My husband and son and I are out in the Seattle, WA area for the wedding of a family friend. Ordinarily, many hours on a plane means I’d have plenty of knitting progress to show off… but as any parent knows, taking an almost-one-year-old on a 5 hr + flight does not make for a lot of knitting time. He did really well, but there was a lot of wrangling!

I did, however, manage to stop by a really cool yarn store yesterday when we were wandering around the Pike Place Market area. So Much Yarn is cute and friendly, with an excellent selection of yummy stuff and a great view of the Sound. I was with a group of non-knitters, so I kept my browsing short, but I managed to snag this gorgeous skein of Wonderland Yarns March Hare in Curiouser.

I saw this yarn at TNNA last year and have been dying to try it out! I’m hoping I can get a little vest for my son out of it! (Apologies for the crappy phone snap. Trust me. It’s stunning.)

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What I’m Cooking

Not much at the moment, as you can imagine… but I am eating some seriously yummy stuff in restaurants around here. I eat mostly vegan, as anyone who regularly reads this blog knows, and it’s so refreshing to see so many vegan options everywhere!

I did manage to bake some very tasty banana blueberry muffins before we left, however:

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What I’m Reading:

I didn’t take my current book with me on the trip, because it’s A) a library book and B) huge. Instead, I’m re-reading a book from one of my favorite authors, Jennifer Crusie. It’s like comfort food in book form:

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Friday Roundup: Baby Hat Edition

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What I’m Knitting

I know I said I’d be working on the green textured sweater design this week, but I had to put that on hold for some emergency baby knitting (we’ve all been there, right?). A good friend of mine just had a baby boy a few days ago, so I cast on this mini-sized Koolhaas Hat for her little guy:

Koolhaas WIPThe yarn is buttery-soft Knit Picks Comfy in a lovely heathered gray colorway. This is my first time using Comfy, and I really like it! It’s 75% cotton, 25% acrylic, which is just about the perfect blend for my taste. It isn’t as heavy or unyielding as 100% cotton, and the touch of acrylic makes it really easy to wash.

Just when I was at the decreases of that hat, I decided I wanted to work up a little hat for a baby shower I’m attending tomorrow. This decision may or may not have been influenced by the fact that the guest of honor had another baby shower in a different town last week, and every. single. thing was purchased off their registry when I looked a few days ago. Oh well–one of a kind presents are good too, right?

So I cast on a super-quick baby bonnet this morning and have been knitting furiously in the car on the way to run errands (when I wasn’t the one driving, of course!). This one is also in Knit Picks cotton, some Simply Cotton Worsted left over from my Kari Baby Blanket. I’m ready for the decreases and on track to get it finished tonight:

baby bonnet WIP

What I’m Cooking

Another round of the delicious, wine-infused mushroom stroganoff (this time with added broccoli to up the veggies) over quinoa pasta:

mushroom stroganoffI had a head of cauliflower to use up a few days later and was planning to roast it… but that took about 45 minutes and the husband and son were hungry now. So I steamed it and mashed it with garlic, Earth Balance spread, and chives from the garden, then served it with veggie burgers. Delicious! The baby LOVED it. He ate a whole plate by himself.

cauliflower mash

What I’m Reading

I’m still working on The Dream Thieves–but I do have some other writing/reading related news! One of my manuscripts is in a really cool online contest called The Writer’s Voice (modeled after the show The Voice, apparently, but I’ve never seen it so that doesn’t mean much to me!). The contest entries went live today, and in a few days, literary agents are going to request to see manuscripts they find interesting. Wish me luck! If you’d like to check out my entry, it’s here.

Friday Roundup: Decisions, Decisions

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What I’m Knitting

The 3/4 sleeves for the sweater in progress are now done! So that means I’m ready to join and start raglan shaping:

texture sweater WIP

 

I have to figure out how I want to do the raglan lines. I’m not a huge fan of the simple p2tog/ssp decreases for reverse-stockinette sweaters, so I’ll have to play around a bit and see what I want to do. Stay tuned!

What I’m Cooking:

Vegan, gluten-free stuffed peppers (with quinoa and zucchini and lots of other good stuff). They were very tasty, but next time I’ll cook them longer–the peppers themselves were a little tough.

stuffed peppers

An easy weekday stir fry over rice, with white asparagus. It was tasty, but honestly, I didn’t notice much of a difference from regular asparagus. But isn’t it pretty?

white asparagus stir fry

And faced with a banana tree full of overripe fruit, I made banana muffins. We were out of walnuts, so I went with almonds. They were really good! I might make them this way again next time.

banana almond muffins

What I’m Reading

I finally finished The Raven Boys (that ending! OMG!) and started the sequel, The Dream Thieves. It’s excellent so far:

Dream Thieves Cover

 

 

Friday Roundup: You’ll Have to Take My Word for It

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What I’m Knitting

I made some progress on the sweater sleeve I was talking about last week, but reverse stockinette doesn’t make for very exciting pictures:

sleeve WIPAlthough I guess that line of loose stitches at the place where the DPNs change is exciting (for a certain value of the word). I’ll have to do some major tugging during blocking to get that to even out.

What I’m Cooking

My mom had a birthday last week and we hosted a party for 20 people at our house. My mom’s a strict vegan, so I went all out on my share of the potluck lunch: stuffed mushrooms, coleslaw, and the pièce de résistance: a vegan, gluten-free, refined-sugar-free cheesecake.

And I got exactly zero pictures of any of it. Bummer. But trust me, it was all beautiful and very very tasty.

I made an enchilada casserole later in the week and missed getting pictures of that too… but I did remember after I heated up my leftovers! This is one of those dishes where the leftovers almost taste better than fresh.

enchilada casseroleNom. Comfort food at its finest.

What I’m Reading

Still working on The Raven Boys (which is getting really, really good!). Maybe when my son stops teething I can sneak in a little more reading at night before bed, sigh.

Friday Roundup: Long-Forgotten Project

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What I’m Knitting

I picked up a sweater WIP that my Ravelry project page tells me I started all the way back in October of 2013. That was just a few days before I found out I was pregnant, and, well… eleven published baby designs later, here I am coming back to it, haha.

This was my original concept sketch for this sweater:

photo_mediumI was looking for a way to incorporate some bobbles into a design. I love them, but they’re so impractical most of the time. Before I abandoned this project, I got all the way up to the armholes in a lovely yarn, Stonehedge Shepherd’s Wool Worsted:

IMG_0122So I started a sleeve a few days ago! I’m abandoning the idea of using the same texture pattern on the sleeves because I think it’ll be too overwhelming. Instead, I’m going with 3/4, reverse stockinette sleeves.  It’s a lot of purling, but oh well. I think it’ll look good in the end. Hopefully it doesn’t take me another year and a half to finish it.

What I’m Cooking

A friend of mine is expecting her third child any day now, so I made her a few meals and froze them so she can just defrost when it gets crazy. No pics of the enchilada casserole because it just looks like a big tub of sauce once you assemble it, but I got one of the quiche, which came out rather pretty:

IMG_8057I decided to make my good old standby, quinoa-kale-lentil stew (she’s a health-conscious mama, so I figure she’ll need something for when she’s ordered pizza for the fourth night in a row and is dying for something healthy). The recipe has you put the kale in at the very end and stir it around until it cooks down and gets velvety. Every time, I think I’ve ruined it by putting waaaaay too much kale in:

IMG_8049 IMG_8052But through some dark magic, that becomes this in only a few minutes:

IMG_8056Kale is weird.

What I’m Reading

Still working on The Raven Boys, which is really, really good. The prose is a little bit too much on the literary side for me sometimes, but I can see why so many people recommended this book.

Friday Roundup: Days of Wine and Chocolate

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What I’m Knitting:

I finished the colorwork mitt, but it’s currently blocking and is still damp–not that interesting for pictures. Hopefully I can get a rough pattern written up and get it up for testing in my Ravelry group this week!

What I’m Cooking:

I managed to get a decent amount of cooking in this week! I’m trying to avoid wheat for the next few weeks, so that gave me a little more of a challenge.

My good old standby, quinoa-lentil-kale stew (good for the colder weather we’ve been having lately!):

Quinoa kale stewI’ve never cooked with wine before (we don’t drink much, so we never have any in the house), but I figured it was time to give it a shot and picked up some cooking wine at the grocery store for this mushroom stroganoff recipe. Holy cow–it made a huge difference in the dish’s flavor. I’m a convert!

stroganoffI also got in some tofu curry and spaghetti squash with veggie marinara:

IMG_7984 IMG_7991And saving the best for last, these vegan peanut butter cups. They were dead easy: melt semi-sweet chocolate chips and put a spoonful on the bottom of a muffin cup, chill for 10 min, mix natural peanut butter with a little powdered sugar and vanilla and plop some on, cover with more chocolate and freeze. They maybe aren’t as pretty as Reese’s Cups, but they were delicious.

IMG_7975 IMG_7979My mouth is watering at that last picture. I might have to make some more this week…

What I’m Reading:

I picked up The Raven Boys after hearing raves about the series from loads of people. It’s really good so far, but I’m having trouble getting past the fact that one of the main characters, a self-destructive, unpleasant teenager, has the same name (Ronan) as my cheerful baby!

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Friday Roundup: Yarn Dominance

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What I’m Knitting:

I’m working on some swatches for new designs in a truly outstanding yarn that I wish I could show you… but I also made some progress on the Yellowstone mitts re-knit this week.

Yellowstone take 2 WIPRemember that yarn dominance issue that caused the rip and re-knit a few weeks ago? Well, I’m really glad I did it. Here’s a shot of the version with the wrong yarn dominance (e.g., the motif color not being held in the correct hand on each side) next to the new one. The current one needs some blocking after its frogging, but I can really see a difference in how well the motif stands out!

Yarn dominance

What I’m Cooking:

I was on a pasta kick this week… so that meant vegan cream sauce and Pad Thai. At least the Pad Thai was made with rice noodles, right?

IMG_7927 IMG_7935My big Wednesday meal was a baked potato bar this week. Pretty basic, but I jazzed it up with homemade vegan queso, broccoli, and chili:

queso cookingNow THAT’S a baked potato. (With McCormick Bac’N Bits! They just happen to be vegan–who knew, right?)

image1What I’m Reading:

I finished Devine Intervention (which was a very fun read!) and am between books at the moment. I love that delicious moment when the whole world of books is open to you. I have a To Read list as long as my arm, but most of them are new enough that the library doesn’t have them, so I think a bookstore trip is in order.

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